Gone are the days of “Nepalese embassy” in Canberra, welcome “Nepali embassy”

Prakash Sharan Mahat
Prakash Sharan Mahat

30 Aug 2016: What’s in a word? For Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, one word has become a matter of national identity and the newly sworn-in foreign minister wants the vocabulary corrected. The ministry has reportedly instructed its embassies and consulates across the world to refer to their respective good offices as “Nepali” not “Nepalese”.

Historically, the words “Nepalese” and “Nepali” have been used interchangeably, the former used more in English language texts while the latter is used in the vernacular.

Hereon, however, no diplomatic missions of Nepal anywhere in the world are to be referred to as “Nepalese embassy”, the ministry apparently sent out memos to that effect last Sunday.

According to southasia.com.au‘s Kathmandu correspondent, the decision was made by Prakash Sharan Mahat himself. He was sworn in to the office last week.


The minister took the decision in order to maintain ‘uniformity’ as diplomatic missions throughout the world as well as Nepal government consulates and other offices use both “Nepalese” and “Nepali” independently creating a terminological confusion of sort.

Although the Government of Nepal wants its embassies and consulates to cease the use of the word “Nepalese”, the website of Canberra-based Embassy of Nepal is still displaying the word right on the homepage of its website.

Old habits die hard, perhaps.

And southasia.com.au is one with the embassy which of course is expected to soon stand corrected to suit the ministerial circular from Kathmandu.

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