Thursday, September 24, 2009

That Madhesi Agenda: Jitendra Sonal

The Prime Minister's delegation has about 30 members, one of them Madhesi. That is nowhere close to proportionate.

  • Said joint-general secretary of the Terai Madhes Loktantrik Party, Jitendra Sonal, “Hindi is a common link between all languages spoken across the Madhes.”
  • Speaking to the daily, joint general secretary Jitendra Sonal said the party had decided to join the government to raise the Madhes issues.
  • The split occurred in September 2007, as the MJF vice chairmen Bhagyanath Gupta and Kishor Kumar Bishwash and Ram Kumar Sharma and Jitendra Sonal were expelled from MJF. Gupta became chairman, Sharma general secretary, Bishwash and Sonal vice chairmen of the new party. However, Sonal and Sharma were expelled from the party in December 2007.
  • September 5: A central committee meeting of the MJF expelled the four dissident leaders Kishore Kumar Bishwas, Bhagyanath Gupta, Jitendra Sonal and Ram Kumar Sharma and also decided that the MJF will take part in the Constituent Assembly election.
  • Those expelled include, his adviser Kishor Kumar Bishwas, Bhagyanath Gupta, Jitendra Sonal and ram Kumar Sharma.
  • "As a political party our agenda is pretty clear-we want democratic system of governance, autonomous federal structure, proportional elections, and we want Nepal to be a republic" says Jitendra Sonal, MJF's secretariat member.
  • “We are positive over the prime minister´s offer but could not discuss this issue in our party on Wednesday. Our party is likely to recommend our ministers on Thursday,” said Jitendra Sonal, TMDP joint general secretary.

    Prime Minister of NepalImage by izahorsky via Flickr

  • "We are not ready to tolerate discrimination anymore in the name of keeping peace," said Jitendra Sonal, the president of the youth wing of the Madhesi People's Right Forum. Sonal's face was marked by purple bruises -- the result, he says, of a police beating.
  • On December 31, 2007, a Central Working Committee of the party was formed, chaired by Thakur. Other members are Hridayesh Tripathi, Mahendra Prasad Yadav, Ram Chandra Raya, Sarbendra Nath Shukla, Anish Ansari, Ram Chandra Kushwaha, Brishesh Chandra Lal, Srikrishna Yadav, Govinda Prasad Chaudhary, Ram Kumar Chaudhary, Ram Kumar Sharma, Jitendra Sonal, Bishwanath Saha, Satyawati Kurmi, Kritaram Kumhal, Dilip Singh and Sheikh Chandtara.
  • "The chances of TMDP getting three ministries have increased," Jitendra Sonal, joint general secretary of the party, told
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Interaction With Madhav Nepal: Friday

September 25, 2009, Friday, 5:30 PM
Entrance: Free
Theme: Federalism In Nepal
Chian Federation Hall
44-01 Broadway
Astoria, NY 11103
Take the R or V train to 46th St

Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal of the Republic of Nepal

Date: September 24, 2009 from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Location: Rotunda, Low Memorial Library, Columbia University

"Post-Conflict Challenges and Development"

A keynote address by
Madhav Kumar Nepal
Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal

With remarks from
Sujata Koirala
Foreign Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal

Followed by a question and answer session with the audience

Registration is required.

Right Honorable Mr. Madhav Kumar Nepal, Prime Minister of Nepal, was born in Nepal's southern Rautahat district on March 6, 1953. He graduated in commerce from Tribhuvan University in 1973 and worked in banking services before joining politics.

Mr. Nepal joined the communist movement in 1969 as a member of Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) under Pushpa Lal Shrestha, founder of the CPN. During his political career, Mr. Nepal spent two years as a political prisoner. In the democratic struggle against the one-party Panchayat System, he remained underground from 1974 to 1989. In 1978, Mr. Nepal became a founding politburo member of the Communist Party of Nepal (Marxist Leninist), which later became CPN (United Marxist Leninist), popularly called UML in Nepal.

He played an active role during the first People's Movement and he was one of the members of the commission that drafted the Nepalese constitution in 1990. In 1991 he led the opposition in the National Assembly, the upper house of the Nepalese parliament. In 1995 he became Deputy Prime Minister with foreign and defense ministries under his portfolio in the Nepalese government led by Prime Minister Man Mohan Adhikari.

Since 1995 he has remained one of the main leaders in Nepalese politics, including his role as the leader of the Nepalese opposition in the House of Representatives from 1999 to 2002. With other democratic parties, he played an active role in leading the People's Movement in 2006 that overpowered absolute monarchy and contributed to the signing of peace agreements with the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), beginning a peace process to end the deadly internal conflict that had entrenched the country for over a decade, killing over 13,000 people.

Mr. Nepal was the General Secretary of the CPN (UML) until he resigned in April 2008 after remaining in that position for over a decade. In 2009 Mr. Nepal became a member of the Constituent Assembly and was elected chairman of Constitutional Committee of the Constituent Assembly that is entrusted to draft Nepal's new constitution. He became Prime Minister of Nepal on May 25, 2009.

Apart from Nepali and English, Mr. Nepal also speaks Hindi and regional dialects of Maithali and Bhojpuri. He is married to Ms. Gayatri Nepal. They have a daughter and a son.

Man Mohan AdhikariImage via Wikipedia

Reception by Nepal Mission
Tangra Asian Fusion Cuisine
39-23 Queens Blvd.
Sunnyside, New York 11104
Thursday, September 24, 2009, 7:00 PM

Democracy For Nepal (DFN): Interaction With Madhav Nepal: Friday
Democracy For Nepal (DFN): I Give Madhav Nepal Six Months
Democracy For Nepal (DFN): News X Interview With Madhav Nepal
Democracy For Nepal (DFN): Time To Rally Around Madhav Nepal
Democracy For Nepal (DFN): Madhav Nepal Would Be A Great Choice
Democracy For Nepal (DFN): The UML Could Split
Democracy For Nepal (DFN): A DaMaJaMaKha Panel
Democracy For Nepal (DFN): Upendra Yadav's Options
Madhav Nepal And Rule Of Law
Democracy For Nepal (DFN): MJF: Is Reconciliation Possible?
Democracy For Nepal (DFN): Putting The MJF Fire Out
Democracy For Nepal (DFN): MJF Will Emerge Stronger
Democracy For Nepal (DFN): Interim President: Madhav Nepal
Democracy For Nepal (DFN): Upendra Yadav Is Going To Lead The MJF ...
Democracy For Nepal (DFN): The Implications Of A Split In The MJF
Democracy For Nepal (DFN): MJF: No Harm Done
Democracy For Nepal (DFN): The MJF Must Stay Intact
Democracy For Nepal (DFN): Is A Consensus Government Possible?
Phone Talk With Madhav Nepal, Hridayesh Tripathy

andolan2Image by paramendra via Flickr

Democracy For Nepal (DFN): K.P. Oli
Madhav Nepal, Commander Of The Movement
Madhav Nepal
Madhav Nepal Out In Open
Democracy For Nepal (DFN): Is An All Party Government Possible ...
April Revolution: Document Every Atrocity
madhav nepal needs to make a move
Federalism: Four Layers Or Three Layers
Democracy For Nepal (DFN): Koirala Has To Be Beat At His Own Game
Nice And Easy: President Nepal
What Is Gachhedar Thinking?
Democracy For Nepal (DFN): The MJF Drama

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Can Koirala Be Given Credit For Federalism?

A lot of Nepali Congress people give Girija Koirala credit for the alliance that the democratic parties ultimately formed with the Maoists to bring the monarchy down. But that alliance would not have been possible if the democratic parties had not agreed to the idea of a constituent assembly. And Girija was opposed to that idea of a constituent assembly to the very last. That is why he does not get credit for what he calls mainstreaming the Maoists.

The guy is here on record saying he is opposed to the kind of map for federalism that the Maoists, the UML and now his own party have come up with. He calls them "latitudinal." But it is a latitudinal map that will firm up. When that happens, will the Nepali Congress people then give Koirala credit for the same? You have to wonder.

Girija opposes 'latitudinal division' of the country NepalNews
Dahal claims Madhesis are withdrawing support to govt some Madhes based parties are likely to withdraw support to the coalition government shortly. .... his party is in constant discussion with two big neighbours and the European Union for successful transition of the peace process and timely constitution

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Monday, September 21, 2009

The Word Madisey: Madisey Bhanne Shabda

I attended the Non Resident Nepali Association event at Shangrila Sunday evening. It was a well attended event. The energy level was high. It was good to see Binodji emcee the event. I take pride in the fact that a Madhesi - Upendra Mahato - launched the global NRN movement.

I think the NRN movement needs to address some structural anomalies before it takes off in the United States. There is a lot of opposition to the NAC - Nepalese Americas Council - becoming the national coordination committee for the NRNA. The association is going to have to start from scratch and build its own national coordination committee like in other countries.

Also in answer to a question from a Janajati if there were Janajatis among the founding leaders of the NRN, Suman Timilsina, who I gather is the national president of the NRNA in the US, replied by saying a "madisey" was the leader for this particular region.

The word Madhesi is like the word Negro, or even African-American, or black. Negro is an archaic term. We say black or African American today. But the word madisey is like the word nigger. Madisey, marsya, dhoti, they qualify as hate speech. There was no hatred in Sumanji's voice, and I have heard Karma Gyalden Sherpa use the same word in the same intonation before, and I need to correct him as well, but there is no ifs and buts about it. You do not get to use the word madisey. Say Madhesi. The word madisey is hate speech.

Karma Sherpa And The NYC Program For The Prime Minister

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Federal Nepal: Emerging Maps

Looks like we will end up with somewhere between 10 and 15 states in a federal Nepal. The good news is all major parties have finally ditched the ridiculous idea of strictly geographic north-south vertical states. All of Terai will likely not end up as one state, but the only disagreement now is if the Terai will have two or four or five states. I say two: Tharuwan and Madhesh.

The Maoists were the original proponent of the two states in the Terai idea. Then after the first Madhesi revolution they decided to punish the Madhesi people by breaking up their own Madhesh state into many parts in their internal maps. Now they are back to having the original Madhesh state minus the two important eastern districts of Jhapa and Morang. They have to rectify that as well. All of the Terai from Rapti to Mechi has to be one state.

Looks like the Limbus will get Limbuwan, and that is fine by me. And looks like the Himali people will get their own two states. And the Khasan in my map will be two geographic states. The UML has better names for those two states than do the Maoists.

So in this map you end up with not eight but 12 states. The reason the Maoists have 13 is because they have mistakenly taken Jhapa and Morang out of Madhesh. Put them back.

12 would be a great number.

Getting Published In Republica: Thoughts On Federalism
What Shape Federalism?

In The News

NC proposes 16 provinces Republica five in Tarai-Madhes ..... does not suggest any names for them ...... Earlier, two models of state restructuring had been proposed. The first model proposed seven provinces, while another model proposed five provinces. ...... UML proposes 15 provinces 15 provinces, with autonomous zones within such provinces....... The committee had presented two proposals -- one comprising 13 provinces and another 15 ...... on the basis of historic continuity, economic viability and population density, and to delineate them on the basis of language, ethnicity, culture and the oppression the people have faced for centuries. ....... Birat, Limbuwan, Kirat, Mithila, Bhojpura, Sunkoshi, Tamsaling, Newa, Tamuwan, Magarat, Gandaki, Khaptad, Karnali, Tharuhat and Lumbini. ......... UCPN (Maoist) .. 13 provinces - three based on region and others on ethnicity - and over 50 protected zones with separate provinces for different ethnicities. The proposal has drawn widespread criticism for basing the provinces mostly on ethnicity. ......... the Madhesi People´s Rights Forum (MPRF) has decided to propose ´one Madhes one province´ comprising 20 districts in the southern plains.
Halt physical action against PM, ministers: Parties
Three parties to continue talks on House obstruction

Present govt duly elected: Prez
We're closer to a solution: PM
A mid-point is needed: PM
Kathmandu UML defies party decision
Big 3 agree to find common motion
Court orders suspension of Major Basnet The Kavrepalanchowk District Court has ordered the Nepal Army to suspend Major Niranjan Basnet, one of the four accused in the Maina Sunar murder case.
Rawal-Ansari rift hits home tasks
Promotion of SSP to DIG in limbo

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The Maoists And Multi-Party Democracy

English: Chinese poster with Marx, Engels, Len...Image via Wikipedia

You don't get the impression the Maoists ever got over their original dream of a one party communist republic. They want to act like it is a one party communist republic while they are leading a coalition government, they want to act like it is a one party communist republic when they get out of power. You have to wonder how they will act should they manage to get a simple majority on their own next year. And people like Kiran Vaidya who is one of the top five Maoist leaders never hide it that it is a one party communist republic that they have in mind. So do you believe Baburam Bhattarai when he says his party is committed to multi-party democracy, or do you dismiss him as a lightweight Maoist?

HKNepal Interview With Prachanda

The Maoists have had the option to try and win away enough parties from the current coalition government to try and topple this government. They have had the option to push forth the

PrachandaImage via Wikipedia

idea of an all party national unity government.

Instead they have prevented the parliament from functioning. That does not sound to me like a commitment to parliamentary democracy.

Prachanda has been waging a relentless string of political attacks on the president. That speaks of Prachanda's anti-Madhesi prejudice. It was Prachanda who was wrong in how he tried to sack Katuwal, not the president. But there are many Nepalis who do not like the idea that a Madhesi is president. Prachanda is one of them.

Lesson For Maoists: Rule Of Law
Prachanda Messed Up

Prachanda took his oath not in Daura Suruwal but in western clothes - which is fine by me - but the Supreme Court did not go after him for that. But it went after Parmananda Jha for taking his oath in Hindi.

The anti-Madhesi prejudice of the political class in Nepal is well and alive.

You have to doubt the commitment of a party to multi-party democracy if that party obstructs the parliament for months on end, if that party pelts stones at the Prime Minister. Show a black flag in protest. That would be legitimate. Those throwing stones should be arrested.

Awadh, Chitwan, Bhojpura, Mithila, Kochila = Madhesh

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Serial Entrepreneur Aditya Jha Honored By India Abroad

Karma Sherpa And The NYC Program For The Prime Minister

I just got off the phone with Karma Gyalden Sherpa. It was a half hour conversation.

Karma has been my favorite Nepali in New York City since I showed up in town a few years ago. The Madhesis have to seek an alliance with the Janajatis to achieve equality in Nepal and the Nepali diaspora. He is not one of those "Bahun ko jhola bokne" Janajati/Madhesi, his phrase. I like that about him a lot. He has a warm personality. He has a high emotional intelligence. He has been running the largest, most vibrant Nepali organization in New York City for a few years now.

I missed the meeting yesterday evening where the Adivasi Janajati Mahasangh and the UNDF tried to work out the details for the Prime Minister's program on the 25th. I might have been late: it was to have been my fourth event of the day (Nepali Picnic, Poetry Festival, Science House MeetUp). And I also ended up at the wrong location. But I did meet someone who was on his way back from the meeting. I debriefed him on the sidewalk by the Satya Narayan Mandir in Jackson Heights.

I talked to Tek Gurung on the phone an hour before I talked to Karma. It has been decided Karma will chair the event, and Tek will give the welcome speech. I think that is a happy middle ground.

I also wanted to ask for five minutes of speaking time, but before I brought up the topic Karma said he had made a few decisions as chairperson. One, the emcee will only announce the names of the speakers, otherwise sometimes the emcee's introductory speech ends up longer than the speaker's, there will be few speakers, maybe four or five, each speaker will have a strict time limit, and mostly the program will be a question answer session. The floor will be opened to the general public. He said among the few speakers there will be one Madhesi, one Dalit, only one Janajati. ANTA has been asked to furnish the Madhesi speaker. And that the entire event will be live streamed worldwide on the web.

I said I was very happy with the arrangement, that he had thought everything through. I dropped the topic of seeking five minutes for me. I am happier that I will get a minute during the question and answer session. I am also going to try to meet the Prime Minister at the Columbia University event a few days before that.

Karma and I talked about many other things to do with Madhesi and Janajati rights besides this one event. We concluded by agreeing what the Janajatis of Nepal need is their own political party.
To: The Nepali Ambassador to the UN

Your Excellency Madhuji.

As the president of two organizations Hamro Nepal
( and Mission Madhes
(,,, as one of
the most active Nepalis in NYC since my arrival in town in the summer
of 2005 (, as the only Nepali in
America to have worked full time for Nepal's democracy and social
movements (, as one of the
top Obama volunteers in all of NYC in 2007 and 2008
and as a personal friend of the Prime Minister
(, .... please find attached an email he sent me a few days before he
became Prime Minister), I would like to request five minutes of
speaking time at the Prime Minister's event on the 26th.

Thank you.
As to ANTA, this is what I said to a friend a few days back.
There are more than 3,000 Madhesis in America. Of those less than 100 are members of ANTA. We have to go beyond ANTA to grow Mission Madhes. Can we get 500 members? That is what we need to ask. I urge you to start with making a list of all Madhesis you personally know who are in America, and get them to work on similar lists.

20 Districts In MPRF's "One Madhes" Republica Kanchanpur, Kailali, Bardiya, Banke, Dang, Kapilvastu, Rupandehi, Nawalparasi, Chitwan, Parsa, Bara, Rautahat, Sarlahi, Mahottari, Dhanusha, Siraha, Saptari, Sunsari, Morang and Jhapa.
Paramendra Bhagat
to chitiz
Aug 25


My bio data.

Paramendra Bhagat is president of a digital democracy organization
called Hamro Nepal that has the largest Nepali mailing list in the
world at over 8500 members. He is now working to launch a global
organization called Mission Madhes. He was one of the most active
Obama volunteers in all of New York City in 2007 and 2008. He came to
the US for college in 1996. Within six months of landing he got
himself elected student body president at the number one liberal arts
college in the South, a record in college history. In Nepal before
that he had been Vice General Secretary to the Nepal Samajwadi Janata
Dal that had split from Gajendra Narayan Singh's Sadbhavana. Hridayesh
Tripathy was General Secretary and Rajendra Mahto was a central
committee member. He runs a blog called Democracy For Nepal that you
might have heard of. He worked full time for Nepal's democracy and
Madhesi movements in 2005, 2006 and half of 2007.

On Mon, Aug 24, 2009 at 10:52 PM, chitiz tamu wrote:
> Parmendra jee,
> I would like to wel-come you from Madhese as a speaker on the topic of "New
> Constitution and Burning Issues of Nepal" on Aug 30, Sunday at 11:30 P.M.
> Yak Restaurant, Jackson Height. Please send me your your bio-data within 5
> to 7 sentences.
> Thank You,
> Tek Gurung

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sukhdev Shah And Anti-Madhesi Prejudice

Sukhdev Shah was way ahead of his time in terms of how far he went with his education. But his observation has been that his homevillage looks still the same after half a century.

He was vocal about democracy during the Panchayat era, and he has been vocal about Madhesi rights since democracy in 1990.

He gave so much to the Nepali Congress, but that party did not think him qualified to be the Nepali ambassador to the US back in 1991 or ever after. It took a MJF to make him the offer. He has been qualified this entire time.

I have utmost respect for Sukhdevji. And it is so very unfortunate that a government got toppled and the almost achieved dream of seeing a Madhesi as the Nepali ambassador to the US got dashed.

andolan5Image by paramendra via Flickr

Maybe this government will also get toppled in a few months, and an all party government will get formed, and the MJF will come back into power, and perhaps we will see the job done. But right now I am not counting on it.

What most gets me is the strong anti-Madhesi prejudice that the Nepali community in Washington DC expressed upon his nomination.

The prejudice is well and alive. No amount of education or global exposure seems to cure it. If anything, it seems to become stronger.

There is no escaping the struggle. If this generation will not do the work, the next generation will have to. Why pass it on to the next generation?

andolan4Image by paramendra via Flickr

For Sukhdev Shah at this stage in life to have to feel the hurt of the prejudice in a locale that has been his home for decades, it is like Ambedkar finally giving up on Hinduism to become a Buddhist. Maybe he should consider becoming an American citizen after all, after having resisted the idea for close to half a century.

The creation of a Madhes state in a federal Nepal is a must for Madhesi liberation.

Most diaspora Madhesis don't admit it, but Sukhdev Shah's experience is also their experience. A lot of them have mastered the art of getting along with Pahadis by either skipping the topic of Madhesi rights, or downright parroting the Pahadi talking points on Madhesi rights issues. I have a name for it. I call it the Mr 1% personality. It is the mindset of those who should be 40% of the room but are only 1% due to ethnic prejudice, and so they figure out a way to survive while being that 1%. That mental slavery exacts a heavy emotional price that many choose to pay. Salvation lies in those Madhesis reaching out to the Madhesi masses in Nepal, because they have the numbers to make a difference.

One word of criticism I would heap Shah's way is that it was Upendra Yadav and the MJF that nominated him, but he immediately started acting like it was the big wig Pahadis like Prachanda, Baburam, maybe even Girija who had authored the idea. We the downtrodden have a hard time accepting Madhesi leadership, and thus contribute to our continued downtrodden status.

Ethnic prejudice is an ideology that has to be defeated. The Madhesis of the world will have to get organized.
My quest for ambassadorship Republica Based on the news that filtered through the internet and newspapers, it appeared that the entire Nepali community in Washington was opposed to my nomination. Maybe the silent majority here was positive but none—except one person I can remember, Homraj Acharya, coordinator of Washington-Nepal Group—came out in my support. ....... my wife and I declined to attend the White House State Banquet given by President Reagan in honor of late King Birendra in December of 1982. Afterwards, Dr Bhekh B Thapa—then Ambassador to Washington—started treating me as if I had insulted his father and banned me from embassy functions. ....... the last Panchayat ambassador lobbied hard with the International Monetary Fund that I be fired from my job because of my “political activities”. ....... and have maintained personal contacts with all prominent politicians and leaders .......... I then find it amazing and puzzling why a person of my background would be opposed by this community where I spent most of my adult life and maintained good relations with everyone and all groups. No one had even hinted to me that I was not qualified for the job, that I have not served Nepal’s interests living outside the country and that I was unfit for the job for any specific reason. ....... From the beginning of my nomination, it looked as if the entire Nepali community here had become opposed to my nomination—tooth and nail—citing reasons that were made up, acrimonious and unverified. Otherwise, my nomination and appointment would have been a cause for celebration—that at least one of them had made it to the top and that it would open the way for many others residing outside the country. ....... just one: I am not one of them. ....... This kind of exclusionary politics in Nepal has lasted for many decades and over many generations but Madhesis are now determined to get their fair share of national recognition and claim equal opportunities as citizens.

Perspectives on Maoist debacle

Democracy For Nepal (DFN): Sukhdev Shah: Terai's Fate—Looking Within!
Telegraph Nepal : Nepal's US ambassador designate a US citizen ...
ANTA: Dr. Sukhdev Shah: Downsizing The Monarchy
Making Sense of Nepal's Transition to Republic - Dr. Sukhdev Shah ...

Democracy For Nepal (DFN): Kiran Sitoula Is A Short, Fat Idiot
ग्रीन कार्ड भनेको भिसा जस्तो हो
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Sunday, September 06, 2009

A Reply To Surendra Devkota On Hindi

Hindi Is Central To The Madhesi Identity
An Afternoon With Prdip Giri

Nepali is the language of the 24% Khas population in Nepal. But when the various Janajati groups talk to each other, they do use the Nepali language. That is what makes Nep

andolan4Image by paramendra via Flickr

ali the link language in the hills. That is the reality.

Similarly Hindi exists as the link language between the various language groups in the Terai like the Maithili, Bhojpuri, Awadhi, Tharu, Marwadi and Urdu speakers among many.

You could argue Nepali is an Indian language. More than 10 million Indians in India speak Nepali. Nepali has been duly recognized in India's constitution.

So the fact that Hindi is spoken in India and has been duly recognized in India's constitution can not be the reason to politically recognize Hindi in Nepal.

The Pahadis of Nepal should team up with the Madhesis of Nepal and with Indians and other South Asians to work to make Hindi the UN's sixth language. Hindi is key to the larger South Asian identity.

Someone like Surendra Devkota must know that when BP Koirala was Prime Minister, Hindi had equal status with Nepali inside Nepal. We have to reestablish that.

As for Vice President Jha, he is in limbo. He has been elected by the parliament to be Vice President. But according to the Supreme Court he has not taken oath yet. The Supreme Court was not bothered that Prachanda took oath wearing western clothes, as opposed to Daura Suruwal. But Jha's Hindi has been a problem.

Now it is for the parliament to amend the interim constitution so Jha can take his oath again, in Hindi. Until then Jha is Vice-President-elect.

To ask Jha to speak his mother tongue is to ask the SeTaMaGuRaLi to stop speaking Nepali and start speaking their mothertongues.

Jha has not forgotten Nepali. He is not claiming he has. But then he also speaks English. Should he so take his oath in English? It is not about knowledge about a language. It is about his right as a Madhesi to be able to take his oath in Hindi.

Jha has not dishonored rule of law. He does accept his new status as Vice-President-elect. He is not insisting he is still Vice President.

Awadh, Chitwan, Bhojpura, Mithila, Kochila = Madhesh

The politics of language Surendra Devkota

A new kind of politics on language is evolving and VP’s denial to follow the Supreme Court’s decision may have a very bad socio-political implication.

By Surendra R Devkota

Vice president Paramananada Jha is acting as one of the most polarising political figures in contemporary politics. He has not only defied the Supreme Court’s July 24th decision regarding to retake his oath in Nepali language but has also ignored an appeal of both the president and the council of ministers. Why the VP is so adamant on challenging the rule of land? Commoners are just wondering why VP Jha loves Hindi more than his mother tongue? After more than two decades of service in

Population Density Map Of NepalImage via Wikipedia

judiciary, how come he forgot all Nepali scripts? Why some leaders from Terai parties are politicising this issue and would like to keep VP as their ideal?

Had the VP taken oath in his mother tongue, people would have excused it. There won’t be any moral question about it. Then, it would have been the best if he had repeated his oath in Nepali – so far the only official language. Unfortunately, he tried to gain cheap popularity and become a messiah of Hindi language in Nepal

andolan2Image by paramendra via Flickr

as his party had instructed him earlier. So the question arises: is he a VP of his party or Nepal?

Hindi is a very resourceful language in India, but its introduction in Nepal can mainly be credited to Bollywood movies and music. Whether people in Nepal know Hindi in toto is doubtful. Nepalis are indeed fond of Hindi movies and listen to Hindi music, which is for pure entertainment. But, to say that all the people in Nepal understand Hindi is a illogical.

Further, based on Hindi movie watchers’ inspiration and aspirations, advocacy for Hindi to keep as the next official language could be morally wrong and unfaithful to the majority of Terai based people’s mother tongues. In Terai, as 2001 Census shows, 12.3 percent population speaks Maithili, as mother language, whereas Bhojpuri is spoken by 7.53%, Tharu by 5.86%, Awadhi by 2.47%, Urdu 0.77%, and Rajbanshi is the mother tongue of 0.57 %. Hindi as native language scores at the lowest -- 0.47%. Now, why is this big fuss about Hindi? Wouldn’t it be good idea to enhance one’s mother language?

Being honest to the past, language discrimination has been a fact in Nepal. For example, since the Panchayati days the then political as well as religious leaders had tried to uphold Sanskrit – the oldest language, but ended up narrowing it down to a tool of priesthood. They failed to integrate Sanskrit into the society. Consequently, some people initiated a campaign to hate it as dead language, in spite of Sanskrit being taught at top rated US and European universities. A politics of hate against Sanskrit was widespread among different ethnic communities as if it were the only factor to inhibit the prosperity of other languages. Like Nepali, Sanskrit is also the mother of Hindi, so how folks would digest Hindi and hate both Nepali and Sanskrit, if present rule of street is to be followed?

As of now a new kind of politics on language is evolving and VP’s denial to follow the Supreme Court’s decision may have a very bad socio-political implication. Politics on language and ethnicity may serve few people, but in the long run it will harm the society and the country. That has been proven in India, Russia, Africa and old Europe. By knowing all the failures, why politicians in Nepal are gearing up to a head to head collision in the name language and ethnicity? Do they want to become tribal leaders of their region(s) by weakening the central government?

It is very surprising to note that the leftist ideologues, self-declared social transforming agents in Nepal, seem pleased to play such a dirty politics on Nepal’s ethno-language diversity. For example, leftists in Nepal seem in favor of delineation of federal lines on ethno-lingual basis. But will it deliver social justice to majority of the population is doubtful because of Nepal’s multi-ethnical social structure and not a single ethno-lingual community has absolute majority in any local governmental jurisdiction. If one has to be fair to all languages, then country’s lingual federal lines could be more than 116 as outlined by Paul Lewis ( Will federalism exclusively based on languages and or ethnicity herald social justice in Nepal? Who can guarantee that future will be without any sort of ethno-lingual conflict? Are left politicians ready to take on this?

Languages and dialects reflect social indentify and Nepal is proud to have huge diversity in social identity in spite of historical setbacks to many of them. By realising the past mistakes, it is the responsibility of the Constitution to keep alive all ethno-linguistics intact. Again, mind it if politicians agree to set up a high level commission, that’s another political gimmick which won’t address the real need of the country. Say for example, wouldn’t it be nice step to set up a university of

andolan3Image by paramendra via Flickr

ethnic languages so that it would pave a scientific way of studying Nepal’s ethnography! They need to be explored, preserved, and sustained without any biasness. To sustain ethno-lingual diversity, we need have a vision for future citizens: all students graduating from high school in future ought to have working knowledge of at least three languages: first mother tongue, second national, and third international language so that future citizens would be globally competent as well as won’t miss their social identity locally. Let’s make the state and local governments responsible to draft such mandatory provisions.

Language does not limit to only medium of communication. It is a part of social life and a major system of socio-cultural function. Politicians’ missteps of short run use of language and ethnicity as polarizing figures may hamper country’s prosperity and sovereignty in long run. The way VP’s flip-flopping to defy the rule of land is simply inexcusable. It is being very difficult to digest further political irrationality. Enough is enough!

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