Nepali Times
Us Nepali

Division according to ethnicity will create new high-low categories of people. It will segregate us all and that's not good.
Kabita Poudel,
Tanahu, Student

It's wrong. We must live together with unity in an undivided Nepal, not in ethnic states.
Jenisha Maharjan,
Kathmandu, Student

Across the country, across all social strata, across ethnic and caste groups, citizens when asked, have serious misgivings about federalism by identity. The silent majority wants peace, justice and democracy, and is against stoking ethnic tensions for political gain. If our current crop of leaders had half the common sense that ordinary Nepalis show, we would not be in the mess we are in today. Sunir Pandey of Nepali Times approached a cross section of Nepalis to ask them what they thought of federalism:

"Instead of ethnic, the states should be named after temples, cultures etc and only then would these conflicts and struggles end."
Sumita Joshi, Darchula, Student

"I don't agree with it. It's not good for us."
Aishwarya Rayamajhi,Sarlahi, Student

"Ethnic federalism will fracture the country and invite conflict and civil war. Who knows, we may need passports to travel from one state to another."
Samir Shrestha, Sarlahi, Armed Police Force

It will bring conflicts between ethnic groups. It may turn out like India-Pakistan partition. Puja Gurung and Prabina Limbu,
Dharan, Students
"I hope it doesn't happen like that. Every group has different demands - they won't be satisfied and conflict will arise."
Jeni Ojha, Pokhara, Nurse

We need stage-wise development for minorities, but this is the wrong way to do it and will only bring violence."
Susmita Limbu, Kathmandu, Nurse

"Talking about ethnicity will only bring violence, and conflicts of all sorts.There are only two types of people: male and female."
Rajendra Sahi, Kathmandu, Butcher

"There are so many ethnicities that don't have a majority population, our priority must be to include minorities."
Lalan Bachhar, Sarlahi, Civil service aspirant

"There are over 100 ethnicities in Nepal and I also don't even agree with the One Madhes demand."
Rupesh Shah, Bara, Jobless

"Ethnic division is not a good thing, one undivided country is better."
Nandakishor Shah, Rautahat, Jobless

"We must do federalism according to geography and not according to ethnicities."
Khina Dhakal, Jhapa, Student

"There are so many ethnicities that the country will fragment into tiny countries."
Devesh Pokhrel, Palpa, Kitchen worker

"It is wrong, it will bring ethnic wars."
Sagar Shrestha, Nuwakot, Cook

"I don't like it."
Sagar Lama, Nuwakot, Rickshaw puller

"Federal states are all right, but they should not be on the basis of ethnicity."
Sudhir Karki, Kathmandu, Student

"It might be the only way: the struggle for equality is long and hard."
Laldhoj Lama, Kabhre, Goat-herder

"It will create misunderstanding, there will be little to agree about and plenty to fight Ė not good for the country."
Abu Bakar, Kathmandu, Trader

"Right, wrong, good, bad, none of it will bring anything good for people like us working on daily wages."
Rudra Magar, Dolakha Ė Labourer

Because of ethnic division, each group will be the enemy of the other, meaning more violence and conflict.
Rohit Magar,
Hetauda, Trader

I think division on the basis of ethnicities is wrong.
Sunil BK,

"Ethnic federalism will segregate the population and create tension among Nepalis who have lived in harmony for ages and spread distrust."
Drona Koirala, Jhapa, Student

"It will create conflict, and put Nepal back hundreds of years."
Niraj Magar, Jhapa, +2 Student

"Making ethnic divisions and conflict feels wrong."
Apsara Acharya, Kabhre, Tailor

"If ethnic divisions take place, everyone will live separately, there will be infighting."
Bikram Shrestha, Banepa, Electronics shop

Read also:

"Too much politics?too many politicians",,SITA MADEMBA in DHARAN

I am Amrit Nepali, AMRIT GURUNG
From Syangja to Sydney, from Fikkal to Finland, the silent majority of Nepalis don't agree with the division of Nepal

National identity crisis, RUBEENA D SHRESTHA
At a time when we should be valuing our multiple, intersecting identities, we are being told to choose a single, overarching definition of ourselves

1. Scapegoat
I disagree with the very concept of ethnicity-based division of Nepal, not because I happen to be a Bahun--the so-called ruling class--but because I fear the disintegration of my country. It is not that I am suspicious of the sincerity of my countrymen or I have anything to lose. Instead, I am aware about the fact that there are too many vested interests of the outsiders in Nepal. A country in perpetual crises is the best playground for the outsiders which they will want to keep by all means, and the division of the country gives them the best opportunity to keep their ground. We have already seen enough of the foreign interference. 

I grew up among the Tharu people in the western Terai, and I have seen their exploitation by the people of my race/caste. We were the migrants from the hills after malaria was eradicated from Terai, and we were benefited by the fertile land and cheap labor of the Tharus. There were Pahadi jamindars who exploited the Tharus to an extreme, but all Pahadis were not jamindars. Many Pahadis, like my family, had migrated to Terai to escape the harsh life in the hills, and they were of all ethnic backgrounds. They were just as hardworking as the Tharus, but they had an upper hand of education which helped them to better use their resources and improve their life. I admit that there is a lot to be done to decentralize the Kathmandu-centered politics and facilities, and we need to overhaul the whole system to make it more inclusive, participatory, and pluralistic. That is what new constitution is for. But an ethnicity-based federal system! Is it feasible in an immensely multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-lingual society like ours? 

A lot has changed in western Terai since I was child. Many jamindars have gone bankrupt after the abolition of Kamaya system. A large number of Tharu girls and boys are educated, and they know their rights and responsibilities. Inter-caste marriages are becoming more and common. I don't see how mutual independence and progress is going to be facilitated by an artificial division of the coexisting societies. The rapid development of Malaysia is attributed to Mahathir Mohamad's skills in bringing the people of the diverse ethnicity together in the nation building process. What America achieved in three hundred years, Malaysia achieved in thirty years. Zimbabwe was one of the thriving countries until recently. Marxist Robert Mugabe chose to create division between the white settlers and the natives of the land to keep his hold on power indefinitely. He became successful in dividing the people and remaining in power, but the country went bankrupt and the life of the common people was devastated. Nepal's remapping on ethnic ground may help Prachanda's ambition to power and benefit some ethnic elites who have always enjoyed the privileged positions of higher portfolio of the state, but it will hardly change the life of the common people be it Setulal Jaisi of Achham, Hiralal Tharu of Dang, or Manrup Lepcha of Ilam. When will our left-wing intellectuals of victimization rhetoric learn any lessons from the success stories of the Mohamad of Malaysia and the disaster story of their comrade Mugabe of Zimbabwe. They may not have much in stake but the country has. Cultures evolve with contact and interaction and a country forms its identity. I enjoy watching Selo, Kauda, Bhojpuri, Maruni, Dhan Nach etc in traditional attires in a single platform. That is the best expression of jatiya pahichan together.

2. Gaury s Adhikary

Amen to scapegoat!

 Thank you Nepali Times in bringing out pictures of vibrant, hopeful   and above all pleasing faces of  everyday  Nepali with common sense that is pushing back the demands for ethnic federalism.

3. Nirmal
It is quite complicated to stand up to the middle ground politics because you can be nudged and kicked by the extreme sides of politics. Unlike the champions of either side who live under the absolute protection of their respective causes, the middle way opinion being the ombudsman have to spend the time under the stars of the sky and it is very very difficult to maintain. The same is happening, for example, with the movements that the ethnic organizations hold in the form of cruel Nepal banda, divided between those who applauded as if it has been a kind of Nirvana for ethnic communities and those who rejected it because they think their common identification card of being a Nepali first is being destroyed.

However, in my modest and middle way opinion --not because I need votes or I need to sell my arguments for money just because doing politics of center everyone is safe--,  the movements was neither all good nor all bad but now it is here to stay and has gained an important space in the public debate. It's been good because:
1)The outrage came out in the form of protest and not killings of fellow citizens who they see as exploiters.
2)The young people of ethnic communities are engaged to improve the conditions of their respective communities.
3)They gave political parties a bit of a push and have shown what their miseries are.
4)It has proved that beyond the multiparty political system where political parties tend to promote servile and mediocres in order to interprete the popular will, there can be other participatory forms in Nepali democracy.

But we must highlight also the drawbacks that this movements represent by the time being:

1)They have no capacity for self-criticisms. Their target --instead of demanding for their own rights-- seems to be bahun-chhetris. In a democracy one cannot pretend to cover, hide or erase things you don't like.
2)The atrocities/behaviours they come to write/speak/show on the red or forum when they are criticised.
3)It is also problematic their inability to break away with the violent groups and their demonization of the media. I know that our media is not free of shah dynasty's chauvinistic hangover but this is a long fight where one needs to go with patience and with reasons.
4)One of the main weak point of ethnic organizations and its advocates is to have proposals imprecise and vague as if they are the voice plunged into the void. Well, it is the job of the political parties to come up with the proposals to uplift their life standard.
5)Their (read the racial as if it is hidden)concepts of ethnicity would lead us to the more chaotic society, more typical of the past -the unification epoch of Nepal as a country- than to a safe future and doing so from a messianic tendency to believe that they are the voice of the people.
6)One of the mortal sin of what is being demanded by them is to follow the same obsession --4 casts and 36 creeds-- that the Shah dynasty established in name of community identity of Nepali people. The more it is followed the more there is possibility that they face the fiasco.

The ethnic groups might not be good at tuning up their proposals according to time and space but they are right in the motives behind their outrage.

4. ShreeShrestha
We are here today because every government in Nepal promised decentrlization of power but never delivered. We still have CDOs and Regional Administrators from Kathmandu to watch over. In different pretext even VCDs are controlled by the central government. Administrators from Kathmandu always treated the Tarai people as foreign nationals. People from different ethnicity were teased if they don't speak Nepali in right tongue. In the name of the developing Nepali language and culture we tried to kill other languages and cultures. Along the way we forgot that the development of Nepal is the development of the different languages and different cultural heritage of Nepal. Now the cat is out of the bag. There will be local administrations drawn within ethnic line. For now we should have States like Mahakali, Karnali, Gandaki (Gurung,and Magar), Bagmati (Newar and Tamang), Koshi (Kirat and Limbu), Tharu, Lumbini, Bhojpura, Mithila and Kochila without changing the district boundaries. That should not be enough. all the government ministries should be located to capitals of new states. Only Home, Finance, Foreign and Defence ministries should be in the Central Capital. Without decentralizing the powers the development will be just a dream.

5. Gunda Digshit
As expected only one side of the story. If it is the only truth then why so many people are still on the streets. It nothing more than the handiwork of powerful media moguls ticks to keep enjoying the benefits.

6. Gunda Digshit
Most of the opinions seems from students. Which class students are they?Class 1 to 5! o wonder such cute opinions. Enjoyed it!

7. shyam
It's good to see our silent majority does not want ethinicity based federalism, most of them being guided with peaceful & harminous Nepal. But what I wonder is, all those who are advocating now that it will bring disharmony & conflict in society  if the country goes to ethinic based federalism, have really thought what happens if those voices that are rising now on the streets are again left unheard ??? These SILENT MAJORITY as usual will always remain silent & in the name of bringing  harmony & balance now, we won't have to wait long enough to see those voices of street will come into action & i suppose that would be much more dreadful scenario then this fictitious disharmony & conflict thats on discussion now. Many leaders leading the cause now , are openly making remarks about the consequences if their voices are left unheard & surely those remarks are not friendly, harminous or free of ethinic clashes. So we all should realise the complication & sensitivity of this issue, before going a step forward & when making right decision.

8. Limbu
Classic propaganda! Joseph Gobbels would have be proud of you Kunda. How much is NC & UML paying you?

9. abhishek gurung
@5 and 6 Gunda Digshit...
I wanted to write a lot about the biased perception of the writers influenced by brahmandbad(mainstream people)...but then i erased it, for your two postings summed up all my efforts..that was a hell of a summary..cheers....

10. J Rai, Sydney
Sure sign of ethnic polarisation in this country that this comment thread can be divided up by surnames of the people writing in. I am a Janajati living in Australia no one here asks me if I am a Rai or Limbu or Gurung. I am a Nepali, and that is my identity. Thank you Nepali Times for reassuring me that there are many more people in Nepal who feel like me. It is time for Nepal's high caste elite to realise that they can't monopolize power any longer, and Janajati brethren should stop being so worked up about it that they make fools of themselves.

11. Gunda Digshit
Forget about the hearsay history, what have the "Us Nepalese" done in recent decades to be so proud of expect to be subjects of either king, politicians and media.

12. Gunda Digshit
As always these media houses creates opinions from many people to create a false impression but always avoids to include an opinion from anyone from the media.

Why no one from the media (editors or writers) is included in the Nepali Times Opinion survey. Do they don't have any opinion or are they afraid of their bosses?

13. Mark Edward Croy
The world knows each of you as NEPALI, not in any other fashion. Live as the world sees you...out of many, ONE!

14. Anuj
I agree with comment @ 4 shree shrestha (decentralization - this is what people want) and 5 Gunda Digshit (your point about media house with their editorials and opinions/reportings being biased which questions their journalism ethics - now this has become a new area of public debate from new perspective) . On this point as pointed out by 5 Gunda Digshit, the recent events as an example among uncountable, during 3 days "bandh" organized by All indigenous ethnic struggle front, the reporting of the events were very interesting and people come to realize and know directly how media house and journalists work and how good are they at twisting at the fact !!! However, I am not speaking against the journalists fraternity. My only point is that this field has to be respectable and fair. Otherwise, people will lose their faith in journalist and their media houses. Similarly, I would like to add, NT do not mislead us. Ask the same question to me and many other friends, would you publish those responses?? I am sure, you will not. So, it is better to write for and be voice of unheard and voiceless as well. Instead, it seems, NT is fostering the "bahunbadi" hagemony which if continued, it will definitely polarize our country into different kind of  "ISM". There was a time, we need to understand, that these same pundits were ashamed of getting near dalits / bhotes / madhesis treated as second class / tharus as kamaiyas / tera as well as pahadi muslims were treated as untouchable. These all writing and movement of writing "Nepali" is double speak / double standard. Now, these people have understood their rights and demanding the state for basic human rights. So, do not mess up with them. Why I write this is because many people are directly or indirectly suffering from  "bahunbadi" hagemony. Above all, this cancerous lesion has infested our governace and political system, which is crystal clear and nobody can deny this fact and for which all this movements are happening and many more will happen if CA does address their aspiration. Until and unless, this cancerous lesion is surgically removed, i do not see, our country will not progress, how beautiful your slogan may there be because Tharus will suffer, Badis will be excluded, Botes will have to sleep hungry, dalits in Sudur Pachhim will be treated the same as centuries earlier. So with open mind and develop our country, decentralization has to happen and let people play active role in the developmental activities, let them manage them with their local wise dom or imported technical wise dom, whereas the central gov. will play facilitator role. And also central gov. can more time on foreign and diplomatic activities improving and strengtheing diplomatic ties with neighbouring countries and others. Similary, reviewing the treaties and bringing new developmental activities and creating new jobs can done.

15. Dorji Tsering Sherpa
The comments by J. Rai "It is time for Nepal's high caste elite to realise that they can't monopolize power any longer, and Janajati brethren should stop being so worked up about it that they make fools of themselves" is very well said. I too am a janjati but before that I am a Nepali. Yesterday I too went to Baneswor near the CA building saw the different groups raising their voices and demonstrating for their rights. Later on my way back home, problem started among the group of Brahmin and khas creating a helter skelter situations. At that moment I felt the fear goose bumps all over my body and remembered the movie Rwanda Hotel. Are we heading in that direction???

16. pemba
In my opinion country wont be divided by gaining ethnicity federalism.Its the media that is spreading fear among Nepalese people.We still want to live as nepali as it is our  primary identity but ethnicity based federalism guarantees the protection of culture and language spoken by various ethnic communities.Chettri and Brahmin need not fear about their lives or livlihood.No body has the license to disrespect or hurt sentiments of fellow citizens.If ruling class wants unity among diversity then respect and learn and adjust in this multi-cultural,multi-traditional,multi-lingual and multi-religion society.Almost 90% of janjatis speak nepalese language but can't speak or understand their own language and most of them have even forgotten their culture.We know that in Nepal there are many ethnic communities with unique culture and tradition and we  just don't want to see these traditions and culture fading away from the face of this planet.The ruling class should realise that for the past hundred of years they've tried destroying the ethnic cultures and tradition by discriminating in every aspect of the country's system.In conclusion what ethnic communities are demanding is just equal rights which is possible only by federating country with ethnicity.We can still live peacefully with social harmony in ethnicity based federalism if we can respect each others cultures and tradition.

17. Anuj
Us Nepali, sure? Nobody denies this fact. Point is that first respect others too, like 16. Pemba has pointed out. Diversity has to be accepted. There is no way out. Denying would bring "Rwanda Hotel" situation. So, let us unite in diversity, let there be trust, no double speak and doublestandard !!

18. vk

what would the real benefits of ethnic federalism be? I canÔŅĹt see any whatsoever, only problems n more problmes, divide into ethnic states n in time to come will also come civil unrest...but also in each federal state there is a mix of ethnic groups since before all of us were born. I assume that these states should be democratic n thus compromise is a key notion, where accepting that one dont always get what one wants, but hopefully the state institutions are fair and equall, no matter of ethnic group, gender, education, income, etc...the whole fedralism talk to me is based on shifting the focus of nationmaking to nationbreaking.¬†Its truely illogical. Removing royalty ok, but removing the basis of who we are as Nepalis, a people and a nation is going to far, way to far. ¬†

it seems to me that its first a question of local governance and decentralization that is at core...inwhich each community gets thier fare share n say.

to remove the sticky greedy hands of the politicians and thier friends, largely based in ktm and put power in the hands of the people and those really capabel to bring a better change.

it takes a long time to build a nation but short time to break it....

and finally from marcus garvey:

"A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots."
thus all our people of nepal need to learn to appreciate thier own and others heritage and from that see that we all stand on the same earth, eat the fruits from the earth and share the same blood, its red, and together stand up for the future we want.


19. GoleGgole
this shows the spirit of the youths of Nepal. Youths of Nepal unite. Keep it up for the sake of the next generation. defrock the cardinals of the political parties and  His Holiness the Pope too.The Pope wants only power and become the new king,the supreme lord of the land ,an Emperor. Discard the coming Emperor . Use your conscience and be just and look for the fure ata time when  Nepalese are intermarrying and are discarding caste and ethnicity and becoming all Nepali  Nepali. Take all the aspect of cultural linguistic traditions from all communities and forge a genuineNepal.Confiund the petty kings and warlords of there sent parties. look for a fresh field and new pastures. Youths ofNepal unite.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)