By Tim I Gurung
It was more than fifteen years ago when I was travelling with some family members on a local tour bus in Hong Kong, the tour guide kept telling us that Buddha was born in India, and it totally caught me off guard. Initially, I was quite intrigued, subsequently a burning question started to plague me from the within, and it made me wonder why she would keep telling the lie in such an advanced place like Hong Kong. After all, Lord Buddha was a Nepali prince and as far as we Nepali were concerned, there wasn’t even a whiff of doubt about that fact and it wasn’t even something that ever needed any discussion. End of the story! And yet, why this tour guide was bent on changing that fact? And just like all the other proud and nation loving Nepali guy, it really irritated me and I patiently waited for the next possible opportunity to confront her.
I told her blatantly that she was wrong, Buddha was born not in India but in Nepal and everybody knows about it. Her reply was something like this – I don’t give a damn about where it was, I am just reading it from the script, and just leave me alone. There was no point for me to keep on arguing, she was just a messenger and I decided to let it go off me and move on. What I didn’t realize by then was that the whole tourist industry in Hong Kong was reading out from the same script and millions visitors must have heard it the same lie again and again without even noticing it.
Now let us fast forward the time by fifteen years. Thanks to internet, the world is getting smaller by days and information really travels fast nowadays. Just like other people from different nations, Nepali people have also started travelling abroad as well and we have quite a significant group of Diasporas living in many different parts of the world. They are fully aware of what is going on around the globe, people genuinely care and take notice whenever they heard about their home country while living abroad, and the new trend has been catching up with and amongst the Nepali Diasporas. They just don’t only read about it, they also pass it to their families and friends back in Nepal and the whole nation is becoming aware of what is going on outside Nepal. It was that new generation of Nepali people who are not only young, tech-savvy and educated but also genuinely care about Nepal and they were the ones who have found this naked lie about the actual birthplace of Lord Buddha. It has been circling through the virtual world of social media for quite a while; Nepali people have rightly so did resent it and vehemently starting to speak out against it. It reached to the boiling point when India’s prime minister unwittingly did try to claim it again while visiting abroad and that infuriated all the Nepali people both inside and outside of Nepal. Needless to say, the social networking sites were burning with rages.
Although this issue might have surfaced just recently, inevitably, India has been telling the whole world that Lord Buddha was born in India for ages and it just happened to be brought into the light upon us only now. It is a disgraceful act by such a great country like India, poor Nepal only has two things to show to the world, e.g. Lord Buddha and Mount Everest, and they didn’t even know that one has already been hijacked by its cunning neighbor called India. What next? Mount Everest? If India starts calling Mount Everest also belong to India tomorrow, we Nepali people won’t be surprised, and what else can be expected from such an untruthful and unreliable neighbor? India should really feel ashamed of it, stop telling such a lie to the outside world and behave like a great nation that a billion of people of yours always aspire to be one some day. Why not start from your own neighborhood? Respect your neighbor and stay in harmony.
TIM I GURUNG/AUTHOR AT ISSLCARE – http://www.timigurung.com