Let’s Salvage the Terai Havoc!
Let’s Salvage the Terai Havoc!
— Amit Pyakurel
Terai has been burning with unrestrained violence and there has been unfortunate deaths of a number of agitators since more than two weeks. More unfortunately, its not showing any sign of reprieve despite the call for a dialogue by the government. This has invoked fiery speculations among many of us, which has somehow shaken our anticipation for a reasonable peace and stability to prevail in the country. Regarding the traditionally imbued underprivileges to the Madhesi people, not due to the ethnicity but because of the socio-political spectrum that failed to address the Madhesis’ concern genuinely till date, the demand raised by the Madhesi citizens does hold authenticity. But the resemblance that the overall Madhesi dissatisfaction being purposefully tried to be given ethnic color, that would subvert the communal harmony the country has enjoyed so far, may indicate something worse other than the genuine demands of the Madhesi people.
Fear has surfaced whether this is going to invite an ugly episode of ethnic antagonism and violence, in the country that has embraced the high adage of “unity within diversity” ever since a considerable time, as we have been proud of our unity and tolerance among every cast, religion, race, or ethnicity. What could be more unfortunate than if there arises prejudiced hostility against any other Nepali, simply because he/she is a Madhesi or a Pahadi, a Bahun or a Tamang, a woman or a man, and so on?
The incident is unfortunate, at a time when the whole country, including the major political parties and the Maoist rebels, are conjoining their distinct ideologies to mutually work for a newly defined peaceful and progressive political course. Though the agitation is alleged to be carried out by the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum, viewing the fervor of its kind, seemingly adamant posture and impatience from the organizers of the protests, and one after another vandalism of the national property, statues of the historically acclaimed personalities, and attacks against the media personnel, it has provoked a guesswork as there might be some regressive elements behind the incident.
Besides, a resounding belief has also prevailed—has the armed rebellion instigated by the Maoists, in some extent, has helped to resonate this violence? The ideology that violence could make your voice heard is being suspected to have backforced the recent violence in Terai, as per the notion that the violent struggle of Maoists has finally made them recognized as a significant political entity. However, its equally notable that before the Maoists were preferred to be held in the mainstream, the country saw the days of hell during the 11 years of insurgency, as the conflict not only victimized the perceived enemies of the rebels and the government, but also killed the scores of innocents in crossfires, uncertain bombings, due to suspicions, and sometimes even intentionally.
The country, after the lengthy bloody struggle and after the high aspiration for peace that is born after the April revolution, no longer afford to get back into another black era of violence, destruction, and deaths, the situation feared to reemerge regarding the current scuffle going on in Terai. Moreover, the time doesn’t approve for any havoc and confusion, viewing the rarely founded mutual perceptive between the mainstream parties and the former rebels to bring peace and stability in the country that has long been dilapidated by economic nuisance, lack of altruistic leadership, and unfair distribution of privileges among many ethnic, religious, indigenous, cultural, and women groups.
Fulfilling the legitimate demands raised by the agitating Terai faction would do no harm to the seven party alliance and the Maoists who are currently established as the forefront ruling head of the country. It’s not an option to completely discard the authentic demands raised by the group, as there is no other option than to equally recognize all the communities who are Nepalese and benefit them equally, in order to build a peacefully sustainable and prosperous country.
It’s certain that no peace and constancy can prevail without winning the hearts and minds of the common citizens, as in any democratic society common people are those who rules. Nevertheless, concerning the fragility of the current transitional period, violence and distrust of any kind do not merit the general desire of the people who are desperately waiting for the country to be ultimately free of bloodshed, and such unreserved disturbance would sabotage the people’s utmost desire for political, social, and economic transformation destined for all.
The Terai unrest is worth to be taken seriously, not only by the government while attempting to solve it through peaceful conciliation, but also by the agitating Terai faction, as they also share a mutual responsibility to act as per the general wish to reform Nepal. Wisdom suggests that a real renovation could ultimately come through the proposed Constituent Assembly election. Antagonism of such type must be solved diplomatically and by taking a serious heed towards the overall sentiment for peace and stability, to avoid the proposed CA election to be derailed.
If not, it would be harmful not only to the overall political achievements made so far, but it would also tarnish the whatsoever political reputation we have gained recently among the international spectators. Concerning the fragility of the current period, the prevailing distrust and antagonism wouldn’t be beneficial for a fruitful political transformation that Nepal is heading for, as the perceived regressive elements would use this clumsy and chaotic state of affairs as a tool to score their goals, to destabilize the peace process, ultimately to thwart the Constituent Assembly poll.
Further, as people have overwhelmingly claimed for the representation of all the less-privileged ethnic, indigenous, and women groups of Nepal, only a tangible action on this front would ensure a sustainable peace and stability. The similar kind of threats, distrust, and discontent could only be alleviated by ensuring justice to all the under privileged factions of the society, including those from the Madhesi groups. It’s clear that if the principle of equality and rights to all isn’t fructified in a real manner, this will allow such violence to continue in one or the other form, and a reemergence of similar kind of rebellion in future like that from the Maoists cannot be ruled out.
May the currently agitating faction in Terai take significant heed of this transitional period, and put their demands peacefully and patiently, so as to comply with the political transformation the country is foreseeing. Meanwhile, the PM’s calling for a peaceful way-out and agreeing on some of the major demands raised by the Madhesi group could mean something to salvage the situation. But, as this is not showing to bring any respite in Terai and the violence is intensifying day to day, the government should proceed with a more concrete measures to get deeper into the consequences of the crisis and solve it through peace and sustainable approach. At the same time, the agitators should also recite to a peaceful outcome rather than perpetuating violence, if to sustain their rights in the long run, moreover to sustain the proposed political change and peace in the country in the coming days. In a nutshell, as the country is desperate to see a reasonable change for good, a camaraderie of every political or social faction in the country do count considerably for a new, peaceful, stable, and prosperous Nepal.
[By Amit Pyakurel, Image from flickr sharing]
Entry filed under: Articles.