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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