Gari Khana Deu – Let us Live! How Transnational Youth Navigate a Provisional Nepal
This paper explores several emergent social movements in Kathmandu; these movements draw most of their membership from an elite group of internationally experienced young people. “Bipals” or Bideshi Nepalis (Foreign Nepalis) return from study or work abroad with high expectations, both their own and their communities’, for success and contributions to building a better country. Yet, most quickly find barriers to their progress, whether in the form of entrenched bureaucracies and hierarchies or physical infrastructure limitations. Whereas overseas experience once guaranteed a high-paying and secure job, this is no longer the case in contemporary Kathmandu, and many returnees must forge a new narrative of success. For some, this has taken the form of involvement in entrepreneurship organizations that encourage the creation of independent businesses and advocate for a more productive climate for entrepreneurship. Others seek to disrupt the status quo through music and radical activism. In the end, I suggest that these disparate organizations share some ideas about the appropriate role for the state in Nepal, ideas that run contrary to many assumptions about neoliberalism and failed states.