Monday, September 27, 2010

ANTA Convention: Emotional Bath

Venue: World's Fair Marina (Wikipedia article)

The venue was gorgeous, and the convention lasted for long enough. I got to meet Madhesis I had not met in a while, I got to meet Madhesis I had heard of but had not met yet, number one on that list was Professor JP Sah from Florida, also a Janakpur person like me, one of his daughters is doing a PhD in "aerospace engineering" at Purdue - "I have been to the Purdue campus," I said - I got to meet Madhesis I had not heard of, had never met. It was a good gathering.

When the Chairperson of the convention, Dr. Sukhdev Shah - who worked at the IMF for three decades, was a few years back nominated Nepali ambassador to the US - said that after almost four decades in the US, half a century later seeing people in his homevillage still not having shoes to their feet, he felt like he was from "nowhere." That is when I knew we Madhesis have gone global. Rootlessness is a necessary accompaniment.

There were some surprise moments. The final panel on Saturday was really something. Mukesh Singh said he had only one leg, one leg lost to a motorbike accident - his second leg is prosthetic - and he came to America with 60 dollars in his pocket and now he lives in a million dollar home. Mukesh Singh is a-l-w-a-y-s in a good mood.

In a brief remark Saturday during the cultural program Binod Shah, the ANTA President, thanked his elder brother. He took me to school by my finger, and that is how I became a doctor, he said.

Aditya Jha stayed the entire time. He sold his company to Sun Microsystems for $100 million over a decade back. His homevillage is not far from mine in Nepal. Jha is based out of Toronto. He flew in.

About a dozen people, all of whom had climbed Mount Everest, many several times, had been invited and were felicitated. These were Sherpas, not Madhesis, but what the heck. At lunch on Saturday I found myself sitting next to Adityaji. We were having lunch with these Sherpas. And Adityaji said he was genuinely interested in climbing Mount Everest.

"Can someone like me do it with the help of four Sherpas?" he asked. "How many months of training will it take?"

Ends up Adityaji had raised money for a school one of the Sherpas had gone to high in the Himalayas in his homevillage.

Answer: it can be done. If you have four Sherpas with you, you will not have to worry about oxygen at any point, and that is the primary worry.

By the end of the day Nepal's Home Minister Bhim Rawal had showed up. Former UN Under Secretary General Kul Chandra Gautam - a Nepali - had showed up. He is now retired and lives in Nepal. Famous Nepali movie star/actress Gauri Malla performed.

The missing Madhesi was Upendra Mahato, the richest Nepali in the world. He had some event in London he could not skip. Otherwise.

Upendra Mahato showed up in the Soviet Union as a scholarship student right before it collapsed. The rest, as they say, is history. Mahato owns the building that houses the largest electronics shop in Moscow, for one.

Someone once gave me the simplistic version of how Mahato made it. He became good friends with locals at college who came to power after the Soviet Union collapsed. This was in Belorussia. Spelling? He used those contacts to borrow money from their banks to buy property for cheap. And that is how the vicious cycle began. But there had to have been more than that. He was named Russia's Manager Of The Year in 2008, the year of my Obama 08 personal mess.

"I heard you are rich," someone once said to him.

"You heard it wrong," he said. "I am not rich. I am very rich."

The guy's net worth is in the hundreds of millions. He is the founder of the NRN - Non Resident Nepali - movement. It is global. For the longest time the Nepalis in America resisted. Ends up resistance is futile.

The event was to start at the Himalayan Yak Restaurant in Jackson Heights Friday. My email said 7PM. I showed up at 7PM. True Nepalis don't show up on time. They know. They simply know. They know not to show on time. You don't have to be a VIP. You simply have to be a Nepali. Different cultures understand time differently. Nepalis who don't struggle with showing up for their American jobs on time switch back when it comes to Nepali events. It is a body clock thing.

People started showing up. Divita Mehta - author of the idea that I move to NYC from the Midwest where I was five years ago, Mt. Holyoke star student, a Goldman Sachs Director assistant fresh out of college, investment banker - showed up a little after.

Divita said people handed her Reshma Saujani flyers near her apartment on the Upper East Side.

And then people started percolating in. Jay Mandal - my "friend" within ANTA, San Diego guy - had flown in. Ratan Jha - founding president of ANTA, now NRN global General Secretary - had flown in from Texas. Lalit Jha - my hometown Jankapur guy, best friend to Ratan Jha - had flown in from Nebraska where he is at.

Jay said he also applied for Budhanilkantha but was rejected. I said they also took into account good looks. He gave me a high five on that one.

"You have matured much in four years, become much wiser," Lalitji told me when he first met me Friday evening and again Saturday evening when it was time to say goodbye.

I learned Saturday during a presentation by a Chicago Kharel - a Pahadi - that Ratanji had managed to get a whole bunch of Nepalis to invest in his construction company promising them an annual 12% return. I am like, heck, I was trying to raise money from Nepalis a few years back, I did raise some, but most of my round one came from a local NYC friend, business partner like Adityaji kept telling me needed to happen.

"The money you need you can raise right there in New York!"

Abhi to main Mr. No Green Card hoon. We will cross that bridge when we get there.

By the time the dinner winded down Friday, Binodji is like let's go to my place. The guy's house is in Scarsdale. I call that out of state. So Satendra Shah, Biplav Yadav and I hopped into his van. We - minus Biplav - were up until four in the morning, printing stuff, working on his speech.

The ANTA President is going to show up late for the first ever ANTA Convention, I thought to myself. There is a term for that: Nepali time. The event started late. People just knew not to show up on time. No one seemed to be complaining.

Saturday was panel after panel after panel after panel. What saved the day was food. There was a ton of food. When it was not lunch time yet, it was appetizer time. There was dessert time. Indian dessert is s-w-e-e-t. I don't got no sweet tooth, chocolate does not excite me, but Indian sweets are different. Soon enough it was appetizer time again. Then dinner time. Then dessert time.

Roshan Chaudhary had a name for the icecream served at dessert.

"They got kulfi," he said.

Jackson Heights is Jay Kishan Heights.

Panels are all good, and I attended all of them, listened to all speakers unfailingly. But these Madhesi panels were one way traffic. There were no Q&A sessions. They just were not there.

My brother-in-law Bisundev Mahato was in town for the day. He is in Boston, the first Madhesi ever at Harvard Medical School. He spoke on health care. He also was on the final panel of the day, the best one. Bisun spoke as frankly and boldly as Mukesh Singh. Divita Mehta was on that same panel.

By the time I got home it was Sunday two in the morning. I needed the sleep. I slept like a log. And I needed that shave and that shower when I finally got up.

The ANTA Convention had been an emotional bath.
New York Times: Nice Way To Shea: the new ferry service inaugurated earlier this month between Manhattan and Shea Stadium in Queens offers gentle river breezes and spectacular sunsets denied car or subway travelers. .... In all, the trip to the World's Fair Marina takes less than an hour. Then it's an easy five-minute walk to the stadium.
One nagging question ANTA has for me is as to why I will not become a member, why I will not become an office holder, why will I not possibly even lead the organization? Jay Mandal approached me all over again. He said he had a presentation that will convince me to finally sign up.

I launched ANTA in New York Metro, but never joined although I doubt I have missed any major ANTA event in the city over the years.

Becoming a member of ANTA would be like joining the NRN movement. Until the NRN movement achieves the goal of dual citizenship for the NRNs, it is a failure. The NRN movement is Upendra Mahato's thing. It is his space. I support the NRN movement wholeheartedly, but I can't join it any more than I can go work for one of Upendra Mahato's companies.

If I am going to be an entrepreneur, I am going to be a bigger entrepreneur than Upendra Mahato. That is why I can't join ANTA.

For me the question is as to why the Nepalis in New York City don't want voting rights in this city based on residency - not citizenship - like the Irish had in Boston 150 years ago? That entails coalition building with South Asians at large, the Hispanics in the city perhaps.

Internet access is the voting right for this 21st century. Every human being deserves to have big screen broadband. Gandhi and MLK might have been tech entrepreneurs today.

Also, it is not like Mahatma Gandhi needed a political office. I am no Gandhi, never will be, but I don't need an office to do the political work I do.

Rajesh Shah wanted to know why I was now putting some time into Iran's democracy movement.

"I am going to win the Nobel Peace Prize," I said to him. If I can do for Iran what I did for Nepal, that is a Nobel.

Rajesh Shah and Biplav Yadav are both in the Columbus, Ohio, area. Yadav is a doctor, Shah is what I call a tourist. He has a fancy degree in hotel management. Mukesh Singh is in Columbus.

Shah, Yadav, Bisundev Mahato and I, we all went to Budhanilkantha School, as did Sanju Mahato.

Biplav Yadav gave me $100 from a lost bet. In 2007 - "before the primaries," like he likes to say - I bet Barack Obama was going to become president. I am not a betting kind, but this was different.
New York Times: A Manhattan-to-Queens Ferry Is Planned for Mets Fans: New York Waterway, said the company was awaiting final approval to operate the ferry service between the South Street Seaport and the city-owned World's Fair Marina, a quarter of a mile from Shea Stadium..... ''But we think that two years from now, the Shea Stadium ferry will be just as successful as the Yankee Stadium ferry.''
"I am not a journalist, I am not a writer, and the word blogger does not even begin to describe me. I am a political activist who uses digital tools," I said in my eight minute presentation. "I was one of Barack Obama's top 20, top 30, perhaps top 10 volunteers in the city. When it was time for the British to finally leave, they said, okay, you can have your independence, but you are going to have to give us Subhash Chandra Bose, dead or alive. When the Mahabharata was over, the Pandavas won, Yudhistir went to see his uncle Dhritarashtra. Come near me, let me embrace you, the old man said. Krishna sensed something was wrong. He made a wax replica of Yudhistir. The blind, old man crushed that statue. Democratic primary khatam huwi 2008 mein aur ye log mere ko under kar diye. Barack Obama jita. Uske chaar deen baad mere ko phir se bahar kiya."

2007 mein Upendra Yadav ko Amrika aane ke liye visa nahin mil raha tha. Ratanji se meri gupp hui phone par. Wo kahe ki sab kism ka prayas kiya gaya, kuchh phi kaam nahin kiya. Aap kuchh kariye hai to. Main apne ek DC ke dost ko contact kiya. Wo State ke South Asia desk officer ko janta tha.
New York Times: Free Ferry to U.S. Open: The 35-minute ferry ride, which can accommodate up to 149 passengers, will connect the East 35th Street and the World’s Fair marinas. .... Just to be clear, the fastest way to get to the tournament site from Manhattan is still the Long Island Railroad from Penn Station to the Mets-Willets Point station.
Polarization Is Complete: Nepali Congress No Longer A Terai Party
ANTA Convention Program Details
1st ANTA Convention: September 24-25
Securing Federalism And Beyond For The Madhesi Cause

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Polarization Is Complete: Nepali Congress No Longer A Terai Party

Nepali Congress (Democratic)Image via WikipediaThe Nepali Congress launched its movements and revolutions over half a century with the Terai as its backbone of support. The Nepali Congress enjoyed power a few different times after 1990 because of the large number of votes it collected in the Terai.

But now the Nepali Congress has become a purely Pahadi party.

Of the 25 elected to the NC central committee, and the 14 elected for the 14 zones are all Pahadi last names.

Those elected under the open competition are:

Gagan Thapa - 2061
Arjun Narsingh K.C - 2024
Khum Bahadur Khadka - 1791
Shashank Koirala - 1769
Pradeep Giri - 1741
Sujata Koirala - 1739
Ram Chandra Poudel - 1703
Ram Sharan Mahat - 1699
Bal Krishna Khad- 1606
NP Saud - 1556
Shekhar Koirala - 1531
Mahesh Acharya - 1501
Minendra Rijal - 1435
Chandra Bhandari - 1369
Prakash Saran Mahat - 1386
Krishna Sitaula - 1373
Narayan Khadka - 1340
Bal Bahadur K.C - 1286
Gopal Man Shrestha - 1286
Purna Bahadur Khadka - 1246
Shankar Bhandari - 1215
Kul Bahadur Gurung - 1155
Manmohan Bhattarai - 1080
Gyanendra Bahadur Karki - 1068
Deep Kumar Upadhyaya - 1020

Those elected from the zones are:

Narendra Bikram Nemwang (Mechi)
Amod Prasad Upadhyaya (Koshi)
Ram Kumar Choudhary (Sagarmatha)
Nabindra Raj Joshi (Bagmati)
Anand Prasad Dhungana (Janakpur)
Ramesh Rijal (Narayani)
Surendra Pandey (Gandaki)
Krishna Chandra Nepali (Lumbini)
Arjun Joshi (Dhaulagiri)
Deepak Giri (Rapti)
Jeevan Bahadur Shahi (Karnali)
Kishor Singh Rathore (Bheri)
Badri Pandey (Seti)
Dilendra Prasad Badu (Mahakali)
This is not a party that lost an election in the Terai and is now working hard to recapture its base in the Terai. This is a party that wants to go back to the good old days of the 1990s when it could ride roughshod on the Terai without worrying about losing its voter base. Those days are long gone.

The Nepali Congress got trounced in the Terai during the last election. Now it stands to get wiped out in the next.

And the ruling elite in Kathmandu are back to wanting to deprive the Teraiwasis of their basic voting rights.
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

ANTA Convention Program Details

gonarpuraImage by paramendra via Flickr
Be there by 9 AM Saturday.
1 World's Fair Marina, Flushing, NY 11368
+ Take 7 train to 111th St
+ Head east on Roosevelt Ave toward 112th St
+ Turn left at 114th St
+ Turn right at 34th Ave
+ Turn left at Shea Rd
+ Slight left
+ Destination will be on the right
Give yourself 20 minutes for the full trip.
Short Route: Walk on 112th St towards Northern Blvd, Astoria Blvd. Go straight to convention center.
Or call someone with a car.
Presentation rules ..... ANTA is non-profit, non political organisation, please be sure not to bring or present any controversial matter during your presentation.
ANTA 1st New York Convention : Conference Agenda
Start Date 9/24/10
Friday, September 24, 2010
  • 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm Registration and Reception
  • 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm Dinner : Local Restaurant See Dr. Binod Shah for Detail
  • 8:45 pm to 9:00 pm Welcome Speech by Convention Committee Chair Dr. Binod Shah
  • 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm ANTA Excom By_laws Amendment EXCOM Meeting
  • Group Discussion Moderated by Jay Mandal, Mukesh Singh and Lalit Jha
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Moderator: Dr Binod Shah
Morning Session 9:00 AM - 12:00 Noon
  • 9:00 to 9:15 am Opening Speech by Dr, Binod Shah, ANTA President
  • 9:15 to 9:30 am NRN Prosective and Roles of Terians: Mr. Ratan Jha, NRNA General Sectratary
  • 9:30 to 9:45 am ANTA, Madhesh and Nepal Dr Haribansh Jha
  • 9:45 to 10:00 am Guest from UK
  • 10:00 to 10:15 am Guest from India
  • 10:00 to 10:30 am Special Guest : Mr. Ganesh Shah- Former Minister Environment, Science & Tech, Govt. of Nepal
  • 10:30 am to 10:45 am Chief guest- H.E. Mr. Gyan Chandra Acharya, PR of Nepal at United Nations
  • 10: 45 am to 11:00 am Aditya Jha : CEO of Karma Candy, Canada ANTA Honarary Member
  • Moderator: Mukesh Singh
    Pannel Discussion: ANTA – In retrospect and Prospect
    ANTA Spokesperson
    11:05 am to 11:55 am

    Participents: Suman Timilsina
    Dr Jay P Shah
    Surendra Chaudhary
    UK and India Participents, Guest particepents
11: am 45 am to 12:45 PM Lunch Break
AFTERNOON Session 1:00 to 5:00 PM
Moderator: Jay P Mandal ANTA YOUTH FORUM 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm
  • 1:00 pm to 1:10 pm How much money you need to retire in USA in coming 30 yrs : Divita Mehta, Wall ST
  • 1:10 pm to 1:20 pm A path and tips to become Doctor in USA Health Care System : Dr Biplav Yadav
  • 1:20 pm to 1:30 pm Clean Energy and its uses to eliminate Proverty in Nepal: Lalit Mandal, PHD Student UNC
  • 1:30 pm to 1:40 pm How to land Job in Wall ST: By Sunny Kantha , Morgan Stanly
  • 1:40 pm to 1:50 pm Role of Social Media in business, life in Global and Terai Nepal : Paramendra Bagat
  • 1:50 pm to 2:00 pm How USA Health Care System : Bisun Dev Mahto
  • 2:00 pm to 2:15 pm Tea / Coffee Break
Moderator :Bindu Chaudhary ANTA Woman FORUM 2:15 pm to 3:15 pm Enrich
  • 2:15 pm to 2:30 pm Ms Rekha Kantha
  • 2:30 pm to 2:45 pm Mrs Sarala Singh
  • 2:45 pm to 3:00 pm Mrs Seema Sah
  • 3:00 pm to 3:15 pm Bishnu Pariyar
  • 3:15 pm to 3:30 pm Rekha Karn
Moderated By Dr Pramod Kantha ANTA Expert Forum Prefessor of Political Science Wright University, Dayton, OH Terai development, Challenges and opportunities 3:00 pm to 5:00 PM
  • 3:30 pm to 3:45 pm ANTA's roles in Empowerment, Development of Madhesh and Nepal: Lalit Jha ANTA Sr. VP
  • 3:30 pm to 3:45 pm Collective investment an overview : RamKant Kharel, EntreprenuerLife Member ANTA
  • 3:45 pm to 4:00 pm Natural Resources of Terai: Dr JP Shah, Professor Maimi International University
  • 4:00 pm to 4:15 pm Federal Government - Promoting Finance, Tranperancy and Accountibility: Nawal Yadav
  • 4:15 pm to 4:30 pm Why Tax Treaty is important with USA and Nepal for FDI in Nepal : Mukesh Singh
  • 4:30 pm to 4:45 pm Terai Overview : Ram Manohar Sah
  • 4:45 pm to 5:00 pm How Madhesh Can be Developed: Dr Sukhdev Shav, Economist
5:30 pm to 6:30 pm HAPPY HOUR & NETWORKING
7:00 pm to 10:30 pm CLOSING & GALA Dinner CEROMONY
Evening Session
7:00 pm to 8 pm Dinner 8:00 pm to 8:15 pm Closing Speech & Award Ceromony by Dr. Binod Shah 8:15 pm to 8:30 pm New ANTA EXCOM 2010-2012 Announcement by Jay P Mandal 8:30 pm to 8:45 pm Thank you Notes by Amit Shah, NY Chapter President 8:45 to 10:30 pm Cultural Program
Competing With Hillary Now The First Time I Heard The Obama Name Claiming A Netroots/Grassroots Leadership Role With Iran Democracy Movement
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Friday, September 17, 2010

Indian Maoists

A representation of the Lion Capital of Ashoka...Image via Wikipedia
Foreign Policy: Fire In The Hole: about 2,000 villagers who had been hiding behind the commando vanguard clambered over the fence into the compound and began emptying the magazine. Altogether they carried out 20 tons of explosives on their backs -- enough firepower to fuel a covert insurgency for a decade. ..... For years, the Maoists had lived in the shadow of India's breakneck modernization. Now they were thriving off it. ..... railing against what the rebels' spokesman described to us as the "evil consequences by the policies of liberalization, privatization, and globalization." ...... a full-fledged guerrilla war. Over the past 10 years, some 10,000 people have died and 150,000 more have been driven permanently from their homes by the fighting. ...... "Operation Green Hunt": a deployment of almost 100,000 new paramilitary troops and police to contain the estimated 7,000 rebels and their 20,000-plus -- according to our research -- part-time supporters. ..... a country 20 years into an experiment in rapid, technology-driven development, one of globalization's most celebrated success stories. ....... Today, India's GDP is more than five times what it was in 1991..... Economic liberalization has not even nudged the lives of the country's bottom 200 million people. ...... India's vast hinterland remains dirt poor -- nowhere more so than the mining region of India's eastern interior, the part of the country that produces the iron for the buildings and cars, the coal that keeps the lights on in faraway metropolises, and the exotic minerals that go into everything from wind turbines to electric cars to iPads. ...... If you were to lay a map of today's Maoist insurgency over a map of the mining activity powering India's boom, the two would line up almost perfectly. ..... Revenues from mineral extraction in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand topped $20 billion in 2008, and more than $1 trillion in proven reserves still sit in the ground. ...... foreign investment in the country has grown to 150 times what it was in 1991. ....... some $80 billion worth of projects are stalled at least in part by the guerrilla war, enough to double India's steel output. ...... ining companies have managed to double their production in the two states in the past decade, even as the conflict has escalated; the most unscrupulous among them have used the fog of war as a pretext for land grabs, leveling villages whose residents have fled the fighting. At the same time, the Maoists, for all their communist rhetoric, have become as much a business as anything else ...... Shimmering waves of heat, thick with carbon monoxide and selenium, waft through jagged cracks in the pavement large enough to swallow a soccer ball. A hundred feet below, a massive subterranean coal fire, started in an abandoned mine, burns so hot that it melts the soles of one's shoes. ....... this blaze could easily smolder for another 200 years before the coal seam is finally burned through. ...... A fire ignited in 1916 by neglectful miners near the city of Jharia has grown so large that it now threatens to burn away the land beneath the entire community, plunging the 400,000 residents into an underground inferno. ...... statehood only enabled the rise of a new cast of villains. ...... The guerrillas shun email and mobile phones and rarely communicate with the world beyond the jungle, mostly via letters ferried back and forth by foot soldiers. Over several years of attempted correspondence, we received only a few missives in return. All were written in an opaque style full of the sort of arcane Marxist jargon that the rest of the world forgot in the 1970s. ......... many of their local commanders appear to be in it for the money alone. ...... "The only way to stop the attacks is to negotiate." ...... a state where less than half of raw materials are extracted legitimately. ..... The protection money, like the small bribes Kumar says he pays to the police to avoid troublesome safety and environmental regulations, has simply become another operating cost. ...... "If you want to be somebody in Jharkhand, just kill an aid worker" ...... Salwa Judum, secretly assembled by the Chhattisgarh government in 2005 to fight the Maoists; its 5,000-odd members patrol the state armed with everything from AK-47s to axes. Some roam the forest with bows and arrows. ..... After leftist author Arundhati Roy paid a visit to the Maoists this year, the Indian government reinterpreted its anti-terrorism laws to make speaking favorably about the rebels or their ideological aims -- including opposition to corporate mining -- punishable by up to 10 years in prison. ...... mistaking industrialization for development -- by thinking that it could launch its economy into the 21st century without modernizing its political structures and justice system along with it, or preventing the corruption that worsens the inequality that development aid from New Delhi is supposed to rectify.
The Economist: Nepal, China And India: Rivals On The Roof Of The World: Great-Power Rivalry Grows In The Himalayas: China has played a low-key role in Nepal until recently. But the emergence of the Maoists as the largest party has shifted the balance, with India becoming more closely aligned with the anti-Maoist faction. The prime minister, Madhav Kumar Nepal, says India’s government distrusts them and wants the party to make sweeping changes to its organisation and beliefs. .... one MP said his daughter stood to lose her scholarship in India if he voted Maoist. ...... Senior staff at the country’s largest newspaper group, which Indian diplomats think hostile to their country, say they have been unable to get newsprint through India and that Indian companies have been asked to withdraw advertising. .....politicians of all stripes think India is trying to micro-manage Nepal and anti-Indian sentiment runs high. Indian diplomats “swagger around like viceroys” .... the ceasefire is looking ever more threadbare .....Being sandwiched between two giants might seem promising for a poor country. With skill, Nepal could play one off against the other. Instead, with peace in the balance and fears growing that both neighbours are vying to pick the next prime minister, Nepal risks being ground between their vaulting regional ambitions.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Securing Federalism And Beyond For The Madhesi Cause

andolan5Image by paramendra via FlickrThe first ever ANTA - Association of the Nepali Teraian in America - Convention slated for September 25, 2010 is an important milestone for the Madhesi cause in the Madhesi diaspora. Madhesis from as far as England and Texas are showing up. But much as we might want to socialize and hobnob, the true measure of what we manage to do is directly tied to the Madhesi cause in Nepal itself, because that is where the vast majority of Madhesis live. Thanks to the internet those of us who choose to do maintain near daily contact with the Madhesi cause in Nepal.

The democracy movement of April 2006 in which the Madhesis were at the very forefront set stage for the Madhesi movement that was at many levels even more intense. That Madhesi movement gave birth to two major Madhesi parties and the largest ever Madhesi presence in the Nepali parliament. But all that effort will have been worth nothing if we can not secure federalism for the Madhesi people. In seeking federalism we are in alignment with more than 75% of the people in Nepal who have been historically marginalized. Both the Madhesi and the Janajati seek federalism as their outlet for hundreds of years of being sidelined as peoples.

Ek Madhesh Ek Pradesh has been our slogan, but I am personally open to the idea of having two states in the Terai like in the original Maoist map. The real challenge is not if we will have one or two states in the Terai, but to make sure the national parliament in the future constitution stays as true to the spirit of one person one vote democracy as possible.

A one party dictatorship is not an option. The Maoists need to make peace with that reality once and for all. The people of Nepal did not come out into the streets in April 2006 to replace a royal dictatorship with a Maoist dictatorship. A Maoist dictatorship is not an option, but I am more than open, I am eager to see Nepal turned into a multi-party democracy of state funded parties. We don't have to become a democracy like India or Britain or America, or a one party dictatorship like China. We can create a political system that is better than what all those countries have.

Once we secure federalism, once we turn Nepal into a multi-party democracy of state funded parties, once we get a new constitution for the country, then we have to focus on the national economy like a laser beam, year in year out, decade in decade out. That is going to be the next agenda for the Madhesi cause, the Janajati cause, for the Nepali cause at large. I think it is possible for Nepal to attain double digit economic growth rates. And we should go for it.

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Friday, July 23, 2010

A Maoist Madhesi Alliance Makes The Most Sense

Simple Majority: Enough

A national consensus government with two thirds majority would have been nice. But that is not coming along. And so now an attempt has to be made to put together a simple majority government. The three big parties stand like three poles. That makes the Maoists the biggest bloc.

The four Madhesi parties stand as one bloc. That Madhesi bloc does not make for a majority if it teams up with either the NC or the UML. But it forms a majority if it teams up with the Maoists.

And therefore putting together a Maoist-Madhesi coalition makes the most sense at this juncture. If we are going to keep having vote after vote for the PM's post, Nepal is going to end up being a butt of jokes in the world.


The Madhesi parties should put forth conditions.
  • Baburam Bhattarai for Prime Minister. 
  • Hridayesh Tripathy for Deputy Prime Minister
  • Ek Madhesh, Do Pradesh like in the original Maoist map. Chitwan has to be part of the Madhesh state. 
  • Work on a Nepal Army Act 2010 to shape the future of the Nepal Army, and the Maoist combatants, and to seek inclusion of the DaMaJaMa in the Nepal Army. 
  • Work on a Land Reform Act 2011 to deal with all the properties seized by the Maoists over a decade.
  • Altering the paramilitary aspects of the YCL. 
  • One third of the berths in the cabinet. 
Give And Take

There has to be a sense of give and take. Both sides sticking to all their demands will take us nowhere. 

If the Maoists act reasonable on all the other issues, it would be okay to accept Prachanda as the prime ministerial candidate. 

Returning seized property: the property should be returned but not to the original owners. The properties should be returned to a neutral commission that will keep the property until a Land Reform Bill passed by the parliament makes a final decision as to who owns the properties, likely after the elections next year. 

The same on the army integration issue. A Nepal Army Act passed on by the current parliament would shape the Nepal Army. Every element of that bill would get decided by a simple majority in the parliament. No point in asking the Maoists to decide now as to how many of their combatants will join the Nepal Army. 

The paramilitary aspects of the YCL have to seize right away, but it is perhaps unrealistic to think the organization itself has to be dissolved. Maybe it can be reorganized in a new name as a completely non violent organization. 

The Madhesi parties have to be willing to make a shift from Ek Madhesh, Ek Pradesh to Ek Madhesh, Do Pradesh, one where Chitwan is part of the Madhesh state. The middle ground would be to go to the original Maoist map that said east of Rapti river would be Madhesh, west would be Tharuwan.

And stop talking about the right to self-determination. That scares people. Nepal will stay one country, now and 10 years from now. In this day and age when we should be talking about a South Asian economic union, the idea of breaking up the country, even in thought, is to go back in time. 

Golden Opportunity

It has not been easy for the four Madhesi parties to come back together in a bloc. Their votes are decisive. The Maoists and the Madhesi parties are sufficient to form a new government. But there has to be a spirit of give and take. 

Hridayesh Tripathy

Upendra Yadav had his stint. Bijay Gachhedar had his. Now I believe it is Hridayesh Tripathy's turn to take the lead. He should be the Madhesi candidate for Deputy Prime Minister.

Prime ministerial run-off ends in fiasco; next voting on August 2 The voting could not produce any results with the CPN (UML), four Madhesi parties and some fringe parties staying neutral.
Maoist-Madhesi Front talks inconclusive; Front to stay neutral in today's voting Maoist leader Dev Gurung said his party was positive about most of the conditions set by the Front, but some issues needed to be further discussed. .....The Maoist leaders left after submitting their written response to the conditions put forward by the Front. .... The meeting was held soon after the Front publicised a three-point document entailing the conditions for support in the prime ministerial election.
Re-election for PM post gets delayed as parties busy themselves in flurry of meetings Madhes based parties have put forward difficult pre-conditions for their support.
Sujata says NC should clear the path for Maoist led govt if it fails to forge consensus for national govt she would not object to a Maoist led government if the former rebel party fulfills three conditions. ..... if the Maoists agrees to fix the number of combatants to be integrated into the state security forces, dismantles the para-military structure of its youth wing (Youth Communist League) and agrees to return the private property the party seized during the conflict period by forming a commission
Madhesi parties set conditions for support as House prepares for prime ministerial run-off guarantee of 'Madhes autonomous province' with right to self-determination, withdrawal of the decision of the big three parties to constitute the State Restructuring Commission and reservation for Madhesis in the state bodies in an inclusive manner..... ensure proportional representative system ..... conclude the integration of Maoist combatants within four months starting from the formation of the new government, carry out integration based on the standards adopted by the concerned security agencies, complete the 'decamping' of YCL within two weeks, return of properties seized during insurgency within a month and start process to democratise the Nepal Army and ensure 'group entry' of Madhesis in the army as per the norms of inclusiveness.
NC's Poudel seeks pro-monarchist RPP-N's support for his PM bid Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who is also the leading contender for the PM post, met Thapa and sought his support during the election to the post of Prime Minister.
'UML won't partake in Prime Ministerial run-off until consensus govt ensured'
Re-election for the post of Prime Minister today; outcome unlikely
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Monday, July 19, 2010

Baburam Led Majority Government: Maoists + UML + Madhesi Parties

Nepalese MaoistsImage via Wikipedia
The president has been generous in terms of how much time he has given the Maoists to try and form a national unity general consensus government. He gave about a week, then he gave them five more days. But once he announced time was up, he has given a few more days for the formation of a majority government. But a government with 70% support in the parliament would still be a majority government. It has been like giving the Maoists extra time.

The Maoists have not done a good job of addressing the concerns of the other parties on issues of the YCL, the army integration or seized properties. Of these the YCL issue is the most acute. In a democracy it is not legal to have an armed group, or a group that engages in physical violence as a matter of policy. A group that engages in physical violence - beating up included - is a mafia group, not a youth organization. That can not be tolerated.

Army integration has not been going anywhere because the political party leaders have been trying to tackle the issue in each other's living rooms. The issue has to be resolved by the parliament through its work on a Nepal Army Act 2010. Parliamentary debate and parliamentary vote will take care of all the details. You would need majority vote to decide on each element of such a bill.

As for seized properties, ownership has to be handed over to a commission until a Land Reform Bill 2011 decides on the final ownership of all that land.

But once the Maoists can assuage the others on these issues, a majority government in Baburam Bhattarai's leadership is still a possibility.
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Friday, July 09, 2010

The Maoists Must Not Return Seized Property

Nepali Congress (Democratic)Image via Wikipedia
Land reform is the single most important thing anyone could do to kick start the Nepali economy. While I wholeheartedly disagree with the violent methods the Maoists used over 10 years to seize land and properties across the country largely belonging to Nepali Congress leaders, returning all that property to the same wholescale and going back to the way things were is not an idea that is either practical or desirable.

A middle path has to be found.

All that land and property has to be handed over to a neutral commission until its final fate is decided by a Land Reform Bill to be passed by the national parliament once that takes shape after the country gets itself a new constitution. An interim arrangement has to be made.
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Prachanda Can't Be Prime Minister

Pushpa Kumar Dahal (also known as Prachanda), ...Image via Wikipedia
The last time Prachanda was Prime Minister, his government fell because he refused to understand how coalition governments work. He exhibited dictatorial tendencies. In the aftermath he has blamed everyone except himself. Ram Baran Yadav did what he was elected to do: protect the constitution.

Prachanda needed the support of all his coalition partners before he could have sacked the army chief. Even after he had accumulated that support, he needed to go through the president. He did not think it necessary to seek support from his coalition partners, and he totally bypassed the president. Those were two grave mistakes, they were two illegal actions. And that is why his government fell.

It was okay for Prachanda to have led a majority government. But according to Prachanda it was not okay for Madhav Nepal to have led a majority government. Prachanda leading a majority government was a patriotic, nationalist government. But Madhav Nepal leading a majority government was a puppet government run by India. That has been Prachanda's logic.

Someone who does not understand how coalition governments work can not lead a majority, coalition government, let alone a national consensus government. Prachanda's idea of a national consensus government is one where all parties in parliament follow the dictates of the Maoist central committee. He has not learned his lessons. He has not exhibited democratic tendencies.

And that is before the lingering issues of army integration. The idea that 19,000 Maoist soldiers with 3,000 guns will take over a country of 30 million people has always been laughable. Issuing empty threats is generally considered bad politics.

Even if the Maoists are okay with Baburam Bhattarai leading a possible national consensus government, there are no guarantees a national consensus government can be formed. But a willingness on Prachanda's part to be open to that possibility will at least send a signal that the Maoists are now better understanding how coalition governments work.

A national consensus government will necessarily have a steering committee representing all participating parties that will take all the key decisions that the government has to take.

The parties have been going on the army integration issue exactly the wrong way. A Nepal Army Bill 2010 has to be worked on by the full parliament, not the party presidents. Bypassing the parliament has been the reason the army integration issue has gone nowhere.

The bill has to go through a full debate. That bill would decide the future size and composition and modality of the future Nepal Army.

But over time I have gotten the impression Prachanda passed his SLC exams after perhaps a third attempt and he now wants a Nepali Congress prime minister.
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Thursday, July 08, 2010

High School, College, New York City

Whitaker as General Idi Amin in The Last King ...Image via Wikipedia

I feel like both a high school and a college dropout. Emotionally I dropped out of high school a few months before the SLC exams. I had a very happy first year at college. Then an experience in institutional racism caused me to emotionally drop out.

Larry Shinn and Gail Wolford - they actively participated in an institutional hate crime - are the two most disgusting human beings I have ever had to meet in person, and they had me in jail for six months with murderers and drug lords. And that makes Charlie Rangel the Idi Amin of New York City politics. I am going to take a leak on that motherfucker's grave some day, but I have vowed to never go anywhere within 10 miles of that guy, and so. Oh well. Sometimes you cut your losses and move.

June 3 Immigration Court Date
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Thursday, July 01, 2010


Back then I was based out of Indiana. This guy and I had a lot of friends in common, he had been a year junior to me at high school in Kathmandu. We were never close, but we always got along. We emailed, talked. He was a student. I decided to drive about four hours to go meet him in Ohio. I took him out to lunch at an Indian restaurant in Columbus. He said "madisey." The motherfucker has not meant shit to me since as a human being. Laxman Udas Pandey.

This was before I had moved to the city. But my sister had moved over to the city from Nepal after her marriage. She had been in town not even a few months. I was in town for a few days. I was still based out of Indiana. A friend of her husband, who also was my friend, two years junior to me at high school, put together a small reception party for my sister and her husband at his place on the Upper East Side. Somebody else was there - Badan Tuladhar - who also I had known a long time, the same high school circle, a guy I had always been nice to. It did not matter to him that that was a special moment for my sister. He said "madisey." That motherfucker has not meant shit to me since as a human being.

This was in Jackson Heights last year. Philadelphia guy Suman Timsina was in town. I was at this event. He said "madisey." That motherfucker has not meant shit to me since as a human being, and never will. He needed to do his growing up on his own.

The Word Madisey: Madisey Bhanne Shabda

The motherfuckers who destroyed the final three and a half years of my high school experience are right here in the Nepali circles of Queens, larger in number, their ethnic prejudices even stronger.

Reshma 2010
Maloney's Idiotic Debate Non Stand Can Be Countered Through Use Of Social Media
Reshma 2010 Party Tonight
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Friday, May 28, 2010

Crisis Averted

Madhav Kumar Nepal, Nepalese politician.Image via Wikipedia
New York Times: Nepal Avoids Political Crisis With Broad Deal to Extend Parliament the Maoists agreed to extend the term of Parliament, the Constituent Assembly. In exchange, Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal agreed to resign at an unspecified time in the future to “pave the way” for a new government. ..... Members of the assembly took up the measure before midnight and passed it around 1 a.m. .... Nepal is enduring a rocky transition from feudal monarchy to secular democratic republic. ..... Pinned between India and China, the world’s fastest growing major economies, Nepal needs political stability so that it can capitalize on its strategic location and jump-start its mediocre economic growth. India and China, both desirous of stability in Nepal

You can always trust them to do the right thing after they have waited to the last minute, as they did this time. The constituent assembly's term has been extended. Hopefully this will lead to a new national unity government.

The Maoists Must Vote To Extend The Term Of The Constituent Assembly
Is Federalism Necessary?
Why Not To Fear The Maoists?
A Roadmap For The Maoists
The Maoists Have Won
The Maoists: Thinking Or Dogmatic?
An Appeal To The Maoists
Prachanda's Second Big Mistake?
The Peace Process Is At Its Most Fragile
Nepal Seeing Major Political Crisis
A 10 Party Government In Baburam Bhattarai's Leadership
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