What will be the fate of federalism in Nepal
if Tarai is forcibly tagged as Madhes
A programme was organized by Martyr Memorial Committee, Central Office, Lalitpur on 30 January 2012 on the occasion of national Martyr Day. It was an open air programme in front of the famous Krishna Temple of Patan. Buddhi Narayan Shrestha was one of the main speakers on that programme. Followings are the main points of his open speech during that programme.
- At first he offered heartfelt condolences to the genuine martyrs, who had lost their lives for the shake of people and country, more than seventy years ago. But he vehemently discarded to hundred of so called martyrs who were to say them as martyrs under compulsion. After that he stared his open environment speech.
- So far as the Tarai has been tagged as Madhes, there might be a question: whether there is Madhes in Nepal or not ?
- Nepal is physically constructed as Himal, Mountain and Plain (Himal, Pahad, Maidan) areas. The word NEPAL represents as:
- NE= Himal= head of a man= cap= sukute
- PA= Mountain= stomach= shirt= dhide
- LA= Plain (Maidan)=leg= trousser= bhatay
- Plain or Maidan has been started to be spoken as Madhes by Madhesi community some years ago. In fact, this is Tarai plain (Maidan).
- Here lies a question, is the word Tarai, synonymous to Madhes ? If we make a study on the text of 1816 Treaty of Sugauli, it has mentioned the word ‘Tarai’ which denotes the low lying area of southern Nepal. The word Tarai has been mentioned in thirteen places on the pages of treaty and letter of exchange. The word Madhes is not mentioned in any of the sentences in the treaty. So one could say that the Tarai is not as Madhes.
- Now, there comes another question, where lies the Madhes ?
- In Sanskrit script, there is a word ‘Madhya-desa.’ It denotes the meaning as ‘Middle Country.’ By the time, the word Madhya-desa might have been deformed as Madhes. There is a state in India named Madhya Prades, in between Uttar Pradesh and Maharastra States. Renowned Historian Baburam Aacharya has mentioned that the plain area from Ambala to Prayag in India might have been named as Madhesh.
- Similarly, when Chinese traveler and Historian Faiyan reached to Mathura of India, he has mentioned in his diary that Madhya-desa is located south of Mathura.
- If we study the ancient Brahmani and Buddhism literature, it is said that the area east of River Saraswoti and west of Kalak Ban (Black Forest) near to Prayag is called as Madhes. This area is located in Indian territory.
- Now, let us have a look how the inhabitants of our Tarai region have been called as Madhesi ?
- In short, the population increased in the Madhya-desa of India. There started to be a lack of livelihood. In the mean time, deforestation increased along the dense forest (char kose jhadi) of Nepal. As a result the deforested area was converted into the fertile land with virgin soil.
- Now the people of Madhya-desa of India started to migrate to Nepali fertile land. They cultivated the barren land for their livelihood constructed homestead to stay safe.
- But there were some Nepali aboriginals Tharu community since long in Tarai Maidan. Nepali Tharu might have started to call the migrants from Madhya-desa as ‘Madhesi’ to recognize and identify them easily and separately, as migrated guests from neighbouring frontier.
- In such a way present Madhesi Nepali citizens, migrated from Madhya-desa India and still they have the nearest kin and kith with Indian citizens. Nepali Madhesi (Tarai) community speak as their mother tongue as Maithali, Avadhi, Hindi, Marwari, Urdu, Bengali mixed languages; and they have blood relations with Indian nationals.
- In short, majority of Madhesi in Tarai Maidan of Nepal increased tremendously and the word Madhes has been used in a colloquial language to address them as a separate or migrated community.
- It may be due to above reason that the new political party opened some years ago has been named as Tarai-Madhes Democratic Party. If the word Madhes is the traditional word, it would not have been necessary to include the word ‘Tarai.’ In another sense, if the word Madhes has been used from time immemorial, then the name of the party would ‘Madhes Democratic Party.’ Why they entangled the word- Tarai ? The answer may be- it is to tag Tarai as Madhes.
- Regarding the fate of federalism in Nepal, it is not feasible ‘One Madhes One Pradesh.’ It will not maintain the identity of Nepal and it will not increase the economic prosperity of the Nepali people. Even some of the Madhes based political parties are not in the opinion of this slogan. President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav has repeatedly expressed that it will not benefit the people and country. Nepali Congress Party has reiterated time and often that there must not have one Madhes one Pradesh in connection to the state restructuring.
- In connection to the State Re-structuring, all the States should be demarcated north-south basis in view of Nepal’s geo-political position, in terms of national integrity and sovereignty. Nepal’s life line is related to the State Restructuring and distribution of state power; and right to make self decision. So all the Nepalis must be aware to settle the question of state re-structuring process.
- Number of States should be not being too many or not more than seven states. Because of the fact that if there are more states, there will be more government expenditure. Political leaders might have a kind of luring that if there are more states, there will be many Governors, Chief Ministers and Ministers and other authorities. But ultimately, it will harm the national economy.