DUBAI: A recently concluded regional conference of Non-Resident Nepalis (NRNs) brought together compatriots from different parts of the world. It was heartening to see so many Nepalis converge to consider what they can do for their matribhumi despite having adopted different karmabhumis.
Nepalis, wherever they go and whatever their ethnicity, do think of the larger Nepal. Those who have returned have helped in transforming Nepal, be it the Newah business people who went to Tibet or the British Gurkhas who fought wars across the world. The onus of introducing innovation lies to some degree with the NRNs. So as a starting point, it may be worthwhile considering how best to conduct such conferences.
Having a crowd on stage is the worst way to start. Garlanding a host of people and letting them all speak without restriction eats into the productive time of conferences. And why does every speaker need to address every other speaker before speaking? We also love to ask questions, and often speak from the floor longer than the speaker, but vanish when the speaker finally gets around to answering our questions.
This beed cannot understand why we Nepalis have an obsession with welcome arches, either.
We really expect the NRN fraternity to lead the transformation by changing these fossilized Nepali ways of conducting public meetings. We should be sticking to time schedules, disposing of long formalities, and of politicians who have no business being there. Having the Foreign Minster and Deputy Prime Minster chair a session on collective investment may have seemed like a good idea, but what is the point of running a technical session when the chair can't distinguish between debt and equity? We need to do away with the sycophancy that has become a feature of Nepali life. If chakri was institutionalised during the Rana regime, now we simply have more people to keep happy.
NRNs can do what Nepalis in Nepal feel more constrained in doing. The fact that the conference got people like Karna Sakya, Ani Choying Dolma, Manoj Gajurel, Rajendra Khetan, and Anil Shah together in one place, without having to get donors pay for their tickets, says much for the potential of NRNs. Perhaps this is the starting point of a transformation, whereby Nepalis can fund Nepalis to speak to Nepalis in Nepali, without having to worry about which logframe items have been ticked.
As Upendra Mahato remarked, Nepal is becoming more distant by the day for the children of NRNs. There is therefore an urgency for the current generations of Nepalis, who are directly linked to the motherland, to lead transformations. In the next (hopefully streamlined) conference, we can look forward to planning for these transformations.
"Off with his head", RABI THAPA