The true color of the ruling parties

Indigenous Voice
Indigenous Voice15 Sep 2015, Tuesday
The true color of the ruling parties

                                                      Chhabi Subba Sambahamphe


                      NC, UML won elections by promising multi-identity but are now promoting just Hindu Nepali identity 


Speaking during a session of the Constituent Assembly (CA) early this week, Home Minister Bam Dev Gautam said: "The previous CA failed to deliver a  new constitution because of the issue of multi-identity. But addressing this issue is not necessary because the world recognizes us just as Nepalis. Only the Nepali identity, not any others, is recognizable in the UN."

At first, it was hard to believe that someone whose party won elections by advocating for multi-identity was actually making that statement. The UML, the party which Gautam belongs to, reached out to people with slogans for multi-identity in the CA-II elections in November, 2013. The NC and the UML stood for multi-identity and emerged as first and second largest parties in the CA-II. But they were not actually in favor of multi-identity. They used multi-identity just as a strategic tactic to win people's trust and vote. As the CA-II is all set to promulgate a new constitution, these two parties are showing their real color and characters. What Gautam said in the CA session was just an example of how the two largest parties are betraying people by ditching multi-identity.

The previous CA failed to deliver a  new constitution because of the issue of multi-identity. But addressing this issue is not necessary because the world recognizes us just as Nepalis. Only the Nepali identity, not any others, is recognizable in the UN.

Leaders of the newly formed Federal Socialist Party Nepal (FSPN) advocated for single-ethnic identity. I tried to convince them to support multi-identity instead of single-ethnic identity. I was clear about it right from the beginning: creating single ethnic identity based states is not possible in Nepal because our society is plural and multi-cultural. But the FSPN leaders did not understand it. They contested the elections with slogans for single ethnic identity. And they bit the dust when the results of the CA II elections were out. The NC and the UML emerged victorious with false slogans for multi-identity.

Janajati leader Raj Kumar Lekhi was also supportive of the idea of single ethnic identity. I once had a long conversation with him. He was then the president of the Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN). I told him that Janajatis should never support single identity because we have multiple histories, languages and cultures. We are naturally supporters of multi-identity. If anyone in Nepal is pro single identity, it is the state. The Nepali state has always promoted one caste, one culture, one language and one religion. We should not inherit the state's characteristics. Lekhi was convinced and then he started advocating for multi-identity.

Identity is nothing but just a process to ensure political rights for all castes and communities who have been living in Nepal. It can never be a single dimensional. Only when we see identity as multi-dimensional, we will be able to write the new constitution. 

But other Janajati leaders could not foresee how people would reject single-ethnic identity. Only after suffering defeat in the CA-II elections, they realized what mistake they made. In the first meeting of the CA-II, the FSPN leader Ashok Rai said: "Identity is identity, it is neither single nor multiple". It was a sign that Rai had also realized that the FSPN made a mistake by advocating for single-ethnic identity.

Identity is nothing but just a process to ensure political rights for all castes and communities who have been living in Nepal. It can never be a single dimensional. Only when we see identity as multi-dimensional, we will be able to write the new constitution. 

But the inheritors of the pro-single identity state, the NC and the UML, now have changed their tracks. They won elections by promising multi-identity. They are now cementing single identity in the new constitution. For them, Hindu Nepalis is identity and Hindu nationalism guiding principles. What Gautam said in the CA this week was not his personal statement. That was an assertion of the Hindu state. We must fight this jingoism of the Hindu state. We should not be clear about identity and fight more fiercely to ensure liberation of all ethnic groups through the new constitution.

                                                                              (The writer is secretary of Federal Limbuwan Party)

Feedback

Most Popular News