A common and convenient use of the term “diaspora” in the contemporary times refers to any dispersed communities, or the people who are out of the borders of their home country. In media, diaspora is a catchphrase to refer both to a location where such people live and the people who are in such locations. To say “Nepali diaspora,” for example, would mean a place in the foreign land where Nepalis live, or the population of Nepalis who live there. Particularly, the contemporary South-Asian use takes the term with similar taken-for-granted meaning. And, in fact, the discourses on diaspora have already transcended the level of definitions and theorisations, to such specific but diverse areas as identity politics, participation in internal politics and subaltern studies.
South-Asian diaspora studies at present is both an extension of postcolonial discourse and a part of the inquiries on transnational mobilities and identity concerns. This indication here is to the Indian case. India has produced a substantial body of diasporic literature in relation to its being the supplier and receiver of diaspora both in regional and international spheres.
The case of Nepal is different. The term Nepali diaspora does not necessarily specify a particular geographical location or a historical condition unlike other established diasporas. Indian or Chinese diaspora refers to the historical dispersion of Indians and the Chinese as well as their present location in different parts of the world. Nepali diaspora may be here or there, some or all of the 1.5 million people living outside India and Gulf countries.
The above is an excerpt from one of the first drafts of my M. Phil. thesis, which the final version did not take. However, this is the product of some of those painful hours of confusion and contemplation before the work took shape. I have consciously preserved all such drafts. They remind me of the moments of hard work, those minutes and hours of intuition in the process of growing up academically.