[Audio: Hindi] Prashant Jha on Upper Caste Madhesis taking the Sorry Pledge

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.

 

Media figures call for Release of Himal Editor Kanak Mani Dixit

New Delhi, April 23 — Editors and media figures as well as intellectuals and scholars from India, Nepal, Bangladesh, UK, US, Australia and Sri Lanka have called for the release of Himal editor and prominent Nepali journalist Kanak Mani Dixit who was arrested yesterday in Katmandu by anti-graft officials.

The following is the text of the statement:

It is with deep concern that we have learned of the arrest today of Kanak Mani Dixit, the widely respected founder-editor of Himal Media and a courageous voice for transparency, freedom of expression and democratic rights in Nepal and across South Asia. The charges are related to alleged corruption but Kanak Dixit says it is part of a vendetta pursued against him by people in Government.

We have known Kanak Dixit as a true professional, human rights defender and energetic journalist whose credentials are built on robust research and tremendous courage. Himal Media, a pioneer in South Asia journalism, has published Himal South Asia, Nepali Times and Himal Khabar Patrika (in the Nepali language). He has written extensively for international media including leading newspapers in India and is chairman of Sajha Yatayat, a state run transportation company, which he has been turning around from a loss-making entity. Continue reading “Media figures call for Release of Himal Editor Kanak Mani Dixit”

Solidarity Statement from Writers and Activists in Nepal

We stand with JNU From Nepal

We are deeply concerned by recent developments in one of India’s premier academic institutions, Jawaharlal Nehru University. The fact that Mr. Kanhaiya Kumar, JNUSU president, has been arrested and accused of sedition for a speech meant to promote more meaningful dialogue on civil liberties and freedom to dissent is an attack on the freedom of expression,a universal value which ought to be at the heart of any center of learning.

The Indian state apparatus has come out aggressively to demean and dismiss an institution’s independent practice of scholarship. This should be a cause of concern, not only to the citizens of India, but to each individual who envisions a more equal and just society. Because the impulse to stifle dissent begins incrementally, but then it becomes a barrage, a torrent, and an avalanche until it smothers every differing voice. Such attempts at stifling any voice at all should be condemned unequivocally.

We, the signatories from Nepal as listed below, unequivocally condemn the oppression of dissent at Jawaharlal Nehru University. We condemn in the clearest terms the actions of the Indian state and non-state mechanisms that have shown alarming vigor towards silencing dissent and curbing free speech.

Manjushree Thapa, Writer

Khagendra Sangraula, Writer

CK Lal, Writer

Kishore Nepal, Writer

Hari Roka, Writer/JNU Alumni

Continue reading “Solidarity Statement from Writers and Activists in Nepal”

Stop Interfering in Nepal : Statement in Protest Against India’s Interference

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”

Nepal – An Earthquake Diary : Mallika Shakya

This is a guest post by MALLIKA SHAKYA

The earthquake in Nepal had been overdue for a while. At one level everyone knew that the 7.9 Richter scale jolt came from the continuing collision between the Indian and Himalayan plates. At another level, Nepalis internalized this seismic science by counterposing 2015 with personal memories of the 1934 earthquake which was the last big one in a seismic belt that shuddered every seventy or so years. Every family had stories about how some or other grand old person in the family perished under the rubble while someone else had a narrow escape, how a particular house needed to be rebuilt from scratch while another could be just mended in parts, or how one brave grand uncle mustered the courage to walk into the rubble to pull out a sack of rice so that the family could eat, so on and so forth Continue reading “Nepal – An Earthquake Diary : Mallika Shakya”

A Future for the Left: Ravi Sinha

Guest post by RAVI SINHA

It is with considerable satisfaction and with a mild sense of accomplishment that we arrive at this moment. For those of us who have been a part of this process, it has been an exciting but difficult journey. One little climb is over. After every climb, howsoever small, one gains a view. And a view we have gained.

I speak of satisfaction, and of a sense of accomplishment. But, I also speak of trepidation. I do so because a climb much steeper and far more challenging begins from here.

We have gained a view, admittedly still hazy, but much clearer than the one we had in the valley we come from. Most of the climb, however, lies ahead of us.

Fortunately, it is not like climbing in the mountains. Fortunately, metaphors have their limitations. There, in the mountains, as you gain height, the air gets thinner and climbers begin to drop out. There, it gets lonely at the top.

The terrain of history is different. Climbing has a different meaning in the movement. Here, the air gets thicker as you climb higher. Here, you join others as you gain a clearer view. With clarity comes a higher but broader platform for unity.

Here, a summit is reached when an entire revolutionary class stands united in its resolve to overturn the status quo. Here, a summit is gained when an invincible mass of humanity comes together to bend the course of history. Continue reading “A Future for the Left: Ravi Sinha”

Forging a Nepal for all its peoples

As the constitutional endgame approaches, Nepal is witnessing its most fierce and polarised political debate since the process to transform the state began with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2006. Strikingly, it is not a battle between political parties, but different social groups.

This is the battle over the nature of federalism, the boundaries of future states, and the names and number of provinces. The issue of state restructuring perhaps resonates most among ordinary citizens, especially those belonging to communities excluded from the power structure due to their ethnic, caste, regional and religious identities. It is a battle that has been fought in Constituent Assembly (CA) committees, the State Restructuring Commission, and in the past week, on the streets. Continue reading “Forging a Nepal for all its peoples”