Madhesh Movement and Federalism
Madhesh Movement and Federalism
— By S.B.Shrestha
Madhesh Movement could not satisfy many of us because it ;(i) could not galvanize federalist notions as per the wish of the real protagonists of the federalism.
(ii) made Bahunbaadi combination suspicious of intentions of federalists.
(iii) nurtured sepratists desires
(iv) movement leaders did not seek solidarity with other protagonists of federalism.
Madhesis, and Janajaatis have different models for federalism in Nepal. Without effective leadership from respective communities or sub-communities, political empowerment is not so likely. Social, economic and eduational empowerments are possible with single decree but political empowerment must always be through ballots. In that effect, federalism based on regional/cultural specialities would have been better. In India also, leadership from Backward classes did not develop overnight. Leaders from Dev Raj Ors to Karpuri Thakur worked a lot to provide present army of leaders. Be it soldier of Hindutva Narendra Modi or be it disciple of J.P. Narayan, Lalu Yadav, their electoral base is their backwardness which was maintained by Brahminical forces till 1980.To prevent federalism in Nepal or to confuse people about it, pro-Brahmanbaad forces are constantly painting gloomy pictures by citing lack of concentrated castes or communities in any city, village or districts of Nepal. This is nothing but simply their ploy to maintain their stranglehold. Take examples of Bihar and UP, are there complete domination of Yadavs? No! But, still leadership from Backward classes rose in elections. This has been possible because of issues and adjustments. And this adjustment of issues have been possible in India because caste entered into politics thorugh the political parties. In my earlier write-ups also, I have repeatedly mentioned that in Lokatantra, party politics dictate everything. It is not necessary that non-Newars would never be chief of Newar Autonomous Province. It is true Newars in different political parties would stake their claim. But, who decides the leadership issue is definitely a political party not a community. In that sense, in every autonomous state there is possibility of BK combination commanding political authority. Yeah, situations will not be favourable to them as it is today in Nepal. Just on that pretext, we can not allow lopsided system to perpetuate.
But, with present Madhesh movement, Pro-Brahmanbaad force is hyperactive and they are likely to plot in a big way. Political leaderships in most of the political parties too appear exasperated becaues they feel that Madhesis are not trusting them during transitional phase. Anyway, whatever promise of federalism and benefits Madhesh has got is better than not having them. But, fear is that Brahminical forces continue their “divide and rule” politics and not allow Party driven political models in Federalism. In such situations, Pro-federalists need to keep their fingers crossed and must be ready for a new party with all Nepal appeal. This will be like a National Front fighting on agenda of federalism; an issue creating a political party not the other way round. If pro-Brahmincial forces are pragmatic and believe in peaceful coexistence, they should rather peacefully recognize political empowerments of Madhesis, Dalits, Janajatis and Mahilas. Presently, many intellectuals are apparently fed up with caste and regional issues. We too need to exercise restrain while voicing our demands. Intellectuals, Activists, and Sadhus are not any community’s personal property. They should be accorded due respect.
Bahunbaadis in Nepali Politics has always remained suspicious of anti-Bahunbaad voices. They know very well that by raising issues against Bahunbaad, we want to break age old system of domination of minorities in the state of affairs. Generally, people who are exercizing control do not like to loose it. This is the same problem in this case also. On the other hand, there are forces of Status quo like Shree Bhadra Sharma who openly claims that considering cultural specialities would deprive others? If Madhesis and Janjaatis have their regional and cultural specialities, why should he bother if these specialities get recognition? Recognition of someone’s speciality never amounts to others’ downfall. But, in our Pro-Brahmanbaadi society, winners take all syndrome is deep-rootedely seated and this is nothing simply the reflection of same mindset. What I never understood is why these Brahminical forces never tried to look at the issue from opposiste point of view. It is very easy to talk about composite culture and talk about nationalism. But, these people must know that imposing the culture of selected few without recognizing others’ specialities would make such nationalism hollow and bereft of life. This is what is the main problem with Mandale nationalism. So, because of fear of loosing their domination which they have maintained by imposing only their language, customs and culture, Brahminical forces in Nepal is likely to launch vicious smear campaign against the notions of federalism. They are likely to be supported by Pro-Brahminical forces in political parties. Communist leaders are communists for namesake only because most of them have never promoted leaders from Madhesh and Janajatis. The Maoists are sending bulk of cadres from Janajatis and Madhesh, but non-involvement of top leadership smacks of their detestation with Parliamentary democracy. This need to be watched in coming days also.
Madhesh movement nurtured ideas of separation for two reasons; firstly their genuine voices were throttled from the beginning and secondly the extremists groups in Madhesh continued their wrangle with Maoists. Maoists have politically received a jolt in Madhesh movement. They knew very well that Jwala Singh and Goit left the Maoists because of their tussle with Madhesi leadership within the Maoists. But, habitual to passing dictates top-down, they did not understand the gravity of the situation. The verbal diatribes and reluctances of Maoists leadership against the movement emanates from their distaste of party fugitives like Jwala and Goit.
But, in fact pro-Brahminical diatribe was launched by another communist leader Madhav Nepal. While all others were busy trying to fathom the gravity of the problem, UML leadership was busy lamenting arson of Madav Jee’s house. Oh, my god, when UML leadership would rise above petty personal concerns? On the otherhand, in Nepali Congress, Sujata openly came out for saving her support base than for claiming her leadership of Congress Party. She knows very well that she has support base in Madhesh only and her support base would be crushed by Vijay Gachhedar in no time. Just to save her that support base she came out against Sitaula. Regarding her leadership of Congress Party, I think most of the Congressmen are waiting for right moment. Without Girija she is nothing and nobody is going to take care of her.
The most glaring mistake on the part of Movement leaders is not seeking solidarity with other leaderships in Nepal. Had there been Janajaatis, Dalits and Mahila leadership also present in the movement, it would have already quashed the Interim government. Madhesis were so confident that they did not even request Dr. Devendra Raj Pandey to stay put his visits in Terai. Absence of Janjaatis helped the pro-Brahmincal forces to paint the whole movement in separatist colour. Definitely, the issue is that of empowerment of Madhesis. But, presence of Dalits and Janajaatis would have given it a national colour. Because of lack of solidarity on the streets, the movement lost direction and recognition.
(i) We have to learn from history. Madhesis have risen in unison and they should continue this solidarity without regionalism and Madhesi-Pahadi bias. Main problem is to defeat Brahminical order in our society and to free Pro-Brahmanbaadi effects from politics.
(ii) Madhesi spirit may be maintained through present Madhesh based political parties. But, it is better if new outfit is set-up with inclusion of Janajaatis and Dalits. Madhesi leadership will be acceptable to all in place of Pro-Brahminical forces in the country.
(iii) Madhesis need to maintain their vigils over the promises on Federal government and must educate ordinary Madhesis on CA election and effects of Bahunbaad.
(iv) Madhesis must not shake hands with royalists and mandales. Amongst Madhesis, there are many with pro-royalist biases. They should not be provided leadership at all.
Entry filed under: Articles.