Showing posts with label nrn ncc. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nrn ncc. Show all posts

Sunday, May 02, 2010

The Infighting Among The Nepali Organizations In America

What do women in my homevillage in Nepal, the Madhesis in Nepal, and the Nepalis in America have in common? I witnessed tremendous infighting among the women in my homevillage growing up. It took me long years to realize that infighting was due to the fact that the women were members of the powerless group in the village. That psychology of infighting extends to the Madhesis of Nepal. Look at how the MJF split. What the Madhesis are in Nepal, the Nepalis are on world stage. The Nepalis in America are numerically practically insignificant, politically non-existent, and not at all impressive when it comes to political consciousness.

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The latest round of infighting going on among the three poles - the ANA, the NRN crowd, and the Janajati groups - of Nepali organizations in America reminds me of the women back in my homevillage.

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You have to understand where they are coming from. The ANA - Association of the Nepalese in the Americas - rightfully feels that it has had a long history, and that it was championing the causes the NRN - Non Resident Nepali - movement is associated with now for years before the NRNA was launched, although the ANA did that at the level of the Americas, and the NRN movement is global. The solution there is to acknowledge that ANA history, and then realize there is so much common ground between the two.

The NRN movement does not understand why the ANA will not appreciate the huge global presence of that movement. There the solution is for the ANA to respect the fact that the NRN movement is vibrant in all those parts of the world where the ANA has no plans of even showing up.

My Madhesi heart goes out to the Janajati groups mostly based out of New York City that both the ANA and the NRN movement have so far marginalized. Not only do they have ethnic rights grievances going back all the way to Nepal, and going back centuries, they also have proven to be outstanding organizations in every way in New York City. They have many organizations, they have a vibrant umbrella organization the likes of I have not seen anywhere among the Nepali organizations in America, they raise and spend a lot of money, they  do good work, all they ask for is equality and recognition. The thing to do here is to acknowledge the historic wrongs perpetrated against the Janajati in Nepal and perpetuated perhaps in the diaspora and give the Janajatis their rightful place.

The ANA would like to be recognized as not only the largest Nepali organization nationally, but also as the umbrella organization of all Nepali organizations in America. The big stick the ANA carries is the annual ANA Convention, the biggest Nepali event in America for a few decades now.

The NRN crowd successfully dissolved NAC - Nepalese Americas Council - that never attempted to become an umbrella organization of any kind, but was the only national council type organization, and replaced it with the NRN National Coordination Committee, like they have in many other countries. But the NRN as an organization does not give out membership to organizations, only individuals. NAC was a group of less than 30 organizations, it did not recognize individuals, only organizations, and it was not open to bringing in more organizations.

What the NRN movement is not appreciating is that the movement entered many countries where the Nepalis were not organized at all. So it was easy to set up a NRN NCC in such countries, and then try and get it to go on membership drives. But in America that has not been the case. The oldest Nepali organizations in America are decades older than the NRN movement itself. And there are more than 200 Nepali organizations in America that are not about to get dissolved. And why should they?

So how do you put out the fire? Democracy and transparency should do the trick. I have a few recommendations.
  1. Create an umbrella organization possibly called NOA, Nepali Organizations in America. Such an umbrella organization has never existed before. NAC was not it. The ANA is an organization, not an umbrella organization, and the NRN NCC is one organization seeking membership from individuals not organizations. The NRN NCC has not been designed to be an umbrella organization. 
  2. All Nepali organizations in America should be able to join NOA. Each organization's voting weight would be as to how many verified members it has. An executive committee would be elected every two years. That executive committee has to be one third female by rule. 
  3. The annual ANA Convention would continue to be recognized as the premier Nepali event every year. The NRN NCC should use that convention to hold its annual conference. 
The solution, I guess, is for both the ANA and the NRN NCC to realize they are both individual organizations, neither are umbrella organizations, and should not pretend otherwise.