The current citizenship distribution exercise has taught us all a lesson: never take any accepted theory or statistic as a given. We take motivated or amateur information as a given and through constant repetition turn them into accepted truth. Such mistakes and myths distract the country's resources and we end up wasting decades in pointless debate.
For the past decade we have been talking about the millions in the tarai who don't have citizenship. It turns out we were barking up the wrong tree: the number of people deprived of citizenship is much higher in the hills.
Political parties like the UML and the NC set up their own commissions to study the question of citizenship in the tarai. Both concluded that there were up to three million Nepalis who didn't have citizenship living in the madhes, not even the entire tarai. And that became a fact. Neither the commissions nor civil society ever imagined that the hills and himal would have the same problem. That is why for more than 25 years, Nepal's citizenship problem became synonymous with the madhes problem.
The citizenship team has nearly completed its work, and they have so far distributed a total of 2.2 million citizenship certificates in three months: 1.1 million in the tarai and 1.2 million in the rest of the country. This shows how political slogans based on regional, or partisan interest are wrongly turned into a matter of national debate.
Even while we are happy that Nepalis, wherever they live, have belatedly got citizenship papers, this example teaches us to be more careful about jumping to convenient conclusions in the future.