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.

Surprising ?

My mention of this survey result on twitter invited some surprise at the methodologies and credibility of the survey because of the stark difference between the general perception about India and the results of this survey.

It is quite possible that the so called anti Indian sentiment in Nepal might just be a myth propagated by various factors including political immaturity, media propaganda, bitter memories from history, attempt by the privileged class to create an excuse for their excesses or some similar vested interests. What is lost in all this is that a lot of this perception is also because of a very irresponsible Indian media, Indian leaders, diplomats, bureaucrats, and common people themselves. For example, in many occasions, the high handedness of India in Nepal crosses all accepted limits and it becomes impossible for even a supporter of better Indo-Nepal relations to explain why one should not hate India. This is a subject for another discussion, but it leads us to another issue- about the possible flaws in the survey.

Criticism of the survey:

One can spot the following possible flaws in survey methodology:

  • Many people, especially in villages and some remote parts of Nepal’s hills and mountains work in India in various sectors including the Indian army- if the sample was dominated by friends or families of these people, it could have been biased.
  • Many people in Nepal’s southern called the Terai (which lies in the border with India) have close cultural and family ties with people in the other side of the border. Daily activities of many people living near the Indo-Nepal border involve a lot of interaction and travel to the Indian side. If the sample was dominated by these people, it could have been biased.
  • The detailed sample allocation in the survey report lists the number of people sampled from the five development zones of Nepal (Eastern: 234, Central: 346, Western: 198, Mid-Western: 128, Far-Western: 94) and does not mention anything else. The sample does not seem to be representative. One another important factor is geographic area (Mountain, Hill, Inner Terai, Terai). All the five development zones encompass these areas and there can be a big difference in public opinions across different geographic regions.

Nevertheless, the survey introduces some interesting findings. Even with possibilities of sampling bias, the results are the representation of some portion of Nepal’s population- therefore it would be wrong to out-rightly reject the findings as it would be to treat the results as a true picture of Nepalese opinion.

Highlights:

  • A third (33%) of Nepalese surveyed had friends or relatives living in another South Asian country. Ninety-five percent of these respondents had friends or relatives in India.
  • Nearly half (48%) of Nepalese surveyed had at least once visited another South Asian country and 97% of these had visited India.
  • More than 84% respondents had a rather positive opinion about India. Positive view for other countries were: Bangladesh 44%, Sri Lanka 43%, Bhutan 40%, the Maldives 39%, Pakistan 33% and Afghanistan 26%.
  • Almost 74% respondents held a favourable attitude towards China and 73% towards US. Positive view for other countries were: Japan 65%, Germany, France or the UK 44-46%.
  • Large shares of respondents did not know enough about the various countries listed in the survey to formulate an opinion.
  • If Nepalese would be given a choice between a secular democracy or a Hindu democracy, the majority (63%) would prefer the latter, while a third (34%) would favour the former.
  • More than two-thirds (69%) of Nepalese wanted to continue living in their country, while 31% would like to move temporarily or permanently to another country. The United States was the most preferred destination for most socio-demographic groups, with the exception of those with low levels of education who favoured India over the US.
  • A lack of political leadership and corruption were by far the most frequently mentioned factors preventing economic growth in Nepal.
  • A vast majority (81%) of Nepalese disagreed that the use of violence was an accepted means of resolving conflicts in their country nowadays
  • Nepalese youth was more optimistic than older generations about their country’s future as well as their personal futures.

Gallup owns the copyright for the survey report cited in this post.


9 thoughts on “Opinion about India in Nepal: Highlights from Gallup Nepal Survey 2011

  1. I don’t find amusing that Nepalese find Pakistan as the greatest Security threat, its a general thinking not only in our region but in western world and other parts of the world too.
    Maybe Indian diplomats have not behaved with proper manner with Nepal sometime but one should understand the close relations between India and Nepal.
    Also the majority of Nepalese population follow Hinduism which is also the same case in India hence inclination towards India is natural.
    I guess Nepalese people have seen the threat posed by Pakistan to India in past which could also be the reason.

  2. this opinion pull is bullshit! as far as I know (and I know a lot, at least about Nepal, cause I live here) almost people from all spectrum of life in Nepal absolutely hate India. In fact, the level of resentment towards India among ordinary Nepalese in fact might be greater than in other South Asian neighbors. The poll however is right in one thing though. that most Nepali’s do view Pakistan as a great threat to their security. A lot of this has to do with the Air India hijacking incident though. But I as well as many patriotic Nepali’s living in Nepal, don’t want to see further developments of relationship with India. Nepal’s dependence on India is growing day by day and this poses a serious national threat to our national security. Also movement of massive amount of Bihari people has brought a sense of crisis of national identity and legitimate fear about shifting demographic of my nation. Therefore it will best if Nepal minimizes or if possible severe ties with India completely….Jai Nepal…

    • lol….”Nepali Patriot” you are not a Nepali are you? Nepalese hate nobody! And you are a faggot and a troll. “Adding Jai Nepal” to your comment doesn’t make you a Nepali. Anyone can guess what nationality you are? you India-hater! Most Nepalese are peaceful. I know this personally, cause I have met a lot of them, Nepalis are as Indian as Indians are. And nobody makes a survey report on hypothesis you dumbass. In the survey, it has already said Nepalis are more pro-Indian then most Indian think. So, go find another place to spread your hate speech you piece of shit!

  3. we have many nepalese working as cooks and other type of work in Karachi Pakistan….good people, they work hard and are honest…indians — no comments.

  4. Its only people of Nepali origins in India, that want friendly relationship between India and Nepal. Nepalese in Nepal absolutely loathe India. A lot of this has to do with the demographics though. The population of Nepali speaking people in Nepal is just 11 million (in 2012) while all others that claim to be Nepali, but can’t even speak our language, now nearly make up 50% of our population. This is a very worrying thing for patriots like me and many others, who fear another Sikkimization is in the making. Many Nepalese in Nepal, also want to do away with our pacifist constitution and rather form strong economic and defence ties with China. And just like what Bhutan did to Lhotshampas, I beleive Nepal also should kick out all the Biharis from Nepal, all of them . .

  5. and how can we be sure “Nepali Patriot” that you are actually a Nepali Patriot, and not a Pakistani . . . . . For your info, I am a Nepali as well, and while Nepalis certainly are not friendly to Biharis, no way one can translate that to be anti-Indian. Certainly not the level of anti-Indianism you are expressing. Even Indians don’t like Biharis. Nepalese discontent with India can be rather compared to, say, the discontent of Naga people or say Mizos. And yes the opinion poll is right, though many people will say they dislike India, just to look more patriotic, nobody in their right mind hates India. India always supported democratic forces in Nepal. But Nepal was ruled for much of its history by monarchs. So its very understandable that the Kings saw India as hostile and indoctrinated the citizens with anti-India propaganda. Also annexation of Sikkim and Mizoram was perpetuated in Nepalis media as India swallowing its neighbors, and further petrified Nepalese people. However, unlike with its (India’s) other neighbors, all problems between Nepal and India are quite solvable. Its been only few years that Nepal has been democratic. So one must understand that Nepal never fully had a government that truly represented the will of the people.
    India enjoys leverage over Nepal when it comes to politics. India has benefited massively from unequal water treaties with Nepal. Many Nepalese sons fought for India, during Kargil war and Indo-China war. And Nepal is home to nearly 10 million Biharis. Still Nepal is one of the poorest country in the world. India once imposed 18 month long economic blockade of Nepal. That scared away all foreign investors. And every now and then, politicians use this as an excuse to justify why we are poor. And now that Maoists are in power, its but obvious that they might look for China’s backing. Even Mizos were once considered anti-Indian and separatist. Indian military even bombed them. So may be, its just similar moment in history that Nepal is going through.
    Now that democratic Nepal is in the process of making its new constitution, and as such a new foreign policy, its but obvious that certain international elements are trying to sabotage the harmony between two peace loving people by creating friction and distrust, and by bringing into limelight small petty issues. Just think for a sec, what is written as Nepals foreign policy doctrine now, will affect relationship between Nepal and its neighbor for probably next 50-100 years. So, no wonder you find certain forces spreading this anti-India propaganda all over Nepalese news media… and in internet. And if they do succeed, just imagine who will benefit the most. . .

  6. i never knew. nepalese hate india this much..i thought they are good honest loving people..i was wrong…majority of indians dnt hate nepal..as u hate us so much..better to severe all relations..completely..let the 2 crore nepali go back to holy nd heavenly nepal..and let the biharis cme bck to india..nd mind u..they r nt 10 million..most of them are madhesi..who hv been living there for fenturies..they r nepalese nt indians..estimated figur who went there after 1950 is 15 lakhs..let them come back..u live happily alone..v dnt need u nd ur hatred.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s