Thursday, July 26, 2012

Taking Kanak Mani Dixit To Task

Kanak Mani Dixit: Hindustan Times: Time to mend fences
BP Koirala enjoyed a wide range of contacts with national and regional leaders, including Jawaharlal Nehru, JP Narayan, Ram Manohar Lohia and LN Mishra. Today, Nepal is reduced to the level of Maoist leaders Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda) and Baburam Bhattarai who seem content in their contact with Indian desk officers and handlers.
Comparing Prachanda and Baburam Bhattarai to BP Koirala is unfair. That would be like comparing Fareed Zakharia to Kanak Mani Dixit, both are well known journalists, but in two different leagues. But I'd suggest Baburam Bhattarai's friend Prakash Karat is no "desk officer and handler."
Having worked with permutations from absolute monarchy to parliamentary anarchy, the Indian State seems to be on the lookout for whoever will ‘deliver the goods’, viz hydropower; stored water for irrigation, navigation and urban use; security across the frontier; and shared economic growth with Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in particular.
The suggestion seems to be that New Delhi should only do business with Nepal when the Nepali Congress is in power. That is wrong thinking. New Delhi should do business with whoever the Nepali people vote into power.
Like the ‘useful idiots’ in Kathmandu, a vocal coterie in India thinks it is chic to ridicule Nepal’s parliamentary parties as retrograde conservatives.
But that is the case. The Nepali Congress and the UML are status quoists that just played a fundamental role in momentarily defeating the just cause of federalism. They disallowed due process because due process was about to get the country federalism.
(New Delhi) helped cobble together the Bhattarai-led Maoist-Madhesbadi coalition in August 2011 and got involved in the federalism debate.
It is the Nepali people who want federalism in Nepal. It is not New Delhi. It is the Nepali people that voted for the Maoists and the Madhesi parties.
Hard to believe, but India was lobbying for one or two Tarai-based provinces, which made little sense from the perspective of devolution of power, regional stability, or dignity and economic well-being of the plains people of Nepal.
This is where Kanak Mani Dixit reveals himself. He is no impartial journalist. The media in Kathmandu is part of the status quo power structure, the kind that runs the show at parties like the Nepali Congress and the UML. Kanak Mani Dixit reminds me of Gagan Thapa. Both are smart, talented people doing well with their respective careers. And I saw one cause with them in 2005 when we were all working for democracy. But now they feel so very distant. Their ethnic prejudice is their one ideology. The Janajatis and the Madhesis need to vacate the Nepali Congress and the UML.

Of course there are going to be "one or two Tarai-based provinces." That is what the people in the Terai want. That is what the Madhesi Movement was all about.
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