After seven tumultuous years following the overthrow of the more than two century old monarchy which led to elections to form a Constituent Assembly, and many governments failing to fulfill the task of finalizing a Constitution, at last on 20th September the President of Nepal has promulgated the new Constitution amidst support from overwhelming majority of the CA and people. The Constitution creates seven states in a secular, federal system. Continue reading Stop Interfering in Nepal : Statement in Protest Against India’s Interference
India can continue to let its suspicion of the Maoists be the over-riding objective of its Nepal policy or seek to play a pro-active role in engineering the kind of consensus it has done since 2005.
First published in The Hindu yesterday.
Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao arrives in Kathmandu on her maiden visit today, at a time when Nepal is grappling with its most serious and prolonged political crisis since the peace process began. India has to make certain difficult policy choices, reconcile the contradictions between its stated aims and actions, determine whether it remains committed to the process it helped facilitate, and use its leverage accordingly.
The fragile Madhav Nepal-led ruling coalition faces a severe crisis of legitimacy and a belligerent Maoist opposition. The Maoists have boycotted the legislature-parliament, paralysing government business to the extent that the budget has not yet been passed. They have demanded a house discussion on President Ram Baran Yadav’s “unconstitutional action” over-riding the Maoist government’s decision to sack the then Army Chief General Rukmangad Katawal in early May — a demand rejected by the other parties in government who see no wrong in what the President did. The Maoists have also launched a street movement, with the slogan of instituting “civilian supremacy” and a “Maoist-led national government.” Continue reading Engaging Nepal: some difficult questions
Once upon a time, only a hundred or so years ago, and earlier, Iranians were our neighbours. Many were friends, relatives – uncles, grandparents, ancestors, some were husbands, wives and lovers. And cities like Delhi, Lucknow, Murshidabad and Hyderabad spoke Persian better than they spoke English, or even Hindi. The distance from Tehran and Isfahan to Delhi, Lucknow and Lahore, or across the water from Bandar Abbas to Bombay or Karachi, in miles and in the imagination, seemed less than what we can even begin to understand today.
The Bengal renaissance had one of its points of origin in a Persian broadsheet called Mirat ul Akhbar published by Ram Mohan Roy in Calcutta. The first Iranian talking film and the last ‘Irani’ restaurant both have their origins in Bombay. The Sabk-e-Hindi, or the ‘Indian Style’ continued to adorn the more ornate fringes of Persian poetry in Iran. The miniatures painted in the ateliers of Delhi and Agra owed a great deal to the paints, brushes, colours and visions of visiting masters from Tabriz. The sitar and the sarod came from Iran, and stayed on. We shared jokes and stories, poets, prophets and pranksters, wine and spices, surnames (Kirmani, Rizvi, Mashadi, Yazdi) and clan histories, heresies and wisdom and a thousand other things that neighbours, friends, cousins and lovers share.