Posted by: Rajendra Keshari Pandey

To my simple understanding money comes from several basic endeavours. Having an enterprising brain, hard work, quality products (goods and services), an ability to deliver the goods and services on time and above all, possession of perseverance. These qualities are the key elements to creating wealth. “Nepal is a poor country” has been the catchword and a general rhetoric for many decades. As if God, when willing the birth of this country was in dire poverty but it should not be the case, it was not, and it is not. Having many amenities, qualities and a capacity to prosper, this country still became poor due to selfish leaders having vested interest and no vision. The birth of any nation begins with its soil, its people and their toil.  A country is initially born neither rich nor poor. A Nation then emerges with the help of its people and their activities. Its prosperity depends on the right vision, right leadership and right implementation.  Whether to take the nation towards prosperity or towards deprivation is in the will of a dedicated leader. Nepal is rich in many vistas and the proof of our richness is clearly visible in our surroundings. People from around the world come here to see the masterpieces: The arts and architecture of Bhaktapur, Lalitpur and Kantipur (Kathmandu), the serenity of Pokhara, and our jungles and wildlife are few immediate examples. These are our assets, this is our richness, but they are not utilised.

Proper utilisation of our natural resources and human resources can make a big difference in making money. But the scenario at present looks different. Our Brain, Money, and Muscle (work forces) are going abroad daily like a caravan. Even the government is encouraging our capable hands to work for someone else for a certain interest, so what remains here? This is a temporary cure just to manipulate the petty political maths. The state of no brain, no money and fewer workers is certainly going to create a big vacuum and affect the system here in the long-term. We are good at creating problems and when we try to solve them we invent other kinds of problems. This is how we have been managing our country for a long time, in total haphazardness.  Responsibility, accountability and honesty are lacking somewhere.

We talk about development without considering the simple facts and factors above. When our manpower has gone from this country and when we need manpower, can we hire American, British, Canadian, French, German or Japanese labour forces to fill-up the vacuum? No way. One can of course hire foreigners if one has the capability to pay them as per their standards of salary. But, do we have it in us? No, it does not work like this at present as they have a different economy. May be someday we will be able to hire foreigners as our required manpower, but that day is still to come.

I am just speculating an interesting fact that Japan is facing an acute space problem. If Japanese senior citizens can be settled in our open spaces then one kind of income generating activities is possible. It can create employment for many of us and so the money circulates. But the complicated visa application process is restricting such opportunities. We do and talk very interesting things here, in a way we want to encourage visitors or business, and simultaneously we discourage them. We have made the different types of visa application so complicated and discouraging that people have to face many challenges to stay in Nepal.

U. S. Government tourist visas or visitor visas are generally issued up to a period of three months to ten years. Once the tourist is in the U.S. an added extension of a 6-month time period can be obtained upon approval by USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). Indian Tourist Visas can be obtained for a period of six months, one year and 10 years. Students, businessmen, journalists and others who want to visit India for professional purposes can obtain visas of the appropriate type. But here we provide Tourist Visas for a maximum period of only 150 days in a year i.e. less than 5 months in a year? And a student visa fee is higher than tourist visa fee. This does not tally. This is a paradox here in Nepal. Encourage and discourage simultaneously.

A regular scene one can see here are numerous hoarding boards on the road and same sorts of Ad one can see in our daily papers which read: Study abroad, work abroad, go abroad. All abroad!  If all and everything goes abroad then what remains here? I am surprised to see the serpentine lines in many embassies and visa sections of different countries, where our people are paying huge amount of money to leave this country. If this tendency goes on like this for some more years then a crisis is ahead for sure. With this unstable situation money (foreign investment) is not coming here easily as perceived by Foreign Investment Division. Investors would like to feel the policy is stable; they also like to know their money is safe. If all the work force is going somewhere else, then the children and senior citizens alone cannot do our daily needs at home. (Budha, Budhi ra Bachha bata). A country, which depends mostly on agriculture, cannot function without able hands.

The most vital and damaging thing happening here is a Brain Drain. All our most talented resources are selected to work for someone else. The reason is simple. We cannot currently provide them with the right working atmosphere and reasonable salary to support their family. That is the prime reason why they leave this country everyday. People always crave good opportunities and a better working atmosphere. This is human nature and is correct in many respects, but it is not the remedy. We must try to check this MONEY AWAY, MUSCLES AWAY, and especially BRAIN AWAY exodus before the sun sets. We need people to make hay while the sun still shines on our Motherland otherwise she will have no family left soon.

MONEY AWAY, MUSCLES AWAY, and… BRAIN AWAY was last modified: September 11th, 2013 by Rajendra Keshari Pandey

Blog Comments

  1. bishwa

    a small note on BRAIN AWAY:
    it’s not the decision of a single person to abandon his/her home… a best friend has gone abroad and the other friend gets lonely and goes abroad too.. a loved one decides to go away, and the other goes … a father sees people sending home money from abroad, so he wants his child to go.. a mother dreams for the “happiness” of her child and the child has to go … its these “dreams” that we “see” for others.. the compulsion for being “rich” easily, quickly … and many other factors that drive these brains away

    and i agree with Anish, those who can’t look for reasons… look for money. it is the best escape mankind has ever produced.

  2. Aneesh Lohani

    Yes, Rajendra Ji, that’s a problem we have. One of the harshest ironies, collectively in terms of logic, economics and collective wisdom, is the fact that we are outsourcing intellectual capital (students, professions, experts) abroad and living off, literally, poor Nepalese who earn money through hard labor abroad. This is not just an irony, but a joke of the modern times.

    Everyone knows that real money is made through entrepreneurship – one that involves innovation, professionalism, education and expertise. That’s how we got the internet, the space shuttle, airplanes, gas cookers, electricity, etc to name a few – it wasn’t done through hard labor. We have a situation here where the brains move away and the brawn remain to save us – this is the most disgusting and shameful situation for a country of modern times (let me clarify that I deeply respect and honor those Nepalese who go abroad to sell their strength – this has saved the country from economic turmoil and has also helped the concerned laborers and their families). But, let us all not forget what Bill Gates did – he didn’t use his strength to move a heavy object to another location to make money.

    I simple position I take is to rid government services off undue guarantees. “Work for three months; prove yourself”, that’s my motto. “If you can’t dig it, hey, it’s a competitive world”. Sadly, this doesn’t apply here. Let’s forget about money. Darwin didn’t work for money, nor did Einstein. Brains need a just environment to grow. Many people are impassioned and follow a purpose in life. Others go for money. Get the former to do what he or she desires and you have great achievements – Laxmi Prasad Devkota is perfect example. Now encourage more people from other backgrounds.

    Another irony – A school mate – who wasn’t good at his studies and didn’t know M of math – copied everything from my slc paper. I couldn’t object, because everything was at the hands of the invigilators who had close links with the chap I mentioned. So I got 90+ and he got 100. He’s now dead due to drug overdose. Where’s the justice, ladies and gentlemen? The point is, we leave everything at the hands of the leaders, but we forget that a just society runs well because its real leaders are you and I. We set examples and we do the right thing.

    In Nepal, everything is expected from the political leaders. This gives them total control over everything. Know a good painter? he/she is a leader in his/her field. Know a good sculptor? He/she is a leader? Know a proficient bureaucrat? He/she is a good leader. Know a scientist? He/she is a good leader. Know a poet/writer? He/she is a good leader. Know a great sportsman? He/she is a good leader. But, then, we consider our political leaders to be the ultimate leaders to decide or advocate great futures for us. Do you know where this mentality comes from? It’s, of course, from the monarchs who served as “fathers” to a cause – it’s the same dependent attitude that inflicts us all. My question is this: if you can’t live out this social psyche, what do you expect? And, if you can’t, get back to where the real customs started.

    The above arguments were aimed at no one in particular. Thank you for writing an important piece, Rajendra JI

  3. Loona

    Money Away, Muscles Away and Brain Away…..and that is the reality. It is a human nature to opt. for better opportunitiy, when there is one, which is why the Brain Drain is a happening thing for Developing Countries like ours. What needs to be done to discourage the Brain Drain is still a challenge for the Higher Authorities and Management of our Country.
    Good article after such a long gap.

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