The amount of horse-trading among the corrupt political head-honchos of Nepal who cannot see anything beyond their self-interests is making more buzz than the huge protests in the southern plains. The Terai movement is at a risk of turning into a secessionist one, especially now that the newly elected PM Khadga Prasad Oli, the CPN (UML) leader, is famously regarded as an ultra-nationalist and an anti-Madheshi, or rather anti-India.
The new constitution that was bulldozed in an autocratic manner has irreversibly polarized Nepal. K P Oli was one of the important leaders who failed to acknowledge that the Terai movement had reached its culmination point while promulgating the new constitution.
THE NEW CONSTITUTION
The new constitution is indeed just an elephant’s tusk when it comes to affirmative inclusion of minorities and disadvantaged citizens. However, it has been revered by the Hilly elites as it chops off the special privileges ensured to the minorities and disadvantaged citizens by the Interim Constitution of Nepal 2007, which was promulgated to institutionalize peoples demand after the dethroning of the King.
The contemporary political scenario makes it intuitive to regard the protests of the Madhesis and Tharus as the protests for more inclusive constitution. However, their demands translate into an insatiable thirst for equal human rights like freedom, equality, dignity, and socio-politico-economic representation, though such rational demands may be ulterior for those blinded by ultra-nationalism.
Reflecting back upon the social media hype, the diction of leaders and the biased sensational discriminatory Nepalese media for the past few months, one can easily concur that the indigenous significant population of the southern plains has been grossly neglected. To be honest, no any compromise by the Nepal Government will compensate the behavior of Hilly elites.
DEMANDS OF MADHESH
Ultra-nationalists are neglecting the fact that the indigenous people from the southern plains became a part of Nepal only 200 years ago, and have a very little stake in administrative and socio-economic bodies of Nepal. Besides, the southern plains contributes 23% land area, 51% population, 70% agricultural yield, 65% GDP, and over 78% import tariffs. If the hilly elites still ignore these ‘second-class’ citizens, Nepal will suffer hugely.
The video posted below briefly describes the unrest over Nepal’s new constituition.
The fallacy of positive instances is present in the Hilly elites when it comes to accepting that the Madhesh is distressingly impoverished and regressive. Such scenario can be attributed to the irony that the Nepalese media does not sufficiently cover the problems of the Madhesh.
The Terai is demanding their rightful rights as a ‘community’ nowadays. Tomorrow, the ethnic minorities among the Madheshis and Tharus will demand their rights as an ‘ethnic cohort’ when the federal state still fails to solve inequalities and the third-world-problems. This is why the southern plains is destined to go through various ups and downs in the decades to come.
Autonomy to the grass-root people and their inclusion proportional to population in the holistic state bodies will render the revolutionary social changes swift and smooth.
With a state for more homogeneous clustered communities, comes more power, unity and thirst to prosper in the grass-root stakeholders. This has been proved by the Seamaul Undong Movement in South Korea.
OLI AND ANTI-INDIA SENTIMENTS
The frequent contentious derogatory comments made by K P Oli are disrespectful to the ethnic minorities. His speeches portray how he likes to see the Madhesis and Tharus as the second-class citizens. By playing the nationality and sovereignty cards over the democracy, he has gained cheap popularity at the cost of the interests of the minorities and disadvantaged. He is especially popular among the Hilly elites who also have unfairly huge stake in the national politics. The populist Oli garnered further support among the Hilly elites by spreading the anti-India sentiments.
To shadow the legitimate demands of the Madhesh, the leaders like K P Oli are publicly accusing India of interference in the sovereign matters.
The current fiasco actually does warrant global interventions. This might be the only reason even international communities are not defying formal or informal economic blockade of India.
India is accosting Nepalese leaders in the national interests of Nepal as the Nepalese political front-line is busy horse-trading than addressing the protests or earthquake victims. Nepalese leaders must be accosted similarly by the citizens to make them accountable towards the political and socio-economic unrest.
Whatever be the political condition, the economic environment should be stable. That strictly requires rooting out anti-India sentiments. It will be much smart of us to press the next government to amend contentious issues in the new constitution congruent to the Interim constitution. I hope the relation Nepal has with its neighbors return to the previous state. This, however, requires that we maintain peace and stability in our country.
Amending the constitution for ‘proportional inclusion’, ‘re-demarcation of the federal states’, ‘natural citizenship through mother’, and ‘removal of the provisions that make indigenous Madhesis and Tharus ineligible for many constitutional posts’ shall solve the currently fiasco.
The politics of Nepal is too volatile, mostly because the citizens can be easily manipulated. In the Terai, the people can be manipulated in a larger extent. People in the Terai are actually very angered towards the state, but the self-serving leaders are too busy thinking about themselves. This is why the Terai is very vulnerable to unrest and violence.
To prevent further polarization among the Madhesis and Hilly people, K P Oli and his cabinet should be accosted strongly to act in the national interests, uninfluenced by his anti-Madhesis and anti-India sentiments.