Nepali Times
By The Way
People, not power



One of the main fallouts of the 28 May brinkmanship is that the Madhesi alliance established itself as the kingmaker party. But will that translate into welfare for the Madhes, or welfare only of the Madhesi leaders?

After being backed by the JP Gupta-led Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (Republic) with 13 lawmakers, the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) now has 71
members and has become the fourth largest political force in the country. But it seems to be just another collective platform for power bargaining.

Whenever questions are raised about this, the Madhesi alliance usually takes the moral high ground and accuses the non-Madhesi political elite and the media of not being sympathetic to "Madhesi aspirations". Once in a while you will see a Madhesi leader getting emotional over being unfairly branded "pro-Indian anti-national".

The popular public sentiment and the strong rhetoric by the parties has meant that nobody has dared to ask what is included in the "Madhesi aspirations" and what it chooses to exclude. But using this term in a mainstream political sense, one is still tempted to ask the Madhesi political elite who they actually represent.

JP Gupta's emotionally-charged speech in the CA on Sunday would have given some hope to the people he claims to represent. The only tragedy was that his eloquent speech on behalf of people of Madhes delved neither into the socio-economic insecurity under which they are forced to live nor the physical insecurity people they face every day. So one wonders what sort of pressure Gupta and UDMF were trying to exert on the three parties and the CA ahead of the extension.

As a Madhes-basi I would have been more thrilled if Gupta had pressurised his counterparts over the economic abuse an underpaid daily wage laborer faces in Tarai everyday. The landless farmers of the western Tarai and the factory workers of the eastern Tarai would have been more impressed if he had demanded farmer's rights and fairer working conditions. The students from Morang and Sunsari to Kailali and Kanchanpur would have applauded had he included even a sentence about how they are forced to go across the border to study because our education has neither granted them quality nor respected their right to be schooled in their mother tongue. Nepali Muslims and the Madhesi Dalits rank at the bottom of the Human Development Index, and are almost invisible in our education system or civil service.

But all Gupta seems to care about is how few Madhesis are there in the Nepal Army. One is tempted to ask Madhesi leaders if in their visit to New Delhi last month they brought up the matter of the widespread daily abuse Nepalis have to face along the border at the hands of the BSF. Well, we'll leave that to some other visit, but this is the one single most important factor in wrecking bilateral relations between Nepal and India today Beyond the sugar coated lip service to the "Madhesi cause", the UDMF has failed to acknowledge the real aspirations of the Tarai-Madhes who do not want to be a vassal state ruled by the local elite. They want to be integrated in the social, cultural, political and economic mainstream of the heterogeneous mix that is Nepal. If the UDMF wants to establish its credibility in the Tarai-Madhes, its agenda should include the people and not power in Kathmandu. People will support their agenda for power sharing only if they see themselves as a part of that agenda.

1. who cares
finally i support something madeshis are demanding- resignation of jhallu ram.

actually, madeshis and other smaller parties should take the lead in realizing this, and NC should just support this agenda while keeping low profile, just backing madeshi and asking govt. to resign to keep peace with madeshis.

cause of the mentality of voters, NC should not vocally demand resignation otherwise voters will take this as lust for power and as for madeshis- their voters will see this demand as radical, being tough and when jhallu ram finally resigns, their voters will recognize madeshis as winners/knights. 

so, madeshis should do what ever needed to bring this govt. down.

since this govt. was built on lies, deception... this govt. has to go.

just because there has already been raped, we cant let the rapist go. 

2. Arthur
This article is much better!

3. thakur

They nare begging for the power not for the welfare of the Madesi people.


(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)