"Namaste. Bhannus Kaslai Khojnu Bho? (Hello. Who do you want to talk to?)"
This is the typical response in perfect Nepali of an old man on the phone to a caller on the other side. In his perfect Nepali, he repeats the same every day. Although he was born in the United Kingdom and served in the British-Gurkha regiment, he has been living in Nepal for the last 20 years, waiting to obtain the Nepalese citizenship.
Earning a Master's degree in Nepali language from Tribhuwan University in 1981, Colonel J.P. Cross had his mind and heart set in Nepal as any bonafide Nepali who has written a number of books on Nepal's history and contemporary issues. As he has fallen so deep in love with Nepal, colonel Cross has already given away his British citizenship and he has not returned to Britain for the last 12 years.
According to the Nepalese constitutional provision and Citizenship Act, Colonel Cross is eligible for the Nepalese citizenship. However, nobody knows why the government has put his file in pending for such a long period of time.
”It is not a question of being magnanimous. It is a simple matter that relates to acknowledging Col. J P Cross's contributions to Nepal. Politicians and bureaucrats running the government must not be evasive unless they want to be ridiculed for inaction. A firm and positive action, even if delayed by several years, can help them earn some real affection for the country,”," said senior journalist Dhruba Hari Adhikary.
Although there are so many rights based organizations pleading for the interest of the stateless people, nobody has taken the issue of 91-year-old colonel J.P. Cross and his humanitarian cause. As Nepal government has signed a number of international conventions on universal human rights and expressed the commitments on them, Nepalese state's face is being exposed globally as cruel and inhuman for treating highly deserving scholar and old man, who has fulfilled all the basic requirements to acquire naturalized Nepalese citizenship.
Although the government is yet to grant the citizenship, Colonel Cross's heart and mind are attached with the Nepali soil much more than any Nepali citizens. As the process of granting naturalized citizenship to octogenarian Cross has been delayed, it exposes the cruel inhuman behavior of the state of Nepal.
As Nepal and Britain are celebrating two hundred years of establishment of their bilateral relationship, hundreds of Nepalese have already received British natural citizenship. However, Nepal government, which is reportedly accused of distributing the Nepalese citizenship to any Tom, Dick and Harry is yet to grant Colonel J.P. Cross the Nepalese citizenship he deserves.
"As I have been living in Nepal as a Nepali, they will provide me legal documents sooner or later," said Colonel Cross."We Nepali need to be proud as we have made a lot of sacrifice in the last two hundred years to maintain the global order," said Colonel Cross.
Our Gurkhas fought two World Wars and other numbers of war as part of the British Army. This is time to remember the contribution made by our fellow Gurkhas who sacrificed their lives." "Whether in India or British Army, our Gurkhas brethren have their own history of pride and bravery," said Cross.
Travelling almost all parts of Nepal, J.P. Cross has gained a fair knowledge of Nepal's terrains and geography. Despite his age, he still remembers the beauty of Nepal's terrains and hardships the people face. "My home is like heaven where high Himalayas and green mountains taught us to do hard work. Our fellow countrymen have shown the world their strength and bravery."
J.P. Cross narrated the history of two hundred years long diplomatic relations in three stages. According to him, the first stage was Nepal's relations with East-India Company 1815-1858, the second stage was 1858-1947 and the third stage was 1947 till now.
With a thorough knowledge of Nepalese history, 91-year Cross sees Nepal-British relations as stable all the time despite many ups and downs. "Although the number has drastically gone down, British still keep a British Gurkha regiment recognizing our contribution," said Cross, who has written a couple of book on Nepalese history.
Two Centuries is a long time and it is the most appropriate to such an historic time and contribution as Britain is the first country to accept Nepal as sovereign and independent nations signing the bilateral agreement.
"This is a great year and great time to celebrate. We all need to move forward learning from the past," said J.P. Cross. As Nepal is celebrating two centuries of relations, it is the right time to do something for J.P Cross, whose dedication and contribution to Nepal is much greater than many of those who were biologically born in Nepal.