Human Rights? What’s that?

human-rights-day

Introduction

Our society has gone from bad to worse. The social scenario has been changing rapidly with no certainty about the direction that the existing value system and morality will adopt. We often use the term ‘erosion of values’. This erosion of values is not only to be observed among the students, as is often lamented. We, as adults, are equally responsible for that. This ‘erosion of values’ has led to deterioration of respect for human rights of others. The need for being aware of what our rights as human beings are, was always there but it has become all the more important in the current social scenario. At present we are being invaded by excesses from all sides – be it the excess of information, the ‘atrocities’ against childhood or the illicit advances of the teacher community or the violation of the sanctity of relationship between a teacher and a student. We have had a glorious past of the ‘guru-shishya’ tradition.

In the words of Amartya Sen, “there is need to pay attention to the narrowing of horizons, especially of children, that illiberal and intolerant education can produce….Indeed, the nature of education is quite central to peace in the world….every human being’s identities have many different components, related to nationality, language, location, class, occupation, history, religion, political beliefs, and so on.” Therefore, we can say that the biggest challenge for a teacher is to promote respect and tolerance in the classroom. In 1985, the UGC prepared a blueprint for promotion of Human Rights teaching and research at all levels of education. This blueprint contained proposals for restructuring of existing syllabi, and introduction of new courses and/ or foundation courses in Human Rights. Having declared 1995-2004 as the United Nations decade for Human Rights Education (1995-2004), it is now in the process of initiating as a follow-up, the World Programme for Human Rights Education.

 

Human Rights Education

Human Rights Education (HRE)has been defined by the UN Assembly as ‘a lifelong process by which people at all levels of development & in all strata of society learn respect for the dignity of other s & the means & methods of ensuring that respect in all societies’.

If we try to analyse the concept of Human Rights and Education (HRE), we can shortlist a few main objectives of HRE. First, to develop an interaction between the society and the educational institutions for a smooth and efficient functioning; secondly, to create a sense of awareness among the citizens so that it helps in realization of the norms and values of human rights and duties inculcated in the educational programme; thirdly, to give boost to research activities.

 

Challenges before the Teacher

According to a survey conducted by Saroj Pandey (2007), a majority (70%) of the sampled teachers lacked awareness about the existence of Human Rights Protection Act in India. Pandey (2007) also concluded from the responses given by the teachers that they have only a vague idea of human rights; they lack the conceptual clarity, which would help them to clearly and unambiguously explain the human rights; some teachers equated human rights with the fundamental rights provided in the Indian Constitution, while others took it as being one and same thing as peaceful co-existence; there were still others, who felt that it meant following the social norms. This survey is just a hint towards the widespread ignorance that prevails among the members of teaching community. So before we talk of the other challenges being faced by the Human Rights Education and how to inculcate them through education, we must be aware of the fact that the biggest and the greatest challenge is modern context is having a clear-cut knowledge what human rights are first of all.

The Child Labour (Prohibition & regulation) Act, 1986 prohibits the employment of children below the age of fourteen years in certain occupations and regulates the conditions of work of children in shops, commercial establishments, workshops, farms, residential hotels, restaurants, eating-houses, theatres or other places of public amusement or entertainment . However, this act does not provide anything for those children whose parents are engaged in low paid, unskilled jobs and are unable to send them to school. The chances of being exposed to child labour at some point of time are very high for such children. We now have the Right to Education vested duly in our Constitution. What remains to be done is encouraging the children to continue to pursue their education for the requisite time period. This is just one instance, there are many such problems that the teacher has to tackle with his own personal abilities.

 

Role of Teachers in Human Rights Education

It is very important for the teachers as ‘diagnostician and prognostician of student behaviour’ to be aware of what the rights of a child as a student are. National Council for Teacher Education has been making efforts in this direction. Since the year 1995, the council has implemented a project called Human Rights and National Values for Teacher Educators. This project has come up keeping in mind the important role that a teacher can play in spreading the message of awareness about human rights.

At the primary stage, the languages and the subject of Environmental Studies is said to be very appropriate for the inculcating awareness in the students about the human rights. But merely inclusion of a subject is not sufficient. A lot more needs to be done beyond that. This is where the teacher enters an arena of utmost importance. It needs to be kept in mind that the efforts towards generating this kind of awareness are not just a poor attempt at completing the course of the aforesaid subjects. The practical actions of the teacher should match accordingly with a view to an effective implementation of human rights awareness.

According to the National Curricular Framework (2005), the objective of the subject of environmental studies is to generate among the students the ability ‘to critically address gender concerns and issues of marginalization & oppression with values of equality and justice, and respect for human dignity and rights’. At the primary stage, a student will not be able to fully comprehend the concept of ‘rights’, let alone having the above mentioned abilities. The magician that a teacher can be, he can very smoothly and spontaneously, without any conscious effort on the part of the students, imbibe these values through activity method. As the old English saying goes, “Actions speak louder than words.” Giving the students the opportunity of creative expression, will help to make concepts more concrete and understandable; facilitate the concretization of abstractions; and will also help to bring in an attitudinal change by affecting the responses both emotionally and intellectually. All this can be done through the medium of e stories and poetry, drama, song, dance, graphic arts and sculpture. Questions might be raised that every teacher is not an artist. But then even every student is not. Teacher can be an inspiring facilitator for helping the students to give a vent to their creative expression, irrespective of the quality of output.

As the students progress in grades, the complexity of the content may be increased likewise. For instance, in the upper primary stage, some topics that give the students knowledge about the basic democratic values can be included. Students can be told about diversity, inequality and about the democratic principles of a government. Gradually till the time students reach the secondary level, the topics can be broad, that is, in context of the whole world. Students should be familiarized with the evolution of human rights all over the world. While imparting all this knowledge the practical aspect should not be ignored at any cost. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the agency of United Nations for Human Rights has given an elaborately enlisted the various activities and approaches that need to be adopted for promotion of human rights among school students at various levels of education.

Table 1: A step-by-approach as given by OHCHR, United Nation Human Rights agency

Remember, be it primary or secondary or senior secondary stage, a teacher can inspire more than the textbooks can and practical teaching is much more effective than just theoretical preaching. For this various activities can be organized. Story and poetry can prove to be a viable media. Among other techniques are drama, dance, song, graphic arts and sculpture. Discussions can prove to be good stimulants if conducted meaningfully. Students can benefit a lot from the field and community trips. This would help to extend school to community.

Teacher’s inspiration can be endless in helping the child to move ahead in life and be an enlightened citizen. Just be there for the child so that you can guide him in being aware of his human rights as well as taking care of the rights of others. Teacher can easily bring home the point that rights come with duties. These values when inculcated among the students would be of tremendous help in rightfully making the world a better place. On a lighter note, don’t be a teacher who says, “Students today we will be knowing what freedom of speech is….hey you sitting on the last bench, just shut up!”

AMRITBIR KAUR

[email protected]

 

Feature: ‘Death as an Inception’

???????

The hemlock, bewildered at the transgressive duality, or to be exact – bipolarity of human nature exploits its own attributes. The evergreen, key to tissue erosion , end of a fleshly life as we know of it. Sounds as oxymoronic as it is! But is there a brighter side to it? Can there be a brighter side to death? Can a globally accepted insipid notion metamorphose to anything close to ‘intrepid’? Can our ectoplasm hover its way to a certain pilgrimage? Will the process really set us free? …yes, death can be considered a transcendence to a frenzied state of divine contemplation subverting or mortifying the age old notions regarding death as the terminator.

The profundity of death springs over defying limitations. It is the darkest illumination that surrounds the manifold dimensions and peripheries of life. Death is a threshold that lets u pass on to the other side, a supernatural purgatory endorsing peace. It transports u to the land of divinity and fulfillment girded by the ‘heaven’s rampart’ (that’s how D.G ROSSETTI puts it). Wouldn’t it b nice to glance the Elysian freedom or sense st.peter’s knell?

Life can be an ostentation whereas death purports a sense of realism tainted by reverie. Lord Byron signifies this temperament of unreciprocated realization in the line “Death, so called, is a thing which makes men weep, And yet a third of life is passed in sleep “ Can the venture of the deceased be perceived in the other way round inverting the proverbially accepted reckoning? Well, absolutely in my opinion it can, I have my way with words though . Death will be like cheering your way through a dream where you never wake up, you get to live your dream, now that is something you can never establish while you are still breathing. All you need to do is dream a better dream, die a better death.

Depluming the shroud of fear and accepting death as an inevitable consequence to life is the best way to embrace the truth that follows because “Death is the only pure, beautiful conclusion of a great passion” says D.H Lawrence.  Death is only the loss of the enclosure that keeps you bounded. Moulding the aboriginal surmises is the real quest in progress. This piece of work on demise focuses solely on the alternative perception that we can decipher if we put our zeal to it. Death does set you on a brighter but unknown path surprising us in everyway possible. Let us be in awe of this whole new dimension.

The biological vessel is just a slough which we get rid of, when it is time. It’s nothing but a necessary transformation leading to a spiritual probation. Even the hemlock can turn out to be a lucrative sycamore if not approached in a derogative manner. All we need is a twist in perspective and voila!

Finally, a proper illation to death depends on how it invades or pervades our introspective insight that will actually unveil the possibilities of death as a negation or a divine manifestation.

SOUMYA CHATTERJEE

 

The Concept Of Death In Literature

death in literature

The Concept Of Death In Literature

By Atri Majumder

The concept of death is an interesting topic for analysis in literature as it is the foundation stone of the philosophy of almost all litterateurs. One may however argue that there is no logic as to why a vague and incomprehensible subject should play such a dominant role in literature? But isn’t it next to impossible to elude death from our thoughts, let alone speculating about it? To some it is a perpetual, impending probability while to others it is an accepted and immediate, absolute reality.

History teaches us that whatever is beyond the realms of understanding of man is important to him and he loves to brood over it and extract a logical or satisfactory meaning out of it. In the light of this indomitable curiosity of the human race, death gives a perfect space for giving birth to ideas and hypothetical realities. For example the concept of eternity may be found to have its origins in death. Though we are dealing with a singular concept we can’t generalize or place it in a uniform pattern as it is individualistic to the core and variable in nature.
While science has failed to provide us with any valid explanations yet, the concepts provided to us by religion governs our lives to some extent(concepts of Heaven, Hell, reincarnation, salvation, etc).Fear of the unknown gives rise to supernatural ideas and our imagination stretches out to another world-the world of the dead. Another aspect of death is sorrow, the indelible pain it inflicts on life and it can thus be interpreted as the most significant emotion of life. All these ideas are reflected in literary creations and they form different ideas in the readers’ mind.
A serene acceptance of death is found in these lines of Emily Dickinson:”Because I could not stop for death/He kindly stopped for me”, while John Donne wants to metaphysically earn a victory over death:”Death, be not proud, though some have called thee/Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so…..One short sleep past, we wake eternally, /And Death shall be no more: Death, thou shalt die!”.
The Romantic poets, Keats and Shelley saw death as a means of escape from ‘the weariness, the fever, the fret’ of life. While Keats writes “I have been half in love with easeful death”, Shelley’s personal despondency is best reflected through “I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!”
The pointless massacre of life fed as cannon fodder, and the vainglorious heroism associated with martyrdom are echoed in the poetry of Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, Rupert Brooke, Edward Thomas and many others. Albert Camus, the French novelist and philosopher, made a witty observation in his journal on March, 1936:”It is death which gives gambling and heroism its true meaning.”
Thousands of elegies, dirges and requiems have been composed which constitute some of the best literary creations of all times. Tennyson universalized his personal grief in his famous poem ‘In Memoriam’, a requiem to his friend Arthur Henry Hallam; while Walt Whitman laments the death of Abraham Lincoln in “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d”.
Suicide is another debatable and interesting topic related to death that emerges in many literary works. While to some it is an act of cowardice, to others it is just the product of sheer hopelessness or that evanescent situation where one loses the meaning of existence. The preoccupation with suicidal thoughts has been expressed vividly in the confessional poems of Sylvia Plath:”And I/Am the arrow,/The dew that flies/Suicidal…”(Ariel).On another note,Julian Barnes justifies suicide in a somewhat crude manner-“…life is a gift bestowed without anyone asking for it;that the thinking person has a philosophical duty to examine both the nature of life and the conditions it comes with;and that if this person decides to renounce the gift no one asks for,it is a moral and human duty to act on the consequences of that decision.”(The Sense Of An Ending)
Thus death is a subject for deep contemplation to most litterateurs as is self-evident from their works.But the question that arises is what kind of an impression does it create in the reader’s mind?Does it change change the philosophy of a person and does the haunting thoughts of death govern our lives to some extent?Or is it just a momentary flight of poignant emotions, a means of escapism from thestaggering burden of life?How do we comprehend this ultimatum-do we accept it as a stoical renconciliation with an inevitable denouement?Do we lead our lives in fear of plunging into the abyss of infinity,of being deprived of time,of leaving many desires unattained?Are we living inside a perepetual cycle of life and death?

Paper on Chetan Bhagat: Tribhuwan Kumar

Research Culture

2 States: The Story of My Marriage : A Tale of Young India

chetan_bhagat_151110

Dr. Tribhuwan Kumar
Assistant Professor of English
Dept of English & Foreign Languages
SRM University, NCR Campus
Modinagar, Ghaziabad, U.P. – 201204
&
Joint Editor,
Ars Artium: A Peer Reviewed-cum-Refereed International Journal of Humanities and
Social Sciences

 

Chetan Bhagat is an Indian author, columnist, and motivational speaker. He is the author of five bestselling novels novels – Five Point Someone (2004), One Night @ the Call Center (2005), The 3 Mistakes of My Life (2008), 2 States (2009) and Revolution 2020 (2011). All five books have remained bestsellers since their release and two have inspired Bollywood films. Bhagat’s debut novel Five Point Someone which has been adapted into the 2008 blockbuster bollywood movie Three Idiots has established his fame as an author of international repute. He got the Indo-American Society’s the Society Young Achiever’s Award in 2004 and the Publisher’s Recognition Award in 2005. The New York Times called Bhagat ‘the biggest selling English language novelist in India’s history’ (http: //www. nytimes.com /2008/03/26/books/ 26 bhagat.html?_r=1). The famous Time Magazine has counted him in the ‘100 Most Influential People in the world (http://www.time. com/time/ specials/packages/complete list/0,29569,1984685,00. html) and Fast Company, USA has listed him as one of the world’s ‘100 most creative people in business’(http://www.fastcompany.com/most-creative –people /2011/chetan- bhagat-writer).
2 States: The Story of My Marriage is the fourth novel of Chetan Bhagat. The novel is about an IIMA couple’s struggle to marry over the cultural differences. It’s a story of an inter-state marriage in India; a Love story of a Punjabi boy Krish, and a Tamil Brahmin girl Ananya and marriage of paranthas and idlis, paneer and coconut. Krish and Ananya, the main protagonists, are lovers but contrary to the usual practice they do not elope. They, instead, choose to convince their parents to approve of their tying the nuptial knot. This book also dwells upon an age-old North India versus South India conflict.
2 States: The Story of My Marriage is an autographical novel. It is considered to be inspired from the real story of the author and his wife Anusha who belong to Delhi and Tamil Nadu respectively. The novel presents a vivid picture of the IIM Ahmedabad life. It is basically moves around two IIMA students Krish and Ananya. This couple cue from two different states in India and thus they face hardships in convincing their parents for the acceptance of their marriage. Generation gap, communication gap and cultural gap – all are thus amalgamated brilliantly. The story begins in the IIM Ahmedabad mess, where Krish, a Punjabi boy from Delhi sights Ananya, a Tamilian girl from Chennai, quarreling with the mess staff about the food. They become friends in a few days and decide to study together every night. In time they become romantically involved with each other. After finishing their course both of them get good jobs, and have serious plans for their wedding. The story is based on how they struggle to convince their parents for the marriage, and eventually succeed in doing so. It is narrated in a first person point of view in a humorous tone, often taking digs at Tamilian and Punjabi culture. The novel ends with Ananya giving birth to twin boys. They say that the babies belong to a state called ‘India’. Inter-caste marriages are still a taboo in India and let alone an inter-state marriage of a Punjabi and a Tam Brahmin.
This novel is excellent because it conveys how youngistan fights oldistan to get the approval for marriage. The boy tries to get acceptance from the girl’s family and the girl tires to get acceptance from the boy’s family while both of them are trying to get acceptance from their respective families. The story closes with Krish’s marriage with Ananya, where he is able to unite the two cultures of the two states together. The Punjabis and the Tamils dance around the couple and according to Krish it is the attainment of the greater purpose for which he decided to convert his love into an arranged marriage: “Only for the sake of uniting the nation” (Bhagat, 2 States 267). It is the voice of the millions if youths who fall in love with somebody and want to marry but fail mostly due to this socio-cultural disparity.
In the author’s view, the next issue that attracts the attention of the reader is the exploitation of students and teacher relationship, students and parents relationship and youth life in colleges and universities. Chetan Bhagat’s campus novel 2 States represents the voices the youth of emerging India. Through this medium he tries to bridge the gap between the young generation and the old generation. It begins with the academic life of the main characters of the novel, Krish and Ananya, in IIM Ahmedabad. It represents the voices of the youth pursuing education in the Indian Institute of Management. It mentions how intelligence outwits beauty in the IIM common admission test – CAT. Bhagat writes about the selected students of the institute in general and the girl students in particular that the students in IIM get admission because they can solve mathematics faster than 99.9% of India’s population:
…girls don’t get selected to IIM for their looks. They get in because they can solve mathematical problems faster than 99.9% of India’s population and crack the CAT (Bhagat, 2 States 3).
Bhagat is not a critic. He only sees things in the way they appear. And this gives his writing a natural touch. In the recent times when the entire country is uniting India against corruption Ananya represents the voices of the youth who dare to speak what is right and what is not. . She finds the food served to the students unfit and unwell. She supports the idea of complaint against the mess worker. She hopes if it is complained against him the quality may improve. She dares say, “And that is why you don’t improve. Maybe they should complain” (Bhagat, 2 States 4). But Krish is the one who accepts things blindly and knowingly. Krish knows that the food is tasteless but he does not complain against it. He fears the glare of the mess worker. He does not want to be called a freak by complaining the food. He simply follows: ‘Live and let live’.
Ananya represents the voices of the modern youth who believe in the complete freedom of the fair-sex. She believes in the equality of men and women. She knows her rights and does what she wants. She likes to wear shorts and smoke cigarettes. She does not care the criticism of others and their feelings. She only cares for what she likes. She does not like people patronizing her. She thinks modern women are intelligent people and intelligent people do not like to be instructed unnecessarily. Ananya shares her opinion with Krish in a conversation with him. Krish reads a topic from the marketing case, ‘Nirdosh – nicotine-free cigarettes’. And the very name of cigarette makes Ananya feel like a real smoke. She responds, “Who the fuck wants that? I feel like a real smoke (Bhagat, 2 States 19).” Krish gives Ananya a dirty look which makes the latter react, “What? Am I not allowed to use F words? Or is it that I expressed a desire to smoke?” (Bhagat, 2 States 20) Krish wants to know what she wants to prove by showing her over-smartness. And this makes Ananya consider him that male should know that women are intelligent people and they know what they should do and what they should not:
Nothing. I want you to consider the possibility that women are intelligent human beings. And intelligent people don’t like to be told what to wear or do, especially when they are adults. Does that make sense to you? (Bhagat, 2 States 20)
Bhagat does not forget to reiterate his most common theme of his stories i.e. premarital sex between friends. Besides focusing on the campus activities and relations among the students, he points his finger very tenderly and affectionately on the topic of sex. And in his this favorite topic he prefers his heroine to take the initiative. Like other lady characters of his novels Ananya dares to kiss her lover Krish in his room. And thereafter they make a premarital love in the girls’ dormitory. However Bhagat makes the situations and the boring books responsible for that, it is true without doubt that he wants to give voice to the needs of the modern youth who do not believe in the traditional beliefs about virginity and chastity but only know their physical needs for love and affections. Krish explains:
Needless to say, one thing led to another and within two weeks we had sex. You put a boy and a girl in a room for a week and add lots of boring books, and sparks are sure to fly (Bhagat, 2 States 26).
Bhagat has exposed the lacking security system of the IIMA dormitory disciplines. The freedom of students to visit each other’s dormitories that Bhagat has expressed in the book might raise a question whether it is safe to put one’s ward in the IIMA hostel. Whatever maturity the youth have attained but the Indian parents are still much concerned with the virginity of their children mostly girls. But according to Bhagat, girls and boys in the IIMA hostel are free to visit each other’s dormitories even at night and there is no objection spending nights together in each other’s rooms – particularly girls’ rooms.
Bhagat has a very keen mind to criticize the common follies of the country. In this novel Bhagat has very beautifully presented the Indian folly called Dowry. He means to state that dowry is “a resident evil” in the North India (http://www.residentevil-movie.com/site/). Krish’s mother wants to cash him in gold and other gifts coming with the bride. It is this reason, perhaps, that she does not approve love marriage and the love of her son Krish and his beloved Ananya.
Bhagat in his novels does not only point his fingers at the social issues but also he does not spare the common problems the country is facing. In 2 States he reveals a fact about the Indian Police that everything is possible in India only if the wrong-doer has money in his hands. Krish kisses Ananya at the famous Marina Beach and is caught by the police but he is able to handle him only in fifty rupees. It is a kind of ‘money solves all the problems’ in India. The constable shouts at Krish and grabs his arm with anger but when Krish pays him off everything gets over. Krish remembers,
I took out a fifty. He looked at me and Ananya. ‘Warning,’ the cop said as he took the note (Bhagat, 2 States 98).
In another instance Bhagat is amazed to see that money relaxes almost all the rules in the country. Krish goes to a government-approved liquor shop to buy wine where the rule is not to sell the wine to person who is less than twenty-five. But Krish manages it by paying merely ten rupees extra per bottle. People say that people of the South are very fair dealers. They obey rules and regulations very strictly but the way Krish finds it, it seems they observe the regulations strictly only to get extra bucks from the users. After ten rupees extra per bottle when Krish gets the wine bottles he observes:
It is amazing how money relaxes rules around the country (Bhagat, 2 States 99).
Krish is a patriotic youth. He thinks through an Indians eye and believes in the unity and integrity of the country. He disapproves Indians feeling different and discriminating each other on account of culture, region and language. He wants to marry an intra-state and intra-culture girl from Tamilnadu with a great purpose – to unite the country. He calls the various types of diversities and discriminations of the country stupid and wants his countrymen to end them to be Indians first:
…these stupid biases and discrimination are the reason our country is so screwed up. it’s Tamil first, Indian later. Punjabi first, Indian later. It has to end…. National anthem, national currency, national team – still, we won’t marry our children outside our state. How can this intolerance be good for our country? (Bhagat, 2 States 102)
Krish has a unique way to unite India. He suggests the youth of the country to marry outside their state because, he thinks, it is the only way India can be made one. He wants his children not to belong to any particular state but the whole country. About his kids he says that they will neither be Punjabis nor Tamils but they will be only Indians:
– they won’t be Tamil or Punjabi. They will be Indian. They will be above all this nonsense. If all young people marry outside their community, it is good for the country (Bhagat, 2 States 103).
Bhagat’s fourth novel 2 States is more anecdotal than fictional. In this novel he recollects his falling in love with his then beloved and now wife Anuskha. Through his personal story he wants to generalise the issues concerning social and economic barriers in the way of marriage. Marriage is a very pious ceremony in India. It is treated and organized with preferred priority in all the states of the country. Through Krish, Bhagat represents the voices of the youth who do not believe in social or economic disparities. India is one. It should not be divided by more than political boundaries. All the people of the country should be free to settle a business, do a job or marry in any part of the country and there should not be any restriction in this regard. But due to social customs and caste discriminations marriage outside the boundary is a far cry. People in the same country feel like foreigners. In this novel Bhagat beautifully deprecates the social and linguistic differences in the people belonging to different states and also their discrimination on the basis of their colour, face, language and styles.
Works Cited
• Bhagat, Chetan. 2 States – the Story of My Marriage. Rupa & Co. New Delhi. 2009.
• http: //www. nytimes.com /2008/03/26/books/ 26 bhagat.html?_r=1
• http://www.time. com/time/ specials/packages/complete list/0,29569,1984685,00. Html
• http://www.fastcompany.com/most-creative –people /2011/chetan- bhagat-writer

Homeless in Own Homeland

Political Culture

HOMELESS IN OWN HOMELAND

homeless

By Sujit Thakur

Introduction Of Madhesi Problems
The total land area of Madhes today is 16,000 sq. miles and it is home to about 16 million people. The southern part of today’s Nepal bordering Indian union’s states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttrakhand, West Bengal and Bihar has a long history. Madhya Desh (In Sanskrit) has got a mention in ancient Vedas, scriptures. Lord Rama, Sita and Gautama Buddha were born in this land. Today, though the name madhes is specifically given to the southern plain of Nepal, the present day Hindi land of India also is a part of Madhya Desh. It is a matter of fact that the residents of these parts of India do not recognize themselves as madhesis; the ancient identity of madhesis (Residents of madhes) is kept intact in Nepal. If we see the life-style, culture, languages across the indo-Nepal border, there is a dead similarity amongst the residents of either side of the border.

Our Motherland Madhes has been victimized since the day of its transfer by the British to Nepal. The present Nepal-ruled Madhes stretching from Mechi (A River in the eastern part of Nepal) to Mahakali (A River in the western part of Nepal) had never been annexed by any King of the Shah Dynasty or any other Nepali and it was handed over to Nepal by the Memorandum of 1816 and Agreement of 1860 due to the self-serving policies of the British.

Article 8 of the “Peace and Friendship Treaty” signed between India and Nepal on July 31, 1950 at Kathmandu states; “So far as the subjects mentioned in this agreement are concerned, it makes all earlier treaties and agreements between British government on behalf of India and Nepal government null and void. As per the article, the memorandum of 1816 and agreement of 1860 pertaining to the transfer of Madhes automatically becomes null and void and thereafter the hegemony of Nepal over Madhes stands totally unauthorized and illegal.

Madhes: A Brief History
Prithvi Narayan Shah, a king of Gorkha, a small state then, is credited to have unified present day Nepal started to extend the Gorkha state by bloody army campaign. Step by step, he attacked and captured various historical republics of indigenous people. In 1768 AD, he attacked Nepal (earlier Kathmandu valley was called Nepal); Jay Prakash Malla was then the king of Nepal. In the army of Malla king, there were 12000 Tirhutia armies. Tirhutia armies sharply defended against the organized army of Prithvi Narayan Shah. After defeating Jay Prakash Malla, Prithvi Narayan Shah terminated the Tirhutias from army force. Having establishing Shah Regime in Nepal, in 1774 AD, King Prithvi Narayan Shah defeated and dismissed army ruler of Makawanpur by pretence, fraud and conspiracy. The Sen rulers of Makwanpur used to pay taxes to Mughal Empire to get benefit from Eastern Madhes’s agricultural products. After Prithvi Narayan Shah got hold of Makwanpur, he   had also committed to pay tax to the Muslim emperor. Though the land of Madhes was used to fulfill their food requirements and other lavish expenses, the people of madhes were being treated inhumanly. Madhes became a colony for Nepal and the residents of Madhes were like their slaves .This attitude got continuity for over 250 years and to larger extent, it is still in practice. Prithvi Narayan shah and his clan had an undeclared policy of excluding madhesis from security forces, police, bureaucratic positions .The hatred might have come because of the fact that Prithvi Narayan shah had faced a strong opposition by Tirhutia army who in fact were madhesis.

Madhes people had made the land of madhes fertile by using their blood and sweat, and also fighting against terrible diseases like malaria and other wild animals such as tiger, bear, snakes etc. But those occupied land was snatched from the real owners of the land, who were madhes people and was captured and distributed to royal family members, relatives, armies, officers and other employees as gifts, Birta, Math, Jagir etc and madhes people, who were the real owners of the land, were compelled to work as land tillers. Like Prithvi Narayan Shah, after his regime, his successors continued the same policy to treat madhes people. After the downfall of Mughal regime and rise of British power, Shahbanshi rulers used to gift elephants to British rulers every year as tax which was commutated by article 7 of the treaty of 1801. Madhes was the major financial source to bear the cost of Nepali Shah Rulers. The fund was supplied from madhes to maintain the cost of war in the time of extension of Nepali territory, cost for enjoyment and joy of the Shah rulers and other necessary administrative costs. Madhes land tillers had been suffering from cruelty, injustice and inhumane behaviour of Shah Rulers and subjected to monetary exploitation in fulfilling rulers’ interests. In 1814, British East India Company attacked Nepal from four posts of madhes. At that time, madhesi people, who were victim of exploitation, were preparing to revolt against the medieval cruelty and injustice behaviour of Nepalese rulers. By following the general principle of people’s inalienable right to revolt against injustice and exploitation, groups of unorganized people of east madhes helped the East India Company in the war against Shah Rulers in the name of revolution. Shahbansi rulers of Nepal lost that war against East India Company and surrendered. After the end of war, Nepali ruler requested the British East India Company to support the living cost of their employees. Company government agreed to pay two hundred thousand rupees per year to Shah Ruler.  Both the party signed in Sugauli treaty on December 2, 1815 and declared the end of war that had been running from 1814. Through Sugauli Treaty, king of Nepal handed over the land east to Koshi and west to Mahakali. He handed over not only his territory but also delivered all his power of foreign affairs to Company government. After that, madhesi people also got relief from Shah Ruler’s tyranny.

Shah King of Nepal accepted the semi-colonial administration of British East India Company but after some time, in the name of acceptance or approval of Sugauli treaty, Company government issued a memorandum on December 8, 1816 without any consent of the people of madhes, who were open supporter of Company Government in the war. By the deceiving memorandum, Company Government divided the madhes and provided some part to Nepal such as east to Rapti River, West to Koshi River and north to present Indo-Nepal border. After providing that land, Company government stopped to pay two hundreds thousands rupees to Nepal. To satisfy madhes people, Shah King agreed to add one clause in article 7 of the memorandum. According to the clause, “No legal action will be taken after extradition against the people of madhes, who were supporters of the British India Company, in the period of war”. Those people, who were involved in revolution, had always expressed their dissatisfaction and disagreement with the decision of British India Company, which was against the spirit of madhes people. After getting the territory of madhes, Nepali government started to treat the madhes people as enemies. In this way, land of madhes divided into two parts. Major parts of madhes became the colony of British India Company and some part came under the semi colonial state Nepal. In the madhes land under the British rule, the ruler and people were from different society. Rulers were English and people were local madhes people. The rulers and the people had different social and economic activities. Therefore, there were big practical gaps between rulers and people. The situation was similar in extradited part of madhes in semi-colonial state Nepal. The rulers were from different economic and social background of Nepal and people were from different background. Therefore, they also had big practical, social and economic gaps between rulers and people and this problem still exists.

The King of Nepal agreed to appoint British residential representative in Kathmandu offered by the British Government. However, the strong objection of majority of royalist had raised tension in that issue. In June 21, 1840, the Queen made an endeavour to murder the British representative but she could not succeed to carry out the conspiracy. That incident displeased the British Government. After that incident, British representatives had been trying to end the power of the royal palace in Nepal. In September 16, 1846, by inspiration and support of British Government, Jung Bahadur Kunwor murdered a number of senior officers of the royal palace and army who were invited in the occasion of Baved Parba by the Queen. Moreover, he declared himself as the Prime Minister and chief of the army. After that, he captured every part of governance in his grip, and compelled the King to work only as the rubber stamp, and started his arbitrary rule of his family. In 1850 AD, British Government invited to Jung Bahadur in foreign country and was awarded by the Queen Victoria. After the incident, all Rana rulers became the puppet of British Government. Jung Bahadur had gone to India leading his army of three thousand to suppress to Indian people, who were starting their first independent movement, the Sepoy mutiny, which occurred from 1857 to 1859 AD. After the success of the movement, East India Company ended its rule over the Indian Territory. After passing the Indian Administrative Act, 1858, British Queen Victoria started direct rule over the Indian Territory. British government presented some land to Nepal government of western madhes such as west to Rapti River, east to Mahakali River and north to present Indo-Nepal border. This land was provided as an award for the support of Ranas to the British Government to suppress the fighters for independence of India. That army created violence by rape, murder, looting, firing and other cruel and inhuman behaviour towards the madhes people from Gorakhpur to Lucknow to restore the British colony. Nepal Government called that region Naya Muluk (New region). According to the memorandum of 1816 and treaty of 1860 AD, British India Company divided the land of madhes from the land to west to Mechi, east to Mahakali and north of present Indo-Nepal broader provided to semi-colonial state Nepal.

After 1861 AD, with Jung Bahadur’s order, people were made to pay money instead of grain as tax. Rana rulers made one rule for people of Nepalese origin and other for people of Madhes origin. for example in article (section) 152 of concerning murder, Nepalese from Hills could get bail for Rs.10-25 whereas Madhes residents had to pay Rs.100.Moreover, Madhes residents had to get permission letter(visa) to visit Kathmandu as if they were some foreigners. Only on Mahashivaratri, Madhes residents along with Indians were allowed without permit. On contrary, Nepalese and Madhes residents did not require permission to enter then British colony. Thousands and thousands acres of Madhes land were controlled by Nepalese people in the name of Birta (tax free land), salaries, trust and others. To strengthen the power further, Rana rules appointed locals from Madhes as land recorders who acted as Rana’s social representations.

After the independence of India in 1947, Nepal and India signed in “Peace and friendship Treaty 1950″, which nullified all the prior treaties that Nepal made with British rulers. India registered the treaty in UN office with registration number 1302. Also, “Nepal British treaty 1950″ ‘s articles  states that all treats made between Nepal and Britain prior to 21 December, 1923 were nullified. That means the treaties of 1816 AD (After Anglo Nepal war) and 1860AD were considered void. After the treaty of 1950, on the basis of UN charter’s section 73, Madhes became an (autonomous) region.

However, in 1951, Nepalese rulers conspired to displace Madhes residents to control Madhes land in the name of population distribution. After East India Company returned Madhes to Nepal, Nepalese rulers wanted their control over madhes. So, they settled Nepalese people in Madhes in the name of (Birta, guthi….) but the population of Nepalese before 1951 was minimal as there was epidemic of Malaria. Every year, 2 million people suffered from Malaria of which, around 10% of victims died. Nepalese from hills feared Malaria .So, Nepalese immigrants were less in number.

Nepal became a member of United Nations, on February 24, 1956, UN secretary General (Doug Hemmer Shold) asked Nepalese Government about any land under Nepal that was under section 73 of UN charter. Nepalese representative stayed mum on this matter. When the matter was asked again, Nepalese representative crossed all moral grounds and answered “No”. Nepalese Government sent a letter to UN to confirm. (See: UN publication ST/DPI/SERA/73/Rev.1, page 8, 1 April, 1957). So, it is clear from above that Madhes is an autonomous region. Nepal has occupied Madhes under baseless facts.

Present Condition of Madhesis in Nepal
In 1952 AD, Nepalese government brought new citizenship act to further discriminate madhesi people. If one has to believe, madhes is a part of Nepal then the residents of madhes automatically become citizen of Nepal. But in this new policy, only those people were eligible to get citizenship, who could speak and understand Nepali language. Majority of Madhesis didn’t speak or understand Nepali hence denied citizenship. Under the new policy, one without a citizenship cannot have land or properties; this rendered millions of Madhesis landless and they were forced to work as bounded labourers.

If knowledge of Hindi would be made compulsory in India to get Indian Citizenship, will it be acceptable to South India, Punjab, Assam, and Bengal? But Nepalese rulers in sheer madness made policy like “One King, One State, one language, and only one look”. These kinds of policies made madhesis non-citizens, their languages suppressed, their culture suppressed. Under this suppression of many years, madhesis have lost their pride and glorified history.

Present condition is not very encouraging but I will take it anyways .I know, the present breed of madhes is knowledgeable, they know their roots, they know their right to freedom. They have started to understand why there is only about 15-20% people of madhesi origin in civil services although their population is above 50%.In Nepal, there are 75 districts altogether, out of  75 chief district officers , only 4 are madhesis , their representation in army and police is negligible, they do not have any say in judicial system. Judiciary and all other bureaucratic apparatuses of state are highly biased against madhesis. Still, the Nepalese rulers are infested with colonial mindset, they think it is their birthright to rule and madhesis are made to serve them.

Scores of Madhesi youths have been extra-judicially killed or detained illegally in name of special security arrangement. Madhes has been made like forte by Nepalese police and army, their arrogance is increasing day by day. Madhes is still keeping its cool but cannot be said till when? If it breaks the limit, a bigger conflict than Maoists’ people war cannot be denied.

A Way Out
In present scenario, staying together with Nepal is not possible. If Delhi and Kathmandu try to dictate terms for madhes or they try to force their deal on people of madhes, it can be catastrophic .There are every possibility that people of madhes and people of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar can unite together if Delhi and Kathmandu together try to suppress the voices of madhes.

I still pray to god to provide us strength to keep ourselves cool. We know the importance of a human life, we definitely do not want violence spread over our society, and we want to see our society prospering, developing in a peaceful environment. We never can find a solution through violent means but when we are left with only two options to choose from, we must chose one. At present we have only two options I guess, “Submit to their atrocities” or “stand to fight them”, we are peace loving but not coward. We are committed to remain committed towards our freedom!