Monday, January 18, 2010

[NNSD] Declaration of autonomous states/provinces

December 27, 2009
Mahendra Lawoti, Ph.D.
Associate Professor,
Department of Political Science,
Western Michigan University,

Dear Mahendrajee

I had raised 5 important issues in respect of your article on "MYTH OF NON-ETHNIC FEDERALISM". But you have reverted back to me only on the issue with regard to Nepal potentially needing to spin off into 100 odd "states" on the ethno-cultural-linguistic lines by saying that "all groups have not demanded 'territorial' autonomy".

I have two queries in this respect:
  • Simply because others groups have not demenaded for it, is it democratic to grant autonomous status to only 10 odd ethno-cultural-linguistic groups while depriving the same right to other 90 odd ethno-cultural-linguistic groups?" Isn't it discriminatory?
  • Initially other "ethno-cultural-linguistic groups" may not demand states/provinces of their own? Once a precedent is set, what will stop the remaining groups from asking for equal treatment? Won't that take a form of beginning of an unraveling process? Shouldn't Nepal learn lessons from the experience of India which is in a continuous state of throwing up new autonomous state? Will Nepal be able to sustain the shock/trauma of fragmentation of Nepal into state after state on ethno-cultural-linguistic lines?

With best regards,

Ratna Sansar Shrestha, FCA
Senior Water Resource Analyst

From: Mahendra Lawoti []
Sent: Thursday, December 24, 2009 19:09
To:; Ratna Sansar Shrestha
Subject: FW: [NNSD] Declaration of autonomous states/provinces FYI.
I forgot to copy Dear Professor Lohani, Thank you for your note. Apologies for the late response - grading (semester end) and a couple of deadlines had kept me busy. My apologies for sending this note to you and others directly as well as my posting even in this thread have not been posted earlier in this day and age of democracy as well.

Shivaji asked for clarification on the presented data and I was more than happy to provide it for him to understand more clearly the arguments of the article. Shivaji, in fact, called me after he heard from you and others. I hope things are clearer to more people now.
Happy new year to you as well.

Now let me make brief comments to a few other postings.

Dear Shivaji,
This is my small attempt at deconstructing conscious and unconscious 'Data Torturing,' 'Analysis Terror,' cognitive dissonance issue and data manufacturing that exists in Nepal. Some people continue to engage in such things, knowingly or unknowingly, and because of that they were totally surprised when the Madhesi movement appeared in 2007 and the Maoists won in 2008, just a couple of examples. If you are interested to read my further take on those matters please see my 'Federal State-building: Challenges in Framing the Nepali Constitution,' Bhrikuki Academic Publications, 2009.

Dear Pandayji,

Thank you for reading my write ups in the newspapers. Please bear with a few clarifications. One, my points about media bias is on issues. Your rebuttal is like arguing that since Binod Chaudhary is rich, Nepalis are rich. Showing exceptions do not disprove a point, or mixing up issues with persons.

Second, I do not lump all Bahuns together - that is why I add adjectives when I have to use the term. I have praised many enlightened Bahuns and I have higher hopes on the younger generation (but of course not on all of them, again!). The point about self declared liberals and progressive is that self declaration does not make one - Prachanda, Gyanendra, G P Koirala, MK Nepal and many others claim that they are democrats but people know who is one and who is not. And of course, you are entitled to have any opinion about me, rightly or wrongly - that is your right, which I respect, in a democracy.

Third, I understand that there are misgivings in Limbuwan among non-Limbus, whether due to misunderstanding or because it is a 'new' structure. My visits to the region however show that it has been decreasing among people living in the region (I do not claim to know about the fear of people living in Kathmandu or beyond). The challenge is for the Limbuwan activists is to demonstrate that everyone is welcome and I think they have begun to demonstrate that by inducting/electing Bahuns and others in their organizations (one is the general secretary in one of the outfits as well).

Dear Ratnaji,

My aim was not to sway from your convictions. I believe in diversity - life would be monotonous without it. However, in case you are interested to find out answers to your concerns that you have pointed out, I have addressed most of them in my book "Towards a Democratic Nepal: Inclusive Political Institutions for a Multicultural Society," (Sage, 2005; fifth reprint 2008). Just one small point on fact - all groups have not demanded 'territorial' autonomy as you assume - Himali Pradesh is the demand of many northern groups while Madhesh is the demand of many linguistic groups in Tarai.

Dear Sumanji and Basantaji,

I hope you do not consider Switzerland, Canada, Belgium etc. that have ethnic federalism as medieval.

Happy new year to all
Best, Mahendra
Mahendra Lawoti, Ph.D.