Sunday, 10 February 2008

Why there is no need of single madhes or single terai?

By Ajaya Jung Kunwar,

Goettingen, Germany

The idea of creating single madhes or single terai and giving it to autonomy has been a subject of an immense debate recently. While United Madhesi Front (UMF) compring Madhesi People’s Rights Forum, Terai-Madhes Democratic Party and Sadbhawana Party’s (Mahato) key demand is to have one madhes or one Terai, the mainstream seven party leaders, although not raising strong voice against them keeping in mind of its sensitivity, oppose this idea. So there is a certainly need for discussion that what is good and what is bad for Nepal future federal structure.
In one way we cannot deny that people from terai origin have been oppressed and regarded as low graded people than that of from pahad origin. As a result of that madhes andolan (movement) was seen as a part of their struggle and nobody would deny that it was their genuine approach for recognizing their rights and treating them equally in society. In course of time where madhes andolan was simply regarded as movement of Madhesi People’s Rights Forum, the issues of madhes/terai problem have been shared to number of madhesi origin parties. Whether it’s due to inexperience of Upendra yadav to lead and unite the movement in right direction or other’s mainstream madhesi leaders’s desire to keep hold their feet in terai and formation of new parties naming itself madhes and terai, the madhes andolan has been divided into several fractions. Whether it is Terai-Madhes Democratic Party, Sadbhawana Party’s (Mahato), Madhesi People’s Rights Forum or Janatantric terai mukti morcha (Jwala or Goit), all are trying to garner their support among madhesi people in terai trying to make their demands more revolutionary. So one of their demands came as one madhes one state. However, we have to carefully analyze whether are all demands of UMF are really genuine?
For a small country like Nepal, dividing country in just ethnic based population would be disastrous. It would be catastrophic for future of Nepal’s integrity and multicultural society in long term. If we take examples of other smaller countries around the world, it’s clear that a small state if divided into ethic based population would aggravate more misbalance than the unity. We have seen problems arising in small country like Belgium where Flemish and French do not want to speak each other; the same can be seen in Rwanda between between Hutu and Tutsi population. On the top of that if we see in Iraq, the idea of opposing three different states into Sunni (central), Siya / Shitte (south) and Kurd (North) have been blatantly opposed because it was agreed that dividing country in ethnic based population would create division rather than preservation of their individual rights. Moreover, why America recruits 50 thousand DV visa lotteries from countries other than India, China, Mexico is simply because their population are already more there and Uncle Sam (US) wants to develop multicultural society and do not want to have population from only few origin. So, I think, Nepal should be federal democratic but each state should be divided in such a way that each state should have parts of Terai, pahad and Himal, if not equally, where people of all origin should respect each other and stay together in a peaceful and harmony. Our country is not like big country India where autonomy is needed for Kashmir and case of Kashmir is far different than ours.
Being from terai region, I do understand that terai people have been treated differently than the people of pahad region and the solution for this problem is not by creating division among ethnic groups but by changing the mind of people. Terai itself has vast varieties of population of Tharu, Rajwansi, Awadi, Maithli, Bhojpuri and so on and we have recently seen tharus from west opposing the idea of treating them as madhesi. As for Morang and Sunsari tharus, their culture and language are completely different than culture of Janakpur, saptari and of west. They are very proud of being called Chaudhari tharus than madhesi. I am pointing this, is not due to news spread around us recently but from my own experience. I have hundreds of tharus friends who simply reject idea of treating them as madhesi. So why there should be one madhes or one terai? Even if we believe that and follow same, we have to make one pahad and one himal. Then what would be the difference only having three states with same longitudinal structure like Nepal from east to west. It’s obvious that Kathmandu could not look over the problems faced by people from Far East and west and that’s is why central government structure was not fruitful earlier. So, if we really have to go for federal structure it has to be divided accordingly believing in the principle of equality, preserving faith of multicultural society. Not only single madhes or single terai, one Limbuwan or Magarat, Newa and so on proposed by Maoist party are also not practicable at all.
So in nut shell, madhes problem is once again to change mind of people, integrating them into mainstream society, including then into all state structure, creating awareness campaign, empowering education program and not by diving country in ethnic based population and after all I guess, nobody would oppose the idea of creating future Nepal as multicultural prosperous country where cast and ethnicity problem would no longer be a subject of controversy.

1 comment:

rajendra said...

This is a must to read article therefore would like to request all to read once this article and comment on it.