Foreign Aid and Development
Dor Bahadur on Foreign Aid
“Rural development requires political management, not foreign technical inputs…Technological inputs such as the rural transport system makes inroads for colonialism comparable bourgeois systems” (Lohani, 1983).
This kind of criticism, in particular, seems to be connected with modern forms of seminar punditry, when secular erudition has been substituted for Vedic ritualistic erudition. These observations are grounded in the realities of Nepali society. The vicissitudes of Nepali culture is what has been consistently ignored by foreign developmentalists and native critics.
. . .
Nepal is not alone in remaining backward and poor. There many societies in the third world which are poor and backward. The reasons behind their backwardness are many and different though the symptoms are the same. Mostly however such societies discourage innovation. They tend to maintain themselves by fairly rigid prescriptions of fixed adult roles, into which both men and women are fitted.
These expected social roles define the limits of aspiration for each generation. People who have made comparative studies of many different societies, know that when status is ascribed, rather than achieved, individual efforts towards excellence are not directed through any form of innovation; rather, the enhancement of status occurs only through the realization of a previously well defined role position.
It is only with social change, or when some form of continual dynamic disequilibrium occurs in a society. We begin to observe the development of achievement motivation in its modern form (De Vos, 1973).
Nepal will need foreign aid for quite some time to come, at least until it is able to develop an industrial base. Foreign aid has become an integral part of national economic and international political life. It would be short sighted to wish it away. There is no wisdom in blaming foreign aid and wishing for its discontinuation. This does not, however, mean that Nepal should wait for foreign aid to take care of all its needs while Nepalis sit back doing nothing themselves.
. . .
can facilitate Nepal becoming a fully functioning and productive member of this community. But it needs to be used realistically and beneficially, and this can only be done when it is spent on training the common people who will use their skills, rather than educating aspiring individuals with hierarchic attitude to become pedagogues to preach pessimism and infuse a very poor self-image as they themselves have had for a long time.
*Excerpted from FATALISM AND DEVELOPMENT (1991) By Dor Bahadur Bista