Nepali Times
Damage control mode


When things are as polarised as they are in the current constitution debate, and when all sides want all or nothing, any political compromise was sure to be unpalatable to many. And so it was.

The street protests by Madhesi and Janajati groups that followed the deal struck on Tuesday among the four main political forces were necessary muscle-flexing. The political leadership maybe narrow-minded, near-sighted, and greedy for power and money but they have worked out the best give-and-take arrangement possible under the circumstances. They have even averaged out the number of provinces between the demand for 14 and 6.

However, the names and boundaries of future provinces were too divisive and volatile to be addressed at present. Doing that would have delayed the constitution and opened up a can of worms. By deferring the most contentious issues to the parliaments of the future provinces themselves, the party leaderships passed the buck on to those who wanted such provinces. This buys everyone some time, but it makes future negotiations over carving up the country even more fraught because of the potential for pitting Janajati against Janajati and Madhesi against Madhesi over what they should call their provinces, what their territorial outlines should be, or worse: raise questions all over again about the 11-state model. But, the leaders must have reasoned, we will cross that bridge when we get there.

It doesn't bode well for the future of the country if the debate over state structure becomes a part of the deal-making over power, and the constitution is drafted to suit the ego of one man. It can't be swayed by a vocal minority of sloganeering activists who hold the silent majority ransom with the threat of unleashing an ethnic holocaust. The extreme hate speech on social media and sections of the press is already having a corrosive effect.

There are serious problems with Nepali society. It remains the most unequal in Asia, and there are historically marginalised groups that continue to live in near-slavery. Despite signs of greater inclusivity, the civil service, the top leadership of all parties, the police and army continue to be dominated by mainly men belonging to the traditionally privileged caste groups. Many of them may have got there through dint of hard work, but no one can argue against the need to have more gender, ethnic and caste balance in officialdom. And it's not just the numbers, one has to be a Nepali woman, Dalit, Madhesi or Janajati to know the daily discrimination, arrogance and ethnocentrism with which the ruling class groups treat them. Our leaders don't seem to realise how absurd it looks to have 11 Brahmin men and a Newar sit on sofas in Baluwatar to design a new future for Nepal.

These are genuine grievances, even if some leaders of marginalised groups may be using it for political ends. They are just articulating the anger that is there. The indigenous and Madhesi groups argue that only ethnicity-based federalism will redress those grievances. Disregarding the opinion of a majority of Nepalis who don't want to correct a historical mistake by making an even bigger one, the political parties buckled under pressure and have now agreed to carve up the country.

Among the many dangers we face, the two main ones now are the demolition of democracy by a demagogue president, and the country disintegrating into inter-ethnic squabbles.

The thing to do now is to go into damage control mode to make sure that the new federalism model does not lead to the country's disintegration, doesn't keep us poor, and doesn't turn us into a dictatorship.

Read also:
The losing game, RUBEENA MAHATO
We are too busy fighting amongst ourselves to notice what we have lost

After a people's war , BIHARI K SHRESTHA
We can have federalism if we must, but it is guaranteed to keep Nepal poor

Fooling some people all the time, ANURAG ACHARYA
A new constitution may eventually be declared on 27 May but the compromised document will leave many dissatisfied

1. KiranL

An extremely balanced and sane write-up that rings true. the country can't afford to go down the path of dictatorship and fragmentation. But what to do about it? Until there is greater realisation among the top male leadership that Nepal's future can't be in the hands of an exclusive club of blundering rulers who never pay for their mistakes there will not be any meaningful change.

2. JK
Nepali Brahmin intellectuals can be divided into bleeding-heart liberals, or conservative status-quoists. This editorial is a refreshing departure from previous ones and looks at the current crisis from all angles. Couldn't agree more that we need to save the country from dictatorship and disintegration. But we may also need to save it from being even more of an Indian colony than it is now. JK  

3. Rajani Thapa
The whole situation is nothing but ridiculous ! Look, if a handful of people, that you can count on your fingers are ruining the future of Nepal and its people, then we need to get rid of these people. Pure and simple. Its again ridiculous that we have leaders that are greedy, inept and visionless that cannot solve our problems. Just look at the number of angry and dissatisfied people, which is a bad sign. If leaders are the problems, then its time to get rid of them and solve this problem for good.   

4. yuado
did anyone notice Nepal now has it's first radical Christian in the Bhattarai cabinet, handed the whole responsibility of local development? guess where the local money is going now? don't believe it .. see for urself -

5. Ram Lall
Guess who is the great deceiver of Nepal. ?                                         Who        is the greatest liar of Nepal?                                                                                                                         

Who  is the great imposter of Nepal?                           Isn't,t it a high time to have a national poll on that issue?                                                    Nepal is the only country where politicians ,leaders can tell lies and still be in business. This is the main reason that this country is poor and backward. If you want to move forward you should have only those kind of leaders who  do not tell lies , compare with the United States of America where  blatan liars  are no longer in politics. Clean politics from the cliches of all the liars and deceivers. 

6. Vija Srestha
If executive powers are to be given to Future President and the Parlament equally as this is the reason NC and UML have joined the Present Government in hope that it will be as said.Well,well,well,now Maoists don't need anything,it is their parties game till the end as no one even  questioned such an obivious question,who will the Nepali Army listen in case of emergency,will it take Presidents directives or will it wait till Parlament comes to an agreement.Who in the end of the day will protect enthnic based federal states? Having agreed to such a deal,NC and UML must correct the damage by  breaking it now and it is better to not have constitution by 27th of May than going away and improvizing on new ideas of Maoist Party and their leadership,it leads only to one,enthic wars and the power of Army.This is not called democracy,it is called power of Executive President and Army combained and only ,as in the emergency no one is gone wait while Parlament decides and most importantly,Army is the only real strength and power.So no matter what goes on ,it is certainly not in the interests of no one Nepali except those,Dahal,Bhattarai as they need to complete their mission of rearranging the state so that in the end the President becomes the single man with the Army behind.There was nothing wrong with the country ,there was nothing wrong with the Kingdom of Nepal,what was,is and will be deadly wrong ,is the division of the country into ethnic states.We are going back to a centuries fought wars of previous Kings of Nepal to keep Nepal as one.PROGRESS in the country is not suceeded by division of the country,by division of powers,progress is succeeded by the work Mr.Dahal and Bhattarai,not by the powers of ideology of your party. If Kingdom of Nepal doesn't exist,President with his  half given powers is enough for one man to do in the country what xecutive powers he has.That was the card maoists played and 27th therefore is very important for them as it will be given power with the new constitution .This is an emergency ,for all of us,to never let it happen,to never accept the new system of President and division of the state into any Federal ethnic states.If the figure of a President is what maoist party fought for,then Kingdom of Nepal with the King as the leader of the country was something we all respected as he represented us in the world and if corruption and lawlessness were the reasons to fight this decade long war,then maoists are doing the worst ever damage to national interests and interests and selfrespect of every Nepali,as now we will treat people as who they are,to which ethnic group they belong ,but not as human beings with simply intitlement to  respectful life with all the subpoints etc.Wake up and throw away any deal you signed with the maoists and stick to the Parlamentary system ,without parlouring ,stop thinking of division.Law ,corruption and human respecting rights were the only deeds missing in Nepali society implemented by the Goverments as many of the above mentioned existed among the people itself.People needed rights,protection,law and implementation of such by the Governments,not the what kind of power or what kind of Federal states would be there.Wake up!

7. Sita Ghimire

With Communist guarding the hen house, the future of Nepal is getting dimmer and dismal.  The deficit in character of the leaders, the deficit in trust gives the people no hope that things will get beteter any time soon. There is too much injustice in Nepal.  There is a over supply of serious problems and short supply of people capable of solving them. We must destroy the status quo in the mindset of male nepali bahun leaders. Sim ply put, they all have to go away. Pronto. Now.  People really need to punish this group for the abuse and pain they have inflicted. We must RESET our relationship with India and China. We need to learn fast how we can improve our economy with the help from these 2 giants. It would foolish to think in any other way. People, rise up and teach the corrupt leaders a lesson in life they will always remember. Do it now.  

8. BB

Our great ancestors united this country with their blood and sweat over the course of more than half-a-century. As united Nepalis we resisted the onslaught of both British and Chinese imperialists. Now,  within the course of half-a-decade, our Bahun netas are on the verge of destroying all that and fragmenting us into little states. Wah-wah 'Naya Nepal' (oops, read 'No Nepal')!


9. Chiranjibi Nepal
The main cause of the problem are all the political party of Nepal because they are working whatever they like. The political leadership are  narrow-minded they are not working for the nations because their selfishness and political ego with other party. All the citizen have many problem. They want to come out form the situation like this. so political party should be able to handle the situation. They must have clear about the reconstruction of Nepal and it should be good for all the people because they want to make their name by themselves."Himal pahad terai kohi chhainan parai" we are Nepalese. In the name of federalism political parties should not go in  in the wrong path or way. they must be clear about the future of the nation because the future of the nepal is depend on the political party, they are elected form us so they should be loyal for the people and they must do what they want and what is their demand.   

10. Birendra Rayamajhi
The Maoist Party and its Leaders will pay a  heavy and dear price soon for the chaos and destruction of Nepal.  The wheel of karma will be the arbitrator. The Maoist are digging their own graves. Nepalis are peaceful people by nature and Nepal used to be a peaceful country. The Maoist have destroyed both the people and the country. Dahal will forever live in fear, looking over his shoulder for he has made many enemies and is a thief, stealing from  the poor people. It will come down to an eye for an eye. The rotton politicos of all parties - BEWARE. 

11. Soni
Dear Sir, 

Pretend as much as you would that you care, but you and your hypocrite friends brought the country to this. 

Whatever happens, your career and your life would not be affected at can just continue your sanctimonious editorializing.

With no sincerity and respect,

12. Ramesh Thapa
If you believe in omens, then it looks really bad !  Nepalis are focused on protest and violence instead of work and progress. We owe this turn of events to NC, UML, UCPN ( Maoist ), as well parties of Madhes.  The situation  now is getting close to a point of no return. Nepalis should stop believing the lies the Netas are spewing each day.  If some positive change doesn't happen,  then Nepalis will start killing Nepalis once again.   

13. Sangita Rai
Bandh will criple the economy, can any political party go against a Bandha, of course not.  They all have used this vile tool ! Nepal's netas use Bandh to drive their point home, what a disgrace. What a shame. You cannot get an apple by planting an orange, in the same fashion you cannot get peace by creating a Bandh and ruining people's live. So the verdict is clear, more violence and more Bandh. This is the New Nepal of a blood sucker like Pushpa Kamal Dahal.   

14. Nirmal Pandey
May 2012 -  Chicago USA,  NATO SUMMIT !  The US Govt. is fighting with its police force against a protest by the people. We need the same outrage of the people of Nepal against the Govt. of Nepal. Enough abuse by the dirty politicians in charge. There should no wars in the world. There should no greedy and uncouth leaders or we should mete out a justified punishment to those who betray the people. The oppressed Nepali people need to seize the opportunity and kick out the lying and cheating leaders of politics. The power lies with people not a corrupted party boss. 

15. J Subeedy
The politicians have told too many lies. Its like the cry wolf fable now. No one believes these Netas who speak from both sides of their mouth,  out of the holes in their noses and ears as well. The breaking point has arrived. Innocent blood will be spilled to satisfy the ego of the Netas. Who will pay for this outrage, who will pay for this crime, who will pay for this suffering, WHO ??????      

16. Mahendra Singh
Question to the beggars Netas -  the loss of business and money due bandh - HOW will you compensate for that ! Instead 1 begging bowl, will you carry 2 begging bowls. I feel badly for the tourism business as well the tourist in Nepal. A total loss ! 

17. nepali
Our leaders don't seem to realise how absurd it looks to have 11 Brahmin men and a Newar sit on sofas in Baluwatar to design a new future for Nepal.

This sentence will only incline the ethnic hatred more...........

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)