ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Calcutta Diary

India's big-brotherly dominance could be an objective reality in several of her neighbouring states, acting as a roadblock to the emergence of peace in the real sense with nations across our borders. We too will conceivably be victims of the conviction, unfounded or otherwise, that none of our neighbours appreciate our magnanimity and benevolence and that they have launched a conspiracy, jointly or severally, against us. The Hindutva stance will strengthen this belief, the defence lobby active inside the country reinforcing it further.

The Hindutva aggression is coming home to roost. The flare-up in Nepal over the young Mumbai film-star may be a happenstance, or perhaps a fall-out of squabbles between underworld goons. This kind of explosion would have occurred any time sparked by some other pretext. Nonetheless the Viswa Hindu Parishad and their cohorts have taken the world’s only Hindu kingdom for granted. They have been responsible for several acts of overbearingness towards Nepal in recent months. Were the government in New Delhi sufficiently perceptive or sufficiently alert, it could have gauged the enormity of resentment swelling up in tender Nepalese minds. True, Nepal is denominationally Hindu. But its people will have no part of the boorishness characterising the RSS crowd. In glaring contrast to a large segment of the population in Aryavarta, the Nepalese have no difficulty in separating the basic realities of life from crass emotions which feed on vacuous religious precepts. The youth in Nepal are at the moment radicalised much in the manner the youth in the eastern parts of India were in the 1960s and the following decade. Some of the ignorant rabble belonging to the Hindutva fold have gone to the length of claiming Nepal to be a part of the extended Hindu empire. Nothing of the sort. By now, the brand of communists who describe themselves as Marxist-Leninists have emerged, if not as the major party, at least as one of the two major political formations in Nepal. Their concentration is not on prehistoric fables but on the hard datum of inequality in land distribution and the incomplete nature of land reforms in the country. They are aware of the economic woes of a land-locked state. They are at the same time deeply resentful of the ingrained superiority displayed by both resident and visitor Indians daily reflected in their interrelation with Nepali citizens. Allegations of Indian imperialism are not just the airing of an empty rhetoric for the people of Nepal, these are perceived evil which they are determined to put an end to by their collective might. The conduct of the Indian banias dominating trade and industry is a particular sore point with the Nepalese, apart from their grouse over the sharing of water from rivers flowing downstream into India.

A point arrives when the perception of a phenomenon becomes indistinguishable from its actuality. The outburst of emotion would have in any event taken place through some means or other. The Indian matinee idol and his supposed remarks have merely provided the opportunity for unhinging the emotional doors, which is now threatening the very existence of the already wobbly Nepali Congress regime. A great passion cannot be quietened by cold logic, especially where the spelled-out logic itself has a weak foundation. It will take years and years of not just sincere contrition but scrupulously correct behaviour rooted in humility to compensate for the great damage done to Indo-Nepalese relations. It is however altogether uncertain whether the present administration in New Delhi is at all capable of rising to the occasion and doing the minimum that is necessary to regain the trust of the Nepali population. The task to be accomplished calls for a total scrapping of the officious Hindu ideology and abandonment of the extravagant aspirations of its wild followers to ride roughshod over the sovereignty of neighbouring countries, the whole lot of them.

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