Tag Archives: madhesi

#Nepal: Madhesi groups have the highest representation in government jobs

The dominant narrative promoted by a section of ethno-centric activists and intellectuals is that Nepali civil service is dominated by Hill Bahun/Kshetri and that the Madhesis are excluded and underrepresented.

This is the mixture of lies and half truth. A comprehensive research considering caste, ethnic and gender dimensions of Nepali society shows a different picture. The Nepal Social Inclusion Survey 2012 (NSIS) ranks different caste groups of Nepal on the basis of their representation in government services in proportion to the size of their population.

[Added on 21st December for clarity: the research states, “on the basis of percent of households with access to government jobs”. See Note below for more]

[Additional Note on 22nd December: The second picture below is a ranking based on representation compared to the size of population. The table is from the same study. The first chart is based on percent of households.]

Three high-caste Madhesi groups are at the top of this list.

Population groups by access to government jobs. Madhesi groups are ranked higher than others.
Population groups by access to government jobs. Madhesi groups are ranked higher than others.

[Related: The findings of the report were also published in Nepali in Setopati.निजामती सेवामा सबैभन्दा बढी प्रतिनिधित्व राजपूत, कायस्थ र तराई ब्राम्हण]

setopati

Top 10 ethnic groups over-represented in Nepali civil service when compared to their share of population. Madhesi groups rank at the top. Picture source: Setopati [Picture added on 22nd December].

The study reveals that some Madhesi communities: Rajput, Kayastha and Tarai Bahun have more representation in Government jobs than their share of population and are among the top seven most represented population groups of Nepal. Among the top seven ethnic communities, only two are Hill (Pahadi) communities. The remaining are Madhesi groups.

“The Madhesi B/C [Bahun/Kshetri] has the highest percentage (29.1%) in government jobs, which is followed by the Newar (26.3%), Hill Chhetri (21.5%) and Hill Brahmin (15.8%).” The findings of the multidimensional study state, “Dalits, including Madhesi and other caste groups, are well below the average.”

The study very specifically points out that Halkhor and Dom, two other Madhesi groups (ranked at positions 1 and 3), are mostly involved in public services of a low level (cleaning jobs). This suggests that other groups at the top level, including the Madhesi groups like Kayastha, Terai Brahmin, and Rajput do not share such characteristic.

It is important to remember that Madhesi (representing 20% of Nepal’s population) is not a single homogeneous population group. There are huge disparities within different Madhesi communities and their levels of progress. Several Madhesi groups (like Dalits) are among the most backward and disadvantaged in Nepal. At the same time, several other Madhesi groups (like Madhesi Brahmins, Kayasthas, Rajputs) are ahead of all other ethnic groups in Nepal in terms of Human Development Index (HDI), education, wealth, access to government services and opportunities.

[Related: Debunking Dr. Karan Sinsh’s misinformed comments on Nepal in the Indian Parliament]

Top ten ethnic groups in Nepal based on access to government jobs. Three Madhesi groups (Kayastha, Terai Brahman and Rajput are ahead of Hill groups like Chhetri (ranked 10) and Hill Brahman (ranked 14).
Top ten ethnic groups in Nepal based on access to government jobs. Three Madhesi groups (Kayastha, Terai Brahman and Rajput are ahead of Hill groups like Chhetri (ranked 10) and Hill Brahman (ranked 14).

The study reports that Hill Dalits, which is a broad group, are in the lowest position and Muslims only slightly above them.

NSIS shows that there is no domination of a single caste in Nepali civil service. Out of 98 individual caste groups covered by the survey, 20 castes have more representation in civil service than their shares of population.

According to the study, “Government jobs” covers employment by the government at both the national and local levels, according to the survey. “At the local level, it covers jobs in VDCs, municipalities, DDCs and other government line agencies. However, the level of job is not specified, therefore, including all levels from sweepers to officers.”

It is important to understand whether there is inclusion in government employment, because it is one of the pertinent institutions for governance, the survey states. The study was carried out by Central Department of Sociology/Anthropology of Tribhuvan University and published in March 2014.  It was funded by the Royal Norwegian Embassy (RNE) in Nepal through Social Inclusion Research Fund (SIRF)/SNV. The list of people who led the study can be seen in the picture below.

The team behing the research
The team behing the research

 

Note (Added 21st Dec 2015):

The study cited in this post is based on the number of households having access to government jobs. Our initial post missed this detail. All questions regarding the study and methodology should be directed to the concerned research teams. For more clarity, we are adding some statistics of some ethnic groups below.

According to the Population Census of Nepal 2011, average household sizes for some ethnic groups are:
Kayastha 5.1, Madhesi Brahman 5.1, Rajput 4.1, Thakuri 4.9, Newar 4.5, Chhetree 4.7, Hill Brahmin 4.2.

The Human Development Index (HDI) values (published by UNDP) for some ethnic groups are: Hill Brahman 0.557, Hill Chhetri 0.507, Madhesi Brahman/Chhetri (includes Rajput and Kayastha) 0.536, Madhesi Other Castes 0.460, Newar 0.565. The chart is included below for reference.

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Human Development Index (HDI) values by major caste and ethnic groups of Nepal (2011, UNDP). Madhesi Brahmin, Rajput and Kayastha are included as “Madhesi Brahman/Chhetri”.
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Biased Narrative of HRW Report on #Nepal

Prem Dhakal

Does Human Rights Watch (HRW) believe that people migrating within Nepal have no say about provincial delineation of the place where they live now, while those coming from India like Rajendra Mahato should have a greater say over delineation of the whole stretch of Terai?

Why is the narrative of Human Rights Watch (HRW) report biased for me? 

First of all, I must accept that I have not read the whole report. But from whatever I have read, I strongly feel the narrative was biased. I can make no claims about the incidents, anyway, as I am not witness to any of the incidents. So, my issue is only about the narrative which does not look neutral.

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Human Rights Watch (HRW) Report on Nepal that serves a side in the political narrative war of Nepal. It is also conspicuously silent on the economic blockade that’s resulted in grave humanitarian crisis in Nepal.

1.

The title is ‘Like We are not Nepali’ Protest and Police Crackdown in tarai of Nepal, with ‘Like We are not Nepali’ displayed prominently.
I find the title biased and provocative. I believe it’s a report prepared by Human Rights Watch (HRW) and not agitating Madhesis. Has HRW concluded that Madhesis are not treated like Nepalis? Has the state said so? Does the constitution say so? I believe one can’t give such a strong headline to a report investigating killing of civilians and security persons during violent protests.

I have always strongly condemned violence by both the state and protestors anywhere. But the Madhesis have been killed in places burning in protest, and the security persons have turned atrocious after the Kailali incident where security persons were brutally killed, as the HRW report also accepts. Madhesis have not been chased and killed, say in Kathmandu for example.

[Related: Like we are not human enough to deserve rights; was the HRW’s Nepal report meant to serve one side of a polarized political-narrative war?]

I’ve not seen HRW or any other HR organization, bringing a report titled ‘Like we are not American’ when black Americans have been killed, at peaceful times, by police on as trivial an issue as a routine traffic stop as in the case of Samuel DuBose on July 19 in Cincinnati. So, why such strong and provocative headline on death of Nepali citizens during the course of violent protests?

2.

I don’t like to be personal. But I still find citing Prashant Jha’s work thrice to construct the context of violence and history of discrimination a little surprising knowing where he stands. But, HRW deems him to be neutral and I trust the HRW judgement.

“Some parts of Nepali society regard Madhesis as “Indian” due to their community’s close cultural and linguistic ties with India and their frequent intermarriage with communities in neighboring regions across the border, and some have questioned Madhesis’ loyalty to the Nepali state.”

I don’t regard Madhesis as Indians and am not here to refute Jha’s claims in the book. But the HRW uses this extract to build the narrative and then decides to not use the claim of Indian Union Home Minister Raj Nath Singh, who is a former BJP president, that there are one crore (10 million) Indians in Nepal. Singh also promises that Indians will be protected in Nepal. Here is the link

His claim has yet to be retracted. Indian Embassy in Kathmandu, though, has issued a statement saying the comments attributed to him do not represent the government position.

Singh’s comment was widely covered in Nepali media and social media. I can’t believe HRW missed that. My question is why did HRW decide to cite Jha to build a narrative to prove that Madhesis are not treated like Nepalis (rather like Indians) while ignoring claims of Indian Union Home Minister that seem to claim they are indeed Indians. It could at least have mentioned it to inform the readers, especially the uninitiated international ones, and let the readers decide themselves.

[Related: Debunking Dr. Karan Singh’s misinformed comment about Nepal in Indian Parliament]

3.

“The Madhesi movements of 2007 and 2008 were largely peaceful but also involved some acts of arson and other violence, while numerous protesters were shot dead by the security forces.”

The report says Madhesi protesters were shot but does not mention 28 Maoists killed by Madhesis in Gaur at the start of the movement. The movement was also directed against people of Hill-origin living in the Terai region- a large number of uninvolved Hill-origin people were forced to flee, if they could escape the violence and arson.

“These movements also gave rise to new Madhes-based political parties, which prospered in the 2008 Constituent Assembly election. However, these parties suffered multiple splits, resulting in their winning far fewer seats in the 2013 Constituent Assembly election.”

The HRW, after taking trouble to trace centuries of discrimination, seems to be economical with the CA Election 2013. It does not want to add why the Madhes-based parties split. It also ignores a crucial fact that the Prime Minister of that time, Baburam Bhattarai described the second CA Election (he announced elections for the second CA while dissolving the first) as a sort of referendum between those supporting ethnicity based federalism and those against it. The first CA was dissolved primarily due to the issue of ethnicity-based federalism after the parties were unable to garner enough support on either side to draft a constitution. The ruling coalition support ethnicity-based federalism, but did not have enough places in the Assembly. They wanted to increase their strength through the second elections. HRW, for some reasons, seem to not accept that the result of the second CA was not only because of the split in Madhes-based parties and the Maoists. The mandate was a resounding rejection of the ethnicity-based federalism and other issues that the Maoists and Madhes-based parties were supporting before the election.

4.

“The Tharus were opposed by the Akhanda Sudur Paschim (United Far West) movement, largely composed of people who live in Kailali and neighboring Kanchanpur district but whose origins lie in the hills to the north.”

The HRW, citing it, seems to make a point that those who have migrated from hills to the plains are prevailing over the indigenous people. But then, the report does not mention that Rajendra Mahato, one of the top leaders of the current Madhes movement, was an Indian before becoming a naturalized Nepali. Mahato now is demanding that not just the district where he currently resides, but even Jhapa, Morang and Sunsari should be included in the Madhesh province. The right of naturalized citizens, particularly those coming from India, is one of the major agendas of the movement.

Does HRW believe that people migrating within Nepal have no say about provincial delineation of the place where they live now, while those coming from India like Mahato should have a greater say over delineation of the whole stretch of Terai?

5.

“On that day, three Madhesi political leaders from the eastern plains—Upendra Yadav, Rajendra Mahato, and Amresh Singh—made speeches at a rally in Tikapur, Kailali’s second largest town, which were widely said to have included inflammatory language, angering Akhanda supporters.” (to watch these videos with English subtitles, click here)

Why is HRW using the expression “said to have”? Does HRW not find such language inflammatory? I find it hard to believe that HRW cannot find footage of the videos that the media has played widely, and verify authenticity.

I’ve not read the whole report but I didn’t find any mention about the announcement of incentive of Rs 5 million to the family of anyone who is killed in what I have read. I even searched the whole report using the key words million, 5 and 50, but found no mention of that incentive.

6.

The HRW says security forces have used racial slurs against protesters. This no doubt is condemnable. The police personnel attacked, injured and lynched by the protestors include many of Madhesi origin too. But I find it surprising that the report does not mention Madhesi protesters using racial slurs. Did HRW try to learn from the security persons if they also have been racially insulted by protesters? Do the HRW want us to believe that Madhesi protesters protest with their mouths sealed or they are so controlled that they don’t retaliate even when security forces hurl racial slurs against them?

7.

It is also surprising that the HRW does not talk about Indian blockade in the report. One of the editors of the HRW report, Tejshree Thapa tweeted that blockade is a political issue, therefore out of scope for HRW. So, if HRW does not acknowledge political issues, why build the narrative by citing centuries of discrimination by hill elites and so on? Are the violent protests in Nepal of apolitical nature? Isn’t the blockade on Nepali population a grave humanitarian crime? If political history has to be connected while investigating killings by police and protesters following differences over political document like constitution, why ignore an issue that can have (currently having) serious humanitarian repercussions?

The most surprising thing is HRW mentions

“The Nepali government has blamed India for the shortages, claiming that India is imposing an unofficial blockade in order to force the government to amend the constitution in line with the Madhesi demands. India has denied this charge, claiming that the shortages are due to protester blockades and a general lack of security for the trucks ferrying the goods.”

[Related: A controlled Indian Blockade on Nepal, a BBC Report from a border town]

But does not send its men to visit all the border points to see if all of them have been obstructed by protesters or not. I would like to remind that goods were coming unhindered from Bhairahawa to Kathmandu before India started the blockade even as the border point in Birgunj was closed due to protests.

I believe HRW cannot be stretched for resources to send its men to see why the border points are obstructed, and adding one line to the above lines would not have completely transformed the report into a political one from that about human rights. I also find it surprising that the report, again in the parts which I have read, does not mention about protestors hurling stones from no man’s land.


Originally posted on Twitter by Prem Dhakal, directed to Human Rights Watch (HRW) and an editor of the Nepal report, Tejshree Thapa. The tweet can be viewed at this link. This UWB post has been published with Mr. Dhakal’s permission.

 

A controlled Indian blockade on Nepal (BBC report)

(Translation of a report by senior journalist Anil Yadav, first published in BBC Hindi. You can read the original report here. A Nepali translation of the report is available on the BBC Nepali website.)

Translated by nepalforeignaffairs.com team.


Indian government has been saying, even stressing continuously that it has not imposed any blockade on Nepal. But Nepal is suffering due to lack of cooking gas, petrol, medicines and other items of daily need.

Just visiting the border town of Sunauli (Sonauli) is enough to expose the carefully drafted statements of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

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On the Indian side of the Sunauli border between Nepal and India, trucks have queued for more than 14 kilometers (Picture: Manoj Singh/BBC)

What kind of neighbors are you? No sooner had we made our constitution than you started to demand an amendment? – Nepali people

In reality this is a controlled blockade, whose remote controller rests at the hands of someone higher up. On the ground here, many games are being played out in that pretext.

Minister Swaraj told the parliament that trucks leaving India have been stopped by Nepal’s Madhesi protestors.

[Related article: Debunking Dr. Karan Singh’s Misinformed Comments on #Nepal at Indian Rajya Sabha]

Although there’s no protest in Sunauli, only a fixed number trucks are allowed to pass every two-three days. The trucks with Nepal’s imports are lined up for more than 14 kilometres on the Indian side and reach much further than the town of Nautanwa. However, buses and other vehicles are passing the border from both sides as usual.

So why are the trucks stopped? To this and every other question, the officers from customs and border security force (SSB) respond that all is because of orders from above.

Whose orders from higher up? They respond to this question with such a laughter, which means- “are you so innocent as to not know what even a five-year-old kid in Nepal knows?”

Cross the border and ask the same question on the Nepali side. It elicits a stunning question, “what kind of neighbors are you?”, as if this journalist is representing the Indian government.

Then they say, “no sooner had we made our constitution, than you started to demand an amendment. When we refused, why did you stop our bread and butter?”

Custom officials claim that these days about 100 trucks are allowed to pass after inspection. But there are several details that go into determining the trucks that will be allowed to enter Nepal.

In Kolhui and Nautanhwa of the Maharajgunj district on the Indian side, LPG (cooking gas) trucks of Nepali and Indian oil corporations have been separated from the long queue of trucks and parked on nearby fields.

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LPG tankers taken out of the queue and parked on nearby fields in Nautanhwa (Picture Manoj Singh/BBC)

Trucks carrying medicines are prioritized and allowed to pass, but police stop trucks carrying petrol, diesel and cooking gas. Trucks carrying marble stones, cars and bikes are also being allowed to pass.

The biggest difficulty Nepal is facing is of fuel. And those who come to enjoy the spectacle of trucks queuing on the highway also admit that India wants to bring Nepal down to its knees by shutting down fuel and transportation.

Truck drivers say, police take bribes to select and allow trucks from among the long queue that has been standing for two months. The rates are INR 300 for normal trucks, 500 for big trucks, and more for containers. This is because the importing company in Nepal faces a loss of about INR 13,000 for every additional day a container is standing on the queue.

Is is estimated that goods worth INR 20 billion are queued up on the Indian side on the road of Sunauli border and Nautanhwa railway station.

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People in Nepal queuing up for cooking gas (Picture: Bharat Bandhu Thapa/BBC)

There are attempts to unload goods from the trucks to smaller vehicles and carts in order to take them across the border.

Nepal’s businesses and factories are cancelling their orders because no-one knows when the blockade will end.

When asked about corruption, the police reply that the accusations are unsubstantiated.

The police say, “Our officers are getting calls from ministers and big politicians in the state of UP and the center. They ask us to allow trucks belonging to certain industrialists. When we allow such trucks to get out of the queue and pass because of our officers’ orders, we face these accusations.”

To All Privileged Bahun-Chhetri Elites of Nepal [and Zamindars of South]

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.

Could This be Baburam’s Katwal Moment? Nepal Army Against Bulk Recruitment of Madhesis

The Nepal Army is dissatisfied with Tuesday’s (20 Dec) Cabinet decision (see below) to recruit 3,000 youths from the Madhesi and other minority communities. It plans to register its reservations with the government after receiving a formal order from the Ministry of Defence. Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai invited Chief of Army Staff General Chhatra Man Singh Gurung at his residence on Wednesday (yesterday) morning. The PM, however, did not clearly instruct the CoAS on the Cabinet decision, an Army source said. Gurung is meeting President Dr Ram Baran Yadav on Thursday (today) to discuss the decision.

“If the government’s decision contradicts with the Interim Constitution and the Army Act, the Army will officially request the government to revise it,” the source said. The Army argues that recruitment is purely a ‘voluntary process’ and it cannot restrict ‘the right to equality’ guaranteed by the Interim Constitution by opening vacancies for any particular group. Under the existing recruitment process, 55 percent of the seats are filled through free competition, while 45 percent are recruited under the reservation quotas.

“If the government wants to make the Army more inclusive, it should amend the Army Act and offer more seats in the reservation quota,” the source said.

Army chief meets the Prez Continue reading Could This be Baburam’s Katwal Moment? Nepal Army Against Bulk Recruitment of Madhesis

News from CA: The Meeting Resumes

The legislative session of the Constituent Assembly (CA) resumed today at the International Convention Centre in New Baneshwor, Kathmandu, after being interrupted for 12 days following obstructions caused by Madhes-based regional parties demanding constitutional guarantee of an “autonomous Madhes state” and “mass Nepal Army recruitment of Madhesi people”. The CA meeting began its regular business after the disgruntled Madhes-based parties decided to let the CA proceedings move on although they expressed reservations over the newly prepared fifth amendment bill to the interim constitution. Continue reading News from CA: The Meeting Resumes

Govt, UDMF talks inconclusive; Terai enters into 8th day of strike as Kathmandu continues facing acute fuel shortage

Source: Ekantipur

The meeting between the ruling Seven-Party alliance (SPA) and the agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) held on Tuesday concluded without making any headway to end the crisis gripping the Terai region.

During the meeting held at the Prime Minister’s Official residence in Baluwatar, the UDMF leaders put forward their demands which included:
the release of those arrested during the ongoing agitation in the Terai, withdrawal of the “false cases” filed against UDMF activists,
proper treatment for the injured and
an end to the repressive measures used against the agitation.

Emerging from the meeting, UDMF leader Anil Kumar Jha said that he was hopeful about the meeting and the front would resume talks with the government if the government created the proper environment.

Continue reading Govt, UDMF talks inconclusive; Terai enters into 8th day of strike as Kathmandu continues facing acute fuel shortage

The Madhes Report: Police Weakness Responsible For Deaths

An extensive investigation by a judicial commission has found that weakness and ineffectiveness of the police administration in some cases during the Madhes (southern Nepal) agitations in January-February were largely responsible for the deaths of 21 persons (including a security personnel), injury of 1,951 persons (including 230 security personnel), and destruction of properties worth Rs 136.3 million (including personal, governmental and non-governmental). The commission led by Supreme Court justice Khil Raj Regmi submitted its report to Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala today. Continue reading The Madhes Report: Police Weakness Responsible For Deaths

Unifying Nepal via Marriage: Pahade Wives and Madhesi Hubbies

At a time when some people are trying to create rift between the Madhesi and Pahadi (lowland-hills) communities in Nepal, we look at some exemplary personal stories and marital bond between folks from Madhes and Pahad.


Sanjib Mishra and singer Nalina Chitrakar

By Deepak Adhikari

Sanjib Mishra, executive director of Urban Pixel had not set foot in Balari in Sarlahi district for three years. Three months ago, he went to the district headquarters Malangawa to attend a relative’s wedding. While driving to his hometown, a strike called by the Chure Bhawar Ekata Samaj forced him to postpone his journey. He had to leave his four-wheel drive behind at Hetauda and get to Sarlahi via Raxaul, India. When Sanjib married Nalina Chitrakar, a Newari girl and one of Nepal’s top pop stars, in 2003, he received many congratulations. Their son, Sakchham, is now a twenty-one month old toddler and times have changed.

Almost as soon as the decade long bloody Maoist conflict ended, the country was plunged into another crisis. The news of violence and counter violence coming from the southern plains hurts both Sanjib and Nalina. Nalina, who dislikes the way the Madhesis are treated in Kathmandu and is writing a song about the harmony among the people of Madhesh (plains) and Pahad (hills). Continue reading Unifying Nepal via Marriage: Pahade Wives and Madhesi Hubbies

People Defy Unjustified Banda in Madhes

Update (8 March)

Defiance of MPRF strike continues countrywide: Strike orders issued by the Madhesi People’s Rights Forum (MPRF) have been defied in various districts across the county. However, some districts in eastern Terai remain affected by the strike. In Morang, local administration, with the help of eight parties, civil society and the parties affected by the banda, has opened up shops, markets, factories, transportation services and educational institutions that had been shut down by MPRF, in Biratnagar. (more)

Update More people defy MPRF strike:

Industrialists, businessmen, transport entrepreneurs and workers, rickshaw pullers, ambulance drivers, teachers, students and members of the general public in Biratnagar took to the streets in retaliation against MPRF activists after the latter vandalized even ambulances and cycle rickshaws ferrying patients Wednesday (8 March). The locals fought back against the second day of the MPRF-called indefinite shutdown, which has taken a severe toll on normal life. Locals carrying sticks and swords chased away the MPRF cadres from Bargachhichowk when the latter were forcing locals to down their shutters. Several places in Biratnagar remained tense for hours after frequent clashes between the locals and protestors at Barghachhi and Pipalchowk areas. (more)

Original Post:
People from around Terai (plain parts of Nepal) have started defying unjustified and ill-intended general strike (Banda)

Hundreds of sugarcane growers in Parsa district demonstrate against the indefinite shutdown by the Madhesi People’s Rights Forum yesterday. They said the MPRF workers defied their high-command’s order to allow farmers to transport their produce to factories during the strike. Farmers say their produce could go to waste due to the strike. Pic by Updendra Lamichhane via Kathmandu Post

Once again, the indefinite general strike (banda) called by a dubious organization called Madhesi Peoples’ Rights Forum (MPRF) has brought pain in the life of many in Terai. The only intention of MPRF (which is also known as Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF)) is to disrupt the upcoming Constituent Assembly elections. It would be ignorance on our part to believe that the organization is fighting for the rights of Madhesi people. No. Even after major demands of the Madhesi people have been addressed (and are in the process of being so), the organization of Upendra Yadav, has gone into creating havoc in Terai. Look at the demands: resignation of Home Minister and formation of a probe commission to look into the alleged suppression of the recent Madhesi movement. Do these two demands really qualify for a large scale protest like the one that’s being launched in Terai? No. You fulfill these two demands, and Yadav, a pawn of a foreign intelligence agency, will come up with other demands. This is not a political movement for sure and this must be ignored with defiance. People have started doing so. In Nepalgunj, people under the leadership of local business owners and in Jhapa people have gone with their usual routine defying the banda. People have taken out rallies against banda in several parts of Terai. Continue reading People Defy Unjustified Banda in Madhes