Nepali Times
Talking tough

Constitutional amendments are enduring processes of any democratic polity. As long as there is general consensus, that can be done later. For now, we need to put forth more energy and ideas toward the election process, to write a more authentic and final constitution of the Nepali nation.

-Special Editorial on Nepal Monitor

The ruling class was so strong, whereas the oppressed class was economically and politically so weak that they could barely organise and raise [their] voice, fighting for rights was a far-away thing.

-Aazaad on Madhesh Blog

With the Maoists now fully and formally part of the political mainstream, it's time to recognise that single seminal event that made all this happen: King Gyanendra's 1 February, 2005 takeover. Without the much-maligned palace intervention, the external dynamics impeding the resolution of the conflict would not have dramatically changed course.

-Maila Baje on Nepali Netbook

The blogsphere this week is buzzing with comments on the interim constitution, the way forward, and the upcoming constituent assembly elections. A special editorial on Nepal Monitor says that despite real concerns over the monopoly the interim constitution gives the eight parties, the power it gives the prime minister, and its sidelining of minority rights, a new constitution is a good start.

Over at Blogdai ( ZZZ is making similar arguments. He says that the interim constitution is a temporary arrangement. Soon we are going to have a constituent assembly election and have an elected assembly that will, for the first time in Nepal, write the constitution. He says it is absurd to expect to build a US-type democracy overnight and that there's a lot to learn and compromise if we want to coexist peacefully.

Remember that years of bloodshed, merciless killings and looting by the Maoist [sic] will not be forgotten. We will only forgive you if you sacrifice yourself to develop and give life back to the families who remain without children, fathers and sons.

-Jesus on United We Blog!

A number of vibrant madhesi-centred blogs criticise the interim constitution for blatantly ignoring the voice of madhesi groups.

Like the last constitution, this one has also ignored the issues relating to madhesis. This just goes to prove that whether it is a dictatorship, republic, democracy, [the] pahadia public, [or a] lecturer in college or media, no one seems adequately interested in taking [up] madhesi issues and provide them their proper privileges.

-Subhash Shah on Madhesi- United We Stand

Bloggers on say the Republic of Madhes will not be a small entity, as some dismiss. They cite comparative statistics and estimate that put together, the 20 madhes districts will be larger than Israel and have a population larger than Switzerland or Greece.

An open letter to Nepali Times columnist Sheetal Kumar writes, in response to 'Draw the line' (Eyes Wide Shut, #330), that leaders from GP Koirala to Pushpa Kamal Dahal are conspiring to work against madhes-related issues. Changing the mindset of both madhesis and pahadis is not going to help the situation, as only drastic measures, possibly involving weapons and violence, is the only way to grab national and international attention and help madhesis speak up for their rights.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)