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“Progressive nationalism”

Saturday, September 21st, 2013
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Baburam Bhattarai’s Facebook, 19 September

We went to Sindhuli early yesterday and came back late today, so I could only read two days’ newspapers after arriving in Kathmandu. Two stories disturbed me. One: armed Indian police raids a house in Bardiya. Two: German ambassador preaches to locals of Tanahun on whom to vote and whom not to vote for in the upcoming elections.

Yesterday, I talked with Sindhuli locals how the English were swept back from Sindhuli by the brave Gorkhali soldiers in the 18th century. But now I can only remain silent when I read news of such blatant attacks on the sovereignty of this nation. In any case, where does only talking get us?

Nepali rulers took up a policy of surrender after the Treaty of Sugauli was signed in 1816, which is why we are weak and poor and have to suffer such incursions today. How can we free ourselves from this?

Sometimes people raise questions – with full or little understanding – about my view and commitment towards nationalism and I am reminded of a painful experience. In the beginning, I also used to get carried away whenever that word came up in discussions. My PhD thesis, the protests I led in our early years, and the widely known 40-point demands have all been slave to this.

But in the light of all the worldwide and regional economic, political, and social changes and the recent evolutionary changes inside our own country, I now understand we cannot win this outer fight for nationality without unity at home, without providing our citizens with rights or without making our country prosperous.

Yes, we must free ourselves of the Sugauli treaty’s yoke. We must do this not with World War II era tactics but by realising of where we stand in the twenty-first century. That’s what I mean by progressive nationalism and that’s what our party decided to follow at the general convention in Hetauda.

Come, let us make this country strong, prosperous, and united so we may together protect its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

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