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Oli’s claim that Ram was born in Nepal highlights dangers of mixing pop nationalism with pop history

What could have got into Nepal’s Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli, to have to want to claim earlier this month that Lord Ram was born in Ayodhya, the place in question being not in present-day India but in what is today Nepal?

So many questions to try to answer. But to start with the obvious – the claim was considered impolite towards the Hindutva brigade south of the border whose proponents have constructed a political ideology around a mythological character of historical and archaeological uncertainty, though a god. This absence of civility comes from a head of government who should know the potential economic and geopolitical consequences, having led Nepal’s stand against the 2015-’16 Blockade with a Big B.

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