Nepal in Transition: Terai Secession Is a Myth

As twin kids of the Maoists escalate their violence in eastern Terai in the name of the so called ‘Terai’ nation, it becomes increasingly difficult to see how any educated realist from Terai could ever support them.

By Chhatra Bahadur [This article first appeared in a private discussion forum and UWB is publishing this article with writer’s permission. Chhatra Bahadur is not a real name.]

Almost all failed politicians in Nepal sooner or later tend to resort to the dirtiest method available to them. Look at Padma Ratna Tuladhar. After being rejected by his own population in election, the old lion has now turned into a reckless elephant, destroying houses and farms with the manufactured claim of marginalization of Newars. Now give me a break. Newars are among the richest, most educated people. They have become prime minister, and were private secretary of the kings. And the vaunted Newar culture of Kathmandu was a thing of past when Prithvi Narayan attacked Kathmandu. If you remove the reign of Bhupatindra Malla, Siddi Narasingh Malla and Pratap Malla, and subtract the contribution of Licchavi, what will be left about Kathmandu is a continuous fight in the valley among the Malla kingdoms. The last king Jaya Prakash Malla was fighting with his own people for most of his reign, and was betrayed by his own people when he finally fell to Gorkha. Ditto with tumultuous Patan and gradually unstabilised Bhaktapur. Those kingdoms were sitting ducks when Prithvi took them. Truth hurts, but these are the realities, and Padma Ratna and his ilks need to face them.

I mean think about this: if a king of the poorest of the chaubise kingdom- Gorkha had no market, no mines, and with 12,000 population was considered a small country- could win three ‘mighty’ kingdoms of the valley, how safe you were really from the mighty and cunning British, who needed a ‘hill station’ and a ‘trade route’ to Tibet? The British needed a decent hill station so badly that later, they settled in a barren land later to be called Darjiling.

Padma Ratna or Keshav Sthapit are not the only whiners. After not being able to win the election, after getting downsized from 6 to 3 members in parliament, Nepal Sadbhavana Party had no other option but to resort more violently to the terai issue. But most important transformation came with the spoilt brats like Bimalendra Nidhi and Jaya Prakash Gupta. Nidhi lost his own election, his stature, and is not even comparable to the shadow of his illustrious father. JP Gupta’s latest book is nothing but a chronicle of self victimization when he was indubitably a corrupt man who is free now exactly because of corruptibility of present judiciary. These people now talk loudly about victimization of Terai.

As twin kids of the Maoists escalate their violence in eastern Terai in the name of the so called ‘Terai’ nation, it becomes increasingly difficult to see how any educated realist from Terai could ever support them. Just like most of the Nepali rejected the Maoists despite the feeling that some of their core demands stemmed from legitimate concerns, decent people in Terai are going to reject these firebrand opportunists, while maintaining that their demand do have valid foundation, and that we all need to work out the future path nonviolently.

Think about this: what would a free Terai look like? Now, Chitwan and Makwanpur are the districts heavily populated by “Pahadiyas”, so heavy indeed that Sadbhabana party didn’t even field a candidate in Chitwan in the past elections. Since these districts touch India, any country of “Terai” will be like pre-1971 Pakistan, geographically separate. To go to Rupandehi from Siraha, one will have to go from India or a part of Nepal. In the long run, like erstwhile Pakistan, such states don’t survive.

If somehow present Terai is merged with India, the situation of Teraibasis won’t improve either. Biharis are treated pretty badly in places like Bombays or New Delhi, something similar to how ignorant Kathmanuites treat them in Kathmandu.

Talk to both JTMM factions: Jwala Singh

By Bedraj Poudel

INARUWA, Jan 13- Jwala Singh, chairman of the Janatantrik Mukti Morcha (JTMM) faction which broke away from Jai Krishna Goit, has said that the government should hold talks with a joint team of both the JTMM factions.

Talking to the Post over the telephone from an undisclosed location, Singh (Nagendra Pashwan) said, “If the seven parties can hold talks with the Maoists, why can’t the government talk to both of our factions?”

“I still consider Goit as my guide, but I don’t know why he tries to stay away,” Singh told the Post. “I want to carry him on my shoulder and take him along in the war to free the terai people.” He also denied rumors of his party threatening to disrupt the citizenship distribution and expressed his party’s commitment to helping in that task.

“We possess no differences over constituent assembly and citizenship distribution,” he said, adding, “But, we will tell people not to take citizenship certificates being distributed by Pahades (people hailing from the hilly region).”

The fact is there is no shortcut to gain respect. Teraibasis need to work hard, produce more intelligent professionals such as doctors or engineers, keep their towns safe and clean. If all the news they hear from Terai is about witches being fed faeces, or brides immolated due to dowry concern of in-laws, or grooms chosen in open market, how can members of another community genuinely respect that community? Sherpas who were considered inferior and dirty in the past now has earned enormous respect for themselves sheerly due to hardwork. When I went to Solukhumbu recently, I was so impressed with the region above Lukla that I told about it to everybody in my village. On the other hand, a villager of mine who went to Janakpur to work writes how ‘big’ Janakpur’s mosquitoes are, and how difficult it is to go to cyber cafe and write a brief email to me.

Terai has problems, issues, and it is time educated and brave Teraibasis take those issues courageously. Letting people like Goit, or Nidhi or Jwala Singh hijack these issues does no one good, prolongs the pain of Terai, and is harmful to the whole nation. It is important first to recognize that there are no constitutional discriminations against Terai anymore, and that we must work peacefully to break the remaining barriers.

Related blog:
JTMM Terror In Siraha

A [Royal] Nepal Army General [Rtd.] Is Maoist Member of Interim Parliament

“Maoists decided to nominate me because they were impressed by my articles published in Kantipur daily.” -Kumar Phodung

By Bishnu Bodhathoki

Having served in the Nepal Army (NA) [former Royal Nepal Army] for 35 years, ex-Major General Kumar Phodung has been nominated as a member of the interim legislature by the Maoists. Talking to the Kathmandu Post, Phodung said, “They decided to make me a parliamentarian without consulting me but I am ready to serve.” He said that he received the information only on Thursday (11 Jan) when he was in Itahari. Phodung also informed that Maoist Chairman Prachanda held a meeting with all nominees at Thamel yesterday.

When asked about his connection with the Maoists, Phodung replied that he had no direct relations with them. According to him, the Maoists decided to nominate him as a parliamentarian after being impressed by his articles, published in Kantipur daily. Phodung who joined the military as second lieutenant, served 35 years and retired in July 2002.

The CPN-Maoist nominees are: Kumar Phodung, Shanta Shrestha, Malla K Sundar, Bhikshu Ananda, Hari Roka, Narayan Prasad Sharma (journalist from Dang), Padamlal Bishwokarma (Dalit activist), Illiyad Alam, Krishna Prasad Acharya, and Krishna Devi Chaudhri (freed Kamaiya). However, Maoist spokesperson Krishna Bahadur Mahara said that the names have only been proposed, and are yet to be formally approved by the party.

The CPN-UML Standing Committee announced the names of its additional 10 nominees to the interim parliament and submitted these to Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala this evening. Here are the names:

Bam Dev Gautam,
Jhalanath Khanal
and Amrit Kumar Bohara (Gautam, Khanal and Bohara had contested the 1999 parliamentary elections from Bardiya, Ilam and Sindhupalchwok respectively.)
Paru Devi Yadav (Siraha) -widow of late Hem Narayan Yadav
Parbati Chaudhari (Kailali)- widow of late Chakra Bahadur Dagaura Chaudhary
Shanti Pakhrin (Dolakha)- widow of late Buddhi Man Pakhrin
Rijwan Ansari (Bara)
Chudamani Jangali BK (Kaski)
Jayanti Rai (Bhojpur)
Rima Nepali (Rolpa)

The People’s Front Nepal announced the three names:
Kaman Singh Lama
Anjana Bishankhe
Asarphi Sada

Nepali Congress is yet to finalize its list for the interim parliament. The NC has delegated authority to Prime Minister and party President Girija Prasad Koirala to take the decision in this regard. According to a source, these are the probable candidates:
General Secretary K B Gurung, party members Bhim Bahadur Tamang, Laxman Ghimire and Meena Pandey, the PM’s daughter Sujata Koirala, Dr Shekhar Koirala , Suprabha Ghimire, Mitharam Bishwokarma and Sita Devi Yadav.

Meanwhile, the NC-D Central Working Committee meeting failed to finalize the list of its six additional members for the parliament.

Nepal’s Court Politics: Interim Constitution

For the record: Interim Constitution will be promulgated tomorrow but judges of Supreme Court will not be very happy. A report by Conflict Study Center

The pressure from the House and street culminated in a meeting of the Seven Party Alliance-Maoist (SPAM) on January 8, 2007 resulting in the decision to proclaim the Interim Constitution (IC). Three proposals were adopted. The first was to proclaim the IC and ratify the Interim Legislature effective January 15, 2007. The second was to appeal to all political parties, civil society and the masses to proclaim free and fair Constituent Assembly elections to be held in mid-June, and to form all-party committees for collecting the voter’s list, ensuring the distribution of citizenship, and maintaining peace and security. The third was to declare that all problems of people be addressed exclusively by the New Constitution and New State of Order after CA election. The management of arms and armies by the UN mission will also commence on January 15, 2007. Although the Draft if the IC has not been made public but media sources have printed the full text and it has been widely discussed. The Judiciary has developed suggestions comprised of 14-points to revise the draft statute. Their recommendations have received no official endorsement. The recommendations, adapted from Kantipur Daily, January 7, 2007, are summarized below: Continue reading Nepal’s Court Politics: Interim Constitution