Nepal’s Terai calls for mature leadership

January 9, 2008 at 11:16 pm 10 comments

Nepal’s Terai calls for mature leadership

Shubha Singh

The resignation of Mahanta Thakur, senior Nepali Congress minister, and other senior politicians from mainstream political parties earlier this month to set up a new political front has created an opportunity for the emergence of a mature leadership, which the Terai region requires.The Madhesi agitation that has destabilised the Terai region is without an organised leadership – there are too many armed factions and groups with their own plans, driving it in different directions. Several Madhesi groups have already dismissed the 23-point agreement concluded by the seven- party alliance for holding elections for a constituent assembly by mid-April on the grounds that it does not meet their demands.Their demands include elections on full proportional representation and a federal structure, instead of the 60 percent proportional representation agreed to in the 23-point agreement.A faction of the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum has announced its decision to re-launch their agitation from Jan 19, 2008. About two-dozen armed groups exist in the Terai, most of whom are splinter groups that have broken up into even smaller factions, some with a membership roll of less than 50. The government has not undertaken any political initiative to reach out to the estranged Madhesi groups but neither are there any identifiable leaders in the fragmented polity with whom purposeful talks can be held.Thakur’s resignation from the cabinet and from the Nepali Congress, his party of five decades, and the resignation of senior members of the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML), Nepal Sadbhavana Party, and the Rashtriya Prajatantra Party belonging to the Terai region was a rude shock for the ruling establishment in Kathmandu. Shortly after the resignations of the senior leaders, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala had a meeting with a group of ruling party parliamentarians from the Terai region.There had been strong rumours that more Madhesi MPs would tender their resignations in due course. The MPs assured Koirala that they were not planning to join the new political front but some expressed the opinion that the Terai problem was likely to get worse if the government did not respond to the demands of the people.Koirala’s immediate task of persuading the Maoists to return to the government and setting the timeframe for the much postponed elections for the constituent assembly was accomplished through last week’s 23-point agreement.The agreement has also brought the focus back onto the critical need to hold elections. But the Terai region remains volatile. Some of the armed Madhesi groups have threatened to disrupt the elections as the polls will not address their demands, though the moderate Madhesis see elections as vital for people to be able to express their views.The main political parties as well as the Maoists have ignored the aspirations of the Madhes region and there is a corresponding disenchantment among the people in the region with the mainstream political parties.The Madhesi people in the densely populated, fertile region of Terai have long standing grievances of discrimination.The refusal of the parties to pay heed to the demands of the region has led to widespread alienation from the political set-up in Kathmandu. The Madhes region had for long been a support bank for the Nepali Congress. The UML had made inroads in the region and the people had also responded to the Maoists. But when the Madhesi stir erupted, it was the Maoists who were the most strongly opposed to the Madhesi agitation.Some political leaders tried to portray the agitation as a destabilising and secessionist force that would disrupt the peace process for it has shaken the base of all the major political parties in the region.



Entry filed under: Articles.

Need and basis for Federalism Terai factor and CA poll

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. आकार  |  January 12, 2008 at 4:14 am

    महन्थ ठाकुर ले केहि गर्छन कि भन्ने आश थियो तर ठाकुर ले पनि रौतहटको गौर मा भाषण गर्दै पहाडे कर्मचारीलाई तराइ छाड्न उर्दि जारि गरे । ठाकुर पनि विखण्डनवादी हुन् ।

  • 2. Munna  |  January 13, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    Our conflict is not with the people but the system. The system which does not realise the imporatnce of ‘Unity in Diversity’. The sytem which has been personalised and amended to suit a few handful. Over the time the polpulation has grown and an equivalent representation of the people is being sought. This isn’t a crime. Bullet is not the solution. But when the ballot is not fair the bullet will have to be used to straighten the ballot-eers. The people of Madhesh are no more illeterate and backward. we have our lives to live and our grandchildren’s lives to safeguard. The terai has always been neglected in the case of development. what is the budget expenditure for the terai (irrespective of the pahades residing there)? What is the income from the terai. It is very obvious that the expenditure/income ratio, of the Nepal government, in the terai is negligible. And another very important fact is that the terai is very labourious. The people have worked hard and all the development is the result of individual capabilities and capcities. Take for example the industrialisation of Bhairawa, Biratnagar, Birganj etc. Can you see the role of the government in this? I cannot. So, if the people of terai can make their own bread and butter, atleast till now. Then why doubt their capacity to run their own autonomous government? We are matyre enough. Give us our rights. We can handle everything on our own, even as we still remain a part of the family- Nepal. But if its too late, then we are going to take our rights. And how you will give is upto you.
    Jai Madhesh.
    Er. Munna.

  • 3. tenzy  |  January 13, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    good word munna. We need people like you.

  • 4. halo chhap  |  January 13, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    Dear Er. Munna.
    I agree with your concept that the government neglected the terai in development works. So, how can the government actually help? please highlight your ideas if any.

  • 5. pramod  |  January 14, 2008 at 4:54 am

    i too had lots of expectation with mahant thakur
    but now and then he talks according to what audience likes to hear . in rauthahat he spoke of pahade civil workers be pulled from terai and just yesterday in bbc world service program he was advocating rights for both pahade from madhes and local madhesi. its high time now that he need to make his stance clear. what he and his party believes. because he objected being called regional party so in order to establish himself national party ideas has to be in par with national level.

  • 6. halo chhap  |  January 14, 2008 at 10:33 am

    Who ever said that Mahanth Thakur was a national leader and the face of the madhesi community? He is an opportunist. He was the person to say in an interview (during the 23-day terai agitation. it may be noted that he was appointed coordinator by the government) that nobody has come up with a written demand to him. And by that time about 25 people had already given their lives for the rights of the people, he now calls his own. Now he wants to become the father of Madhesh. Becareful Madhesh. This is not a game that we are playing wherin we have equal chances to win and lose. But this is a real life situation wherin we have no option but to WIN. So, my sincere appeal to all the madhesi people is that you should only believe people whom your heart and souls sees. And not these opportunist politicians who play the P C Sarkar game.
    We cannot wait; we cannot lose;
    But we will not Hurry; We will surely WIN. One day.
    So let us all join hands for the freedom of Madhesi Community from the age-old pahade governance system. We will stay within the system and ensure to the last drop of our blood that the system is changed. we are not traitors but instead we are right-thinking people struggling for identity, space only to ensur the future of our forthcoming generations. We have time and again repeated that this is a struggle against the system and not the people. And my request to all is that ‘Please dont misconstrue the ‘TERAI AGITATION’.
    Jai Madhesh.

  • 7. Son of of Tirhut  |  January 14, 2008 at 11:36 am

    That’s right,
    We Madhesi people still can’t trust fully on politician like Mahanata Thakur. But his statemet of pulling out all the higher ranked officers from Terai is 100% logical and correct. We might not know that to have propertinal representation for Madhesi people in CA we need to have two things in totally in control. they are Administration and Police force. Because since the history these factors are playing the role against the Madhesi wish and wants. And almost negligible number of Madhesi people are present in thse two fields. So let’s throw out these two factors from Terai then only we can have fair election. Next thing is we need to have our terai state declared as Autonomous state with self decisive power before CA. Then only we can participate in election otherwise we have to stop this kind of election in terai.

    Jai Madhes/Terai/Tharuhat!!!!!

  • 8. halo chhap  |  January 15, 2008 at 9:28 am

    Dear Son of Tirhut,
    I am slightly of a different opinion. I feel that if you want to make space for yourself then you should prove yourself, create opportunities and then place yourself there. Instead of removing somebody to take his/her place. If you want to remove somebody from their post in the Police/Administration, by force, then I am very sad to say that you already acknowledge their supermacy. Why are we so narrow-minded sometimes? Why can’t we think out of the box? Let the Pahadi staff be wherever they are. Let us ask for free and fair election and Selection system. We are better than the present staffing in the administration/police. So, we can face the selection process if it is fair. Our fight and struggle is with the system and not the ‘Pahadi’ people. So, once again please dont misconstrue the ‘Terai Agitation’.
    Jai Madhesh.

  • 9. Son of of Tirhut  |  January 15, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Dear Halo Chap Ji,
    I accept your views, but do you remeber that accident that happened during terai revolution 2063?

    There almost 40-42 madhesi origin people were killed, was it by natural disaster, what do you say?

    And next reason for Dacoit, Loot and murder in terai is all because of administration and some immoral madhesi people who don’t have heart. They reason behind is those poloce officers and CDO in terai feels as if madhesi are either slaves or foreigners. What do you say about this thing?

    We are almost 39 % of total population but what is the our population in Army oficers, Police officers, and Beaurocrats and Plannning and policy makers in national level?

    And let’s not talk about election, for example…. sorry there are many who by use of these two thing they succed to become MP such as Anada Dhungana, Koirala Khandan and ……….

    I’ not against Pahade community, the only villian is Khas people (specially Bahun and Kshetri), rest Aaadibasi Janjati and Dalit are also under discrimination that we all know. That’s why we need full propertinal based CA. Otherwise we need to Bycutt this kind of fake election.

    Jai Madhes/Terai and Tharuhat!!!!!

  • 10. halo chhap  |  January 16, 2008 at 10:34 am

    Dear Son of Tirhut,
    Well you got it. The immoral people of Terai are causing dacoity, loot and murders. But again all five fingers are not equal. we are still children as far as agitation and fighting-for-rights is to be considered. So, we need to forgive our brothers who deviate from the main objective. At the same time it becomes our main duty, befpre anything else, to educate them and give them practical and resul0oriented methods of agitation. I know its difficult because people like u and me are the victims of this immoral act. If not this way then which? It is a very difficult question and the answer is even more difficult to digest.
    This is the first time the madhesis have actually spoken out for their rights. We will have to respect them.
    Fighting with the pahades only weakens our objectives and lingers our process. we have risen against the system and we will have to maintain this main theme. We have people like Mahanth Thakur commenting against the Pahades. This is not fair. Neither is it expected of the so-called-inttellectual.
    Yes we can boycott the election till we feel our rights have been considered. But then this needs tactful approach because we are surrounded by the Pahade Government which is ready to throw the blame on us for not holding the election. This will again weaken our set-goals.
    Jai Madhesh/Terai/Tharuhat

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