By Dipendra Jha
I’d like to ask my friends from Khas Arya community – What sort of mistake did we do? Why are you so outraged at Madhesi communities? What are the reasons for such outrage? What did we actually do? If we Madhesis committed some mistake, please forgive us.
BUT, I would like to ask questions: Why weren’t your eyes filled with tears on the day of the constitution promulgation that was done firing bullets on our chests?; There isn’t any basic humanity between us, is it? Nonetheless, had you not celebrated Deepawali (festival of lights) in the evening of September 20, 2015, our hearts would not have shattered much. Had you done so, we could not have become the never-meeting two banks of the river.
What have we demanded so far? Just, we have urged you all to let us also become Nepalis. We’re strangled with the suspicion of our nationalism, we want to get rid of this. We want to become absolute Nepalis. Either Nepali state should dare to say that this is impossible or you can never become Nepalis. Then, we would also find our ways out. We would relocate ourselves. We would take refuge in India or other countries. We would struggle, and in case we failed, our next generation would continue the legacy. What I want to urge is, you as the ruling class of this state, accept us as equal citizens. Else, kindly tell us, “You can never become Nepalis”. Let us know your clear positioning, but you please do not stand as proxy. This will deteriorate the country. You cannot live peacefully and neither do we.
Now we are also getting weaker. Our legs have started trembling. Seven years have already elapsed since I came back to Nepal after earning a better grade in my graduate studies from the University of Bradford, UK. How much to struggle? Now I am perplexed by thoughts in my mind whether to leave the country. Despite all my efforts, I got to know that I cannot be a national. I knew I have been tagged with Indian agent or of RAW (Research and Analysis wing of India) since I was in my mother’s womb. What to do? We cannot afford face transplant. If you have troubles with our face, please say that as well. Needless to mention, the ruling class has no doubt promulgated the defective constitution with a view to quickly jump into the state power. Please do not get yourself involved into their delusion. They have made Madhesis affected by the constitution. In a similar manner, they have also ignored earthquake-affected people in the hills. A ruler, be it white-skinned or black-skinned, is arrogant, which is not a strange thing. Arrogance is in the ruler. I am really distressed and disappointed to see people of the hills, and civil society and Media of Kathmandu being intoxicated with the opium of nationalism spread by the rulers.
People should remain poor as they have to do politics over them. Moreover, if spice of nationalism is added, what else is required then? Whatever be the issue, they could easily instigate people’s aspirations…..They can contest election merely on raising the agenda against Indian agents. Believe or not, the only way to strengthen our nationalism is to end poverty and deprivation.
We have not attempted to seize your share. Your portion should remain the same, but our share should also be there. We have sought two provinces in Madhes: We want province number two from Jhapa to Parsa; let Pahadi-Madhesi population be equal. We’ll live together. In the west also, we wanted province extending to Kailali and Kanchanpur from Nawalparasi; let Pahadi-Tharu population be equal. We’ll live together and develop together. Let’s correct our past mistake and start anew.
Is citizenship the issue of Madhes alone? We have fought for you. Isn’t there a daughter in your home? Why do you show reluctance to provide your dearest daughters Rita, Gita, Manju, Sita, Meera and Asha with equal rights similar to their brothers? Look at your own daughters’ faces. You are well-to-do. Tomorrow you may send them in the countries like U. K., U.S.A., Germany, and Canada for their further studies. If they got married there, you will also have to face similar problems. If your grandchildren wished to return to their ancestral home to live with their grandparents, they would be eligible for the same naturalized citizenship. Will they come back to become the third class citizens in the third class country? Under citizenship provision, our constitution has discriminated between sons and daughters. Consequently, your grandchildren may tell one day what sort of discriminatory constitution has been promulgated by their grandparents. Fearing from our face and open border, please do not punish your own daughters. Otherwise, if they face troubles because of our issues, we’ll equally be held responsible for their troubles.
Next, we’ve sought for delineation of population-based electoral constituencies. We are not the sole beneficiaries, but also province number 3, which also includes Kathmandu, that has 5.5 million population. From Province number 3 will send eight representatives in the Upper House and so will province number 6 with 1.5 population, as per the constitution. Is this right? Is it right to say, one vote equals to five votes? We wanted to say, go for two votes with equal to one vote at least, do not create a huge gap. Likewise, why has the only one community’s majority been sought in all the provinces? Let’s not build a mono-ethnic state, but a multi-ethnic state. Is it wrong to say this? Province number 1 has 28 per cent of Khas Arya population, province number 2 with 52 per cent of Madhesi population, province number 3 with 37 per cent of Khas Arya population, province number 4 with 42 per cent of Khas Arya population, province number 5 with 30 per cent of Khas Arya, province number 6 with 62 per cent of Khas Arya and province number 7 with 60 per cent of Khas Arya. What sort of this federal set up is that will make the chief ministers from one community in all the provinces except province number 2.
Let’s amend the constitution on these basic issues to increase broader ownership of the constitution from all the communities. Then, let’s bring the constitution into effect. Let’s not get it backtracked from the past achievements. Let’s protect federal democratic republic. Let’s protect the constitution by correcting its flaws faster and several amendments required. Before the launch of Kathmandu-centric protests by Madhesi, Tharu, Indigenous and Janjastis, create the atmosphere for the constitution amendment. Let the country not face the next phase of the movement.
Yes, I admit that due to blockade, you did not get cooking gas and fuels for your motorbikes and vehicles. Forgive us for that. I can urge the agitating Madhesi parties not to adopt such a way. But, please acknowledge that there was indiscriminate firing by police when the movement was centered at the district headquarters, which has resulted death of dozens of people. Then, they were compelled to sit at the border. The bullets using SLR rifle are not fired on the people, who protest for their rights. There should have been the use of rubber bullets but, SLR rifle was used. Their shots was also targeted in heads and chests. Who has provide the state with rights to shoot on chests and heads of agitating people?
Now accept your mistakes that you lost opportunity to tell the ruling parties not to kill people. We have done some mistakes and so have you. But both the communities have made some mistakes. It is better for both the communities to acknowledge and ponder over such issues.