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Nepal and some Misconceptions

I am a patriot; on the other hand, I wanted to bring to the attention some of the misconceptions my school text books have implanted in my brain during my childhood. I would like to alert or rather provoke some national prides we cherish. Meanwhile, I would like to get corrected, if I’m wrong.

These are upshots of several events where I felt embarrassed or even humiliated because of my poor knowledge, which was imparted to me during my school days from several school books from venerable teachers in Nepal. Moreover, I have witnessed that lots of my friends were also have fallen victim to these situations.

Nepal is a small country

I was talking to a guy from Belgium. After some introductory warm up, I said you know Nepal is a small country. This, I was taught in the school so many times, I did not have to think and it came spontaneously. 

He sternly refuted and told me that Nepal is at least 4 times bigger than Belgium. I was speechless. I should have studied more.

Later, I checked in the wikipedia and found that out of 232 countries Nepal Stood in 93rd position which means there are 139 more countries below us in terms of territory.

In school, we used to write essay on “Nepal is a small Country”. We are so much overpowered by India and China that we cannot get out of this parochial view, at least for me it took half of my life to realize this. Ok, later is better than never.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_and_outlying_territories_by_area

Nepal is very popular and known worldwide

It was yet another big lie.

Contrary to Nepali text books, a very few people seem to know Nepal. At least that was my experience. For some reason they mixed up Tibet with Nepal.

Nevertheless, nowadays Nepal has become infamous and people tend to show familiarity when you refer to royal massacre and maoist insurgency.

Nepal was never colonized

As stated above, since people are not well informed regarding Nepal, it is unreasonable to assume that they would know whether we were colonized or not. As a result, in many occasions, I could get away with this statement. Until one day, a knowledgeable guy pointed out that my country was protectorate of British Government. He further expounded that most of the crucial decisions were made by British Government. Some argue that protectorate is even worse than colony; however, I would refrain from any judgment. Besides, unlike Thailand for some reason in many international books, Nepal is not listed in the list of countries that were not colonized.

At least in my times, this was never well explained in the history and geography books.

Nepal is second in water resources after Brazil

I tried to look into the internet; but I could not match this fact. According to official data, in terms of producing hydropower, Nepal can draw 43,000 MW out of total 83000 MW, whereas even India and China have 150,000 MW and 378,000 MW of feasible hydropower respectively. In terms of sheer water resources, Brazil of course is in the first, but Nepal is nowhere in the top list. If you talk about overall water resource then China and Myanmar have more than us. Please refer to UN published chart.  Maybe I am totally ignorant or oblivious in this case but I simply cannot find Nepal being the second.

Top water resource (Source FAO)

Everest is in Nepal

This one is partially true. In many books, it says Everest is located on the border between Tibet and Nepal. Does it mean we share part of the Everest with China? In the wikepedia ,it says that Everest is located in China and Nepal, how and when it was divided, who owns the peaks it’s clearly not written. As it stands, at least we should bear in mind that Everest is not only in Nepal.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Everest

Google Map 1 (Shows Everest outside, please refer to my comment)

Google Map (Zoomed Google Map1)

Nepalese Forest and Agriculture

The impression I got when I was in school was only Nepal has beautiful “CHAR KOSHE JHAADI”, and no one else has got this. How wrong I was.  Same thing goes for agriculture.

Richest in Biodiversity

It is rich but not the richest. See the attached document. Nepal is ranked 4th in terms of importance, however so are other countries.

Bio Diversity (Source: UNEP) Acrobat reader required.

In conclusion, with these experiences, I have started examining each of the statements I have learned in the school. It is regretful how poorly we were prepared for the external world. Or, it may be the case that due to our culture, we never cross examined or challenged the teachers and the books.