Six reasons why I don’t accept this Vice President for Nepal.By Bibek Paudel [UWB received this article in email. Photo source: Facebook.]
All over Nepal, protests against Vice President Paramanda Jha are being organized because he chose Hindi as the language while swearing in. There are ongoing debates in Nepali blogs, news sites and Facebook forums. This is one of them:
I am not advocating anywhere that anyone of Terai or Madhesh origin or even Indian origin for that matter becomes “less -Nepali” than anyone of us. Many Nepali-speaking people have let down the entire nation and betrayed the people. Yes, they have. The King used to speak Nepali but people didn’t like him. Ditto with many other Nepali-speaking leaders. I also don’t believe that people can’t use a language of their choice in day-to-day use. Please bear these things in mind and continue reading.
0. Criminal Act
According to the Interim constitution of Nepal (which I hope a Vice President is liable to), Hindi is not one of our national languages. Also, according to the 5th amendment to the constitution, Vice President can take oath only in the language of official work, i.e Nepali.
Violating constitution, whether by an ordinary citizen or a Vice President. is worth contempt. He violated the constitution even before he assumed his office.
1. Promotion of wrong values
Practicality is too vague and flimsy a comfort to be allowed to “abide rules”, “set example”, be a symbol of national unity, and most importantly, run a country.
Speaking yesterday in a local FM station, Upendra Yadav advocated that Hindi is the lingua-franca of the Terai and practically everyone in Nepal understands Hindi. I have seen the relatives of my Madhesi friends who don’t understand Nepali and I have also seen people of non-Terai origin (in the hills and mountains) who don’t understand Hindi. Mr Yadav, practically, people speak very less and communicate through non-verbal signs. Are we supposed to include non-verbal means of communication and body language as one of our national languages too? And then make a Vice President swear in non-verbally? Practically, it might be easier to pee out open on the streets instead of having to search for a loo but I believe you won’t endorse it, or would you?
Some people have been raising a question which I think needs to be addressed. In India, English is a national language and also the language of official use. Nepali is also a national language of India, according to the Indian Constitution. According to the census of 1991, India has more than 2,076,645 people whose mother tongue is Nepali. The Nepalese census doesn’t enlist Hindi as a language spoken natively in Nepal. But independent studies suggest that about 0.05 percent of terai dwellers speak Hindi as their native language.
2. Offense against the people of Nepal
Vice President is a post of national importance. He doesn’t belong to any region or language. Nepalese of all origin and background should be able to feel pride and respect for their Vice President. Rather, he has offended a large section of Nepalese. If Mr Jha thinks he has offended only the Nepali-speaking population, so be it, but a Vice President shouldn’t offend them. Hence, he should apologize for swearing in in a foreign language.
3. Disapproval of the principle of a Federal Republic Nepal is trying to transform. From a centralized governance to a decentralized, federal republic. Because people believe that the centralized governance threatened minorities, their languages and culture, we are rewriting our constitution that will safeguard the identity of all ethnic, regional and linguistic groups. In a federal republic, regional states will have their own regional languages and systems. By not respecting his own mother-tongue and his national language, what is he hinting at? If Nepali had threatened Maithili language, how will promoting Hindi safeguard it? Is this why we fought for a federal Nepal? If we want to have one language of communication, what use restructuring the existing centralized governance? Just moving from Nepali to Hindi would cure our woes. Why did the revolution had to happen and why did so many people had to die for this simple and obvious solution ??? I wonder.
4. Failure to live up to his post
Being the first vice president means setting an example. It also means being a symbol of national unity in a country whose historically, politically, culturally and religiously accepted guardian (the erstwhile king) has taken a beating. By speaking a language that is neither listed as one of our national languages, nor is natively spoken by more than 0.05 percent of terai dwellers, what example is he trying to set? Mr. Paramananda Jha is also no saint. While acting as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nepal, he was proven guilty of involvement in the biggest hashish (679 kg of it!!) smuggling case of Nepal. It is not a question of non-Nepali speaking people being any less Nepali than those speaking Nepali. It is a question of the dignity of the post, abiding by the rules and the situation/timing ofthe act.
5. Suspicious motive
If you watch the video carefully, he speaks the first words in Nepali and then translates the rest of the text into Hindi as he speaks. Mr Jha was well aware of the act he was doing. I am sure he knew who he would please and who he would anger with his act. Language is important. Especially to smaller communities and nations. Languages are associated with their existence and identity. Even more so in a country like ours’ with very sensitive geo-political location. Languages are associated with the culture, heritage and history. Therefore there have been so violent events all over the world for linguistic rights and nations have even been divided on issues based on languages. We can’t ignore this fact based on “practical issues.”
In Paramananda Jha’s case, because of all the above mentioned reasons, the most serious question is “who was he trying to please? WHO ?” I think, the question is worth pondering.
Lastly, I Don’t Accept This Vice President for my Nepal. I will protest against his act of swearing in in Hindi both on and off the internet. And I urge you all to do the same.