Friday, 14 August, 2020

Oli Statesmanship Built On Foundation Of Truth

Shiva P. Nepal


In his Spiritual Leadership: Moving People onto God's Agenda, Henry T. Blackaby mentions, "Statesmen are leaders who uphold what is right regardless of the popularity of the position. Statesmen promote the general good rather than regional or personal self-interest.”
The recent remarks of the Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Ayodhya have reflected a quality of a statesman who, despite popularity of the position, speaks out for the promotion of "general good rather than regional or personal self-interest." Though the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already clarified that the remarks made by PM Oli are not linked to any political subject and have no intention to hurt the feelings and sentiments of anyone, it must have hurt the sentiments of some of the Hindu orthodox who tend to ostracise the Hindu mythical characters into their limited physical and intellectual boundaries.

Reasonable belief
The Prime Minister of Nepal has deliberately and in a reasonable belief of geographical proximity opined that Ayodhya of present day might not have located in the then India. His remarks are not as much bewildering as Indian Prime Minister Modi claiming in his official speech in the UN General Assembly that he represents the land of Buddha; nor do the remarks try to draw the mythical character, Ram, into dispute. Nepalis have got the only Prime Minister in their history who has publicly opined that the religious and cultural significance of a nation are equally vital to define its geo-political and national proximities about which the scholars have to hold valid research and redraw the boundaries of their knowledge. Even though the Prime Minister's remarks are said to have intended not to hurt the sentiments of any believers when main opposition of India, Congress-I, has treated it as water off a duck's back, the social media expressions by ex-PM Baburam Bhattarai, NC leader Gagan Thapa, among others, speak a volume that some of the "staunch believers" in Nepal have obviously been hurt more than Bharatiya Janata Party.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is massively alleged for clinging with Hindu orthodox mindset of which his Nepali counterpart must have clearly understood and tested the water to see a ripple behind the deliberate muteness of India on Nepal's desperate attempts to hold dialogue at political level with India. Most of BJP leaders and PM Modi are turning their deaf ear on PM Oli's call for dialogue to resolve the border issues but they are so much concerned to react on Ayodhya.
Oli built his statesmanship avatar by dauntlessly telling the truth. He has asked all the scholars to explore the knowledge at least for the future generations. There is no reason to believe that Ayodhya was not constructed by India as long as the research and historical documents prove that there is Ayodhya at Thori near Birgunj too where so many Hindu devotees line up to worship Ram with a belief as His birth place. If the significance of such mythical characters should be highly interlinked with the national interests at present too, why should the Prime Minister of Nepal not ask the researchers to have a valid research on such issues when the national interest has been put into controversy?
PM Oli has been strongly standing for his dream of prosperity as much as he is buckled down to protect national interests from India's micro-management. In this era of post-truth politics, it is easy for anyone to establish anything by cherry-picking the data as per individual desire. But PM Oli right from day one of ascending into power has successfully been tested on national interests and patriotic issues, both through his speech and deeds.
The growing public aspiration and carte blanche of prosperity will certainly be put in the red if the determination of protecting national interests of small nation like Nepal ended up with such unforced error of creating obstacles on the fear that the incisive commitment would put Oli on the map down the road. The unanimous voice for retrieving lost land is for sure going to be listless when whims are spread to find an alternative to Oli at this critical time when the need of national unity is paramount.
The current tendency to hold anything against Prime Minister Oli in a way Baburam Bhattarai and CPN leader Bhim Rawal are making up, has a clear overtone as to what lies on their radar of nationality. Such repugnant ad hominem will not only weaken the national interests but also allow India to run down the clock in Prime Minister Oli's desperate attempts to compel India to come to the table for talks. If Oli is ousted from power just in an allegation of his witty speech on national interests which the Indian media have been interpreting as being against Indian interests, there will be no reasonable ground for Nepal to strongly stand and raise the voice in favour of Kalapani and Lipulek during bilateral meetings in future.

Diplomatic apprehension
The ongoing metamorphosis of diplomatic apprehension that Nepal's Prime Minister should not speak anything in public against the interest of Indian Prime Minister even on Nepal's concerns has certainly been recorded in the history regardless of whether PM Oli would be successful to return the Nepali territory. Interestingly, the travesty of Indian media and some BJP leaders at our sovereignty has made some of the leaders of ruling CPN unable to see the wood for the trees; but it has equally escalated PM Oli's height as a statesman. The former Prime Minister's unscrupulous tête-à-tête for downsizing PM Oli as BJP wishes for has reminded a Nigerian proverb that when mice laugh at cat there must be a hole nearby!

(The author is a lawyer. twitter: @shivapnepal) 

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