Ten Reasons Why Nepal Should Join India
“TEN REASONS WHY NEPAL SHOULD JOIN INDIA!”
( Originally appeard in The Nepal Digest – Thu, 30 Jul 1998 )
My immediate reactions to Mr. Bijay Raut’s proposal that Nepal should join the Indian Union were anger and disgust. I thought Bijay Raut was a betrayer and a pro-Indian activist. However, after several thoughts, I have reached conclusions that Mr. Raut has very good points and his hypothesis deserves serious attentions.
Joining India will be unthinkable and unacceptable to any patriotic Nepali. The stories of the alleged Indian attempt of encroachment of the Nepalese territories are still fresh in our memories. However, let’s now put aside those grievances for a while and try to focus, analyze and debate objectively on a single question: Should Nepal make effort to gain statehood in the Indian Union (Like Puerto Rico is attempting to be the USA’s 51th state)? In other words, should Nepal join the Indian Union?
I know many people have and will argue against this proposal. But let me take this opportunity to argue for the proposal.
In my humble opinion, Nepal should join India for the following major reasons:
1. The purchasing power of the Nepalese consumers will instantly INCREASE by 60% since Indian Rs. 100 will no longer be Nepalese Rs. 160. IRs. 100 will be equivalent to NRs. 100. The Nepalese consumers will get the Indian goods for at least 60% cheaper value than before while sell their products to Indians at higher than previous values.
2. Since India is our major trading partner (about 2/3 of the total trade are with India), our economy will largely benefit from the increase in strength of our currency. The current trade deficit will be less painful to our economy then.
3. India is often accused of encroaching not only our land but also our culture, language and values. Now if Nepal becomes a part of India, what will India encroach? It’s own land!! The culture of both Nepal and India will flourish as well as assimilate better than now. India, if nothing else, represents a remarkable example of cultural, ethnic and linguistic assimilation. Furthermore, Nepali is already an official language of India, i.e., Nepali is included in the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
4. For Hindus, India is “Mecca” and “Madina.” Non-Hindus — Cheer up! The Secular Indian State won’t marginalize your religious rights as they have been in the Hindu Kingdom of Nepal.
5. Nepal will be a separate state of India and not a part of U.P., Bihar or West Bengal. This means Nepal can exercise almost all of her present rights other than the one involving territorial disputes with China or other Indian States, in which case the Federal Government of India (which in turn is not under control of any dominant group in India, but headed by the representatives of all states of the Indian Union) will take the charge. Under Indian Constitution, states are granted vital rights ranging from levying of the taxes to maintaining internal security, as well as deriving own educational and cultural policies. Nepal should be glad to become a part of the larger body. Any achievement of India will automatically be the achievement of Nepalis and vice versa.
6. While state leaders of Nepal will work hard to improve the lives of Nepalis, it will be the responsibility of the Federal government of India to counsel the policies of the states, promulgate federal policies for the whole country, provide the Nepalese state with frequent funds as well as take the immediate charge of the natural emergencies like flood, earthquake, etc. The state leaders of Nepal will have better chance of building the Nepalese nation than now, since there will always be someone at the back for assistance and guidance.
7. The largest natural resource we have is water. Unfortunately, the amount of hydro-electricity generated from it is minimal. The Arun -III, the multi-billion dollar hydro electricity project, was terminated because The World Bank drew off its support, primarily due to the lost of the Bank’s faith in the Nepalese government that was characterized by sharp political instability. The Federal Government of India, with its huge budget and capacity to lure large multinationals and international lending agencies, can easily get several of such Hydo-Power projects going. This will but benefit Nepal and Nepalis in large because the electricity will now be sold not only to China but to several other Indian states with very little hassles.
8. The legendary Gurkha soldiers, who now constitute a significant portion of the Indian Army, are working not for their motherland but for a foreign land. These Gurkhas, in one sense, are not soldiers but just mercenaries (hired army motivated by money rather than love for motherland or national glory). If Nepal were to be a part of India, these brave soldiers would be working for their motherland and their bravery will count as glory and not just paid service.
9. One may argue against the proposal of the unification by saying that India has very little incentive to have Nepal as its state because India will have to guard hundreds of miles of the Nepal-China frontier, which might suck up its already strained military and economic resources. This is not true. India has already been guarding the China-Nepal frontier indirectly. Just imagine when China invades Nepal, do you think India will sit down there and keep watching? Never. Directly or Indirectly, India has and will have to guard the Nepal-China frontier. In case Nepal becomes a part of India, India will have to divert little extra of its military resources to the frontier.
10. Finally, I believe, and many of you will agree, that Nepal lacks resources to function as an independent country. About three quarters of the country’s land is mountainous, and the fertile quarter is over populated and prone to erosion, flood, and other ecological hazards. Two-third of the population is illiterate while over 40% live below poverty line. The majority of educated population is unproductive since they are stuck up in the inefficient government services. Natural resource other than water is rare and tourism sector is on the verge of decline because of the negative ecological impacts as well as polluted cities. Furthermore, Nepal has one of the highest per capital foreign debt despite she gets large sums of foreign grants each year. The remittances of the Gurkha soldiers and that of Non-Resident Nepali are not enough to support economy, and there has been continual migration of Nepali, both seasonal and permanent, to India and other countries in search of work and other economic opportunities. Nepal definitely needs both
“guidance” and “assistance” of the Federal Government to boost up its economy and maximize the utility of her limited resources. Only unification with India will bestow Nepal with such power and opportunity.
Please feel free to agree/disagree with my comments.
namaste, Bibhuti Nepal
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