what does it mean to you to be a Nepali?

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Diwakar Khanal

Article on what does it mean to you to be a Nepali?

With Nepal being a country rich of diverse cultures, languages, and social values, our lives are shaped from cradle to death by believes and norms that have taken framed along the centuries. What we are now is the result of a combination of interplaying factors that must be taken into account if we ask ourselves about our identities.

For example what does it mean to me to be a Nepali?

 I believe that we are surrounded by cultures starting from our birth. We are born in different cultures, families and communities with certain norms and values which we naturally inherit. But in order to figure out who we are, it is one's own job to decide what to believe, or what to value. Simply believing because our parents assume were right does not give us our identity. But being born as Nepali there are three main aspects in life that we all inherit which is culture, belief and being dependent. For me to be a Nepali is to accept the culture given by our society and family which guides us in what we believe throughout our lives with social experience and as we grow up from birth to death we are dependent. So I will focus on how three things culture, belief and being dependent makes a Nepali person.


            Nepalese society is very rich in culture. We have many rituals and customs. We have so many festivals that we celebrate throughout our lives which give us our identity to be Brahmin, chhetri, Gurung, Magar, Tamang, Newar etc. Our various cultures plays bigger role in our life. It teaches us about different aspects of our lives. It guides us through certain moral values. For example we ask fellow Nepali what you are. And for that we answer we are Brahmin, Chhetri, Newar and various other cast and ethnic group. When we also observe practically we can see that culture gives the Nepalese culture some space in specific circle. There are majority of Newar people in Bhaktapur, Mangalbazar, and patan.  Similarly Sherpas are major ethnic group in solukhumbu, tamang in Rasuwa, Chaudhary, and tharu in terai. Every culture teaches what to eat and what not to. Brahmin is not seen as alcohol user whereas Newar need alcohol in each and every festivals, occasions and parties.  It teaches us to respect our elder, love the junior. Culture generally bound us with responsibilities and duties which we carry out in daily life. It discourages the negative activities such as fighting, crime etc. In every activity Nepalese people remember the culture and give major priority to culture and do the things such as marriage, celebrating festivals, wearing clothes etc. So the culture is the Culture act as umbrella in Nepalese society.


Culture changes from time to time. Globalization and modernization have shown a massive impact in Nepalese society from the food we eat, the things we do, the clothes we wear and the thing we talk. This is mainly because of what one believes and perceive. We are exposed to certain cultures, values, religion but it's our decision on what to believe, what to take and what not. For example Nepalese people have started to celebrate English New-year, Christmas, Halloween, Valentine's Day etc. The culture says that Brahmin should not drink but belief has made the change towards culture as Brahmin may be equally user of alcohol along with Newar. So in this way believes shape our identity of being Nepali. There have been trend of changing our religion and being a Christmas. It is nothing but a belief. This is how the belief works in Nepalese culture. It is youth who tend to believe in new things and adapt to rapid change of globalization and westernization. Culture is like a multiple cuisine which comes with a plate of life time where beliefs determine what we choose and what we leave.


            In our society we are made to be dependent from our birth to death because of our culture and belief. We tend to follow in mostly others’ path rather than making our own. For example many youth still are still not able to figure out what they want to do in their life. Some tend to follow their father/ mother, some do what their families member say, some follow their friends hoping to be together with them and some just copy other. There are very few who make their own decision and path. We are dependent to our families member until we complete our education and until we are married. Then we are dependent on our jobs and family properties and later we are dependent to our children. And this is only when we talk generally in surface layer. We are dependent in our day to day life beginning from childhood. We are always taken out by our parents and we are surrounded by strict rules and regulations. While studying we are dependent on getting rewards from family or school, college rather than for ourselves. It's very irony that we are so much dependent that when we are in school, colleges we need at least one friend to go to canteen, college and even sometime toilet. So we can see that how our cultures has led us to believe in ourselves as we are so much meant to be dependent and another irony is that we are not even able to realize throughout our life.


            There is one book named fight club written by Chuck Palahniuk and later the movie was also made by David fincher. I have always loved one phrase that has been used in the movie which says that "you are not our job, you are not how much money you have in bank, you are not the car you drive, you are not the contents of your wallets, you are not your Khakis, you are all-singing, all- dancing craps of the world." I believe that we Nepalese people are the first 5 phrase we are our job, the car we drive, the place where we live, the money which we have in the bank and the clothes that we wear. Our lives start and end achieving all these things and we are not even able to find an answer to what we are. We run through culture believing on other perceptions, values and making ourselves dependent as we grow.


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