Monday, April 19, 2010

RE: Newa Rajya

April 19, 2010

Dear Proponent of Newa Rajya

I agree with you that if every odd ethno-cultural-religious-linguist group is to have provinces of their own, then it will not be tenable for Newa people not to have a separate province. This also will mean that Nepal will need to be fragmented into over 100 provinces to recognize all ethno-cultural-religious-linguist groups. Therefore, both of these propositions are unacceptable. Neither can we let other ethno-cultural-religious-linguist groups have their own provinces without us Newa people having our own. Nor can we stand idly by while our motherland is fragmented (first into 14, including 10 ethno-cultural-religious-linguistic groups and eventually over 100 provinces) and follow the path of Yugoslavia.

However, I have to disagree with you in as much as your statement that federalism is “the ultimate form of devolving power” is concerned. Provinces under federal system do continue to be unitary and expecting power to devolve after fragmenting a country in the name of federalism is like applying medicine somewhere else for a headache. A separate set of instrument is called for to empower grassroots in order to have power devolve to the grassroots which can be achieved without fragmenting this tiny country in over 100 provinces.

By talking about “non-bahuns and non-chhetris” you are ignoring and denying diversity that exists amongst Newa people. Ethnically there are Newa people who trace their lineage to Mongol origins and there are others that have descended from Aryans. Similarly, there are Hindus and Buddhists amongst Newa people. Amongst Hindu Newa people there exists four Varnas comprising Bahun, Chhetri, etc. For example, Malla kings of this valley are Chhetris (as most of the ruling class are) who have had marital relationship with other Chhetris from Palpa, Makwanpur, etc. (Khas Chhetris) in Nepal and even with other ruling class people, for example, in Cooch Bihar in India. Similarly, there are people of Brahman Varna amongst Newa people who intermarry with Khas Bahun community even now. Even amongst Buddhist there are priestly class and others. But I don’t know too much about Buddhists. Therefore, ignoring and denying such ethno-cultural-religious-linguistic diversity amongst Newa people is unwarranted. And seeking fragmentation of this country due to outrage against certain segment of Bahuns and Chhetris is like shooting at one’s own foot. I agree with you that Newa people in this valley have had to suffer in the hands of Khas people for last 240 years. But it was possible due to the active help and cooperation of a few Newa families who exploited their proximity to the palaces to the hilt and gained quite a lot in the bargain. You must be familiar with those Newa families and I don’t need to list the names of those families here.

In saying “if any body is so opposed to or so unsure about Newa Rajya, he or she may opt to live in another rajya” you have said a very serious thing without contemplating full ramifications and impact. First of all this particular attitude is unbecoming under democratic norms. In democracy people are entitled to their own views and nobody should be asked to leave a place of their domicile merely due to disagreement with the likes of you on any topic/issue. This kind of intolerance is highly inappropriate and smacks of attitudes under dictatorship, totalitarianism or autocracy. We in Nepal didn’t sacrifice so much to adopt regression once more. We have had despotism under monarchy and it is unacceptable to bring back the same in a republic after having eliminated the monarchy.

It’s not a mere case of for or against Newa Rajya. The issue is whether this tiny country should be fragmented into over 100 provinces or not. Moreover, this is not something that should be said lightly in such a manner as it could snowball out of proportion. If those disagreeing with Newa Rajya are to be asked to leave this place, one needs to contemplate the impact if the same is reciprocated by other ethno-cultural-religious-linguistic communities. For example, Newa people in Tansen may be asked to do the same by Tamu people, Newa people in Dharan to Chainpur by Limbuwan, Kirat, etc. I abhor this kind of stance personally and also as it can lead to ethnic cleansing. If you check the history of Yugoslavia you will be able to find out that this is what led to liquidation of that country.

With best regards,
Ratna Sansar Shrestha
From: (deleted as the sender is reluctant to make his name public)
Sent: Wednesday, April 14, 2010 22:08
Subject: **SPAM** Re: My article in Gorkhpatra on moves to revive 2047 constitution

To conclude the debate on federalism or separate Newa Rajya I just want to ask the sceptics and opponents a simple question: can we remain 'rajyaless' when all the ethnic groups want - and will have their own rajya - within the federal democratic republic of Nepal?

Time has come to leave aside the doubts and work for a prosperous Newa Rajya. Indeed, no one can take away the credit from the Maoists for initiating the concept of federalism - which as you will agree the ultimate form of devolving power away from those who have held - and what all of us non-bahuns and non-chhetris have been complaining - power to date.

After all, if any body is so opposed to or so unsure about Newa Rajya, he or she may opt to live in another rajya and wish us who believe - and want a separate rajya - all the best.

1 comment:

Basanta said...

A very pragmatic and balanced analysis. I totally agree with you Ratna Sansarjyu!