The Right To Self Determination, The Right To Divorce

Nepal topography. The green/yellow zones hold ...
Nepal topography. The green/yellow zones hold the Inner Terai valleys. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The right to self determination in a federal setup is the right of a state to break away from the country to form an independent country should the people say so in a referendum on the topic.

That right to self determination is like the right to divorce in a marriage. You can't argue that every country, every society that has laws allowing divorce (I don't know any where that is not the case, enlighten me please) has lead to massive family breakdowns.

That right to divorce is essential. It is a right. You can't force someone to stay in a marriage they don't want to stay in.

In the case of Nepal, my reading of the situation is the people of Madhesh are nowhere close to wanting a separate country. No party in parliament is for it. That should tell you as to where public opinion stands. I don't think that means it is a happy marriage. But it is a marriage that can be worked out. But that does not mean the right to self determination should not be there.

Federalism without the right to self determination is like partyless democracy. It is an oxymoron.

CK Raut has articulated racism against Madhesis in Nepal better than any Madhesi leader in history. And his stand - which I agree with - is should that discrimination persist, Madhesh should break away from Nepal. So far it has been an abusive marriage. That abuse has to stop.

The roadmap for CK as I see it is, first ensure a constitution for Nepal where there is the right to self determination, and where all of Terai is maybe two states. Form a political party in the process. Attempt to get that party to be the majority party in those two Terai states. Once you get there, organize a referendum on the topic. Try to win it. And there you go. That is the roadmap. It is nonviolent. It is democratic. It is at least a decade long process. But that decade should be enough to create a Nepal where the Madhesis have proportional representation in the entire state apparatus. That would make divorce unnecessary.

No party in Nepal's parliament wants to break up Nepal. But that does not mean they have the option to not put the right to self determination in the constitution. But they do have the option to not let CK Raut win majorities in the Terai states, and you do that by serving the people better, more honestly. And should there ever be a referendum, they will have the option to campaign against the breakup. That will be a further exercise in democracy. Because Nepal is a democracy where the sovereignty rests with the people. If the people are sovereign, as they are, they only stay part of Nepal because they choose to do so.

Comments