“Bahadur, gate kholo.” This has been a regular dialogue in Hindi movies, with a Nepali man shown as a watchman or servant. Times have changed now.
Master Thapa, 44, a Nepali, owns a big security agency — Sumit Safe Security Pvt Ltd — based in Mumbai. With 700 employees, the firm provides security to several commercial, industrial and residential complexes. Thapa came to Mumbai in 1985. His first job was that of a watchman. And now, 27 years down the line, his services are available not only in metro cities but as far as Silvasa (Daman) and Vapi (Gujarat).
Thapa says, “Watchman’s job was very usual for the Nepalis in those days. In 1989, with seven Nepalis, I started my own agency. It didn’t do well and shut down soon. I re-launched it 10 years back. Now, it’s a private limited company and I am a director.”
Thapa’s company has half a dozen offices across the state. Most of his employees are Maharashtrians, he says proudly.
Over half a dozen Nepalis have floated security agencies in Mumbai and provide security to hundreds of residential, commercial and industrial complexes. Everest Security and Jivdani Security are two such agencies. Mohan Nyaupane, 42, of the five-year-old Jivdani Security hails from Lumbini district, the birthplace of Buddha. Working in Mumbai for the past 20 years, Nyaupane says, “I have a Maharashtrian partner who handles the firm. I focus on my hotel.”
Thapa says, “Nepalis are believed to be best for this job as we are hardworking and honest. A Gurkha never sleeps during night shifts.”
A few small security agencies are also being run by Nepalis. Close to 3.5 lakh Nepalis stay in Mumbai metropolitan region. The figure is around 8 lakh across the state.
Nepalis from rural areas, who have been suffering poverty, unemployment and the civil war, have been migrating to India in thousands every year. Over 1.5 crore Nepalis have migrated, according to an estimate. Most of them are living in India for generations and are now Indian citizens. Nearly 40,000 Nepalis in Gorkha regiment are presently serving in the Indian Army.
Birendra Poudel, Mumbai correspondent of Nepal’s leading daily, Kantipur, says, “We are proud of all the Nepalis who have made their mark in this city.”