Sunday, June 28, 2015

भारतको बुहारी अथवा जवाईं नभएको एउटा मधेसी परिवार छैन

मधेसी लाई अनागरिक बनाउने राजनीतिक षड्यंत्र ले गर्दा देश टुट्छ
कि मधेसीले समानता पाउँछ कि देश टुट्छ

जसको घरमा देश बाहिर को न बुहारी न जवाईं छ, त्यस्ताले लेखेर हुन्छ नागरिकता मस्यौदा? भारतको बुहारी अथवा जवाईं नभएको एउटा पनि मधेसी परिवार छैन। We are one people, the political border be damned.

Nepal’s own ‘love jihad’ – the fear of Indians
my children – even if they wish to – cannot become Nepali citizens....... And that is because I married an Indian woman....... citizenship clauses which would have been considered anachronistic even in the last century. ........ The draft clearly states that only those whose father AND mother are Nepali citizens would be eligible to become Nepali citizens by descent. This is a reversal of the clause in Nepal’s interim constitution, promulgated in 2007, that a person whose father OR mother was Nepali could become a citizen by descent. ........ In formal terms, it means I cannot pass on a citizenship that I so cherish to my children........ It also means that a Nepali woman married to a foreign man cannot do so either........ In practical terms though, I may be able to get around this provision. Given the patriarchy entrenched in Nepal’s state apparatus, when I go to the District Administration Office, it is unlikely that the district officials will ask me about my wife’s citizenship – they will probably assume she is Nepali, and provide a stamp of state legitimacy to my child. ....... But when a Nepali woman approaches the same office, given the same prejudices and assumptions inherent in the official machinery, she will be asked to show the identity of her husband. And till she can prove the identity of her husband, or show the father of her child is Nepali, her child will not get citizenship. ........ At the root of these provisions is a fear of Indian men, of Indian ‘demographic aggression’.

Cross-border marriages are an integral feature of the India-Nepal special relationship – this is particularly true for Indian citizens who live in Bihar and UP, and the Madhesis of Nepal who live in the plains.

The draft constitution’s underlying logic is to keep out Indian men who would marry Nepali women and have children who could then become Nepalis. This, the Kathmandu establishment fears, could be a step to enhance Indian influence in Nepal. ......... a fear that reminds one of the manufactured ‘love jihad’ conspiracy theories in India where Hindutva activists have played up the threat of Muslim ‘demographic takeover’; Nepali ultra-nationalist activists have framed citizenship laws based on a similar fear of the Indian ‘takeover’. ....... Inequality is formally institutionalised in another category – citizenship by naturalization. ....... The draft constitution says that if a foreign woman is married to a Nepali man, she can get immediate citizenship as long as she gives up the citizenship of the country to which she originally belonged and is a resident in Nepal. But if a foreign man is married to a Nepali woman, he has to wait 15 years before he can become a Nepali citizen. ....... There was an earlier proposal to have both foreign men and women married to Nepali spouses wait for seven years before they could get citizenship. This sparked a major backlash from the Tarai based parties – they argued that given the extent of cross border marriages, and the fact that women usually moved to the homes of their husband, such a provision would make millions of Indian women married to Madhesi men stateless. ......... The proposal was withdrawn, but the provision of the 15 year waiting period in the case of the men stayed. This was deeply unfair to Nepali women. But it was again was driven by the same fear – that Indian men would marry Nepali women, would infiltrate Nepali politics and economy, and thus Nepal needed rigid citizenship laws which made naturalized citizenship difficult. ...... Nepal’s citizenship provisions are a product of chauvinistic nationalism and patriarchy. It will affect not just Nepalis but Indians with deep family links across the border; it is not just a ‘national’ matter but is directly linked to universal human rights and international conventions. And that is why it deserves far greater attention from the Indian civil society and intelligentsia since it has so far received.

Madhav Bhatta: his policy would not only affect the "Terai" population but also people in the Far-west (especially in Darchula, Baitadi, Kanchanpur) where cross-boarder marriages are common with Kumaoni folks in Utterakhand state in India. We (people from Mahakali and Seti) share social, cultural, and linguistic ties with Kumaonis in India similar to the people in Far-east Nepal share ties with those in Darjeeling and surrounding areas in India. We have Nepalis who have immigrated to Utterkhand but have ancestral ties to Nepal and marriages cross boarders happen everyday. I can think of many examples people who would be affected by this policy! I am sure the situation is similar for the far eastern hills as well? Where are Deuba and other political leaders from the far-west and what is their position on this issue and what are they doing about it? It affects the people they are supposed to be representing! Or have they been in Kathmandu for so long that they have forgotten the about the issues that matter to the people? ...... Someone please help me to reconcile this: how can a country be "progressive" enough recognize the third gender and at the same time deny citizenship rights to a child born to a Nepali mother?

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