Promoting Active Citizenship for State Building
Organised by FES
20-21 May 2014 (Jogbuda,
Dadeldhura) and 22-23 May (Dodhara Chandani, Kanchanpur)
Report Prepared by:
Samira Paudel and Sujata Sharma
The two-day seminar Promoting Active Citizenship for State
Building in Nepal took place on 20-21 May 2014 in Jogbuda, Dadeldhura
and 22-23 May 2014 in Dodhara Chandani, Mahendranagar which
was initiated and organized by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
(FES) Nepal. The program was organized to educate and interact
with the civil society members, media, political activists and
other active members of the society on civic education and also
give a platform for both the locals and the experts from Kathmandu
to share and discuss how citizens can play active role for state-building
in Nepal. 202 men and women from Jogbuda, Shirsa and Atalia
VDCs were present in the Red Cross hall at Jogbuda and 127 men
and women from Dodhara and Chandani VDCs participated in Bhanu
Memorial Higher Secondary School in Dodhara.
Samira Paudel (FES Nepal) opened the program by welcoming
the guests and the resource persons. She also gave a brief introduction
of FES and its work on promoting freedom, equality, solidarity
and peace for a successful democracy. She said that education
plays very important role in state building and informed that
civic education is the only way to empower citizens for state-building.
She also said that education brings knowledge and knowledge
brings wisdom and makes citizen enlightened. She mentioned that
informal education has more significant role in civic education
than the formal education. Therefore, the two day interaction
program is organized in such a remote place so as to get the
local needs and connect it to policy making.
Chandra Dev Bhatta (Program officer of FES, Nepal) explained
about the main objectives of FES Nepal and talked about human
nature which is never satisfying because they want to get more
powerful and wealthy along with increasing strength and wealth
every moment. Democracy gets stronger only by taking independency
along with equality. He felt that the more level of education
a human gains, the more they become careless and ignore their
responsibilities. Citizens will suffer in a place where the
politicians hold the feeling of nationality. He also stressed
on the quality education by sharing historical examples on how
strong our state and the state policy was in the past which
is becoming weaker at the moment. According to Bhishma Pitamaha
(good character of Mahabharat epic) if there are many political
leaders, there will be lack of policy, effective procedure and
civic competence. He said that, in our society, People make
donations with a belief that it leads them to heaven after death.
Democracy is strengthened by peace and agreement. In its 4000
year old history, Nepal was ruled by 192 kings. Earlier we had
less education but we were helpful. Now a days we have more
and better education but helpfulness is less. We don't put the
education we receive into practice. Teachers are supposed to
build a civilized society.
Kashi Raj Dahal (constitution expert) in his presentation
he mentioned that FES team has come to such remote place not
to advertise but with an altruistic goal that it has planned
to accomplish. He clarified federalism with simple examples
to the floor. He told that to form a sustainable constitution,
common opinion is required. He gave many examples as to why
no development in Nepal is taking place because of lack of feeling
of nationality, misuse of related power like (signature for
own disability to get related facilities for disable people,
married citizens referred as unmarried, self registration of
own marriage and providing students chance to cheat examination-because
the owner of school wants to run/add plus two program, lack
of quality education and raising expectation but not having
the will to complete the spoken truth). He stated that our economy
is weak and our internal capacity is limited. All we have is
foreign help. He gave an example where a Swiss was visiting
Nepal when he saw a puddle of water on a road constructed by
the Swiss government. He came out of his car and drained the
puddle fearing it might damage the road where he had his contributions
through the taxes he paid.
As we see, education should be practically applicable; it should
enhance our moral and make us more caring towards democracy.
Some countries are converting deserts into greenery and we have
the exact opposite here. We can't see a similarity in development
patterns. He presented with an excellent example that we must
focus on respecting elderly citizens.
Aarti Chataut (senior journalist) depicts about the
development process being held in Nepal. She says that the development
process is not only enhanced by the government, civic also play
a vital role with the help from the tax citizens pay. We have
to understand that it's not the political leaders' pocket money
used for the development process of the districts/villages.
She also stated that, According to the recent human development
report, Nepali people spends 57% of income in food and only
3% in education. People being truly committed towards the related
job helps in development of the country. We citizens are the
sovereign of the state and why democratic practices are applied
in a wrong way in our country which is only in the hand of small
circle of major actors. She also stressed her importance in
education which is very important for development. Policy has
to be made after consultation with the actual citizens. According
to her, state-building is not something different and huge task
but if all citizens are active and performs their task honestly
that contributes to state-building. She also clarified about
the gender division of labor and how society functions in a
different way where women's tasks are uncountable.
After the presentation from resource persons, the participants
raised the questions and suggestions.
Chakra Prasad (UML party member): He raised a question
about the reasons behind the extinction of Nepalese language
Naphit Singh Bohara (Nepal communist party of Maoist):
He stated that, we people have a lot of problems to be fixed
if all of the gender, ethinic groups, farmers and the children
are to be taken one by one and started to be solved.
Lal Bahadur Dhami (chairperson of the union of disabled
people): He described the situation/problem that the people
of his place are facing currently. He raised questions, why
do the leaders and the government officials relate everything
to the delayed constitution? Why is it said that the constitution
isn't made when a normal citizen ask for his land ownership
certificate? It really doesn't make sense. And why is the number
of quota estimated for the disable teachers always stated as
not available? There should be the scholarship provision to
the disable students. He also tried explaining that they also
have done the job of providing awareness for more than 10 years
and everyone needs federalism but there is lack of acceptance
and internalization among the peoples.
He also suggested that, development is not only education but
to change our life style as well. He also thanked by ending
the speech by saying "awareness is the first step".
Mahabir Kami (Board member of local college): He said
that, nepotism is the most practiced issue recently. Nowadays,
educated and capable people who deserve to be employed as a
teacher aren't given much priority instead the people who are
weak at study and have completed their school/college by continued
failing for 2 to 3 years are employed as teachers. It's all
because of nepotism and favoritism. So how can our country be
Narayan Datta (Teacher of sociology and anthropology):
He asked the question about the education, what type of education
is important in Nepalese society? He asked again whether we
need or not need to use our self decision making power.
Aarti Chataut: She explained her points in relation
with the questions and suggestions given by the participants:
Changes were made from the movement in 2062/2063. Dashain and
Tihar were the only big festivals of Nepal but this misconception
was changed today and many other festivals and culture were
highlighted after that period.
There is discrimination between different ethnic groups in
Nepal and that discrimination is used as means to rule the nation.
In the past history of Nepal, different people who were guilty
were punished in different ways. The punishment for a Brahmin
never forfeited when a Brahmin is guilty and the other people
who don't belong to the Brahmin society but did the same mistake
or crime are punished. It's because there was and, still is
a misconception among the people that if a Brahmin is killed
they get cursed. It's nothing but a way to rule the nation and
the citizens using the discrimination among the ethnic groups.
She said, to take every good step and get good results, a true
representative is required. She herself is a representative
who highlighted GAURA Parva (festival) which existed in far
west region of Nepal and was unknown to the people of other
She also mentioned that the reasons behind 10 years of revolution
was gender, religion and caste discrimination, injustice among
the people, and lack of the knowledge about the needs of the
needy people. We should try to ask and identify the local people's
problem and then we have to make plans accordingly to abolish
The education policy from 2028 is still the same and it has
not been changed. No leaders have time to think of this and
they are not interested in revising this policy. In that case,
we have to adopt two policies:
1. If someone has not taken the formal education then he/she
should get the vocational education after the age of 18-25 years.
Such policy has to be adopted. This is a short term policy.
2. For long term policy state has to introduce policy so that
no one has to be dependent on others after study.
Chandra D. Bhatta: Culture is the ornament of society.
Politicizing everything is a signal of instability. We have
to be proud of what we have and adopting another culture is
always dreadful. For this he gave examples of how India was
ruled by the British for 20 years.
Kashi Raj Dahal: Regarding land ownership certificate,
one has to approach the land reform and tax office. For this
one need to consult the government officials. To make Jogbuda
Municipality, there has to be minimum 10 thousand population
in that area and minimum 5 lakhs income source and should have
basic electricity, drainage and communication facilities. There
has to be urban development infrastructure in order to make
the VDC a municipality.
Regarding education, UN convention mentioned that:
- There has to be responsibility based education and not right
- 40% of the area has to be forest.
- Support or preserve democracy
- Agradhikar - At least one particular
party or group has to be given 20 years of responsibility
for coordination, reservation, etc
- Right to self decision where one
can decide freely but not break and destroy the country's
norms and values. Special right (Bishes adhikar) has to be
given to the citizens.
Yubaraj Ghimire (Senior Journalist):
He mentioned that his unsuccess and his experiences are his
education in life. We have to apply our knowledge with the help
of our principle and policy. Civic education means individual
freedom, state freedom and fearless society where one can apply
their own knowledge and wisdom. Education gives linkage between
knowledge and action.
Process is important to run state activities.
Leaders are not accepting the fact that the constitution is
not ready in time and they have not realized whose fault is
it. Even educated people cannot pressurize the government. Where
there is a problem there is solution and remedy too. Even if
the problem has been solved we cannot guarantee that the same
problem might not arise in future. It might not be the same
problem but can be the different one.
Secularism: Do not discriminate anyone based on religion. Everyone
has right to select the religion. Change can be three types:
1. Revolution 2. Encouragement/ motivation 3. To make things
clear (transparency). He gave an example of Capitalism (Samrajyabadi)
US and Colonialism (Bistarbadi) India. If a leader does not
have policy then he/she is not a leader. Education should be
for self, the society, state and the world. If one accepts the
present education policy it might change in future. People have
started misunderstanding and misusing the history. Prithivi
Narayan Shah who was our national hero and who unified Nepal
is being unacknowledged today.
Chandra Khadka:(Participant): After the Modi government
how will the Nepal -India relation be? Hope that the Modi government
will not interfere the Nepalese policy. Democracy is a process
and the citizens are always sovereign in democracy. Why does
a child cry? It cries when it does not get food. So in this
example, child is the citizen and the guardian is the state
Bhoj Raj Bohora (participant): We are in the process
of constitution making and what will be our role in it?
Hikmat Bahadur Dhami (participant): How many students
have to be there to make the vocational education a compulsory
Prabhat Joshi (participant): Will the constitution come
Deepa Kami (participant): If a victim goes to register
a report/complain of any crime, they are send back with fake
promised but they have to face even more torture in future therefore,
for that case what is the state doing?
Gopa Thapa (participant): Women and childrens problems
have not come from the male presenters why is that?
Rita Kami (participant): When we celebrated Women's
day in our community, we had to face violence. There was a fight
in the community. How do we handle this?
Basudev Joshi (participant): He challenged the present
leaders and said that they do not even have the knowledge like
a class three student. He said that he has studied only until
class three and he thinks that he is far better than the leaders.
Mohan Singh Saud (participant): He said that there are
only two teachers in a school and there is political influence
so how does our country develop if this is the situation and
they have the policy not to fail the student.
Hari Prasad Bhatta (participant): Do we have share and
access in hydropower agreement or not? If so, are we able to
see the agreement or not?
Kashi Raj Dahal: There is right to information so it
is possible if you are eager to know the agreements.
Daman Nepali (Participant): Why is the voice of Dalits
not heard? Is the reservation only for show off or also for
implementation? It has to be applicable. Where will be the right
of Dalit in the new constitution? Will the local election take
Aarti Chataut: She said that more than 80% are dalits
voice. She is hosting programs for dalits. She shared about
a case study where there was a lady named Laxmi Devi Bhusal
who was highlighted in media as a HIV patient. When she asked
Laxmi a small question about her condition, it came to light
that her HIV was decided just on the basis of some primary symptoms.
Later, after proper medical diagnostics it was revealed that
she didn't have HIV at all. She started again everything freshly
with a feeling of getting a new life. This is an example of
how seriously we lack civic education.
Chandra Dev Bhatta (FES): He explained that there is
negative globalization in market, in culture, in thought. There
is lack of medicine in many remote areas but sufficient beer.
He said that we are given theoretical education with no practical
aspects. The history of Dalits is only 70 years old. (Manusmriti)
Kashi Raj Dahal: He mentioned that when someone has
wrong aims and intentions nobody else can help. Until and unless
the common people assume their duties as citizens selflessly,
we can never build a modern state as we have wished.
Police Inspector: He said that he has started meeting
villagers and his duty is to serve with smile and soft languages.
This makes a very big difference. He also mentioned that gambling
has gone down as a result of actions and punishments. They are
working on reducing Alcohol production. He assured that, if
they are aware of the problems they can move forward hand in
hand. While they are police in uniform, everyone should be police
without uniform as well.
Parbati Badal: She pointed out that they have schools
and books but lack of good teachers. Where they have teachers,
they don't have books.
Naphu Singh Saud (Vice-President, School Management
Committee): He mentioned that teachers are compelled to start
work on very low salaries and temporary contracts, and are still
temporary when they retire. When teachers have scarcity, pain
and dissatisfaction at heart, how would the output be good?
He also questioned the selection process of new teachers.
President, Bhanu Higher Sec, School and Ex VDC secretary:
He told that they are here to gain some knowledge , rather than
just deliver a speech and that they were excited to have a face
to face interaction with the experts from the center.
Aarati Chataut: She pointed out that people aged 15
to 45 years make up to 50% of Nepali Population. While addressing
a mass, we tend to say, brothers but not sisters. This reflects
our mentality. Female health volunteers are being exploited
by making them work for free. As long as the labor of our women
is not respected at home and society, they are continued to
be exploited by the state.
Yubaraj Ghimire: He argued that we must question ourselves
if we are responsible for the common peoples' backwardness.
It is only in our country where teachers, doctors, engineers
are all into politics.
Shreenath Baral (teacher): He questioned the situation
of Constitution making in Nepal, with 3 levels of Constitutional
Dil bahadur Saud: Mentioning that there is a vast social
inequality in the country he requested the teachers and state
authorities to be faithful in the issue of dividing Nepal into
several states (federalism).
Representative of Nepal Communist Party Maoists: He
said that, they (other parties) failed the first Constitution
Assembly and they were cheated by taking them to Kathmandu.
He accused that Democracy is being sidelined by raising Monarchy
issues. He asked if the constitution will ever be made or not?
Indra Bhandari: He suggested that we must build upon
the foundations laid by our predecessors. Teachers must be permanently
employed on a merit basis.
Laxmi Dutta (Teacher): He pointed out that rather than
highlighting us as male and female, we must focus on being aware
and informed. We have a budget but it's not very positive. We
should rather discuss discipline. Anarchy and immorality prevails
in the country. We have a judiciary but lack justice.
Naresh Khati: He pointed out unemployment as a burning
issue in the country. Students pass the exams but know nothing
Karnakala Thapa (President of Women Health Volunteer):
She expressed her happiness about the discussion about women
health volunteers. A nation can't be developed without equally
developing both wheels of the cart. The state should stop exploiting
Bir bahadur Thapa: He said that we must understand who
is included in the term "citizen". He pointed out
that though we have an education policy, its implementation
is very poor.
Chandra Bahadur (Nepali Congress): He urged to start
with changing ourselves if we want to change the world. He said
that we should be self dependent and should start today. States
should be divided on a geographical basis. He questioned why
students learn differently even though they are taught in similar
Mathura Pant: He questioned why is the issue of 'truth
and reconciliation centre' not forwarded during the Constitution
Yubaraj Ghimire: He asked us to blame ourselves for
electing wrong people as our leaders rather than the leaders
themselves. He mentioned that in our country we spend too less
on education and research. No project or investment can be successful
Kashi Raj Dahal: He informed that he was the first person
to write a book on Constitution Assembly. He gave a practical
example of dividing assets referring to the provisions in the
existing laws. He questioned our Nationality regarding the naming
of our schools with English names. He wanted positive realization.
He said that we need our own model rather than an imported one.
He presented the model village of Chandani -Dodhara as an example
of positive thought.
He said that, in order to build a modern nation we should stop
discriminating based on gender and rather call everyone citizens
and act as one.
Chandra Dev Bhatta: He said that in order to build the
nation 'National policy" should be carried forward along
with politics. Democracy has human rights embedded in it. The
situation in Nepal is that the lawmakers themselves don't obey
the law. Power should rather be decentralized. For example:
Executive, judiciary and legislative. The country and its citizen's
can't develop unless citizens' education is developed first.
He further said that we must be proud of what we have as copying
others will spoil us. He suggested that an environment of teaching
and learning would be better.
Aarati Chataut: She mentioned that the truth, reconciliation
and alliance commission was supposed to be formed within 60
days. It is 8 years already and they haven't done it yet.
She accused Baburam Bhattarai for hurriedly passing a Bill (Adhyadesh)
as soon as he became the prime minister which had provisions
of safeguarding those criminals who had committed crimes with
personal vengeance. People took the matter to the Supreme Court
which ruled against it. Again another law has been forwarded.
Peace was reinstated in the mind, body, society and practice
for a short time after the war. She pointed out that the introduction
of International Law has provisions for a rapist to be prosecuted
regardless of when the incident is reported. It must be implemented
and enforced in Nepal too. She then discussed about violence
against women. She elaborated various types of violence such
as the rich against the poor, the strong against the weak and
those in power against those not in powers etc. She emphasized
on the presence of violence against women by other women in
their own family.
She questioned why mother-in-law and daughter-in-law don't
have a good relationship? Likewise, we can distinguish the behavioral
attitude of the bride's side and the groom's side of family
and guests in any wedding. The expectations of the treatment
from a new bride and groom to their partners' siblings are significantly
different. We can see that a different level of expectation
is imposed on a bride just because she is a female. This is
all because of the powers associated with being a male.
She explained the need of quotas citing example of special
care provided to a specific body part when it is hurt. Pressure
just doesn't mean physical forces but it should be more towards
raising awareness. We must understand that empowering women
naturally means empowering men as well. She credited participants
for mentioning that women empowerment is better. Setting aside
quotas is a temporary measure while the long term solution is
empowerment. The quotas more reflect the nation's current situation
Yubaraj Ghimire: He stated that the Maoist movement
had ended in an agreement. He wondered why they would seek validation
from foreigners when people from 4 to 8 parties had already
decided upon it. That doesn't lead to sustainability and legibility.
Kashi Raj Dahal: Citing the example of the situation
he pointed out that we lack practical education. A political
party is all about organized roles, ideas and thinking. Likewise,
(bahubad) refers to accommodating everyone's ideas and promoting
Ramesh Shahu: He said that it would be better if we
set some qualification requirements for political leaders as
well. Also, he questioned why Dalits don't need to turn 60 to
access the old age pension?
Thapa: He said that unless the citizens are responsible
and accountable positive changes in the nation are hard to come
by. The educational state of Nepal leads to a right oriented
society rather than Duty oriented. He asked the difference between
Democracy and Republic? He focused on the fact that a child
of a commoner becoming the president just makes the country
a Republic but not Democracy. It will only be a Democracy if
power is decentralized to the people.
It was realized that Jogbuda and Dodhara-Chandani were the
remote places in the far west of Nepal and FES program on civic
education and state-building worked as a connector between the
center and the far west. Majority of the participants informed
that such programs can help build the relation between state
and society and encourage the local citizens to get actively
involved in democratic exercises. Such discussion also shows
that the citizens of Nepal are frustrated with the recent political
developments which is creating a political deadlock rather than
moving the country forward towards positive changes.