In the second instance of what I hope will become a regular feature on Kafila, I caught up with fellow journalist and Kafila contributor Prashant Jha on the We Are Sorry Campaign for Social Reform in Madhes , where upper-caste Nepali Hindus acknowledge they have benefited from the centuries long oppression of pretty much everyone else.
In our conversation Prashant addresses the substantive and well-founded criticism of the pledge [another example of upper-castes setting the terms of debate and discourse, largely symbolic] as well as broader questions of Nepali politics and nation-hood.
He will respond to comments on this site. Let me know if there are any particular themes you would like us to explore in our new audio work. All audio files in this series are freely downloadable, and shareable – so you can download them to your phone and listen on your commute to where ever.
The Constituent Assembly’s ‘Committee to protect and preserve National Interests’ has suggested that a passport regime be introduced at the Nepal-India border. Committee Chair Amik Sherchan has said this is necessary to ‘protect waning Nepali nationalism’ and ‘to treat both China and India equally’. Sherchan claimed that ‘majority of the Nepali people share this view’, an assertion hard to believe.
The clamour to end the open border relationship comes from three different quarters of the Kathmandu (and yes this is confined to the capital) political spectrum. The first is the nationalists who borrow the Westphalian notion of absolutely sovereign nation states. In this version, the Nepali state has never been totally independent because it has not controlled the movement of people across its boundaries. The act of walking across unchallenged is seen as an attack on state authority. Continue reading Closed minds
(Three years back, Nepal was in the middle of a miserable war. 7 people were killed every day, mostly by the army but also by a ruthless Maoist military. An autocratic monarch ruled from his palace in Kathmandu. The street agitation led by established parties was not going anywhere. The Maoists were waging an armed struggle with control over most of the hill hinterland, as well as the strength to block supplies to the capital. There was a political deadlock among the three power centers and a military stalemate between the Royal Nepal Army and the People’s Liberation Army. Continue reading Understanding the Nepali mandate