Friday, 1 December, 2023

The Cheerful People

Dixya Poudel

Nepal has been recognised as the happiest nation in South Asia and Nepalis are quite happy about it. The United Nations (UN) recently released the World Happiness Report and Nepal is ranked in the 84th position, making this Himalayan nation the best ranked among the South Asian countries. It was a pleasant surprise for the Nepali citizens.

Nepal is certainly a unique country with friendly and cheerful people. Tourists visiting the nation are known to comment on the hospitality of Nepalis. Even the Nepalis struggling financially don’t hesitate to greet visitors with a heartfelt welcome and offer whatever little they may have. These feelings of hospitality are a long held tradition in the nation. And deep within the roots of Nepali culture remains the love for the nation and a respect and reverence for its traditions.

Although today the nation faces modernisation and urbanisation, it has retained its profound language, culture, traditions and customs. Today youth in Nepal may embrace foreign cultures and yet remain true and loyal to their nationality. In a way, a different kind of amalgamation of modern and traditional can be found in the nation. While brain drain and foreign employment may be an issue, the nation sees an increasing number of foreign returnees that include graduated students. Many Nepali students who have earned a degree abroad return to their homeland to best utilise their education.

It is said that there is no place like home. Certainly, Nepalis living abroad know this only too well. Those who are abroad create a congregation of fellow Nepalis and in myriad ways upheld their traditions through festivities and celebrations. It enables them to revel in the company of their fellow citizens and makes them a little less homesick. There is a certain tie between a homeland and its denizens. Home is where the heart is and the heart is where there is a feeling of true acceptance. Nepalis deeply venerate their homeland whether they are within the nation or abroad.

From the Himalayas in the north to the Terai in the south and the hills in the middle, Nepal has a unique geographical structure. Despite the geographical divides and linguistic, cultural, ethnic and religious differences, Nepalis live in a peaceful harmony. Here, a Buddhist Stupa can be found near a Hindu temple that welcomes the visitors impartially. Varied local languages flourish among the Nepali vernacular. And different cultures such as Newari, Gurung and Magar thrive together and collectively respect each other’s religious observance. The President and the Prime Minister of Nepal along with the government commemorate the various religious holidays without any bias or prejudice.

Since the annexation of various fractions into a complete nation by Prithivi Narayan Shah, Nepal has remained a sovereign nation. Perhaps it is due to its long held independence, its inherently rich and diverse culture or its successful elimination of the civil war, the nation is thriving in way that is a joy to behold. Its citizens are amiable with a sense of hospitality, friendliness and sovereignty along with a profound spirituality that spans across the various cultures.

As a birthplace of Lord Buddha, home to the sacred and pristine Himalayas and a rich cultural and traditional influence, perhaps it isn’t surprising that Nepal has genuinely happy citizens.