Mr. Shiv Raj Bhatt, Technical Adviser of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Government of Solomon Islands, wrote[Nepal is] “Landlocked with Bad Neighbours” this is one of the reasons [that] keep poor countries poorer and in conflict trap despite international aid and support — this is what Poul [Paul] Collier suggest in his book “The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It”.

The answer I am going to offer here is not going to please most Nepalis because they are a very proud people, and I am likely to hurt their pride.  Pride, however, is often misunderstood by many.  Yes, we must have pride of our art, culture, heritage and our land, but feeling proud of something we are not worthy of is hubris—a sure way to get us into trouble.  That is what seems to be plaguing Nepalis today.  So with all due respect to all my answer is that it’s just the opposite, i.e. “Neighbors like India and China are locked in place with a bad neighbor like Nepal.”

Friendship is based on mutual respect.  If I don’t like the person sitting next to me, I can’t expect that person to be my friend.  If we don’t like India, India will not like us.  This is something a child learns very quickly in school.  I wonder why we didn’t learn this in school.  May I recommend that we read Robert Fulghum’s book, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten?”

We have always been complaining about India doing this or doing that.  Have we ever cared to find out why India is interfering with Nepali politics?  There is always a reason why someone does something to someone.  Isn’t it our place, if we are a good neighbor, to enquire why India isn’t happy with Nepal?  Let us start from there to build a strong relationship based on mutual respect. Creating unrest with distorted news isn’t going to solve any problem—it’s only going to add more tension as it has escalated in the past few days.  This has to stop if we want peace and normalcy in the country.

Let us not just sit around complaining and spreading rumors and creating bad vibes.  Haven’t we had enough of this?  Use your reason not your emotions. We should learn from history that hatred and violence will only bring more hatred and violence to both sides?  They have never resulted in anything good.  Let us examine the tension between the Israelis and Palestinians, the Russians and the Chesnais, and the list goes on.  So why are we then creating another unstable country where hatred and violence play out every day in the streets and on the Internet?  Within such atmosphere how can we expect tourists to visit Nepal?

I have been told by reliable sources in Nepal that India hasn’t officially announced a trade embargo on Nepal.  Media has unnecessarily spreading rumors and people unable to think for themselvesare running around with the distorted news.  We should know by now that media can’t be trusted.  Please read Anup Kafle’s report posted on Danny Rimal’s FB wall “What’s happening at the Nepal-India border?”

This article confirms the rumors about the economic blockade imposed by India.  It’s in fact, our own people who are spreading the news and creating fear at the border for Indian customs officers to process the hundreds of trucks waiting to be cleared.  Anybody can post anything.  What matters is what you post.  Please be informed; get the facts first before posting any negative comments on your FB wall.

When we very well know that we can’t change our landlocked geographic position,why we are so hardheaded?  In order to get out of this predicament, we must work around it to live in harmony, i.e. be friends with our neighbors.

I am reminded of the horrific incident in a mine in Chile in 2010 where 33 miners were trapped 2,000 feet underground for 69 days with no food and water. How did they survive against all odds is a remarkable story as well as a profound lesson to be learned.  We all should learn that in order to survive we must get along with one another.

When we are in a tight spot like a mine or a landlocked country like Nepal keeping the balance is important.  King Mahendra had the foresight to adopt the policy of non-alignment so that Nepal didn’t displease any nation by aligning with one.  At the present time we are blatantly leaning toward China.  Naturally, India has reasons to be displeased.

Lao Tzu once said that the nature of man should be like water.  If there is an obstacle, water always finds a way to go around it without resisting or disturbing the objects that lie in its path.  We haven’t learned either from the Buddha or from Lao Tzu.  It seems we are unwilling to change our mind at any cost.  Similarly, we don’t want to compromise a situation either.  This only leads to stalemates, and stalemates to anger and hatred, ultimately erupting in violence as we have seen lately in some pockets of Nepal.

Now the question is—Who is to be blamed?  Of course, our pride doesn’t allow us to blame ourselves.  That would be tantamount to losing our pride.  So we must find a

scapegoat—i.e. our neighbor or someone else, but it’s NEVER us.  Not accepting responsibility for our action and pointing a finger at someone else is actually a pathological disease.  Like it or not, that’s what we have, and truth hurts.  Peace be upon us, Oh Lord of Wisdom and Light.