Nepal is going through one of its worst crises in recent history after the earthquake on April 25 and its aftershocks. The people of Nepal are thankful for the aid pouring in from all corners of the world. Though they are not looking to make Big Brother feel good, India is happy that it responded with the alacrity it did. Being happy is one thing but gloating about it is another.
Especially when the imagined Great Asian Rival is also pitching in. The Chinese have grand plans for Kathmandu "at Nepal's request" and announced, just a few weeks before the earthquake, they will tunnel under Mount Everest to lay a rail line that will link the Nepal capital to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, now a special autonomous region of the People's Republic. From Lhasa, the line will head to Qinghai province. Engineering marvel or not, Sagarmatha (the Nepali name for Mount Everest) and Nature didn't seem to like the plan (if one goes fishing for omens). But there are many others who can and will look for other causes for the earthquake.
The Himalayan neighbour was quick to rush aid but why should India and Indians continue to talk down at the grief-stricken Nepali, hurt by the earthquake and by the destruction it caused, the line of family and friends who died in the catastrophe. India has been blamed for several things that have kept Nepal in the space it is in.
Nepali politicians have used this historical leverage India holds as the regional hegemon to their advantage, it has happened in all of India’s neighbours. Should it not be a cause of concern for Indians that India, despite its might, proximity and soft power, is, at the end of the day, seen as nothing more than a gloating regional bully?
Let’s help Nepal, later on we could measure who did the most.