April 10, 2007

THERE IS NO NEPAL:

Maoists face up to political reality (Dhruba Adhikary, 4/11/07, Asia Times)

That Nepal should now opt for a federal system and offer autonomy to provinces formed on an ethnic basis and on regional aspirations are issues that, if not tackled conscientiously, could lead to the disintegration of the country.

Many blame the Maoists for issuing slogans that sound catchy but are unhelpful in preserving Nepal's unity in the face of its ethnic diversity. King Gyanendra, who is currently a "suspended" head of state under an interim charter enacted on January 15, has to take his share of the blame. Had he agreed to restore the democratic rights of the people he snatched through a coup in February 2005, last April's uprising would not have gone so far and created room for new demands. These included the abolition of the monarchy, removal of Nepal's identity as the world's only Hindu country, and insertion of a legal provision requiring the state to transform itself from its unitary character to a federal structure.

"It is still debatable whether Parliament had the mandate to declare Nepal a secular state," Devendra Raj Panday told the Kathmandu Post newspaper. He was alluding to a declaration the interim parliament adopted last May 18. Panday, a former minister, currently leads a citizens' movement that monitors the activities (or lack of them) of the political parties. Panday's view broadly represents opinions of those who are keen to see Nepal as a republic, but are in favor retaining the country's Hindu identity. They cite a 2001 census indicating that more than 80% of the population follow the Hindu religion.

One other issue that the controversial declaration included (and subsequently incorporated in the interim charter) relates to the government's proposal to liberalize citizenship laws, thereby opening the door for millions of Indian migrants to qualify for Nepali citizenship. It is a belief that Koirala agreed to back the proposition to drop Nepal's Hindu identity on the suggestion of a powerful Western lobby, and listed the subject of liberalized citizenship laws at the behest of India. Two of India's most populous states, Bihar and Uttar Pradhesh, share a porous border with Nepal.


This is what secular/rationalist states do: devolve into their constituent ethnic components.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 10, 2007 8:02 AM
Comments

"This is what secular/rationalist states do: devolve into their constituent ethnic components."

Aztlan, anyone?

Posted by: TSOL at April 10, 2007 1:52 PM

The dream of their secular intellectuals.

Posted by: oj at April 10, 2007 5:22 PM
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