To the Khas, the Janajati are Janajati. They feel discriminated against. They want redress. They want equality. But to the Madhesi, the Janajati are Pahadi, they are one with the Khas. This interview with Om Gurung is quite a displeasure. This is in sharp contrast to the agreement his own organization NEFIN reached with the MPRF not long ago. Parshuram Tamang made sense, Om Gurung has not. They are both with the same organization.
The Madhesi have already achieved 50% of all seats in the constituent assembly. But the MPRF has expressed solidarity with the NEFIN on their demand for completely proportional elections to the constituent assembly. NEFIN has to understand that. There has to be an agenda based alliance. Janajatis spewing anti-Madhesi venom are not going to find comrades in Madhesis.
What Om Gurung needs to do is some serious homework. I think we are all agreed on the idea of a secular, federal, democratic republic. Despite the Prachandas and Girijas of the world accusing the Madhesi Movement of being instigated by the royalists and the Hindu supremacists, there has not been a single slogan for either the monarchy or a Hindu state during the course of the Madhesi Movement. When the blacks organized their civil rights movement in America half a century ago, the accusation then was they were being instigated by the communists. The Madhesi Movement has been for a secular, federal, democratic republic. The Maoists might be for secularism and they might be for a republic, but they are not for democracy or federalism. Their behavior has been undemocratic. How else do you explain their one point agenda in the Terai: to disrupt the MPRF mass meetings? And when they talk of autonomous ethnic states, they have Tibet in mind. The Maoist party will send some party to rule over the Madhesh state.
What Om Gurung is not clear on is as to what is the proposed map that NEFIN has in mind for a federal Nepal? I have not seen any. And what is going to be the power distribution between the various levels of government in that federal state? It is this lack of clarity that has resulted in misleading behavior on the part of Om Gurung. In short, he is not clear enough on what he wants.
Om Gurung talks of proportional representation, but he is not clear on that either. So if the Janajati are one third of Nepal's population, the constituent assembly should be one third Janajati. Is that what he wants? How does he propose that be achieved? Should the existing parties ensure that? How? Does NEFIN plan to become a political party? Will completely proportional elections as opposed to the 50% proportional elections as of now ensure that? How? Should the party lists have reservations, as in every third name on the list must be Janajati?
Om Gurung's stands are too vague. And that is hurting the Janajati Movement.
But what is hurting the Madhesis is his anti-Madhesi prejudice.
"MPRF wants a separate terai state stretching from Jhapa to Kanchanpur, where over a dozen ethnic communities are living. They speak different languages, practice different cultures and traditions. We never let terai be in the hands of a few feudal lords who want to rule the weak and poor."
Maybe the MPRF wants all of Terai as one state in a federal Nepal. And if they sell that idea to the Madhesh, to the country, that can happen, theoretically speaking. Realistically speaking, I don't think that can be sold. Personally I am for two states in the Terai, a Madhesh from Rapti to Mechi, and a Tharuwan beyond Rapti. The Sadbhavana wants two states, an Eastern Terai, and a Western Terai, 50-50. Maybe NEFIN can become a political party and come with an entirely different map from the MPRF or the Sadbhavana. And perhaps the other seven parties will come up with seven other maps. But the bottomline is, each party is going to have to try and sell their map to the people. The democratic process will decide what map will be final.
The Madhesh state I have in mind - from Rapti to Mechi - will have two major groups, the Maithili, and the Bhojpuri, but it will have many other groups. Actually that Madhesh state likely will be a mini Nepal. Every ethnic group in Nepal will be represented in that Madhesh state. And that is not bad news at all. We do want that. Actually we want all states to end up diverse.
The Madhesi Movement has not been a movement of the Madhesi landlords, which there are very few of to start with. The rich Madhesis are rich not due to their land holdings. That is a huge myth. The richest Madhesis are businesspeople in the urban areas. Some of the other who are rich are perhaps in government service. A farmer with 10 bighas of land, which there are perhaps 5% or less in the villages, barely get by. Prachanda has a much much higher standard of living.
"Terai cannot be made a single unit citing Hindi as a binding language."
This anti-Hindi tirade is not welcome. It is for Madhesis in the Terai to decide on their common language. Hindi is at the core of the Madhesi identity. That is just the ground reality.
"I have a special reservation. I call it an ethnic violence. We have to dissociate from such ethnic division and those who promote violence. What is happening in terai is dangerous. It is gradually taking a shape of ethnic violence whatsoever the leaders of terai claim it."
There is a singular attempt here to participate in the widespread demonization of the Madhesi Movement. That is not someone seeking a Madhesi Janajati alliance. There is no mention of Maoist terror, there is no mention of state terror, there is mention of some acts of violence during the course of the Madhesi Movement, but there is no mention of the outpouring in every village, every town, 99.99% of which was nonviolent.
"....our interpretation of Madhes is different from that of Madhesis. We want to know where Madhes is. We indigenous communities think that Madhesis are there in this country but there is no land called Madhes in Nepal. These Madhesis have come from Madhyadesh. It is a place between India's Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. So, we call them Madhesis. The rulers of this country brought them into Nepal. Now they are demanding a separate Madhes."
Just when I was waiting for the punch line. Here Om Gurung has outdone even his Bahun masters in spewing his anti-Madhesi venom. The summary of what he is saying is that the Madhesis do not belong in Nepal. That is as concrete an expression of anti-Madhesi prejudice as can be.
"....the Madhesis want the entire terai to be a separate state. There are several ethnic communities living in terai. MPRF must acknowledge this fact and seek our cooperation. Otherwise, we are not going to back the movement, no matter what they claim and demand."
Of course there is diversity in the Terai. Of course there are Dalit rights issues and women's rights issues in the Terai. Of course there are local indigenous groups in the Terai like the Rajbanshi, the Tharu, the Satar. None of those issues go counter to the Madhesi Movement. The Madhesi Movement has been the successor to the April Revolution. Similarly the Madhesi Movement will and should give rise to Dalit rights movements and women's rights movements and indigenous people's rights movements in the Terai, as in the Pahad. Better if we come up with a constitution such that such movements will not be necessary. The power to vote will be enough.
If Om Gurung seeks an alliance with the Madhesi Movement, as he says here he does, he is going to start out by getting rid of his anti-Madhesi prejudices. And then he is going to offer some clarity for the Janajati Movement. What exactly do you want? What is your map? What is the power distribution you have in mind?
And then maybe we can talk business.
B. K. Rana And The Madhesi Janajati Question
Survey: Nepalis In New York City
Sarita Giri: Madheshi Movement In Defense Of Democracy And Madhesi Nationalism
Hamro Nepal, ANTA Press Releases On Gaur Incident
Gaur: Prachanda's Reichstag Fire?
Gaur: The Madhesi Gongabu
PM, Defense, Finance: Congress, DPM, Home: UML, DPM: Maoist
Mainstreaming Maoist Tendencies In The Madhesh
Lawoti: Ethnic Or Administrative Federalism
Mainstreaming The Maoists: Various Scenarios
Madhesi, Janajati, Business Community
Three Parties: Congress, Communist, Sadbhavana
ANONYM: Association Of Nepali Organizations In New York Metro
Manoj Gajurel, Comic, In NYC Soon
What Girija Could Have Done
Empowering Nepalis In New York City
Dipendra Jha: The Real Picture Of The Madhesi Movement
No Guns, Explosives, Weapons Outside Cantonments
MPRF: A Few Scenarios
In The News
Four parties tussle over plum portfolios NepalNews The NC has been claiming senior deputy prime minister along with plum portfolios like finance, defence and home while the Maoists are adamant on their demand for deputy prime minister and home ministry and the UML wants finance ministry. NC-D has also demanded four ministries currently held by it.
Gaur limps back to normalcy; another suspect of Wednesday massacre held
Electoral Constituency Delineation Commission starts work
Formation of parties in Bhutan is a ploy: Refugee leader
Maoists develop doubts over Koirala's leadership Angered over the occurrence of Gaur carnage and continued delay in the formation of interim cabinet, a senior Maoist leader has heaped the blame solely on the shoulders of the ageing Prime Minister. .... the Maoist MPs will not allow the parliament to run unless Koirala steps down (to form an interim government).
Now deputy Speaker doubts CA polls
NMSF severs ties with MJF; says MJF chair is a royalist
Gore in Gaur Kiran Nepal Nepali Times There was an eerie quiet in the town of Gaur before it erupted on Wednesday afternoon. It was almost as if residents knew there would be a violent confrontation between the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum and the Maoist-affiliated Tarai Mukti Morcha. ..... A shot is said to have been fired into the crowd from south of the stage, inside the rice mill that owns the field. A stampede followed, during which witnesses say MJF activists attacked the Maoists with bamboo bars. Eight bodies were found in the field when the fighting died down. Residents say that the manner in which the other dead bodies are dispersed all over town, over a radius of a couple of kilometres, suggests that people were chased down and killed one by one. ...... other groups not part of either planned meeting, such as the Janatantrik Tarai Mukti Morcha (Jwala), Tarai Cobra, Independent Madhesh, and Madhesi Tiger are taking responsibility for the incident.
Only fools rush in Sheetal Kumar everyone knows that elections to the constituent assembly cannot be held in June. And still, no one wants to bell the cat. ..... The Maoists seem to have got through peace what they couldn’t win through war: a license to go on a rampage all across Nepal’s rural areas, towns, cities. Recent atrocities by their cadres, particularly the newly renamed militia, the Youth Communist League, has created a climate of fear and parallel policing mechanisms. Their trade unions have bulldozed through organised labour in hotels, restaurants, and student unions. Their political activities on the ground are run by diehard military members pulled out of the PLA. ....... As things stand today, the eight parties have ensured that registering new parties on ethnic, regional, linguistic, or communal grounds is almost impossible. And, as above, all candidates must be endorsed by one of the eight parties. The EPA has set itself up as the arbiters of who gets to represent Nepal’s diverse communities. ...... the dangers of a hurried and flawed election.
One year itch Saubhagya Shah There was the sight of mighty leaders and their auxiliary intelligentsia first dismissing the madhesi uprising as the handiwork of a few miscreants, then threatening the use of force to put out fires supposedly ignited by fundamentalists and reactionaries, and finally making a 180-degree turn to embrace the same revolt as their own—all within a week. ...... If this is the considered and principled conclusion of the victors of the April Uprising, what is delaying the declaration of a Nepali republic? .....It is now up to the victors to carry their conviction to its logical conclusion, roll up their sleeves, and get on with the real task of creating jobs, health care, and education for the masses. ....... What can the constituent assembly possibly accomplish that the existing legislature can’t do? Since the communist and the liberal parties that have passionately espoused the anti-monarchy line have complete control over the 330-member interim parliament, a proposal for a federal republic or any other restructuring that is deemed fit could sail through with an absolute majority.
The middle path Daniel Lak To all intents and purposes, there is no government in the country. .
A private little war extortionists make it their business to be highly personal. Armed with knowledge of family, home, and assets to back up their demands, they can recite your schedule, earnings, and where your children go to school. They brandish this information like a weapon, and for the CPN (Mafia) such research pays off in a big way. The victim realises there is no place to hide and that their loved ones are at dire risk, causing stress levels to increase dramatically. The more terrorised the victim, goes the extortionist’s cynical logic, the higher the payoff. ........ Victims of coercive extortion feel violated to a degree second only to the horrors of kidnapping and rape, and the trauma continues long after monies are paid. ...... The psychological wounds are worsened by the perceived need for secrecy, as the Maoists never forget to warn their prey to keep their mouth shut—or else. ....... Chilling echoes of the Khmer Rouge are evident in the party line that city dwellers must be taught a lesson for not supporting the revolution and will, in punishment, be looted until rendered ‘naked’. ....... Those who resist are beaten ...... Kathmandu was hit with a massive rise in demands last autumn, in what seemed a final fling before the party joined the mainstream. ...... The millions of unaccountable rupees paid by the government to support teenie-bopper ‘cadres’ stuck in cantonments and plump leaders lounging in the capital aren’t enough ........ we live in a Post-Truth society ...... These latest avatars of extortion issue no receipts and ignore all proof of previous payment to the cause, denying any affiliation with the CPN-M. Those who were paid in the past, when contacted with complaints about the latest demands, advise support for the revolution. The Maoists, in the finest Mafia tradition, have strong territorial instincts and cannot tolerate competition ..... The war once fought against the army is now waged against private citizens.
मधेसको राजनीति Kantipur विभिन्न आरोह, अवरोह पार गर्दै २४ दिने मधेसी जनआन्दोलनले ठूलो उपलब्धि कसैले पनि बिर्सिन ह“ुदैन । .... माघभरि चलेको आन्दोलनमा ३६ जनाको ज्यान गयो तर आन्दोलनको प्रभाव विराटनगरभन्दा पश्चिम र वीरगन्जभन्दा पर्ूवका १०-११ जिल्लाभन्दा बाहिर फैलिन सकेन । ..... फोरमले आफ्नो घोषणपत्रमा धर्मनिरपेक्ष राज्यको परिकल्पना गरेको छ । ...... मधेसी आन्दोलनको बलमा प्रधानमन्त्रीले गरेको दोस्रोे सम्बोधनले मधेसका अधिकांश माग सम्बोधन गरेको छ । १९ दिने जनआन्दोलनले समेत मुलुकलार्र्इर्र् संघीय शासनमा लाने ग्यारेन्टी गर्न नसकेको मधेस आन्दोलनको बलमा अन्तरिम संविधानमा संशोधित भएको छ । ०४६ सालको परिवर्तन र जनआन्दोलनले स्थापित गर्न नसकेको सबै वर्गको समानुपातिक सहभागिताको पनि मधेस आन्दोलनले संस्थागत गरेको छ । यसका अलवा संविधानसभामा समेत समानुपातिक सहभागिताको ग्यारेन्टी गर्ने गरी जनसंख्याको आधारमा निर्वाचन क्षेत्र निर्धारण गर्ने सात दलको सहमतिमा प्रधानमन्त्रीको दोस्रो सम्बोधन र अन्तरिम संविधानमा संशोधनले मधेसी समस्या समाधानको बाटो खुलेको छ । ...... स्थापित मधेसी नेता काठमाडौं छाडेर गृहजिल्ला गएको देखि“दैन । .... माओवादीले हतियार मोह त्याग्न नसक्नु, अरू शक्तिको अस्तित्व स्वीकार गर्न नसक्नु, मेरो गोरुको बाह्रै टक्काजस्ता अहंकार माओवादीमा विद्यमान रहनुलाई लिन सकिन्छ । माओवादीले फोरमलाई प्रमुख शत्रुको रूपमा लिएको देखिनु र फोरमको हरेक कार्यक्रमलाई अवरोध पुर्याउन खोज्नुबाट पनि मधेसी आन्दोलनलाई मलजल मिलेको छ । विगतमा पनि माओवादीले गरेको अपहरण, चन्दा आतंक, हत्या, व्यक्तिगत सम्पत्ति कब्जालगायतबाट आम जनसमुदायमा जागेको माओवादीप्रतिको वितृष्णा पनि हाल जारी मधेसी आन्दोलनमा व्यापक प्रयोग भएको छ । त्यसैले पनि विगतदेखि हालको मधेस आन्दोलनमा मधेसी अधिकारबारेको नारा कम र माओवादीविरुद्ध चर्का नारा घन्केको छ ।