Nepal and Hindu nationalism: Religious tension has increased in India’s neighboring country Nepal for some time. Many Hindu organizations are active here in the areas bordering India and keep campaigning to make the country a Hindu nation again. Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh are big names among these organizations.
The activity of these organizations is more visible in the Terai region, especially in the Janakpur area, and you will see many such things done by them which show how active these people are in getting Nepal declared a Hindu nation again. But the big question is that why did Nepal suddenly start moving from secularism towards ‘Hindu nationalism’? Let us know the reason.
understand nepal first
About 1000 years before Christ, Nepal was divided into small principalities and confederations of clans. Gorkha king Prithvi Narayan Shah started the campaign for the unity of Nepal in 1765 and was successful in it by 1768. It was from here that modern Nepal was born. During the reign of the fifth king of the dynasty, Rajendra Bikram Shah, the British East India Company captured some areas bordering Nepal. A war broke out in 1815, which ended with the Treaty of Sugauli.
During the reign of Raja Surendra Bikram Shah in 1846, Jang Bahadur Rana emerged as a powerful military commander. After a few days, the royal family surrendered before him and he was made the Prime Minister. Along with this, this post was considered hereditary. In 1923, Britain signed a treaty with Nepal and accepted its independence. In the 1940s, people in Nepal started a movement demanding the restoration of democracy in the country. Then with the help of India, King Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah became the new ruler.
During the time of King Gyanendra of Nepal, a widespread movement against the monarchy started in Nepal. In 1959, King Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah ended the democratic experiment and implemented the Panchayat system. In 1972, King Birendra Bikram Shah took over the reign. In 1989, a public movement started in support of democracy and King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah had to accept constitutional reforms. Then in May 1991 the first multi-party parliament was formed. The Maoist movement started in 1996. A
In June 2001, the king, queen, prince and princesses were killed in a mass murder in the royal palace of Nepal. Now the king’s brother Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah. In February 2005, King Gyanendra took power to suppress the violent movement of Maoists and dismissed the government. Once again a mass movement started in Nepal and now the king had to hand over power to the people and the Parliament had to be restored here. On May 28, 2008, the Parliament passed a bill declaring Nepal a secular state.
Situation is changing due to such incidents
On August 20, a video of two locals from Dharan, a town in eastern Nepal, eating beef went viral. According to the report of Diplomat, only a month ago there was a big protest in the same town of Dharan in Nepal because a church was built near a temple, which caused anger in the Hindu nationalist organization.
This is how Hindu Rashtra is getting air here
Seeing the increasing population of other religions, Hindu organizations have now become more active here. Not only this, every government openly or secretly sees Nepal as a Hindu nation. There are people supporting it in Nepali Congress also. In 2018, nearly half of the 1,500 party delegates launched a signature campaign in favor of a Hindu state, The Diplomat reported. Apart from this, former Nepal Army General Rukmangud Katawal launched a Hindu Rashtra Swabhiman Jagran campaign in 2021 to “restore Hindu identity”. 20 Hindu religious organizations together expressed their desire for a Hindu state.
Demand is rising even after looking at the population graph
Nepal is 80 percent Hindu and 10 percent Christian, but cases of conversion have increased in the last few years. According to the report of Diplomat, currently international NGOs of South Korea and West Bengal are engaged in religious conversion. Currently, the Christian population in Nepal has increased rapidly. The census report conducted in Nepal in 2021 shows that the Muslim population here is continuously increasing.
According to the data released by the ‘National Statistics Office’ of Nepal, there are 2.367 crore Hindus in Nepal, while there are 23.945 lakh Muslims. If we look at the percentage, currently there are 81.19% Hindus in Nepal, followed by Buddhism with 8.21% followers. The Muslim population is increasing rapidly here and their percentage of population is 5.09%.
Whereas, 1.76% are Christians. In 2011, the population of Hindus was 81.3%, which means the population of Hindus has decreased by 0.19%. Whereas Buddhist community was 9% of the population, accordingly the number of Buddhists has also decreased by 0.79%. Whereas in 2011 the Muslim population was 4.4% which has increased by 0.69%. Earlier Christians were only 0.5%, which has now increased to 1.26%.
Even political parties and leaders are not giving up their old attachment.
During his last tenure, Nepal’s PM KP Oli fanned Hindu nationalist sentiments. He was the first Communist Prime Minister to worship at Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu. He also donated $2.5 million of government money to the temple. Oli installed the idol of Ram in Madi after the puja ceremony organized at the official residence of the Prime Minister. On the other hand, there are many leaders in Nepali Congress who are not in favor of secularism.
When Nepali Congress chief Sher Bahadur Deuba came to India, he visited Varanasi, which is a major Hindu religious place. Similarly, current Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal offered prayers at a temple in Ujjain during his visit to India.
Apart from this, former Nepal Army General Rukmangud Katawal launched a Hindu Rashtra Swabhiman Jagran campaign in 2021 to “restore Hindu identity”. Around the same time, 20 other Hindu religious organizations formed a united front in Devghat to restore Nepal’s status as a Hindu state. The Hindutva card being played by almost all parties in India and getting benefits is also one of the reasons why every leader of Nepal believes in this concept.
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