Nepali Times
Buddha of Suburbia

Thanks to CK Lal and Nepali Times ("Disadvantaged abroad", #108) for drawing attention to the rampant divisions in Nepali society that are pushing migrants to seek better opportunities abroad. We must understand these "push factors" that force young men and women away, where they often fall prey to smugglers and traffickers. Discrimination is a true curse for everyone .. but especially the innocent Nepalis rotting inside prisons in Thailand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia or Pakistan. It is high time the Nepal government took some effective action to bring its citizens home.

B Parks,

. It is good to have CK Lal back. He writes frankly, and exposes the hypocrisy surrounding the plight of downtrodden Nepalis who are forced to seek jobs abroad to provide basic needs for their families. There has been no development that has not gone beyond the roadhead settlements. Our overseas workers are the only true breadwinners of Nepal. It is not uncommon for some of them to return in coffins. Yet, they are robbed, exploited and despised by the very people supposed to be protecting them. Our diplomatic services in Asia must stop being shopping guides to visiting dignitaries and devote themselves to the assistance of fellow Nepalis in distress. It is not a shame to seek any honest work. But it is immoral to be callous about the plight of fellow Nepalis.

BK Rana,
by email

. On getting your issue #108, I kept going back and forth between the article on page one ("In Vienna museum, Nepalis worship stolen Buddha") and CK Lal's State of the State column on the next page ("Disadvantaged abroad") and couldn't help reflecting on the hopelessness and injustices that Nepalis have to suffer from their government. How can a state that doesn't care about its own citizens and leaves them to fend for themselves so that they are forced to migrate abroad to be exploited (and doesn't help them when they get into trouble) be of any use in bringing back a stolen idol?

K Maharjan,
by email

. CK Lal has done a great service by writing such a poignant and heart-wrenching piece on the way we treat our migrant workers. He is right, we first drive them away, we are rude to them at the airport, and we cheat and extort the very people who are keeping the economy afloat. However, by coining the acronym HANSA (Hindu, Aryan, Nepali Speaking Administration) Mr Lal is taking the easy way out to blame someone, anyone. He should know better than anyone else that discrimination and exploitation within Nepal in this day and age is not restricted to any community, caste or ethnic group.

Kamal Acharya,

. "Disadvantaged abroad" by CK Lal was mind-blowing. When our economy is in the hands of crooks, it is those Nepalis working in alien lands who get victimised every step of the way. As Mr Lal says, just look at the harrassment of workers at the immigration line at Kathmandu airport. Even in the aeroplane the flight attendants treat them badly. Few days back I was in the Royal Nepal flight from Kathmandu to Bangkok (RA 407). I was with many fellow-Nepali dajubhais who were heading to Malaysia. The stewardess repeatedly ignored our requests for water and reading material. I have decided never to fly again in our so-called flag carrier. Mr Lal is absolutely right: "You may be an elite back home, but the outside world judges you by the economic state of your country." But what about Nepalis who mis-treat fellow Nepalis?

Giri Raj Dahal,
Chosun University, Korea

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)