सामाजिक सद्भावका आयाम[Dimensions of Social Harmony]
This is the fourth publication of NEMAF in the book series. Probably, it is the first book on social harmony which discussed the various amplitudes and aspects of social harmony. The issue of social harmony was mostly raised after Madhesh Movement 2007 when the cases of conflict were seen in Madhesh afterwards. However, from Madheshi viewpoints, it has been the long standing issue, they had to face in Kathmandu and other hill districts.
मधेशमा बस्ने पहाडी समुदायमाथि सामाजिकरूपमा भेदभाव हुँदा काठमाडौँका मिडिया, नागरिक अगुवा र सरकारी अधिकारीहरूको चिन्ता अत्यन्त जायज छ। त्यो मधेशी समुदायको पनि चिन्ताको विषय हो । तर, दशकौँदेखि काठमाडौँलगायत पहाडी शहरमा मधेशीमाथि हुँदै आएको सामाजिक दुर्व्यवहार किन नेपाली मिडिया, नागरिक समाज र सरकारी अधिकारीहरूका लागि चिन्ता र चिन्तनको विषय बन्न सकेन ? यो आम मधेशीको चासोको विषय हो।
This book begins with CK Lal’s article which discusses the concept and necessity of social harmony. The article to be followed is again by CK Lal which analyses the essence of path to social harmony. Prof. Krishna Hachhethu puts light on the correlation between social harmony and federalism. The fourth and fifth chapters raise the issues of harmony from the ground.
मिथिला मन्थन[Mithila Manthan]
This is the first step of NEMAF to start publishing books in regional langauge. As the book title suggests, this book is in the Maithili language. It is the collection of thoughts of CK Lal shared and discussed with the people of Mithila in Janakpur. He touches some of the basic issues of Mithila which have already been long abondoned or in the process of it. Some of them to name are – how to increase the confidence level of Madhes, education, importance of oral history in thought development, castes and society, importance of water in Mithila, Nepal-India relations, our culture and agriculture, nationalism and federalism and so on.
नेपालमा क्षेत्रीयता र राष्ट्रिय एकता[Regionalism and National Unity in Nepal]
Regionalism and National Unity in Nepal is Frederick H. Gaige’s acclaimed study of the Tarai and the Nepali state’s misdirected and ineffectual attempts at integrating the region into the national mainstream. The theme of the book remains as relevant three decades later, especially at a time when the very essence of Nepali nationalism is being questioned and new forms of co-existence are being negotiated. The introduction by Arjun Guneratne updates the reader on the social and political context in which the book is being re-issued besides highlighting some of the more pertinent issues now at stake in the Tarai, indications of which are scattered throughout Gaige’s book.
The Landscape of Madhesh
Publications on Madhesh, particularly those based on research, are limited. The highly acclaimed ‘Regionalism and National Unity of Nepal’ (1975) by Frederick H. Gaige is the first systematic interdisciplinary study of the Madhesh and single best introduction of the socio-political context of Madhesh/Terai politics. In this backdrop, the Nepal Madhesh Foundation (NEMAF) commissioned four separate studies on key issues which give a glimpse into the polity, society, and economy of the Terai.
The book, edited by Ruhi Tewari and Anirudh Prasad Sah, encapsulates these four research papers. The first paper, written by Ruhi Tewari, is entitled, ‘Inclusiveness in Political Parties in Madhesh – Tracking the Social Base’. The paper empirically analyses the composition of six major parties, including UCPN (Maoists), Nepali Congress, Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist), Madheshi Janaadhikar Forum, Terai-Madhesh Loktantrik Party, and Sadbhavana Party (Mahato), at four different levels – their parliamentary party in the CA, highest decision-making body, central committee, and district committees in Terai. The objective is to discern patterns in representation in the different parties. The study concludes Madheshis remain underrepresented at all levels in the so-called national parties, which have given a higher and disproportionate share of representation to the pahadis of the Terai. In contrast, Madheshi parties give more than adequate share to the Madheshi castes with different parties giving higher share to different castes. But none of the Madheshi parties take into account the diversity within the plains and Dalits, Muslims, indigenous people, and pahadis are under-represented.
The second, written by Dr. Uma Shankar Prasad, is on ‘Government Expenditure in Madhesh – Problems and Prospects’. The paper is a detailed look at the Nepal’s economy, and examines how Terai fits into this larger framework of the country’s public finances and expenditure. The author argues convincingly that despite its contribution to the national exchequer, the Terai remains relatively neglected with data showing how other regions receive a higher share of public investment.
The third paper is written by Sumit Gupta and Ambar Hajariya on ‘The Youth of Madhesh – A National Assessment’. It concludes that their current status is vulnerable, and young Madheshis lag behind on indicators like education, employment, health, economic affairs, and overall political participation. At a time of a youth bulge in the country, and growing concerns that it was precisely the inability to mobilise the energy of the youth in productive sectors that led to the upsurge in violence and crime, this study adds value to the discourse.
The fourth paper, written by Sanchita Maharjan and Rita Kumari Sah, is titled ‘Madheshi Women in Nepal – A Rapid Assessment of Existing Literature’. It looks at an issue that has found little public attention even by advocates of Madheshi rights – the question of gender. Even by the general patriarchal standards of Nepali society, Madheshi women are discriminated against, excluded and underrepresented in public life to a staggering extent. The writers show this to be true across a range of indicators – health, education, politics, domestic life and so on. It ends by floating additional research questions that need to be investigated further.
Note: Books are available at Himal Books, Babar Mahal and NEMAF, Kopundole.