Proud to be Madheshi?

July 16, 2006 at 7:51 pm 13 comments

By Bindu Chaudhary

It is a different matter being a citizen of a country and belonging to a country. One may have a citizenship certificate of a country and be entitled to equality and justice enshrined in the constitution, but it is as well possible that it only remains in the book of law. Madheshis constitute one third of the total population of Nepal (33%), but are meagerly and inadequately represented in Nepal’s socio-economic and political front. Their representation in government bureaucracies is only between five to ten percent, in police force below five percent and in Army it is negligible.

The government policies were deliberately discriminatory against Madheshis, Janjatis and other minorities since the Rana regime and during the Panchayat era. The Ranas exploited the Hindu Caste codification to serve their ends, and the Panchayati era government marched with King Mahendra’s “one-culture, one-language, one-religion, one-country” definition of national unity to “Nepalize” all other ethnic groups. Eventually, Madheshis were left out in the cold.

Even now, the Madheshis are not only barred from access to equal resources and opportunities, but also don’t feel as mainstream Nepalese, because of the way they are perceived, treated, and presumed. Madheshis grow up being called or referred to as “Madise, Marsya, Kale, Dhoti, Hapsi, Indian…” by the so-called ‘true’ or ‘genuine’ Nepalese- the “Pahadis” and other hilly inhabitants. In Nepal, there are gender specific discrimination, caste based discrimination and discrimination based on geographical location. How can a country be developed when it is ruled only by the so-called few ‘elite’ groups- the men, the upper caste and the Pahadis and hilly people?

In Nepal, only Pahadis are considered to be ‘genuine’/‘ethnic’ Nepalese; people from Madhesh are like “foreign invaders”! I must admit, many of the Pahadis and other hilly groups are too naïve in their knowledge. They would simply call all Madheshis as Indians (though there is nothing wrong to be an Indian), or dhotis, or vice versa! If Goddess Sita and Lord Buddha are from Nepal in spite of belonging to Madhesh, it needs some common sense to call Madheshis as Indians and Indians as Madheshis; bliss their ignorance! In fact, except those from the Tibeto-Mongoloid races, all Nepalese had roots from India- the Karnataka dynasty kings ruled Kathmandu, and the Ranas have migrated from Rajasthan in India.

We derive our identity from the world around us. Our self-image is developed through what we see and what is shown to us or what we think and what people think of us. When one is viewed negatively and is insulted time and over again because of the way they are, the way they look or because of their origin, there is some sort of discomfort that sets in the mind. Imagine a Madheshi child being raised outside of Madhesh/ Terai community amidst the Pahadis, and who grow up being name called, laughed at and projected as inferior than the Pahadi counterparts.

Good self esteem comes from being treated positively and getting positive reinforcements not only by significant others but also by the society they counteract with. Consequently, there are Madheshis who do not allow the negative reinforcements from the society affect their lives, there are others who would turn hostile towards their counterparts and call tooth for a tooth. There are still others who use “denial” (completely rejecting the thought or feeling- I am not angry with them, or they don’t put me down!) and “reaction formation” (turning the feeling into opposite- I think they are really great!) as their defense mechanisms and try to change themselves ‘outwardly’ to gain acceptance in that community that looks down upon them. They shape themselves through the desire of others, to be ‘seen’ in the society they live in- though the self-styled image is only a fraud or an emotional wound to hide from their own eyes.

This later category of Madheshis living in the Pahadi community seem to be in a real ‘identity crisis’ in an attempt to ‘become’ or ‘look’ Pahadis themselves. They consciously and deliberately let go (and even ‘forget’) their language, culture, tradition and roots in order to gain acceptance by the Pahadis and/or to be superior to the “orthodox” Madheshis! I understand, who would want to be called a ‘Madise’ or ‘Marsya’ which are pejorative connotations for Madheshi, ‘like Nigger (offensive name for a black person), Kike (offensive term for a Jew) or Faggot (offensive term for an openly homosexual man)? But however cosmetic changes one would bring about outwardly, it would only remain a piece of paper pasted over a gaping hole. Racism is not a biological, but a sociological problem which cannot be solved by doing ‘cut’ and ‘paste’ by those discriminated, but has to be ‘deleted’ by those who discriminate.

Forgetting ones identity need not necessarily command esteem; there are many Madheshis who have earned a lot of name, fame, respect and esteem within and even outside the Madheshi community in spite of remaining closely bound to their roots and land; in spite of speaking their own Madheshi language; following their own rituals and culture; and in spite of proclaiming that they are proud Madheshis.

I have seen Madheshis turned Newars/ Paharis of Kathmandu who find arranging matrimony for their children a distasteful task, because they are either of both are neither of one- accepted by both yet unaccepted by any. However generally, the ‘genuine’ Madheshis take over the preference when it comes to matrimony, because they would not want to be name-called, all over again! Inter-caste marriage is still unacceptable in Nepal, and when it comes to the Pahadi- Madheshi matrimonies, it still is big news. However, love is blind, and Pahadi-Madheshi matrimonies do take place, because ‘Kale’ Hain to kya hua Dilwale Hain!

In a country so obsessed with characterizing what it means to be a genuine Nepali, Madheshis who endured the insanity of the Hritik Roshan episode knows what it means to be a ‘lesser’ Nepali; or those who face hassles getting citizenship certificates knows what it means to be born in Terai Nepal; and those who change their surname, their language and their attire, their culture and tradition… knows what it means not fitting into the concept of the so-called “Nepalipan”. However, Madheshis cannot go about living under a veil by letting their rich culture and tradition slide thoughtlessly- to be ‘promoted’, or to be ‘demoted’? No comments. I would rather admire a culture that would allow me to speak of myself in high terms and where I would not have to eclipse myself to prove I am worthy.

Of course, one need not be ashamed of one’s roots, thanks to the significant number of Madheshis who are proud of who they are and speak their mother tongue, respect their culture and observe their festivities and rituals amidst the non-Madheshis. The equation is simple- if you accept a label, it is yours; and if you don’t, it isn’t really yours- you do not have to ‘fit in’ to be accepted. Sum and substance, the so-called self-acclaimed ‘greater’ and the ‘higher’ and the ‘powerful’ need to come out of their comfort zones to broaden the sense of ‘Nepaliness’ to embrace the whole population of Nepal. A Nepali does not have to be a Pahadi or a Himali to be a Nepali. A citizen cannot be a ‘genuine’ or a ‘not-so-genuine’ citizen.

(The author is a social worker, presently a freelance journalist in the USA)

Source::http://www.nepalnews.com.np/contents/englishweekly/telegraph/2004/aug/aug25/views.htm

Advertisements

Entry filed under: Articles.

Madhesis: A Political Force in the Making? Proud to be Madheshi? II

13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. arbinda sah  |  August 14, 2006 at 10:01 pm

    I am very happy when saw our madheshi news. so ple

  • 2. asdf  |  October 14, 2006 at 9:17 pm

    madhesis jaga, samaya agelchai, break the war for ur rights, put ur lands in the holes of these fuckin pakhes.

  • 3. Nanda Kishor Mahato  |  January 22, 2007 at 5:37 am

    This is the time to make aware about status of Madheshi in Nepal to all people living in Nepal as well as other places. It is very important to make understand about rights of madheshi to all concerned people as well as to government and missionaries.
    It is also important to speak about madheshi issues in all level.
    I want to ask & discuss below mentioned question to all concerned people:
    1. In Tarai, population of Madheshi is above 90% but in government offices (situated in Tarai) what is madheshi people % ?
    2. How & why Political leader of leading party’s are saying Madheshi issues are “sampradayik issue”?
    3. Capability (knowledge, skill, education, physical capability, personality) of ” 1 Madhishi people = ? pahadi people”

  • 4. Bal Krishna Jha  |  February 20, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    Nice article.

    we should fight for our right… I feel that if any one of us comes across any instance of unjustice/unequality, we should spread the message through any means.

    I mean that I saw a ‘Yahoo Answer’ in which the meaning of Nepalese Flag being triangle was given as the country of Mountain.

    Is it so? Did the flag maker not know that plains too existed in Nepal?

    Personally, I feel that the red triangle flag represents that Nepal is a Hindu state, since such triangular flag is used in Hindu Temples since ancient times.

    Any comments?

  • 5. MANISH KUMAR  |  August 13, 2007 at 11:35 am

    Hi Bindu,

    I dont understand how u people are inferior then nepalese.These people in India are considered chowkidars or waiters wid no brain.

    Kick them on thier ass and snatch the power from these bruts

  • 6. Tsering Lama  |  August 20, 2007 at 10:38 pm

    all the way! i wish all th groups of nepal, from the hills to the plains to support our brothers in terai. their voices have to be heard all the way from their homes to the halls in the senate. their wills have to be answered. we, as a nation, must support their peaceful means. don’t resort to violence. it’s not the best solution. we need to address all the needs of the peoples of nepal. thanks and namaste.

  • 7. Raman sharma  |  August 22, 2007 at 11:12 am

    nice article by bindu
    I know these fact well as i live in Biratnagar but i m so called “Pahade” i don why i m called “Pahade” as i have never seen it. My Grandgather also dont know about any “Pahad” as we are in living in terai since Rana Regime. now u say i m madhishe or not? if not then what is defination of madhishe? I am in madhesh and have long history of madhesh even more than some of my maheshi frens who say me u r “Pahade”. I don no which Pahad do i belong to. I know people in terai are socially insulted. I accept this fact. But the solution of this not as said by MANISH KUMAR. he said “Pahade” wid no brains if he can write those type of commentsand suggest violent style of getting power then how any one can say he is with brains. the problem is not only about rights problem is about correcting self attitude towards respecting each other. Both have various attitude to correct. i finally want to say “Respect each other don insult any one with their color or habitant place”.

  • 8. Raman sharma  |  August 22, 2007 at 11:27 am

    As going thru comment of MANISH KUMAR, as he said that “I dont understand how u people are inferior then nepalese” he differentiated saying “U” and “Nepalese People” do madhesi are different people than nepalese? if not then what is the meaning of saying that? today madheshi people are fighting for their nepalese identification as they are frequently insulted by pahades by saying indian or dhoti. pahades are differentiating madhesis by describing them as indian other than nepalese. Now say what is difference between that ignorant pahade and MANISH KUMAR as he also differentiate madheshi saying other than nepalese.and with his comment one can clealy understand that he is talking about nepalese in india and discriminating them by saying “nepalese with no brains” so if people like him continues to exists in this world then world cannot be free from racism and discrimination. today problem of pahade and madhishe arosed due to pahade being like MANISH KUMAR discrimitary and seeing other people other than them self as people with no brain”.

  • 9. Son of Tirhut  |  August 22, 2007 at 4:44 pm

    What ever Raman Kumar said doesn’t mean anything i understanstand that. But as you said you don’t know anything about your ancestors. I have the answer for this point. Either you should have moved in terai during the Mahendra Regime for resettlement for the Sukumbasi in hilly region. You must be one belonging to the Jamindar family by gifting some precious things to Rana leader, getting the lands in terai as birta.

    As as you sadi madhesi people are fighting for their identity, see up to now you people were were highly respected in terai whereas in hilly region what we are called that every madhesi knows Tharu. This is because you have been ruling in Terai since 240 years. Now it is our turn to rule and liberate our terai from you Khasiya people (Specially Bahun, Chetri and Rana). Every where we are cheated so earlier you understand better it is.

    Jai Madhes!!!!!

  • 10. Son of Tirhut  |  August 22, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    What ever Raman Kumar said doesn’t mean anything i understanstand that. But as you said you don’t know anything about your ancestors. I have the answer for this point. Either you should have moved in terai during the Mahendra Regime for resettlement for the Sukumbasi in hilly region. You must be one belonging to the Jamindar family by gifting some precious things to Rana leader, getting the lands in terai as birta.

    As as you sadi madhesi people are fighting for their identity, see up to now you people were were highly respected in terai whereas in hilly region what we are called that every madhesi knows including Tharu. This is because you have been ruling in Terai since 240 years. Now it is our turn to rule and liberate our terai from you Khasiya people (Specially Bahun, Chetri and Rana). Every where we are cheated so earlier you understand better it is.

    Jai Madhes!!!!!

  • 11. Children Education  |  September 7, 2007 at 7:06 pm

    Really nice site you have here. I’ve been reading for a while but this post made me want to say 2 thumbs up. Keep up the great work

  • 12. Ajeet Kumar Yadav  |  February 29, 2008 at 7:32 am

    I didnot read the article,,,but i read few comments,,the hate i have for pahade people is like same that of any madheshi, we have such big amount of hate for pahade people that we are out of words to explain it and this giver miscommunicative words. personally the hate from pahade is so from my side,i will kill the pahade if i saw them near my home or anywhere in my hometown.

  • 13. ladfa  |  May 7, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    I’LL tell you what…it’s our bloody politicians…they planted this in everybody’s head..i remember few years ago…during the monarch time there was harmony between madhes and pahad…but the bloody politicians has planted this hatrated towards the people..both madhesh and pahadi people are brothers and NEPALI….dont listen to politicians…dont vote them…dont fight…..NEPALI POLITICS MURDABAD..POLITICIAN MURDABAD….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Celebration of 1,00,000

Madhesi Voice

United We Celebrate

People Celebrating faguwa (Holi), with the fun of music, quite popular among Terai people. Holi is celebrated each year on the eve of falgun purnima Faguwa (Holi) Celebration

Past Posts

Archives

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 47 other followers


%d bloggers like this: