Let’s talk frankly about India. We hate Indians. We hate them with a passion reserved for no one else. We hate their accents, their clothes, their sensibilities, their pride, their nationalism, their people, everything about them. If an Indian happens to say something remotely derogatory towards Nepal, we burst out into the streets, tires blazing and flags unfurled. When our VP took his oath in Hindi, we ganged up, scapegoating him, blaming him and the Indians for everything wrong with our country.
So why this unrivalled hatred for India? Is it because they’re bigger, stronger and better than us? Or is it because they meddle in our affairs and practically own some of our politicians? Or is it because, without India, Nepal would be nothing.
Think about it. How much of our goods and supplies comes in from India? How much of our borders touch India? If India decided suddenly to impose sanctions on Nepal, what would happen to us? No food, no fuel, no clothes, no money. What if the Indians decided to take umbrage at our constant derogatory remarks about them and decided to have their own riots? What if they decided to turn on every Nepali in India? Or what if the Indians closed off our open border?
Our economy is in shambles. Does anyone wonder why our money is still worth something? We have a barely functioning economy. Investors are leaving in droves and no one wants anything to do with Nepal. How can anyone run an industry or a business with powercuts for 16 hours a day? Add to that the constant threat of militant unionism. The only reason why our currency is as strong as it is, is because of India and how our money is pegged to theirs. Remember the NRS 1.60=IRS 1?
We watch their movies, ogle at their actresses and marvel at their cricket team. We can even speak their language. We are so seeped in Indian culture that it is almost a knee-jerk reaction to dislike them, hate them even. They’re the big wigs in South Asia. It’s not just us. Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, you can find anti-Indian sentiments everywhere. But what we forget is that borders are arbitrary. In and of themselves, borders have no meaning. They don’t exist naturally. Countries didn’t exist when the world was formed. We made them, we created them and we gave them the potent meaning that they now hold.
What I propose is radical. It’s almost unthinkable. But it’s so crazy that it just might work. How about we…don’t hate Indians? How about we don’t separate ourselves according to country or region? We’ve done away with racism, discrimination and casteism. Why is it so hard to get rid our hatred for India? Sure, they meddle, they poke and prod. But does our dislike need to boil down to the level of using epithets and insults? Sure, there’s hegemony involved, and there are ways to oppose that. Why must we always, always lower ourselves? We riot, we fight and we hurl insults like rocks. It’s time we did away with foolish jingoism and blind hatred.
Love your neighbour. Borders create strangers.