Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Madhesi Rights: Total Equality

The Madhesi issue is the number one social issue in Nepal. Just like there is casteism and sexism in the hills, there is casteism and sexism in the Terai, sure. There is poverty in the Pahad, there is poverty in the Terai. There is poverty in Kathmandu.

But the poor Madhesis who sell fruits and vegetables in Kathmandu don't feel like their poverty helps them attain some kind of solidarity with the poor folks in Kathmandu. They bear the brunt of some of the most explicit anti-Madhesi prejudice. It is ethnic. It is regionalism. We should think up a few more names to describe the phenomenon.

Janajatis are better off than the Madhesis. Look at their numbers in America. Ending up in America is a socio-economic achievement. Not many Madhesis have made it. The social filters in Nepal keep many behind.

The Madhesis in Nepal fare worse than the Dalit, Janajati and Mahila. Maybe not Dalit. There are even fewer Dalits in America than there are Madhesis. Maybe the Madhesi and the Mahila are comparable. But the Mahila who have made it are too busy asserting their ethnic identities.

Prejudice is like radioactivity: it can be measured.

It is about India, perhaps. India is big. No, it is huge. Wait, it is humongous. Nepal is small, tiny. A big chunk of Nepali false nationalism is based on anti-Indianism. But then it is not about India. Otherwise the Indians of Darjeeling and Assam would also be at the receiving end.

It is a cultural definition. And it is vicious.

Women are half the planet, but they don't have the associated power. Power is more than numbers. Power comes from solidarity. Numbers are not enough.

Madhesis are half of Nepal, some say 40%. What women are on the planet, the Madhesi are in Nepal.

Hate is an attack on the Madhesi identity. But you got to get along with the Pahadi to move about, and many Madhesis end up internalizing the hate. There is self-hate. It is hard for many Madhesis to get along with other Madhesis. You look at the other person, and you see a Madhesi face. And sometimes you don't like what you see. It is self hate at work.

The first step has to be to claim the identity. If you are born a Madhesi, you are pretty much stuck with the identity. You might as well claim it. You claim it and then you take pride. And when you take pride, and you assert the solidarity, then you are equipped to deal with the hate, the prejudice, the discrimination. You conquer the self hate, and then you attack the hate. Then numbers matter. But when you are still struggling with the self hate, numbers are no help. They feel like a burden.

The prejudiced Pahadis, they will not even utter the word. Their most vicious feeling is on this question, and they will tell you the identity called Madhesi does not exist. They will talk up the castes in the Terai. They will even talk of women. Women there are, Dalits there are, but they are all Madhesi.

And when they are not trying to break you up like that, they are trying to dissolve you. Why do you say you are Madhesi? Why don't you say you are a Nepali? To that you give my reply. You urge them to adopt the larger Desi identity and contribute to world peace.

Some will tell you people from the Terai are fine, it is Indians they don't like. So when they say "madisey," they don't mean the people from the Terai, they mean Indians. To them you give my reply. I am half Indian, how dare you!

The Pahadis are Madhesi in America. The Madhesis in Nepal are worse off comparatively than the African Americans in America. And the Pahadis are the Madhesi in America. That is a political observation. The only way they can better their situation in America is by forging an alliance with the larger Desi identity. That is where I come in. I am a Desi. The word Nepali never included me. I am half Indian. I am a Desi.

Maturity would be if Pahadis realized everyone is better off when prejudice is overcome. Whites and blacks are both better off because segregation was ended. Prejudice is disease. Disease is no fun. And so Pahadis should participate in the drive against anti-Madhesi prejudice. I am not being cynical. I am being matter of fact.

Suddenly a constituent assembly is on the horizon. And Madhesis now want to talk of Madhesi rights. Might as well.

Conversation matters. Talk matters. Discussions matter. Meetings matter. Get togethers matter. Have many of them. That is how political progress is made. Reach out to other Madhesis.

It will not be neat and tidy. Some Madhesis will want to talk caste. Let them. Some gender. Let them. Encourage them. Equality does not make sense only on the Madhesi issue. It also makes sense on caste issues, also on gender, especially on gender, extra true of the Dalit issue. I think all Dalits should convert to Buddhism. Give up on Hinduism, flat out. Enough is enough. Pull the rug from beneath their feet.

There is much political work to be done.

Step one would be to secure the constituent assembly. Step two would be to make sure the assembly is about one person, one vote. And all along we will have to work to marshall a platform. What do Madhesis want? And we are going to have to come out into the streets, peacefully. We are going to have to march. We just secured the right to peaceful assembly, now we are going to put it to use. We are going to march.

What could be our platform? I think federalism is one issue all Madhesis could agree on. That will also allow us to possibly forge an alliance with the Janajati. What I have to offer, I have already offered here: Proposed Republican Constitution 2006.

I have touched on federalism, on languages. If nothing, my proposed constitution is a framework for dialogue. I hope it is a productive framework.

As for my personal involvement. This blog is not journalism, this is political work. Howard Dean organized his entire presidential campaign in 2004 around a blog. This blog has been the only way I could reach out to a global audience of Nepalis, including those in Nepal.

Many people urge me to go back to Nepal. That is not in the cards. I hope to stay intimately involved all the way to the country getting itself a new constitution and even after, and I have invented an organization to that effect, Hamro Nepal, but I have to stay in New York City. It is a Global South thing. Nepal will benefit. (Hamro Nepal, Latest)

By the time you get to my level of involvement, the Madhesi issue is just one other social issue. I have to learn to get a little detached. And that is why I harbor a keen interest in the larger DaMaJaMa issues.

My Most Controversial Blog Post To Date: On Madhesi Issue
Aire Gaire Natthu Khaire Pahadis
First ANTA NYC Event, Times Square Marriott
Time For Madhesi Militancy Is Now
Madhesi Hum Lenge Sau Mein Pachas
Madhesi Rights: Abhi Nahin To Kabhi Nahin
Tibetans And Madhesis

ये तो क्रान्ित है
हृदयेश त्रिपाठी: मधेसी समस्या र राज्यको पुनर्संरचना
संघीय गणतन्त्र
अहिंसाका प्रश्न
मधेशी अधिकारको कुरामा पहाडीहरुको सहभागीता
मधेशी पहचान
अइ आन्दोलनमें मधेशी अधिकारके बात


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Madheshi Community take out rally

The activists belonging to Madheshi Community from all the parties took out a rally from New Baneshwor in the capital at 2 PM on Tuesday. About 200 leaders and activists were arrested from the rally. The rally was organized in support of April 6-9 protest programmes of the Seven Party Alliance (SPA).

More than a thousand people belonging to the community started to march from New Baneshwor shouting anti monarchy slogans. Police intercepted the protesters at Tinkune and arrested about 200 participants of the rally. Some of the arrested persons are detained at Tinkune Police Station and others at different other places.

Some of the detained persons at Tinkune Police Station are:

Hridayesh Tripathi
Rajendra Mahato
Mahendra yadav
Ram Chandra Jha
Vijay Kant Karna
Amresh Kumar Singh
D. P. Yadav
Bishnu Narayan Yadav
Urmila Pandey
Khushi Lal Mandal
Jitendra Sonal
Surendra Kumar Yadav
Radheshyam Chaurasiya
Deependra Kumar Singh
Shiva Chandra Mishra
Ganesh Nepal
Surendra Mahato

Others were taken to other locations the details of which are not available currently. All the arrested are still under detention.


Anonymous said...

I agree that Madeshi issue is one of the issues in Nepal that need an immediate attention.

A Few questions (sincere apologies for any ignorance on my part)

When you say Pahadi, who are you exactly referring? Does that term refer to everyone excluding Madeshis or just Bahuns and Chettris?

You have talked about forming alliance with Janajati, but from my experience and observation, the prejudice against Madeshis is prevalent among Janajatis as well. Would this pose a problem in forming alliance between the two groups? How do you suggest addressing this issue when forming alliance with Janjatis?

Re: Some will tell you people from the Terai are fine, it is Indians they don't like. So when they say "madisey," they don't mean the people from the Terai, they mean Indians. To them you give my reply. I am half Indian, how dare you!

Are you here saying all/most Madeshis are half Indian? Is it common among Terai basi to marry into Indian house?

Anonymous said...

Who is Pahadi? Who is Madhesi?

Half the people in Nepal are Madhesi, the other half are Pahadi. Like half are men, the other half are womean. Either you are one or the other.

Janajatis and Himalis are Pahadi.

Bahuns, Chhetris in the Terai are Teraiwasis, but they are not Madhesi. The Jhas are Madhesi, Brahmin Madhesis.

"You have talked about forming alliance with Janajati, but from my experience and observation, the prejudice against Madeshis is prevalent among Janajatis as well."

There has to be a two pronged strategy. One, counter that prejudice. Seek common ground because I think the Janajatis are also strongly for federalism.

Also applies to women. The citizenship issue is a big issue also for women. As for the Madhesi population. But a lot of Pahadi women are prejudiced against the Madhesis. So you work on two fronts.

"Are you here saying all/most Madeshis are half Indian?"

No. But quite a few are. Inter-marrying is quite common. Mithila is on both sides of the border. Also applies to the Bhojpuri people.

Anonymous said...

Madhesi People suffer descrimination in every way whether political administrative academic or regarding any oppertunities.I must remind the Pahadis that The national economy of nepal lies in the hands of Terai people.At any time The Madhesis can block the supplies and pose a threat to the Pahadis.
Pankaj Karna
WYP Physics Ambassador

Anonymous said...

Nepalease The Brainless Species, Survive on foriegn aids.They are socioeconomically and politically dependent on INDIA,still they are never ashamed of talking ill of Indians.Instead of building their own country, these nonsense think going against India is Patrotism.I openly Challenge all Nepalese to Prove their status (whether scientific,Industrial,economic or cultural) before india before pronouncing a word against India.You will never rise above the indians,Bhik manga Bahadurs.

Anonymous said...

Its a matter of moments for a Hi tech core to Chew up your 100000 army of Beda bakhra and liberate the Mithila.Never think Its our weakness that we are silent.Its all your attitude towards Terai people that will shortly begin a armed conflit and liberate a separate country and then you will starve.Terai is the major supplier of fodder and all kinds of consumer goods for whole nepal.See the Nepalese soon on grounds.

Anonymous said...

Its a matter of moments for a Hi tech core to Chew up your 100000 army of Beda bakhra and liberate the Mithila.Never think Its our weakness that we are silent.Its all your attitude towards Terai people that will shortly begin a armed conflit and liberate a separate country and then you will starve.Terai is the major supplier of fodder and all kinds of consumer goods for whole nepal.See the Nepalese soon on grounds.

Anonymous said...

TERAI PEOPLE UNITE . Its time for total Liberation.We were independent and we will get it back.There is no power in world that can supress our independent existence.Why should we bend down before the Pahadi when we are self sufficient.Its the pahadi people who depend on us in everyway and still try to prove their superiority.Ignite your souls.Speak for liberation.

Anonymous said...

Are the Nepalese Ready to divide their country? If not why Madheshi people are treated as second Class citizens in their own country. a simple exqample is Janaki mandir is not list in UNICEF world heritage when the beautyless darbur squares are already there.The archeological history of Mithila dates back to more than 3500 years.madhesi people have originally been living here since then.It was the time when a country named Nepal had no Existence on the globe.We can liberate our nation again and leave the nepalese to starve behind.Thats the only way we can live respectfully in our own land.hope the Nepalese will come to their Status.

Anonymous said...

Uniting madheshis beyond barriers.Its the time for War of indendence For for a respectful existence in own Land.Show the bahadurs our potentials.the most nonsense type of narrow visioned people(unforfunately they think to be most intelligent in world) live in the mountanous urbans of nepal.

A society with a destroyed and worthless inactive young generation will never get ahead.If Nepalese People need their Lives and are not ready for a blood bath,peacefully divide the country.

Anonymous said...

Any body who has comments on the avove statements is requested to post his or her comment or query at lipika_rijal@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Wow!! great discussion, did not know about this site till today.
I belive people in Nepal, be Madeshi or pahadi have come and settled in the region from some where else. Mostly from different part of India, and some from northen part.
The part I cant put together is how is bahun, chetteris different from Babhan, rajput. it makes me think, is it because it sounds different; although they are the same, or is it because where we settled when we moved to the region, or is it because Madeshi came from India, and Terrai basi came from Bhutan, and Burma???
There are lots of question.
I totally agree with all you folks, who thinks some thing needs to be done, and done fast. But, I totally disagree if you think the solution is division of the country.
We do need to get together and educate the Madeshi folks about the situation.
More cooming soon......

Anonymous said...

Let's look at the history of nepal post 1990 era, Democracy restored.
Fight between congress and Communist over who want to take over the power. Whenever there were disagreement, strikes called and goverment vehicles burnt, and something happens.
Maoist starts to threaten the politics, their way for the movement, strikes, taking down government resources(let's call it people's tax) and burning government vehicles.
Let's look at Madhesi's ways, same thing, nothing new. What are they asking? Oh, yeah a seperate state n equal representation bla bla bla. Stupid as it sounds, JTMM raised the issue and now who's the one who's leading the issue when it's red hot, freaking MP's who were just in the newly restored parliament. Isn't Nepal suppose to be a democratic enough country by now for those MP's to realize, the way they could have raised the issue could have been different. They can duly not to go any house sittings, organize peace rallies all around the country and raise their demand. Does everybody has to go for strike? Is that what the kids from so called next generation will also follow? Maoist set the trend to follow violence, n everybody's gotta follow their trend- To make the government listen, raise weapons......
Now, Newar should ask for a seperate state, coz late prthivi shah tricked em to get hold of ktm, bhaktapur and patan.
Why not give space to king too? Give him Gorkha, his hereditary old state.
Now, what 'bt states closer to Tibet?Let's give it to Tamangs and Gurungs, they are himalis.

Anonymous said...

The problem here is that everyone is ready to blame others. While some groups have had much more power than others, the hatred given to these particular groups (or any group, for that matter) is not going to solve the issues. And just because certain groups have had more power than others does not mean that these people have ALL knowingly exploited others and taken advantage of them. Although it is much easier to be angry, it will do not good but create more hatred, more civil unrest, and more injustice. So instead of spewing words of hatred, why don't you, all the people who care so much for these issues, do something? How easy it is to say what is right and wrong with the world but sit there and do nothing... Furthermore, Nepal is one of the most culturally diverse, beautiful, welcoming country in the world. Instead of fighting because of our greed, anger,and ignorance, why don't we promote action that unites all of as citizen of Nepal? We are all part of a single country and must act like we are.