In The News (77)
Why Nepal’s Janajatis Feel Betrayed by the New Constitution
The indigenous ethnic groups have been shortchanged on their key demands – identity-based federalism, proportional representation, and secularism ...... “If you want to learn how a small and powerful minority can perpetuate its domination over the vast majority for centuries, Nepal’s high caste leaders will have much to teach you” ...... the recent promulgation of the new constitution represents yet another triumph of the mighty few over the subjugated masses of Nepal. ...... A public school in a Tamang-speaking village would recruit teachers who understand the Tamang language and teach a curriculum that reflects Tamang history and culture. Communities whose cultural and economic survival is intimately linked to the river and forests, such as Botes and Majhis, would not be stripped of their traditional livelihoods in the name of development or conservation. Kathmandu would no longer have free reign to extract local resources. Multinational banks and Nepali private investors who want to build hydropower plants and resorts in areas inhabited by Janajatis would need to consult locals and gain their support before launching their mega projects. The state would seek to strengthen rather than undermine traditional governing institutions, such as the mukhiya system of the Thakali and the badhgar system of Tharus.
Elected officials and bureaucrats at the local level would be drawn from the very population they are meant to serve.They would be empowered to take decisions that are currently the prerogative of faraway officials in ministries in Kathmandu. .......... “The logic behind the proposed state structure is clear...... Divide and scatter the marginalised populations, render them a minority in each constituency, prevent them from consolidating their political power, and continue the same old game on a new playing field.” ...... the large swathe of western Nepal that is home to the Tharus, one of the most exploited groups in Nepal. In a deliberate attempt to prevent Tharus from coalescing into a political force, the leaders have divided this territory and incorporated the sections into three different provinces. A similar fate has befallen the Magar heartland in mid-western Nepal. .......
“They know Magars are the largest Janajati group and could become a formidable political force. So they have strategically divided them into three separate provinces, where they will become minorities.”....... Large numbers of women and men who fought the decade-long Maoist war belonged to the Magar and Tharu communities. They devoted the best years of their lives to the Maoist cause and suffered the worst excesses of war.
Tharus, for instance, were systematically targeted by the state and made up more than 85% of the victims of enforced disappearances.The Maoists had won the support of these groups partly by promising them the autonomous provinces of Tharuhat and Magarat. The Maoist decision to accept the division of their territories is seen as a major betrayal among these communities. ......... In the 2007 constitution, the term ‘marginalised’ referred to groups that have been disenfranchised as a result of systematic exclusion and hence entitled to special measures such as affirmative action. The new constitution expands this list to include Khas Arya, which means Bahuns and Chhetris who have historically benefited from their proximity to state power.
The very concept of affirmative action is thus emptied of meaning.The quota system in this case becomes not a tool to increase representation of the marginalised, but to ensure bloc representation of each ethnic group. ......... The 2007 constitution had transformed Nepal from a Hindu state to a secular one. The new constitution retains the definition of Nepal as a secular state, but then goes on to define the word ‘secular’ as ‘religion and culture being practised since ancient times and religious and cultural freedom.’ This is an absurd definition, one that clearly implies that
Hinduism will be a protected religion in Nepal.This will have significant implications for Janajatis and religious minorities. For example, the Nepali state has long punished members of indigenous communities who have traditionally eaten beef. There are many well-documented cases of Janajatis being harassed, beaten and jailed even for eating the meat of a dead cow. Since 2007, activists have argued that eating beef can no longer be criminalised since the state has been declared secular. But the bizarre new definition of secularism undermines their claim. ......... the new constitution states outright that religious conversion will now be banned in Nepal. Over centuries, the high caste rulers in Kathmandu forcibly brought Janajati communities under the Hindu caste system, and then used this as a source of legitimacy to exploit them. Partly as a way of escaping poverty and caste discrimination, many Janajatis, especially those from the most impoverished groups like the Tamang, converted to Christianity. The ban on religious conversion will almost certainly embolden Hindu chauvinist groups ....... and lead to the persecution of converts to Christianity, many of whom belong to highly disadvantaged groups. ...... A narrow coterie of senior party leaders reached compromises on contentious issues behind closed doors. Most lawmakers were barely aware of these negotiations and were simply asked to vote for the constitution once it had been drafted. Many Janajati, Madhesi and women lawmakers did so even though they disagreed with many aspects of the constitution.
They feared that senior leaders would try to damage their political careers if they did not.A public consultation process did take place, but it was perfunctory and ritualised, lasting a mere two days. ........... The Madhesi protests indicate that dissatisfaction has already boiled over. Similar protests by other groups could occur in the days ahead. The ruling parties must reach out to opposition groups and make key amendments to the constitution if they want to prevent further polarisation and conflict.
राष्ट्रिय जनगणना (२०११) अनुसार, १ करोड ८२ लाख (४५%) नेपालका बासिन्दाको नेपाली मात्रि भाषा। दोस्रो धेरै बोलिने ३० लाख ९२ हजार मैथिलि (१२%), तेस्रो भोजपुरी १५ लाख ८४ हजार (६%), चौथो १५ लाख २९ हजार थारु (६%)। हिन्दि चांहि ७७ हजार (०.२९%) ले बोल्ने रहेछन अनि अंग्रेजि चांहि २,०३२ जना । दोस्रो, तेस्रो र चौथो सबै तराईका स्थानिय भाषा हुदां हुदै, मधेसशी मोर्चाले हिन्दि र अंग्रेजि लाई पनि सरकारी कामकाजमा प्रयोग गरिनुपर्ने माग किन राखेको रहेछ? http://setopati.com/raajneeti/35631/