Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The United States of Nepal?

Michael Poulsen

Kathmandu, April 6: At the moment there is a lot of debate on whether Nepal ought to convert to a federation along ethnic lines. This is mainly a demand from the Maoist and the UML but grassroots movements like NEFIN (Federation of Indigenous Nationalities) are also making their voices heard.

However if Nepal would look to the latest experience with federations along ethnical borders (Sudan and Nigeria), they will quickly realize that ethnical disturbance will very likely increase if a federations border are drawn to make according to ethnic demands.

Furthermore, such a construction would very likely lead to the strengthening of the ethnic identities at the expense of the Nepalese identity, which in turn would make the nation open to identity "struggle", where the group that articulates the strongest claim to the land receives autonomy over it –and thereby access to the political and economical sphere, in spite of any other claims.

This would lead to continuing resentment among the ethnic groups which has not articulated as strong a claim. And lastly this would lead to a nation with divided loyalties–which any foreign power (private or nation) can exploit.

But as with many examples of federalism, be it USA or Nigeria, there are no easy or fast solutions.

(Michael Poulsen is a Danish national currently doing internship in Nepal)

1 comment:

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