Monday, August 25, 2008

For the Tharu community, Madhesis are those who have migrated from the South

2008-02-26 20:21:57

Narendra Kumar Chaudhary, Member of Parliament/Central Committee Member RPP-Rana

Narendra Kumar Chaudhary is not an entirely new name for the regular readers of this weekly. Mr. Chaudhary until recently was the chairman of the Tharu Welfare Committee. At the moment he is the Central Committee member of the RPP-Rana faction and the member of the Interim Parliament.

Mr. Chaudhary is bestowed upon with the duty of looking into the issues and the problems of the Madhesh and the Madhesis by his mother party. Below the results-ed

TGQ1: How you look into the Terai unrest?
Mr. Chaudhary: The Terai has been exploited since ages.In my opinion, even after the restoration of democratic order in 1950, the Tarai people continued to be exploited by the ruling elites. They have never been given a chance and opportunity to bring them in the main stream by the ruling elites stationed in Kathmandu. The fact is that the Teraians were never allowed or encouraged to be a part of the system under any government policies since 1950. They were always treated as second class citizens. The rightful demands coming from Terai were even not addressed or listened to while promulgating the interim constitution. The current unrest is the sum total of these discriminatory state behavior that the Teraians this time came to the streets spontaneously demanding their rightful dues from the state.

TGQ2: Tell us Mr. Chaudhary as a member of the Tharu Community what is all about Tharuhat?
Mr. Chaudhary: The fact is that, it has been proved that Gautam Buddha belonged to the Tharu Community. This means the Tharus are the real inhabitants of the Terai. The areas which are being now termed as Madhesh by some Nepali Intellectuals are basically the land of the Tharus- the Tharuhat. The Mourya Emperor, Chandra Gupt of Patali Putra-currently Patna in India, was an inhabitant of Champaran district in India who was crowned as the Emperor by none less than Chanakya-the noted diplomat of that time, who later pronounced his own code called even today as Chankaya Niti or Chankaya code. Champaran district even today continues to be densely inhabited by the Tharus. This implies that the personality whom Chankaya took with him and made him the emperor was none less than a Tharu. To substantiate this claim, I would suggest all to go through the book, “Two Great Sons of Tharus” penned by Subodh Singh. Mr. Singh’s book contains all the details of Emperor Chandra Gupta Mourya. Emperor Ashoka who later spread Buddhism all over the world is on record to have said that Lord Buddha was born in Nepal. Mr. Singh in his book mentions that the two great Tharus were none less than Lord Buddha and Emperor Ashoka-the Great. Its corollary would be that the entire region of Terai was basically a Tharuhat but not Madhesh.

TGQ3: What is the current debate of Terai as Tharuhat but not Madhesh?
Mr. Chaudhary: As to the issue of Madhesh/Tharuhat and Terai, intellectual debates are always a welcome move. I am happy to note that your newspaper became a platform for such a debate. However, let me put the things in right perspective.
From the Southern plains, people those who gradually migrated to this area and settled for good began to call themselves as Madhesis. We the Tharus used to call such migrants as Deshi or Bazi. After the Sugauli treaty in 1816, and further later when the British-India handed over some territories back to Nepal, which created a New Nepal what it is today, thus the people residing in these areas became all Nepalese but not the Indians. Those who are residing in this area since long time must not be seen and taken otherwise. Now coming to the debate of Madhesh and Tharuhat, I would say that the identities of the Tharus must be accepted by all. We stand for an identity but not for waging an unnecessary debate or fight over an issue that if prolonged might weaken us all.

TGQ4: How can the debate be solved?
Mr. Chaudhary: In my view, the word Madhesh and Madheshi must be redefined first because in the present context, these two words do not include the Tharus and other indigenous people living in the same Terai plains. To the Tharus, Madhesh and the Madhesis mean those who migrated from South. There is this confusion which demands redefining of these two specific words. As regards this debate, I feel strongly that all we both demand from the state is our respective identities. We can sort out our differences, if any, amicably. We both must come closer and fight with the state for the formation of a federal structure in our area and it should be one and only one federal state wherein we both can live peacefully. Frankly speaking, we both possess some similarities on matters of livelihood, language and some of our traditions have intermingled with each other. This aspect can’t be dismissed. We must live together.

TGQ5: Talks of unity among the various factions of the RPP have surfaced of late, what is the latest view of your party for such unification. What is your personal opinion?
Mr. Chaudhary: As a RPP central committee member, the party has not yet officially decided on the unification matters. However, as regards matters of unification in my opinion the Surya Bahadur Thapa led RJP must be brought back to the mother party. If this does not happen it would be most unfortunate for us all the liberal forces.
The need of the hour is unity among and between the liberal/nationalist/democratic forces for obvious political reasons. Even the cadres in both the camps to the best of my knowledge appear to be in a mood to unify. If this does happen the strength of liberal forces will come up which would allow them to face the CA polls in a much more competitive manner.

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