The unofficial blockade in Nepal is gradually being I hope officially lifted by a ‘Matured Brother’? What lessons have been learnt from this, by both the parties involved? The fact of the matter is that in India there is the PMO, RAW and the PM who decide on the policy and that our Mature Brother’s attitude to us will be the same irrespective of which party is in power. We in Nepal suffered the Third Blockade over a Sixty Year period. Is it over now or can it happen again? Bismark has said that anyone who learns from his mistakes is a fool, one should learn from the mistake of others. We have to ensure that such happenings do not recur.
The picture I carry around in my mind is of Birgunj, the image of blockade with people going around holding lathis in their hands. They blocked highways and stopped ferrying of essentials. Many in India did not know of it for the media did not publicise this fact. Now that the circumstances have changed, the blockade is officially over, why are the media keeping silent?
Now however the scenario is being replayed in Haryana by the jats, asking for their rights. It is not likely that this state will last long. Don’t want this to be a Schadenfreude, but many of us Nepalis must be thinking. ‘Theek Bho, Jasto aru lai garish, thestai thanlai’. The German word in fact means ‘getting pleasure at the miseries of others’ and may be applicable here.
Sad fact is that many Indians do not have much of an idea about Nepal. Surprisingly there was an image in Facebook where two rectangular pieces of cloth were hanging on the two sides of a lamp post, possibly in Delhi or Bhuj for the State Visit of PM Oli to India. One was the Indian Tricolor with the Ashok Chakra in the centre. The other was a red rectangular cloth with the regular images of the sun and moon as on our Nepali flag. Or do they feel that flag should be changed now that we are no longer a Hindu Rastra? It seems that many Indians could not care less, if they have got the matter or the facts right. ‘We can do as we want. What we say is what counts,’ seems to be their attitude. We have now reached a threshold. The visit to the South has taken place and the one to the North is pending.
A number of agreements have been passed this time as in the past but the reality is that many such agreements take a long time to implement and materialise. We have too the reality of many Indian firms having bagged contracts for hydropower development, just waiting and doing nothing in the hope of selling to a higher bidder!
What then is my prescription for our country’s ill? First of all our outlets to the seas have to start functioning properly. This means that the new ones at Visakhapatnam and that in Bangladesh plus also the one a Guangzhou in China should be realities and not dreams for the future.
Our airways must be expanded. Whilst we await fast track implementation of Nijgadh airport to function we have to expand and increase facilities at both Kathmandu, Bhairahawa and Pokhara. The Bhairahawa and Pokhara should be able to handle big cargo planes too so that a fourth blockade, which can occur at the whim of our neighbour will never be effective.
Then comes the question of the supply of fuel and gas. The alternative from the North has to be ensured and functioning at the earliest. The pipeline for fuel is sure to function easily as the flow is all downhill. The only essential is that there must be a will and not just ‘hawadari boli’. Our army should be given adequate funds to ensure that our sepais complete the task on a war footing although there is no war at present!
The airwaves that cascade down through our mountain ranges could be developed with the help our Dutch and Nordic friends now that Nepal is a secular state. They have perfected the technique of wind power from the windmills to the present day metal poles with Tri-blade attachments.
The solar power which is eternal, as some of us are reminded every day when we mutter our Gayatri Mantra can be developed with aid or support from China. They are leaders in this field and are willing to help.
PM Oli, with his periodic brash announcements has made headlines in the Nepali press. Now has to prove that he is not just an ‘empty vessel making a lot of noise’ but rather a genuine nationalist, ready to get things done for Nepal. He went to India without a shopping list, signed a number of agreements. What will be the result of all this? We can only hope for the best.
Last but not least is that we have to help ourselves. We have to develop our agriculture as never before and make Nepal greener. After all, ‘Nepal ko Dhan, Hariyo Ban’ should not be just a slogan. Our industries should be supported in that we start giving preference to Nepali made products and not demand ‘Foren’ goods from our shopkeepers!
The author writes fiction under the name of Mani Dixit. Website: www.hdixit.org.np. Twitter: @manidixithd