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Madhesh Movement and India

 2015-11-06 21:11:51.0

617a90ad4361590fa3942fc56d0bfea9 By �Gopal Thakur The ongoing Madhesh agitation is about to complete the third month. The Madheshi agitators have also been continuing blockade on Nepal-India checkpoints for about two months. But the Government of Nepal is almost deaf and dumb on the crisis. Contrarily, the government officials are blaming India for the unrest. Prime Minister K. P. Sharma Oli has very clearly threatened India not to intervene in the domestic affairs of Nepal. The situation has been more tensed following killing of an Indian national, Ashish Kumar Ram, during confrontation between the Madheshi agitators and the Nepali security personnel in Birganj on 2nd of this month. Demise of Ram is being highly politicized by the Nepali ruling elites in terms of an evidence of the Indian involvement in the unrest. Does it reveal the facts or is it only a fabrication or something else? First of all, the Madheshi agitators who witnessed the armed police atrocity during the confrontation have rejected outright that Late Ram was involved in the agitation. It happened near the Shankaracharya Gate on the highway, the main entry point in Nepal from India. It is the way of thousands of passersby between Birganj and Raxaul and Late Ram was one of them. The armed police forces opened rounds of fire indiscriminately during confrontation following the use force by the Nepali security forces on agitators camped on the Nepal-India friendship bridge on Monday dawn. Ashish Kumar Ram was shot dead while passing through the way. It shows brutality of the Government of Nepal shown on Madheshi agitators, which must be condemned at home and abroad and sought impartial investigation. Besides, the Indian citizenship of the deceased was fabricated as an evidence of the Indian involvement in the unrest, which they used to blame from the very beginning. Actually it is the issue to be raised by India for justice even on the international platforms. Besides these, if Late Ram is taken as agitator, it cannot be taken otherwise. There has been a long practice established as a tradition of mutual cooperation between the peoples of Nepal and India in the political movements staged on either side. The former Nepali premiers B. P. Koirala and Manmohan Adhikari among others were legitimate freedom fighters of India against the British colonial rule whereas Ram Manohar Lohiya and some other Indian freedom fighters were given asylum by the Madheshis in Nepal. Besides, the armed revolution led by the Nepali Congress in 1950 was solely prepared in India against the Rana regime in Nepal and a number of Indian nationals took part as freedom fighters. Taspad Basu and Kuldeep Jha among others were shot dead and Indian Parliamentarian Shibban Lal Saxena got seriously injured in fighting. Likewise Ayodhya Singh 'Bhai Saheb' was one of the founder members of the Communist Party of Nepal established in Kolkata in 1949. Former Indian Prime Minister Chandrashekhar, Communist Leader Harkishan Singh Surjeet and Congress Leader M. Farooquei were among others who appealed the Nepali people to overturn the Royalist Panchayat dictatorial rule in Nepal in 1990. Likewise, the ten year people's war by the then CPN (Maoist) as well as the public rebellion in 2006 had a strong Indian public backing. Till then the Rana and Shah rulers used to label the rebels as defectors of the so-called ultra nationalism they had founded in Nepal. In other words the Rana Family Rule and the Shah Panchayat Regime were only the symbol of nationality, integrity and sovereignty of Nepal that had excluded the people from all sorts of involvements in the state affairs. While we go through the national characters of the rulers in India and Nepal following abolition of British colonialism and Royal dictatorship respectively, the distinctive features come to be clear. Certainly the Indian nationals came to have commands of the state affairs after acquiring independence. But there is a grave discrimination in promotion of Nepali nationality in our context. Certainly, the rulers have been seen with different faces and doctrines in the manifestos they have made public after each political change. But there is nothing difference in the notion of nationality between Rana premiers, Shah Kings and the current supremos of either of the democratic, communist and royalist blocks who are jointly exercising state affairs these days. They belong to Khas-Gorkhali ethnicity that expanded the then Gorkha kingdom and adopted the name of Nepal of the Kathmandu valley after long since its annexation. Because, the state affairs had continued in the name of Gorkha Sarkar 'Government of Gorkha' for more than a century. There are evidences of change of the identity of the ruling elites in the names of Khas, Parvate, Gorkhali and then Nepali in the history of Nepal. It was named Nepali only in 1933-34 (1990 Vikram Era). Thus, Nepali doesn't include any of the language, culture, lifestyle and public aspiration of the non-Gorkha nationalities in Nepal. Such assimilatory approach of state affairs is known as a colonial rule of an empire worldwide. So, there is no difference between the suppression of the Indians by the British colonists in India and suppression of different nationalities in Nepal by the Gorkha colonists. In this way the Nepalese people had whole-heartedly expected to exercise freedom from such colonial state affairs by uprooting royalism in Nepal. During the very Gorkha colonial rule Madhesh has been suffered a lot. It is a phonological deviation of Madhya Desh 'Middle Country' existing on Gangetic plains with 13 Maha Janapadas 'general districts' long before the modern India or Nepal was constituted.� No doubt, Memorandum of Understanding in 1816 following the Sugauli treaty between the British and Gorkha empires in 1815 separated it between Nepal and India. Earlier also part of Madhya Desh had been annexed in the Gorkha kingdom but the rulers' behaviour was highly discriminatory on the Madhya Deshi people. So, the MoU in 1816 had to include a provision to bar King of Nepal not to take any action on the people in the name of their aspiration with the Britishers during the war, after invertance of their land in Gorkha rule: Moreover, the Rajah of Nipal agrees to refrain from prosecuting any inhabitants of the Terai, after its revertance to his rule, on account of having favoured the cause of the British Government during the war, and should any of those persons, excepting the cultivators of the soil, be desirous of quitting their estates, and retiring within the company's territories, he shall not be liable to hindrance. � Point 7, Memorendum for Approval from British Government and Accepted by Nepal on December 11, 1816 Besides these, as the first Rana premier, Janga Bahadur, assisted the British Empire to suppress the mutiny of 1857, the empire awarded him some more territory by a treaty in 1860. In this way the two treaties have made political boundary between Nepal and India within which parts of the three general districts of Kosal (Awadhi), Kashi (Bhojpuri) and Videha (Maithili) of Madhya Desh have fallen into Nepal between Sharada (Mahakali) and Mechi rivers in the west and east respectively. Due to phonological errors, the Gorkha rulers started calling it Madhesh and the indigenous inhabitants Madheshi since then. Earlier the Gorkhas had already annexed Limbuwan, Khambuwan, Tamsaling, Tamuwan, Magarat and other nations in their empire. But the ruling elites never thought of maintaining national harmony. On the contrary, they only continued assimilatory approach of strengthening the empire by means of brutal atrocity of armed forces. That is why they always forwarded the notion of a nation state of Nepal which is baseless. For instance, Indian never represents a particular language, race, culture or lifestyle but the languages, races, cultures and lifestyles of Indians as a whole but Nepali means only the language, culture, race and lifestyle of the Khas-Gorkhali ruling elites. Therefore, for its consolidation, they constituted bureaucracy, military, police and all state machinery of their own. Though, some indigenous mountainous nationalities were given chance in military service at home and abroad too, they were never given any commanding responsibilities. So, the people of all caste and creed involved in the movements of all sorts against these colonial rulers had highly expected to build up Nepal as a pluri-national state of all the peoples who live in Nepal. But this expectation got in vain and royalism was targeted as the root-cause. It was suspended following the public rebellion in 2006. The political economy was expected to run by democracy and national suppression was sought to be abolished by national identity based federalism. But the Interim Constitution of Nepal, 2007 didn't include federalism though it included republicanism due to a firm stand of the Maoists. It was a blunder committed by the leaders of the Nepali Congress, CPN (UML) and the then CPN (Maoist). Madhesh burnt the constitution and staged rebellion for two times that ended with 22-point and 8-point conciliations. The two documents compelled the state to include federalism with a Madhesh province in the constitution. We must not forget India played an important role mediating both sides for the two compromises. The Constituent Assembly with two-year term exercised for four years to write a new constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal but failed due to unwillingness of the leadership of the three major parties. Only the seating orders have changed, they only came as major three with Rastriya Prajatantra Party Nepal, a royalist remnant, as the fourth political force in the second Constituent Assembly too. They are the only constitution makers who are exercising decisive role in state affairs either as ruling or opposition forces in the Republic. Sometimes the other nationalities have also been seen included in Legislature and Execution but no reforms have been taken place in the state machinery. Thus the Khas-Gorkhalis only represent a puritan Nepali state in continuity of the expanded Gorkha Empire which the Madheshis and other nationalities reject outright. During the constitution making process Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the Constituent Assembly and sought for making the constitution with Rishi Man 'saint mentality' so that it could be mostly inclusive. But when the Khas-Gorkhali colonists brought the draft, it was burnt and the whole Madhesh came to stage protest. Prime Minister Modi's envoy again came to Kathmandu and tried to negotiate for consensus but in vain. In this way the latest constitution has also been promulgated in continuity of the earlier ones. When we go through the so-called new constitution, we come to observe it is highly discriminatory with Madhesh and other nationalities. As Madhesh is in the state of a dependent nation in Nepal, Madheshis want to resolve the hardship through federalism by constituting whole Madhesh as a province separated from hills with its constitutional rights to national self-determination. But the ruling elites have smashed it in 6 provinces, four of them attached with hills. Besides, the provision of citizenship, solely proportionate representation of Madheshis in all state organs and bodies, equal and equitable voting rights, secularity, problems of haphazard immigration in Madhesh are either overlooked or controversial in the constitution. Such blunder committed by the ruling elites has infuriated Madheshis and it is also against the bordering Indians who have blood relations with Madhesh under a broad Madhya Deshiya culture since time immemorial. Besides, if there is unrest anywhere in Nepal, how can India be indifferent from the situation? At least it must think of its own citizens and property being in Nepali territory. That is why India has been mentioning cautions to send its roadway carriers via those entry points where the Madheshi protestors have declared 'blockade' sitting vigil on the border. But shamelessly, the Nepali ruling elites have named it 'Indian blockade'. That is why if sacrifice of Indian nationals Taspad Basu, Kuldeep Jha, Shibban Lal Saxena and Ayodhya Singh 'Bhai Saheb' for political change in Nepal are glorified, how can the sacrifice of Ashish Kumar Ram be criminalized by the same authority of Nepal. If so, Madheshis must conclude that they are still living under the yoke of a colonial rule of the Gorkha Empire, which was royalist in the past and is so-called democratic republic at present. But the whole world has already been come out of imagination of any kind of colonial rule either externally or internally it is shaped. Therefore, Madheshis have rights to seek support and cooperation for their movements unless their demands are fulfilled by the communally biased Khas-Gorkhali rulers. If not, they have fundamental rights to fight for a sovereign nation with complete independence. Our neighbours and international community are also urged to pay attention to our grave cause and concerns. (The Author is the Coordinator of�� Joint Madheshi National Movement Committee)

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