13 November 2019 I Nepal’s repeat hunger-striker Dr Gobinda KC has penned an open letter to Indian prime minister Narendra Modi as he ended his 17th hunger strike yesterday.
In his letter, the senior orthopedic surgeon highlights the cordial people to people relationship between Nepal and India by citing instances when he crossed border to help victims of natural calamities in India. He rushed to help because “ordinary people suffer and hurt the same way no matter what country they are from and the level of satisfaction one gets by helping them is just the same”.
The subject-matter of Dr KC’s letter is India’s recently-published political map which he said placed Kalapani and Limpiyadhura within India’s territory. Nepal claims these are its integral parts while India recently responded by saying the new map projects what is India’s sovereign territory.
Translated by southasia.com.au, below is the full text of the satyagrahi’s letter to PM Narendra Modi:
Shri Narendra Damodardas Modi
Prime Minister, Republic of India
I am well, and sincerely hope that this letter finds you well.
The deep, cordial relations that exist between India and Nepal did not come into fruition overnight. Age-old relationships amongst natives of these ancient lands eventually took the form of the current bilateral relations after modern Nepal and Bharat were formed.
The Treaty of Sugauli of 1815 shaped the initial political map of modern Nepal. The bilateral relationship between the two neighbours has since survived all manners of crises but the cordial social, economic and cultural ties between the peoples of the two countries seldom suffered. Many Nepalis eke out their living with employment based in India. By the same token, many Indians live and work here in Nepal.
People at the grassroots level in both Nepal and India, and in fact, in other South Asian nations like Bangladesh and Pakistan, face similar everyday challenges. They all suffer from poverty, lack of education and even same health issues. Corruption, misrule and a deep-rooted culture of inequality are the common enemies of all South Asians.
Following the 2001 devastating earthquakes that hit some parts of India, I had the opportunity of engaging in solemn humanitarian work in your own home state of Gujarat. Also, during the 2013 Uttarakhand floods, I had the opportunity of serving pilgrims caught up in Kedarnath. I must mention here that my own life had a close call as I served the flood victims. I mention this only because I genuinely feel and believe that ordinary people suffer and hurt the same way no matter what country they are from and the level of satisfaction one gets by helping them is just the same.
I am currently in the middle of my peaceful and non-violent protest programmes to reform medical and education sectors of Nepal. In the meanwhile, news has been that India incorporated Nepal’s Limpiyadhura in its new map. Just as any other Nepali citizen, I have been stunned by this news.
I am unaccustomed to the complex principles and practices of geo-politics. As an ordinary citizen however, this is what I know: citizens of all nation states have dignity and self-respect.
India may well have all sorts of interests in Nepal. It is believed that India takes keen interest in Nepal due to its own sensitivity around its national security. However, we must appreciate that only a strong and prosperous Nepal is conducive to India’s national security.
To conclude, there are many battles India and Nepal are to fight together in the time ahead. For instance, our friendly countries share a great burden of many diseases that have long been eradicated in rest of the world. This region is also home to a great many people who are still uneducated and illiterate. Livelihood too is rather tough as the desired economic progress continues to elude our nations. Nepalis and Indians working dangerous jobs in inhospitable deserts thousands of miles away from home, and that too at the bare minimum wage, constitute ample evidence to that fact.
As such, not only India and Nepal but the entire South Asian nations should join hands to fight these common problems. As a stepping stone to that end, I strongly urge you to resolve the aforementioned Indo-Nepal border issue by way of multi-level diplomatic talks and thereby restore our mutual trust and friendship.
Dr Gobinda KC
12 November 2019
translated with permission from Dr Gobinda KC