A screenshot of an unofficial Visit Nepal page sharing the news article with comments.A screenshot of an unofficial Visit Nepal page sharing the news article with comments.

Itch

Before we talk about what is itching me, it is necessary to furnish the following clarification. The above tweet was shared by an unofficial page of Visit Nepal 2020 and Nepal Tourism Board cannot be held accountable for the tweet.  I would have let it pass, not even brought it to your attention, however, because you land on this page when you search for Visit Nepal 2020, it is essential we talk about this.

Amongst the many things that ‘itches’ me, the first one is the article. The heading translates to “Priyanka Karki and Ayushman on a honeymoon before their wedding: Watch pictures”. And yes, the featured image – the duo locked in a passionate embrace. The image could be called sensual, therefore hints on other things ‘unspoken’ – you know “the things they may be doing.” The article itself does not have much content – except for a few images shared by Karki herself. The selection of images is very poor – basically like the ones as depicted on the featured image. The very little text it has to offer says Instagram users posted comments such as “Is this a pre-honeymoon?” Another user said, ‘while honeymoon after a wedding is a widespread practice, but now-a-days people celebrate it before their wedding”.

It ‘itches’ me the news article has 924 shares on Facebook – it speaks volumes about our mindset. It ‘itches’ me, the news says ‘honeymoon’ on the title – reinforcing the ‘sinful’ nature of pre-marital sex. It ‘itches’ me the news portal (www.livenp.com) is actually successful in making ‘irrelevant’ news a success, and it ‘itches’ me we still consume this kind of news. And it will again ‘itch’ me when I see the amount of shares this article receives – it will ‘itch’ me because it does not ‘itch’ you.

The tweet actually ‘itches’ me more than the sexist article – it capitalizes on the wrong kind of ‘nationalism’ an individual, or a group can fixate upon.  The tweet translates to: “There are so many delightful destinations in Nepal, many tourism entrepreneurs are struggling, but these film artists went to Bali to show a spectacle”.

So many things on so many levels are wrong in this tweet:

  1. Priyanka and Ayushman are film-stars, they probably have travelled (and contributed) to the domestic tourism industry more than an average Nepali.
  2. And even if they have not, why should you be judged when you choose to travel abroad?
  3. And if you are going to judge people for travelling abroad, you should judge the same foreigners who visit Nepal, and we so warmly welcome. If they had a similar mindset, they would be touring their own country.
  4. What do you mean by ‘tamasha’ (spectacle)?

The page that ‘retweeted’ this article has 15.8K followers – an influential amount of following. The right kind of nationalism would be to actually ‘flag’ the page – it sends the wrong kind of message about our nation, especially just ahead of an important campaign like Visit Nepal 2020.

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