Nationalism and national unity in multi-ethnic Nepal: Adopting integrative approach for managing national affairs
Keywords:Nationalism, national unity, external threat, ethnicity, integrative approach
The birth of the concept of nationalism and national unity happened in Nepal, more or less at the same time as in Europe, by the second half of the Eighteenth century. Nationalism is seen as an ideology that demands loyalty and devotion to the notion of authority from individuals or groups. While Nepal has come a long way in the process of growth of nationalism and national unity, they have been nurtured by significant nation building measures at important junctures in Nepal's history. But recent events have shown that they remain vulnerable to external adversaries and influences and interventions. Indeed, the founding father of the modern Nepal, King Prithvi Narayan Shah's dictum, “Nepal as a yam between two boulders” remains equally valid ever for Nepal’s foreign policy. A metaphor of “yam” in his maxim connotes Nepal’s geo–strategic position which, like a soft edible starchy staple food in tropical and subtropical areas, has to maintain its balanced relations with two big powerful countries like boulders. Thus, this paper argues that located in such an intricate geographic position, Nepal has to protect its existence as a nation–state internally through integrative, participatory and inclusive national development approach, and externally, by balancing relations with the two big neighbors to forestall their undue pressures.
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