On the occasion of Himalayan Heartbeat: Nepal Cultural Evening, Canada Forum for Nepal has released the second issue of – Concern Nepal. We invite you to enjoy the reading of our publication and get involved and contribute to Concern Nepal by sending news, views, op-ed writings and research articles.
In This Issue
- CFFN: Activities
- Featured Articles
Unprecedented people’s movement followed by sequence of historic proclamations of the house of representative (HoR) in Nepal curtailed the kings’ power temporarily. Additional declarations such as secular state and free of untouchability are the praiseworthy steps taken by the HoR. The changes made by declarations are essential for establishing a democratic and prosperous Nepal, but they alone are by no means sufficient to achieve these goals. Political decisions in the background of strong people’s support, as is the case in Nepal today, are relatively easy undertakings. What is challenging and imperative is to institutionalize these changes, and replace the old power structure which has grappled Nepal for centuries and pushed its economy on the downward spiral by new accountable democratic institutions. The first step towards this goal is to set up a framework and environment that people could write their own constitution to establish a “New Nepal”.
Statistics show that more than half of the Nepal’s population lives under $1 a day, two-third of the population is still illiterate and life expectancy in the rural area is almost 40% lower than that in the capital city. It’s not secret that the old political power of hundreds of years has kept most of the economic activities under its control creating mind bugling social and economic disparities in the country, which is both growth impeding and inequality perpetuating. Unless we address these burning inter-temporal and regional issues with appropriate policies, the desire to build a peaceful and strong Nepal will remain an illusion. To be able to tackle these issues it would require a complete structural transformation in our thinking, policies,power structure and economic endowment.
The immediate priorities of the government should be the establishment of permanent peace in the country, sharing power among revolutionary political forces and go for an election of a Constituent Assembly. This is the mandate of the present government from the popular movement. All other issues could be addressed by an elected government based on the new constitution adopted by the peoples’ representatives from constitutional assembly. These are the realities, hard but must be achieved. Peoples’ historic and courageous struggle has provided us this golden opportunity to make a New Nepal; if missed, history will never excuse us.
Past Activities of CFFN
During the last three months, CFFN has released three statements by denouncing the king’s autocratic rule, supporting the historic peoples’ uprising, and highlighting the achievements of the popular movement in Nepal. Press releases can be found at the following links:
- Press Release: May 10, 2006
- Press Release: April 19, 2006
- Press Release: April 20, 2006
- Press Release: April 22, 2006
Relief Funds for Victims in Nepal
Canada Foundation for Nepal collected a fund of $2,833 (Nepalese Rs. 179,131) from the Nepalese community in Ottawa and other wellwishers, and handed it to Janandolan Primary Health Treatment Fund (a fund for the treatments of the injured during the peoples’ movement in Nepal) on April 19, 2006. The images of the Bank Draft presented by CFFN, the receipt issued by the Fund and the exchange rates for the date of transaction are posted in our website (www.cffn.ca). CFFN extends its appreciation to all of you who contributed to the relief fund.
A team of CFFN committee members visited the Member of Parliament Alexa McDonough office on 7th June 2006 and discussed about recent political developments in Nepal. At the same time, they also emphasized the need of Canada’s proactive role in the transition of political way-out in Nepal. Up-coming events and programs
Himalayan Heartbeat: Nepal Cultural Evening
CFFN is organizing a fund-raising cultural event (Himalayan Heartbeat) on 7th July 2006 at the Auditorium of Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa. The program will involve a short introductory talk by our special guest Mr. Andrew Brash, a renowned Canadian mountaineer who gained world media attention for abandoning his own ascent, just 200m below the summit of Mount Everest, to help save the life of an Australian climber left for dead by an earlier expedition, will share his experience with us. Other attractions of the program include Nepali dances and an educational Nepali movie (Ujili). Please visit our website (www.cffn.ca) for more information. You are invited to come and join us in the fun- filled evening and also help us raise funds.
In this issue, we have invited two articles on ethnicity, social discrimination and need for changes in the changed context of new Nepal. The views expressed here are solely of the authors.
“As race is the great problem in western democracy including super power America, gender is the barrier in Islamic world, while feudalism is the greatest hurdles in third world democracies.” Anonymous.
The unfortunate truth about Nepal is that the poverty has robbed many Nepalese of their basic dignity for a long time. After 236 years of absolute monarchy and 15 years of “democracy”, only 5 percent Nepalese enjoys 85 percent of the development results, 55 percent enjoys 10 percent, and the rest 40 percent enjoys merely 5 percent according to government statistics. The rulers turned the nation’s think tank institution, National Planning Commission into a National Commission Planning! (continue reading article)
Caste Discrimination: A Core Problem in Nepal’s Development By D.P. Rasali, PhD.
Nepal, a South Asian state, strangely running with medieval-style state machinery even in the 21st century, has been long overdue for a total transformation for modernization. Many changes taking place swiftly in the past few weeks through some bold actions of the reinstated Parliament with the backing from rebellious revolutionary Maoists are clearly the signs of the country moving on the right track for creating a new era for the people to be able to live without any fear, and progress with time.
Nevertheless, the caste-based discrimination is one of the most important problems that have been the root cause of the Nepalese society, is still under the shadow due to lack of sufficient thrust it deserves. It has been the main basis for retention of traditional feudalistic regimes. Shah dynasty thrived throughout the history of 237 years of reign in what came to be known as Nepal, mainly due to its societal position as the mythical warrior Kshatriya caste among four Hindu Varnas. Autocratic Ranas ruled for 104 years until 1950 by way of superseding the powers of Shah Dynasty and establishing themselves as ruling class rivals with Shahs. The systematic discrimination rampant between any other two Hindu castes and within any caste and/or any caste groups was the basis for both these dynasties to “divide and rule” the largely ignorant masses. The history of what came to be known as Nepal has been nothing more than the playing field for these two dynasties, by turn, suppressing the masses as slaves. (continue reading article)
This newsletter – Concern Nepal – is a periodic publication of the Canada Foundation for Nepal that is circulated electronically and posted in its website. We invite you to be part of the Forum by getting involved and contribute to Concern Nepal by sending news, views, op-ed writings and research articles. You can reach us by sending email at firstname.lastname@example.org .