Saturday, March 10, 2012

State Restructuring on ethnocentric lines

Three things:

One, as a Newar it is nice to be called aadibashi (aboriginal/indigenous/native) and nicer to have Kathmandu valley named after my ethnocentric (ethnic, linguistic, cultural, religious) community. However, it is not possible for anyone to claim to being native to Kathmandu valley as it was initially a lake. My own ancestors arrived here via Simraungarh over a millennium ago which disproves the claims of Newar to being native to this land – nobody is except for fish, frog, et al.

I have just googled and reconfirmed, for example, that Sherpas migrated more than 500 years ago from Tibet and, therefore, the claims of Sherpas being native to the land there are now inhabiting comes unhinged. In this backdrop, the debate as to who is a native to the land and who isn’t is not worth the time and energy in doing so and provincializing Nepal on the basis of some ethnocentric communities being native to the land is not prudent.
Two, I am a Newar and recognition of my identity is important for me. But I also need to be aware of the fact that it is against the tenets of democracy to recognize identity of only a few ethnocentric communities and not to do so in the case of the identity of other over 90 ethnocentric communities. This amounts to blatant discrimination against the ethnocentric groups whose identities will not get “recognized”; mitigation of which lies in creation of over 90 ethnocentric groups resulting in “provincialization” (fragmentation) of a small country like Nepal in over 100 ethnocentric provinces; setting in centrifugal forces.

Three, Nepal is spending about Rs 1 billion/year on executive (prime ministers, ministers and their “cronies”), legislature, judiciary, and various other commissions now. Upon provincialization each “state” will need their own executive (prime ministers, ministers and their “cronies”), legislature, judiciary, and various other commissions which will entail spending at least about Rs 0.5 billion/year in each state. Spending Rs 5 billion/year (if we are to have only 10 states) when people are dying of famine and for lack of clean water to drink and for sanitation is waste of precious resources. Once provinces are created on ethnocentric lines, then the centrifugal force will set in and every so often Nepal will be carving off new states for the remaining ethnocentric communities and thereby increasing such spending.
The children of our motherland need to introspect on these lines and decide what is good for our motherland.

Ratna Sansar Shrestha, FCA

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