Secular Nepal: How much Tolerant?

source: Telegraph Nepal,? 6-Apr-2010

Niraj Aryal, Kathmandu: It has become wide and clear now that whether we would be gifted by our visionary leaders with the new revolutionary constitution or not we would certainly have to bear with the communal and religious discord as the result of our new Republican, Secular and Federal order.

 

This does not mean to say that the new order is totally a wrong prescription for the Nepali aliments but it would certainly be a big test for our republican leaders how they would take under control the hatred that is being brewed among various communities and religious groups against each other. And, it is equally true that a thriving nation cannot and should not be ruined for the sake of never ending experimentation by the substandard practitioners.The World over Muslims are taken as the most intolerant religious group, at least this is what the world media is propagating. Their hundreds of years of unending struggle on geo-political matters and issues pertaining to their identity with the Christians, the Muslim community-as they have failed to control the world media, is being portrayed as a violent group. It is not the case in Nepal though. Minor hiccups apart, Muslims who migrated to Nepal- the former land of Hindus, have lived peacefully here since centuries. This is perhaps the glaring example that Nepali Hindus are a tolerant lot.But, whether in the freshly adopted highly competitive order, will the Hindu mindset remain intact? Whether the most tolerant group of people in the days ahead turns into the most intolerant group? These are the moot question perhaps.In fact, Hindus have lived in Nepal for hundreds of years in complete isolation thus it is natural that there was no competition with any religious groups in the past and thus no discord. But now with the country slowly opening up, with the advent of Democracy and Republican order, we have decided to experiment with the Secular order. The Nepali Hindus will certainly welcome new (for us) religions but the only question is how to maintain the religious harmony and will our leaders be able to maintain this harmony?? However, with Nepal declared Secular and in the manner the poverty stricken Hindus are being converted to Christianity immaterial they are lured, forced or they do it willingly, it is certain that the New Republican Nepal would be a different place as far as religious harmony is concerned. I have had the privilege to talk a Nepali Christian recently. Ram Bahadur B.K (Jeevan), who converted to Christianity some four years back. ?Ram Bahadur owns a Watch Repair shop somewhere in Kathmandu. I visited the shop recently. I could hear in the background that the person was listening to the Bhajans of Jesus. It was a matter of immense surprise because it was possibility my first encounter with a Nepali Christian. I could not remain quiet just observing his experienced hands repairing my watch. I asked him a question. With the conversation below I conclude this week?s write-up.?

?Dai (brother) are you a Catholic or a Protestant??
?Thuuu (pooh-pooh)?.it is better to be a Hindu than a Catholic?, the person replied.
?Why? surprisingly I asked.
He preferred not to reply (I felt he did not know the answer and I have no idea why Protestants hate Catholics or vice versa.
?What is your name?, I asked him again.
Jeevan, he answered.
?Is that your real name or?.? I questioned him.
?No, this is the name given to me by my pastor after I accepted conversion?, he told me.
?Then what is your real name?, my question followed.
(He remained silent for some time and awkwardly replied)
Ram Bahaur B. K.(belongs to Dalit community), he finally answered.
(I later felt that he no more preferred to pronounce his real name as it began with ?Ram?).
This hatred!

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