Seminar Report on Promoting Active Citizenship
for State-Building from Bottom-up
Organised by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES)
10-11 May 2013, Golbazar, Siraha
Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Nepal Office
organised a two day seminar on 10-11 May, 2013 at the Rampratap
Ramprasad Tamang Janata Multiple Campus in Golbazar of Siraha
district. 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. Former CA member of CPN(Maoist) Shree
Jagat Yadav also attended and put his opinion in the seminar.
There were more than 120 participants and out of which 40 were
female. The seminar was chaired by Campus Chief Ram Ishwor Yadav.
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
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 towards state and
society to translate democracy in a real sense of the term.
Welcoming on behalf of Campus - Ram Udgar Sah asked - why CA
was dissolved and why our political parties have failed to work
as per the spirit of 2006's political movement.
Speaking in the inaugural session Lal
Babu Yadav argued that we cannot have federal staes on the basis
of ethnicity and system of governance should be developed so
that it could provide political stability in the country. The
main reason why constitution could not be written in time, as
per him, is that there is a real crisis of ideology among political
parties and none of the ideologies enjoy majority in the house.
As a result, all agreed constitution could not be drafted. Four
papers were presented in the seminar. Dev Raj Dahal, Head of
the FES on state building in Nepal, Kashi Raj Dahal on Constitution,
Lalbabu Yadav, Associate Professor of Political Science at the
Tribhuvan University on Federalism and Local Government, and
Chandra D Bhatta on democracy and its elements.
Vijaya Kumar Sah (student) asked what
is the difference between the federalism-based on identity and
without identity. He also asked why CA was dissolved. He also
raised a question that is it worthwhile to hold CA election
Ram Udgar Sah (teacher) asked
whether Nepal needs federalism or not - if yes what type of
federalism would serve our interest best if not, why ?
Dipendra Yadav (studne BA 3rd
year) - Do we really need federalism or not ?
Shiv Kumar Mahara asked how can
we put an end to different types of discrimination (such as
regionalism-based, ethnicity-based, gender-based, religion-based)
that exists in our society. He was of the view that we should
craft federal state on the basis of population.
Manoj Kumar Jha asked we cannot
have unitary state any more the message of 2062/063 movement
was clear that Nepal should departure from such a state structure.
He also asked the presentations are mostly against federalism,
why is that ? He said that there is federalism in India as well
and it is working well. He further said that Madhesi;s are protecting
the border of Nepali state.
Manav Lama expressed his happiness
for organizing a seminar that focuses more on nationalism and
promoting the notion of civic nationalism rather than federalism
and issues like that. He said that our nationalism lacks truth.
Ram Ishwor Yadav asked how we
could put an end to the discrimination that exists in unitary
system of governance. He also asked how we could end class struggle.
He questioned can we not promote nationalism when there is still
discrimination in our society?
One participant (who did not disclose
his identity) suggested that we need to bring educated people
into politics. He also asked a question under what circumstances
civic education truly works. He also suggested that why you
don't give education like this to our leaders who are occupying
the seat in the national politics.
Ramji Yadav asked what the difference
between modern state and scientific state is. Which 'ism' capitalism
or socialism can truly uplift poor out of poverty? Democracy
provides freedom but the question here is how can people realise
democracy? Marxism, Nationalism, and Liberalism, which 'ism'
is best suitable for democracy?
Ms. Khatum asked what type of
education system would uplift people from poverty ? What is
the asset of our country ?
Sirish Thakur said that education
is everything and we need to build up confidence among our youths
. More focus needed on science.
Pradip Sah asked what type of
modern state FES wants similarly the civic education.
Rina Kumar Sharma asked how can
we strike a balance between rights and duties. Rights are only
generating conflict in our society and duty is needed for their
Sanjiv Mahato was of the view
that politics is like profession in our country. We have to
punish 601 members.
Santosh Kumar Yadav said that
our political parties are divided both for federalism and against
federalism and under such a state of affairs we are discussing
about building a modern state and how beneficial would civic
Sanjay Singh said that programmes
like this are urban-centric we need to take such programmes
to the villages where every can have access to what you have
said here. Could you please highlight on the status of current
government that is, its legitimacy asked Sanjay .
Navaraj Lama said that we are
increasingly becoming dependent on international community for
multiple purpose and we need to cut it down. Today we have more
educated people and there is skyrocketing corruption in our
society. This indicates that there must be some problem with
our education system.
Shailendra Kumar Singh asked
what is the difference between federalism and decentralization?
Manoj Jha opined that we need
to increase the level of morality and awareness of our people.
We have to be honest in our area of work. Our political leaders
are not honest and the need of the hour is to have such leaders
Raj Mandal said that there is
no women's picture in the cover of your booklet Handsout on
Arun Kumar Sah said that while
we are demanding human rights for ourselves we should be mindful
for others as well.
Vijay Kumar Sah said that we
have democracy from 2046 movement, lokatantra/ganatantra from
2062/63 movement, inclusive democracy from interim constitution,
federalism from Madhes movement but all these things are only
for leaders not for the people.
Jagat Prasad Yadav (former MP from
CPN-M) said that programmes like this are good where we learn
from each other and thanked team on behalf of his party. But
he argued that more problems are being created by the educated
people. He argued that honesty and accountability is most important
for statebuilding and it is equally important for family building
as well. Nepal could not write constitution not because of absence
of knowledge but because we have too many such people who really
did not help political parties toward this end. He expressed
his disenchantment that the head of the judiciary has been made
head of the government and we should fight against such practices.
He argued that there should be one Madhes one Pradesh for the
political stability of this country. He said that we talk about
Indian imperialism but raised the question about the imperialism
of one community that people of Nepal are faced with for such
long period of time. We need to get rid of it.
Head Teacher of the campus Ramhit Yadav thanked
all the participants and organizing committee (including FES)
on behalf of the campus for bringing such a programme in their
place. They have also agreed to introduce the components of
civic educaito in their school curriculum and well work to protect
natural resources of their area. By and large , the programme
in Golbazar went well. The team also had an interaction with
members of the school management committee for future collaboration.