Sep 12, 2010

Are Nepalese youth patriot enough??

(Published in Republica of 11th September 2010 as "Youths head abroad in pursuit of better lives")

Photo Taken From:ktm2day.com
Nepalese youth can be categorized in two groups these days, those who left already and those who are left behind. It’s the prejudice against the first group and the desperation of the latter one that bothers me the most. Every other day, the world is shrinking more and more into a global village and along with it the barriers of division such as nationality, culture, and religion are crumbling. Younger generation is getting more aware of the global achievements and trends. In this context, it is not surprising to see that most of our younger generation is leaving the country for one or another reason and most of them will probably never return. I find it very outrageous when youth leaving the country are considered fleeing when in fact all they are doing is using their common sense for the pursuit of better lives and their dreams. The air of moral superiority that we feel while talking and judging about youth, who have left the country, is nothing more than our frustration in disguise.

When we are discussing the reasons for their leaving we need to analyze what the country has been able to offer them till date. The state till date has been promising to act like a parent promising to provide for from cradle to grave. Free food, free education, free health services, employment opportunities as if the citizens were not capable of doing anything on their own. Despite the lofty promises, the state has so far failed miserably to provide even the real necessities for youth to flourish i.e. peace and security, rule of law, freedom to pursue their entrepreneurial visions and generate wealth, safeguard of their lives and properties. Unemployment, lack of quality education, lack of basic necessities like electricity and water, lack of security are among the primary reasons compelling youth to leave. But if we dig deeper we’ll find that our policies are the main reason behind them.

We gasp with horror to know our youth are working as waiters in McDonalds and Starbucks and yet we fail to ask why is it that companies like them don’t open up their business in Nepal and provide us with employment opportunities here at our home. 

Our intellectuals find is shameful that thousands of youth stand in line for hours to fill up forms for employment in Korea and yet they never find it shameful that it is easier to commit a crime here than set up a business and run it freely.  

We find it shocking that millions of rupees are spent by our youth for their higher education abroad and yet when private universities or private educational institutions try to provide quality education here we accuse them of commercializing education, making profit out of education and brandish them as evil. 

We complain that some of our youth spend their productive years in developing foreign countries and return back here in their old age and yet we never question state’s plundering of our resources and our hard earned tax money. 

We cringe to know that our youth work in the so called “demeaning jobs” like security guards and domestic helpers and yet we forget if they were here all they would be doing was saluting political leaders and serving the rulers.

Rather than questioning their morality, we should be grateful to them for the reason that instead of venting out their frustration by resorting to violence they are working hard away from home and have been supporting our economy to some extent. Rather than judging them on the grounds of patriotism, we should understand that patriotism in the given context is nothing more than valuing an area of land, mountains, rivers, and woods more than the human beings born into them. Patriotism is just another tool in our rulers’ inventory of deluding us and toying with our emotions to neutralize our reasoning powers. As Leo Tolstoy once said, “Patriotism in its simplest, clearest, and most indubitable signification is nothing else but a means of obtaining for the rulers their ambitions and covetous desires, and for the ruled the abdication of human dignity, reason, and conscience, and a slavish enthrallment to those in power.”

If patriotism is more than just the tool used by politicians to fool us or more than just the area of land, mountain and rivers, we should be proud of our youth working or studying abroad. The state, rulers and intellectuals should encourage youth to be global citizens instead of being ashamed of them. If there is one thing to be ashamed of then it’s that while the world citizen’s are aspiring for self actualization, we are looking up at the rulers to provide us with food, employment and education. No wonder we lag so far behind the world.