Saturday, July 07, 2007

Upendra Yadav Was In Town

Nepal Weekly: Front Cover Story On Madhesi
Photos: Upendra Yadav

Upendra Yadav was in town.

ANTA had been working for weeks to get him the visa. I am not a member of ANTA. I have my own organization. I collaborate where political collaboration looks possible. ANTA has social and cultural components to it. It tries to mesh with the larger Nepali diaspora structure. I find that structure sorely lacking in terms of empowerment of Nepalis at the global level. So I stay away and stay focused. My organization Hamro Nepal is strictly political and it has the efficiency of a digital democracy organization.

Hamro Nepal

I called up Upendra Yadav in Kathmandu. He was in town for the visa. It looked like it might not happen. He said he was being told by the embassy the request has been sent to the State Department and that is where it was stuck. I don't have contacts in the State Department, but I have a friend who does. He found out the real deal was the Home Ministry in Nepal had written to the embassy asking that no visa be granted to Yadav. Within days Yadav got th visa. He was to first show in New York, and then fly over to Los Angeles for the ANA Convention. Now because of the visa delay, the plan had to be reversed. LA came first. The earlier ticket had to be canceled. At the last minute only a business class ticket could be secured. That doubled the cost.

From Tuesday, July 3, to Friday morning, I was with Upendra Yadav the entire time. We both slept on Binod Shah's living room floor.

The evening before I met him, I read this online: Nepal Weekly: Front Cover Story On Madhesi. He was staying with fellow Janakpuriya Binod Shah in Yonkers, north of the city. You have to take a bus from the last stop on the 4 line. This front page article in Nepal is curious. It was published more than two months after the reported meeting took place. It was published to coincide with Upendra Yadav's visit to the US. It was published after the Pahadi establishment in Kathmandu was no longer able to block his visa.

The article totally demonizes Yadav.

For Yadav's Forum to be able to communicate with the leadership of the top armed Madhesi groups is no different from the seven parties talking to the Maoists long before a formal alliance between them was formed. Yadav arranged to meet all of them before his scheduled talks with Ram Chandra Poudel. He wanted to see if common ground could be found. He wanted to explore ways to possibly mainstream these armed outfits. Upendra Yadav of all people is best positioned to mainstream the armed Madhesi groups. But for that the people in power have to respect him and his party, the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum. Yadav and his party are where the seven parties were with the Maoists. They could mainstream the Maoists but the path would be political. It would take time. It would have to be respectful.

The Pahadi media in Kathmandu has never published anything from me. It is because they know me too well. The anti-Madhesi prejudice is strong. That prejudice has been fully expressed in this article in Nepal weekly.

It is entirely possible that some who participated in that meeting expressed secessionist tendencies. They are no different from Pahadis who tell Madhesis your only option to stay inside Nepal is to accept your second class status.

Upendra Yadav is an educated man. He has a MSc. in Mathematics, and a law degree. He went to Europe in the mid-80s to represent Nepal on an International Students' Union invitation. I interacted with the IUS when I was student body president at Berea College. In the mid-90s he went to South Africa to participate in the World Conference on Racism.

Day one I took him to see all the top tourist destinations in the city: Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, World Trade Center, Brooklyn Bridge, Chinatown, Union Square, Little India, Grand Central, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Central Park.

The second day I interviewed him on video for hours. All that will go online. In the evening we went to watch the July 4 fireworks in downtown Yonkers.

Thursday he had meetings. I went to see my sister. In the evening was an interaction program at Yak in Jackson Heights. Madhesis I had never seen before showed up. Many Pahadis were there. It was an amazing talk he gave. I have the entire program on video that will go online.

The Pahadi media tries to make him look like he were the Nepali Prabhakaran. His talk demolished that image. He presented himself to be someone leading a peaceful struggle for Madhesi equality inside Nepal. He won over both Madhesis and Pahadis.
Later back in Yonkers I told him that just like the Pahadis in Nepal try to paint him as a royalist, a Hindu supremacist, a violent person, Pahadis in the US will tell you I am a journalist, I am a writer. What I am is a political activist, it is just that my style is cutting edge, I use the internet to the fullest. No Nepali in the US worked full time for the April Revolution, noone for the Madhesi Kranti. No Pahadi in the city is friends with the chair of the ruling party in the state. No Pahadi knows Dean. No Pahadi is one of the most active Obama volunteers in the city, the capital city of the world. That I think Nepal will be a federal republic within a few years. And then Nepal will have to engage in an economic revolution for the next three decades. I launched a technology company two months back to that end. I am not someone who stayed behind for the good life. I am someone who thinks of Nepal actively on a daily basis. Nepal needs me to be in New York City. We are Madhesi in Nepal. We are Madhesi also in the US. First World Third World beech ko khaldo purne internet le ho.
For some reason I stayed awake that entire night. I slept during the day. He was in air while I slept, on his way back to Nepal.

Upendra Yadav is committed to the idea of all of Terai being one state in a federal Nepal, so am I.

Proposed Constitution
Photos: Upendra Yadav


Moriarty 1
Moriarty 2

In The News

Congress factions will be united in two weeks: Sushil Koirala Kantipur
Pro-monarchy forces will be defeated: Nepal
१ सय १२ चुनाव चिह्न ६२ दल संविधानसभा निर्वाचनमा भाग लिनका लागि दर्ता भएका छन् .... १५ वटा अन्तरिम व्यवस्थापिकामा सांसद भएका र ४७ वटा १० हजार मतदाताको हस्ताक्षर संकलन गरी दर्ता भएका छन् । संसद्मा भएका १५ मध्ये कांग्रेस, एमाले, राप्रपा, सद्भावनाका मात्र चिह्न रूख, सूर्य, हलो र हात छन्
राजाको भोजमा उपस्थिति न्यून
मधेसका मुद्दा लिएर राजधानी सामाजिक सवालमा समावेशीकरण, लैंगिक तथा जातीय भेदभावको अन्त्य, सामाजिक कुरीतिविरुद्ध जनचेतना अभिवृद्धि, बालश्रम, बाल विवाह र दाइजो प्रथाको अन्त्य, व्यावहारिक, वैज्ञानिक र निःशुल्क शिक्षा, विविधताको पहिचान, बसाइँ सराइको अन्त, दण्डहीनताको अन्त, महिला अधिकार र मधेसको दिगो विकास प्रमुख सवालका रू पमा उठेका छन् । राजनीतिकमा वैज्ञानिक जनगणनाको आधारमा निर्वाचन क्षेत्र निर्धारण, संघीय राज्य संरचना, गणतन्त्र, राज्यको प्रत्येक अंगमा समानुपातिक प्रतिनिधित्व, संविधानसभामा सबै साना समूहहरूको प्रतिनिधित्व, आरक्षण, समानुपातिक निर्वाचन प्रणाली, महिलालाई ३३ देखि ५० प्रतिशत आरक्षण र जातिको आधारमा प्रतिनिधित्व प्रमुख सवाल छन् । आर्थिकमा किसानमुखी दिगो विकास नीति, बजटमा पहुँच र जनसंख्याको आधारमा बजेट विनियोजन, मधेसबाट उठाइएका राजस्व मधेसमै लगानी, अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय तथा राष्ट्रिय गैरसरकारी संस्था तथा अर्थसम्बन्धी संघसंस्थामा समानुपातिक प्रतिनिधित्व, रोजगारी, भूमिहीनलाई भूमि वितरण, परम्परागत पेसा तथा सीपको विकास, राजस्वको दुरुपयोग तथा भ्रष्टाचारको अन्त्य र बाढी र मरुभूमिकरणको नियन्त्रण प्रमुख सवाल रहेका छन् । सांस्कृतिकमा भाषा र पारम्पारिक वेशभूषाको पहिचान, मधेसी रीतिरिवाज तथा परम्परालाई मान्यता, पौराणिक तथा पुरातात्त्विक पर्यटकीय क्षेत्रको प्रवर्द्धन, उत्सव तथा पर्वहरूको राष्ट्रिय मान्यता, धरोहर र स्मारकहरूको संरक्षण, सांस्कृतिक विविधतालाई सम्मान, विभिन्न धर्मको संरक्षण, स्थानीय भाषा, कला र संस्कृतिको संरक्षणका लागि अनुसन्धान केन्द्रको स्थापना र मधेसी महिला तथा जीवन शैलीको उजागर प्रमुख सवालका रूपमा उठाइएका छन् ।
ँमहासचिव दुई पदावधि मात्रै’ एमाले स्थायी समिति सदस्य झलनाथ खनालले दुई पदावधिभन्दा बढी एउटै व्यक्ति नेतृत्वमा रहन नहुने विचार व्यक्त गरेका छन् .... आफ्नो तीन घन्टा लामो प्रस्तुतिमा उनले अधिकांश समय पार्टी नेतृत्वको आलोचना र त्यसको विकल्प खोज्नुपर्ने धारणा राखेका थिए । ..... १५ वर्षदेखि महासचिवको जिम्मेवारीमा रहेका माधव नेपालप्रति लक्षित गर्दै उनले अब नयाँ व्यक्तिलाई नेतृत्व हस्तान्तरण गर्नुपर्ने धारणा
जनजातिमा थर फेर्ने लहर
संविधानसभा ः बाँकी जटिल चुनौती कानुन आएकाले अब निर्वाचन आयोगको गाडी कुदाउन बाटो खुलेको छ । .... माओवादीबाट फुटेर जन्मेका र पछि विविध उद्देश्यसहित देखा परेका तराईका सशस्त्र समूहहरूको बाङ्गो इरादाबारे विभिन्न क्ष्ाेत्रबाट आवाज उठाइँदा पनि मूलधारका दलहरुको गम्भीर ध्यान गएन । उनीहरूले त्यसलाई तराईवासीका परम्परागत पीडाको अभिव्यक्तिका रूपमा मात्र लिए । यी सशस्त्र समूहबाट देश टुक्र्याउने सम्मका खतरनाक अभिव्यक्ति आउन थाले । त्यसैले हामी चैत र वैशाखभरि राष्ट्रिय जागरण र एकताको व्यापक अभियान लिएर तराइमा ओर्लौं भनी मैले एमाले स्थायी समितिको बैठकमा पटकपटक जोडदार आग्रह गरेँ । तर हाम्रा नेताको राष्ट्रिय चेतना, स्वाभिमान र सतर्कता सुतेको देखेर म साह्रै मर्माहत भएँ । ........ विदेशीको आडमा राष्ट्र फुटाउने उनीहरूको दुराकांक्ष्ाा अहिले पटनामा प्रष्ट रूपले उदाङ्गयिो । त्यहाँ सिङ्गो नेपाल र राष्ट्रिय अखण्डताका प्रतिनिधि भएर विघटनकारीको दुःस्वप्नमा तेजाव खन्याइदिने देशभक्त रामराजाप्रसाद सिंहलाई राष्ट्रले अभिनन्दन गर्नुपर्छ । ....... आदिवासी जनजाति महासंघका माग र आठ दलका सोचको भिन्नता समाधान हुन नसकेमा निर्वाचन सामु ठूलै बाधा तेर्सिन सक्नेछ

Few injured after YCL cadres foil monarchists' rally NepalNews
Monarchy should be abolished before CA election: Prachanda the birthday celebrations of King Gyanendra indicated that he “is trying to be active” .... his party had been claiming four missions - Denmark, South Korea, France and United Kingdom ..... Prachanda said the Swiss model of federalism could be good for Nepal ..... According to Dr Bhattarai, the European community was quite positive towards his party, unlike the United States.
Koirala, Deuba discuss Congress unification Deuba said the meeting focused on reuniting the two parties as early possible .... arrived at the ‘understanding’ to start the unification processes before the November 22 election. ..... they are yet to get on to the real business of unification
King's birthday proceeds amid protests
RPP to hold its convention in August end
Debate on monetary policy begins
90 percent people will participate in CA polls: Survey some 90 percent of the citizens would take part in the constituent assembly polls on November 22. ..... 41 percent people blamed eight parties while 23 percent blamed Maoist for the delay in holding the election. However, 22 percent believe the process was not delayed and 11 percent said it was the king who obstructed the polls on earlier schedule. Only 1 percent blamed the Madeshi Janadhikar Forum. ... Nepali Congress will get 18 percent votes, CPM-UML 14.3 percent, CPM-Maoist 14.5 percent, Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) 2.4 percent and Nepali Congress Democratic will get 1.3 percent ..... 50 percent of the respondents said monarchy must be abolished immediately while 29 percent favoured monarchy with limited powers, 5 percent favoured active monarchy and 13 percent of the respondents did not reply. ...... 50 percent were found to be unaware about the concept of federalism while 16 percent said they wanted federal system and 10 percent disagreed with the notion.
"Federalism leads to innovation and competition on the subnational level" Federalism leads to innovation and competition on the subnational level. And that means that, over the long haul, federalism holds the promise of economic development. ..... Geographic based federalism will unavoidably lead to culturally or ethnically-based leadership and representation. No two states or districts will be the same, and the opportunities for minority groups to express themselves will be greater than ever seen under the old, centralized system. ...... I have encouraged all the political parties to decide first for themselves what their ideal federalist restructuring would look like so that they have determined their initial negotiating position. No group can reach a final, negotiated agreement without having a place to start.
Gautam asks Diaspora to help Nepal for development Ratan Jha, Vice Chair NAC-NRN Committee described the criteria set by the NRNA to sponsor, initiate or complete one project in each of the 75 districts of Nepal in education, health or clean water at a cost of US$ 20,000 or more and should be implemented by September 30, 2007. ..... Niley Shrestha, financial advisor at Oppenheimer & Co. in San Francisco with 18 years experience in money management, addressed the proposed NRNA US$100 million investment fund with half of it to be invested in Nepal and provided a primer on the feasibility, management issues and expectations from such a fund. He spoke on how it might be possible to tap into the pools of funds in North America to raise a substantial and proportionate amount from the North American pool of savings.
Three hurt in Sarlahi bomb blast A little known outfit called Terai Army has claimed responsibility for the blast.
NRNA Asia pacific conference in Singapore

Cabinet directs Home Ministry to step up security NepalNews A meeting of the Council of Ministers on Monday ordered the Home Ministry to take all possible measures to check the ongoing killings and violence in Terai region and improve the overall security situation in the country. ... the meeting decided to give ‘special direction’ to the Home Ministry to improve security.
Summer session of Parliament begins
Strikes continue to paralyse life in eastern Terai After Mechi-Kosi Truck Entrepreneurs’ Association called an indefinite strike demanding security to the trucks and buses plying on the highway a week ago, the vehicular movement in the East-west highway has come to a halt. ..... supply of essential goods in eastern districts like Jhapa, Morang, Saptari, Siraha, Parsa and far-western towns like Mahendranagar and Dhangadhi and Nepalgunj in mid-west is also starting to suffer. ..... vegetables worth hundreds of thousands of rupees supplied daily to Kathmandu and other major towns around the country from Terai have also started to rot, causing losses worth millions of rupees to the farmers. ..... The agitating transporters say the strike will be in force for an indefinite period until their demands are met. ...... there has been no efforts from the government side to open the highways, life in eastern Terai been thrown out of gear with shortage of essential commodities intensifying.
Thapa warns against integrating Maoist combatants into NA
Country will be in serious trouble if CA polls not held in free and fair manner: Moriarty the country could fall prey to dictatorship or disintegration or totalitarianism. ..... The tag of terrorism, he said, "will not be removed until the Maoists change their behavior." ..... Giving Maoists the 'non-passing grade' for continuing with violence and intimidation, Moriarty said that the situation had gotten worse since they joined the government in April. ..... if the Maoists were to end violence and intimidation, a lot of things would then take care of themselves. He said US did not have particular concern with their ideology. ...... different ideas should compete in 'market' in fair manner. ..... termed Young Communist League (YCL) as a bunch of thugs who should actually have been in cantonments as they composed of PLA soldiers. ....... On the issue of former US president Jimmy Carter's recent trip to Nepal and his suggestion to US government to establish some sort of contact with the Maoists, Moriarty said, "I explained to him that it is precisely the wrong time to be doing so. Having made such a big deal of not dealing with the Maoists until they change their behaviour, if we now (develop contact with them) despite not having seen them change their behaviour, then they will think they don't need to change any longer." ...... all interested parties should be insisting the Maoists to change their behaviour. ...... Saying that he has also received an invitation for tea reception soon to be hosted by King Gyanendra, Moriarty said he will not attend it though.
SD Muni speaks on the current political situation

India should openly help Nepal on Terai issue: Expert Times of India

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

All of we madheshi just want autonomous, not Vice president, president or prime minister.
we just want to Remind madheshi janadhikaar forum to keep the word whatever they have given to madheshi before election i.e. GIVE US VOTE WE WILL GIVE YOU AUTONOMOUS.
There will be problem if it will not happen.