Nepal is peeved at India because the Narendra Modi Government, unlike the rest of the courteous world, didn’t celebrate Nepal’s adoption of a new constitution with dance and gaiety. India only took note of the modified version. No congratulations, nothing… How dare they?
After all, one of the most insignificant nations on earth, as a matter of fact, finally closed a long-drawn chapter, and believed it deserved global applause for it. The constitutional face-lift came about after a decade of political paralysis.
Nepal’s new charter replaces a provisional one that guided the Himalayan Kingdom since 2007. That’s when the 10-year-long civil war culminated in the dissolution of its Hindu monarchy. Until the earthquake wrecked Nepal, the political parties had their daggers drawn in disagreement with each other on the issue of the charter’s fine print.
Because of the constitutional logjam, there were critical delays in mobilising rescue efforts for the earthquake victims. This unnecessary, avoidable impasse over what should and what shouldn’t be in Nepal’s new constitution, cost over 10, 000 lives. Many lives were lost due to ambiguous directives in the makeshift constitution.
Politicians’ callous approach, infighting, and lack of political will to frame an even-handed constitution, possibly shamed them, and in their hurry to make amends, created a document that leaves much scope for a revisit! Not in so many words, but India is insisting upon the same, urging the Nepali Government to ensure equality for all. It is a fair request from a country that Nepal regards closest to itself…
The new constitution is controversial. The decision to split Nepal into seven diverse provinces has sparked widespread protests, and has claimed at least 40 lives in recent times. Critics of the bill say the divisions will further marginalize Nepal’s Indian ethnic minorities, like the Madhesi communities living in the Terai region, touching India. People, who believe they have been abandoned by their own Government, are a minority, but the Government is duty-bound to address the discontented people.
Although partial essential supplies have begun to enter Nepal, the country is still choking, and holds India responsible for the crippling scarcities it faces. It is inexplicable, really, that Nepal fails to realise that India has not imposed any blockade on the movement across the border. The transfer of supplies is hampered due to protests by Nepal’s Madhesi population, who believe they are underrepresented in the new parliament.
Nepal’s immaturity has led them to over-react. Trucks with Indian number plates, home-bound, were refused permission to cross over to the other side on Saturday.
There is even a veiled threat from Nepal’s ambassador to India, Deep Kumar Upadhyay, who said they’ll be forced to seek help from China, and other countries, if India continued to hold supply.
Nepal will be better served by politicians who reflect a more reasonable mindset. The country is free to seek aid from whoever it wants, but the manner in which it was conveyed reflects Nepal’s growing need for an overhaul of the Government.
Like the new constitution, perhaps, the time may have come for the old guard to pave way for a more rational generation, a set-up that understands international relations more objectively. There is no room for theatrics.