Posted on January 12th, 2010 6 comments
I was thinking of myself – being called ‘Nepalese’. It sure wasn’t the first time I was called Nepalese, but every time I am called by that adjective I feel a bit odd. The word sounds a bit foreign even if the whole ‘Nepal’ is attached to it.
Let’s fight for ‘Nepali’.
Nepali is our identity, Nepalese isn’t!
Nepali is our own word, Nepalese isn’t.
I called myself “Nepali” my whole life. We sang songs like “Yo Nepali sir uchali …”. There was no ‘Nepalese’ in my early days… not even a trace of it.
Then came this information age. The global village shrunk in size, people came know what Gadhimai mela exactly is, Ram Bahadur Bomjom made international headline, Khagendra Thapa Magar is featured in US magazine, and these are only a few to name. The foreign media (and sometime our own media) portrayed us as Nepalese instead of Nepali. I believe, we are Nepali and there is no word called ‘Nepalese’ in our dictionary.
Nepali, is not such a hard word. It comes as easily as Nepal. If it were very difficult to pronounce I wouldn’t mind people using it. When a Nepali word ‘rastra’ was replaced by a foreign word ‘desh’ it was natural and everybody accepted it. ‘desh’ is much easier then our Nepali counterpart. But it is not so with the word ‘Nepali’.
I couldn’t understand why we are adopting not so pleasant sounding ‘Nepalese’ instead of our own ‘Nepali’
To create awareness among Nepali about the word, I created a facebook group, Say no to ‘Nepalese’, in which 140 members joined in a single day. The page starts with introduction:
Nepalese is not equivalent to Japanese or Chinese or Bhutanese.
Would a Pakistani like to be called Pakistanese? No.
How would Srilankanese, Indinese, Bangladeshese, Maldivesese sound?
‘Nepali’ is what we have been calling ourselves. If a foreigner wants to call us ‘Nepalese’ we should remind them that that is not what we call ourselves.
We are Nepali and we will remain Nepali. नेपालीज is too foreign a word for us.
Please join the group and start protesting the use of the word ‘Nepalese’ while referencing us.
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