Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
The identity question, Naya Patrika

Some Janajati leaders have left their parties recently saying they want to struggle against ingrained discrimination against ethnic groups in Nepal. In fact, they quit because they didn't get due opportunities from their senior leaders. Politics is a social service that aims to provide rights to people, all people, Janajatis and non-Janajatis. If you serve the people well, the Janajatis will also benefit. Once the citizenry has access to sovereign rights, it will automatically benefit indigenous people as well. After all, how can Janajatis get what nobody else in Nepal has?

People like Ashok Rai, who was the deputy chairman of the UML, have even formed a separate party to establish their rights. But did he enter politics in the name of Janajatis, or as a UML leader? The public did not vote for him because he was a Janajati, but because they trusted him to lift their living standards.

I did not enter the Nepali Congress because I was a Janajati, or whatever. Never in my 60-year political career at various positions in the NC did I work under the halo of a Janajati. My colleagues, Bal Bahadur Rai, Yogendra Man Sherchan or Bhim Bahadur Tamang did not join the NC to wear the Janajati label but to be public servants. And the public admired them not because of their caste or ethnicity, but because of their principles and their commitment to helping people.

When the Maoists and UML formed ethnic factions within their ranks, I had raised my voice in the NC and said this should never happen in our party. We should not be in the business of identity politics, but using politics for the betterment of all Nepalis who are disadvantaged and downtrodden. The NC must establish itself as a party of principle and not as a Janajati party. If the NC follows the Maoist and UML lead, it will weaken itself just like they have.

It was King Mahendra who started identity politics during the Panchayat by tempting Janajati leaders away from the NC and other democratic parties. It did not work then, and it will not work now. These days, the question of identity has been defined in wrong terms. This will be to the detriment of the entire nation, of the Nepali people and of the Janajatis themselves.

I have been in the NC from its heydays when BP Koirala was our leader, and I have never found the party to be discriminatory. In fact, BP made it a point to go beyond tokenism to make a diverse party that encompassed representation. Today, the NC must make policies that will ensure ethnic harmony and prevent social tensions from erupting.

Nepal's Janajati movement is being directly influenced by foreign interests. It is being fuelled by INGO and donor dollars from outside.

My Janajati colleagues are on the wrong track. They must work for the interests of the whole country, and must include everyone not just fragments of society. We must be Nepalis first, and then maybe NC, UML, Maoists later.

We must not carve our boundaries as Gurung, Magar, Rai or Limbu. Other parties have not dared say this, at least the NC should.

1. Jagat
Very well said. If people should be identified by their caste then why this government is encouraging inter-caste marriage? This brings impurity in race and  can even obsolete some caste. This is all about bringing conflict among people and taking political advantages. If we Nepalese people could not understand it well, these vampire will suck our blood and we will be no-where people. We should maintain harmony and peace among different caste of people. This is the peculiar characteristics ours  for which we are famous for in this world. 

2. Mexx Nepali

Nepal exists because the people of this country from all hue and cry want to stand together as Nepali  first before anything. But unfortunatly we only have oppertunists and not leaders to lead the nation unanimously. When the patratiosm , soverignity and nationalism is overcome by frational , divisional and groupisim politics .Our cultural and ethnic diversity should be the jwel of the nation but not the matter to pitt against each other to incite antagonism and adversity!!! It is very sad to see that nowdays some of the social links are trying to pitt Nepali communities against each other and trying hard to disintigrate the social and communial harmony. People have lived together in this region together accepting each other hundreds of years  and the people at local level would definitely won't have problem  rectifying any existing disparity in the system or mechanism . It seems like the links in some of the social site are hell bent on dividing the mind set of Nepalis pitting aganinst one community against another!!! It is one thing to suggest the difficiency and help to fix it but it is totally wrong to incite hatrade and antagonism against the community which can be threatning tothe nationality and  soverignity of the country . If these elements are successful in provoking  social disorder and people are brainwashed and squared and pushed merely to be confined into their clans and tribes than the days are not far where we can see our own brotheres embroiled into the deep shit of civil war where we will be our own enemies!!! For a country Nepal to exist it desperately needs us to stand together as Nepali appreciating and preserving the Heritage of cultural and ethnic diversity!!!! Jai Nepal !!! Jai Nepali!!!

3. Rishav
Well said!! It's people like this artilce writer/politician who can make a difference to end this ethnic tension..... Speak what the silent majority want not what a few ethnic militants want instead..

4. manohar budhathoki
Well said Mr Kul Bahadur Gurung ji. This is a statesman talking and we need more like you in Nepal today. The Nepali Congress and other political parties should seriously look at giving the leadership positions to janajatis and dalits. We need a janajati, dalit or woman as prime minister, we need them more in civil service, the army etc. and what we do not need is our country divided as ethnic states. We do not certainly need 'one madhes, one pradesh'. If the latter happens, India will make a Bhutan or Sikkim of our Nepal.

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(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)