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“Nationalism cannot be self-gratifying indulgence”

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012
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Translated from Baburam Bhattarai’s article in Kantipur from 12 August

Renowned English novelist George Orwell has said, “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” In the last few weeks, the mainstream media has been disseminating misleading news and prejudiced opinions on nationalism which must be contested.

Nationalism is not a mantle for fulfilling vested interests of a few individuals and political parties, nor can it become an excuse for self-gratifying intellectual indulgence. It is an issue of great national importance which warrants shedding of personal and partisan bias in favour of responsible and scientific debate.

There is great confusion in the public discourse regarding various expressions of nationalism. The Gorkhali nationalism constructed by the Khas-Aryan rulers of this country subverted other forms of nationalism for many years, due to which people became assimilated in a pseudo-national culture that celebrates only one kind of Nepaliness, while making contradictory claims about diversity.

Also at a time when our two neighbours are competing to become global superpowers, we have to get over our conventional anxiety and cash in on whatever geopolitical leverage we can get. But few individuals are creating a ruckus of nationalism and deliberately trying to paint a negative picture about the present government’s efforts to improve relationships with both its neighbours and change Nepal’s historical equation in the region. They should be warned that playing off nationalistic sentiments against one another in a desperate attempt to covet power could push the nation into permanent crisis.

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