Nepal Burns: World Watches the Spectacle

The blood-shed continues in Nepal. Despite the tough statements from the U.S., the U.K. and India, King Gyanendra of Nepal seems to be in no mood to seek truce with his own countrymen. One wonders how long this suicidal road would be.

The TMV readers may be wondering why I keep returning to Nepal in these columns when equally suicidal confrontations are still raging elsewhere in the world.

Not many realise the importance of Nepal as a buffer zone between two giants now emerging as economic super powers in this region – China and India. An unstable Nepal is likely to add to the growing turmoil in South Asia.

It is a grim situation in this beautiful, and once tranquil and peaceful land. The Independent of London, under the heading, “Nepal: The battle for the roof of the world”, says that “after weeks of demonstrations, violence is escalating in the troubled mountain kingdom as protesters – rejecting the King’s offer of democracy – are shot down in the streets.”

Britain is heavily involved in Nepal because of its colonial history in neighbouring India. Gurkhas – world’s most fierce and loyal soldiers – are still recruited from Nepal for the British Army.

China has studiously refused to get involved, despite overtures from King Gyanendra for it to fill the void when Britain, India and the United States suspended arms supplies.

Nepal, a country of central Asia in the Himalayan Mountains between India and southwest China, was a site of a flourishing civilization by the 4th century A.D. , the region was later divided into principalities, one of which, Gurkha, became dominant in the 18th century. Gurkha’s expansion into northern India led to border wars with Great Britain. A 1923 treaty affirmed Nepal’s full sovereignty, and a constitutional monarchy was established in 1951. Kathmandu is the capital and the largest city. Population: 27,000,000. This country had been a mountaineers/trekkers delight with its world renowned peaks, including the Mt. Everest.

Author: SWARAAJ CHAUHAN, International Columnist

Swaraaj Chauhan describes his two-decade-long stint as a full-time journalist as eventful, purposeful, and full of joy and excitement. In 1993 he could foresee a different work culture appearing on the horizon, and decided to devote full time to teaching journalism (also, partly, with a desire to give back to the community from where he had enriched himself so much.) Alongside, he worked for about a year in 1993 for the US State Department's SPAN magazine, a nearly five-decade-old art and culture monthly magazine promoting US-India relations. It gave him an excellent opportunity to learn about things American, plus the pleasure of playing tennis in the lavish American embassy compound in the heart of New Delhi. In !995 he joined WWF-India as a full-time media and environment education consultant and worked there for five years travelling a great deal, including to Husum in Germany as a part of the international team to formulate WWF's Eco-tourism policy. He taught journalism to honors students in a college affiliated to the University of Delhi, as also at the prestigious Indian Institute of Mass Communication where he lectured on "Development Journalism" to mid-career journalists/Information officers from the SAARC, African, East European and Latin American countries, for eight years. In 2004 the BBC World Service Trust (BBC WST) selected him as a Trainer/Mentor for India under a European Union project. In 2008/09 He completed another European Union-funded project for the BBC WST related to Disaster Management and media coverage in two eastern States in India --- West Bengal and Orissa. Last year, he spent a couple of months in Australia and enjoyed trekking, and also taught for a while at the University of South Australia. Recently, he was appointed as a Member of the Board of Studies at Chitkara University in Chandigarh, a beautiful city in North India designed by the famous Swiss/French architect Le Corbusier. He also teaches undergraduate and postgraduate students there. He loves trekking, especially in the hills, and never misses an opportunity to play a game of tennis. The Western and Indian classical music are always within his reach for instant relaxation. And last, but not least, is his firm belief in the power of the positive thought to heal oneself and others.