Kathmandu Metropolitan city Mayor Balendra Shah has installed a map of “Greater Nepal” in his office in an apparent counter to the mural interpreted as “Akhand Bharat”, or unified India, by Union Minister Prahlad Joshi that is installed in the new Parliament complex in Delhi, reported The Kathmandu Post.
Supporters of “Greater Nepal” believe that the Nepalese territory spread from Teesta river in the eastern Himalayas to Sutlej river in the west. However, both the territories now fall under India after Nepal signed the Treaty of Sugauli in 1816 that led to the demarcation of the international boundary between the two countries.
The mural in India is based on a concept espoused by Hindutva nationalists envisaging that neighbouring countries Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka would become part of India.
Last week, political leaders in Nepal had objected to the mural as it shows Lumbini – the birthplace of the founder of Buddhism Gautama Buddha – as part of India. Nepal considers Lumbini as one of the major cultural centres on its map.
“We raised the issue of a new Indian map which is placed in the Indian parliament,” Dahal told the Nepalese National Assembly on Wednesday, reported the newspaper. “We raised this issue on a serious note. But the Indian side responded that it was a cultural and historical map and not a political map.”
On Thursday, Shah asked his aides to install the map of “Greater Nepal” in his office, reported The Kathmandu Post.
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India’s foreign ministry has said that the mural depicts the spread of the Ashokan empire and “the idea of responsible and people-oriented governance” that he adopted and propagated. “That is what the mural and the plaque in front of the mural says,” Indian foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had said.
However, even after the explanation, Bangladesh and Pakistan have objected also the mural. On Monday, Dhaka’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam said that his government has asked its mission in Delhi to seek an official explanation on the matter.