The urgent need of the hour is to transform the current culture of Nepali society from an unstable “lahure” to something more stable
Nepali society suffers from the “proud beggar” mindset. In the latest embargo imposed on Nepal by India, it became evident how we had completely become dependent on our neighbors and still are not doing much about it. Our “proud beggar” mindset has resulted in few opportunities inside our country, where the government is so content “begging” on our behalf as a solution to Nepal’s deep rooted problems while we as a society encourage it wholeheartedly.
This rampant proudly begging attitude has resulted in a nation unable to stand on its own feet. Thus our major source of national income is through exporting our youths via “lahure” culture. The concept is easy: Send our youths at their peak productive times abroad to solve another country’s problem and get them to send back the money. We are painfully realizing that just sending money back home (extracting from youths) doesn’t build a prosperous nation. The urgent need of the hour is to transform the current culture of Nepali society from an unstable “lahure” to something more stable.
It is imperative we stop our society from becoming a “parasite” which continues to survive by leaching its resources from its youths (hosts) who go out to “lahur” and generate resources for the country bartering their youthfulness, tearing apart the family and disintegrating the social well-being. In how many families do fathers and daughters or mothers and sons get to spend Dashain or other major festivals together every year?
When parents working hard abroad cannot spend time with their son or daughter for more than a few months in a decade, what kind of generation are we grooming to ensure prosperity? We have to understand that in order to build a prosperous Nepal, changes have to start not from outside but from within, right from the mindset.
Society mirrors nature. Nature requires different seasons (continuity via change) to exist and evolve. Similarly a society also needs to ensure continuity via constant change in order to progress. The existential question we face today is this: What kind of society do we evolve to build an equitably prosperous Nepal? What societal character do we express if we want to stay relevant between our giant neighbors? Will we dare to seek a society that seeks to evolve itself into a self-reliant and is solution-centric rather than misery-centric one that revolves around blaming and begging?
Solution-oriented and hard-working ethics happen to be the key characteristics of one with an entrepreneurial spirit. Nepali society often confuses the term entrepreneurial or entrepreneurship with plain money making machinery. But it is much more than this. Entrepreneurial spirit is about citizens having a positive mindset that actively seeks to overcome the challenges of their society through ingenuity and innovation. Profit is often only a byproduct of such a mindset, not the motivation.
An entrepreneurial society nurtures competition and innovation. It craves for accountability and creativity. It fosters an environment where risk taking is encouraged and promotes a culture that permits dissent and failures. It celebrates the diversity of its citizens instead of homogenizing them. The crucial characteristic is the development of both economic as well as social. A nation that aspires to become a prosperous one within a generation cannot do so without building an entrepreneurial society.
Hence, if Nepal wants social and economic prosperity Nepal has to build entrepreneurship as one of its core engines such that transforms the society into entrepreneurial entity.
Entrepreneurial society is a must for Nepal of today primarily because of three reasons. It restores our freedom. An entrepreneurial society promotes freedom in Nepal since innovators, creative citizens and entrepreneurs will be powerful counterpart to the regulators/bureaucrats/politicians by providing a sound balance in our society that craves for equitable prosperity.
Second, it solves our problems. Entrepreneurship is all about solving the problems. Each society is unique. In Nepal with its myriads of cultures there are unique problems to solve. Entrepreneurs will be the backbone of the nation in solving the problems of our multifaceted society as many of our unique problems here have to be creatively solved.
Finally, entrepreneurship promotes ownership and enhances well-being. It enables us to achieve our potential by letting us choose from what we want to do and when, thereby promoting ownership. Entrepreneurship redefines the work as not confined by eight hours work everyday in a particular location which in turn enhances our well-being. Supply and demand of labor will be modularized.
For example, Uber is one of the biggest taxi companies in the world,but it does not own any taxi. The taxi drivers are the owners of their own vehicle and they work according to their own schedule. Entrepreneurial spirit brings in such ingenuity and paradigm shift in the society. With all these recent syndicates in transportation being dismantled slowly, Nepal needs similar ingenuity.
With the advent of the information technology revolution, an entrepreneurial Nepali society is realistic goal. It has made it possible for everyone to catch up fast to the knowledge gap. While it took almost hundred years for other countries to catch up with the industrial revolution of Britain, it took only few decades for countries like Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan to catch up with the ICT (Information and Communication Technology) revolution of the Western countries.
China is already the world’s biggest economy with digital revolution and artificial intelligence as driving points on its agenda. India is soon joining it to become the third biggest economy by 2030 and second by 2050 overtaking the United States. And here we are right in the middle of the two biggest economies of the world. Nepal needs to catch this prosperity train and to do so it needs to build the right platform. The smartest young Nepali in the 21st century will want to do more than just earn a living as a ‘lahure’. Self-expression of their talents will be a strong motivation for them. They will stay or return to Nepal only if they see opportunity and means in Nepal in the right form of entrepreneur-friendly environment.
We need the right social engineering here in Nepal to get out of our ‘proud beggar’ nation status, and sincerely build a prosperous Nepal within our life. And that can only be done by transforming Nepali society into an entrepreneurial society.
The author is a political activist currently living in Germany