| Fostering positive
relations among citizens and governance
Organized by Nepal Foundation for Advanced
10 April 2011, Hariwon, Sarlahi
Nepal Foundation for Advanced Studies (NEFAS)
in co-operation with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) organized
a one day seminar on The Role of Civic Education for Strengthening
the Relationship between the People and Local Self-Governance
at Hariwan, Sarlahi district. Over 98 participants belonging to
different fields of life participated in the seminar. Young social
scientist Shiva Raj Dahal presented a paper titled Civic
Education for the Youth. Head of FES Mr. Dev Raj Dahal gave
a brief introduction of Friedrich Ebert-Stiftung (FES) and spoke
about a wide range of issues. Mr. Chandra Dev Bhatta shed further
light on various aspects of civic education and on the fundamental
principles of democracy as explained in the Handouts on
Democracy. The discussion that followed was illuminating
and showed that the people at the grassroots level have a sophisticated
understanding of the problems faced by the country. The participants
were also provided with the booklet Handouts on Democracy
and Building Modern State and Constitutional Questions.
Paper Presentation and Discussion
Shiva Raj Dahal- I would like to welcome
you all on behalf of NEFAS and to thank you all for accepting
our invitation. I would like to first request Mr. Krishna Prasad
Bhattarai Head of the --- Janta School , to assume the chairmanship
of this one-day seminar. Similarly I would like to request the
country head of FES and senior political analyst Mr. Dev Raj
Dahal, Mr. Ananda Shrestha, executive chairman of NEFAS and
recently retired professor who was associated with the English
department for thirty years, and Mr. Chandra Dev Bhatta, from
the FES to take their seats. Mr. Ananda Shrestha will now deliver
the welcome speech.
Ananda Shrestha- Mr. Chairman, country head
of FES and participants, I would like to first provide a short
introduction of NEFAS. This is an institution solely devoted
to research/educational activities and was established in 1990.
It organizes seminar on issues of national interest and does
not limit its activities to Kathmandu . Only the concluding
seminar is held in Kathmandu . We have held seminars in around
thirty-five to forty different places in Nepal providing citizens
knowledge about civic affairs and distributing our books on
Contemporary Nepali Society. In this course we are holding the
seminar here today. The young scholar Mr. Shiva Raj Dahal has
presented his paper in different localities. The shortcomings
pointed out by the participants and the comments and suggestions
offered by them have been very helpful in further refining the
paper. We expect to receive helpful suggestions here also in
order to further improve the paper. The proceedings will be
published in a book form. We have published thirty-five books
so far. They are used as teaching material from the ten plus
two level up to the postgraduate classes of Peace and Conflict,
Economics, Development Studies, Rural Development and Sociology
Department of Tribhuvan University. The books are also used
in foreign universities. We are proud of this fact.
Everybody is aware of the present situation
in our country. Twenty years have already passed since the political
changes of 1990. The country has been without a real constitution
for the last two years and the Interim Constitution 2007 has
not been able to stabilize political situation in Nepal . It
remains uncertain whether the process will be completed in the
remaining period. Different alternatives are being discussed.
We have not seen the politics of development in the last twenty
years. The paper will discuss these issues and the rights and
duties of citizens in this circumstances. The youth seem to
be the only source of hope. Change cannot take place without
transferring the leadership of the political parties to the
youth. No sector-health, education, administration etc. - has
been an exception to the process of decay. The youth must come
forward and take their place in the decision-making level. We
do not insist that the youths carry the party flags but they
must be aware of the state of the country. At present youth
find it hard to get employment and in frustration are emigrating
from the country. Your suggestions on how the youth should assume
the leadership of the political parties and other sectors will
be most welcome. I would like to end here. I would like to extend
my warm welcome to you all once more.
Shiva Raj Dahal- Mr. Dev Raj Dahal
will now provide a short introduction of FES . Mr. Dahal has
written many books and fourteen, fifteen of his books are used
as teaching materials. He worked for CNAS and was a research
fellow at the Berkley University .
Dev Raj Dahal- I would like to welcome
you all on behalf of FES . Stiftung means Foundation in German
and Friedrich Ebert was a social democrat and a labor leader.
He became the chairman of the constituent assembly and also
the president of Germany . He fell ill in 1925 and he told his
well-wishers that he would not live long and that instead of
paying respects to him with bouquets and gifts they should use
the money to set up a scholarship scheme for the children of
poor families and workers. As present this foundation has offices
in over 100 countries. The guiding principles of this foundation
are 1) Freedom, 2) Social Justice, 3) Solidarity, and 4) peace.
Without social justice the poor will have no stake in the political
system. Therefore there is a need to provide special privileges
for the weak. The world is getting smaller. If there are desperately
poor people in one part of the world it will ultimately affect
the welfare of the developed world. International solidarity
has thus become important. If the snow starts melting in the
Himalayas due to global warming tourists will cease coming to
Nepal and it will not be possible to produce hydro-electricity.
This scenario might unfold not because of our fault. The industrialized
countries are responsible for the rise in global temperatures.
To increase the water source tree plantation is necessary. World-wide
co-operative effort is necessary because the context of development
has expanded at a global space and, therefore, we have to be
system-sensitive while formulating public policies.
Tax has correlation with the accountable governance
and state building. In Nepal , tax contributes over 20 percent
to the GDP of Nepal while remittances contribute twenty-three
percent. Foreign aid contributes only five percent to the GDP.
Our home-grown knowledge is not being utilized in formulating
public policies. Policies fail because they lack local ownership.
When people become actively engaged in the affairs of the state
the internal political process can assume the responsibility
for making policies. A citizen is a constituent of a particular
country and must be loyal to that country. They can pressurize
the parties and the government for accountable and transparent
governance. When a citizen votes during elections and then goes
into hibernation for five years, citizenship loses its meaning
and the state becomes weak. We are all citizens but we are failing
to utilize our rights and duties. Therefore, this program is
designed to make active citizenship aware of their public and
Only the members of parties have benefited
from the changes. Our state is fragile and it is being sustained
by our strong societal ties. We need to hold discussions on
the relationship between the janta and the state in order to
strengthen the state. A person has many layers of identities
such as gender, religion and regional. The overarching identity
should be that of a citizen. The other identities can easily
change in cases such as when organizations split. The organization
culture is not well developed. An organization becomes strong
when it embodies a certain way of thinking. If the members are
imbued with money-making culture they will join whichever organization
offers them the most benefit. Politics should be the imbued
with the spirit of voluntarism but if politics is run like a
business activity it will become weak.
There are three sources of knowledge. 1) The
path of knowledge or shastra. In the ancient times people used
to debate the rights and wrongs of different courses of action.
The conclusions reached in such forums would form the basis
of policy. In this country we do not know where the policy is
formulated. Policies must be rooted in the local environment.
The political sector is responsible for policy-making but at
present this sector is weak. 2) The path of socialization and
action. 3) The path of liberation through enlightenment. It
is a worth pondering how a country as diverse as Nepal became
united. This country was unified not on the basis of physical
force alone. Only seventeen countries were in existence when
Nepal came in being. However our country is getting weaker.
We are laying stress on things that divide us. We must concentrate
on factors that unite us.
Enlightenment ideals are vital ingredients
for the success of democracy consolidation. Kant was one of
the power source of enlightenment for the West while we had
three different sources of enlightenment representing three
different traditionspre-religious, spiritual and rational
epitomized by Janak who stressed that knowledge is separate
from power and that power must be wielded without self-interest,
the Veda-it does not represent a religion; it shows different
paths to enlightenment, and Buddha. Buddha studied the different
scriptures and went to the villages to solicit the opinion of
the common people about the different facets of the scriptures
and sought to abolish structural injustices of then societies.
Buddha has stated that the goal of an individual should be enlightenment,
that of a society development, of nature sustainability, culture
adequacy and world peace. Karl Marx had also said that each
person should be provided according to his needs and that greed
should not be the operative principle. This is essential for
sustainable development. We must change according to the times.
If we do not do so we will fall behind and the status quo will
not be acceptable to the younger generation. It is important
that new blood enters the body politic through regular elections
in order for it to retain its dynamism had said that without
peace nothing can be achieved. In every book concerned with
peace Gautam Buddha is mentioned. Lumbini University has been
established but it has not yet made scientific knowledge the
basis its courses.
The people must be transformed into citizens.
Civic education must take a holistic approach. A form of civic
education was imparted during the Panchayat era, but the aim
was to sustain the system. Rights and duties must move forward
hand in hand. In 1994 we had held a gathering of four leaders
of major parties. The aim was to forge a consensus among them
about the contents of civic education to be included in the
party and school curricula. We dissected the election manifestos
of the different parties. Each of the documents lavishly praised
on their own party and painted the others as villains. We told
them this would only help create militants and stressed the
need to make people tolerant of others. They asked us to write
a book in their regard and promised to use it to train their
The citizens must become enlightened. In Japan
the people do not quarrel in public places. They stay in compact
communities. Communities which are quarrelsome have dispersed
settlements. When people become civilized then democracy, peace
and development becomes possible. States existed even when there
were no constitutions. Democracy seeks to eliminate the use
of violence in public life and empowers the people and this
enables us to devise our own policy. Such a system is superior
but it can be effective only when the state is strong to implement
all civic rights and creates order in society which is just
and legitimate. Many rights might be granted by the constitution
but its implementation is the responsibility of the state. Secular
state and ethnically based federal units cannot exist together.
We have become a republic but the essence of such a system,
local governance, has not been given due importance. The political
culture has not changed. Democracy consolidation requires civic
The constitution is being changed every ten
years. The American constitution has been in place for over
two hundred years and it has been able to incorporate revolutionary
changes such as the abolition of slavery. If one relies only
on revolutionary methods constitutional stability cannot be
attained. Change requires constant effort. It is important to
take note of how the world views us. We need to strike a balance
between individual, communal and human rights.
The state in the past used to be constructed
on a top-down basis. The people remained passive. Now the state
must be re-constructed from the bottom-up as sovereignty belongs
to them. The people and the army are the pillars of the state.
The state must have a monopoly over the use of force, ability
to raise tax, inspire the loyalty of people and garner international
legitimacy. If the state monopolizes these activities then it
can provide security by abolishing Hobbesian state of nature.
If this is not possible then democracy will not survive. Providing
security to citizens is the foremost duty of the state.
According to new data published by the Oxford
University sixty percent of the people are living below the
poverty line. Politically, poverty means powerlessness. The
poor people must have a stake in the system. The basic needs
of such people must be met. We have to move in the direction
of social democracy. America has adopted the liberal form of
democracy while the Europeans have adopted the social democratic
model. We have included aspects of both these systems in our
model. The parliament is not in a position to reverse this trend
and the road ahead is clear in this respect. The economic foundation
has to be strong. In developed countries taxes are utilized
to provide excellent facilities. The distributive system is
also good. During the Panchayat era there was no disparity in
the education, health and communication system.
Thirty-five lakh people are working abroad.
Many are returning due to political turmoil in the Arab world.
How can we provide them with jobs? We must build a production
based economy. Emphasis needs to be placed on the agricultural
sector. Productivity in this sector is decreasing by 1-2%. We
must think about ways to make the education system productive.
Many foreign organizations are trying to influence the constitution
drafting process. The members of the constituent assembly have
gone on visits to various. Where-ever they have gone they have
found the system to their liking. They have given no thought
to the sustainability of a federal system. While Ilam tea would
have to pay taxes in three locations before it even enters the
export market in such a system. This would price it out of the
The problem with our leaders is that they
tailor their speeches in accordance with the type of the audience
they face. But once they join the government they do not fulfill
their promises. Civic education must provide holistic knowledge
so that citizens can make leaders accountable to their speeches.
It is not necessary to divide people. There are two types of
rights-positive and negative. Rights against the state as well
as rights designed to help the people are provided for. There
is no local government at present but governance continues to
function. In order to create the state from below we have to
be pro-active. We have to think about the issues, reflect on
the problems and express our views. There are hundred and three
jatis in Nepal . We have to synthesize the different view and
come up with a national agenda to be incorporated into the constitution
to be drafted by CA. BP Koirala had laid stress on three principles-nationalism,
democracy and socialism. But the stress on socialism was diluted
later on. The parties have become catch-all parties. If people
who have joined parties for opportunistic reasons rise to the
top of a particular party they will ruin the party. Political
conviction is necessary.
Politics belongs to the public domain and
it must not be privatized. Institutional autonomy of the parties
is important to make political parties public, not to be dominated
by super individuals. In the constituent assembly twenty-eight
husband-wife teams are represented. Family-friendly polity does
not serve the public. If the citizens become pro-active, changes
can slowly take root. If localized loyalties are transferred
to the state the nation will become strong.
The bulk of urban civic society is not organic
product. If a transplanted organ is rejected by the body it
will affect the whole system. We have to omit the negative points
and adopt the positive points. China and India were colonized
but Nepal fought a war with England and survived. We lost territory
but managed to keep our independence. If we can consolidate
the legacy of our forefathers the future generation will be
proud of us.
Chairman Krishna P. Bhattarai- All the participants
please introduce yourselves.
Shiva Raj Dahal- Please let me provide a short
introduction of NEFAS. Twenty professors of Tribhuvan University
were its founding members and its purpose was to initiate discussions
on various issues. It has published thirty-five books so far
and the books are used as teaching materials for courses conducted
from the ten plus two to the post-graduate level. The books
are also used in Kathmandu University , Sikkim University, Belford
and JNU. It is also on the book list prescribed for the section-officer
level examination as well as the examinations taken by under-secretaries
for promotion to joint secretary level. The government has already
decided to make civic education compulsory for class eleven
Knowledge is not found in the cities. I had
met a doctorate student from Japan in Doti. His professor had
told him that his knowledge of social sciences would be complete
only when he spent time in a remote village. In the past seminars
used to be held only in the capital. Hariwan is known for its
strong stand on issues of national interest. We have come here
to learn from you and share our views. In Europe doctors only
diagnose diseases; prescription of medicines is the responsibility
of the pharmacist. It is the responsibility of the political
parties to provide medicine. We have to draw their attention
to the problems. I will highlight the salient points of this
Paper presentation follows.
Shiva Raj Dahal- Mr. Chandra Dev Bhatta
will now provide a brief overview of the handbook.
Chandra Dev Bhatta- I will not take
too much of your time and will finish my presentation in around
half an hour. Many issues have already been covered by the previous
speakers and I do not want to cover the same ground. Please
read the handbook in your free time as we need to allocate more
time to mutual interaction.
Why has no fundamental changes occurred despite
the fact that the people have consistently supported change
and democracy? The Nepali state is weak. We are all part of
the state. The state guarantees the citizens rights. Democracy
is the best system to ensure this. But in our country it is
not working for the benefit of the people. Every ten years we
come up with a new constitution. Each of the constitution has
been drafted in the name of janta and social justice. But what
the term janta connotes has not been defined. The elites block
meaningful changes and set the agenda. People expected much
from the political changes of 2062-63. After the movement elections
were held and the elites again managed to influence the agenda.
The system must be run according to our desires. Every five
years a movement takes place. The people are only used but are
not being provided with economic opportunities. For people entering
politics it has become a risk free business. The benefits have
been garnered only by a few while the ordinary people have no
stake in the system. Such a system cannot last for long.
Countries such as the United States and United
Kingdom had faced similar problems but their transition period
had not lasted for long. The eastern civilization is older than
the western one. Copernicus had told his friends that the earth
was round. The Palace found out and summoned him. The authorities
asked him why he was spreading such baseless rumors. Copernicus
denied that he had said such a thing. When his friends rebuked
him for contradicting himself, he replied that while he had
four pieces of evidence to back his claim the king had one thousand
guns to back him up. Arya Bhatta had made a similar claim but
he was not persecuted for it. Hinduism, Islam and Christianity
all originated from Asia .
Our political culture is not in a good state.
We also have to bear responsibility for this state of affairs.
We believe that our duty is done once we cast our vote, but
we must constantly monitor the working of the system. There
must be internal democracy within the parties. Many youths have
now found a place in the constituent assembly but the major
issues are still decided only by the three leaders of the largest
parties. There are one hundred and ninety-eight women representatives,
but their participation in the decision making process is not
effective. How can we empower them? Economically empowering
them is one possible way.
The state has guaranteed different types of
rights but the state is itself weak. If one is not economically
empowered political power is meaningless. A system lasts until
it has the confidence of the people. In Nepal there are a lot
of poor people. They can be brought into the mainstream by opening
industries. Since the last twenty years no new jobs have been
created. We consume but do not produce products. The youth of
the country are being used as export commodities. One must generate
economic activities within the country. The current situation
is not sustainable.
The parties need internal democracy. They
need new blood. People are interacting now through the medium
of face-book and other social networks. But a large part of
the population is shut out of this medium. How can we mainstream
the majority of the people? We must inculcate a democratic culture.
The parties unite to seek power but once they attain it infighting
begins. They do not have a common stance regarding foreign policy,
economic policy and development issues. If consensus is forged
on these issues change can be sustainable.
We expected a lot from the civil society.
They were responsible for ushering in the third wave of democracy
in 1989. But where are activists who hogged the limelight during
the movement now? The civil society must rise above partisan
and personal interests. There can be no leaders in a civil society.
Only then can it be effective. The traditional civil society
established in the past has now become eroded. Transformation
is needed in many sectors.
We must be clear about what sort of democracy
and economic policy we want. These two spheres are directly
related. The political movements have not yet addressed our
needs. The manifestos of the political parties stress on the
need to provide social justice. Liberal democracy is concerned
only with freedom. A model that incorporates freedom, equality
and social justice is more sustainable. Four to five lakh youths
enter the job market every year but only twenty to thirty thousand
are able to obtain jobs in the government sector. The private
sector can employ only a limited amount. In order to make democracy
strong it is necessary to make the economy strong.
Peace is nothing but without peace nothing
is possible. If we can abandon the culture of violence progress
is possible. We have come here not to lecture but to share our
views. Every age group needs civic education. Civic education
in the Western countries seeks to make their citizens stakeholders.
Two weeks back, Newsweek had published the results of survey
conducted to find out the levels of awareness of Americans about
democracy. Only twenty-seven percent answered the questions
correctly. Democracy in such a context will not be strong. In
our society the party is the basis of change. But the process
has not started yet.
Shiva Raj Dahal- The floor is now open
for discussions. If you have any queries and suggestions it
will be most welcome.
Mohammed Kamaruddin- The leaders have
not been able to work for the citizens. The country is surviving
on the basis of remittances sent by the youths. Civic education
must help end discrimination. In the paper it is mentioned that
the great religions of the world came into existence in Asia
but the Muslim religon is not mentioned in one section of the
paper. This is not right. Chairs were thrown out of the window
in Kathmandu because of such an attitude. If rights are given
to all sections of the population then there will not be any
problems. The leaders are misusing their position and this will
have bad effect. If inclusive policies are implemented problems
such as chakkajams will come to an end.
Krishna Prasad Bhattarai- The eastern
civilization first came into existence. The scholars only give
examples from the West. Will this benefit us? The scholars of
Tribhuvan University must be like Chanakya and not be the followers
of people like Girija and Madhave Kumar Nepal . They should
be able to make such people their disciples. The scholars have
not been able to play such a role.
Who is to be called a citizen? There are no
slaves at present. Since the 1950s citizens have been provided
with educational opportunities and people became literate. Was
our definition of economics wrong? The Nepali people have not
yet become citizens. They have neither been able to adhere to
the values of the past nor to conform to the thinking of the
present. According to the Hindu scriptures people are required
to provide ten percent of their income as dan. There would not
have been any poor people if this edict had been followed.
The word Terai has been repeatedly mentioned
in the paper. Mahesh Chandra Regmi has dealt with this issue
in his book. Problems concerning citizenship similar to the
Terai exist in the north also. We might want to regulate the
open border. Solutions can be found if the scholars can guide
politics. But in Nepal scholars run after leaders when it should
be the other round. The people are concentrating on primary
sources of income such as farming. What role has the university
played to develop secondary sources? If this is done there will
no unemployment problem. We import everything and claim that
we are an agricultural country.
Unless the leaders enrich themselves how will
they look after the people?
Binod Khanal- I would like to thank
Mr. Dev Raj Dahal and Mr. Ananda Shrestha for coming to Sarlahi
and sharing their views with us. I have read your book. There
was instability in Germany after the revolution and this resulted
in the rise of Hitler. Is our situation similar to that of Germany
Gandhi, Nehru and Jinnah had together fought
for India s independence. But after independence was achieved
in 1947 India was divided into three parts. Are we also moving
towards that direction? A report has stated that if no steps
are taken to protect the Churia it will be transformed into
a desert in the next fifty, fifty-years. The President has also
voiced his concern regarding this. The mafia is working to destroy
the Churia. What can be done about this problem?
Deepak Ranabhat- The janta has still
not become a citizen. The civil society is also another type
of political party. Krishna Pahadi, Damnanath Dhungana and Padma
Ratna Tuladhar all have political affiliations. We are animals
not janta. We do not have tolerance for others. All the parties
are divided into different factions. Who represents UML? Is
civil society a party?
Biswanath Rijal- The leaders who had
spent time in jail are now in charge of the country. As a result
problems have arisen. The scholars do not respect the leaders.
The society is also beginning to despise them. The leaders,
from the grassroots level to the top, must be people with expertise.
The scholars have a big role to play in this respect.
Indra Pathak- Our society has developed
the habit of lecturing others. Blaming others will achieve nothing.
No sector is behaving in accordance to its guiding philosophy
but is engaged in the blame game. Those who blame others have
themselves not contributed anything. The scholars and the politicians
are not acting according to principles. This sort of culture
has taken root.
Commitments have to be made. The paper is
non-committal. There is no mention of the need to adopt scientific
practices in agriculture. Our cultural heritage is rich but
there is no mention of this fact. Possibilities have not been
explored. You must act according to the principles of social
sciences. It is not right to only promote American values and
highlight only problems. This is negativism. The people had
participated in the movement at the call of the political parties.
If the scholars help solve the problems no foreign money will
be needed. Ram Prasad Shrestha has shown that corruption can
be controlled if the justice system is strong.
Nobody is concentrating on his/her work. Mr.
Panthi has set an example by setting up a diary in a scientific
manner on his own initiative. A leader of peasants must have
experience of peasant life. Many NGOs and political parties
have come into existence in Sarlahi. We do not have the habit
of discriminating between good and bad parties. Change has to
start within each of us. All ideas are good but some are better.
We have to be honest with our selves.
Laxman Rayamajhi- Different kinds of
organization dedicated to moving the society forward have come
here and sought to educate the people. The distance between
the civil society and the government is huge and suggestions
from below do not reach the top. The people at the apex are
suspicious of suggestions emanating from people who are not
party members. They will become irritated if they read this
paper. All the organizations have party links. If we go to meet
a certain human rights group they try to bring us under the
influence of their particular political party. People then become
confused. Their documents are akin to party manifestos. The
civil society should act as a link between the people and the
Manoj Thapa- Only blaming the parties
is not the answer. Who is responsible for this state of affairs?
Is our education system to blame? We do not have self-motivation.
We read about corruption cases. But why has Nepal not been able
to produce an Anna Hazare?
Basudev Niraula- One interesting aspect
of this paper is that national level intellectuals have takes
up issues related to nationalism. We have lost territory amounting
to 60-65 thousand hectares. Where was our boundary in the past?
Why are the scholars not putting pressure on the government
in this regard? Blaming India only is not the solution. Intellectuals
must know what diplomatic moves we can initiate. Even when building
our houses we initiate the process only after the boundary has
been settled. Before there was no democracy but we have loktantra
now. Intellectuals must help in solving the boundary problem.
Billons of rupees have been spent on programs targeting the
Churia region. It would have been better if the money had been
used to resettle the poor in another location. Why has the problem
is Churia not been brought under control?
Hemlal Devkota- The hill people living
near the border have moved to Hetauda and Kathmandu . Because
of communal terrorism people settled there are moving northwards.
How can such problems be communicated in a sober manner to the
people at the top?
Sahadev Thapa- I would like to welcome
you all to my district. Many things have been made clear in
the course of the discussion. If politics is unsoiled major
changes can take place. All sectors of the society have a role
to play. If we blame each other we cannot move forward. Society
needs development. But at present we oppose even the beneficial
activities. We want to be rich overnight. Forests have almost
been fully depleted. Such development is not sustainable. The
intellectuals are a divided lot. We have to be honest. All the
sectors are in turmoil. The internal condition of both the leftist
and democratic parties is the same. Will we get a democratic
constitution? The parties define loktantra from their own perspectives.
We have not been able to come up with a definition acceptable
to all. Prachanda has said that only those who agree with them
are citizens. Conscious people are worried. We need to unite
and not quarrel among ourselves.
Bhagwan Mainali- The intellectuals
present has raised various issues. The idea to conserve the
Churia is praiseworthy. The President has also expressed his
concern. The people have to be resettled in other locations
and tree plantation initiated. The Churia and Inner Terai runs
through thirty-two districts of the Terai. Sustainable programs
that are competently managed must be run. Fruit trees should
be planted and animal husbandry programs focused on small animals
(not cows) must be initiated.
Dev Raj Dahal- There is a saying that
a question well asked is half answered. The President and the
policy makers have all expressed concern about the Churia problem
but the implementation part remains weak. If the people become
united it can be implemented. The organizational capacity of
the people has to be developed. The leaders have a utilitarian
mentality, if enough pressure is put on them by a large group
of people they will act.
Our intellectual sector is weak. Not many
Nepali books are taught in universities outside Nepal . At Berkeley
Mahesh Chandras book was used. This shows that we are
capable of producing and exporting knowledge. Prof. Ostrom used
Nepal s success in community forest management as an example
to highlight her thesis in her lectures. We are engaged in the
politics of negativism. This sort of attitude will make us weak.
We need to change.
Processing of nature is essential to make
an economy but it should be done on a sustainable basis. We
have tremendous hydro-power but we suffer form darkness because
we have not utilized it. The Middle-East has oil which can neither
be used for drinking nor for irrigation. Similarly New Zealand
has made the most of its dairy products. Although nature has
richly endowed us, we have not made use of the resources. When
one asks the economists why Nepal has not developed they give
different answers. Tomorrows economy has to be holistic.
I had maintained that the local and national conflicts are similar
and raised the question why we are successful at solving local
conflicts and not the national one. Inter-disciplinary study
is required. We do not have think-tanks. How can we reduce the
communal conflict? If one tries to move forward by taking along
only one segment of the society it will not work. We have to
optimize the role of all segments of the society in the system.
The conflict also has an external element. The foreigners have
their own definition of what constitutes a proper system. The
donors want the constitution to reflect their wishes. The constitution
will be sustainable if it reflects our needs. The country will
remain unstable if the poor remain marginalized. But why has
the money given by the donors not reached the target group?
This is because of the various conditions imposed by the donors.
The consultants take back a large chunk of the aid money. The
leaders at the centre and the local level are also not effective.
Not more than three percent of allocated funds reach the local
level. Our style of thinking has not changed.
The donors are funding us through the medium
of three programs- Millennium Development Goals, Poverty Reduction
Programs and Post-Conflict Programs. Many leaders are not aware
of this fact. They have abdicated their policy making responsibilities
to others. We are dependent on others for everything. That is
why we are being dictated to. The country is in a fluid state.
In China a debate had taken place whether
to give the responsibility for running the state to technocrats
or to the ideologically committed. They decided in favor of
the experts. Deng Xiao Ping was responsible for the shift in
policy. The Chinese are exporting Confucian values not the thoughts
of Mao today. They want to show the strength of their civilization.
They put stress on national sovereignty and want Nepal to stand
on her own feet. That is why their aid was focused on providing
import-substitution industries. Three industries set up by China
were disposed off during the privatization process.
During the movement the foreign governments
provided help. This was not a cost-free assistance. If we give
in to all the demands of the foreigners, the system will not
last for long. How can we avoid these conditions? The President
might take over the reins of power but the question is can such
a move be sustained? Our society is deeply divided. Other options
such as fresh elections and the extension of the tenure of the
constituent assembly are also being discussed. The size of the
political class has increased but the economy has not expanded.
There is no subsidy for the agriculture sector. Leftists make
up eighty-two percent of the assembly. Our political direction
in this sense is clear. The top leaders do not want to sit in
the Constitution Committee chaired by Nilambar Acharya. How
can the assembly gain strength? Problems have to be solved from
within the institution.
India is trying to borrow one trillion dollars
from China to build roads. This project needs stones from Nepal
. In such a context should we not think of striking a hard bargain
for our resource? We can gain if we engage in collective bargaining.
The inability of the present government to complete the process
of filling the cabinet posts is due also to foreign interests.
Nepal will not break up. She has been fulfilling the role of
a buffer zone and if she becomes a failed state she will pose
a threat to the world. Nepal lies between the Indo-Gangetic
Plain and China s Tibet . These two countries are engaged
in a relationship that has elements of both conflict, competition
Yes, we are species beings. If we are animals
we will not destroy nature. All animals have to work to live.
Work is done by conscious beings. Countries without strategic
interests such as Finland and Switzerland are helping us. Germany
does not have any commercial interests in Nepal . Internal politics
has now become globalized. All sectors such as the society and
economy have developed links with the outside world. These sectors
must also take responsibility for promoting the national interest.
To implement insights provided by knowledge
power is needed. Different types of people need to co-operate
to bring this about. Prof. Kedar Bhakta Mathema had recently
done a study of the public education system. He has warned about
the danger of the public education system breaking down. This
will endanger loktantra. The intellectuals are the guide of
nations. In other countries every party has its own think-tank
and interaction among them helps to create national consensus
on policies. There was consensus among Indian political parties
regarding the blockade imposed on Nepal by India . The parties
in Nepal need to interact amongst each other and practice internal
democracy. We are trying to bring all the parties under the
platform of social democracy. We plan to take the youth leaders
of the three major parties to different districts and organize
all party meetings of youth.
Discussions concerning the regulation of the
border have been held along the border districts. If we do not
regulate our borders we will not be able to differentiate our
nationals from the foreigners. Development programs are meant
only for the citizens; if the border remains open we cannot
develop. It is necessary to raise this issue in talks with India
but the concerned authorities are fearful of antagonizing India
The church is an influential actor in the
social sector of Western countries. Many people donate ten percent
of their income to charity. Our religious organizations need
good organization to be effective. Kant had stressed the importance
of spirituality. Einstein had said the importance of religion.
But intellectuals now have ignored the spiritual aspect. Society
and intellectuals now belong to two different worlds and there
is no bond between them.
When any of you come to Kathmandu feel free
to visit us and we will be pleased to provide you with books.
This is the beginning of our interactions and not the end. We
work in different sectors. Democracy is not being consolidated
due to polarization. Thank you.
Prof. Ananda P Shrestha- I would like
to make certain clarifications regarding NEFAS. We publish the
proceedings of the seminar in a book form and then distribute
it for free. Whether or not the policy-makers read it, and are
influenced by it is another matter. There are weaknesses in
the paper and we would like to thank you for highlighting it.
This paper has been presented in forty places and the suggestions
received have been incorporated in the paper. Since 1990 FES
has been helping us as our partner organization. None of us
gets paid. We have employed one helper who is paid three thousand
five hundred rupees a month. We pay the rent of our office through
the money we make by selling our publications.
Shiva Raj Dahal- Along with twelve
other papers, this paper and the conclusions arrived at will
be printed in a book form. We seek to find out what the problems
are. The disease will be diagnosed but the job of providing
the appropriate medicine is that of the leaders. Around two
lakh students read the books we have published. These books
play an important role. I have read the Nepali version of the
Bedh. I have learnt a lot from the dialogues portrayed in the
book. I will include some of them in the forthcoming book.
In Europe national flags are displayed in
private houses. In Nepal the national flag is being burned.
The party flags are replacing the national flags which are hard
to find. There is a saying the god made men while the teachers
made citizens. Teachers help to produce good leaders. Sierra
Leone , while rich in diamonds, is steeped in crisis. Japan
, on the other hand, does not have natural resources, but has
become a rich country. In terms of resources we are amongst
the ten leading countries of the world but neither do we work
hard nor do we tolerate the gains made by those who do. I would
like to thank Mr. Sabin Khanal for helping to make this event
a success. I would also like to thank all the participants.
I would also like to thank Mr. KP Bhattarai for presiding over
Chairman Krishna P Bhattarai- I would
like to convey my greetings to the honorable scholars and friends
gathered here. Questions raised from the floor have been answered.
Those not satisfied with the answers can continue their discussions
informally while having lunch. Everybody has become hungry and
it would be presumptuous of me to lecture you when such scholars