WHO ARE WE

“Aba UK basepachi ta buhari pani gorini nai huncha hola ni” teases my aunty. Those are lines that I often hear when visiting relatives in Kathmandu. The attention does not always focus around marriage either. It moves on to our freedom to explore, drink alcohol, make boyfriends and girlfriends and just be very ‘Western’. That is their imagination, their idea of how a Nepali lives in England.

Those back in Nepal may believe that my parents and their friends have suddenly become ‘British’ in their views. From a twenty year old me, my perspective differs. I find myself stuck at times. I wonder why my parents and the wider Nepali community haven’t become ‘British’ in their thoughts. I wouldn’t mind hearing my parents say “Hey son, you’ve been staying home a lot, why don’t you go out on Friday night and just live it up” or “Yeah, it’s okay to date whoever you want, it’s your life… as long as you don’t do anything you’d regret”. Unfortunately, what we hear more from our parents are conversations that goes along the lines of “Oh did you hear, the Gurung family had to accept the Rai daughter-in-law, apparently the parents tried their best to split the two up… see, this is why you should marry within your own caste”. There’s more… rather than seeing the British culture for what it is, there’s bitter resentment “The people here have nothing better to do but watch football and get drunk, their parents haven’t taught them well”.

Sex is everywhere. Even without promotion you’ll see it on the newspapers, bus hoardings and on the TV. It’s difficult to avoid it. Pornographic images have become almost normal now. I wonder if all this that we see is actually making our society more traditional. Parents are afraid. Maybe they think there are too many unneeded distractions, too many paths that can lead us to do the bad. Can this be the reason behind why our Nepalese community is becoming more conservative? With the way that we are holding on to our culture, traditions and way of life I see this as a barrier for many of us to integrate within the wider British society.

I come across university students who still have to lie to their parents and say they are in the library. Is staying past 9PM a crime? Is cinema really a bad place? Many parents and young people are still stuck on the belief that discos and nightclubs are a space for those willing to do the unacceptable. Majority of us university students probably consume alcohol in the company of our peers. But why does that change when it’s within the four walls of our home or whilst attending the community parties. Our actions and decisions are heavily dependent on the reaction of the community. “Don’t do that, just think, what will they say”, “You shouldn’t do that, we’ve never done it”… how long are we to keep hearing those lines?

When I tell my aunty that “even dating someone from a different caste can be an issue”, it suddenly dawns on her that things haven’t really changed. Even though we now live in a culture where sex before marriage is accepted, drinking is a norm and relationships are public, I feel that my parents or certainly those in the similar age-range are not willing to compromise.

PS. I’d love to know your views, especially from the Nepali folks living abroad… do you feel that we have become more accommodating of different cultures and people or do you think we’re a bit too conservative on certain matters?

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Read More:
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25 COMMENTS

  1. I think we have this problem from decades n decades but i never saw some one writing about this matter. I entirely agree with you dude nepalese people should not protest about this absurdity matter. I think moving on to this 21st century this matter is just a rubbish. We should preserve our tradition but we’re going a bit too much about this matter. I’m so happy that some one does care what’s going on in nepalese society.

    • Lex is a homosexual . He try to be the NEXT Karan Johar of Nepal. This is disgusting. What are your credential LEX just taking cool pic and writing articals here and there make ur view legitimate u think u gay faggot. Keep ur homophobic views to urself . Dont try to disturb our nepali social norms u foggot.

      • Mr. Khadka , what in fact disgusting is to see your annoying overtly personalised senseless unintellectual opinion in the site. I am not surprised it has not been removed for yes everybody has their right to speak and put forth their argument but it does not at all mean howver you derogate others personally or socially. Being a homosexual first is nothing illegitimate , secondly, Shut up! why am i even bothered. doh!

      • Well, it was only a matter of time before a homophobic bigot added their views – in this case Ram Khadkha.

        Not that it’s even relevant but he states that ‘Lex is a homosexual’, then tells Lex to ‘keep ur homophobic views to urself’.

        These comments support the idea of a correlation between homophobia and ignorance.

        If, Ram, Lex is, as you suggest, a homosexual, don’t you think it would be very strange for him to be sharing homophobic views? Homophobia of course meaning:

        homophobia \hom`o*pho”bi*a\, n. A strong dislike or fear of homosexuals, especially to an unreasonable degree. [PJC].homophobia \hom`o*pho”bi*a\, n. A strong dislike or fear of homosexuals, especially to an unreasonable degree. [PJC].
        homophobia n : prejudice against (fear or dislike of) homosexual people and homosexuality.

        (onlinedictionary.co.uk)

        Perhaps you should do your homework and engage your brain before you make further comment. You do have one of those, don’t you?

    • All due respect, Normally i do not feel the need to write comments on your lexlimbu topics, i browse and go but after witnessing some serious and slightly worrying debates, i wanted to write my view.

      I want to start by saying that if we see, think, hear and discover more, we will find that there is good and bad in everything and everyone, including our tradition, history, culture etc.

      If we have become more traditional, does that mean it is entirely bad? I am sure there are part of our tradition that we really admire and we are proud about, why not talk about those things more often rather then always glooming about the bad things? Surely if nepali culture and tradition was so horrible and constricting then all nepali community would have collapsed by now but it hasn’t.
      Yes, work slowly but surely needs to be done on our issues but rather then completely disregarding our parent’s views maybe it would be more effective if we the youths who have the energy and the curiousity to take the first step into filling the gap between us and our parents by understanding where they come from, why they think such way, their views on life and the world and in doing so, i think we will be much more tolerant of their views regardless we choose to accept it or not. Because our grandfathers/ mothers, father/mother and us were born in times when things were quite different.

      They were born in the time of nothing much but our nature, our natural foods, they were healthy, strong, they had their own languages, rituals, religion, myths, legends, wisdom, songs, dances, deep respect for their ancestors and history, and many more, hard life but they were self-sufficient warriors and proud.

      From that time to now, many things have changed, them moving to cities, joining the gurkhas is two of them. Ever since it has never been the same, slowly we have been going further and further away from our past and origin in hope for a better future which still has not arrived. This is where we are now, most of us know very little about our country’s history, our tribe’s history, our family’s history, we do not have something to belong to, call our own and be proud off, the reasons can be various different things but what happened in the past is beyond our control but what we choose to do now will control our future.

      And i do hope that those days will come soon when we move forward not by forgetting our past but we move forward by searching for our past, discovering it, learning it, understanding it, standing strong and unified as once our great ancestors did, never bowing down, ready to take on the future and fight off until death, never giving up, every challenges, problems and evils that comes our way.

      Sadhai nepal amaar rahos,
      Kaile pani himmat na haros,
      Khusi huda namati nu, udas huda na attinu,
      Nepal ko gham ra tara haru sadhai talki rakhos,
      Nepal ko dherai bho, ako chaina din haru,
      Tara dukha namana sathi, hamro din haru aye pachi;
      Juni juni ko laghi rahane cha.

      Hamro desh, hamle banau.

  2. i agree with you on some extent but why is the nature of our fathers and mothers frowned upon. yes the conversations and scrutinising others business is somewhat a negative but why do people relate to it as a ”nepalese nature”.it goes on in almost any community ive known. i think just because we are living in a western atmosphere dosent mean we have to integrate to their culture. theres a difference between accepting it and integrating. why are we trying so hard to be like the british or the westerns.. we are nepali and thats just who we are..i am seeing a rapid change in the youths of today.. and more and more we integrate to western culture the more room i see being left to frown upon ours..the short time weve established in uk and i see the change in peoples toungue and mindset is appauling..i think the problem is not elders not willing to compromise its the fact that young’un nowadays are willing to disintegrate from our own culture/community in acceptence into thiers..i know muslims indians whose parents grandfathers forefather have been in england so long but yet the culture of their main land is so concrete in their mind i just hope to see the same in ours..

    • Allow me to add a British perspective:

      It seems to me that Nepalis bring their families to the UK so that they can benefit from the education system, health system and so forth.

      It seems remarkable to me that parents make this decision, put their children into UK schools and then seem surprised and outraged when their children mix with non-Nepalis. It is as though the parents somehow expect their children to enjoy all the benefits that come with being in the UK, yet at the same time to remain in all other respects exactly as though they had never left Nepal. If anyone can explain to me where the reason lies in this bizarre expectation, please enlighten me.

      There is another issue here also and it is one people are afraid to name. It is the attitudes of arrogance, pride and superiority which add up to racism. If a Nepali son or daughter, living in the UK, choses to be in a relationship with anyone outside the Nepali community, how many Nepali parents would judge the boyfriend or girlfriend of their offspring based on his or her qualities as a human being? The answer is ‘depressingly few’. This, people, is racism.

      Imagine for a minute how this experience might feel for the non-Nepali involved. He or she, assuming they are British, are suffering racism in their own country – racism dealt by the guest upon the host. Show me one culture where tradition or kaida allows a guest to behave in this manner.

      Nepalis who are in this country have made a choice. They have chosen to be here, in Britain. If they continue not to integrate and not to allow their children to integrate the result will be a rift not only between the Nepali and the British communities but between the young Nepali generation and that of their all-too-often narrow minded, controlling and racist parents.

      More to follow on the perceived ‘bads’ of British culture but for now, time to run!

      • i do not declare a segregation from the british.nor any other race for that matter..when did i ever state not accepting any race any culture into our own..but at the same time how is integrating gonna solve the problem that we have in our community…i dont think there is actually a great amount of parents that is outraged when the nepali kids are mixing with the non-nepalis..its the level of lost respect that is to be held in their eyes..and the amount of nepali kids chosing the wrong paths, even thought it happens back home too, u can see sort of were that fear erupts from..they are seeing change they should have forseen turn for the ”worse”..as for community we have a need to conversate but how is judging them about judging us helping..

        as far as the judgmental side goes..yes people do get judged when they marry someone not of our own colour… but we already have that problem within our own..so you shouldnt feel singled out or feel the racial remarks directed only to you,because its being done in ours…it is a problem we have to surface because we as a nepali community or an individual are outraged when they feel they are being felt inferior to the british or racially abused by any western but yet we are ready to separate casts within our own..

        as integration..i have no judgemental issuies on anyone regarding their colour or their beliefs.. the message im trying to put forth here is that how is integrating in the form of the british culture ”freedom” or a solution to the mindset of nepali public…which oviusly lex is referring to

        that is why i wrote theres a difference between accepting and integrating.. and we have chosen to be here because of the right we have earned, which i feel isn’t up to par with the amount of services we did and still doing for the british army..and u speak as if you are pointing the finger towards our ”all too often narrow minded,controlling and racist parents” .. how much insights of different parents have you really made an effort to find out..

      • i consider it very natural when hindrances arises in the process of assimilation between two different communities because they are bound by different beliefs and traditions. As such the process of assimilation is a long one. i would not pin point any community for those hindrances. it would be wise to let anyone practice their traditions as long as they don’t impose it on others. In the context of Nepal there is racism in Nepal itself, caste system is prevelent one arising from hindu customs. Also the imposition of hindu traditions on the entire non hindu nepali community. Hence the different caste related issues duirng marriage .Personally i dont really believe in any culture,race, tradtion, belief, religion or the current system. but i emphasise on individual freedom that makes me a little belief bound.

  3. I definitely agree with you. I’ve found, in some aspects, parents here in the U.K to be more conservative than in Nepal. I think compact communities could be a huge influencing factor for this. In my opinion, we do have to embrace and integrate some aspects of the Western culture in order to coalesce and stride forward or else it will be very difficult to adapt and seize opportunities in a foreign country. Nevertheless, patriotism all the way!

  4. I think the boundaries that separate culture, tradition and norms are extremely blurred. Along with the addition environmental influences adds more layers to the mix. By taking this thought into account, it is understandable that Nepali parents expect and uphold certain notions of the way life ought to be lived even though it conflicts with what the younger generation deems to be the path they think they should lead. Change is difficult for all of us, which is what conflicts between the two generations. The older folks do not want to abandon their ways and replace (or at least accept) them with new ones and the younger generation is not able to assimilate the old ways with their own personal ways of thinking.

    Culture is not just what is passed along from generation to generation but as well as what we absorb from our immediate environment (country, social circle, education, media, etc.). Also, although the Nepali community adheres to collectivistic ideals, an individual will undeniably still have their own personal conception. This is something I think older generations have difficulty understanding/accepting.

    I don’t think the focus should be on weighing who is right or wrong, but in understanding and accepting the fact that there are bound to be differences between generations regardless of the country you’re living in, be it Britain or anywhere else in the world. I’m sure the issues that the Nepali youth face is also shared by youth from other backgrounds too. There are so many examples of ‘rebellious behaviour’ such as elopement, inter-caste marriages, etc. that was present in the times of our grandparents…I am one of the products of such endeavours! So going against society’s norms is not necessarily something new in our community.

    Whenever I come across instances where notions such as marrying into your own caste is expressed, I always ask WHY? I think it is important to understand the basis upon which a ‘cultural norm’ is demanded by our parents, society, whoever. Usually, I don’t receive a logical response and so I think it’s extremely necessary to question beliefs instead of blindly accepting everything and anything in the name of ‘culture’.

    The younger generation is the bridge towards the future. The cultural values that is transported through time depends on our perceptions and how we act them out. We might choose to stick to the ideals that our parents uphold or adopt new ones.

    Hopefully, there wil be a harmonious integration of the two.

  5. P,

    Your second paragraph is really interesting:

    ‘as far as the judgmental side goes..yes people do get judged when they marry someone not of our own colour… but we already have that problem within our own..so you shouldnt feel singled out or feel the racial remarks directed only to you,because its being done in ours…it is a problem we have to surface because we as a nepali community or an individual are outraged when they feel they are being felt inferior to the british or racially abused by any western but yet we are ready to separate casts within our own..’

    It’s a relief to see that you recognise the problem. It’s called racism. The fact that as an Asian minority you occasionally suffer it in this country makes it all the more bemusing that you also practice it (I am of course talking in general terms).

    Thanks for you consolation but do not worry – I have never felt singled out – I have enough experience to know that I am far from alone in experiencing racism.

    As to your final comment, I have witnessed these attitudes enough times to call it ‘all too often’. After all, there is a zero tolerance attitude to racism in the institutions of this country, and among many of its people, in light of which just one ‘narrow-minded, controlling and racist’ parent is one too many (read ‘all too often).

    To touch on integration, I am not for one minute suggesting that Nepalis in this country should loose sight of their own country, their culture, language, identity. But they must recognise that aspects of their culture, namely the racist aspects that we have discussed, are not tolerated here. And for what it’s worth, I think that for its future development and the well-being and equality of its people, Nepal would also do well to leave such attitudes in the past.

    Jai equality!

  6. It’s an intriguing point that you brought up but one that merits elaborate explanation. I don’t claim to have undisputed knowledge in this field, but I can certainly give you a perspective from a Persian standpoint, you may even call it a babbling rant if you will, so bear with me because this is hardly going to be an eloquent masterpiece. 😛

    Can I say that living in the UK has made my family more traditional? I would say no, but is some ways it has made me more fervent about my Persian identity, and has helped me to conceptualise what I believe is a benign alternative taking the positive elements from both cultures. Since living here in the UK, we have become somewhat more aware of the shortcomings of our homeland, both politically and socially. While I have retained great reverence and pride towards my homeland – Iran – and our rich Persian culture lavished in history, tradition and patriotism, I have never been one to deny that certain aspects of our culture is in need of some serious reform if my fellow Iranians are to assimilate into the contemporary global paradigm; however, that does not mean that we need to let go of all the attributes that identify us as Persians, and I would apply the same notion in the context of Nepalis.

    As a people of free will and thought, we must learn to accept that even the cultures that we devoutly revere possess elements that we need to bring into question, and that includes Nepalis, Westerners, Persians etc alike. Nobody is saying that one needs to alleviate themselves of their culture entirely in order to gain acceptance by their host community or the global community for that matter. Nevertheless, progress is necessary for the prosperity of any community, their society at large and their peoples’ standing within a global context. Now some may argue that we don’t need the rest of the world and that we can be self sufficient in our own little bubble, but if North Korea has bared any testament to that notion, I’m sure the majority of people will agree this is anything but favourable.

    Nepalis are evolving conceptually, and this is particularly indicative amongst the Nepali youth who are clearly at cultural and conceptual disparity with the generation of their parents. Nevertheless, I’ve noticed that progress is conspicuous throughout the community, I for one believe that my wife’s family are emblematic of such monumental transitions. It is true that at first her parents opposed our union, suggesting that their values were at stake. In due course however, they became more accepting of the idea suggesting that times have changed and that now they’re living in the UK where such cultural ideals need to be tolerated, thus insinuating they have to accept the inevitable, in that their offspring are going to assimilate into a new culture and absorb with them new ideas and practices foreign to their own. While I agree that this statement retains substance and should be in the very least acknowledged and accepted by all who decide to come and live here, the one thing that I always question is why should it only be accepted because one has come to the west in order to reside; this is a virtue that I believe should be absorbed by all cultures worldwide.

    Now I do not mean to enforce my belief upon anybody else, but I do believe that discourse is necessary for conceptual augmentation; I therefore feel that I do have to voice an opinion as to what justifies my viewpoint. To me, accepting certain traditional practices such as forcibly arranged marriages or even as much as frowning upon inter-ethnic unions is akin to saying that we have to accept the West African tradition of female circumcision or cannibalism practiced by certain aboriginal tribes of Polynesia/Papau New Guinea or even anti-semitism/Inqusition practiced in medieval Europe. Just because it is (or was) part of a society’s heritage or socio-cultural practice does not mean it is suddenly acceptable. I personally believe that not all cultures are benign or have to be respected, these types of cultures need to earn their respect through doing what is righteous, which includes making progress in the right direction by reforming some of their more archaic/questionable practices and beliefs.

    As a self-described realist, I cannot deny that my homeland is in a state of disarray, but it wasn’t always like this. What has kept us suppressed for the last 34 years (in particular) were the religious traditionalists who sought full loyalty, reverence and adherence from the Iranian populace to the narratives of an ancient book supposedly recited to an illiterate desert warlord 1400 years ago in West Arabia (Yes, I’m referring to the “Prophet” Muhammad). However, many of us Persians are now rising up to challenge the status quo of Iran, and deliver our people from enforced traditional conformity. Then again, one can argue that Iran and Nepal are incomparable since both exhibit varying political contexts, where one is an Islamic theocracy and the other isn’t; nevertheless, we are both constrained with provincial social pressures and attitudes ascribed by members of our communities, including, in some cases our own families and relatives.

    Upon coming to the UK many Persians began to realise that Iran is still far behind the rest of the world in terms of ideology and concept. Yes, many became enlightened through the national literacy programme introduced by our late Shah during the 1960s, but we were still several steps away from really understanding free will and absorbing foreign and novel concepts, despite the fact that our culture was shaped by conceptual evolution (which is something I will come to in a little bit), much to our complacency as the 1979 revolution had taught us. At first it was very difficult for us to simply alleviate ourselves from our way of life, even for those of us who considered ourselves modern, we saw our girls dating Western men (my sister included), we witnessed our youths consume alcohol for frivolous fun with their British friends, and we saw many conversions from Islam to other faiths (including my own family and relatives who became Zoroastrians, Baha’i’s and Agnostics). Even I rebelled and married a Nepali 😉

    Iranians such as my family began to realise that if we were going to accept traditionalism, we also had to accept constrained freedoms, and if that was a lifestyle we wanted, we were better off going back home and residing there. We did not decide to come to the UK in order to bring our constraints with us, but we came here to live a better life, a life that we could not live back home. Now that doesn’t mean that we had become completely disillusioned by our Persian identity, to the contrary in fact, but rather we saw elements of Western culture that we felt could and should harmonise with that of our own. in fact, we saw more of a reason to be proud of our heritage and became more fervent about our Persian identity, because now we appreciated it and realised that being Persian is not merely about conforming to definitive traditional values. Again, this is not even what it means to be Persian or part of any other cultural identity for that matter, and that includes Nepalis.

    Your identity is not defined by hundreds or even thousands of years of traditional conformity, for even in those thousands of years, the ideas and concepts of your own forefathers had evolved, just as yours will today and your children’s tomorrow. However, many of us still confine ourselves to this idea of traditionalism, a trait that has obstructed our development, our ability to integrate with our “indigenous” hosts and prohibited us from setting an example to the rest of the world. Traditionalism does not necessarily mean one has to maintain adherence to every trait of their culture at that particular dispensation, but like traditions themselves, they evolve conceptually, which requires some delineation from “core traditional principles”; thus traditionalism has never really persevered throughout antiquity right up to the contemporary era, but rather it was an ever changing concept. The West did not get to where they are today by maintaining the orthodox observances of their Judeo-Christian faith. In the face of adversity from their own religious leaders and kinsman, those brave outspoken individuals risked their lives and rose up to change the course of history as we know it, knowing that inertia would have gotten them (and their people) nowhere. Conceivably, you may also be able to assert the counter argument, had a group of puritans never left England on the Mayflower due to increased liberties and empathy towards Catholics by Charles I, would America be where it is today? But then those who ask often overlook the facts, the transition from puritanism to liberalism is what shaped America to what it is today, not the retention of puritanical beliefs, which involved relinquishing religious conservatism in favour of liberalism.

    Your identity as Nepalis and mine as a Persian are therefore not defined by how we conform to our respective traditions, but are denoted by our histories, our beautiful landscapes, our monuments, our national heroes, our diverse populations, our literatures, our languages, our flora and fauna, our cuisines, our music, our dances, our human natures and our worldly contributions both tangible and intangible. These are the elements of our cultures that define our identities and these are the aspects of our cultures that we need to preserve, not outdated traditions, for as I’ve explained, tradition itself is an evolutionary concept that has shaped us and reshaped us at every dispensation.

    What gives us the right to cease all that has been established thanks to the gift of evolutionary concept induced in the minds of our forefathers? Was it not for our forefathers whose revolutionary ideas fashioned our histories, our cultures and our landscapes? Like your forefathers are you not a person (with a brain and a heart) that you cannot maintain the trait of progress like they did? And where would we be today if our forefathers never implemented that for which had inspired them? I can tell you now, we would all still be living in caves had none of them put their initiatives to use.

    Finally, for those of you who say we should maintain a definitive tradition and cease progress of ideology and concept, let me ask you, if it was good enough for your ancestors, why shouldn’t it be good enough for you? If tradition has evolved and shaped our nations to what they are today, surely you of all people should vehemently oppose any notion of conceptual and ideological inertia. And for those of you who say the progress of our infrastructures are different to the progress of traditionalism, let me ask you, is it not for the evolution of concept that fashioned our infrastructures? Wouldn’t it therefore make you a hypocrite to accept one type of progress but outright refuse another based on your premise of maintaining “tradition”, and under what logical ratiocination do you justify this?

  7. Wow! Aryan,

    That was a pretty intense and demanding piece of prose! As a native speaker and BA in English Literature I found it challenging enough! At risk of sounding patronising, I think you may have lost or partially lost most of our Nepali readers!

    I nonetheless appreciate your input and find myself in general agreement with your views.

    For anyone who was a bit overwhelmed by Aryan’s offering, go to the third to last paragraph. For my money, that’s the key message and it is clearly and nicely put (and only a few lines long!).

    What does anybody else think?

  8. ah the comments here are a revelation! many thanks to mark, divya and aryan for such thoughtful and insightful comments. i completely agree. there are aspects of being nepali which are great and are enjoyed by all, but there are others such as caste and religion which I seriously think were made to keep weaker and vulnerable out of the way; a way of keeping authority amongst the ones who were reigning, while the rest of the population is conveniently dumbed down to rules. as others have said there is a difference between respecting and worshipping. i hope someday all of us will use our brain to think what’s right for us and have the strength to stand by it rather than being dictated by others or aping others.

  9. sorry i completely drifted in earlier post. regarding what lex said in the article, i know it can be tricky dealing with parents. i have been through it so many times. and i don’t blame them. most generations evolve incrementally over time, but ours seems to have fast forwarded. we have gone from eighteenth century to twenty first in a decades time (the ones who have been fortunate enough) because of the education and exposure we got. so the conflict between generations is only natural. still doesn’t mean that they are right, just that we have to be that much more sensitive and compassionate while dealing with them. finally if you still want to live your own life the way you want to, independence is key! when someone becomes mentally, financially and emotionally independent they command respect. you will be perceived as responsible and mature, and they will stop trying to control your life.

  10. As opposed to the general perspective and without being benign, I am trying to specifically address a particular aspect (not all) that you highlighted in your article. It could be assimilated as narrow-minded at a national or regional level in this context but this is what it actually is from the Nepalese perspective. Your opinion on the web page seems pretty much akin to that of a westerner who takes this topic as normal. On the other hand, the “Nepalese law” DOES NOT recognise the words like “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” as they are perceived in the West. Rather, they are understood as male or female friends with no physical contacts in terms of having an affair or in any form of hanky panky manner. It is mainly because of Hinduism being practised in the country for decades if not centuries. Sex before or outside marriage is a no no within that community and also from the outlook of the “Nepalese law”. Nepal is no longer a Hindu kingdom now. It is a secular state though some of the old laws and regulations still remain extant. People belonging to other religious beliefs have their own tradition and they are beginning to do it more openly than before. Things are gradually changing over years.

    Most of our grandparents’ generation in Nepal did not enjoy the privilege of things like telephone, television, etc. Nowadays, young Nepalese generation imitates what they see on TV, internet and films though they have never been outside the country. Once they see the steamy scenes, they are tempted to take every opportunity to try the so-called “illegal things” in secret and such clandestine affairs are gradually pervading through the community, in Nepal, among the youths, especially the so-called “harami keta-keti” from the religious and ethical perspectives. Young people in Nepal are encouraged to abstain from sex before they get married. It is heard that such incidents did happen in a small number in old generation but they were kept secret through fear and mainly due to legal reasons. Some people (but not all) who married into a different caste were treated as social outcasts. This is one of the reasons why people in the past used to get married so early in their life before they reached their puberty. They, at that time, thought this would prevent the problems stemming from such furtive relationship resulting in unwanted pregnancy when contraceptives were not available and it remained in practice for some time. It somewhat replicates the Catholic values which is common in Hinduism also. But it is viewed differently here in this modern age.

    Our parents’ generation, though some of them did not strictly follow the religious customs or the national laws through ignorance or whatever, did grow up under the old customs and they tend to be a little cautious about their children and their offspring, for it is “connected” with the family or community esteem according to the custom(s) in practice. On the other hand, the children of “Lahures” have been to the countries (or born there) where the issue of open relationship is viewed as usual. They tend to like the environment they have been in and often seen. It certainly affects their mentality and they do react to the situation(s) they are not accustomed to or they might even think they are deprived of the freedom which the westerners enjoy! Although the influence of TV, internet and foreign films is being gradually noticed, the old generation has not changed in the same ratio. It is because they still have the same old mind set that date back many years and the concept instilled into them makes them take time to change. On the other hand, politics of Hinduism was employed as a device in Nepal by the past ruler(s) so as to keep the country united but now we see it has taken a toll on new generations that are trying to integrate into the British society. Also, this strategy gave birth to the so-called “castism” in the distant past. Even some guys may think their parents or relatives are prude! When kids are told off, their parents do so for some reasons “from their perspective(s)”. But this issue here in the UK is taken as child abuse. We should not take umbrage at it whether it is for fun or whatever.

    This is now a transitional period for our Gurkha community in the UK if it is taken in a broad sense. Such things will be okay within the Gurkha community in the UK, possibly, in the next generation or when we become parents or grand parents. The more people became educated in Nepal, the better solutions to the social problems were found. In certain cases, with the passage of time, the social or cultural problems that our forefathers had are no longer problems now. The issue of castism has been addressed by the Nepalese government and people are encouraged to leave such attitudes in the past. To some extent, social differences such as these and other political cum economic issues did spark a revolution in Nepal. As a result, a new history was written and Nepalese people are now entering a new era. The only thing that everyone now wishes to see in Nepal is the stable government. But, some people still do not seem to be conversant with such reforms introduced in Nepal. However, it should be borne in mind as to what should be coalesced from both the Nepalese and the British culture for adaptation. People grown up in two different countries with differing culture es and two generation By the way, things seem to have been made more sensitive here than in Nepal. Cheer up, guys!

    B Gurung

    P.S. I wrote chiefly about what the new generation growing up in the UK did not know as to some of the topics introduced in the initial article. In addition to that, it is partly due to a cultural difference between the two generations grown up in two differing culture. In a broad context, I agree with what Aryan wrote. I liked his diction which is similar to the standard academic text book I read. Foliages’ posts are also true in the Nepalese context. We who are from a developing country are now adapting ourselves in one of the developed countries. I grew up in Nepal but am working in the United Kingdom now.

  11. It’s great to get some debate going and there have been some great points nicely made.

    We have established that there is a gap between generations that causes problems and threatens in certain cases, to rip the two apart. We’ve also heard why this is.

    What we are yet to hear is how to bridge that divide!

    So, HOW DO WE BRIDGE THE GAP BETWEEN GENERATIONS? THE GAP BETWEEN NEPALI YOUTH, EDUCATED AND/OR WORKING IN THE UK, AND THEIR PARENTS (USUALLY THE ONES WHO BROUGHT THEM HERE BUT WHO DO NOT WANT TO SEE THEM MIX AND BE INDEPENDENT)?

    AND WHAT CAN THE BRITISH BOY/GIRL DO TO PERSUADE THE PARENTS OF THEIR NEPALI GIRL/BOY FRIEND THAT THEIR RELATIONSHIP IS SOMETHING TO BE WELCOMED (OR AT THE VERY LEAST, TOLERATED) RATHER THAN DENIED?

  12. “So, HOW DO WE BRIDGE THE GAP BETWEEN GENERATIONS? THE GAP BETWEEN NEPALI YOUTH, EDUCATED AND/OR WORKING IN THE UK, AND THEIR PARENTS (USUALLY THE ONES WHO BROUGHT THEM HERE BUT WHO DO NOT WANT TO SEE THEM MIX AND BE INDEPENDENT)?

    AND WHAT CAN THE BRITISH BOY/GIRL DO TO PERSUADE THE PARENTS OF THEIR NEPALI GIRL/BOY FRIEND THAT THEIR RELATIONSHIP IS SOMETHING TO BE WELCOMED (OR AT THE VERY LEAST, TOLERATED) RATHER THAN DENIED?”

    ITV has the answer – a reality show.

  13. I really don’t know the answer to that question Mark Brightwell. I am married to an English guy and you can just imagine what response I got…. I read this article on the day it was published online and I’m still thinking about it. But I’m stuck. My husband is a good(amazing even!), honest man and we love each other. What did he do to deserve to be isolated and rejected? My husband is the one who accepts me as I am -on my views on racial prejudice, politics, music, everything! For this, I can tell you guys I am truly grateful for my husband and it was the support and love he gave me that showed me we belong together (I could go on…)
    To my parents, it seems like all they think is that I have chosen an English guy to spite them and to reject the Nepali culture…. I don’t understand this. My thinking and upbringing since primary school has been English, during my school/college there weren’t that many Nepalese….
    Anon – if my life was a reality show, it’d be quite dull from a viewer’s point of view. I get on with my life and they get on with theirs… (Although I know they resent me and speak of that occasionally). And I don’t know what will happen when children come along….

    Also to point out, it seems males can do whatever they want and will be accepted back whenever no questions asked but as a woman I must suffer my family’s isolation…

    • Jellybean, thanks for sharing your experience. I am sorry that you have to suffer the resentment of your family. I recognise your situation only too well. And what a crazy double standard that the son can always come home, no matter his ‘crimes’ and all is forgiven but for a daughter it seems to be black and white that you are caste out for good.

      Can anyone explain the justification or sense in this?

      I can see it as nothing but double standards and a hypocrisy. Glad you have found a good man. Hope that your family might reassess their values some day. We can but hope ….

  14. So true Lex. I am originally Nepali but Canadian-Nepali. I am in relationship with a white guy and i still haven’t told my mother and my family. I wonder how will they react. They always ask me how i am and how i am living. I can imagine there reaction when i will tell them that we are living together and we want to marry as soon as i am done with my Studies. In my family tho my aunties and my grandmother had married to foreigner but i feel pathetic when other member of my family still mention that it would be better if you marry your own cast. However i always ignored them. But what i feel is, ‘it’s your life do what you want to do’ as long as the decision or the steps you take does not offence the people. And everyone has their rights to choose there own partner.

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