Saturday, September 5, 2009

Nepal’s language imbroglio

By - Suhas Chakma, Director, Asian Centre for Human Rights

Nepal’s Vice President (VP), Paramananda Jha’s decision to take his oath of office in Hindi was greeted with near apoplexy by the political establishment in Kathmandu. The Supreme Court (SC) of Nepal instructed the VP to retake the oath in Nepali by 4 p.m. on Aug. 30 2009. VP Jha has refused to take fresh oath. Nepal is in a major political and constitutional crisis.

Speaking as a member of an indigenous group — the Chakmas — and as someone who has spent a lifetime defending minorities and indigenous communities, I find much of the argument very familiar. The undertone of the debate in Kathmandu seems clearly premised on a fixed idea of what is, and what is not Nepali. This sits on the exclusionary idea that Hindi is an Indian language and all that infers about many people of the Tarai.

Read the full article: Nepal's Language Imbroglio, The Kathmandu Post, 3 September 2009

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