Nepal Needs to Make its Own Decisions
KATHMANDU: There’s no doubt that there are scores of communities and minority groups that needs the government of Nepal’s immediate attention and response. However, in the recent times, the inclusion policy has been used by foreign powers as a bargaining tool in the nation to destabilize the country and polarize the Hill and Terai communities.
This is evident in the stiff-necked protests by the Madhesi parties and a cold-hearted reaction from the present ruling government. Either party, perhaps, must be oblivious to the fact that their stance is creating a discord among Nepalis and widening the polarization further.
The systematic and abusive use of democracy and human rights as a bargaining tool surfaced during the Cold War. The United States has been the forerunner on using this manipulative tactic as it continues to do so in regard to North Korea, China, and others.
Nepal suffers from this too as it is sandwiched between the world’s largest democracy and a soon-to-be superpower communist nation. Unfortunately, Nepal has become a fertile ground for various social and political experimentations by the international donors, INGOs, and NGOs. But shouldn’t a nation become inclusive and provide equal rights to all? On paper, it is agreed but in reality, only a few countries might have achieved this rare feat. The sole reason is: it is almost impossible to include all the communities under the umbrella of a particular authority. History is witness to this, and in present times, it is no different.
Nepal’s recently promulgated Constitution attracted opposition and support internally and externally. The surprising part is that few sections of Nepali political circle demanded inclusiveness and a separate autonomous state.
The problem here is that they have risen after 2006 only because they have a voice. A voiceless community cannot and won’t achieve inclusiveness. For example, First Nations in Canada who were killed, abused and isolated from the European colonialists. Although Canada has stepped up in addressing their grievances and enacted policies to integrate them with the rest of the population, the government has bitterly failed. Primarily because the pain of the past haunts the present generation and most of them suffer from trauma, substance abuse, and domestic violence et al. It can be said the same of Nepali people.
First, it was the kings that controlled Nepal and then came the Ranas. Panchayat followed, and after that countless politicians who are only keen to strengthen their party and fill their pockets. At present, some communities from the Terai region have pointed at the Hill people and termed them elite. This definition is wrong since not everyone who lives in the hilly region are rich or elite. People from either hill or Terai region should understand one thing that political parties merely focus on their votes and do work for the people.
Nepal has a long way to go to become an inclusive nation but in the process only those with a voice will succeed and the voiceless will be sidelined to the dark corner.
The political games today can push Nepal to internal strife. It is better for all Nepalis to understand that the Constitution of the nation is a stepping stone for stability and prosperity. It can always be amended to ensure inclusiveness but playing political games for immediate power will only stunt the nation.
(Arun Budhathoki is a poet and writer based in Kathmandu,Nepal)