Although Nepal has decided to go for federalism and proportional representation as per the wish of the agitating people, it’s not yet clear what sort of federalism and proportional representation the nation is heading toward.
Federalism based on ethnic, regional, or linguistic division, as demanded by certain sections of madhesis and janajatis(indigenous groups) might lead multiethnic, multilingual, and now a secular Nepal into further chaos.
Various experts have been expressing their concern over the dangers of federalism based on ethnicity, ignoring the geographical, geo-political, ethnic, linguistic, economic, biological diversity as well as their inter-relatedness.
What about restructuring the existing five development regions into the federal mode with full autonomy at the local level?
It’s been widely acknowledged that what people actually want is equal treatment and representation regardless of their ethnic, economic, social, sectarian, or gender identity.
This is more of an emotional issue of self-respect that is being manipulated by various forces due to insensitive handling by those in power.
As the whole nation is swayed by such rhetoric as regional autonomy, federalism, ethnic identity which are sensitive issues to the national integrity and communal harmony, the state must mobilize all its resources to inform the people on the pros and cons of every issue.
It’s encouraging that albeit late, the government has started holding dialogue with different groups – but the state composed of the decisive political parties at present, instead of compromising with one or the other disgruntled factions should encourage them to make a common alliance and should state clearly what it can address and what it can’t.
The grievances of every group, no matter how small it is or how eccentric its demands are, must be heard.
It’s very crucial that people clearly understand the implication of their votes the Constitutional Assembly polls that would take the country into irreversible political and social mutations.
Not only the commoners, but even the educated ones are confused by the high-sounding agendas that surface every new day.
Hence, the government, private media, the civil society, the parties, as well as the experts have a very crucial role to play on educating people regarding the re-structuring of the New Nepal.