Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Prejudiced Nepalese Media and Anti-Khas Madhesis

By Krishna Hari Pushkar

There are accusations against Nepalese Media that Khas dominated media and news agencies are still remained prejudiced towards the Madhes and Madhesis people. A justifiable incident has been observed during the sworn program of newly appointed Ministers of Prachanda’s cabinet on 23rd of August, 2008 at President House of Nepal. In that program most of the newly appointed Ministers of Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF) were sworn into their mother tongue Maithili. However, the majorities' propagandist Nepalese Media were frequently reported, the sworn were taken into Hindi by Madhesi ethnic Ministers. Perhaps they wanted to create similar terrible hoo-hahs that occurred while Vice President Permanendra Jha took sworn into Hindi. This time people did not give importance to the propaganda of prejudiced media reports.

Madhesi people accuse the Khas media men of having some auto- translatable Hindi version sensor control earphone in their brain which gets automatically activated when they appear on any program related to the Madhesis. Hence, whatever the languages (Maithili, Bhojpuri or Awadhi) used by Madhesi fellows, the sensor control the reporters use to converts the language into Hindi only. Due to this technical problem, the reporters always report through their respective media that the Madhesi leaders only speak and promote Hindi. The prejudiced reporters spared propagandas that Madhesi want to make Nepal as a Sikkim or another state of India by promoting the Hindi language, clothing and Hindi performance in national ceremony. Actually, such claims are totally wrong and indicate some mental disorder of Nepalese prejudiced reporters. Thus, the Nepalese propagandist media always try to create disorder and battle between Khas and Madhesis people by manipulating such issues. There are no counter legal actions until now against such propagandists who spread Maithili version sworn into Hindi.

Some of the Madhesis feel more prosperous, prestigious and superior when they act and speak in Hindi. Personally, I am a Madhesi and my mother tongue is Maithili, so I prefer to speak Nepali when I have to speak other than Maithili, because Nepali is our national language and provides a better means of communication in Madhes and other parts of Nepal.

Nationalization and mainstreaming of Hindi is not highly regarded among Nepalese citizens due to the neocolonial grand design of India. Madhesis will not agree to lose their mother tongue and promote or accept Hindi as a means of common language in the Madhes region. Hindi should not be established and promoted as a second language for Madhesis people. I have read some baseless political claims and manipulated Media reports that Hindi is the major means of communication in Madhes and its people, who have other than Nepali mother tongues. It is totally wrong. I and other Madhesis would also prefer to see our own mother tongues such as Maithili, Bhojpuri, Tharu and Awadhi or Nepali etc., as means of communication in Madhes. We do not have to find or substitute our mother tongues or national languages with Hindi. We are better at and completely comfortable with our own languages.

In addition, there are facts the Nepalese media use to translate the Maithili, Bhojpuri, Tharu and Awadhi, etc., into Hindi. People become angry and are compelled to use less popular languages and behavior to oppose and keep separate our identity from imposed Khas languages and its culture.

There are also problems in Madhesis parts where they suffer from some anti-Nepali language phobic neurosis. Even common Nepali, Madhesi as well as all other indigenous, tribal, etc. people love to listen or act the official works, statements, speeches, discussions, behaviors or communications things either in their own mother tongue or national language Nepali. However, some top Madhesi leaders use Hindi in national events. No one can understand such anxiety. These Madhesi leaders frequently speak Nepali everywhere including in office, interviews, home, radio program and the place of formal-informal communication, routine life, and elsewhere. Why do they not like to speak or use their mother tongue or national language Nepali while they appear in formal national events or ceremony or places such as sworn ceremonies or in parliament?

Now it is a research question to know that why the Nepalese media use Hindi language card against the Madhes- and Madhesi people and why the Madhesi leaders also use the same card against Nepali language or Khas people. Khas claims that Madhesis use Hindi just to please Indian authorities and Madhesis claim Hindi as common language of Madhes. Therefore, the issues are really complex. Hence, the Nepalese media and the Madhesis people have to rethink seriously on the language conflict of Nepal. Otherwise, the language violence will continue, if both parties do not come to an agreement. The nation should urgently focus on amicably resolving the language chaos.

(Mr. Pushkar is affiliated with Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of Nepal)

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