ISSUES OF MADHESH
ISSUES OF MADHESH
Political, social, economic and cultural issues of Madhesh
Madhesis, an indigenous population located in the Tarai region bordering India, constitute about 40% of the population in Nepal and have been historically marginalized from the political, economic and social sectors of the country. The recent Tarai uprising in January 2007 has highlighted the increasing disenchantment of the population with the ongoing political transition. If left unaddressed, this could potentially derail the current peace process. As different agitating groups in the Madhesh are not politically organized under one umbrella and leadership, there is a need for dialogue on the major demands of the Madheshi people including Madheshi activists, local leaders, media and civil society members.
To address this gap, SUPPORT Nepal has recently (10-22 May, 2007) conducted district level workshops in 7 Tarai districts (Siraha, Dhanusha, Mahottari, Sarlahi, Rauthat, Bara and Parsa) of southern Nepal aimed at strengthening a common Madheshi platform through local-level dialogues in the Tarai by mobilizing a wider segment of the Madheshi society to participate positively in the political transition. The workshop was a nonpolitical platform for local Madheshi leaders. That platform and the outcomes of the local dialogues will be utilized at the central level to pressure the government talk teams to address issues in the Madhesh and address gaps in information on Madheshi issues at a central level.
The 350 participants of the 7 district level workshops were focusing on identifying the issues of Madhesh in four broad categories; political, social, economic and cultural. The participants also spent a considerable amount of time analyzing existing political, social, economic and cultural aspects and trends before identifying the issues. They also discussed the challenges to addressing the issues of the Madhesh. This publication is the collection of voices/ issues identified by non-political Madheshi leaders of seven districts of Nepal.
This publication is aimed at giving a clearer picture of people’s aspirations/ demands in Madhesh and is expected to contribute to meaningful and pro-people dialogue on Madhesh between the government “Talk Team” and the agitating parties of Madhesh. This publication should also be helpful for policy makers, planners and the field workers working on/for the Madhesh.
Ganga Pd. Sah
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