Friday, October 19, 2007

US Mission denied a visa to a Terrorist or a Nepali MP?

US view point

US Mission denied a visa to a Terrorist or a Nepali MP?

It is a sad to know that a member of Interim Parliament, Mr. Nanda Kumar Prasai was denied a visa to enter United States. Mr Prasai is nominated as Nepalese parliamentarian's delegation team member for 62th UN general conventions. There were 22 MPs along with him who had processed to obtain US visa together, however he is only one who rejected by stating a cause that embassy need further instruction from their central authority in his case, now he belongs to Maoist Party in Interim parliament. Moreover, Suresh Aale Magar and Janardan Sharma are also nominated for the delegation team member, although they didn't process until now for visa due to their similar doubts. The analyst says that Mr. Prasai was a just a trial of Maoist to know the US mission's intention first on Maoist, because Maoist cannot afford such insulation of their senior leaders, so it was just a trial.

Now a question emerged that why US mission denied a visa only to Maoist MP?

· The Maoist is still under US terrorist list of deemed "of concern" /Foreign Terrorist Organizations ( Please see more U.S. Designates Foreign Terrorist Organizations )

· Maoist is endlessly breaking all International and diplomatic norms of Political ethics.

· Maoists have been continuously violating the bilateral signed Peace Accord and public commitments.

· Maoist and its wings have been actively involving in violence, and terrorization of whole nation in the name of political activities.

· Maoists have been frequently targeting and attacking on US concerned projects, people including former ambassador.

· Maoists have been still multi lateral and bilateral affiliation with lots of other terrorist organization that are also in the list of global terrorist.

· Nepal Government is not able to extend any special gurantee to the international community for their ordinariness or similarities like other normal political parties.

Referendum not the solution

By DR KHAGENDRA N SHARMA

CPN (Maoist) chairman Prachanda is reported to have said that a referendum to decide the fate of the king can be an alternative solution to the present impasse if an outright declaration from the parliament to end the monarchy is not acceptable to the Seven Party Alliance (SPA).


Let me remind Prachandaji that the UML was very loudly raising the slogan of referendum to determine the fate of the king while the interim constitution was being finalized. The UML could not garner adequate support to pass this provision and were content to make a note of dissent. The Maoists were then whole-heartedly calling for a timely constituent assembly (CA) poll and did not consider the referendum as a solution.

Now the tables are turned around. The UML does not consider referendum as a solution any longer. Why did the Maoists not support the UML proposal for a referendum then? Why does the UML not support the Maoists' call for a referendum now? Does a referendum solve the problem now? What is the real problem?

The answers are not easy to seek. First, it is a tactical problem that besets all the political parties and the leaders. They change their tone and content frequently. It is not now the stands of the Maoists and the UML are juxtaposed, and both are backtracking their earlier motives on this issue. The primary motive for all the political actors is to create an instant impact on the potential voters. So, there have been shameless changes of stands and commitments.

The major political parties appear to be guided by an insatiable hunger for power. Next they have an enormous capability of adopting any means to reach the goal of political power. Either they have no discernment between the end and the means or they follow no norm to desist from immoral means to reach a moral goal. In this sense the Maoists have superceded all the rest: in respect of their moral commitments, they can striptease in the open mass meetings.

Another side of the problem is a referendum cannot solve multiple problems. The country is trying to articulate the case of not only a kingless Nepal, but more importantly, the restructuring of the state in a satisfactory federation. The whole issue of inclusion of over a hundred claimants revolves around this problem. Such a comprehensive problem cannot be decided in a yes or no vote. This could have been properly considered and decided through a national round table conference before the drafting of the interim constitution. The Maoists did make some noise about the round table conference before joining the government, but the SPA paid no heed to it. When the Maoists joined the government, they also forgot it. When the Maoists called a round table conference after stepping out of the government, it was a tragic failure.

The third element of the problem is the inherently growing polarization between the Nepali Congress and the Maoists. That the SPA lacked unity was clear from the very beginning. After the Maoists joined in, there was a tendency to bypass other parties and start negotiation between the prime minister and Prachanda. Even the UML were ignored unless they hit back bitterly.

However, this closeness could not sustain long and rifts started to rise every now and then. The Maoists showed their fists several times and the prime minister reciprocated by his damn care method. Both were defiant. After the NC unification, the polarization has reached an irreversible peak. The recent NC meeting was not in a mood of accommodation. Nor are the Maoists relenting in their demands and conditions.

It appears that the Maoists will be isolated in their alternative demand for referendum. In terms of logistics, a referendum is as costly as a general election, except that counting of votes may be quicker in a referendum. But the referendum will only solve one problem: that of the institution of monarchy. Even after holding a referendum, a general election would be equally necessary to compose the CA for the more important problems. So, the referendum at this stage would be redundant.

The country was almost filled with the spirit of CA election. The people did not only want an end to the institution of monarchy, but they also wanted the beginning of the restructuring process through the CA election. The SPA decided to defer the CA poll and created a nationwide depression at a time when the people were really prepared to go through the poll. Even if a referendum to decide the fate of monarchy is declared now, it will be very hard to re-energize the people. The context will have changed. They will not be assured of the nature of the future form of the state. It will just be the removal of the monarchy which they had already decided to do away with during the April revolution in 2006.

Holding the CA poll had promised a number of political achievements. Some major achievements would have been the conversion of the Maoists from the armed insurgent group to a peaceful political entity, the vindication of the people's sovereignty in action, the end of the feudal social structure headed by the monarchy, and the foundation of an inclusive, participatory democratic federation of Nepal.

The direct impact of deferring the election will be the end of SPA unity (which was already thin anyway) and an endless cycle of uncertainty. The SPA could not create the congenial atmosphere for conducting the CA election. Can it be held again in a congenial atmosphere?
The SPA stood on the strength of the people's verdict expressed through the Jana Andolan II to carry out their mandate. Cancellation of the CA poll will result in the loss of that legitimacy. There will be a constitutional crisis. There may be a civil war.

If the SPA could not agree on the declaration of a republic from the parliament on the basis of the popular verdict, there is much less chance of a unanimous agreement on holding a referendum. Both the options would require an amendment to the interim constitution. While the option of declaring a republic would provide a clear slate in one step to constitute a CA for an outright democratic republic and write the new constitution accordingly, the option of the referendum would involve two step mobilization of enormous manpower and other resources. Would not that be an avoidable embezzlement of the scarce resources of a poor country?

When organizing one CA election is proving to be an exhaustive exercise for the nation, could Nepal afford the repetition of the same load in a quick succession? If the referendum is held now and it agrees to get the king going, how long can the nation wait for the rest of the problems? The transition politics is based on the SPA unity. It is already flimsy. If it is lost, there will be no legitimization for the next phase. In the ensuing fury, the people will remove both the king and the SPA from the scene. And that is a possibility.source:www.kantipuronline.com/kolnews.php?&nid=126044

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A NEW WAY OF THINKING? TOWARDS A VISION OF SOCIAL INCLUSION

A NEW WAY OF THINKING? TOWARDS A VISION OF SOCIAL INCLUSION

Social Inclusion, Citizenship and Diversity

By Professor Anver Saloojee, Department of Politics and School of Public Administration, Ryerson Polytechnic University.

The utility of the concept social inclusion will depend on the extent and degree to which it successfully deals with social exclusion and the extent to which it promotes social cohesion in a society that is fractured along numerous fault lines.

It was quite clear from the one focus group I attended, that while social inclusion mattered, what matted more to the participants was to engage in a dialogue about the various manifestations of racism as important expressions of social exclusion. For the participants a discussion of social inclusion had to await a more fulsome discussion of racism, sexism and poverty. Thus for social inclusion to matter, for it to resonate, it must provide space for a discussion of oppression and discrimination. Social inclusion has to take its rightful place not along a continuum (from exclusion to inclusion), but as emerging out of a thorough analysis of exclusion. It has to simultaneously transcending the limits of essentialism, critique hierarchies of oppression and promote a transformative agenda that links together the various, often disparate struggles against oppression, inequality and injustices. And the glue that would bind these social movements together is a kind of inclusion that would lead to the creation of a more just and equitable society. In this conceptualization, social inclusion can provide a coherent critique of the multiple forms of social injustices and the concomitant institutional policies and practices.

Social Inclusion as a critique of Social Exclusion:

As we are all aware, the origin of social exclusion terminology can be traced back to France in the early 1970s as a response to the problems of sustaining adequate living conditions for those left behind by economic growth (Ebersold 1998). By 1989 European Economic Community (EEC) began to link social exclusion with inadequate realization of social rights. In 1990 the European Observatory on National Policies for Combating Social Exclusion was established to look at “the basic rights of citizenship to a basic standard of living and to participation in major social and economic opportunities in society” (Cousins as cited in Barata 2000: 1).

The concept of social exclusion is highly compelling because it speaks the language of oppression and enables the marginalized and the victimized to give voice and expression to the way in which they experience globalization, the way in which they experience market forces and the way in which they experience liberal democratic society. The concept of social exclusion resonates with many including those who:

· Are denied access to the valued goods and services in society because of their race, gender, religion, disability etc,

· Lack adequate resources to be effective, contributing members of society; and

· Those who are not recognized as full and equal participants in society.

The roots of exclusion are deep, historical and indeed are continually reproduced in both old and new ways in contemporary society. Freiler has identified multiple and varied sources of exclusion including:

· Structural/economic (iniquitous economic conditions; low wages, dual and segregated labour markets etc);

· Historical oppression (colonialism);

· Discrimination

· The absence of legal/political recognition

· Institutional/civic non acceptance;

· Self-exclusion (Freiler, 2001: 13).

Walker and Walker comment on the wide scope of social exclusion and define it as “a comprehensive formulation, which refers to the dynamic process of being shut out, fully or partially, from any of the social, economic, political or cultural systems which determine the social integration of a person in a society” (Walker and Walker, 1997: 8). Exclusion is very much a lived experience and can be quantified. For Rogers (1995: 45) this dynamic process of being shut out can be diagnosed and measured as patterns of exclusion which affect individuals and groups in six key areas:

· Exclusion from goods and services including material goods and services (education healthcare etc);

· Labour market exclusions (unemployment, underemployment and employment in low paying unstable employment);

· Exclusion from land (homelessness, housing and unsettled land claims);

· Exclusion from security including physical security;

· Exclusion from human rights (discrimination, non-acceptance by mainstream culture); and

· Exclusion from macro-economic development strategy (the adverse effects of the market and restructuring policies. In the developing world this would also include the effects of structural adjustment policies).

Clearly, exclusion results in economic, social, political and cultural disadvantage. Those who are included have access to valued goods and services in society while those who are excluded do not. In turn, those who are disadvantaged, marginalized and “Othered” in society do not have access to valued goods and services and are consequently excluded. There is therefore a mutually reinforcing relationship between exclusion and disadvantage and it is necessary to both unpack that relationship and to address each of its multiple manifestations in order to break what I would call the “vicious cycle of exclusion and disadvantage”. The answer to this lies with political struggle.

The structural processes of exclusion have engendered in those excluded the struggle for legitimacy and “place claiming. This is the dawn of a new type of politics. The struggle for example, by ethno-racial communities for the redistribution of power and resources takes a non-class specific dimension. And herein lies the political value of social inclusion. It posits the radical alternative to exclusion and is a viable political (and if you will public policy) response to exclusion. The politics of difference, identity politics is about an inclusive democracy that places issues of inclusivity and social justice at the heart of the urban question. The city in the era of globalization is the locus of economic, political and administrative power. It is also the locus of citizenship and it is essential to recognize that the very definition of the public sphere and citizenship in the urban environment is contested by marginalized groups. There is no single public sphere, no single acceptable notion of citizenship and no single notion of social cohesion. There are instead multiple “counterpublic” spheres in which marginalized groups develop their own sense of cohesion to contest oppression, discrimination and exclusion. According to Fraser:

historiography records that members of subordinated social groups - women, workers, people of colour, and gays and lesbians - have repeatedly found it advantageous to constitute alternative publics…subaltern counterpublics in order to signal that they are parallel discursive arenas where members of subordinated social groups invent and circulate counterdiscourses to formulate oppositional interpretations of their identities, interests and needs. (Fraser, 1996: 123).

These counterpublics posit a different understanding of space, citizenship and social cohesion. And in positing this different and alternate understanding, they are challenging the dominant discourse and accentuating the politics of difference that puts issues of inequality and social justice at the heart of a reclaimed social inclusion. When marginalized groups contest notions of rights and conceptions of citizenship they are simultaneously seeking an alternative. It is in housing, and employment, it is service delivery and in political and administrative representation that these issues are hotly contested and the quest for an alternative is sought. And the alternative is about much more than simply the removal of barriers to their participation as equals free from discrimination.

Social Inclusion and Citizenship

In the narrow sense citizenship is exclusionary. It is about who is a citizen of a nation state and what bundle of rights that citizen can exercise and it is about what that citizen is entitled to as a member of the nation state. In the realm of formal equality the laws, the constitutions, the human rights codes proclaim the equality of all citizens. In this realm, it is just that citizens should be equally entitled to certain rights typically associated with a democracy - the right to vote, to freedom of association, freedom of religion etc.

Social Inclusion forces us to go beyond the realm of formal equality and into the realm of substantive equality which is characterized by discrimination, exclusion and inequality. Social inclusion begins from the premise that it is democratic citizenship that is at risk when a society fails to develop the talents and capacities of all its members. The move to social inclusion is eroded when the rights of minorities are not respected and accommodated and minorities feel “Othered”. For social inclusion there is no contradiction between democratic citizenship and differentiated citizenship (where people can hold dual and even multiple loyalties).

In response to this reality there arose a demand among advocates for minority rights that laws and policies that were blind to differences could, despite their intentions be discriminatory. It was the Abella report that advanced the notion that equality does not mean sameness and that equality means that we have to treat differences differently. Advancing minority rights it is argued by some will have a corrosive effect on “citizenship”. It will politicize ethnicity and race and detract from the emergence of a national identity. Further it will lead to hyphenation and ultimately only reinforce the very exclusion that minority rights advocates were fighting against. What these critics fail to appreciate is the significant power and privilege enjoyed by the majority and denied to others because of their race, disability or gender. This is what Weinfeld was referring to: “…the ideals behind the rhetoric of multiculturalism have not been attained…Canadian native people and other non-whites continue to be victimized, a fact reflected in economic inequality or in patterns of social exclusion, abuse, and degredation” (Weinfeld, 1981: 69).

It is the pervasiveness of prejudice directed at disadvantaged groups and the widespread existence of discrimination that have contributed to the fragmentation, hyphenation and insularity. The major contributing factors to what Bibby calls "mosaic madness" is not the demands of minority groups rather it is the existence of racism and sexism. Racial minority groups are the latest in a long line of equity seeking groups who are tapping into the broader liberal commitment to equality and social justice. The Supreme Court of Canada noted that minority rights do not erode democratic citizenship, rather “The accommodation of differences is the essence of true equality” (cited by Kymlicka and Norman 1999: 33).

The value of social inclusion is that it fully capable of meeting the greatest challenges posed by diversity - to build on the traditions of equality espoused in liberalism and to move to the incorporation of the ideals of anti racism and anti-discrimination as core ideals exemplifying national values. Social inclusion is capable of this because it is about respect for differences and it is about the removal of barriers to effective and equitable participation in all spheres of public life. And it about more than this. It is about engaging in inclusive practices, it is about continuous evaluations of institutional, laws, policies, and practices to ensure that they promote social inclusion. Thus it is about evaluation for the purpose of public accountability.

Social Inclusion and Social Cohesion

Social cohesion is clearly not the same as social inclusion. The former does not necessarily ensure the latter, for multiple forms of exclusion can exist in a cohesive society. Nonetheless, the crucial questions persists: cohesion around what vision and inclusion to what? Are we talking about assimilation? Is this a new way of managing state minority relation? Is this “Anglo conformity” or even “multiculturalism” in a new guise? As Kymlicka and Norman point out there have been major disputes both about the legitimacy of assimilation as a way of eliminating differences, and about multiculturalism as the official recognition of differences (1999: 14-16). Social inclusion recognizes that identity formation is a complex phenomenon. For example, identity formation and social cohesion of immigrant groups in the urban environment is mediated by their histories in the sending countries, state in the host country and its multicultural practices, and is also mediated by the reality of discrimination and exclusion. In the case of Canada, an official policy of multicultural is an attempt by the state to significantly determine the nature of state /minority relations within a liberal tradition that promotes equality. The state through its multicultural policies encourages group social cohesion (preservation of cultured and language). Retention of cultural, linguistic and religious differences in a multicultural society is important in celebrating differences. However it became readily apparent to many groups that while they were developing internal social cohesion they were, at a broader level, consigned to the margins and excluded from the centres of decision making. Minority culture was not seen as part of the mainstream culture. Further there was appearing on the political horizon a backlash against celebrating difference. The dominant discourse was being framed around issues of national unity and whether unity can be forged through promoting differences.

In 1999 the City of Toronto, released a report that identity formation and social cohesion in the city was being eroded by the exclusion and marginalization experienced by many immigrant groups: “If the situation [of underrepresentation in decision making] is not addressed, as well as the incidents of hate activity and discriminatory practices and prejudicial attitudes that unfortunately continue to plague our city. It can only lead to a growing sense of frustration. (Toronto Star, June 7, 1999). Discrimination, prejudice, exclusion, marginalization in an ostensibly multicultural, multiracial city forms the context in which the search for identity and social cohesion is experienced. Representation and participation is public institutions and civic life is critical to the development of social cohesion but they constitute only one important indicator of social inclusion.

This recognition of exclusion and discrimination then prompted a reflexive or what Castells calls a “defensive” assertion of identity (Castells, 1997). The assertion of an identity against discrimination and exclusion in turn creates a sense of social cohesion that is no longer rooted simply in the desire to hold on to that which is unique. Rather social cohesion cuts across inter group identity and intra group solidarity to challenge the dominant discourse. This is precisely what Giddens is referring to when he talks of “dialogic democracy” based on a mutual respect, a shared understanding of the effects of exclusion and marginalization and the emergence of solidarity: “Dialogic democracy…concerns furthering of cultural cosmopolitanism and is a prime building block of that connection of autonomy and solidarity…dialogic democracy encourages the democratization of democracy within the sphere of the liberal-democratic polity.” (Giddens, 112).

Social inclusion is precisely about this democratization of democracy. By developing a new way of approaching old problems, by positing a radically different conception of citizenship and community, by arguing for new measures of accountability, by providing the impetus for the emergences of new modes of evaluations of public policies, by arguing for increased representation and participation by marginalized groups and above all by encouraging the development of skills talents and capacities of all social inclusion will democratize democracy.

The growth of the multicultural multiracial nation therefore is producing the conditions for the emergence of a new sense of social inclusion, what David Held calls a “cosmopolitan democracy” (Held, 1995: 226-231) that recognizes differences, respects differences and that argues for substantive equality and not just formal equality.

Making Social Inclusion Compelling

Benick and Saloojee (1996) defined an inclusive learning environment as one that “fosters the full personal, academic and professional development of all students. It is one that is free of harassment and discrimination … it is about respecting students and valuing them as partners… “ (1996: 2). Despite its narrow focus this definition comes close to Freiler’s notion of social inclusion as a process that encourages the development of talents, skills and capacities necessary for children and youth to participate in the social and economic mainstream of community life (2001: 8-10). What makes a discourse on social inclusion more compelling than one on exclusion is the following:

· Social inclusion is the political response to exclusion. Most analyses of racism and sexism for example, focus on the removal of systemic barriers to effective participation and focus on equality of opportunity. These analyses tend to be essentialist and consequently are unable to develop a comprehensive vision that cuts across all the areas of injustice. Social inclusion is about more that the removal of barriers it is about the comprehensive vision that includes all.

· Social inclusion is proactive. It is about anti-discrimination. It is not about the passive protection of rights it is about the active intervention to promote rights and it confers responsibility on the state to adopt policies that will ensure social inclusion of all members of society (not just formal citizens, or consumers or taxpayers or clients).

· Social inclusion, by virtue of the fact that it is both process and outcome can hold governments and institutions accountable for their policies. The yardstick by which to measure good government therefore becomes the extent to which it advances the wellbeing of the most vulnerable and the most marginalized in society.

· Social inclusion is about advocacy and transformation. It is about the political struggle and the political will to remove barriers to full and equitable participation in society by all. Further the vision of social inclusion is a positive vision that binds its proponents and adherents to action.

· Social inclusion is embracing. It posits a notion of democratic citizenship as opposed to formal citizenship. Democratic citizens possess rights and entitlements by virtue of their being a part of the polity not by virtue of their formal status (as immigrants, refugees, or citizens).

Social inclusion is about social cohesion plus, it is about citizenship plus, it is about the removal of barriers plus, it is anti-essentialist plus, it is about rights and responsibilities plus, it is about accommodation of differences plus, it is about democracy plus, and it is about a new way of thinking about the problems of injustice, inequalities and exclusion plus. It is the combination of the various pluses that make the discourse on social inclusion so incredibly exciting.

Conclusion

The intersection of an anti-oppression discourse with social inclusion as process and outcome is incredibly powerful impetus to social change and social cohesion. It presents a radical alternative to the dominant discourse that is steeped in liberal notions of formal equality. In the context of accommodating differences and promoting heterogeneous social cohesion there is space for the state to intervene to ensure equal treatment (equality of opportunity). Within a liberal discourse, a societal commitment to equality of opportunity ensures that all members of society are provided with the opportunity to develop their talents and capacities and secure the valued goods and services free from discrimination.

In the urban environment this requires a fundamental movement from tolerating diverse cultures to recognizing and respecting them. Social inclusion is fully capable of both recognizing the politics of difference and transcending its narrow confines precisely because it embrace an inclusive vision that suggests common purpose and shared community can be achieved through inter-group solidarity. Coalition politics comprising groups representing the “counterpublics” is now producing the conditions for the vision of social inclusion to be embraced more readily. There has never been a better time to embrace the concept of social inclusion than now. September 11 has demonstrated to us the fragility of a nation built on tolerance. We will be a much stronger country if we embrace social inclusion as a transformative tool and as a normative ideal.( http://www.ccsd.ca/subsites/inclusion/bp/as.htm)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

In Defence of Bureaucrats


By Krishna Hari Pushkar

Berlin, Germany,
In Defence of Bureaucrats, I don’t know why our friends are always so offensively attack with deluge of critics wherever we discuss about politicians or bureaucrats. I am not sure that all blames are right and true concerning all former bureaucrats. Rather to accuse them, I would say the system or our administrative culture is so hideous that they were unable to do good things. The system encouraged them for nastiest actions and they became addicted. Accordingly, there is no room for discussion to blame them individually for such sickness.

In Defence of Bureaucrats, I think we all Nepalese citizens are equally responsible for such bad governance and ill bureaucratic productivity because we never ever tried to adapt any check and balance public mechanism. I insist, in practice, Nepalese bureaucrats are not answerable towards the people; they are compel to bear accountability towards the politicians. I give you one example, if I follow the order of any partyman, may be I will get good posting, promotion or able to earn huge money in short time, if I provide good and effective service to the thousand of people, than what I get? I will get sickness, worst posting, trouble in my private life, poverty, health problem and more, so what should I prefer? It is your inbuilt system or culture that I am forced to win heart and mind of politcail people rather than a service seekers or general public. The most important thing is no one is caring publically that what I am supposed to do and what I am doing? Thus, could you imagine the status of bureaucrats? I am not sure whether such situation could be considered as a kind of slavery or independency. Please judge yourself and find who is guilty for such pathos? We should also not forget that bureaucrats are a kind of human mechine only not a principal operator at all. We know our main operators(politicians) and their qualities that what they want to do in our nation and how? You might also know about their performances that how they choose to drive state mechanisms. Further, please let me know, who is the producer of our state opearators? who elect or nominate them to work on behalf of people? Of course we all. Thence, I am concluded to write, we all Nepalese citizens are equally responsible for such bad governance and ill bureaucratic productivity. Any logics to avoide the line of reasoning?

In Defence of Bureaucrats, besides, there is also some problem with good bureaucrats, they cannot be able to expose their problems or reasons or causes during their job. We should think, are they all people worst who works in bureaucracy? Of course not! If so, why even some good people are not able to do any good things or why they are being failure, passive or collapse even they want to use huge efforts for positive outcomes? Simply, they can not expose their grief to the people during their job due to so called binding professional norms and latter they have to face unfortunately these types of balmes, insulations and charges that bureaucrats never work in favour of people. We must think, bureaucrats also need to survive, so there are no any possibilities to go away from survival line or vicious hole by acting against the maladjusted norms. Isn’t it?

In Defence of Bureaucrats, in addition, our taxes go as their salary, allowances and more but we never seek for any direct concern on such huge investment that what we are receiving instead of it? Our people frequently do strike, Nepal band, protest, hadtal, rally and more for small-small things but no effective concern on such huge services massacres. Have you heard any public protest program by general public against the bureaucratic leadership or poor service delivery system? Of course, NOt or vary rarely.

In Defence of Bureaucrats, I think just to criticizes about something is not enough until we produce counter handling. Therefore, let’s use our collective effort to improve the existing operative system respectively rather to always dominate or accuse individuals without analysing the situation or working environment of Nepalese bureaucracy.

In Defence of Bureaucrats, I really respect to the all honest bureaucrats, who spent their whole professional life in such pitiable career environment without caring the social dishonour, insulations and........... I think state and people should be thankful to them because of their sacrifice. Thank you.

(Source: This is a group email response against the attack on retired Bureaucrats in Nepal Officers Online discussion forum)

Poll without Maoists

Poll without Maoists

By DAMAKANT JAYSHI

One of the high-ranking CPN (Maoist) leaders, Ram Bahadur Thapa (Badal), is either an astrologer par excellence or seems to have got hold of a survey of some kind as to what Nepali janata (people) want. In an interview to a Nepali daily, Thapa - projected as a frontliner among the so-called hardliners in the party - said that although the party accepted the mixed electoral system, "janata rejected it". He also had the gall to say that although the party signed the agreement on mixed electoral systems - first-past-the-post and proportional - "we did not indicate we would go for the mixed system".
Whether inadvertently or with deliberate intent, Thapa exposes the cause that has held the Nepali politics, and as a consequence, the country a hostage: Maoists' duplicity and insincerity.

What amazes me is that very few observers of current impasse - whether from political parties or civil society or even the media - have nailed the problem correctly: we are in political limbo only and only because the CPN (Maoist) has violated various agreements it has reached with the then seven-party alliance (SPA) and later with the government as well as violation of agreements it signed after joining the interim parliament and the government. Civil society keeps dishing out their own versions of causes of the problems and solutions. In all these, there is suggestion to accommodate at least one of the Maoist demands. This is a classic example of good intentions undone by bad judgment.

The whole crisis is being made to look like the one between the Maoists' insistence on realizing their two pre-conditions - declaration of republic by the interim parliament before the Constituent Assembly poll and adopting fully proportional electoral system for the CA - and Nepali Congress' refusal to accede to the demands. This is a flawed, and if I may add, biased assessment.

Shouldn't the CPN (Maoist) be held accountable to the agreements they have signed? We are either keeping silent on Maoists' brazen breach of pacts, or are trying very hard to 'explain' the Maoists' 'compulsions'. In either case, we become accomplice in their designs. What is worse, we encourage them to keep violating the pledges and pacts. They know they can get away with it as they have been doing so far.

It would be handy to keep in mind that some mid-ranking - among them at least one Maoist commander - and a few senior leaders have said over time that election that does not ensure victory of revolutionaries (Maoists) cannot be a meaningful one.

The Maoists have not only been violating the agreements that are part of the peace process, their cadres have also not yet stopped their beatings, intimidation and terrorizing of people, members/leaders of other political parties and government officials. Their cadres abduct journalists (at least the whereabouts of the two is still unknown). Unfortunately, both the government and the civil society have failed to nail the Maoists on these scores by failing to do what was expected of them.

Now the party's top leaders have been busy planting seeds for future conditions. One of such seeds is their assertion that they don't want "Bihari-style" republic. None of them has cared to explain what they mean by "Bihari" republic. Bihar may be a state known largely for its lawlessness but let us not forget that the state's strongman, Laloo Prasad Yadav, and his party were dislodged from power in the last election. By the way, our own comrades fare no better when it comes to adhering to norms and the rule of law. Here the CPN (Maoist) is creating hurdles to hold the CA poll and this is where we need to focus our energy at present.

Fears that the Maoists will come out with another set of conditions to thwart the CA election are not unfounded. Do the Maoists want the election to happen? This is a question that the CPN (Maoist) has to answer, and not through press releases but through their actions. We have had reports of divisions between the 'hardliners' and those supposedly espousing sticking to agreed pacts. Whether the division within the party ranks may be real or deliberately projected, what we have to bear in mind is that the party is still one and its policies are harming the entire peace process.

The other parties must now confront and explore a difficult choice: that of holding the election without the Maoists. If at all the Maoists want an election - currently all indications are that they don't want - they will have to demonstrate it. If not, we have to think of the alternative. We simply can't allow the current impasse to linger on. The CPN (Maoist) has been sitting smug because it is confident that the other parties cannot risk jeopardizing the peace process by ignoring them and by going to election without the Maoists' participation.

Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to tell the Maoists that they have gone too far this time and that the country can hold the poll even without them. Other parties have a responsibility to ensure that the people have a shot at choosing their representatives to draw a new constitution. After all, parties are accountable to people. Most certainly the Maoists will try to disrupt the poll. I think we have laws to deal with those who create disturbances. If laws are inadequate, the interim parliament can enact a few. But let us stop remaining hostage to Maoists' blackmailing.

Contrary to what one Maoist apologist wrote recently, the ball is not in the NC's court. The ball as well as the goal-posts have been seized by the CPN (Maoist). If they refuse to play as per already agreed rules, we need to have another set of ball and goal-posts. If the Maoists want to join the game at some stage before while there is still time, they are welcome. But the game has to be played, with or without them. The onus lies with the Maoists. In the meantime, let us start working towards giving people their right to choose and decide.

damakant@kantipur.com.np





Rise of new authoritarianism



By Sarita Giri


We agree to disagree to postpone the CA election." "Down with the Jana Andolan II and down with democracy."
Perhaps the combination of the above statements explains the present political deadlock and the fact that the election has been cancelled for an indefinite period. The event has not surprised many of us, who have been watching the peace process very closely to learn how a traditionally authoritarian and feudalistic society fails or succeeds in its struggles to emerge from the old system.

After the Jana Andolan II, in which the common people defeated the forces of authoritarianism, the reign of power came into the hands of the political parties. The parties, as the major architects of the peace process, wanted to have the election very soon and that did not seem sincere and practical. A very large number of people were not convinced by parties' talks of democratization and democracy due to their handling of the peace process.

It was nearly impossible to believe that a war stricken country and its aggrieved people will be ready for the election so soon. The thought kept creeping in that the political parties are designing the peace process to take the people for their ride. Thus it is not surprising that the political parties have failed in their design as the election has been cancelled twice so far.

The phenomenon has bluntly revealed the lacuna of the peace process. And now the people are being confronted with new form of authoritarianism. Ironically, the new authoritarianism is embodied by the same political parties who led the Jana Andolan II.

Authoritarianism means a government that has the power to govern without consent of those being governed. The present government has lost the consent of the people as it has eroded the mandate of Jana Andolan. The government has increasingly become unpopular and illegitimate as different groups of people representing more than seventy percent of the population are engaged in insurgency or other forms of rebellious activities. The law and order situation is not under the control of the government. Killing, theft, abduction, road accidents and other forms of disorder have become the order of the day.

The country has experienced sectarian violence and communal madness for several times in recent months and the state has acted more as a spectator than the protector.

The burdensomely large interim parliament has functioned more as the tool of the seven parties than as the architect and protector of the peace process. It will be interesting now to see how this colossal parliament saves the interim constitution from collapsing. We should not forget that nearly two hundred and five members of this parliament were the members of the very parliament, which contributed in obvious ways to the collapse of 1990 constitution.

The interim constitution has already been violated by the executive and the Election Commission (EC) by defending or covering the unconstitutional act of the Executive and the EC, the parliament will prove itself to be the next authoritarian institution.

Knowing the old traditions, one can believe that the parliamentarians will not stand against the executive. They would defend the failings of the parties in the parliament. Many of them already have whip from their parties. The question here arises: Was there really a need of such a huge interim parliament?

The parliament is probably created to legitimize the parties ruling than to protect the interim constitution and the peace process. The party leaders by having almost all political voices of Jana Andolan II in the parliament have eliminated the possibility of critical and dissenting political voices from outside. If the interim constitution fails with the complicity of the parliamentarians of the seven parties, then situation will become precarious. The country will plunge into a deeper crisis for seemingly long period as the new political voices and forces will take time in emerging and gaining acceptability.

The Maoist proposal is a test of whether the parties are capable of politics of consensus and compromise. A party or alliance of parties may win in the voting but that will be redundant if the parties will not be able to govern the country beyond the tiny world of the parliament. The fact of the day is that the country is increasingly becoming ungovernable as the chasm between the existing institutions and the ground reality is rapidly widening. This reminds us of the circumstances in 2002 when the king imposed his authoritarian rule.

The parliament will ultimately become authoritarian if it fails in securing the constitutional order to lead the peace process to conclusion. The cabinet, without getting the constitution amended, has caused the election to be cancelled for an indefinite period through the EC. As a student of politics, I was not hoping that the EC would take the drastic decision of canceling the election going beyond the constitutional parameters.

By doing so the EC has totally eliminated the chances of an early consensus for the election in the parliament and has made confrontation and uncertainty inevitable. The EC should have waited for the special session of the parliament before finally canceling the election. By not doing so, the EC has played into the hands of the executive. The cabinet to save itself from embarrassment in the face of the Maoist proposal preferred cancellation of the election through the EC. And the constitution is the casualty.

The move of the cabinet and the EC is dangerous as according to the interim constitution, the Supreme Court cannot look into the matters of election.

The only institution which can now look into the legality of the acts of the cabinet and the EC is the parliament. Will the parliamentarians bring impeachment proposals against the prime minister and the election commissioner for violating the interim constitution?

The parliamentarians, by failing to do so, will act as the stooge of the executive and will help perpetuate the newest form of authoritarianism in Nepal.

[The writer is spokesperson of the splinter group of Nepal

Sadbhawana Party (A)]

(source: both articles are published and taken from http://kantipuronline.com)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Poll deferral is a crime against the state’

Daman Nath Dhungana was speaker of the post-1990 parliament. He was also a member of the constitutional drafting committee formed after the 1990 people's movement. Besides serving the nation in various capacities, Dhungana was actively involved in bringing the Maoists into mainstream politics, and always advocated against a military solution to the insurgency. He spoke with Puran P Bista and Kamal Raj Sigdel of The Kathmandu Post on the current predicament created after the Seven-Party Alliance (SPA) and the Maoists deferred the Constituent Assembly (CA) poll. Dhungana sums up saying it is a powerful tug of greed between the prime minister and the Maoists.

Excerpts:

Q: What will be the consequence of SPA's decision to defer the CA poll?
Dhungana: This is something that should not have happened. However, that was not something unpredictable either, mainly because the government was never enthusiastic about holding the election. But the people had hoped that the prime minister would carry out his historic responsibility at any cost. The next hope was that the seven parties, which had reached a consensus on adopting the mixed electoral system, would not retreat.

Had the government been serious and committed to holding the election, nothing could have deterred it from carrying out its responsibility; it could have disregarded the Maoists when they put forth unreasonable pre-conditions at the eleventh hour. The government's lackluster performance in election preparation and the Maoist strategy of capitalizing on its sluggishness by raising their 22-point demand clearly indicate that the SPA worked in collusion with the Maoists to postpone the CA poll.

This has an immense impact, particularly on the common people who have been suffering from various chronic problems such as strikes, bandas, unemployment, scarcity, poverty and so on. None of the national industries is doing well; there is chaos all around. The people had hoped that the CA poll would provide them some relief. And the Election Commission, too, had nourished their expectations. But in the end, the politicians completely shattered their hopes.

Even on the very day the SPA decided to put off the election, and just a few hours before the decision was made public, the prime minister had reassured Marjatta Rasi, the visiting Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, that he would hold the CA poll on schedule.

On the one hand, the prime minister said he would hold the CA poll, and on the other, he took a hasty decision to suspend it. If it was impossible to reach a consensus among the seven parties, they could have called a wider conference, inviting the civil society, professional associations, janjatis and others. During the present transitional phase, the SPA has no authority to defer the CA poll.

This is a serious betrayal of the April Movement and the people's aspirations. It is a crime against the state which cannot be pardoned. More dangerous is the people's loss of faith in these parties; they have now concluded that these parties can no longer hold the CA poll. This has disappointed all the Nepalis and the international community, which has made an immense contribution to the peace process. A sort of disenchantment has begun to set in. Who's going to hold the poll now?

Q: Were the Maoist demands genuine?

Dhungana: No. This is very undemocratic, untimely and an attempt to sabotage the peace process. There is no reason why the government should have accepted their demands. This shows that the Maoists cannot adopt a democratic method. If one commits oneself to a certain system, one must be dedicated to it. However, the prime minister and the SPA, too, have weaknesses. They should not have deferred the poll just because the Maoists raised those demands. They could have forged a middle path. I clearly see the working collusion between the NC and the Maoists; they are working together not to hold the CA poll on November 22.

Q: How can you say that the NC was working in collusion with the Maoists to defer the poll?

Dhungana: Because the prime minister was not in a condition to hold the CA poll. The CA poll was just a strategic step for the Maoists, their first aim being a republic and then ultimately “state capture”. So, the way was opened for the Maoists when they led the parties up to the CA. Now, they have come to the second stage, i.e., the republic, and their third stage is “state capture”. It would have been impossible to reach their target through the CA, so they brought forward their proposal for a republic. I feel that the prime minister is slowly falling under the grip of the Maoist strategy. Though they may think that they have succeeded strategically, they have failed to assure the general public that they are part of the democratic process.

Q: Now that the SPA has flouted the interim constitution, where and how do you see its validity?

Dhungana: This has taken us to an uncertainty and instability of a serious scale, and to a period of delicate transition within the transition. This has also questioned the interim constitution. This government's legitimacy was already in question when it failed to hold the CA polls in June as stated in the interim constitution. This has questioned the entire process and activities of the political parties. Q: What do you think went wrong?

Dhungana: The political parties failed to give importance to national interests. Even at times of national crises, they gave importance to partisan and vested interests. Each party calculated its benefits and loses from going to the CA poll. They did not take it as an election to write the new constitution, but as a parliamentary election. So they tried to write the constitution to suit themselves therein. This shows that partisan interests will keep increasing; they cannot solve the national problem. Such a situation may come again. Parliament may also be strangled in a deadlock; such a possibility cannot be ruled out. Even if they do come to a decision, they won't be able to implement it. If, today, the Maoists can take one stand and create problems which victimize other parties, tomorrow, another party may do the same thing. So the SPA has strangled the nation itself.

Q: What could be the right way of solving the current political quagmire then?

Dhungana: The only solution is realization; the SPA should realize that it completely failed to solve the problem. And the prime minister should call a national conference because the SPA alone cannot represent the entire nation. Neither can the SPA make any decision. We gave them a mandate at a point in time, but we cannot trust them again. They must go to a wider conference where they should make it clear why they failed to hold the CA poll. They should accept whatever the conference suggests; if it confers them another mandate, they should go ahead with it. Whoever it assigns must take the responsibility.

I think now that the Maoists will again oppose the CA poll at the eleventh hour. They have established a bad precedent; the prime minister has accepted that. If the Maoists did it today, tomorrow the NC and then the UML can do it too. And in this manner, the CA will be postponed indefinitely. This shows that neither the SPA nor parliament could do the job. So they must form a national council, which alone can provide an exit out of the current political quagmire.

Q: Don't you think that the Maoists had the intention of reaching a point from where they could jump to their goal of “state capture” via the CA drama?

Dhungana: We cannot doubt them. They came forward to join the movement, they actively took part in writing the interim constitution, they signed different peace accords, they joined the interim parliament and the government, they cut down their violent activities significantly and they were ready to give up arms. All these activities showed their commitment to a democratic process. But gradually, they started thinking in strategic terms. When they got to the CA poll and found that it could not help them meet their objective, they—after leading all the parties to the CA—set their strategic plan into action. This was a test for the prime minister and the SPA. And they failed because they thought that it would be impossible to hold the CA poll without taking the Maoists into confidence.

Q: Why do you think the prime minister was not prepared to hold the CA poll?

Dhungana: I think the prime minister had a conflicting state of mind. On the one hand, he was conscious that he should not miss the historic opportunity. On the other, he provoked the tarai, and staged the Lahan, Gaur and Kapilvastu incidents, whereas the tarai contributed to the April movement to a great deal. And it is the tarai which needs the CA most. He did not make serious efforts to bring the armed groups to a dialogue.

Instead, he created new groups and held separate talks. Instead of dealing with each group separately, he should have convinced them that they should go for the CA because that only would settle everyone's demands. His way of giving assurances to each and every demand was undemocratic. Next, he should have been able to give a point-to-point answer to the Maoists that the issues which have been settled already by the agreement would not be changed. Currently, the nation is bonded by the SPA, and the SPA is bonded by the Maoists.

Q: You mean the Maoists took such an adamant stand because the SPA tried to sideline them?

Dhungana: We cannot see inside the party, but this is true: the government's negligence provoked Madhes and that created a situation which was not conducive to holding a free and fair CA poll. I don't see any reason why there should be violence in Madhes, and why the Maoists should give up arms before the CA. No sensible man can believe that Madhes does not want the CA poll to be held. Madhes needs the CA most.

Q: Now that the parties have called a special session of the interim parliament. How do you respond to this effort?

Dhungana: I don't want to comment on that. That is according to the provision of the interim constitution. However, it is not sure whether there will be any consensus on the Maoist proposal. The government's notice reads: “The election is deferred due to the calling of the House meeting.” If there was a need for a House meeting, they could have called it earlier when the Maoists were demanding not to end the House session. So, I can claim with full confidence that the NC, the prime minister and the Maoists were working hand-in-glove to defer the poll.

Q: Many blame the prime minister for often taking decisions alone. As a result, the Maoists felt left out and began raising such demands at the last moment.

Dhungana: There is no reason for the SPA to isolate the Maoists. The main thing is that there is a lack of trust and confidence between the SPA and the Maoists. The CA was neither in the SPA's proposal nor was it the aim of the Maoists. The CA was a Maoist strategy to go from one stage to another. They took part in the movement, which is why they had to accept the constitution. The SPA, therefore, had to agree on holding the CA, which was never on their agenda. This was the reason why the Maoists supported the movement.

Though the Maoists and the SPA worked together, they never established a relation of trust. They kept on wrangling and competing with each other. And the other parties could never trust the Maoists. Some political parties did not even like the idea of bringing them into mainstream politics. There was an element in each party that wanted to exclude them. This is also one reason behind this failure.

Q: It is also reported that after the plenum, the Maoist hardliners had the upper hand in the party, and that the leadership was forced to raise such demands just before the poll was to be held. Do you agree with this analysis?

Dhungana: This is an internal matter; we cannot get into that and say anything. The Maoists came to an agreement. Probably, there was some reservation within the party, but they agreed to negotiate with the Koirala government. The leaders who did the negotiating—Prachanda, Baburam, Mahara—faced difficulties in convincing their cadres that they are not more into the prime minister's agenda; and day by day they found it difficult to establish trust in the prime minister's assurance, too. Therefore, I think a gap was created between the three leaders and the rest of the Maoists. Probably, this forced the leadership to pose the demands at the eleventh hour in deference to the party's instructions.

If the Maoists had agreed to face the CA poll under the same mixed electoral system, the sky would not have fallen upon them. They could have finalized a constitution at last; they could have improved it later. But they put a hurdle on the way, and the prime minister and the SPA agreed to that. Such activities will happen again. The SPA has committed a big mistake.

Q: Was it possible for the government to accept the Maoist demands?

Dhungana: Every system has its advantages and disadvantages. But if you agree on something, you must stick to it. You cannot change your horse midstream. The manner of the Maoists became more strategic but never democratic. Had there been a situation of risk, the prime minister should have dared to take it. But it was his mistake to accept those demands. If the Maoists are not going to correct themselves, we must be prepared to hold the election whether or not they come to an agreement. Otherwise, we cannot correct them, for what we want primarily is to correct the Maoists by teaching them the democratic value system.

Q: At such a critical point in time, what should be the role of the civil society?

Dhungana: We are just opinion makers. If needed, we can influence opinion as per the rationality of the demand. We are not an organized force. The parties should do the work. If the parties fail to do anything, we will be forced to make an opinion.

Q: You suggested calling a national conference. What if the SPA did not do that?

Dhungana: If the SPA does not go in that direction, the interim government will face a crisis of legitimacy; the interim parliament, the interim constitution, the interim government and the entire process will face a legitimacy crisis. The international community has also warned that Nepal will be in a trap of a new kind of instability and conflict.

Q: There are worries that, amid the political instability, regressive forces will pop up their heads. What is your observation?

Dhungana: Leave aside regressive forces, what have these so-called progressive forces done? If regressive forces resurface, I say that progressive forces have invited them. When progressive forces act like regressive ones, it is sure that regressive forces will come forward. But regressive forces cannot make a comeback only because the progressive ones failed to yield any result. Unfortunately, the progressive ones do not have the will power to carry out the national responsibility they have shouldered. The leadership should be very strong and committed, and it should be able to say NO to any force which raises inapt demands at the eleventh hour and be able to hold the election on time.

Q: Some argue that the interim parliament could be turned into a constituent assembly. What is your opinion?

Dhungana: This is a matter of simplifying the process of the CA. I had already said it observing the activities of these parties. These are the options we can discuss. We cannot hang on to the interim constitution for long. Some alternatives should be sought. So to solve the crisis, all the stakeholders, which include not only the parties but also the civil society, academia, professional associations and others, can sit down and find a solution to end the interim period. I therefore had said that we needed a national conference. I wish that the prime minister takes the initiative. Such a conference will be sanctioned only if the prime minister or the government takes the initiative. And so I repeat, the prime minister should first say how to form such a council, then he should share all the problems and future courses of action and explore options for CA. And then the prime minister, as head of state, should execute the best option discussed and agreed upon by the council. That will receive legitimacy.
(Source: http://www.kantipuronline.com/kolnews.php?&nid=125662)

Nepalis Face Indian Military Threat




By Mohan Nepali, Kathmandu:
The Nepalis have felt a growing Indian military threat in the recent days. Dozens of criminal armed gangs specializing in robberies and killing and arson have been active in the Terai (the plain region bordering India) of Nepal. In March 2007, local eyewitnesses of Nepal did confirm that dozens of armed criminals from the orders of the northern Indian province entered Rautahat district and helped the Nepali criminal gangs carry out massacres and rapes at Gaur. It is known as the Gaur massacre. Eyewitnesses even confirmed that several Indian vehicles were also used for the crime. However, Nepal’s media highly influenced and manipulated by feudal elites propagated the Gaur massacre as clash between two armed groups. In fact, no field reports prepared by Nepal’s human rights institutions have proved that there was any clash between two armed groups. Instead, their reports categorically referred to it as ‘Gaur massacre’ carried out by one pre-planned armed criminal group against unarmed political activists who gathered for their purely political mass meeting.

Earlier than the Gaur massacre, Nepalgunj, an important western city of Nepal, suffered from communal violence in which widespread robberies and arson, organized and pre-planned, caused Nepal losses worth billions. Since Nepal entered into strategically vital peace process, communal violence has been forcefully initiated at the initiative of extremist Indian Hindus. They want to expand their Hinduist politics across Nepal with the help of feudal monarchy. This is the root of communal violence they want to institutionalize in Nepal in the manner they did in India. For example, more than 2,000 people died in Indian in the communal violence in 1992. Hindus and Muslims there had a dispute regarding whether the land of Ram Janam Bhoomi Babri Masjid belong to Hindus or Muslim. Just in the name of Ram Temple or Babri Mosque, that many people died.

The Nepalis have proofs that certain Terai leaders, who enjoy privileges in Kathmandu, have clandestine relationships with extremist Hindus belonging to the Vishwo Hindu Parishad (VHP), the Rastriya Swayam Sewa Sangh (RSS), the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) and the Shiva Sena (SS). Upendra Yadav, Jwala Singh, Jaya Krishna Goit, Laxman Karna and several others carrying Nepali political tags frequently hold meetings with India’s extremist Hindu party leaders and take direct instructions from them as to how to conflagrate conflicts in Nepal.

Shiva Sena leader from India, while in Kathmandu, openly told a former Royal ADC and current World Hindu Federation Chief General Bharat Keshar Singh to raise arms for protecting feudal monarchy in Nepal. This can show some kind of hidden desire of Indian Hindu extremists. In this context, the official version of the Indian government is definitely different. No country officially declares its policy against a neighboring country’s sovereignty. But what happens at informal levels greatly affects the attitude of people in both countries concerned.

In the recent Kapilvastu massacre, too, many civilians of Nepali origin were killed in the communal violence. The Nepali government has mischievously tried to cover up the number of deaths. Informal sources based on local informants have already indicated the number of deaths as more than 34.

There was no culture of ruthless communal violence among the Nepalis in the whole anthropological history of Nepal. But the imported communal crimes are almost daily taking Nepalis’ lives. As India has already been plagued with communal violence, it is beyond control. The Indian government and Indian leadership have even ceased to discuss and debate about them. The agenda of communal violence have been quite minorized in India where there is a population of 1.15 billion. But if communal violence is conflagrated in Nepal, where there is a population of only 30 million, it can communalize the nation’s politics and everything. Besides, as Nepal has open borders with India, the country’s nationality researchers have already pointed out that Nepali citizenship certificates have at gunpoint been awarded to more than two million Indians. If this research outcome is accurate and demographically verified, it is huge threat to Nepali sovereignty.

Indian elites usually undermine Nepal. For example, the Nepalis protested when an Indian film actress Madhuri Dixit, during her visit in Nepal several years back, said Nepal was a province within India. Indian secretaries undervalue even Nepal’s prime minister. They frequently meet Nepal’s prime minister and issue political instructions to Nepali political parties. Anyone interested in Indo-Nepal disputes and issues can easily have access to Indian and Nepali media where there is confirmation of this point. Nepal has nominal trade with China. Nepal is the largest market for Indian businesses. The imbalance like this in Nepal’s trade relations has even affected Nepal’s negotiating power. Indian movies and music have captured more than 90 percent market in Nepal. Culturally, Nepali psychological tastes have been molded indianizedly.

Politically, capitulationist leaderships time and again by hook or crook reach power and sign illogical water treaties with India.

Thus, India has deepened its political, cultural, geographical, economic and other influences in Nepal. When General Ashok Mehata, a defense advisor and expert on Nepal told the BBC that India can without hesitation send its troops to Kathmandu. This cannot be ignored only as a piece of personal expression. It is a sign of something being cooked in India regarding Nepal. As Nepal has been entrapped in a political impasse, this is what others may try to benefit from. But the Nepalis are the staunchest and fearless fighters of the 21st century and they have proved this globally even today. They are capable of defending their national sovereignty and identity. This is their strength. While respecting interdependence, they are conscious enough to protect their nation. At present, they are struggling against two forces: feudal rulers at home and the threat from external aggressors.

The crux of the current political crisis the Nepalis face is status quoism. After they replace the most corrupt, morally and politically bankrupt leaderships, they will be able to accelerate their multidimensional progress. At present, they need to take the side of overall transformation defeating all kinds of subtle feudalistic efforts.http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/print.html?path=HL0710/S00207.htm


*********************

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Homework on Indo-Nepal relation: Questions:

The list of questions: If you feel you are qualified, in that case please move forward and answer at least few of below mentioned questions. You may help by sending your opinions to us in admin.nepalofficers@gmail.com, that would submit directly through our effective channel to the concerned authorities for their consideration.


1) Given the changing circumstances in both India and Nepal how relevant is the 1950 Peace and Friendship Treaty? Is there any need to examine the Treaty?

2) If yes what are the aspects that need to be changed?

3) Can India and Nepal ever think of a closed border system? What are the implications of closing the border and making it a normal international border regime?

4) What role can India play in making the theme of New Nepal more robust and inclusive?

5) How does the changing Nepal look at India and its ‘special relations’ with Nepal?

6) Which are the areas that need India’s extensive support in the reconstruction of Nepal?

7) Does Nepal find any models from India worth replicating in meeting the challenges triggered by rising ethnic aspirations in the former?

8) Does Nepal feel and see any kind of Indian influence in the ongoing problems in Terai?

9) What should be the Indian role in addressing the problems in Terai areas of Nepal?

10) Will the newer political alignments impact upon the India-Nepal relations? What are the major aspects that are going to be affected?

11) "India as an opportunity”, is a prolific proposal floated by the policy makers in India. What are the ways Nepal could harness this opportunity?

12) What are the conditions that would bind/divide India and Nepal together for years to come?

13) Is the policy of equi-distance as practiced by Nepal more relevant today?

14) Where does the US figure in the schematic of New Nepal?

15) What is the most desirable role for the US and UK in Nepal?

16) How much of Indian federalism and federal practices are relevant for the New Nepal?

17) What is the likely fall out of the Maoist proposal to stop recruitment of Gurkha soldiers from Nepal in the Indian army?

18) Has India lost its traditionally built constituency in Nepal, if yes why? What are the ways to rebuild the same?

19) Should India change its traditional diplomatic approach to Nepal including the much talked about ‘interventionist role’? In what way?

20) What are the strengths and weaknesses of Indian trade with, aid to and investment in Nepal? Are there any specific means to make these instruments more effective and gainful to both these countries?

21) Why Nepal does not follow the Bhutanese model in the harnessing of water resources jointly with India?

22) What are the models available for India and Nepal to harness the hydel power in the best possible manner?

23) Do the perceived threats from India have undergone any change in the last 3-4 decades? If yes why and how?

24) What are the non-traditional threats (including environmental security) that have emerged in Nepal and in what way it can engage India to address these threats?

25) What are the specific ways of making people to people contact more effective between India and Nepal?

26) How does Nepal look at India’s proposals of spreading and strengthening physical connectivity between India and Nepal?

27) How does Nepal look at China’s proposal to have more intensive economic exchanges including in the services and hydel power sector?

28) How does Nepal look at India’s role in Bhutanese refugee problems?
29) What are the institutions in Nepal that need India’s support for both establishing it firmly and sustaining it?

30) What can change the “anti-Indianism” as the primary basis of “Nepali nationalism”?

31) NGOs: what role they can play in strengthening India-Nepal relations?

32) Do you foresee any formal strategic pact of Nepal with its neighbouring countries?

33) What are the likely major deviations in Nepal’s traditional approach to India, if the CPN (Maoist) is voted into power in Nepal?

34) What are the issues and ways on which India and Nepal can effectively work together in the international forum?
35) Could India and Nepal work together in managing the migrants working abroad?

36) We are fast moving into a situation where there is a possibility of trade in services like communications, banking, insurance, IT taking place in a bid way between India and Nepal? What are your views on this? (Source: kantipuronline)

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