Foreign investment plays a critical role in the development of a country. In the current age of ‘global village,’ foreign investment is a key to the economy. But, does the foreign investment always bring "good fortune" to a country? Let’s analyze two incidents in Nepal, related to Indian investments.
No Nepali movies in "Big Cinema"
A theater constructed and managed through Indian investment, Big Cinema – considered to be one of the most sophisticated theaters in Nepal, has decided to boycott Nepali movies. The theater located in Kathmandu, Nepal, now onwards will only feature Hindi or English movies.
According to a film news site, merocinema (screenshot attached), the theaters halted the release of a Nepali movie after receiving a directive from its New Delhi office. The theater management in India told the local management to stop screening Nepali movies in the future too. In a separate news report the theater management was quoted saying – Nepali movies don’t have quality for the theater.
Every business is free to choose what they want to do. But, if they start controlling the market by unfair practices, the government should intervene. I think, Big Cinema wants to cash in the weak current government mechanism in Nepal. The Indian government might also be trying to imply that they have a control on the economy and day-to-day lives in Kathmandu.
Indian Embassy and Indian multi-nationals in Nepal
We called it "Real Embassy" when they started talking about Nepali media being unfair to Dabur Nepal and its product, Real Juice. The Embassy also accused that the Nepali media were corrupt and were campaigning against Dabur. The issue of Real juice was in no way a diplomatic matter and the embassy was stepping into the internal affairs of Nepal. A parliamentary committee thought that the issue was very serious and even asked the government to punish the Indian Embassy. The suggestion however was ignored by the government.
Before that, the embassy had blocked advertisements to media houses writing against India. The Embassy aslo asked Indian-joint ventures only to choose pro-Indian media to publish advertisements. The Indian government also blocked the newsprint of Kantipur publication in the Calcutta, to force them write pro-Indian news.
All these events points to the fact that the Indian Embassy wants to use the Indian joint venture organization as one of the medium to control the political and social aspects of Nepal.
Dabur Nepal threatened to close down (and, it didn’t!)
Dabur Nepal, Indian investment in Nepal threatened to close down and take its investment back when the Indian Embassy’s ‘smear campaign’ didn’t work.
The inedible materials in one of its products, Real Juice, created a wide media publicity (1, 2, 3). It tried to dilute the negative publicity by employing well known personalities in Nepal to act in advertisement campaigns. The advertisements created controversy and one of the actors featured in the advertisement came up with an explanation on why he agreed to appear in the ad.
I have only talked about two two incidents and there are more such events of Indian Embassy meddling in the internal affairs of Nepal.
Blocking Indian investment however is not a viable or practical option. The government mechanism in Nepal however could be made strong to control the multi national organizations and they should ensure that they are beneficial to Nepal.
In this contest, mentioning about a group of Nepali movie enthusiastic is worthwhile. The group has created a Facebook page – "Say NO to Big Cinema!! becoz it doesn’t screens Nepali movies," and is campaigning against the unfair practice of Big Cinemas.