Nation Unlocked, Nepal Locked: What is happening?

Bhaskar Majumder

I must confess I am a late learner or, if my readers insist, a non-learner. But nobody will ever opine I do not observe the observable – even after being mask-locked and home-locked. Eyes are open; ears are also in spite of my elderly status.

I had some doubt some days back why two of my colleagues in my premier social science research Institute at Allahabad/Prayagraj were praising India disproportionately and maligning Nepal that was unwarranted. I insisted that Nepal was/is very beautiful – I had spent there long days two-year back with no social distancing. But they insisted. I thought probably it was because of newly invented communism there. But I have no doubt that these two colleagues who left Nepal decades back and were settled in India had no idea about Marx or Marxism or communism and all that.

Now I understand. It followed the political-geographic distancing between India and Nepal – the latter earlier imagined as a client state, land-locked. Now Nepal has opened its mouth – no more lip-locked. It has raised questions of border/boundary. So it had to pay a price. The price at the local level starts with UP – UP is always ahead of others in taking extra-constitutional decisions.

The core point comes now. As reported by the electronic media, a man of Nepal origin was tonsured on the bank of Varanasi Ghat and 'Jai Shri Ram' had been written on the man's scalp by the members of a group of Deshbhakts. It was reported that the group forced him to say "Jai Shri Ram" and "Nepal PM Murdabad’’, "Vishwa Hindu Sena Zindabad", "Hindustan Zindabad". Memorizing or quoting so much was really a difficult task. I believe had the innocent man been asked to tell the name of the Nepal PM, he would have faltered. But it is not a question of my belief. It is a question of punishing a person for reasons that the person did not know!

Varanasi was known as Vivekananda land – land known for its purity. Varanasi/Kashi is also the rehabilitation space for the elderly people for peace and Moksh. Is it pure? Is it peace? Is it in good taste? It might have been that the PM of Nepal went too far claiming Nepal as the birthplace of Purushottam Rama. But then the similar questions came in History about the birthplace of Buddha. Bodhgaya is known and Sarnath near Varanasi is known as Buddhaland but then Nepal nationals also claimed that Buddha took birth in Nepal. History is not for vote-based counting – it is based on many factors outside Goondaism.

I did not develop ever any doubt that India’s civilization that is Heartland-based was/is Rama-based. But then Rama was bigger than the Heartland as a cultural space. I found statue of Rama in countries in South-east Asia though I did not hear that any of those countries monopoly-appropriated Rama. Nepal Foreign Ministry later downplayed the debate over remarks of Nepal PM and said he "was simply highlighting the importance of further studies" and the remarks were not meant to debasing the significance of Ayodhya and the cultural value it bears. 

The major question centres on the sense of proportion. Nepal is a tiny state – a neighbour in peace. India as a Himalayan state hardly has reasons to be belittled by a hillock state like Nepal. But then it is not a military question. It is a cultural question. Indo-Nepal flows of people are well-known including people of Nepal like Gorkha in Indian military. There are double boundaries at some locations also for India geographically is vast with so many neighbours as sovereign countries. Is there anything wrong if neighbours are also sovereign? Is it necessary that all the neighbouring countries have to be Indian or integral components of India? At least in History in transition, that would have been a remote possibility.

Definitely, Rama happened to be a binding force in India that is Bharat. Even the indentured labourers more than a century back left India with a copy of Hanumanchalisha and/or Ramcharitmanas. But I did not hear that it was used abroad as weapon to kill or physically assault others including the colonizers.
Undeniably, persons with excess capacity will not be a rare species in a state with 250 million population – it seems overloaded with less carrying capacity. This excess capacity needs channelization through education, music, painting and scientific outlook apart from physical training like participation in games and sports. Male excess capacity must get utilized – either in the crime sector or in the culture sector and crime cannot be a culture.

The person assaulted was not a Pakistani – so Ghar Wapsi (not in the sense of that of migrant workers, 2020, post-lockdown) is ruled out. He was not a Chinese. He was a Nepali who never fought against independent India. British could not colonize Nepal. If this is true historically, then there was no reason why a helpless Nepali was caught by collar to be tonsured on the bank of pure Ganga that too on Varanasi Ghat.

Through this note I draw the attention of the Varanasi district administration to expand surveillance to control the anti-nationals who undermine the dignity of my motherland Bharat that is India by undermining the soft bilateral relations between Shiva and Buddha. The self-claimed Deshbhakts were often anti-nationals who did such a heinous job of assaulting a Nepali on his head – tonsure in public location.

If we cannot develop good neighbourly relations, let us not damage it.        

Bhaskar Majumder, Professor of Economics, G. B. Pant Social Science Institute, Allahabad - 211019

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Aug 6, 2020

Prof. Bhaskar Majumder

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