Monday, November 16, 2015

Kanak Niti and the Nepalese Foreign Policy

The Kings of Nepal had their training in the tradition of ancient Indian Kings. King Mahendra, the architect of contemporary Nepalese policies ( and a true follower of his illustrious ancestor Prithvi Narayan Shah, who considered Nepal as a gourd between between two rocks ), is said to have thoroughly read and valued the three great Indian classics - the Hitopadesh, the Panch Tantra and the Raghuvamsa. However, it was the Kanak Niti, which seems to have influenced the King immensely.
  There is a fable in the Kanak Niti, relevant for understanding Nepal's perception of its position in regard to India and China. The fable briefly told runs like this:  There was a flood. A cobra, a scorpion and a bull-frog were marooned on high ground. The cobra wanted to swallow the frog. But in between them was the scorpion sitting with its raised sting. It held back the cobra. The frog wanted to bite off the sting and chew up the scorpion. The hiss of the cobra frightened it. The balance of terror made possible what was an uneasy survival. ( Y G Krishnamurti, His Majesty King Mahendra Bir Vikram Shah Deva - An Analytical Biography, Bombay, n.d., p. 29 cited in Raj Kumar Jha, The Himalayan Kingdoms In Indian Foreign Policy, Maitryee, Ranchi, 1986, pp. 10-11)Of course, the moral of the fable is obvious.
But the contemporary Nepalese leadership has to realise that the times have changed.

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