Madhesh is the southern plains of Nepal where half of the country lives. Madhesi are the people of Nepal, roughly half of the country. The Madhesi have been discriminated against for centuries. Now they are in a revolt that feels like the second part of the world shaking April Revolution.
For over a week now, the Madhesh has been in the limelight. It has been shut down. Daily curfews have been imposed in all the major towns of the Madhesh. This phase of the struggle was launched by the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF). For years the MJF was a small outfit. It has seen a rapid rise of popularity through this peaceful movement, and seems to be on its way to becoming a political party.
Nepali bloggers have been reporting on it depending on if they are Pahadi, the Nepali from the hills, or Madhesi. Pahadi bloggers seem to be expressing their bias and might be underreporting some aspects. This becomes even more interesting given that the government propaganda declares that this is not a social justice movement but rather an instigation of the royalists and the Hindu supremacists.
Madhesi – United We Stand has posts on various aspects of the movement. From a post titled Madhesi Murmurings.
If Madhesh was part of Nepal, then why Madheshis have not been given any chance to prove their patriotism in Nepali Army, the most patriotic institution of the country? As noted by a former Nepalese PM, Madheshis were not suited for army because Madheshis are not healthy and fit. If this argument stands true, Madhesh (said to be rice bowl) are facing “hidden hunger” (intakes of nutrition deficit diet) and need nutrition and health care from Nepal Government.
Global mainstream media also so far has stayed away from the movement. The MSM was all over the April Revolution. It was on TV in New York City, it was on the front page of the New York Times for days. However, Global MSM seems to buy into the image that Nepal is only hills and mountains, or it would be paying much more attention right now.
DFN aspires to be more a political tool than a blog. (The blog is also now accessed from a new domain name: Madhesi.net). DFN asks a crucial question which hopes to explore the attitude of the Pahadis, and if the Madhesi movement is somewhat like the movement for democracy in April 2006.
United We Blog also covers the issue. Some excellent photographs of the protests, giving a rare glimpse into the turmoil that Madesh finds itself in. A very intense discussion in the comments space for this post, as people discuss the curfew imposed in the area.
The primary thrust of the Madhesi movement is simple to understand. They want to get rid of the past political arrangements based on the principles and practices of internal colonization. Now, they want Madhesi autonomous governance mechanism, federal system and proportional representation including in the election of the constituent assembly. Simply, they are asking for equitable power sharing.
Counterpoint takes a look at neighbouring India to make a point about federalism.
This comparsion clearly shows that federalism would be viable only when it is based on notions of democracy and equal opportunity. Today, we can see many north Indians working in South India and many south Indians working in North India. With autonomy, people have their own identity and this has put a stop to unnecessary wranglings over one’s political rights.