“Too many politicians and leaders but no statesman” is a statement often used by pundits to explain bad political situations. But what makes a politician a leader and then a statesman and how does this relate to present Nepal?
Notions of liberal democracy and communism-socialism have long divided mankind into opposing ideological-social, political-economic governance models and world views. Both came together to defeat the menace of political populism, economic-tribal-territorial nationalism gripping Europe around the last world wars. But the power of ideas was so strong that the division re-emerged as the Cold War soon after World War II ended. Even as Europe, the old epicenter, struggles to evolve out of the dictates of outdated ideas, elsewhere division is now resurfacing with renewed vigor as US-China tussle.
The Limpiadhura, Kalapani, Lipulekh border dispute has taken Nepal-India relation to one of its historic lows. In the immediate aftermath of changing maps and heated debates calling their own claims as based on historical evidence and questioning the motive of the other, a “cooling down” period to prevent relations from deteriorating further may be needed. But sooner than later both South Asian neighbors, interlinked with inextricable bonds of history, geography, politics, economics, culture and religion, must meet to resolve the problem through serious and friendly negotiations.