Himalayan Double Standard

December 13, 2006 at 4:27 am Leave a comment

Himalayan Double Standard 

The political border of Indo-Nepal has divided a single piece of land on globe, but this has not been able to create fence between other spheres of life. The recent family tie-up of “Who is who” of Nepalese with Indian, especially among ruling circle has reiterated the same truth. Nepal has witnessed a lot of change in shape and size of its map in last 260 years. With this changing shape of border on map, the border of country will also change so quickly in people’s heart, one can’t assure of it.

It needs a full fledged discussion on the chronology of migration of people across border since time immemorial and purpose behind migration. There has never been one way migration. People from both side of the boarder have migrated for their ease of living. The rise of society in Darjeeling, Uttaranchal and Terai, in the last 260 years is the proof. Recent migration was not plain natural phenomenon, but more of state initiated and state supported by then rulers.

In the recent Nepalese politics, there has been a lot of buzz about migration across boarder. Some of the people have strong reservation about migrations. In stead of talking about migration in narrow sense, why people are not open to broader discussion? Till date, based on Nepal recent censuses, Nepal has witnessed migrant from hill side moving to different region, be it Terai or Darjeeling, or Uttaranchal. If so, why is the same hilly people raising question of migration, isn’t it question of bulling? Nepal is also sharing long boarder with Tibet, then why is people not talking migration from that side of boarder? There has also been case of reverse migration of people from Uttaranchal and Darjeeling to Himalayan kingdom, then why people’s mouth is closed on these migrations?

Migration in Terai was thing of the past. But even if there still exist migration from across the boarder, as claimed by few people, then this is a question of comfort. Local people are more comfortable with the mix of people from other side of border. On the other hand question should be raised, why Teraian people are not comfortable with the mixing of hilly people? Is it only due to difference of culture or more to do with difference of attitude?

There has always been the surrogate treatment to Nepalese Teraian people. Who so ever had been the ruler in last 260 years, has treated Terai as an asset, but Teraian as liability. This partial behavior of state has given rise to misunderstanding in the whole society of Nepal. People have even started to raise question of nationality and loyalty of Teraian people. But big question is, why is this acid test only for Teraian? Is this just a psychic mentality or a ploy? The test parameter is on two words, nationality and loyalty. For any particular group of people the degree may differ, but targeting these people only for political mileage, is more of the concern. The degree of either loyalty or nationality may surpass the average degree of nationality or loyalty for a particular group of people attached with any particular land in specific conditions. The nationality and loyalty is the function of time, geographical location, people origin, and state responsiveness. For example; large portion of present day Himachal, Uttaranchal, UP, Indian Terai was part of Nepal once upon a time; if this claim is true, what should Nepalese expect from the people of these land to behave like, where should they show their Nationality and loyalty? And has this land been a part of Present day Nepal, what would have been the loyalty and Nationality of these people? A large portion of current Nepal (generally known as naya mulk or new country) was part of India before 1856 AD, then what about the nationality and loyalty of people from these lands? Why was Teraian given special connotation as “Madhesi”, instead of absorbing these people in mainstream politics? For almost two century now, Gurkhas had been serving in Indian (and British) army, where does the loyalty of these brave Himalayans lies? Many of the rulers of present Nepal have Indian maternal side. Where should the loyalty and Nationality of these mother and son duo lie? King Mahendra’s maternity side was from Sitapur, Kheri of India. If Teraian people have family and cultural relationship with India, then Nepal should bank upon this point to strengthen friendly bilateral relation.

Migration problem has taken a big platform since restoration of democracy Nepal in 1950’s. Before that even people of Nepal (especially Teraian) had to take intra-transit permit for any type of movement. Permit was to the check the migration of people. While talking about migration problem, people generally ignore Indo-Nepal 1950 AD treaty. According to treaty, either country has given equal freedom for each others citizen for the purpose of migration and owning of real estate. Using this treaty privilege, some of the decedent of then Rana rulers is still holding real estate in India. Some Ranas have recently claimed ancestral treasures from India (Kantipur 2006-02-23). Using the same treaty, many Nepalese are still holding few of the Indian Government post. Given this condition, why is fuss over Indian owning land in Nepal? If Nepal thinks there is genuine case of migration from India to Nepal, then Instead of punishing poor migrants, why hasn’t Nepalese Government raised migration issue with Indian Government in any of the bilateral talk so far? Both countries can form a task force to resolve citizenship issue on mutual basis, instead of creating hassle for common people.

In the globalize world, when Nepalese people are talking of possibility of dual citizenship, then how much is it relevant to raise citizenship issue in Nepal for Teraian?

There are a numerous questions waiting to be answered. It’s the collective responsibility of state, civil society, policy makers and others to think about the questions in the given context. The Teraian people feels there is undeclared double standard in handing state affairs. Teraian fills uncomfortable with the unreasonable target of state and farcist attitude of some people for some of the critical issues exclusively related toTeraian. The past mentality of state of perceiving Teraian as liability should be changed; otherwise the uneasiness of Teraian in its own land can create Terai as nonprofitable liability for Nepal. In the current changing political environment, Teraian are hoping against the hope. Let’s hope their hopes become stronger with fulfillment of their expectations.

–By Ram Manohar. The author blogs at http://rammanohar.wordpress.com  he can be contacted at rmsah@yahoo.com.



Entry filed under: Articles.

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