MIN RATNA BAJRACHARYA
Why is it that when Nepalis meet each other for the first time, they invariably discuss how dire the political situation is? even if it happens to be a green card holder you meet on a flight who hasn't visited Nepal for years? Nepali identity seems rooted to the news headlines in the media. I have never heard of Americans, Thais or Indians meeting for the first time and immediately discussing their national political gloom.
Despite all its political issues and the impact of the global financial crisis, Thailand seems to be bouncing back. The stock market in the past couple of months has shown healthy growth and the construction industry is back in business. Cranes are part of the cityscape again marking out where some big building projects are coming up. Working towards another phase of economic growth is what every citizen feels responsible for.
(However it still perplexes me why Thailand is not embracing the English language extensively despite being so dependent on tourism. For Nepal, the reintroduction of English in education in the mid-nineties has by sheer accident been able to produce a fair amount of fluent English speakers able to find access to education and careers abroad.)
The results of the Indian elections also perhaps point out clearly for Nepal how politics is taking a backseat as regionalism, politics of caste and identity takes a beating. The elections were also a big rejection of the left and how market-oriented societies would like to be closer to the centre right rather than trying to hope for state largesse.
The good news for Nepal is that a resilient India, that has not taken such a severe beating in the global financial crisis as other countries, would hasten its economic pace: with no left allies trying to block reform agendas some of the growth should trickle down to Nepal. This could mean more tourists from India and potentially some Indian companies thinking of investments in Nepal.
There is little each Nepali can perhaps do to influence politics. So why do we let them affect our day to day lives so profoundly?
Staying focused on what you like doing and what you do best is something that keeps one away from deliberating too much on politics and perhaps that is the only way we Nepalis can bring about economic change as many other "written- off" countries have been able to do from Mozambique to Uganda to El Salvador.
At international meetings when you encounter people from nearly 100 countries it is always good to let the positive energies of making the world a better place brush off on each other. When one hears such great stories of many nations making progress, I just keep on wondering why it is that we Nepalis only have our stories of political mess to share.