Nepal’s mountain settlements host a variety of ethnic groups, people of various castes, religions, cultures and creeds. Nepal is mostly a mountainous country as 83 per cent of its area consists of mountains and the Himalayas. Each individual has a distinct identity; people sharing similar cultures, languages, ethnicities, etc. have their own distinct identities too. Therefore, Nepal is rich in the diversity of these characteristics of its people.But that said, all the people of Nepal are first of all Nepalis, and as the citizens of Nepal, they have their own common rights and duties and responsibilities. All of the distinct identities of various groups are merged into the all-encompassing national identity of being a Nepali. And all around the world, this national identity makes all Nepalis unique. We may be Gurungs, we may be Brahmins, we may be Chhetris, we may be Rais, we may be Sherpas, and so on, but each of these identities will mean little if we do not have our national identity. This common identity produces unity in diversity, which is Nepal. We are like a rhododendron; beautiful and useful only when all the petals come together. The theme suggested by the United Nations for International Mountain Day 2016, which falls on December 11, is Mountain Cultures: Celebrating Diversity and Strengthening Identity. This fits Nepal perfectly. In flora and fauna, too, the Nepali mountains possess a rich biodiversity as a number of plants and animal species there are unique. Mountains are also known for beauty, peace and tranquility, and many of our known and unknown ascetics and sages in the ancient past went there to meditate and reveal gems of knowledge and wisdom to the world later on. Mountains certainly can make Nepal rich as their potentials can be harnessed for tourism, for producing many important medicines from the thousands of species of herbs and plants available there, generate huge quantities of electricity to light our homes and to run our industries and even to export it, to grow many kinds of tasty fruit and vegetables and other crops, as well as rear animals for myriad benefits. The harmonious co-existence of communities with the environment are essential for perpetual benefits for humans. The destruction of the mountain ecosystems would have serious consequences for the Nepali economy, Nepal and its people, and it would seriously disturb the climate of Nepal and the region as a whole.
TOPICS: Mountains: Celebrating diversity
Published: 05:03 am Dec 15, 2016