Costs of migration

Published On: June 30, 2019 01:30 AM NPT By: Sindhu Gyawali

Sindhu Gyawali

Sindhu Gyawali

The contributor for Republica.

For our temptation for career and financial gain abroad, are we not ruining the quality of life of our parents?

Recently, I went to see one of my friends to offer my ultimate valediction for she was leaving the country. She was in ecstasy as she had got much-awaited US visa. She was permanently going to settle down in the US with her NRN husband. She was also taking her baby born in Nepal with her. Her husband was the only child to his parents. Just as we were ready to take our snaps, her mother in law sobbed bitterly. Deep inside she had the pain of parting with her children. As we were about to move from there, the words her father in law said are still echoing in my mind. With watery eyes he said: “Please do come back. We are just three lonely persons living here, my 85 years old mother, my paralyzed wife and 64 years old me.  My house is like a Briddhaasram (the old age home) now.” Those words were unassailable. They touched me deeply. Tears rolled down my eyes.  

 Nowadays younger generations are striving to go abroad and pursue their dreams in foreign land, while their parents, the elderly people, remain here alone. Underdevelopment, political instability and lack of employment opportunities are triggering migration. Some of us might say it is the right of people to choose the way of life they want. But in the last two decades, Nepal has experienced a dramatic growth in international migration to the countries such as America, Australia, Canada, Germany, Britain, Japan, Qatar, Arab, United Arab Emirates (UAE), India and others. But this involves tremendous social cost that cannot be compensated by any means. Our social relationships are distorted. We are miserably and hopelessly degenerated. We are cultivating neglect and apathy for the sufferings of our own parents rather than compassion. For our temptation for career and financial gain abroad, are we not ruining the quality of life of our parents? The pursuit of happiness in terms of better life in other countries is creating a vacuum with absence of human bonding in Nepali families. 

People have aspirations. They have dreams to build better career and to lead a luxurious as well as a happy life. Getting good education, finding a decent job and even making more money is what every Nepali youth wishes today. But being opulent also has its drawbacks. A rising standard of living has made our lives not only comfortable but also stressful. Though we have access to people all around the world, it has debilitated our sense of togetherness. My daddy tells me that the purpose of education should not be to make our life more complicated but to make us wise and rational. 

Professor Chaitanya Mishra says that large scale and long term themes and processes such as globalization, capitalism, democracy, class etc shape the pattern of our life. Migration is also a part of this broader global process. Capitalism has enhanced the individualism and freedom to choose the way of life. Since Nepal is operating within the capitalist worlds and regional system in terms of labor, commodities and capital or finance, the rate of migration is also increasing rapidly.

Timely state intervention is the need of time. Youth migration and the brain-drain of Nepal should be alarming to the policy makers. We cannot afford our human resources to get vanished in the teeming crowd of millions just for the sake of remittances they send home. It is not necessary to sacrifice social values in the name of development. Good many reforms are essential in this regard. 

We just need to consolidate our natural resources. If our people can create there in developed nations they definitely can create here too. No one has Aladdin’s lamp to turn a developing country into a developed one overnight.  But if our youths work with indomitable determination for a prosperous Nepal, very soon, we will have good days ahead. 

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