Nepal: Time to honor the history of indigenous with the Federal Structure
At this turning point, if Nepal fails to recognize its indigenous communities with the federal structure to honor their ancient yet prevailing history, because of the obstruction crafted by the main opposition parties – Nepali Congress and CPN UML, it will be unfortunate. Consequently, the new constitution will not be promulgated. There will be constitutional crisis. The provision of the Constituent Assembly will come to an end.
Fundamentally, both Nepali Congress and CPN UML as parliamentarian social democratic parties have failed to respect the anthropological significance of indigenous communities as the most diverse yet minority group. Nepal could introduce them to the world community. The world would honor Nepal if Nepal could pay tribute to its diverse indigenous communities with the federal naming structures. This will by no means disintegrate the nation. It is only the question of intellectual integrity of the senior leaders of main political parties to recognise centuries of repressed history.
Finally, on April 26, 2012 Nepal’s one of the main political parties, the Maoists, have introduced 10 identity-based states for the federal structure that can honor the indigenous community. The structure looks very comprehensible and inclusive despite of the Seti-Mahakali state (one of the Khash states), which is dislocated entirely from its Terai districts – Kailali and Kanchanpur. Immediately after this NC introduced 7 state and CPN UML 12 state federal structure.
What’s going on with the party leaders of main political parties the Maoists, NC and CPN UML at this crucial period seems as if the leaders of main political parties, particularly NC and CPN UML, have become completely disoriented in term of form of government and the federal structure.
NC argued that it has expressed willingness to accept the mixed model form of government with a directly-elected executive president as per Maoists’ demanded because the Maoists could be more flexible with the identity based federal structures. But it is the Maoists which had from the beginning supported the indigenous movement for the identity based federal states.
In my opinion, it is the failure of the NC leadership to accept the mixed form of government. Instead NC should have taken an initial step to modernize its Westminster Parliamentary form of government with the directly elected Prime Minister as the executive head of the government. It is naïve of NC leadership to think that the Maoists will let go the identity based federal states that can honor the history of indigenous communities, which was for centuries repressed by previous regimes from recognizing them with the state honor.
The most important of all for promulgating a new democratic constitution is the form of government. How could NC let go its founders ideal, such as his honorable BP Koirala’s, as the most appreciated form of government even without considering it to make it more firm and stable? It seems the senior leaders are afraid of direct election system for the head of the government to run a stable government.
Obviously, their fear reflect their desire of becoming the Prime Minister each six month within the full term of the Parliamentary election. Otherwise, they will have to wait full term of a directly elected Prime Minister. Their excuse that a directly elected Prime Minister as a head of the government will become a dictator is irrational unless they find themselves as senior leader not charismatic to be ever elected as the Prime Minister. Thereby they are obstructing their own party’s young charismatic leadership to rise.
I think NC should have advocated Westminster Parliamentary form of government with a directly elected Prime Minister by accepting the Maoists’ 10 identity-based states to honor the history of diverse indigenous minority communities to bargain the deal, which has already been effective in laying a completely new electoral set of constituencies. If NC disregards to honor the history of indigenous communities NC will have very little share of that new electoral constituencies.
I personally admired the names that accurately address the history of indigenous community and the geographical demarcation of Maoists’ 10 identity-based states, except for Seti-Mahali which cannot exist without its Terai districts – Kailali and Kanchanpur . Despite the names that address diverse indigenous communities, except for “Madhes Birat” state, perhaps all other states will have the majority of Nepali speaking Khash community.
It is unfortunate that main political parties such as NC and UML do not respect the anthropological evidence that prove Nepal is the world’s most multi-ethnic, multi- linguistic and multi-cultural nation of various indigenous communities, which are still surviving with their language and culture almost all in oral form. For example, there are 25 distinct Kirat (Rai) dialects spoken to this date in Kirat-Koshi region without their fully developed script such as Devanagarik or Latin or Greek or Arabic. This may be the reason that various Kirat dialect group do not understand each other’s speech but speak Nepali to communicate among themselves.
Therefore, the dominant linguistic group of Nepal is the Nepali speech or Khash (the descendant of Caucasian) tongue. The fact is that even if the nation honors these indigenous minorities by forming the federal states with their identity the population of Nepali speakers will dominate the politics of majority. The fear of disintegration, in fact, has no ground in reality except for playing card against creating federal states in honor of indigenous minorities.
As nation has evolved with the unfolding scientific facts of indigenous communities along the rise of Democracy the federal structure become a means to honor the historical identity of indigenous communities. Yet, the leaders of orthodox political parties like NC and UML have not accepted the fact fundamentally to change their conception for the political integrity. This is because the senior political leaders of these parties have not studied these scientific finding for themselves that can give intellectual integrity to have vision for their party and the nation. They and their cadres have still remained there where they have clung to just what they know in past as hearsay.
All these inconsistencies in political decision making at this turning point makes people of Nepal believe that they have the most self-interested political leaders, whose political conception runs with the gossips, propaganda, and fear about themselves with the thought to become the Prime Minister or minister once in their life time setting a chance along the hierarchy of the party line!
Because of such political leaders, particularly seniors along the party hierarchy, people are soon to witness the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly without the promulgation of the new constitution. What people do to them then they have not yet imagined. I predict none of these senior leaders will be elected if reelection of the Constituent Assembly becomes the only option for people to vote again with their frustration.
Report By Prakash Bom.