External Affairs

India and Nepal Must Step Back from the Precipice

Since the constitutional issue is primarily internal to Nepal, Kathmandu has to move towards accommodating Madhes. Likewise, Indian policy makers need to realise that any amount of coercive diplomacy, intended or unintended, declared or undeclared, has its limits.

End of the Road. Credit: Bo Jayatilaka/Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

End of the Road. Credit: Bo Jayatilaka/Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

India-Nepal relations have been trapped into an uncomfortable and undesirable bind. If the recent statements made by the two countries at the UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva – where Nepal’s Universal Periodic Review was up for discussion –  are of any indication, the bind is getting from bad to worse.

This bind has been created and is being driven by untenable and irrational perceptions at two levels – between Kathmandu and the Madhes people, and between Kathmandu and New Delhi.

In Kathmandu’s assessment, the Madhesis who are agitating for inclusiveness and justice under the recently promulgated constitution do not deserve anything more than what they have already been given; i.e. two provinces and inadequate (disproportionate) representation. In the perception of Kathmandu’s rulers, the Madhesis are incapable of waging a sustained agitation; they are like “flies” that will run away just with a “few shots fired in the air”. They believe the Madhes leadership is fragmented, opportunist, and can be browbeaten or bought. The fact that the Madhes agitation has not been controlled even after more than two months and nearly fifty deaths, they believe, is primarily due to India’s support. If therefore, as is being argued, Kathmandu can force India to distance itself from the Madhes issue, the agitation will tire out and the issue would wither away.

Indian assumptions

As for Indian policy makers, they believe Kathmandu’s leaders took India for granted, ignoring New Delhi’s pleas for an inclusive constitution. They refused to honour promises made by them to the Madhesi and marginalised tribal (janjati) groups, and also to Indian leaders, that these groups will be taken on board. The constitutional process was fast tracked to deliver a pre-designed constitution ignoring the legitimate claims of the Madhes. Therefore, the Indian strategists assert, calibrated coercive diplomacy is the only instrument left with New Delhi to make Kathmandu see reason. Hence, not only disapproval of the new constitution and expressions of open support for Madhes, but also a calculated restrictive movement of essential good to Nepal by India has been woven into this diplomacy. New Delhi does not believe Kathmandu’s attempt to mobilise China is a viable and long-term option. It hopes, therefore, that eventually Kathmandu will be forced to see reason and seek ways to accommodate the Madhes. India also hopes that international pressure from elsewhere – particularly from the US, Japan and the European Union – will come into play to discourage Nepal from using the China option and persisting with its aggressive policy towards the Madhes.

There are obvious flaws in both these assessments. The Kathmandu leadership needs to realise that the social and political dynamics in the Madhes have been radically transformed, particularly since the 2005-06 Jan Andolan (Peoples’ Movement)-II. The so-called dhoti-clad Madhesis are now backed by aware, assertive and organised jeans-wearing youth. This generation has no stakes in accepting the domination of the Kathmandu based hill-upper castes and is willing to pick up arms and even raise the separatist flag if pushed to the wall. The Madhes-Maoist clash of 2007 was a clear indication of this kind of a change. Recall the breakaway of Matrika Yadav from the Maoist mother organisation and the rise of leaders like C.K. Rout to enhance Madhes identity. The Tharu leader, Vijay Gachhadar is being disowned by many of his rank and file because of his alliance with the Kathmandu rulers. Those Madhesi leaders who still hang on for political crumbs from the big parties dominating Kathmandu, are finding it difficult to visit their home constituencies in the Terai. This new and agitated Madhes will surely take help from India or any other source available, but will not be used as pawns in anybody’s strategic games. The sooner the Kathmandu rulers recognise this, and rework their approach towards Madhes, the better it is. The sharpening of the ethnic divide is not in the interest of Nepal’s unity, stability and progress, now or ever. There are umpteen instances to draw lessons from the neighbourhood and elsewhere for Nepal in this respect.

Likewise, Indian policy makers need to realise that any amount of coercive diplomacy, intended or unintended, declared or undeclared, has its limits.

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The unofficial Indian blockade has led to petrol shortages in Nepal. Credit: dainiknews.com

The situation in Nepal today is not akin to 1988-89, when the trade and transit treaty had collapsed and the erstwhile king was whipping up anti-Indian nationalism. Post the 2005-06 Jan Andolan-II, Nepal is a different place. It is democratic, awakened, vibrant and assertive. To punish a whole population in order to put pressure on a powerful ruling coterie is counter-productive. A huge new constituency of India haters has been created in Nepal as a consequence of Modi’s coercive diplomacy. Even if the Beijing card is not immediately viable, opportunities have been opened for China in Nepal that may not give comfort to India in the long run. The international community for its own diverse reasons may not question India’s approach towards Nepal but its loud claims to carrying its smaller neighbours along have suffered credibility in the light of the pain being inflicted on ordinary Nepalis.

Urgent need to step back

In sum, both Kathmandu and Delhi have to stop pursuing their current approaches and must step back from their aggressive stances. Since the constitutional issue is primarily internal to Nepal, Kathmandu has to move towards accommodating Madhes. There are a set of constitutional amendments already registered by the outgoing Koirala government that need to be fast tracked and adopted for building confidence with the Madhesis. This will automatically facilitate the smooth flow of goods from India. This should also enable India to exercise whatever good-will it has with the Madhesis and other political constituencies in Nepal to keep their engagement productive and meaningful. The question of re-demarcating provincial boundaries is also not a really complex issue so long as inflated and hurt egos are not allowed to come in the way. The vested interests of a bunch of critical leaders in the dominating parties cannot be preserved and promoted at the cost of broader Nepali national interests. Madhes may be persuaded to take up the provincial boundaries re-demarcation issue under other provisions of the constitution (eg. the setting up of a designated commission) for the time being in response to representational accommodation through constitutional amendments, provided additional credible assurances of a sincere rethink on it in Kathmandu are extended. Other methods of resolving the demarcation issue may also be explored like seeking public opinion in the disputed districts or a mutually agreed arbitration mechanism.

During his first visit to Nepal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had powerfully articulated the view that India has no desire to compromise Nepal’s sovereignty, independence or resources. This has to be reiterated again, publicly or even in writing, if Nepal wants to enter into a new treaty to that effect. This is needed because Nepal’s policy makers and strategic community are alleging that India has its eyes on the country’s national resources and sovereign independence. Nepal’s refusal to harness its hydro-water resources did not stop India from growing and it will not do so in future also. Nepal can keep its waters flowing if it finds profitable to do so. India also has to shed its preference and prejudice for a certain religious and ideological orientation in its Nepal policy. Until 2005-06, a Hindu and monarchical Nepal delivered nothing on India’s national interests. Most of India’s present security and strategic concerns in Nepal originated during that period. India has lived with a communist Nepal earlier and can very well do so now as also in future. If the Vietnamese communists can assert themselves against the Chinese communist for their national interests, why will the Nepali communist not do the same if need arises? The China card in Nepal’s hand becomes an option only when Nepal feels uncomfortable with India. India needs to be alert towards its security interests in Nepal and other neighbouring areas but an excessively security driven policy towards the neighbours is not always a smart thing to pursue.

S.D. Muni is Professor Emeritus, JNU and a Distinguished Fellow, IDSA

  • roshan

    Do you think @narendramodi has right to worsen the relation between two Country. Wasn’t this relation hundreds of years established by his elders?

  • RamKumar

    Few Info for Readers:
    1. Agitating parties won about 8% seats in the freely held Constitution Assembly elections (about 10% popular votes)
    2. They want Jhapa/Morang/Sunsari in their province, majority of people in these areas reject this view, there is no meaningful agitation there.
    3. If strictly population based measures were considered, Terai area would get 4 more parliamentary seats (it was due to the desire not to leave sparsely populated Himalayan regions without any representation). This number is inconsequential in a 275-seat assembly, 165 are to be directly elected and the rest to be proportionally represented.
    4. The agitators are using threat of violence to suppress rights of 90 elected MPs from returning to their constituencies.
    5. They have burned houses of MPs who differ with them.
    6. They have forcibly closed all Madhesh schools for 90 days
    7. They have attacked, stoned, burnt public transport and goods carriers, obstructing highways
    8. They have burnt, lynched policemen in number of occasions. Retaliatory self-defense by police caused about 45 deaths, majority of this took place immediately after lynching and burning of police officers. Police may have over reacted, but it’s not easy blaming them in such tense situations.
    9. They have blockaded fuel, cooking gas, medical supplies, aviation fuel and all other 3rd country goods transit via Birganj and Biratnagar causing billions of dollars in an economic devastation, that only a major war would cause.
    10. India has aligned with this violent fringe and blockaded all supplies except rotting potatoes and tomatoes entering Nepal, even from places like Kakarbhitta, Dhangadhi where there is zero agitation.
    11. India has refused to fill Nepali Fuel trucks at various depos. Blocked 300 trucks of medical suppliers at Sunauli where border is mostly calm. Medical supplies are exempt even in active wars !
    12. Business and Industries have been devastated, large scale bankruptcies are inevitable, perhaps even bank failures.
    So, do you think India will have friends left in Nepal? Anyone who even talks about cooperating with India will suffer devastation in the next elections (except in Madhes, even there where 38% population are Paharis will vote anti India candidates).

    India better start preparing for strongly anti-India Nepal for generations to come. China will build major highways to Nepal, perhaps fuel pipelines and electricity distribution networks. Extremely unfortunate for Modi to take India/Nepal this direction.

    • SIVA

      This is like playing same China card at times of conflict..It won’t work all the time and be careful when you are playing china card at times it leads to anti-Nepal in india

      • RamKumar

        Having good roads, good access to each others markets, diversified risk etc are not anti India. Only some narrow minded people in India who can’t forget the defeat of 1962 wars view this as a threat.

    • namah

      public memory is short…all will be forgotten in 5 years…how much of 1989 do you remember? did u know that it wasn’t the first blockade…which was actually done by indira gandhi in the 70’s…

      • RamKumar

        But, those were old times. Monarchy was more intent on survival than anything else. Now people have democracy, they can overthrow leaders. History is reference but future may not unfold the same way. There won’t be enmity between people of India and Nepal, but Nepal needs to diversify, and I think people will enforce that happens this time.

    • Rakesh Shah

      I think more than 70 % people from Morang and Sunsari do not wants to stay with province one. You can find this through referendum in that area. I am from Sunsari and I know the ground reality of Morang and Sunsari. I do not know how you are saying that majority people from Sunsari/ Morang have accepted to stay with province one. This is completely baseless statement. You better know that Nepal government kills people in madhesh very easily without employing any other available resources to disrupt peoples movements. The real fact is that Nepal government and people like you are not accepting madhesh as citizent of Nepal. That’s why whenever madhesh ask for equal rights, you people very easily blame that madhesh are bihari, dhoti, indian….and so many other words which are full of racism. The movement in madhesh will continue until people from this area gets equal opportunity in all of the sectors in Nepal.

      • RamKumar

        Only free and fair elections determine public support. Last election does not support your assertion. We will see in next election. You should allow democracy and peace, let opponents campaign freely. You also campaign freely. Then win elections. Your demand will be more credible. Using 5 people to obstruct highway does not show public support.

      • Saman

        I am from Biratnagar. Biratnagar doesn’t have anti-india , anti-madhesh ,anti-nepal , anti-pahad etc. Some agitations were seen when agitaitons were at peak. But local people were very less involved in protest. Students from Siraha-Saptari and Villagers from Rangeli side were there pelting stones once or twice. They returned home for festivals and thus agitation completely stopped. Now buses are also moving freely without any problem.

        Majority of the people of here don’t want to go with province two. Majority of people here want Biratnagar as the provincial capital. Let it Be Province 1 or the 8th one. But people of Biratnagar reject the idea of going to Janakpur for official works.

        Please see the demographics of Morang/Sunsari. 100% pahari people live north side of highway. And in south, there is again significant population of paharis. In Morang, only the bordering villages and cities have some madhesi population. Biratnagar area have 50-50. So people from Ithari and North and East of Itahari will reject the idea completely of going to province 2.

        In such case, dividing Morang and Sunsari will make Biratnagar a dead city. If Inaruwa, Duhabi and Biratnagar area will be annexed to Province 2, Biratnagar can’t be provincal capital and thus Biratnagar power in national politics will be zero. It will turn into an abandon city as all Pahari people will migrate to Province 3 or 1. and Madhesi will migrate to state capital Janakpur and Biratnagar will eventually be a dead city.

        If government decides to make Biratnagar as provincial capital of Province 1, then Biratnagar will be again powerful in National politics and development of Biratnagar will make everyone happy.

        Also all the “adhikar” thing is just a political propoganda. The main issue is federal states division.
        So if you think 70% people from Morang Sunsari wish to go to province 2, Its just your imagination.

      • Samit

        Lets not get into numbers for there is no way to be sure, but if people from Sunsari/Morang really wanted to be in province 2 and supported this protest, why is there no blockade at borders in Biratnagar or Jhapa?

    • Samit

      Very well said. India as a superpower can flex its muscles and create its own theory as it sees fit but reality cannot be denied. Like Madhesis, the whole Nepal have become aware of geopolitics in this region and have believed that “india”, once an all season friend to Nepal, has seized to be so and developing relation with China might prove to be in Nepal’s interest.

    • IAF101

      I am from India and my question is if Nepalis are such good friends with China why does Nepal not buy medicines, cooking gas, aviation fuel and rotten potatoes and tomatoes and everything else from China ? What makes Nepalis think that they own Indian ports and highways and it is India’s duty to supply them when Nepal has not built our highways or our ports and does not pay for their maintenance either ?

  • Himal Nath Adhikari

    This write up has biased viewpoints SD Muni has been mistaken about the view that Kathmandu needs to back down. The first. Question arises why should Nepal listen to India’s concern about its own people? Doesn’t that show India’s vested interests. Will India listen to Nepal’s suggestion on Gorkhaland or its relationship with Pakistan?
    Nepal India relation is very down to the lowest point with BJP in the government. India should look into the boarder aspect of relations rather than micro managing the internal politics,which the policy makers this time make a wrong move which backfired as India never anticipated.
    Nepal wants to stand on its own,rather than Noting the promulgation of the constitution,India should have welcomed the move. “No constitution is complete, it evolves with time” rectifications are bound to come and in Nepal it will happen in due course of time.
    Can this be corrected? The damage has been done but yes corrections can be done by opening up the borders and commitment from Indian side to stopping to micromanage the political issues. It should rather extend its hands on development issues and helping Nepal to go on progressive path as promised by the first and second visits of Modi.
    The relations between the the people of India and Nepal is so deep and will definitely stand by in spite of these situations.
    New era of friendship should be started with mutual respect. long live Nepal and India’s friendship.

    • IAF101

      This comment reflects the entire issue India has with Nepal – Nepal seems to believe it has done no wrong in discriminating against the Madheis – in LYING to India about dealing with the Madhesis fairly and finally in trying to fool India . Why should India support a discriminatory document like Nepal’s Constitution ? What proof is there that Nepali will correct the gross injustices of their Constitution ? India’s concerns about the border violence in Nepal is very much valid because the distance between Terai and Indian border is right next to each other but Nepal and Pakistan is 2000 kms . Trying to make such comparision is both silly and ridiculous. Further Ghorkaland is just more proof of how Ghurkas who were denied from settling in Nepal were forced to settle in India and they were given their own respective autonomous region despite being “foreigners” and like the Madhesis – citizens by naturalization. Nepal is not India a favor by having good relations with India. Regardless of what happens in Nepal India will continue to prosper and the impact of Nepal on India is minimal even in Bihar.
      If correction has to be made it has to be made from the Nepali leadership – that must immediately correct the injustices that are causing this problem with the Madhesis and apologize for lying and deceiving the Indian leadership about the type of Constitution they were going to have. Failure to do so will only escalate the situation and the suffering will be only one sided – towards Nepal, not India.
      Nepal’s constant threats to use China, constant arrogance at trying to blame India for its own incompetence and trying to make it seem as if Nepal is doing India a favor all these years has come to an end. India will not sacrifice its long term interests for Nepal or for anybody else – and if Nepal is not willing to sort out its own issues and behave as a civilized nation – India can easily seal its borders to Nepal forever and not suffer much problems.

      • Saman

        Anti-Indian anger in Nepal must be actually anti-Nepalese leaders. The leaders just use Nepalese sentiments for gaining political benefits. Its obvious being a neighbor, India has very deep relations with Nepal. As Nepal has huge water resources and Nepal is poor to utilize them, India has its first priority to cash out them which will be mutual benefits for both countries. But due to Corrupt mindset, Nepalese Leaders want’s commission form every projects they (India-Nepal) agree to carry out. When there is settlement all parties ( especially major 3-4, But there are hundreds of political parties in Nepal as politics has become good source of income for them ) leaders wants their share. When everything goes right, there will be no issue. And when some leaders got small share then they start protesting saying India is bullying Nepal and taking unfair and huge benefits( which actually is when there is commissions involved, nothing can be fair). Business is Business. When I invest 100 rs, I certainly want’s to make 1000 out of it. But Leaders misguide Nepalese by saying, India is investing 100 rs and taking 1000 rs from project. So Nepal is is rs 900 loss. Nepalese believe it and start their anti-Indian statements.

        — Madhesh issue is very different that what it appears. Madheshi are People of Indian origin who migrated from India few hundred years and still migrating. Its like everyone migrates nowadays. So migration isn’t a issue.
        — Madhesh consists of large pool of peoples like Brahimns to small castes. There is no problem in Nepal. Not a representation issue, not any provisons like second class citizens and any rumors are not true. Read the constitution you will find online.
        — Inside Madheshi people few forward groups like Jhas, Yadavs, etc. were always upper- represented in every field. They are well educated, well placed in everywhere, politics etc also. If they were under-represented how come first President was a Yadav? Most engineers and Doctors of Nepal are from this group. They are the Madhesh Elite groups who have always enjoyed state benefits a long time. But New constitution has some words like Quota system will be awarded to economic deprived poor people from Khas-Arya , Janajati , Madhesi ,etc. and they want to remove that poor people from constitution. Doesn’t Quota system be awarded to real poor from Madhesh ? Why do a person who owns a bungalow in Kathmandu needs reservation ??
        — Besides there is multi billion dollar project of Saptakoshi High dam for Bihar Irrigation and Power to be constructed in Sunsari District. So India has a huge interest for well being of Bihari people also. Nepal earns money and political party earns good share of commission if they will be in driving seat of that.

        — The permanent solution Indian and Nepalese both must agree to regulate the border by making walls on there. And Every Nepalese working on India and Indians on Nepal must obtain a working permit or some documents. As visa system can’t be implemented due to older treaties, We must at least document the people. This will be benefited to India as terrorist can’t enter India via Nepal open border and Nepal will be benefited by Nepalese on India sending money via official channel and turning money in white.

        • Rakesh Yadav

          Where have Pahadis Bahun/Chettri come from ? & what about ancient Mithila in Madhesh even befor Nepal or India was in existence ? Do the Sah dynasty and Ranas have matrimonial relations in Rjasthan,Gujrat or not? Where is ex- princess Himani from ?What about hill people marriages and links in Darjeeling,Sikkim,Butan or Burma ? So roti-beti is not only about Madhesh. Why the double standard only for the Madhesh . And quota system or reservation is not for economic gains of individuals . Making the state mechanism inclusive, is not an issue about a Madhesi or women or Dalit with a banglaow in Kathmandu , it is first of all about the group no matter whoever. See the trend in utilization of Women’s quota in PSC slection for last 8 years,99% are Bahun /Chettri women , that doesn’t mean janajati or Madhesi women haven’t gained anything . Every women will gain if there will be 33% representation of women as there will be women friendly policies which will eventually bring benefit for other marginalized groups of women . So the real issue is breaking Male dominance as is in Case of Madhesi is about breaking the Hill Bahun /Chettri Elite dominance. Yes some Madhesis have benefited but the number is negligible as compared to the the hill elites (if u compare population) . Madhesi have preferred to study technical fields like medical,engineering because they have been denied from administrative/decision making jobs. See why there are only 2 Madhesi CDOs out of 75 districts, 2 % judges, why only 5 % in Police ,1 % in Army or 6-7 % in bureaucracy ( Ministry Secretaries and other high ranking officials). Present constitution has tried to forcefully institutionalize this disparity. This is what makes Madheshis the 2nd class citizen when you don’t share power. Show-casing the ceremonial President or Vice president is not going to help & please note they were there because of 1st Madhesh Andolan in 2006-07 rather than change in mentality of Hill Elites. These ceremonial positions are not going to solve the underlying causes of representation.

          • Saman

            Lets forget the History. If you go thousands of years ago, we all were apes only. Hill people also have marital relation with India itself. But I am afraid to say at present you won’t find any marriages linked to Burma or Bhutan. So How is the issue of double standard even came in existence? Does the constitution have provision like ” If Hill people marry foreign national, then provide citizenship within 24 hrs and If Madheshi people marry foreign national then deprive them from citizenship”.

            I personally is against Quota system for Jobs. Even if 100% quota is provided to Madheshi people, How much people will get Job in one year? 1000 or less. Will this solve issues faced by all poor people? So why don’t we reject quota system in jobs. Quota system should be in Education. Teach Marginalized people for free what he likes to read. Invest heavily on their education, training, self awareness, etc. Make him capable of self dependent and prepare him for fighting in open quota. If some brilliant but poor people wants to study Medicine. Government must invest 40-50 lakhs for him. New Constitution have provisions like “Madhesi aayog” , “Muslim aayog” etc. Make this aayog powerful and let them invest for education, and training. This must not be earning medium for leaders. Like if aayog gets one billion every year budget, Present corrupt leaders will certainly eat that all, So youths must be aware and raise voice against corruption.

            Why still very low representation in govt. jobs ?? Where did you obtain these data? 45% of total government seats is quota based. Don’t see old recruits from Kings period. Please study data who are now being hired in govt jobs. Overnight you won’t see change because Govt employee will retire at age 60. So there are large numbers of people who were from panchyat era. If Dismissing of all old employees and recruiting new ones are done as per new constitution, then you will find out the most inclusive representation in whole world. Keep this as note in diary. But again these jobs won’t even help your expectations at all because very few govt jobs are created every year.
            Overnight you won’t so social reforms or economic reforms. Because it takes few generations to come.

            Also how does this Hill Elites come into existence? How did the poor Hill people even became elites. If you would have said Kathmandu Elites or Valley Elites that may make sense because, Hill people are very very poor than what you think. Please try visiting remote hills of Nepal and see the picture by yourself.

            No Nepali citizen is first class or second class citizen. Please provide reference to support what clause in constitution make you guys a second class one? Have you read constitution by yourself. If will take around two hours to study, Please have a look at it.

            I hope you read news also. Morcha is constantly saying in every dialogues, the only issue is federal demarcation. Believe it nor not, Morcha leaders will be benefited financially by putting Sunsari( Saptakoshi river ) to state no. 2

          • Rakesh Yadav

            I don’t know much about your experience in Terai but I have visited at least 40 districts in Nepal including Mugu ,Humla & Darchula during work or study and so I have seen development disparity which is very evident if you compare the development indicators (HDI,FP,Anemia among women,empowerment and many more) in Terai and Hills although Terai being less geographically challenged. And now please don’t say ,it is all because of Terai people themselves.
            I assume many people in Nepal understands Terai only as narrow strip along the East -West Highway which is creating the major misunderstanding. You have to acknowledge 1/3 of people in Nepal comprise of Madhesi and Tharu in Terai (90 lakhs/270 lakhs) . One have to visit the core villages of Terai districts to better understand the situation. And yes the quota system should not last forever. This should be time bound. Why are you surprised to see the data..this is the ugly picture,if is not why government is not challenging with its data and neither of the media showing up (if u really need data I will provide u links) .The data I gave you is the present situation (Forget about Rana or Panchyat-very little has been done even after democracy in 1990) and therefore reservation ( started 8 years back) is needed to reach the balance (at lest for 15-20 years more). I agree education and other opportunity should also be given but reservation is required for sometime to speed up inclusion process ( Once you reach a balance in representation- it can of course be removed ,no one will claim without credible data ). And reservation is also an important factor for development,it is not about individuals getting the job.Its about role in all decision making,lobbying for development. For example, if a secretary in a Ministry is always from same geographical area ( Hill), development programs are mostly diverted to that same area as compared to where he/she has less affinity ( Terai),which has been the case so far . This needs to be balanced so development can reach all places and if you keep on ignoring this there will be imbalance in development and therefore conflict will always arise. Equal is not always enough when history has been different. That is why positive discrimination comes into play.

            I talked about history , as many people indiscriminately blame Madheshi for being Indian. In fact, those who got fake citizenship were provided by the administration ( all most all Hill origin CDOs and Officers for money). See in Kathmandu itself, the Madwaris (all Indians) who don’t have links in Teari have been given citizenship directly for doing business by the ruling elites,not by any Madhesi.

            Yes Madhesis have been treated 2nd Class in past both politically and socially. While social discrimination will eventually end by education and awareness,state’s behavior is not acceptable at all .You said about citizenship rights , which is of course more discriminatory about Madhesi due to not considering the cultural differences among Hill and Madhesi. There are more frequent marital ties among Madhesi and the people from bordering states of India (which is not a crime) , and this has been there for centuries so constitution should make special provisions ( Which was in Place for last 8-9 years). I believe the demand is only for those women who get married to a Nepali rest is all propaganda (Morcha or media-not sure). In fact, even this number is not very significant (Based on what I have observed in Terai, I would challenge if anyone claims it is more than few hundreds). It is inhuman for anyone to remain stateless So, again when you say equal , it is not enough always .

            Hill elites refers to all those politicians,bureaucrats,high ranking Police and Army officials,Judges and advocates Media and Human Rights Officials who don’t care for marginalized population be it from Madhesh or hills or mountains and want to maintain status quo by capturing state power for themselves and their kins through favorable provisions in constitution,laws,acts….

            Different rumors are there but it is clear from past that India don’t have to rely on Madhesi leaders for capturing resources in Nepal.There are living proofs of Mahakali and Karnali treaties already done. And how and by what provision is that such a big national projects can be handed over by a state government without national consensus ( if u have read constitution) and there is already 50% of the hill origin population in State No.2 to protest against such deal ,if u believe Madhesi are not patriot enough.

            As everyone knows there is little resources in current State 2 so Saptakoshi will be beneficial for irrigation in Terai without tensions with adjoining Province 1 that’s the sole reason why people are demanding. Further what about Karnali, are the Tharu, the indigenous also getting money for Kailai. Why are they being denied ?? So, lots of propaganda hard to believe things without proof.

    • Rakesh Yadav

      Internal matter..own Madheshi people..please stop . Please use your energy to advocate towards solving internal issue ,if you really think it is of course a problem . Then it will be more convincing to blame India. I don’t see anyone serious about internal problem at first place. It is obvious if u don’t own and solve internal issue others will come to inter-vein be it India,China,US or UN and when they will all come eventually , the root cause (Madhesh Issue )will be discussed rather than the so called blockade (the by product) . It is very clear no matter how hard you try to divert the real issue.

  • Ramesh S Khatiwada

    India’s diplomacy textbook needs to be reviewed and transformed from Nehru to Gujaral for the well being of entire region. How Nepal rules over its 27 million people and where it stretches the provincial border must remain an internal issue for Nepal. Moreover, the newly promulgated constitution seems to be progressive and stands technically sound enough to be questioned by Indian pundits.
    It’s time to rethink on the doctrine of annexing Nepal Terai. In last few decades the world has changed a lot, and it’s now getting hold of trade that matters most not military hold. Strategically located Nepal is next door neighbour of Super China.

    • IAF101

      Nepal is nobody to tell India what foreign policy it should follow for the region or for Nepal considering that Nepal doesn’t want to be told what policy it should follow in the Terai . How India treats Nepal is India’s business and it is India’s right to do what it sees fit to deal with a duplicitous state like Nepal that is trying to persecute millions of its own people and trying to create an apartheid situation that will destabilize the entire region out of shortsightedness and an incompetent leadership that believes itself to be far more important than it is. The newly promulgated constitution of Nepal is deeply discriminatory and doesn’t pass muster with millions of Nepalis itself – Indian pundits are hardly impressed with such a document and neither is the UN Secretary General or most of the civilized world for that matter .

      If India wanted to annex Nepal – it would not stop at the Terai but would have taken up Nepa’s first King’s offer to Nehru and annexed the entire kingdom lock-stock and barrel in the 1950s instead of signing a treaty with Nepal. Nepal neither has any mineral wealth, nor any significant human capital or any other reserves that would compel India to annex Terai even if Nepal wanted it to. India will not tolerate a repeat of the Bangladeshi refugee crisis from Nepal due to the parochial leadership of Nepal and Nepal must ensure it gets its house in order soon one way or the other before Nepal as a nation totally collapses.

  • RamKumar

    As far as I can see the constitution gives equal rights to Madhesis. If they want special rights, it may not happen.

    • namah

      as far as I can gather, your attitude needs a slight change. everything is not about constitution. go down any office building in city in Nepal. you will see that 95% are bahun/chhetri officers. HOW? are they the only ones who are educated in Nepal? are you telling me there is NO nepotism? wherever there is a face to face interview and subjecting marking, only the bahun/chhetri progress…others are left behind.

      I don’t say this. Newars (extremely progressive and usually financially well off – think of them as the Nepali equivalent of Marwari) are complaining about this! I know this. Tamangs, gurungs, rais, limbus, sherpas they all complain about bahun/chhetri monopoly over state power.

      I believe the only issue at hand is how to adjust economically deprived and socially backward into reservation.

      The second main issue is the provincial demarcation, which needs a national referendum. No amount of talking will help.


      • RamKumar

        You do not have enough scientifically studied data with you. There was a 2 year long study done by TU which was published few weeks ago. In proportions to population Terai Brahmins have the maximum number of government jobs in Nepal (Not Pahade brahmins/chetries, they are 3rd). Because Pahade has larger population, they are more visible.

        Also, government jobs will not solve our problems, there are so few jobs, it will not uplift communities as a whole. Government should provide quality education to everybody, that will make all communities competitive in private as well as public sectors.

        Provincial demarcation : yes, I new that, but most of my Madhesi friends did not know this at the beginning. They were carried away by “RIGHTS” issue. Rights are the same, main complain is about borders. But, you can not force border on Jhapa/Morang/Sunsari if the people there don’t want it. Last elections show people demanding One Madhesh/One Pradesh have very little support in those areas. Let there be few election cycles, and if these demands get more traction they can be considered in the future. Why use violent, undemocratic tactics like blockade, closure of schools to force such changes.

        • namah

          terai brahmins have maximum jobs at which designation? how many CDO’s in Nepal? 75. How many of them are terai brahmins?

  • IAF101

    Competition requires competitive interest from two or more parties to achieve dominance and a conduce atmosphere – Nepal has neither. India is not competing with China in Nepal because India wants Nepal to sort out its political issues while China only wants to sell its goods in Nepal and doesn’t care about the political situation as much. Also, without access to india through Nepal – Nepal offers very little to China to substantiate any heavy investments from its sides.

    • dgupta

      One country wants Nepal to sort out its political issues or else puts a blockage of goods flow, the other country wants Nepal to be stable and united and donates fuel and aid when needed. Different wishes create competition.

  • IAF101

    The fact that even after over 40 dead Madhesis, nearly 6 months of continuous protests from Madhesis – there has been not a single attempt to solve the Madhesis issues either BEFORE or AFTER the promulgation of the Constitution shows the hollow claims that lie at the root of the Nepali claims about their constitution. The fundamental document of most civilized states state a few inalienable truths of human civilization – equality, justice and freedom. The Madhesis are not being given equality or justice and now they are not even allowed the freedom to protest against the Pahadis apartheid against them by terming it as India-sponsored protests .

    • Mahen

      Why don’t your india resolve the issue of Kashmir, Khalistsn, Gorkhaland, Nagaland, Hardik Patel instead of pointing out to sovereign nation Nepal. Your india brutally surpressed the people who are demanding right. Why do you talk about Madhesis, they are like Tamil and we know them how to treat. You have know right to talk about Nepal. Mind your business and take care for your citizens.

    • RamKumar

      Just tell us one right that Paharis have and Madhesis don’t.

  • Dhiraj Sharma

    Nepal has remained Sovereign since Human Civilization exist. We can find the proof on Bedhas, Upanisadh and Nites of Hindu religious Books regarding the existence of this country. Gurkhas (Nepali) has never disturbed Indian Politics, society and civilization. They are supporting India to protect their International Boundaries in the form of Gurkha Battalian. Even British turned their steps back in the mission towards Nepal. If India is concern about Indian Origin Madhesis Gurkha(Nepal) is worried similarly about the Demand of separate Gorkhaland State raised by Nepali Origin Darjeelling people but have not spell even single word for it as Nepal regard it as Internal Matter of India. We hear many assassination of Many Nepali Language Speaking Indian from Manipur, Assam, have ever Nepal Government raised voice for their security, never the matter is same we don’t interfere on others internal matter but why we don’t get same respect from the side of India.
    We are Poor Himalayan people, we depend hugely on imported Items, Our GDP is low, we depend on Foreign Aid for development but this doesn’t mean we are slaves of other Country. Many victimized people of Earthquake are yet deprived of Getting essential things due to lack of Road Transport. At present due to Blockade of India we dun have Medicines in Hospitals, Energy supply for Vehicles and Food stuffs for survival. There are some Marginalized people in society but Madhesis has been enjoying resources of Country from century back. You can see and can conduct research from which community of Nepal does major proportion of Health Professionals, Teacher, Engineer, Clinicians belongs they are from non other then Madhesi Community of Nepal. How can we imagine the ruling leaders have put Madhesi Behind?? See history there are many names of Ministers during Panchayat regime from Madhesi, During Democracy many Madhesi leaders ruled as leader and the first President and Vice President of Nepal belong from same Community. How can we regard Madhesi community of Nepal as marginalized backward community.????

  • odyssey need

    I belong to an indegeneous community in nepal. We all nepalese must understand a fact. We are a nation of himalayas, mountains valleys and terai. We must first be nepalese and only after that anyother communities. I sincerely beleive that if we are to save our integrity in long run we have to divide all of our states in such a way the all of them consists of himalays mountains valleys and terai. Anything against it should be considered anti national. We must understand if tomorrow Nepal dont exist we all madeshi or tharus or bahuns or sherpas or newars will not exist as well. I am ready to accept 100% proportional system if following 2 things happens-
    1. Voting rights should be only with those who are nepalese citizen without holding citizenship of any other country.
    2. State should be divided on geographical basis and not on comminity basis.
    We are not against any madhesis but strongly against those anti national creatures who says that their states shouldn’t have even an inch of pahad(mountain). What should we understand from those intention? Clearly we will not kneel down to such intentions.

  • Rakesh Yadav

    You need to have more minute understanding of issues . It is universal fact that inclusiveness is proven weapon against power capture by handful of people ( Bahun/Chettri 80 % decision making positions with < 30% population) . Present constitution is a classic example of institutionalizing discrimination. All six except one province will have dominance of bahun/chettris (Status quo). Proportional representation dismissed will take another 100 years for marginalized population get accommodated in state mechanisms including Nepal Police /Army. Resource poor demarcation of Province 2 will ignite further agitations in future . How is this constitution making 30-40 CDOs from Madhesi ,Janajti or Dalit even in coming 10 years ? What r the provision in constitution ..can anyone explain ? The intent is to continue the ugly dominance for indefinite period ,that is where it is discriminatory. Don't challenge the the capability of Madhesi as you should be aware that most of the Madhesi teachers have devoted their life for education in remote hills/mountains and now their own children have to go to Middle East as labors. If Madhesi youths can become scientists,Doctors,Engineers how come they cannot be competent CDOs , IGPs, Ambassadors, Secretaries. Forget about Rana or Monarchy time, study the post 1990 status,you will find how slow the change have been. Madhesi cannot keep waiting forever,they want change. Another aspect of advocating more marginalized Madhesi groups other than Madhesi Bahun,this again clearly is a divide and rule tactic. When discriminated they were all same and now you are worried about Terai dalits . No one can believe. So fist think of all Madhesi and then segregation should take place.It is just like 33% women's reservation captured by elite groups and marginalized women don't benefit .But that should be fine as women's rights issue compete for male dominance not among women themselves . First ensure 33% women ( No matter whoever) then only other women will feel empowered to claim rights. That is the same for Madhes ,first give opportunity to those more capable and then those at bottom will come forward. It is completely conflicting when you say reservation compromise with quality and then you advocate for the most marginalized Madhesis. You should be aware that all Madhesi share common geography and they have been discriminated on several common identity they share. There are endless issues..but this constitution has not even made a good start to address any ..rather sowed seeds for conflict and instability which will of course hamper Madhes the most but Nepal overall cannot move forward either….

  • Rakesh Yadav

    It is the acts and laws written in paper that drives the society and constitution is the guiding legal document.So the constitution matters. Peoples attitude change not only by education it is also governed by law . If not why make laws for crimes instead keep waiting for change in peoples attitude by education . Making people capable through inclusive laws and provision will help empowering marginalized and respect and dignity will not be a mercy but the legal right.

    I would rather say state restructuring for inclusiveness is what is actually needed. Federalism is believed to be as one of the tools . If you can propose any other means for political inclusiveness and proportional representation in state mechanisms with clear road map..federalism issue may not be that important . But there seems to be no other way out as our long discriminatory history is a living proof . Ruling elites are not liberal for sharing powers with marginalized,everyone knows.

    • binod

      I agree. It is a guiding legal document but it is neither a necessary nor a sufficient tool for empowerment to keep a country hostage and precipitate a humanitarian crisis…IMHO this constitution has done enough justice to madhesi grievances by carving out a madhesi dominated province with 40% proportional representation at the center..this should have been a moment to cherish and work collectively towards fulfillment of madhesi aspiration to be included in a redefined Nepali nationalism but alas devils across the border hijacked the momentum by misinforming the gullible population..if you believe in democracy you should realize that you don’t get everything you want or deserve..only when state is captured by a violent overthrow or a dictator is at the helm, all your demands are fulfilled..

      After so much of death and animosity created because of provincial demarcation, I guess it is here to stay as the only state restructuring mechanism.. my only hope is that may we have the strength and wisdom to make it work before it is too late and we all lose whatever we have right now – a country called Nepal, however flawed its current concept of nationalism is.. I ever wonder if the possibility of loosing the country in fight of rights make some of the vocal opponents loose their sleep at nights…

  • namah

    i agree. i just am trying to play the devil’s advocate. it helps to see another point of view…sometimes forcing the issue…quotas and reservations do help…of course aptitude must be kept in mind while selecting…thanks for sane replies and not flaming, trolling me. thanks to all for a great discussion. regards,

  • Print on the fence

    You know that when china provided 12 trucks of gasoline, it seeked theapproval from India. China also need India for various reasons. Chinese-indian economic ties are increasing at faster pace. Chinese companies invest in India and we are investing in China.

    Nepal is not a trade partner. it is a liability, an aid receiver. It is also a beautiful country with some great warriors who work for foreign armies, a country with some honest people who will protect you till the end of his life. These are some good qualities which make every indian swell it’s heart for Nepali citizens. That’s the reason when earthquake happened, we opened our hearts, donated billions to save nepali life and rebuilding the country. When Nepali citizens in Qatar were not allowed to travel to their home country after earthquake, India raise the concern with Qatar as human rights violation. No other country fights or care for Nepali citizens, not even your own Nepali govt.

    But when times for fair share of power, Nepal hill tribes behave differently. Nepal is violating the basic principle of democracy by not allowing fair share to madhesi. Democracy is mostly compromise with the given reality. The problem with current nepali govt. is that they still behaves as ‘monarchy’ from the North.

    Anti-indian sentiments are bringing misery to yourself. This approach will fracture the great himalayan nation. Second, if India feels betrayed, Nepal will take a long time to gain it’s thrust. We are nation of 1.2 billion people, who are getting educated, working hard, starting new companies and investing everywhere possible.

    Right now, India is trying to show the democratic reality to ‘Nepali’ ruling class by allowing Madhesi to burn it’s goods which are going to Nepal. It can take a step even further stopping free movement of Nepali in India as anti-india threat worsens and stopping remittance flows from India to Nepal. It can go ahead and create MadhesiLand acting as buffer state between India and Nepal. If you think as a joke, just check with Pakistan. Pakistan lives in everyday fear of breaking part,killing it’s own citizens, fracturing it’s social fabric and committing genocide on mass scale. Pakistan survives because two superpwoers , US and China wants to use it for their own strategic purpose. If Nepal wants to be used as China’s pawn, then China will evaluate what it has to gain: losing a potential Geo-political partner with huge trade capacity or gaining an economic liability like Nepal, which India takes care of.

    If Nepal wants to become prosperous country, it needs to be first be a genuine democracy, develop good relations with neighbours, trade with neighbours and build trust that it is the safe place to do business. Then ,everyone will fly to Himalayan kingdom and will start investing in Nepal. Be prosperous, be independent, dont be a pawn.

    Indian side just have good wishes for Nepal which Nepali hill tribes feel to see in blind hatred. if nepali dont improve their internal affairs, we shall intervene and re-establish order. Have any doubts? Please check Kashmir.

  • Bishal Chhettri

    A long game plan. First the monarchy got ousted and now the ruling elites who were convinced of their right to rule face the same. Sikkim was an easy prey. Nepal is proving to be a tough cookie to crack. Bhutan has been subjugated. All its water resources conquered. Yes Nepal has no mineral resources to entice Indian hegemony except its 200+ rivers. These are deemed as sorrow of India which is always merciless to Bihar and UP. Nepal is also geographically larger than other buffer countries with exceptionally vast ethnic group unlike Sikkim and Bhutan. The game plan started with Gandhi and waiting to see where it will end. Either Nepal conquered or standing proud in its sovereignty. Whatever excuses are made the conquest of Nepal continues to stands tall but only obscured.

  • Sanket Dash

    In my opinion, India-Nepal occurs only because Nepal is a sovereign country. India should have annexed Nepal in late 1940s, along with Hyderabad and Travancore. India should have annexed Nepal because:

    1- The major languages of Nepal (Nepali, Bhojpuri and Maithili) belong to the Indo-Aryan family
    2- The Terai region of Nepal is linguistically, culturally and ethnically indistinguishable from the neighboring parts of India
    3- Nepali soldiers/Gurkha already form a major part of Indian army. If Nepal was a part of India, they would be classified as patriots rather than mercenaries (I know technically they aren’t but practically they are. What else will one call people who serve in the armed forces of another country?).
    4- Nepalese, like Indians, are predominantly Hindus
    5- Like other parts of India, Nepal also has a caste system.

    I am personally an Odia, from the east Indian province of Odisha and I do not see how the average Gujarati is closer to me linguistically and culturally than the average Nepali.

    The integration of Nepal into India was thwarted because some people, who otherwise shout about Akhand Bharat, wanted a Hindu monarchy. Now that Nepal is, thankfully, a secular democratic republic, there should be talks about integrating Nepal into India, while protecting the economic, linguistic and cultural rights of Nepalese, provided the average Nepali accedes to the same. Conversely, the right to not be a part of Indian Union, which should be given to Nepali people, should also be given to people of other ethno-linguistic groups.

    PS: I am not suggesting that the Indian government has the right to meddle in the affairs of Nepal. I support a political arrangement where all ethno-linguistic groups in the Indian subcontinent are autonomous units of a single political entity. Current-day India loosely resembles such a structure and hence, I would like present-day Nepal to be part of such an unit.

  • Rakesh Yadav

    First you must be aware that amendment on two important clauses has already been filed by NC, that is itself a proof that constitution has flaws . Secondly, all Madheshi leaders from UML,NC,Maoist and Gacchedar group have dissatisfaction on several Madhesh issues & they were forced to support by the party for constitution ( that is why in true sense it is not 90% consensus…it was a forceful act),outgoing president had dissatisfaction , mainstream parties have not been able to convince their own cadres in Madhesh, not only India but US,UN & EU all have repeatedly asked for more inclusive provisions . So, I can’t understand why you don’t see discriminatory clauses, & why is Biratnagar going to be a dead city ? Has it flourished because of being a capital ? It was not even the capital of the Eastern Development Region but it had grown ..so it will definitely remain as major economic and industrial city even in State 2 .

  • Rakesh Yadav

    From your thoughts it is now almost clear that you cannot see the bigger picture and that’s not your fault as being self centered is a normal human nature…that is why you can’t see discrimination.I have already said that Madhesi,Tharu ,Dalits and other marginalized groups needs some extra provisions for inclusion in State mechanism which is missing or improperly written in constitution. Haven’t you seen the Amnesty International’s clause by clause analysis and recommendation to Nepali Constitution and don’t expect US,UN,EU/UK to be so dumb enough for this long time (three months). Going just by biased Nepali media propaganda ,being misled is very common no surprise. It is not enough to be treated only equal.How can you ask a powerless poor to compete with a millionaire for instance ? The situation is simple as that. How can you leave historically marginalized population to compete freely with the ruling hill elites, marginalized should be given some edge. Yes Bahun /Chettri will be discriminated in a way but that is for positive discrimination,ultimately good for nation as a whole. Further, why some provision which were there in Interim constitution removed without adequate discussions and evidence. Go to : https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/asa31/2802/2015/en/ for the discriminatory provisions.

    Forget about Biratnagar, Nepal on whole will always be suffering if the appropriate and logical demands are not fulfilled. In many countries world-wide, there are many bigger cities other than the country capital or state capital. (Sydney in Australia is bigger than National capital Canberra,Ottawa-Toronto in Canada,Beijing Shanghai in China or even New Delhi- Mumbai in India) . In US only 15 states have the biggest cities also as their state capital and rest have non- capital cities as the biggest cities within the same states .Cities have their own history and tradition which can flourish even not being the capital. Be optimistic and let’s work for restructuring Nepal in real .We have all seen how Nepal have suffered in last 20 years , mainly because significant proportion of people felt discriminated. Let’s not start the same cycle again.

    Please allow for individual thoughts in open forums.My thoughts are not only for you but all readers.

  • Print on the fence

    It does not. It doesn’t intervene in Middle East which doesn’t impact it’s internal conditions directly. It doesn’t fight with China over Tiber.

    If Indian govt. sides with the current nepali govt stance, insurgency will increase in Nepal destabilizing situation on indian borders.

    If madhesi are killed or tortured like you foolish hill tirbes are doing, they will penetrate indian borders, form a rebel group and start a civil war which neither indian govt. nor nepali govt. would be able to contain it because of sheer size of population who would be sympathetic to them.

    Indian govt choice is based on rational and foresight. But Nepali have not learn any lesson from the last 15 year bloody conflict.

  • Maheswar Deka

    Never before
    was Nepal in peace. Even today, the same story goes on. Nepal cannot
    venture to get peace by a policy of discrimination. Half the total population of Nepal are facing discrimination. They are Madhesi people. Their political rights
    have also been cut. In fact, the Madhesi people of Nepal are angry over
    the country’s new Constitution because the agreement that was made in 2008 with
    the Government for the formation of single undivided Madhesh (Terai) province
    with right to self-determination was discarded in it. In the new Constitution,
    there is a provision for a province in Terai covering only eight districts;
    while the other fourteen districts in the region have been clubbed with the
    hill States with the intention of marginalizing the Madhesis further. Further,
    the new constitution has violated the fundamental principle of democracy of
    “one person, one vote and equal weight to all votes” to the great disadvantage
    of the Madhesis. Accordingly, the weightage of voters in Terai has been reduced
    as compared to the same in the hill region. For this, the electoral
    constituencies for both the Houses of Parliament i.e. the House of
    Representatives and the National Assembly were fixed on the geographical land
    area, rather than on the basis of population. On this basis, a provision was
    made for only 65 electoral constituencies for the House of Representatives in
    the Terai region which constitutes 51 per cent of Nepal’s total population;
    while 100 electoral constituencies were fixed for the hills with only 49 per
    cent of the country’s population.

  • RamKumar

    TU study was published about a month ago in a Nepali website Setopati or Online Khabar. Didn’t save it, and haven’t been able to find through searches. High castes group from hills Chetri/Brahmin is the 3rd group with max number of government jobs (in proportion to population), not even second. Because this group has large population, they are obviously more numerous. When I find that link, I will pass to you.

  • RamKumar

    Found the link.
    It’s in Nepali