Opinion about India in Nepal: Highlights from Gallup Nepal Survey 2011

  1. Nepalese are concerned about their country’s economy (but surprisingly, many think the economic conditions are getting better)
  2. India has a huge impact on the country.
  3. Youths place more emphasis on education, are more positive opinion about other countries, are more optimistic about the country’s economic momentum- but are twice as likely as older Nepalese to want to move abroad (maybe because of the first two reasons?).
  4. Nepalese are ready for stronger regional cooperation.

Gallup has published the result of a survey it conducted in Nepal during mid-July and early August. The survey is part of the Insights South Asia project, a cooperation between the South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF) and Gallup.

Among others, one interesting finding is about the opinions expressed by the respondents towards India and Pakistan. There is a general understanding about India that people in it’s neighboring countries do not approve of its foreign policies and have a rather negative feeling for India. The Gallup survey portrays a very different picture: Nepalese see Pakistan as South Asia’s greatest security threat. More than 80% respondents of the survey also had a rather positive opinion about India while Pakistan has the most negative ratings among South Asian countries- about a third of all respondents.

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Prabhu Saha: Kantipur comes to rescue again

From today, I will write brief and frequent blog posts about various topics. Media analysis is a subject in which I would like to spend some energy. It is with the hope that:

  • readers get the choice of an alternative viewpoint and more critical thoughts
  • big media usually is more about vested commercial and political interests than about open ideas and critical discussion- this needs to be exposed more often
  • in Nepal, we can see that some media houses are helping the government and the rulers in becoming more irresponsible- this also needs to be exposed
  • the mainstream media can improve and correct their mistakes from the feedback of online publication media

Two years ago, when MK Nepal became the PM of Nepal following Prachanda’s resignation, Prachanda started a fiery campaign against the government. During a mass gathering in Baneshwor, Prachanda declared that the Indian establishment is the master of Nepalese affairs and he will only hold dialogues with the master and not the Nepalese government. He laid out a series of accusations on India. Prachanda had to receive a lot of flak for his Baneshwor speech.

This was not an isolated event however. As the following months would show, the Maoist party was to lead a well-planned aggressive campaign against the neighboring country.

But in a few days, the cover story of Kantipur had a very friendly-looking sketch of the leader with an accompanying story that described how soft-hearted and impulsive he was. It was as if the story was also a part of the design to gather public sympathy for Prachanda. After arguably one of the most disgraceful speeches any public personality has ever made in Nepal, the paper that calls itself the safe-guarder of our democratic system tried to save the speaker’s face by publishing personal anecdotes and emotional accounts. The article not only seemed to be defending the Baneshwor speech but also many other controversial statements made by the Fierce One in the past.

Prachanda: emotional and soft-hearted human

Prachanda: emotional and soft-hearted human

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How our media helps sell children (by asking the wrong questions)

A month ago, 23 girls were brought to Nepal from an orphanage in South India in a mission led by the Esther Benjamins Memorial Foundation (EBMF), Nepal. The reason why the mission started was because the families of four girls from Humla requested the Foundation to get them their missing children.

Following the rescue of girls, a section of Nepalese media participated in a co-ordinated attack against the rescuers. Through their acts, our media is in fact helping the traffickers. To my information, Republica daily (Om Astha Rai) and Avenues TV (Khabar Bhitra ko Khabar) participated in this campaign. I am not sure if these media houses or reporters received benefits from the traffickers to write in their favor but my observation says that the arguments made by them was successful in influencing many other people.

I will try to explain how the questions they asked helped divert the issue and encourage the selling of children.

The Michael Job Centre in Coimbatore from where the girls were rescued claimed on its website that it housed many orphaned girls from Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and some parts of India. It displayed pictures of the girls and asked for donations from Christians around the world. In return, the Center made the children pray for the donors and posted videos online. The girls taken from Nepal were also given Christian names and advertised as children of parents who were killed for being Christian by Hindu extremists in Nepal. In reality, all the girls had their parents and belonged to Hindu families. The EBMF went to Coimbatore to bring only four children. But as the operation busted their illegal operations, the Center disowned all 23 Nepalese girls it was housing and the rescuers had to bring them all back. Hindu groups in India launched protests against the Center against its proselytizing activities.

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