Nepali kids think they’re Indian?

ARDIYA, NEPAL – How does a river change the course of a people’s lives? Thirty years ago, a river changed its course, and cut off a generation from their motherland.

This may sound strange but local people at Masjadiya in Gulariya-13 district of Nepal do not relate to their motherland or feel a part of it. Their children are ignorant about the national anthem but know the Indian national anthem by heart. And this situation can be justified for a lot of obvious reasons.

The village, that turned into a small island after the Babai river changed its course about three decades ago, is home to approximately 100 households and is virtually cut off from Nepal. It takes a boat ride to reach the village from Nepali territory but is easily accessible via India.

Though a team of government officials distributed citizenship certificates in 2006 to them, it is of no use except for elections as there are no government institutions, depriving them of state benefits. Due to the lack of schools , the children clad in ‘khaki’ uniform cross the border to attend a school where they are taught about India and sing the Indian national anthem.

These Nepali kids wear Khaki and sing the Indian National anthem

These Nepali kids wear Khaki and sing the Indian National anthem

The children do not know Nepali language and think that the village is part of India, local Jaipan Mallah said.

Although police make an appearance once in a while, locals said they had never seen the Chief District Officer (CDO) visiting the area which is flooded by water during the rainy season. Local people, majority of whom are fishermen and boat rowers from the Mallah community, have requested the government for the establishment of a school and the municipality should take the initiative, local Murali Mallah said.

CDO Man Bahadur BK said the villagers’ lifestyle is similar to those of the Indians as they had easy access to India.

There are no border pillars in the no man’s land. It is imperative to establish a school and security post in the village to encourage patriotism, else it would be foolish to expect the children to grow up with the feeling of being a Nepali, locals said.

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Posted by on April 6, 2014. Filed under Nepal,SOUTH-ASIA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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