By a nonelite, unprivileged Bahun
I am totally amused, almost to death, by the hypocrisy of REAL Bahun Chhetri elites whose parents (bureaucrats, judges, ministers etc) were lucky (or corrupt or influential or combination of all) enough to make money to send their kids to top schools of Kathmandu (xaviers, ‘kanthas etc), D’ling and D’doons and to the collages and universities of amrika and belayet (Columbia, Brown, SOAS for example).
Is it a coincidence or just that I am selectively getting to read views of such ‘educated and rich’ Bahuns/Chhetris whose parents and grandparents had access to resource? A minister’s daughter or a judge’s son or a sachib’s grandson. Of course these elite Bahuns/Chhetris can rightly think that since they are privileged, well off and can live in between Kathmandu and (London, NY or Toronto) they don’t need any more facilities from the state.
These elite and privileged Bahuns/Chhetris- not sure if they are sympathizing with the Janajati/southern movement or patronizing it- with their rosy glasses see all Bahuns and Chhetris of Nepal as rich and privileged as they are. But these elite Bahuns/Chhetris CAN NOT speak for the millions of poor and rural Bahuns and Chhetris in rural areas of Nepal or those in Kathmandu who had to come here as a compulsion during the difficult times of conflict or those who somehow have built homes in Kathmandu by selling whatever they had in the villages and still live in incomplete/unfurnished or rented buildings in Kathmandu.
In this context comes the declaration of Khas Arya as indigenous people. The privileged and rich Bahuns/Chhetris and Thakuris AND politically indoctrinated ones can ridicule this decision. But to portray ALL Bahuns, Chhetris as rich and privileged is simply wrong. When Khas Arya were promised to be counted as indigenous yesterday that included Dalits too- one of the most underprivileged class in Nepal.
By the way, some of these elite Bahuns/Chhetris/Thakuris may rightly claim that they went to those elite schools because they deserved that and were capable to getting partial or full scholarship (from the university or the likes of Fulbright for example). However, they shouldn’t conveniently forget that there could be equally talented and deserving people out there in some remote areas of Nepal. But those in remote areas- yes, poor Bahuns and Chhetris (and of course poor Janajatis and Dalits too but now my point is about poor Bahuns and Chhetris) didn’t have neither ACCESS nor resources to learn, to begin with, about the scholarships or the schools.
They were not in Kathmandu, where everything was/is, because their parents (or grandparents or great grandparents) were not the bureaucrats, judges, ministers (or other influential people like royal priests) based in Kathmandu. Their parents were the farmers of the villages who had to toil day and night in the fields and look after cattle.
Just as there are two classes- poor/destitute and rich/elite- of Khas Arya, the Janajatis and Madhesis too have distinct classes in terms of wealth, access and education. There are elite Janajatis and elite Madhesis as there are poor, underprivileged Janajatis and poor, underprivileged Madhesis. There are zamindar and feudal Madhesis and there are super rich Janajatis. There are Dalit Madheiss and there are destitute Janajatis.
Therefore the clear demarcation of rich and poor, privileged and unprivileged CAN NOT be done on ethnic or regional lines. It has to be done on the basis of the poverty index. If one person gets more benefit form the State than other, that has to happen on the basis of how poor (financially, culturally and politically) the person is. It CAN NOT be done in a wholesome manner, along ethnic lines, with false claims that all Bahun Chhetris are rich, privileged and oppressors and all Madheis and Janajatis are poor, unprivileged and oppressed.
Federalization of Nepal can not be done on such flawed argument. That is why there can not be ONE Madhes ONE Pradesh or Provinces carved along the ethnic lines. It has to be done on the basis of need- who needs to get priority over whom. That prioritization should be done on the basis of, as stated earlier, poverty index (which is another way of saying resources, not identity) so that the same benefit can be offered to a Dalit of Dhanusha, a poor Panajati of Taplejung and a poor Khas Arya from Okhaldhunga or Kalikot.