The real question is what will each of us give back to the country to which we owe our identity? Or will there be no members of our generations to shoulder the responsibility – will there just be a void?
By a Nepali student
This article titled was originally published in the Nov 1-15 issue of New York Nepali Samachar.
Still cannot get to sleep, I turn lazily to the other side of the bed. I open my eyes to glance at the alarm clock; the green digits read 2:00. Five more hours and it is going to come to life, force me out of bed to go to school, then work, and back home late at night. Time never stops, does it? Time passes away with each blink of an eye, and it is up to us to utilize it. The feeling of uneasiness grips me again; and the reason is suddenly clear. I have been thinking about my conversation with Dikshya di and Dipendra dai over tea this afternoon. I have been thinking about what next after graduation.
There are many Nepali students like me in the United States, and many more scattered in countries all over the globe, who have left Nepal in pursuit of higher education. The number is definitely substantial, as I myself have only a handful of friends back home. As students we make immense sacrifices to get that degree we came here for. We think of graduating as our salvation. We hope for an American dream, to get rich and have that perfect house and the perfect job. But what are the chances? And what about Nepal, the essence of who we are? So, when Dipendra dai and Dikshya di both voiced their decision to go back to Nepal after graduation, I had an array of emotions. Shock, admiration, confusion, respect.
My confusion is indeed justifiable. When one goes back to Nepal and gets a “good job,” one may earn Rs. 30,000 a month, which is (30,000/74) $405.40. A week’s wage here, even for a minimum paying work. There is also the question about the lack of opportunities. It is indeed tough for a country to get investors (both foreign and domestic), to invest money when it is still politically instable. Another opportunity lost, because Nepal could gain a lot from the recent trend in globalization. Over 80% of the total Nepali population relies on agriculture; over 80% of the European population were agricultural too, but in the 17th century. It was before the industrial revolution there, which transformed their society from agricultural to industrial and today to technological. Are we 4 centuries behind? It pains me to admit, but the answer sadly is “perhaps.” Perhaps, although our county has had many political revolutions, what we really need is an intellectual revolution.
Nepal doesn’t lack talent or intellect. Nor does it lack natural beauty or appropriate geographical location. I think Nepal is very capable of competing in today’s global market; all it needs really is us – we are the future of Nepal, and it is up to us to determine its fate. Most of the people that I talked to did want to go back to Nepal if there were opportunities. They talked about the prestige and respect they would have back home; the familiarity, family, quality of life and self-respect. Yet others like my friend Pariksha wanted to work here to gain more experience and earn before returning back. “I should at least reach my break-even point,” she explained like a true finance student. And a few others saw no reason for going back.
As I analyzed my confusion again, I realized that I was asking the wrong question. It is not just the question of where we will be working after graduation. The real question is what will each of us give back to the country to which we owe our identity? Or will there be no members of our generations to shoulder the responsibility – will there just be a void?
The writer is a 22 year old female Nepali student in a college in New York.