Finding Your Face in the Figures?
Why not Find Here?
Nepal has been geographically divided into three regions: the Himalayas (Himal), the Hills (Pahad), and the plains of Terai(Madhes). Madhes based parties have been demanding for making the whole southern terrain bordering with India as a single Madhes state. Madhesi leaders define Madhesis as original inhabitants of Madhes that include all those who are not of Pahadi or Himali origin. This definition seems to be based on the general perception among Pahadis in identifying Madhesis as the people of the terai region or of recent India orgin. The hill people traditionally have been calling the people living on the plains as Madisey. But, there was no official definition or claim regarding who the Madhesis are or who are not Madhesis until recently. With the demand for a single autonomous Madhes State and ‘wholesale’ inclusion of Madhesis through reservation in all state organs surfaced the controversy on the definition of ‘Madhesi’.
The Tharu communities strongly protest against the Madhesi demand of ‘Whole Madhes, One Single State’. Tharus identify themselves as the original inhabitant of the plains, and differentiate themselves with the Madhesis. Tharus, who mostly have Mongolian features, see Madhesis as either recent arrivals from India or people sharing culture with the India side of the Indo-Nepal border. Some Tharu groups have even warned of armed struggle against the government’s recent listing of the Tharus in the Madhesi community. The government had recently issued a notice listing the castes & ethnicities who would qualify as Madhesi – to address the Madhesi concern against selection of two Pahadi candidates by the Public Service Commision(PSC) in Madhesi quota. While Government’s list addressed the Madhesi concern, it raised more concern among the Tharus for being labeled as Madhesis.
The issues of identity, representation in the state structures, and demarcation of federal lines among the states are more complex than they appear. The candidates selected by PSC who were withdrawn later were among the thousands of Terai inhabitants whose forefathers had migrated from the hills to the plains. Hence, ethnically and culturally, they are Pahadis, but geographically they are not Pahadis. Tharus and Rajbansis claim to be older inhabitants of the plains than the Madhesis or Pahadis. Moreover, there are Muslims, Christians, Limbuwans, & Khambuwans who have been increasingly asserting for separate federal states.
My Impression: Tharus are not Madhesis – if Madhesis need a separate state, Tharu demand for Tharuwan state sounds equally logical, and so on for other tribes, races, ethnicities, and cultures. Forget who came from where in Nepal – all are refugees here, and until a new discovery proves otherwise, all human animals descend from their African ancestors. But, again, you can not claim African land or identity.
BTW, have you any idea where were you and what was your identity just a year before you landed on this planet? Here’s a close up picture of what you looked like then:
UPDATE on March 02 : Nepal’s ethnic bodies, including Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) and Tharu Welfare Council (TWC), have claimed that the government’s categorization of Tharus as Madhesis violated the ILO 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal People. “This is either a conspiracy of the Maoists to divide and rule the indigenous people or a tactics to appease the Madhesi leaders to prop up the falling government” President Pasang Sherpa and General Secretary Om Gurung of NEFIN said on Saturday.
UPDATE: Three persons, including one policeman, were killed in Chitwan as the general strike called by Tharus continued in the districts stalling the whole southern Nepal .