Seminar Report on Promoting Active Citizenship
for State-Building from Bottom-up
Organised by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES)
24-25 May 2013, Ranipauwa,
Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Nepal Office
organised a two day seminar on 24-25 May, 2013 in Ranipauwa of
Nuwakot. The theme of the seminar was Promoting Active Citizenship
for State-Building from Bottom-up. The two day seminar was attended
by local political leaders, civil society members, civil servants,
teachers, journalists, security personnel, students, and other
stakeholders of the society. There were altogether 120 participants
with significant participants. The programme was organised in
Bhawanit Higher Secondary School and was chaired by Man Bahadur
Lama of Chairman of the School Management Committee. FES has been
organizing such seminars in various parts of the country for the
last couple of years and from the last year it has shifted its
focus towards sub-urban and rural areas so that people living
in these communities could also benefit from such seminars.
The primary objective of such seminar
was to generate civic sense so that it can contribute in building
up the notion of civic nationalism and common identity among
people. Such an approach can contribute towards statebuilding
as well as democracy building in the long-run. Another objective
of this seminar was to educate people on various principles
of democracy, constitution, federalism, and other issues that
have dominated Nepali politics over the years.
Dev Raj Dahal, Head of FES Nepal Office
welcomed all the participants and highlighted objectives of
the seminars. During his inaugural speech Dev Raj Dahal underlined
the importance of civic education. He said that the lack of
civic education in our society can result in political anarchy.
He further said that citizens are members of the state and by
virtue of being the members of the state they enjoy certain
rights from the state and also have duties towards it. That
feeling seems to be lacking in our context both at the level
of political class and at the citizenry level argued Dahal.
The unaccountable politics is the product of this phenomenon
said Dahal. The biggest challenge that beset country today is
how we build up common orientation of people towardrs state
and society to translate democracy in a real sense of the term.
Similarly, he argued that there are various types rights but
there is no fine balance between rights and duties in our country.
Dahal also talked about the historical evolution of Nepal state
and its values. Likewise, he also highlighted on the genealogy
of knowledge in our society. He talked about three different
types of dharma (statecrafts). He also talked about different
types of conflict (geopolitical, political, social) that existed
in our society.
Speaking in the inaugural session Lalbabu
Yadav, Associate Professor of Political Science at the Tribhuvan
University said that we cannot have federal states on the basis
of ethnicity as such states would pose national security threat
in the long term. Also, given Nepal's economic conditions we
cannot have more than seven states argued Yadav. Three papers
were presented in the seminar. Dev Raj Dahal, Head of the FES
on the challenges and prospectus of state building in Nepal,
Lalbabu Yadav on Federalism, Constitution and Local Government
and, Chandra D Bhatta on democracy and its elements.
R. P.Thapliya please explain
more about federalism ? Do you think leaders will go away with
Shiv Kumar Lama asked what type
of constitution should Nepal need to have ?
Tanka Lama also asked why type
of constitution would political party together on various agendas
such as foreign policy, poverty eradication and issues like
this. He asked, whereas political leaders help each other for
their mutual benefit but not the people at large. He also expressed
about the declining developmental stage of the country. Every
new political change have not benefited Nepali - it's the political
leaders or those who wage such movements for change are benefitted.
Suresh Khatiwada asked Prithvi
Naryan Shah's foreign policy and economic policies were best
suited for the country and we should learned from him. But in
contrast, he has been projected as major villain of Nepal today.
Shiv Kumar Lama also said that
P.N. Shah did not appoint Tamangs' in his army but King Mahendra
Purna Lama (an employee of British
Embassy) asked there has been great deal of threat no our nationalism
and attempts are being made to wipe out the name Nepal.
Badri Raj Thapaliya asked if
the election is not held in November what should we do and what
would be the role of civil society members in such a state of
Chitra Neupane asked why you
have not discussed about the economy that is required to build
a modern state. We could have initiated capital formation by
Prem Tamang said that though
today Prithvi Naryan Shah and his policy has been seen as imperialistic
but he did name his new state as Gurkha from where he hailed.
There are many obstacles created by the India per se factors
and we have to work together to get out of this dilemma.
Sashi Kumar Thapaliya / Ram
Prasad Dahal both of them wanted to know what factors forced
us to be trained on civic education ? We really need to find
out the root causes of this situation. Which political party
is responsible for not letting constitution drafted through
CA as ked Thapaliya. Which ideology can bring political balance
in our political parties. He also asked whether the new constitution
would be written or not. The tendency to define civil security,
pluralism, and multipary system on the basis of comfortability
has resulted great deal of problems in our society in understanding
and implementing many political ideas.
Krishna Silwal asked if we draft
constitution after having federal state - will this be beneficial
for us or not ? He also asked what is one China policy ? if
the constitution is to be drafted by the expert why do we have
election for the CA. Silwal also asked what are the benefits
of federalism ? Many people today say that federalism would
disintegrate this state and will invite the process of Sikkimization
- how can w control this ? Can we go for decentralization? What
should be our priority ?
Shiv Kumar Lama also asked what
is the difference between human rights and right to self-determination
Man B. Tamang asked what type
of federalism we need - federalism with right to self-determination
or the one with multiple identities.
Man Bahadur Lama asked what are
the factors that can reflect Nepaliness while crafting federal
Prakash Thapa asked the merits
and demerits of federalism
Samir Lama asked how can we bring
more young people into politics and second, what is that Nepaliness
we can have in politics in future. He also asked the principle
of separation of power and the provision of federalism - where
do they meet?
Krishna Bahadur Ghale - CPN-UML-
asked whether we have political leaders in our country or not
Uttar Lama said that we have
spent huge amount of money on constitution under various pretext
but and again we are going to hold another CA election and we
will be spending huge bill on it. Do you think we can have constitution
from this second round of election - how can you guarantee us
Shankar Lohani - Teacher - asked
how can we present as a Nepali citizen both inside and outside.
Since we are Nepali citizen, we do not need separate identity.
Ram Prasad Dahal said that federalism
has become abstract for us. There are high chances that we have
to regret in less than one year time of its implementation.
Speaking from the chair Man Bahadur
Lama thanked all the participants including the FES team for
organizing such an excellent programme. He invited to come train
more people on various themes. He emphasized that we should
work together unitedly and by doing that we can have a strong
state. He also requested if we could spare some extra books
and look for financial support for the school. By and large,
the programme went very well and appreciated by the people at
large. Such a programme in the rural areas can really contribute
towards statebuilding in a real sense of the term.