What is a for­eign trip for?

People's Review - - COMMENTARY - BY D.M. THAPA

As is the tra­di­tion of newly ap­pointed prime min­is­ters of Nepal go­ing first to In­dia, our newly elected prime min­is­ter Sher Ba­hadur Deuba is also mak­ing such a so­journ and hold­ing on to tra­di­tion. Af­ter all, Nepal is a tra­di­tional coun­try and it would be a sin to break any tra­di­tion. Let the Chi­nese stay where they are, they come sec­ond in the list of pri­or­i­ties. If Amer­ica beckons, Deuba would prob­a­bly run to Amer­ica, for­get­ting even China. And China de­serves this as they are as equally wily and nasty like In­dia, if not more. Both these neigh­boure of Nepal, only want to ex­ploit it, though they show off ges­tures of pro­found friend­li­ness and of­fer huge funds for im­pov­er­ished Nepal. Well, this time also, when he makes this rou­tine pil­grim­age to In­dia, prime min­is­ter Deuba along with his wife will be given a rous­ing re­cep­tion by the In­dian prime min­is­ter, though one can't say how Deuba will cope there be­cause he likes to drink a lot and In­dian prime min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi doesn't drink a drop of whisky. Prob­a­bly the Nepali Em­bassy of­fi­cials will have to run around to make Deuba happy af­ter he re­turns from the re­cep­tion. He will visit the Raj Ghat, meet min­is­ters, meet busi­ness­men and prob­a­bly get a slap on his back from Modi, who will say In­dia will do ev­ery­thing for Nepal. And Deuba will make his usual grunts to say thank you. But how can we be­lieve what the In­di­ans say? The Terai peo­ple must re­al­ize that In­dia opened it dam gates af­ter dozens of Nepales had al­ready lost their lives due to the floods and thou­sands had been dis­placed dur­ing this rainy sea­son. Why can't In­dia, China, Amer­ica and the so called hu­man rights pro coun­tries of Europe build dams in Nepal and also canals for ir­ri­ga­tion? It is ironic that while floods are dis­plac­ing peo­ple and block­ing ma­jor high­ways, many oth­ers have not also been able to plant paddy! The ma­jor me­dia never bring up this is­sue, the so called civil so­ci­ety lead­ers re­main silent, and it is no sur­prise that our po­lit­i­cal lead­ers who have been groomed and also “roomed” by for­eign­ers say noth­ing. Why should our prime min­is­ters, most of whom don't know the “D” of diplo­macy go on for­eign jaunts just to have their back slapped and at a great ex­pense of the na­tion's trea­sury? The same funds could be used for the flood vic­tims and also the now for­got­ten earth­quake vic­tims. But no, as long as the lead­ers and their fol­low­ers, in­clud­ing of­fi­cials of the For­eign Min­istry, can go abroad and have some sort of a va­ca­tion, ev­ery­thing is al­right. Who cares about how the or­di­nary Nepalese are suf­fer­ing. The Amer­i­cans, Euro­peans and oth­ers all praise Nepal for achiev­ing democ­racy and bring­ing peace. Yes, we are very happy about democ­racy, though a chaotic one, but is there real peace? What about good gov­er­nance, good health care, so­cial se­cu­rity, good ed­u­ca­tion and so on and so forth which are taken for granted by the Western­ers? Shouldn't say any­thing about these things and do some­thing? Is a new con­sti­tu­tion only enough? Let us hope if not in an in­ter­na­tional fo­rum, prime min­is­ter Deuba, af­ter hav­ing his back slapped, will at least be able to raise such is­sues with In­dian lead­ers and the me­dia in­stead of just su­tur­ing which I heard some In­dian me­dia per­sons call­ing a “to­tal dis­as­ter”.

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