The election has been avoided and Dr. Mahato is allowed to continue as the chair of the Non Resident Nepali (NRN) movement despite his apparent unwillingness. This clearly indicates that NRN, which boasts of Kul Chandra Gautam and Prof. Surya Subedi as advisors, is no different from a political party where a personality dominates the organization.
The writer is a NRN based in Japan
With ongoing 3rd Global conference, Non Resident Nepalis have decided to elect Dr. Upendra Mahato once again as president of International Coordination Council of NRN network. Though Dr. Mahato has shown his unwillingness to continue, reportedly there was unanimity in avoiding election and thus a request to Dr. Mahato to continue was made. This clearly indicates that NRN is dominated by personality of Dr. Mahato rather than the agendas that it’s pushing forward. In addition, it clearly shows that without Dr. Mahato, NRN movement can crumble and fetter away. Definitely, this is not a good sign for a fledgling organization which aspires to lay foundation for New Nepal and to cater to the needs of millions of Nepalis abroad. Therefore, it is a need of the hour for everyone to think deeply and work for real institutionalization of NRN movement.
Ever since its inception, NRN has been preoccupied with its expansion and setting up new committees worldwide. Many have aligned with this movement on flimsy grounds. As NRN status would easily bring so called name and fame, many have tried to occupy stage here as they would get a chance to brush their shoulders with Dr. Upendra Mahato. At the same time, there are many business-minded Nepalis who feel that by aligning with NRN network they could enter into some partnerships and business joint ventures. All hopes of these people, therefore, rests on presence of Dr. Mahato and hotshots like him. Bunch of NRNs who have been able to emerge as ad-hoc committee members or 1st committee members in different countries invariably want Dr. Mahato to continue. And to show their good works, these people are traveling helter-skelter to be present with Dr. Mahato in every meet and every convention. Cozying up with Dr. Mahato, a Madhesi, is now a preoccupation with many Pahadi intellectuals and business tycoons. Dr. Mahato and NRN is a prime example of how money can change the attitude of the Pahadias towards a Madheshi.
Because of these boot licking tendencies amongst NRN executives worldwide, Dr. Mahato is under pressure and apparently he is forced to assume the leadership under force of request for continuation. This has posed a grave threat to NRN movement as it would invariably develop personality cult in NRN instead of developing issue based organizational leadership. And this is where the practice of double standard has begun in NRN. NRN going by its motto “By Nepali for Nepali” would have faced no problem in electing any other Tom, Dick and Harry who is a NRN as per the existing NRN act. Any other Nepali, be it Devman Hirachan, or Bhim Udash or Ram Thapa would have definitely worked for betterment of this movement. Many of them have worked for more than one stint and know NRN issues as the back of their palms. Yet the election is avoided and Dr. Mahato is allowed to continue. This clearly indicates that NRN, which boasts of Kul Chandra Gautam and Prof. Surya Subedi as advisers, is no different from a political party where a personality dominates the organization. At least from the experience of the political parties in Nepal, NRNs should have learnt some lessons and not allowed such double standards to hog the lime-light.
Another instance of double standard in NRN can be gauged from their recent rhetoric against NRN Act, which has barred a large pool of intellectuals from acquiring NRN status. There is no need to inform that students who are abroad now are intellectually far better than many of the NRNs who have their origin in some business trades. When NRN Act barred the students from acquiring NRN status, NRN ICC merely issued some criticisms. In view of provisions in NRN for representations from youths and women, there would not have been any problem if they had fixed one representative for Nepalis students abroad. They have not done so as they are a bit wary of students’ unionism in NRN also. This way they seem to have avoided potential trouble makers, but at the same time, they have deprived themselves of intellectually sound Diaspora also.
The most interesting double standard practiced by NRN lies in its rhetoric for voting rights for Nepalis living abroad. Many intellectuals associated with NRN have taken pains to advocate for voting rights for NRNs. And they have churned out long write-ups in Nepalis broadsheets. But, within their own organization, they are depriving many NRNs with voting rights. NRN is going to conduct election in this 3rd Global conference also at least for posts other than ICC president. Though they claim to represent more than a million Nepalis, yet the office bearers of ICC are going to be elected by less than one thousand delegates. People who talk about e-mail voting, ballot voting and proxy voting for Diaspora must have known that they could extend either of these voting practices for other NRNs who are willing to contest and cast their votes in the election of ICC.
In views of these double standards practiced within NRN, there is a little for Nepalis in diaspora, other than businessmen, to gain anything from this movement. Practically, this organization is, after NRN Act, institutionalized for double standards. So, there is no irony if such dual practitioners make a great hue and cry for dual citizenship also. The third stint for Dr. Mahato is, therefore, crucial in that he has choices to make: continue to practice duality and make NRN a fully business men’s organization or make it an efficient organization encompassing everyone.