Khas Chauvinism and Madhesi Revolt
Khas Chauvinism and Madhesi Revolt
– Govinda Neupane
(This is my reply to a friend of mine emailed on February 06, 2007. I have just taken out some personal references.)
I fully agree with you that Nepal should not disintegrate. But, I do not see the ongoing movement in Madhesh as a separatist rebellion either in its motive or design. The movement has justice and equity at its core. Not only the Madhesis, but also the MagolKirats (Janajati), Dalits and Newars have been subjected to unimaginable humiliations and sufferings by the Khas rulers in Kathmandu. These rulers include Gorkha kings, Rana rulers and the ‘elected’ Khas political lords. The Khas leaders of different political parties and their regime in Kathmandu are trying to justify the Khas chauvinist massacre against a suffering Madhesi nationality by defaming the movement as orchestrated or heavily infiltrated by the regressive monarchist’s forces. Sure, there could be infiltration. But, in the name of infiltration nobody could justify the barbaric actions against the demonstrators. Khas leaders are the champions of double speak. They are talking about republic on one side, and are maintaining the royal guardianship on the other, to take refuse if and when there is a need. Therefore, when Madhesis rise today, the Khas political lords in Kathmandu brought their beloved guardian – the king to use him as a villain. At the same time, they are ensuring his continuity and comfort in Narayanhiti. By making him either a hero or a villain, probably in both ways, the Khas political lords need his blessings. Otherwise, why the crowd assembled in the legislature could not clap standing for five minutes to declare that “Nepal is a republic effective 1700 hours, February 07, 2007”?
I agree with you that the home minister is a person of sound temperament. He looks so. Therefore, he is a notorious criminal. The person with a sound temperament if orders for such killings that person should be tried for his crime against humanity. Hence, my proposal is that all guilty Khas leaders and their cronies including the home minister should be tried in a court of justice.
Your concern regarding foreign interference also has its merit to talk about. When there is opportunity, everybody tries to grab it. Therefore, if India comes to fish as you have mentioned, I think it is nothing surprising. Now, not the Madhesi people, but the ruling Khas-led parties are pro-Indian. Therefore, if you could not refrain from blaming India, blame India through the route of Khas regime and their political parties in Kathmandu, not through the Madhesis, the suffering humanity.
I like your pleading of the ‘free press in democracy’. But, how ethical and professional are the journalists in Nepal? Are they embedded with the repressive Khas administration? One has to examine first. Is it that a Fox news reporter from an American military bunker reporting from Iraq is their idol? If so, ask the presspersons first to be liberated from the Khas chauvinist mindset and to resist the pressure tactics of the Khas administration. Not only that they need to behave as professional journalists, but also they should not function as cardholders of any political party. You could see the studied silence among a large part of the so-called civil society in Kathmandu. Some of the big names have jumped for the protection of the chauvinist Khas regime by bringing the lofty banner of ‘press freedom’. They have no sympathy towards the bleeding Madhesis. Perhaps, they consider them as ‘inferior’ and believe that their killing is natural by the ‘superior’ regime. Dr. Devendra Raj Pandey is the only exception among the big names of the civil society personalities of Khas origin. I salute him for his patriotism, human sensitivity and solidarity with the oppressed masses.
In the past also, I have argued with you that the nationalities’ question in Nepal is really complex. When the Khas brutality expanded the Madhesh agitation to the scale of revolt participated in by hundreds of thousands of people, the Khas regime in Kathmandu started to feel its heat. The cunning Khas leaders began to wash their hands publicly and are busy, now, talking about solidarity with the Madhesis. The blunt types are in a situation of isolation. But, they are together to maintain their control. They are readying themselves for the brutal suppression. As a result, the revolt could be crushed through brutality, but the rebellion will continue in several forms – guerrilla actions, armed insurrection, protracted war, communal upsurge, peaceful protest and so on. It could pass through two different processes – first, the movement could take the path of nationality war as that in Sri Lanka. There could be the communal divide, ethnic segregation and conflict. And, the result would be disintegration of Nepal as Yugoslavia. Second, oppressed nationalities and the progressive political as well as social elements among the Khasas will join the movement. Their unified mass movement or a mass movement launched by an oppressed nationality including the Madhesis will gain unprecedented momentum. And, the Khas regime will collapse under its pressure. In both situations, the Khas ruling clique has no future. But, in the second course, Nepal has its future. Therefore, I believe, you and I should stand together for the second course. Let’s stand for multiculturalism. Let’s stand for federalism. Let’s stand for autonomous governance mechanisms of the nationalities including the right to self-determination. And, let’s denounce the brutality of the Khas regime including the killing of more than 24 people already, injuring thousands and adding fuel to fire that hurt the collectively glorious Nepali identity.
February 06, 2007
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