Nepal: Home of Buddha and Land of Peace
Nepal: Home of Buddha and Land of
By Khagendra Thapa
Nepal is the founding member of the non-alignment movement. At the summit of the Non-aligned Movement that took place in Algiers, Algeria in September 1973, King Birendra indicated the necessity to formalize peace and cooperation between Nepal and its immediate neighbors viz: China and India. “Situated between the two most populous countries of the world, Nepal wishes her frontiers to be enveloped in a Zone of Peace”, King Birendra declared.
It was, however, during his coronation address in February 1975 that King Birendra formally asked the international community to endorse his proposal: that the UN declare Nepal a “Zone of Peace”. The coronation was attended by heads of state and government and high officials from 65 different countries of the world. In his address to the guests King Birendra stated “As heirs to one of the most ancient civilizations in Asia, our natural concern is to preserve our independence, a legacy handed down to us by history we need peace for our security, we need peace for our independence, and we need peace for development. And if today, peace is an overriding concern for us, it is only because our people genuinely desire peace in our country, in our region and elsewhere in the world. It is with this earnest desire to institutionalize peace that I stand to make a proposition -a proposition that my country, Nepal, be declared a Zone of Peace. As heirs to a country that has always lived in independence, we wish to see that our freedom and independence shall not be thwarted by the changing flux of time when understanding is replaced by misunderstanding, when conciliation is replaced by belligerency and war”.
Realizing the turbulent nature of the surrounding area and keeping in mind the fact that India and China fought a fierce border war in 1962 and India and Pakistan have already fought three different wars after their independence from the British and Bangladesh was carved out of Pakistan with the active support of India and Sikkim was annexed by India. It seems he was worried about the future of Nepal and her people. Here is what King Birendra had to say regarding the situation of Nepal at that time “We shall take special pains to cultivate friendship with our neighbors hoping earnestly that peace, cooperation and an understanding based on a sober appreciation of each other’s problems and aspirations shall prevail. Notwithstanding these fervent pleas, notwithstanding this sincere expression of goodwill, notwithstanding these endeavors, should ill-fortune ever overtake us, I hope and pray that the people of Nepal shall not lag behind to brace themselves with the last resource they have — courage; courage to prove to the world that force or contrivances are but feeble instruments to subdue the fierce spirit of a people whose lifeblood, through the ages, has been independence or nothing” King Birendra’s idea of declaring Nepal as Zone of Peace was supported by 130 countries out of about 13 countries of the world existing at that time. Only India and her ally former Soviet Union refused to endorse Nepal as zone of peace. After the multiparty system was introduced in Nepal with the active support of India with its bureaucratic machinery and RAW, the political parties did not want to continue the idea of Zone of Peace for fear of angering their Masters in Delhi. Now, that India has a new Prime Minister with majority support in Loksabha and the fact that Mr. Modi seems to be very receptive of helping Nepal and her people. Moreover, during his state visit to Nepal on August 3 and 4, 2014, PM Modi indicated that Nepal was the birth place of Buddha and as such should give exemplary message of peace through its actions.
Even India’s external affairs minister, in a recent visit to Nepal in an answer to a question from a journalist, was reported to have said that India will not take an inch of Nepal which is a sacred land of Gautam Buddha. Nepal is also just recovering from the brutal insurgency caused by Maoists and some rebels from Terai.
Therefore, it is the right time to reintroduce the idea of declaring Nepal as zone of Peace. It will re-emphasize the idea that Lord Buddha who taught the whole world about Peace was born in Nepal and it will help Nepal not only to maintain peace both at home and abroad but will also help bring a lot of tourists thereby proving new jobs and improving or economy.
It is suggested that Nepal put
Bill Boards which states “Nepal: Home of Buddha and Land
These Bill Boards should be placed in every entry points in Nepal and in every airports.
Let it be Nepal’s message everywhere.