Through out Nepal’s history, past regimes have tried to advocate for nationalism to balance diplomacy between China and India.
By Krishna Giri
Thanks to the CA members who have managed to appoint a Prime Minister after exhausting four months, 1/6th of the total time allocated to write the new constitution for new Nepal. They have not only wasted the most valuable time but also whacked over 3billion rupees for the salaries and services payments. One of the poorest people in the world has paid enough prices; money, lives, destruction; for the appointment of this new Prime Minister. Soon after his appointment, the PM was off to China to complete a disgrace tour started by de-facto minister Pradeep Nepal. Until now, every decision taken by CA assembly has waged serious questions about nationalism and patriotism. Taking the oath by VP in Hindi to costumes worn by new PM during official ceremony has rewarded unprecedented apprehensions about the paradigm shift in Nepal’s nationalism and patriotism. Equivocal nationalism demonstrated by VP and PM has unlocked doors to cease the state base nationalism and adopt ethnic and stateless nationalism. All will catch a clear picture once Upendra Yadav meets his Indian counterpart and possibly Indian PM in Madhesi attires. We are going to observe a historic inauguration of nationalism in new Nepal.
When the nationwide protests were on against the VP’s swearing in Hindi, the Maoist and its unions fuelled the issue wherever possible and backed up the protest unconditionally. They tried to influence the up righted public that they truly stand and represent the Nepali nationalism. But it took only days when Maoist supremo took oath as first republican PM in western suit and tie. And they publicly admitted that they are communist and hence they are international. Vis-a-vis with VP, one ignored the national language and other ignored the national dress. But the most fascinating thing is both of them have utterly articulated for nationalism. VP demonstrated ethnic based nationalism where as PM demonstrated stateless nationalism. Some other minor parties are already representing regional nationalism. The biggest threat at this stage is the possibility of abolishing state based nationalism and its dire consequences in Nepal’s international relations. If the government fails to uphold the state based nationalism, that may sow the seed for civil war and injects slow poison to patriotism.
Nationalism remains an important part of relations between states and also of the domestic politics of many countries. Nationalism is now the moral basis of states and of international system. Through out Nepal’s history, past regimes have tried to advocate for nationalism to balance diplomacy between China and India. In many instances, Nepal’s nationalism played crucial roles to garner reciprocal respects from neighbours. Nationalism and the state are new phenomena given the importance they play in international relations today. One of the most difficult theoretical and applied problems of the post-Cold War era has been the search for an adequate understanding of the resurgence of religion, ethnicity and stateless nationalism in international relations. More exclusively, social scientists and policymakers have been challenged to clarify the nature and impacts of religion, ethnicity, and stateless nationalism in both sub-state and inter-state conflicts in the international system. Most observers are convinced that patriotism can leave most people more blind than they should be to their country’s political imperfections, something loads of critics have argued regarding Americans since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Yet that sort of hyper-nationalism has not often led to the kind of violent conflict which claimed millions of people in the twentieth century. One of the major causes of most of those conflicts has been nationalism of a different kind; one that gets out of hand, turns into hatred of others, and sparks violence, often of the most brutal form. That is especially true when leaders of states can convince people that they have somehow been treated abusively by the ‘other’. I don’t want to talk about the interstate war caused by nationalism but in brief, there is no more obvious example than World War II. Japan, Italy, and especially Germany were all led by leaders who stressed unmet nationalist goals and grievances in the years leading up to the outbreak of fighting in 1939. While psychologists and historians still debate exactly how this took place, there is little doubt that the intense emotions felt by leaders and followers alike contributed to the atrocities committed by people from all three of these countries.
There is no realistic possibility of creating Nepal as ethnically pure states; for instance, there is, no way to envision Hutu or Tutsi states emerging out of either Rwanda or Sudan. Ethnic based nationalism is just a cheap propaganda which only helps to spread anti national sentiment. We have seen the results of ethnic based nationalism in Kashmir, Chechnya, Sudan, or most of the former Yugoslav republics. But, the people who take up arms in those conflicts share the same kind of deeply rooted emotions that gave rise to the Nazis. Similarly, stateless nationalism will not play any effective roles at home and in overseas because they fail to develop any strategy in foreign policy and international relations. Unfinished work of Marx in this regard took some momentum by Lenin’s foreign policy but it was not adequate for 21st century to stay statelessness and just live for and with ideology. Stateless nationalism has failed to deliver emotional attachment and commitment to patriotism to their nation. When these events are left unaccounted, there are risks of losing identity and subsequently losing nationalism and patriotism. A country with a history of unified nation should never pose different sentiments of nationalism. People must be concerned and awake about this shifting in nationalism policies. Should we really be shifting our paradigm in nationalism? I do not think we have reached in that point to make such gigantic plunge and we are not prepared for it. This new government in new Nepal should not abandon the traditional concept of state based nationalism. Nationalism is not an election promise and this country can not afford ethnic or stateless nationalism. The government must concentrate on things that can unite Nepal including national dress, national language, national flag, and our proud history.