True story

Posted by: achala

Breaking the popular trend and returning to Nepal
By Sulav Bhatta

Ever since I came back from the US eight months ago, the most common
question I have faced is regarding my "naive" decision to return. In
my opinion, this is a wrong question to be asked. They should be
asking why people do not return after completing their studies. To
satisfy people's curiosity I tell them that this is my country and I
have come back because I feel that I can do something here with my
engineering degree. But people seem less convinced with my answer.
They give me a strange, funny look.
The US, undoubtedly, is one of the most developed countries in the
world. It is full of opportunities and it treats hardworking people
very well. However, it is not Nepal, the country of our birth, where
we enjoy an intricate feeling of belongingness. I have no hard
feelings against the US; it treated me very well during my six years
there. . I think all Nepalese should go to the US at least once in
life to learn about freedom, hard work, fairness, positive attitude,
accountability, sense of responsibility etc. After experiencing US
life, I wanted to come to Nepal and give it a shot. I adjusted my
expectation level accordingly because it would be ridiculous to expect
things here to be the way they are in the west.
However, after spending about eight months is Nepal, I have some idea
about why I was "mocked". Currently I am doing my MBA as well. When I
went to join the MBA programme, the college was locked due to some
problem at Pokhara University. Our student coordinator who took my
interview asked me why I came back. This was a strange question
because she herself studied in the US and then returned to Nepal. I
could not help but think that people are very frustrated with the
current situation here. Regular class interruption due to Nepal bandh
etc. is a part of life and something I am used to by now. Some of my
MBA colleagues are in the process of applying for the US. If they get
the visa, they would have no qualms about leaving the MBA program
What has really motivated me to write this article is the recent turn
of events. There was vacancy for engineers at Nepal Telecom, and
naturally I thought of applying. Since I have a certificate from the
US, I was asked to present a TU equivalent for my US degree. I went to
TU and filled up the necessary paperwork. Then they asked me to take
my documents to Pulchowk Engineering College (PEC). They needed
recommendations from PEC before they can form a committee and decide.
Fair enough. Now, I go to Pulchowk only to discover that the Dean's
Office has been locked down since the past two months due to the
strike of the students. I asked the guy there if there was anything at
all that could be done so that my credentials could be evaluated. He
told me there was little, if any, chance for that. Then he asked me
where I did my engineering. I told him and his eyes lightened up. Then
he asked me the same question that I was already expecting— why did
I return?!
I came back home tired and frustrated. My parents were eagerly
waiting to know if my problem got solved. I told them what happened
and what the guy had said. I tried not to show my frustration.  My
parents, who were once overjoyed when I came back from the US, are
having second thoughts now. They are wondering whether they should
have ordered their only son to come back. This is a very ironic
situation. However, I still stand by my decision to come back. I just
hope that somehow I never have to regret my decision.
My problem is just a tip of the iceberg that the people here are
facing. I find that our system is so broken up that it needs immediate
and thorough change. If something is not done soon enough, we might
alienate our young and productive generation so much that the only
people remaining in Nepal would be the retired and old people. If we
take the case of India, a lot of young people are returning from the
US because they can now get same opportunity in India itself. This is
helping India a lot. We all know how India has developed over the past
few years. We should also try to attract our young, talented people
back to Nepal. And I know that there are a lot of people out there who
would love to come back if there is stability and opportunity here. I
would like to request everyone to do whatever they can in their
capacity so that people do not have to run away from Nepal.
Trust me, you can make a difference!

True story was last modified: October 2nd, 2007 by achala

Blog Comments

  1. Yogi

    great job dude,
    Let see if i can follow ur footprints
    The only concern for me would be the opportunity
    and normal country condition
    Will try to be brave as you

  2. Aneesh Lohani

    Imagine a Nepal living to its full potential of quality education, effective health care, transparent judiciary and security, tourism, hydropower technology, private sector, career professionals in the bureaucracy, able leadership and young innovative minds and entrepreneurship. Nepal would be prosperous if all the above – and much more – were to be achieved. There wouldn’t be any need to venture abroad. If you’re interested in doing something good, you know what to tackle.

  3. Aneesh Lohani

    Sulav, I won’t mock you for returning to Nepal. You seem to have a healthy convictions for your will to do something good for Nepal. Keep the conviction alive and do your best to make a difference. Most of us don’t have hindsight and some of our decisions don’t pay dividents. But, the imporant thing in life is to go for something and fight, struggle and work hard for it. It’s the same rule everywhere.

    You may have experienced the bipolar attitude most of us Nepalis harbor – we either bless and accommodate with all our heart, or are convinced about imposters and suspect the unsuspectable. Much of this is a result of we having seen the realities that point to the fact that we mostly cater to individual wants at the cost of everything else.

    The red tape you mentioned in the bureaucracy is something that must be changed. Let’s start a post on how to strengthen bureaucracy and leadership. Let’s brainstorm the roots of the problem, what keeps it alive and what strategies will end it. We can then invite ideas from all quarters and take it to other blogs. If we can get all major Nepali blogs united on this, it’ll be a force of some reckoning. We can then make the same public.

    Use this blog quite often. I would request

  4. Geeta

    Yes Sulav UoM is a great university. Now I know. I still think you have to do more to change the system. Make some more noises. Be aggressive and explain to them. It takes a long to change the system. Government is slow everywhere. You probably know how slow and lousy U.S. government department is. It is said that government is the most in-efficient entity in U.S. and U.N. is even worse.

    Good luck and sorry about tagging the great university as “no name”

    Geeta – Geeta Lover!

  5. Sulav

    Dear Geeta,
    Thanks for your comments. But there are a few things I gotta clarify. First and foremost, I am not seeking any ‘special’ treatment. I am just presenting problems that a common Nepali faces today. Also, I am not boasting of my love for my country or saying that I am special to have returned. But I do agree with one thing you have said. I should be treated the way every nepali is treated. Very true. What I am trying to say is that a common nepali is not treated well. As, I said in my article, my problem is just a tip of iceberg. I want things to change for everyone, not only me. As you have suggested, I am stuggling and trying to change the system through my article. Finally, I am not seeking any undue advantage and/or your sympathy.

    P.S. I earned the ‘piece of paper’ from University of Maryland. You can check it out for yourself.

    naba: thanks for sharing similar views

    nilesh: you were lucky buddy, i am still waiting for the equivalent certificate. hope it will arrive on time

    prakash: thanks a lot for your comments.

    Sulav Bhatta

  6. Prakash

    I accept Sulav’s viewpoint. We need to think positively about the reality. Definitely, we should be curious about why people do not return after completing their studies instead of asking like “why did he return after his degree?”

    The next point I love in your article is:

    “I think all Nepalese should go to the US at least once in
    life to learn about US system. After experiencing US
    life, Come to Nepal and give it a shot”

    I understand your burning view Sulav, and thanks for this article.

  7. Geeta

    I think you want to be treated special in Nepal just becuase you returned from U.S. People are asking right question to you. Usually people do not return from US to Nepal. Probably, you did becuase you did nof find right opportunity in USA. You should not be boasting about love for the country or you are something special as you returned. Please get the reaility – you are one fo the 30 million Nepali in Nepal and you will be treated there just like every other Nepali is treated. Probably, your U.S. degree is from a “no name” college and Nepal would not just salute you just becuase you earned a piece of paper from U.S. Our university has to to accredate it. Please learn to struggle and try to change the system. I have very little sympathy for someone like you who seeks undue attention.

    Geeta – the Geeta Lover!

  8. Nilesh Shrestha

    I had to do the same thing. I took my degree and application to the PEC to approve for my Equivalent Certificate. I was luckier as the office was open at that time, but there was no one to bring back the document to TU. I was told to come back in a week time, but the docs didn’t budge even after a week. I had to argue as deadline to apply for Nepal Rastra Back was ending, but the guy listned to my request. I was given a bunch of document roughly about seven degrees along with mine to take back to TU by myself. That was a very small task for me that I could have done a week ago and applied for the job. Despite the rush and frustration I made it. What is this guy Sulav doing these days? Did he get his Equivalent Certificate?

  9. naba

    Sulav, I also have the opinion that if all the yongsters get chance to experience abroad and return to Nepal, I am sure that they will have different perspective in seeing every thing like respect to work, respect to freedom, cleanliness , safety etc.
    Think that, if you had sorrounding of all your fellow Nepali collegues who returned from abroad with the excitement of working hard for the prosperity of their own motherland, how synergetic the situation would be. You would have differnt environment then.
    I pray such day may come soon in Nepal.

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