Sunday, September 21, 2008

Nepal's Tharus belong to Lord Buddha's Clan

A brief interview with Dr. Laxmi Lal Chaudhary, CA Member, Nepal Democratic Socialist Party taken by (Courtesy:

After four decades long association in the teaching profession at the Tribhuwan University and lately at the Purbanchal University, Dr. Laxmi Lal Chaudhary (66, born in Hariharpur VDC, Saptari) only few years back decided to join politics. Currently, Dr. Chaudhary is a member of the Constituent Assembly representing the Nepal Democratic Socialist Party.

Dr. Laxmi Lal Chaudhary who mainly taught Nepalese History at Nepal’s major colleges in the eastern Tarai holds a PhD degree in the field of Nepalese History from the Tribhuwan University.

Dr. Chaudhary wrote his thesis in Conspiratorial Politics of Nepal which mainly focuses over the period of 1794A.D to 1806 A.D in the Nepalese political history.
Dr. Chaudhary is also a life time member of the Tharu Welfare Society and is a strong critic of the One Madhesh One Province demand forwarded by some Madhesi regional parties.

TGQ1: How you Dr. Chaudhary assess the formation of the incumbent three party government, given the existence of 25 parties represented in the CA? Is it a consensus/national government?

Dr. Chaudhary: This government can’t be said to be a national government. To me, frankly speaking, this is just a coalition of sort or at best a joint government. Speaking in political terms, this government can better be described as a coalition government because out of twenty-five parties represented in the current Constituent Assembly, only three or four political parties have their formal representation in the Maoist led government. Would it be proper to call an all party government? Certainly not!

TGQ2: President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav has very freshly made it clear that he is against the notion of One Madhesh One Pradesh and also has stated that he stands against the formation of the federal states on the basis of ethnicity. How do you interpret his statements? What would be your interpretation? Also tell us as to whether a ceremonial president can make a political statement of this sort?

Dr. Chaudhary: So far as the much hyped notion of “One Madhesh-One Province” is concerned, I am also against the said notion. In this regard, I do agree with what President Dr. Ram Baran yadav has recently aired. But with respect to the formation of Federal states, I differ from Dr. Yadav’s declaration.
Up to this time historically it has just been seen that the basis of Federal structure are community, language and geographical setting.

Dr. Yadav as being ceremonial President, he must not have made such “political statement”. He probably might have done so to preserve socio-cultural harmony and to preserve National Unity.

TGQ3: You Dr. Chaudhary as a historian please tell us about the ancient history of the Tharus, their settlement in the Tarai and also why this community posses different cultural behavior than other communities living in the Tarai? How can you historically prove with references that your community is the indigenous one?

Dr. Chaudhary: I would like to clearly say that the THARUS are the indigenous people. They belong to Lord Buddha’s clan. They are the descendents of the Shakyas. They possess their own distinct identity, unique traditions and exclusive customs and its usages and also have their own entirely different but exceptional beliefs. Their customs and usages are similar to that of the Buddhists. The Terai lands which were out of cultivation, it were only the Tharus who brought a change by cultivating the barren lands. The Tharus call themselves the Sons of the Land (Dharati Putra). They are the original settlers in the entire Terai plains. According to Martuiney Cobo’s criteria: “Indigenous communities, peoples and nation’s are those which, having a historical continuity with pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies that developed on their territories;
-They consider themselves distinct from other sections of the society now prevailing in the territories or parts of them;
- They form at present non-dominant section of the society and are determined to preserve, develop and pas over to the future generations their ancestral territories and their distinct identity as the basis of their continued existence as peoples in accordance with their own cultural patterns, social institutions and legal systems.

(References: A- Syaha Mohars found during the reign of Ran Bahadur Shah, Pratap Singh Shah, Girvan Yudha Bikram Shah and Rajendra Bikram Shah; Shah Kings of Nepal and the Tharus of Terai; Shakya Muni Buddha-Teja Narayan Panjiyar; The return of the Mauryas-by Subodh Kumar Singh).

TGQ4: As a member of the Constituent Assembly how the so far neglected genuine issues of the Tharus could be brought at par with other sections of the society that matches the globalization process?

Dr. Chaudhary: The present government needs to adopt the policy of reservation in order to bring the Tharus, if not on an equal footing, at least to bring them parallel with what others are at the moment. But the reservation thus granted to the Tharus for their upliftment should be a periodical one but not for ever.

Besides this, in order to bring them at par with other sections of the society, the government is required to implement the ILO convention-I69.
The Nepal government has only accepted the ILO convention but is yet to implement the signed convention. The government is dilly-dallying its implementation for unknown reasons. If the ILO convention is implemented in both letter and spirit, the indigenous peoples will have pre-rights on natural resources that are on land, rivers and forests. Furthermore, they require full-proportionate representation system. If the government implements it, all sorts of discrimination will come to an end.

TGQ5: Instead of concentrating in the drafting of the new constitution, the country’s politics appears to be geared towards making and the breaking of the government. How will such activities hurt the Constitution making process? Will not such political aberration allow regressive forces to pounce upon the new order?

Dr. Chaudhary: If we go through the politics of the nation, we find that the country’s politics seems to be bent upon making and overthrowing the government(s). To me the present government is also a transitional one and nothing more than that.

This government is meant only for two and a half years. Such activities will definitely affect the constitution making process. Such political aberration will certainly pave the way to the regressive forces to pounce upon the new order what we have today. But so far as I think, the major political parties are gradually coming on track. They are becoming conscious and the regressive forces will not dare to play foul against the new order.

2008-09-17 06:09:14