These days many seem to be suffering from blindness. Identity includes ethnic, linguistic, cultural, geographic, territorial and historical bases. Self-sufficiency includes economic interrelations and resources, physical infrastructure, access to and availability of natural resources and administrative accessibility. These principles were passed unanimously by the committee. You cannot support the passage of these principles then protest when the committee produces a draft paper based on this.
What is the basis for Jadan and Sherpa provinces?
They are based on identity, self-sufficiency and geographic qualities. Jadan may not be self-sufficient right now, but it will become the most affluent in the future.
Don't you think the committee's proposals will divide the nation?
Those who warn ethnic provinces will lead to violence and conflict are themselves engaged in spreading violence and conflict. Nations like India have created provinces on the basis of ethnic identity. What are Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Maharastra and West Bengal? There is no harm in granting rights to ethnicities.
But conflicts remain unresolved in Indian states designated on the basis of ethnicity?
Problems may arise. There is no need for us to do what India does as we have different qualities that demand different thinking. We cannot ignore our multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and multi-cultural situation. We have to grant identity, participation and access to disadvantaged communities without repressing other ethnic groups.
Are we creating a constitution for ethnic management or for the nation?
This is not merely a question of ethnic management but also that of ethnicity. Ethnicity and nationality are the same. Nationality can be internal and external. Internal nationality is freedom among ethnic groups. Until this is strong, external nationality will not be sound. So, we are talking about nationality, not just about ethnicity.
Can the idea of giving political prerogatives for two terms be democratic?
Not just two terms, political prerogatives must be enshrined in the constitution for about 15 years. Only then can we talk about general democratic participation.
Constitution 2010, Nepali Times coverage of issues related to writing the new constitution