There has been a lot of publicity regarding the trafficking of Nepalis as Bhutanese refugees to other countries but mainly to the USA. It has been felt that not only those involved in this heinous crime of trafficking, but also those attempting to go there should be prosecuted. My feeling is that this second step should not be taken. It is just one step more than filling a DV application! As one considers the existing facts the reality is that the trafficking of women has been going on for long but sadly the steps which have been taken against this practice have been meagre. The reality is the poverty that exists in our country and the sad fact that the succeeding governments of Nepal over the seven decades after the Dawn of Democracy have not been able to solve.
Looking at this from another angle, it is a known fact that every human being wants to improve his lot or as they say, ‘Go where the grass is greener’. Many of the students that apply to go to different countries of the world to study have to do part time work too to meet their expenses. Because of this reality they will have a longer period to finish their courses. Many courses have practical aspects to be fulfilled. It is likely that after this period the students will try to recoup their expenditures. The result of all this is that a certain percentage of those who went to study abroad will end up staying in the countries where they studied and worked. This is reality or katu satya.
As one pores over world history, one learns that it was the Portuguese as a seafaring nation that set out to trade in various goods from far off lands across the seas. They were followed by the English, Dutch and Belgium nationals who set up colonies and employed the natives to work as labourers in lands all across the world. Expeditions were even sent out as by the British to bring breadfruit trees to transplant in the Caribbean and elsewhere to use the fruit as a cheap food or fodder for labourers working in cultivating cotton, tobacco and sugarcane. What was initially human trafficking became in course of time slave trade! This fact of human history where Westerners played a pivotal role will never be forgotten.
To look at the brighter aspect this sorry tale one has to go back by a hundred years. People from the colonies and surrounding areas of Asia i.e. India, China, Hong Kong, Malaya, Dutch East Indies and Japan went to Britain and US for a better life. Some were even transported to regions as far as Africa, Canada, Caribbean, Fiji and Trinidad. Most of these people had to struggle as labourers, menials and second class citizens.
A similar scenario took place after World War II when many students of countries in Asia went once more to foreign shores. Some of the descendents of these people however studied or picked up various trades and returned back as mindful and strong willed individuals to their own countries. They brought back skills, set up enterprises and succeeded. Example of these are the students or even simple ordinary folk who returned back to China, Japan, India, Korea and Taiwan to start afresh as young entrepreneurs or even old hands to help in the development of the home country.
In the 1950s it was the generation of Nepalis who had been educated in India who desired change in Nepal. Now it is Nepali students who have been further afield or who have seen and felt changes with new technologies on hand who are crying out for it. Being possible game changers, Nepali students going out to USA, UK, Australia, Japan and Korea should be given foreign exchange facilities and allowed to go. Yes, a lot of foreign exchange earned by other Nepalis in the Gulf, Malaysia and other places is being utilised in Nepal for importation of luxuries and questions are being raised as to whether this is fair. The students should be provided foreign exchange to study outside of the country as this will make them more conscious about their motherland and those who return will be eager to change existing conditions at home.
The effect of education abroad is seen in the post World War II scenario when large numbers of students originating from China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan went to USA and UK for further studies. Granted many of these stayed there for good but those who returned back were a strong motivated group, strong willed and determined to change and develop the conditions in the home country.
It is a fact that the Non Resident Conferences, held by Nepalis who presumably have not renounced their citizenships, not only brings about family reunion, revives culture, creates bonhomie and good cheer. It also helps to enhance tourist numbers. The giving of dual citizenships is to those who have renounced Nepali citizenships but would like to have it back is a current trend. A point to remember however is that whilst the USA has been allowing dual citizenship for many years, the People’s Republic of China does not do so. As proposed in the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), though facilities have been extended the right to vote has rightly been restricted.
The controversial decision by the President in approving the CAB, twice sent back by the previous President, is not the right manner in which to correct matters of national importance and grave concern. The whole act should have be re-discussed and amended if necessary by the newly elected members of the House of Representations. It is currently causing a huge rumpus in parliament.
Thus following a writ contending that the recent decision by the Government and the President to approve the CAB as null and void, filed at the High Court, an Interim Order was issued on 4th June to not implement this immediately. Many Nepalis feel that such an important decision is something which should not have been hurriedly confirmed prior to a visit to a neighbouring country. It should now be discussed again in the House prior to approval.
The author is a retired medical doctor and writes fiction under the pen name of Mani Dixit also. Website: www.hdixit.org.np. Twitter: @manidixithd