How do you say for sure a person is a Nepali? By one’s birth certificate, citizenship or a passport? Well, in a way, it’s not just a no brainer but also a nonsensical question for these very documents binds us to the state. However, in Nepal, things might be different. Chances are high that they either have forged documents or no documentary evidence at all. Among all rarities, we must be one rare nation where people still manage to survive without any of the documents that shows any kind of relationship between you and the state.
Coming back to the point of ‘how to identify a Nepali’, I feel it’s still completely possible without these documents. How you do it then, you must be wondering. Well, just ask a simple question, on anything, and if the person right away surrenders saying ‘Sorry, I don’t have any idea’, you’ve hit the bull’s-eye. The person for sure is not a Nepali. It’s just not possible.
Inversely, you know a person is a Nepali for sure when you mention three different things and he/she has comments readily available on each of the three different topics. Pronto! Try for yourselves. If you are a working person, then on a colleague, if not, even a chance acquaintance would do. As the person about road widening or about the unavoidable topic of constitution and rest assured you will have your ears full. A Nepali can just take-off on any topic. The fact is we Nepalis just know. Period.
If you still have any iota of doubt left, there is one another verification process. This is not to say that the first test does not give you full-proof results but still if you want to get to that level of super certainty, say 101 percent, there is one more available.
Here’s what you do then: mention to the person, say about a certain decision, which led to a failure of something, a project perhaps and he/she bounces to life with eyes lit up saying something like ‘See, I had already made my reservation right at the time when the decision was made. I knew it would fail.’ The failure could be of any kind, failure on part of the government, neighbor’s sewage pipe bursting open or even Barrack Obama’s war on Libya and a Nepali knows about its fate! On a different note, the project could very well be a success. You appreciate a project which had managed to see a successful completion despite all the hindrances and chances are still high that you get a similar response. Once again, even in such a situation, a Nepali will not shy away from saying, ‘Hadn’t I mentioned to you already. It was bound to be a success!’
Every time I come across some website or a book that mentions Nepal and it’s people I invariably end up seeing people of Nepal characterized as very friendly, ‘cooperative’ and ‘un-clever’. You might also get to see words like ‘honest’ and ‘helpful’. I think we are slowly but surely liberating ourselves from these adjectives. If you were to take cognizance of how the country is flaring up in far east and far west, I am sure you would resort to the antonyms of the very words that characterized us.
Hence, in the midst of all sorts of transformations taking place making the task of identification increasingly difficult, we can breathe a sigh of relief. We need not worry for we still have not run out of all options. Agree?