Gangtok, May 29 (UNI) As the 239-year-old Hindu monarchy in Nepal switched to a republic today, the Nepali diaspora in Sikkim expressed hope for a similar peacefulness and human security in this new winds of change.
''We hope that the new Nepal will be as peaceful and secure as Sikkim,'' said 64-year-old Jagat Bahadur Karki, who has spent 50 years of his life working as a porter in Sikkim and Darjeeling.
Being 14-years-old, when he left his home at Dolakata in Janakpur district of Nepal, Karki has no illusions as to what peace means to him and his brothers living as porters and labourers in different parts of Sikkim.
Due to its proximity and culture and linguistic resemblance, thousands of Nepalis come to work in Sikkim as seasonal labourers. A Nepali porter is a ubiquitous sight in urban areas of Sikkim while large agricultural fields are usually given to Nepali labourers to toil on crop share basis.
Over the years, the peacefulness of Sikkim has crept into minds of this Nepali diaspora which has now become their prime expectation.
When asked about their dreams of a new Nepal republic where their future generation are insulated from becoming migratory labourers, 16-year-old Bhopal Basnett, a porter in Gangtok, said ''I had to leave my family because of the uneasy environment where it was a choice between the King and Maoists.'' ''The basic rights of a Nepali citizen should be given and an environment should be created so my brothers and sisters can avail education and health facilities which I had been denied,'' he said.
''Once the desired proper environment is institutionalised in the new Nepal, the Nepali porters and labourers are ready to pack up and head back home,'' he added.
''Nobody wants to carry loads in another country. We want our coming generation to enjoy full opportunities,'' said Nima Sherpa, who has spent last 9 years as a porter in different parts of Gangtok.
'' The exploitation of poor during the monarchy era is now over.
Now even poor people like me can dream to come forward in the mainstream,'' said Sherpa as he and his group huddled over a Nepali language paper that has given headlines to the ousting of King Gyanendra.
''We went to home to vote during the elections and our villagers told us that only Maoists can give us justice from feudalism,'' said Prem Shrama, a causal labourer.
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