Sep 202015
 

Frontline between security personnel and protesters in Terai: is it all over?

Frontline between security personnel and protesters in Terai: is it all over?

Is it all over now or will the conflict over the constitution flare up again? Well, protesters have withdrawn from the barricades and curfews have been lifted. On Thursday, Madhesi and Tharu leaders even met with the “Big Three” – NC, UML, and the Maoists – to discuss terms for future talks. However, the Terai leaders still reject the constitution. They demand that Kathmandu not only call back the Army and release all arrested cadres but also – once again – that they redelineate the provinces! Continue reading »

Sep 162015
 

To whose benefit: life disrupted across the Terai, here in Biratnagar

To whose benefit: life disrupted across the Terai, here in Biratnagar

How can the ongoing bandh and riots over the constitution benefit the people in Terai? Indeed, politics has its own calculations of “benefit” and “advantage” – securing “vote banks”, “positions” and “influence” may be part of it – but ordinary people may have a hard time seeing what they gain from it. Sure, party leaders justify their respective demands and actions as ultimately serving the “people” as a whole – or at least their constituencies – but meanwhile most locals seem to only suffer from the escalating conflict. Continue reading »

Aug 212015
 
The six provinces as proposed by the four main parties

The six provinces as proposed by the four main parties, now changed to seven by splitting the far-western province into two

What does the constitution tabled at present entail for local Nepal? Well, it’s hard to cover it all – the draft document stands at 104 pages plus appendices – but essentially it looks like much will be different in the future, although much will also remain the same. The overarching issue is indeed the creation of a new sub-level of government: provinces. The draft constitution provides for eight provinces – later the four main parties for some reason decided on six, now gone up to seven provinces – but numbers aside: what is a province? Continue reading »

Feb 072015
 

SurveyFederalism has been on everybody’s lips for seven-eight years. A federal state structure – based on ethnicity – was indeed a popular idea back in 2008. But what about now? Well, ask the Kathmandu-based Interdisciplinary Analysts (IA), and they’ll say it’s all changed. Merely 26 percent of the population are in favour of federalism; and even more so, out of this segment only 12 percent favours federalism based on ethnicity!

IA’s results are based on a nation-wide survey among 3000 respondents. So it seems quite reliable too, statistically speaking. On top of that, another recent survey by Himalmedia supports these results. In fact, this week featured several arguments in the media against (ethnic) federalism. David Seddon wrote under the headline, “Devolution without federalism”, that now it’s time to return to the Local Self-governance Act of 1999 and start from there. That might not happen. But for the time being, a large majority of Nepalis do seem to favour the old set-up of elected local bodies.

Mar 062013
 
An ethnic state for the next generation?

An ethnic state for the next generation?

There are many maps suggesting how to delineate future ethnically based federal states in Nepal. The “Tharu state”, the “Newari state”, the “Madeshi” state – all these names are on the table and more. Will it work to sub-divide the territory of a country, which has more than 60 ethnic groups, using the criterion of “ethnic majority” instead of administrative considerations? Well, it is indeed a difficult question, and that’s precisely why it does seem important to discuss it. One could be reminded of the old Greeks who said that every whole is made up of its smaller parts, and only by being closely familiar with the smallest parts can we understand how the bigger whole works. Why not consider the question of “ethnic Continue reading »