LETTERS: World Bank and Buddhism

Apropos of the news story “WB to help promote Buddhist Circuits tourism” (THT, February 1, Page 10), it is heartening to note that the World Bank will assist in promoting tourism “on the footsteps of Buddha”. How successful will the WB be in its noble path will be seen within six months to a year from now. But the fact is that some travel traders who have been operating Buddhist tourism for close to half a century on both sides of the open border should have enough enlightened knowledge to already bring the devotees by the plane, train and bus loads. That they have failed to do so should be a case study for our celebrated business management graduates. The WB and the traders’ attempt at stirring ideas to generate Buddhist tourists is, however, noteworthy. How can the WB help? The WB can give Lumbini and Buddha a big publicity boost by relocating their regional or Nepal office in Lumbini. This would be a way to draw the world’s attention to Buddhism. In any case, as Lumbini is a part of the newly carved state with its own chief minister, the Cabinet, assembly, a wheel within a wheel or a state within a state, WB office in Lumbini could help deal with two birds at the same time — promote Buddhism and institute federalism. By and by UNESCO, the United Nations cultural agency, should also shift its office to the ancient holy land, the crucible of recorded — not mythological — civilisation that existed six or more centuries before Jesus Christ was born. Since everything else has failed in promoting Buddhism to Lumbini to the desired level, there is no harm in trying new ideas. A drowning man will clutch at a straw, as they say.

Manohar Shrestha, Kathmandu


This is with reference to the news story “Nepali women using Indian route to UAE more vulnerable” (THT, Online, January 28). It is deeply agonizing to learn that Nepali women have been taken to the foreign countries to make them slaves. It is heart-wrenching. This sort of practice echoes “droit de seigneur” of France during the Middle ages, in which the lord had the right to have physical relations with a woman of “lower social rank”. The poor Nepali women have been lured by brokers.

It is said that human trafficking is still rampant. Oftentimes victims of trafficking are put into sex slavery. I can’t imagine the loopholes still exist whereby traffickers manage to smuggle vulnerable and unsuspecting women to foreign countries. The crux of the problem is due to the long open border between Nepal and India, which human traffickers often exploit to smuggle women, and lax security system. There is an urgent need to step up checking along the border. The government should also raise awareness among the people, especially women, about the problems they might face when they land in foreign countries.

Shiva Neupane, Melbourne