Students, vice-president and the Madhes agenda
Students, vice-president and the Madhes agenda
It’s a story of once upon a time as I cannot remember the precise date or year. So once upon a time, there were lesser buildings in Kathmandu, there were no traffic-jam woes, crisis of fuel were unheard of, there were no many television channels, when children spent less time in TV, video games, cartoons were luxury beyond the access of ordinary children. In short, that was the time when I was a school going child. There used to be routines and one period ended with the start of another period, Mathematics after Science, English after Mathematics, Geography after English and so forth. Even then students hated studies. It used to be a difficult task to keep oneself bound in the subject. When the boredom of all the students used to climb to the peak in unison they used to request the teacher to do some extra activities and postpone the lesson. Antakshri, singing, quiz etc. were our limited choice. So even that time we used to escape studies but then we were at school. Even today students feel bored of studies but they have found a different way out. They feel bored more frequently and their boredom is burnt as effigies, burnt as tires, pelted as stones, vandalized as vehicles and so on. They are adept at creating hill out of mole. Patriotism has been limited to criticizing the self tagged traitors and the blots on the face of the country. Patriotism is only burning effigies and tires disrupting the life. Most of these very youth if got few thousands will sit for TOEFL and IELTS and fly to navigate their different world of karma but they will still burn effigies. Only if we manage to keep ourselves bound to our duties may be our country will be in the right track. I do not claim that aspiring to go outside to garnish one’s future is wrong what I really detest is the chanting of this pseudo-patriotism. Peaceful protest is one thing but bringing the whole movement of country to a halt over an issue cannot be justified as patriotism. We have long lost our faith to rule of law, we do not believe in our judiciary so instead of protesting things by registering a writ in the court we love to take things at hand. Pelting is new national games, we love pelting stones and we equally love watching stones being pelted. Students are gathering unparallel experiences in these things in special.
Not very long ago, I had observed that people divided themselves in terms of their political beliefs. Some were congress loyalists, some were UML loyalists, some RPP loyalist and so on. They argued like stray dogs fighting over a carcass to prove their parties are better. Today the division is more vicious, more eerie. Nepalese have not adopted a regional mindset and the recent development has only cemented it. It can be seen in the letters to editors in the news-paper. The burning issue is over the oath taken by the deputy President. I have been observing these letters to editors soon the issue led to burning of effigies and vandalism. There are letters from people with surnames acharya, rai, shrestha, poudel, karki, khadka etc. and there are letters from people with surnames Shah, Jha, Yadav, Mishra, Das etc. while all the formers lambast the vice-President for taking oath in Hindu most of the later think the issue is politically motivated and needs no such attention. Yes the country is divided in terms of ethnicity roughly between two the Pahades and the Madhesis. While the Pahades claim Hindi is and never was a language in Nepal while the Madhesis claim though Hindi was not legally the regional language they have used it over time to communicate among themselves and they have always felt the language is theirs. A new battle in country which has already been tattered by so many battles. If anyone was to ask for my opinion (though my opinion does not count) I believe the vice-President should not have used Hindi and he should have come out of his regional prejudices because now he is the vice-President of the entire nation not only of Madhes. He has been elected to the post under the interim-constitution which still has it clear that Nepali is the national language. If he didn’t feel so or felt the constitution was wrongly written, he should have never accepted the position. Now after his unexpected action, those who didn’t like it should have filed a petition of writ in the court and let it decide. This whole drama especially at the cost of nation was not so necessary. Here for yet another time the heinous face of politics and politicians has unfolded for yet another time. The other allies of the three party alliance have come out with no opinion of their own while their pawns are protesting in the streets and ironically office-goers and wage-earners are facing a huge problem.
Once upon a time there was mayhem in the country over the so-called interview of an Indian actor who was supposed to say something unacceptable to Nepal (I had watched the interview and I did not notice even the mention of Nepal). There were arson, burning effigies, flags set ablaze, cinema halls vandalized over a trivial issue which finally took an ethnic colors and madhesis were man-handled in Kathmandu while the Madhesis made the lives of Pahades in terai (especially Birgunj, Nepalgunj etc.) terrible. That time I had sensed the country will witness ethnic disturbances sooner or later. Once upon a time a laborer had wailed of injustice before me. He said from the time of his great grandfather had been living in Nepal, he was born in this country and his great-grandfather, grandfather and his father were cremated in this very country still he had no citizenship card. Devoid of citizenship card he could not apply for job and could never get government subsidies. That was also the time when the Kathmanduites spat words of hatred to Madhesi people who brought to our homes the fruits and vegetables. They were(are) humiliated, manhandled, looted and regarded as an outcast. The tone of our language dropped from modest to rude and humiliating when we talked with these Madhesis. Whether someone agrees or denies, the country had (has) always treated them as second-class citizen, like the jews in pre World War-II world. The venom was churning which set the country ablaze almost a year back in the name of Madhes revolution. A party sprouted from the womb of hatred and regional biases, the country plunged into more difficult and deep social pit. Geographic positioning of the country itself has been the constant attention grabber. It still and will always be a battle point that can never be neglected. So, interest of neighbor who deep down still feels Nepal as its own colony might have played role in fouling the atmosphere.
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