Thursday, November 5, 2015

"Nepal is in crisis, and it has nothing to do with the earthquake"

Nepal identifies culturally with India much less than might be suspected especially while nationalistic and devout Hindu Narendra Modi is at the helm of its meddling neighbor, The hills people of Nepal have a distinct culture, traditions and lifestyle, including the janajati Tamang, Magar, Gurung, Rai, Limbu, Kami, Tharu and other ethnicities such as the Sherpa, Thakali, Manangi and Bhotiya with origins and close ties to Tibetan culture. All of these aforementioned groups identify little with India.

The groups that potentially identify with Indian culture have a growing disgust towards outside interference. Modi has blundered here, and China is stepping in to the void on Nepal’s request. At the very least, opening supply lines to the north for landlocked Nepal will increase flexibility.

That said, the energy crisis is mainly in urban areas, especially Kathmandu Valley. In rural areas, people rely much less on cooking gas, petrol and products from India.

Still the many aid organizations headquartered in the valley seem to want not for resources that the majority of citizens have been suffering for. These aid entrepreneurs are enjoying a lifestyle in the upper crust of society as they impinge upon Nepali society in petrol guzzling SUV’s, reside in luxuriant housing, often with servants, and enjoy posh comforts not dreamed of by most Nepalis. Still, they claim hardship while enjoying high-living at the top economic echelon of Nepal.

Notwithstanding the protests raging in the plains and the Indian embargo, foreign agents are a key component of the problem that has Nepal teetering on the brink of failed state status and lacking in development and progress for the foreseeable past. Aid agents tend to endow dysfunctional elements of society including much of the ruling establishment and a privileged gang with unmerited entitlements.

Decades of interference by foreign agents including an indefinite aid paradigm has damaged Nepal severely--most significantly by keeping the wrong people in power while aid agents try to cover for a broken system (despite the best of intentions, many aid workers operate without local language skills and are blind to local culture).

Banning INGOs might greatly assist in pulling the financial carpet out from under the deadweight, malignant political establishment and that might be the best anyone could possibly imagine for development. That might allow the honest, hardworking Nepali people the freedom to pursue their own dreams with their own capabilities and efforts unencumbered by donors, diplomats, politicians, an entitled gang and meddling countries near and far.

Indian embargo has led to a fuel crisis in Kathmandu Valley. Commuters riding atop minivan, photo by Alonzo Lyons
Lumbini, Nepal, birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama, later known by the title of Buddha. Photo by Alonzo Lyons

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