Nepal: Birth of a New Nation-State?
Nepal: Birth of a New Nation-State?
Krishna Hari Pushkar, Berlin, Germany
Who is Madheshi?
Madheshi is an identity of indigenous inhabitants of Madhesh who in general have distinct social, cultural, and physical structures than the people of Nepal with their origin other than Madhesh and the mother tongue of a Madheshi individual and his/her immediate descendant’s languages are, Maithili, Bhojpuri, Abadhi, Hindi, Bengali, Madwadi, Punjabi, Urdu, Tharu, Magadhi and is eligible to be a citizen of Nepal.
What is Madhesh?
Madhesh refers to the Terai region specific to Nepal, approximately 25 to 35 km wide broad belt of alluvial and fertile land stretching from Mahakali river in the west to Mechi river in the east between Indian border in the south and Sivalik/Chure Range in the north. This belt accommodates almost 50% population of Nepal.
Abstract: The mistreatment and mishandling of ethnic revolt could turn into separation movement and could finally give a birth of new “Nation-State.” This article would deal with the contextual strategic analysis of ongoing unrecognized Madheshi ethnic revolt of Nepal, contemporary sentimental trend and nature of ongoing ethnic insurgency. It provides crucial premeditated recommendations that could help to prevent from possible threat of separation and resolve the existing ethnic catastrophe through peaceful means.
Mistreatment and mishandling of Madheshi ethnic revolt in Nepal could easily change in Separation movement and could finally give birth to a new nation-State. In Nepal, the resignations of the senior commanders of Nepalese ruling parties pushed Madheshi ethno political movement one-step onward to separation of Nepal or formation of a new Nation in south Asian periphery. There are more than two dozens of armed insurgent groups and around a dozen of civil insurgents fighting for “liberty”. A hard core and most fierce Madheshi insurgent group, JTMM (Jwala Singh) has already declared Madhesh as a separate nation? They have their own army, own administrative structures and dreams. Since the beginning of armed and civil insurgency in Madhesh, loss of lives, numbers of internal refugee and destruction of infrastructure’s counts are overwhelming. Murders, bomb-blasts, counter warfare, hijack, shooting, rebellion attacks, kidnappings, looting, internal refugee, rape and such terrible violence are in daily columns, though it still remains nationally and internationally unrecognized. The pathos is both Nepal government and interim parliament aren’t seriously into finding a peaceful way out which therefore getting more horrible after every single day. The movement now is adding its magnitude, senior political Madheshi leaders from various parties and parliament resigned expressing their dissatisfaction. They declared another war against State and threatened for separation movement if armed forces are deputed in the region. State’s special armed security forces against Madheshis wont do any good other than an add to aggression against government and support separation. However, community based security governance is essential to maintain law and order and prevent criminal activity.
Few weeks ago a former minister Rajendra Mahato developed another Madhesh Army, the prime modality of the forces seems not much different from pre-existing Madhesh armed or civil insurgent groups. Senior Madhesi leaders from various political backgrounds agreed for unity against Nepal government. Even the State employees as Civil servants, Nepal Police, Armed Police, Education Professionals, Health professionals from Madhesi ethnicity expressed commitments and agreed for unison in favour of Madhesh’s interest forming a revolutionary front.
Seven party’s alliance and even the Prime Minister of Nepal Girija Prasad Koirala is taking credit of worsening the condition in Madhesh by ignoring it even they are only asking to implement the past agreements that it has made between State and Madheshi groups”,, often accusing the revolution as criminal activity. In fact, they probably aren’t considering real crisis and grief of Madhesh or knowingly putting all of the possible efforts to defame, underestimate, and humiliate the principles of Madhesh revolution. The PM shows his brutal disregard to the honour of this revolution uttering, “The ongoing Madhesh crisis can be solved within a minute if Nepal and India jointly work together for it”, after the death toll of around 300 since last year. “This claim could however be considered as an official invitation of International Intervention in the internal affairs of Nepal.”
Madheshi leaders concluded this as State conspiracy and criticized PM’s remarks excessively inside and outside of the country. People protested and comprehended this as G.P Koirala’s new-colonial plan against Madhesh to continue State segregation, discrimination and continuity of second class citizen to Madheshi. The former rebellion leaders (Maoists) are strongly against the demands and needs of Madhesh, they are advocating to use their so called people’s army (armed Maoist’s guerrillas) to suppress and exterminate the aspiration of ongoing Madheshi movement either due to personal or institutional revenge or predicting a threat to their own political future which already is faint. The logic behind is poor opinionated and so is the rebellion clutch of Maoist in this region.
The major problem of Madheshi is either zero or rare representation in principal organs of State despite of having around 42% of pure Madhesi ethnic population. A pre-research result of a research plotted the average representations of Madheshi is less than 10% in overall State affairs (higher level apx 3% & lower level apx 7%). However, there is still need for concrete research to find the exact population structure of Madheshi people and their representation because the existing data about the Madheshi is very controversial and biased.
The international community is not allowed informally by government to take interest in Madhesh e.g. UNMIN tried but it was about to get Persona non grata , though it was a part of mandate to create conducive environment for constitutional assembly election. Specially India do not want to involve in the violence or case like Bhutanese refugee due to some hush-hush interests, though the Madheshi movement is widely and spontaneously supported by the majorities in north Indian regional political parties, State Government, NGOs, communities and individual people of northern bordering area because the Madheshi people and people from northern part of India are culturally, personally, socially and emotionally coupled that they could act to help each other even beyond the norms of nationalism. The admirable public sentiment and kinships can neither be controlled by India nor by Nepal government because most of them have blood and family relationship across borders and one can’t see their family members dying and suffering, pragmatically, this is stronger bond than nationalism. Another threat to India, if they try suppressing Madhesh movement in collaboration with anti-Madheshi government, there might be an issue to revive independency movement of Greater Mithilaland/Madheshland. It could get obvious getting influenced of ongoing Madhesh movement for the northern parts of Indian region, which is in almost similar situation like Madhesh which has been already under ideological discussion in Indian regions since decades and I don’t assume India is ready to foster one more Subhas Ghising fighting for Gorkhaland or as such; Madhesh could be a major obstacle in between the central access of Nepal, China and India because every major highways, custom points, industrial, economical, and other fertile resources of Nepal is in Madhesh helping circulate trade relationship; internal security can also be in danger for this region being prime gateway and strategic point. Thus, India has to be careful before getting involved in this issue standing against Madhesh.
Conclusively, Madheshi movement can not be controlled or suppressed and neither can be brought to end by any autocratic action. It is totally spontaneous socio-political movement and doesn’t have any specific leadership or party. It could get stronger and mature than Maoist Insurgency, could get greater than Kashmir turmoil and it won’t flourish either of the countries, if is tried to botch up in any means. Say Conflict experts!
Through, any possibilities about involvements of few regressive forces or criminals with revolutionaries are natural and it happens everywhere and in every sort of revolution in the world. So, concerned parties should have to pay serous attention in due time to avoid it.
In my observations, after serial resignations of national party leaders, parliamentarians and even senior cabinet leader, belonging to Madheshi community is a leap to separation movement if not addressed properly as early as possible.
There is also dissatisfaction and a grievance over international community is that they are not showing proper attention to problem of Madhesh. The International communities are not being able to work as per motto and goal of UN and International law to resolve Madhesh issues. Nevertheless, the nature seems as the war against Pahadi Vs Madheshi community, somehow it can be an ethnic war budding. According to the scholars, it is pre-symptoms’ of civil ethnic war. Now there is serious aggression in Madhesh against any general people of hill origin. Pahadi officials are not being able to work in Madhesh. Most of them are being transferred from Madhesh. Some of them have already been killed, tortured, their houses are being burnt, displaced; they are no more safe and are treated as enemy of Madhesh and Madheshi. This is obvious in any pre-civil war or pre-separation movement. Cabinet and home minister are yet making the special security plan and trying to use heavy arm forces rather to find suitable political solution. They probably learnt least from a decade long Maoist insurgency.
Despite of chaotically violent situation, this can be resolved using immediate ad-hoc peace building theory and some political first aid. Government should also immediately implement the commitments that were reached through various agreements and expressed through national declaration. Consequently, Government should also form an immediate special ministerial committee with full authority to materialise all declared public commitments with integrated decision (One-door) approach. Secondly, government should improve political representation through political decisions and appointment on the basis of proportional demographic ratio. Thirdly, to increase the immediate Madheshi representation in civil service especially in security, administrative and diplomatic service, Government should develop a provision to attract existing official people from technical services and other educated and eligible human resources (government teaching professionals….) by bringing some provisional recruitment process. Fourthly, one cannot operate efficiently and effectively administrative government through only Pahadi officials in Madhesh regions, so our government should immediately introduce a “community administrative governance system”; which would keep the local dwellers involved in the ownership and participation in local administration. The model should be like community police approach. Specially, Nepal government should also mainstream the recognition, identity and access of Madheshi in national and international spheres.
(Author is a Peace and Conflict Management professional and holds special expertise about Nepal; his short digital profile is available on: http://pushkar.blog.com/ )
Entry filed under: Articles.