Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
There was a peace agreement Maoist and the Nepal Government in 2006. After the peace agreement high ranking Madeshis observe that they were relegated to the sidelines and experienced inequality. As a result, a large number of supporters from Terai broke away from the Maoist main stream to start their own movement utilizing the indigenous social mobilization tactics to strategically attack the state.
The principle demand is the “liberation” of the entire Terai into a single autonomos state called “Madesh” which in common parlance is known as “one madesh”. Each of the organization of UDMF choose to participate in the first post war nation wide election in April 2008 with election slogan of ‘Ek Madhesh, ek Pradesh’.
In order to capture the rise of Madheshhi nationalism both in historical context and contemporary politics. The author’s direct and indirect observations at times (before, during and after the recent Madheshh uprising of the January-February 2007) and the findings of a nationwide survey conducted recently in March-April 2007 are also used as resource materials. The January-February 2007 Madheshh uprising – a 21days long mass movement participated in by large masses of the Madheshhi population – was an unprecedented event parallel to Janandolan II of the April 2006. It was a landmark event in bringing out regional based ethno-nationalism as one of the prominent issues in the national discourse on restructuring the Nepali state.
In the process of formation of “new” nation and society in Nepal, the role of education would be very crucial for minimizing the ethnic-caste-religion and regional disparity, which is often considered as one of the important causes of conflicts and various forms of social and political movements and activisms in the country as one known Madheshmovement, in the aftermath context of Maoists’ armed struggle in Nepal. Historically, the concepts of education, national development, and nationalism were closely intertwined with the promotion of national unity and integration based on selected ethnic-caste groups’ culture, language, and history. Kabir, H (2013)
The Madheshhi Community launched in 2007 the largest ever ethnic uprising in Nepal that shook the Nepali state to its very core. The event resulted in significant loss of life, injuries, damage of properties and disruption of ethnic harmony. The uprising was an outcome of a deep-rooted problem with strong historical underpinnings that can be traced as far back as the era when Nepal was built as a state. It has persisted up to the present and may continue to persist and threaten the national security and territorial integrity of Nepal unless appropriate action is taken to address the problem. Mathema, (2011)
Nepal’s recent history has been fraught with civil violence. After a peace agreement was signed to end a 10-year civil war between the government of Nepal and the Communist Party of Nepal Maoist in 2006, local and international observers were surprised to see new fighting erupt in southern Nepal, within a region known as the Terai. The violence, however, was initiated not by either party to the civil war but by groups fighting on behalf of those who profess a Madheshi ethnicity. These groups targeted both the state and the Maoists, polarizing Terai citizens along ethnic issues that were largely unaddressed during the civil war. In 2007, the three largest of these groups, the Madheshi Janadhikar Forum (MJF), Terai Madheshh Loktrantrik Party (TMLP), and Sadbhavana Party (SP), joined forces to create a coalition called the United Democratic Madheshi Front (UDMF). UDMF groups participated in the recent national elections but have threatened a return to violence if their demands are not met. Miklian, J. (2009)
The formation of identity politics in Nepal from a view point of Tharu movement, one of the largest ethnic movements in the country. Despite having a long historical background, critics suggest that the Tharu movement is increasingly contested with identity politics. Sharing part of this critique, the paper argues that the Tharu movement has been undergone with the formation of collective identity incorporating the previously neglected issues of poverty, inequality and marginalization. Following critical discourse analysis, the paper concludes that the identity politics of Tharu movement has been formed in multiple dimensions of class, caste/ethnicity, gender, region, and development status. Sapkota. (2014)
It provides the historical specifics of the onset to the recent achievements of the Madhesh struggle. Further, these arguments, especially the complex debate between regional and social identity of Madheshi, are substantiated by insights from national to local Madheshi intellects. This chapter expands to draw links between the contemporary phenomenon of identity conflict in Nepal to the theoretical framework to envisage the future of identity conflict. Jha. (2017)
Achin Vanaik in his article ‘The New Himalayan Republic’ sets out the complex socio historical backdrop to the Nepalese second democratic revolution of 2006 that overthrew the monarchy, the ensuing struggle for a new republic and the tactical challenges facing the communist party of Nepal (Maoist). Here he mentions about the Madhesh movement in the Terai and explains about the problems in the Terai. He specifically focuses on the maoist role in the Terai and explains the Madhesh movement in the context of transition in the political system after the overthrowing of monarchy. He explains the Madhesh movement in the aftermath of Jan Andolan 2, how the movement came up as a consequence of the failure of the interim constitution to enshrine a federal basis for a future Nepali state. But the author focuses on many other reasons as dilemmas of transition in the political system of Nepal and Madheshi uprising being one. He does not explain only about the Madhesh movement, its objectives or the state responses towards the movement. Vanaik. (2008).
Frederick H. Gaige in his ‘Regionalism and National Unity in Nepal’ focused on the ethnic diversity and the division and conflict between the hills and the plains people in Nepal. In his book he considers regionalism as a problem of nation building in Nepal. He says that the problem of this division has to be overcome by Nepal. He mentions that the people from the plains dominate the economy, which gives them some leverage against the political hegemony of the capital. Hence Frederick Gaige, provides a comprehensive survey of conditions in the Terai and at the same time he also provides the reasons for the difficulty of integrating Nepal’s population into a national community. Gaige opines that geography as a major factor divides the country into two parts. Economically the Terai people are in a more advantageous position. Factors like citizenship, education and language are all handled by the central government according to Gaige, to favour the people from the hills. The efforts made by the government for nation building always tend to perpetuate the inferior position of the people of the plains, instead of removing such inferiority issue. He also points out that the nature of all the policies of the government and the reforms it has brought about has always been designed to produce lack of communication in the Terai and underdevelopment (Gaige,1975). Hence the author Frederick Gaige analyses the conditions and the reasons behind the hindrances of national unity in Nepal. But it is to be noted that he does not examine the Madhesh movement in the Terai in detail. Therefore, it is evident that there still remains scope for the present study to look into the aims, objectives, causes of the movement and the state responses towards the movement.
The report by the International Crisis Group also gave recommendations to the Madheshi political leaders and opinion makers. According to the report they should continue pressing the government for fair electoral representation and inclusion by rejecting violence, taking part in the elections to the Constituent Assemblies, cooperating in the commission of enquiry seeking to redress grievances by judicial means and by devising forms of protests that do not adversely affect the social and economic life of the people in the Terai. The Madheshi leaders should also reduce communal tensions by making space for women in the movement, ensuring representations of janjatis, Muslims and all Hindu castes including the Dalits and by not insisting on a unitary Madheshi identity if it is unacceptable to some communities (ICG, 2007). Keeping these literature reviews into the consideration, it is clear that Terai/Madheshh movement comes together within the debate of Social Reconstruction.