Nationalism is in the heart – Vice President Parmananda Jha
“Nationalism is in the heart”
Interview with Vice President Parmananda Jha in Naya Patrika, July 30
A lot of tension has been created after you took your oath in Hindi. Had you informed the President of your intention to do so?
It was not that big an issue that the President had to be notified. I didn’t think it was necessary, neither was I asked.
Did you think that your actions would trigger demonstrations at national level?
I had never expected it.
Why do you think there has been such a huge reaction?
I cannot answer that question right now. It may have been politically motivated. But what I can deduce is that even now, languages spoken in the Madhes are not given due importance.
Couldn’t you have used Maithali, your mother tongue?
I do come from an area where Maithali is used, my wife speaks Bhojpuri. What language do you think we use to communicate with each other?
You mean to say Hindi is a link language?
Indeed. You shouldn’t forget that according to the 2001 census, 150,000 Nepalis use Hindi as their mother tongue. The numbers must have increased now. All those who speak Maithali, Awadhi and Bhojpuri are united by Hindi.
But wouldn’t you agree that the language you take the oath is a symbol of nationalism?
Nationalism is not limited to language and clothes. Nationalism is what is in your heart.
Were you afraid when the protestors demanded your resignation?
I wasn’t scared at all. They misunderstood me. Also, I’m well aware of who is actually inciting these protests.
You changed into daura suruwal when you appeared at the Bhoto Jatra. Was it because you were under pressure due to the protests?
Such pressure has no effect on me. Dhoti-kurta is the dress in Mithila, it is what I usually wear. When I took the oath as the Vice President, I wore the clothes of my region. But at the official occasion, I wore formal clothes.
Looking at the turn of events, do you regret taking the oath in Hindi?
Why would I regret it? If someone yells at you for speaking your language, would you stop speaking it altogether? If someone gives you a hard time for wearing your clothes, would you stop wearing them?
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