Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Until there are Tharus and Tharuhat Nepali sovereignty will remain intact!

Courtesy: Telegraphnepal.com
2008-08-13 06:42:42

Advocate Maheshwor Prasad Chaudhary, Tharu
Supreme Court of Nepal

Born in Saptari District, Maheshwor Chaudhary, Tharu (37), has a master’s degree in the field of Humanities from the Tribhuwan University. Mr. Tharu did his Bachelors of Law degree from Mahendra Bindeshwari Multiple Campus, Rajbiraj, Saptari.
He has participated in several national and international level discourses on Human Rights, Conflict management and Environmental Protection. Recently Mr. Tharu presented a paper in an international conference held in Bali, Indonesia, organized by International Center for Transitional Justice.

A member of the Nepal Bar Association, Mr. Tharu is currently the General Secretary of Tharu intellectual and Research Centre.

In the interview below, Mr. Tharu mainly talks of the plight of the Tharu Community and contemporary politics of the country.

TGQ1: As a member of the distinguished Tharu community, Mr. Tharu please tell us about the objectives of the ongoing Tharu uprising? Your valuable comments please!

Mr. Tharu: It has become by now a universal fact that the Tharu community has been strategically sidelined by the successive ruling classes from time immemorial. However, even after the success of the Maoists’ led rebellion and the peoples’ uprising that pledged to institutionalize the rights of the Dalits, Madhesi, Women and all other marginalized community including the Tharu Community followed by the end of the 240 yeas long feudal monarchy, conspiracies are still afoot to further sideline the Tharu Community and undermine our inherent rights of self-identity. To our surprise, the Madhesi leadership has now taken over the Nepal’s age-old leadership to ignore the rights of the Tharu community. Now that the process of the constitution making has begun, the objective of the Tharu Uprising this time is to institutionalize firmly the rights of the Tharu community in the new constitution. We are also largely focused on minimizing the blatant attack instigated by the Madhesi community towards us. Our main objective now is to make sure that the Tharu Community has to face no further conspiracies from any quarters.
Our movement is mainly against the notion of “One Madhesh-One Sovereign Province” and liberating the Tharu community from the age-old slavery and above all we want that all the country men no matter which community they belong to, exercise their socio-economic and political rights through the establishment of fully functioning federal states.

We do still remember that the Madhesh centric parties had obstructed the normal proceedings of the Constituent Assembly for over fourteen days thus obstructing the constitution making process. Gheraoing the CA rostrum---halting the constitution making process and raising secessionist demands are objectionable under any circumstances. The Tharu uprising also aims to keep the national sovereignty, territorial integrity and nationalism intact. We will not compromise on these vital issues.

TGQ2: The Tharu Welfare Society is being alleged to have been manipulated by some political parties, specifically the UML. As a member of the Society practicing Law, how do you Mr. Tharu brush aside these allegations? Or do you agree to these charges? Your comments please!

Mr. Tharu: First, Niraj Ji, let us go into the facts and figures before dwelling on to such wild, unsubstantiated and baseless allegations made specifically by some Madhesi leaders to malign our spotless credentials. The Tharu Welfare Society was born in the year 1948 and the Nepal Communist Party-United Marxist Leninist, UML, has less than two decades of political history of its inception. The UML to be precise was formed after the Peoples’ Uprising-I of the 1990. Thus this Communist party is much younger than the Tharu Welfare Society. Thus the claim that our society is affiliated to the UML is just high voltage propaganda to malign the entire Tharu community.

Be that as it may, I think such allegations are made either out of sheer ignorance or complete frustration associated with irritation. Anyway such allegations, as we know it, are meant for discouraging our movement now being waged by the entire Tharu Community and also to undermine our distinct and prestigious identity that we possess in abundance.

As I have already said that our uprising is aimed at liberating the entire marginalized communities of Nepal’s Tarai. It is not that we too toe the Madhesi communal line. We take into consideration the grievances of all the marginalized Nepalese people. Thus, if any political party or a group wish to join or extend support to the Tharu uprising they are most welcome. Not just the UML, but leaders of almost all the central political parties, even some intellectuals and academicians stationed in various Madhesh centric parties and non-partisan men do support the Tharu uprising and our genuine agenda. The Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalists have been continuing to support the Tharu uprising which is certainly encouraging.

TGQ3: Nepal’s Madhesh centric parties are India sponsored and that Vice-President Parmananda Jha taking oath and secrecy of the office is a part of the Grand Indian Design aimed at bifurcating Nepal. Do you find these allegations correct or dismiss it summarily? Your comments please!

Mr. Tharu: Look Mr. Niraj, I can not tell you exactly who is sponsored by whom. But surely if you look into the Party Flag of the Madhesh Centric Parties – the Tri-color and their intense love to the Hindi language, it does tell so many things unspoken. Certainly, the Tri-color and Hindi are linked to Indian nationalism. And I see this is a part of the design to establish the Indian identity in Nepal--- the design is thus to linguistically and geographically colonize Nepal.
We have seen of late that the Nepali nationalists have objected to the design by none less than the president of the Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum, Upendra Yadav and well executed by his party candidate for the vice president Parmananda Jha to establish Indian identity in Nepal. Thus I would like to urge the Nepali Nationalists, the respected CA members and the parliamentarians who have voted in favor of Parmananda Jha to remain highly attentive in the days ahead and know the inner intentions of such people. The need of the hour is to remain vigilant.

TGQ4: As per the interim constitution and more so all the parties have agreed for the formation of the Federal States, you Mr. Tharu please tell us your personal opinions on the Federal State of Governance? What say you?

Mr. Tharu: Agreed that Republican System and Federal System is well accepted by our political parties and more importantly, by the Interim Constitution but the needed unanimity over the type of federal structure, system of judiciary, economic structure and most importantly delineation of federal states boundaries geographically are yet to be discussed in details. World experience does tell that ethnicity, language, culture, geographical Contiguity and Natural Resource form the basis for the formation of the Federal States. The federal System is the best System of Governance to transform administrative, political and judicial rights to the grass root. It could prove to be a tool to transform conflict and eradicate discrimination from the society. There are agents of local feudal forces and foreign power centers who have been trying to foil the prospects of the Federal System by raising demands of Single Madhesh-One Province, Single Pahad-One Province and Single Himal-One Province. Such demand definitely go against the present spirit and, by implication, tries to reestablish the supremacy of a unitary system of governance. The demand for “Single Madhes- Single Province” is against granting equal rights to all the ethnic communities, equal opportunities for all languages, against the uniform and the equitable use of natural resources and overall human development. This is noting but a poly to disrupt the age-old communal harmony and then to disintegrate the motherland ultimately.

And I must tell you very frankly that there is no Madhesh in Nepal. The Madhesh or the Madhya Desh or the Mid Country is situated very well in India. Historical and geographical proofs do amply indicate that the region confined by Bindhyachal Parbat in the South, hills close to India’s capital New Delhi in the North, Mathura in East and Saraswati River in the West is in fact the State of Madhesh and the ruler of Madhesh was a Rajput King (Jawahar Lal Nehru, Bharat Ki Prachin Rup Rekha ). Thus the historical Madhya Desh that is well placed in India cannot replace Nepal’s Tharuhat. Until and unless there are Tharus and Tharuhat in Nepal, the Nepali sovereignty will remain intact. Rest assured. Well within the Tharuhat there can be smaller sovereign states based on ethnicity or language, we are ready to hold serious discussion over the issue.

TGQ5: The Constitution Assembly is more centered on playing the role of a legislative body than in the constitution making process? In addition, the political skirmish is delaying the constitution making. As a student of law and as well as of political science what you have to say in this regard?

Mr. Tharu: This is one of the best questions that are perhaps attached to the future of this country and it is indeed being discussed among the academics and the common men alike. People have shown deep concern over the growing political uncertainly that is having its impact on the writing of the constitution itself. National and International observers have been closely watching the ugly political squabble in Nepal. As a student of Law and Political Science, I believe that the political parties in Nepal must write the Federal Democratic constitution and concurrently ensure that an inclusive set-up is placed in all the State Organs and also provide relief measures, resettlement to the violence affected people and guarantee the end of exploitation and discrimination in the society.

However, it is really difficult to see to date, if the CA members have acted upon their roles properly. The political parties represented in the CA are more concerned on making amendments to the interim constitution which is against the mandate of the CA. The CA could have instead focused on preparing the plan of action and rules and regulations for the Constitution Making. The political parties that were not represented in the Interim Parliament look more concerned on delaying the process. However, it is not too late. The government must be formed at the earliest, with that the beginning to writing the constitution must be initiated.

The Political parties in Nepal seem to have forgotten a very simple fact and that is to abide by the rules of the game…when defeated they must accept the result. However, they are not doing this. This is the root cause of the current political skirmish.

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