Nationalism and the Janajati

National unity will come from embracing diversity, rather than by imposing uniformity.

Some politicians call us dogs. But we Janajatis are not dogs, we are as much Nepali as anyone else, and we deserve to be treated as full citizens of this country." With these words , Suresh Ale Magar, the General Secretary of the Nepal Janajati Mahasangh (the Nepal Federation of Nationalities), began his address to the national conference of the Newar association, the Nepal Bhasha Manka Khala, held in Kathmandu in October 1992.

Some politicians dismiss words like these as the rhetoric of a few disgruntled or power-seeking individuals, insisting that there is no "ethnic problem" in Nepal. However, an increasing number of Nepalis recognise the spread in rhetoric like this as a signal of Nepal's growing "ethnic problem", one that will soon require but a single match to set off a conflagration. As Padma Ratna Tuladhar, a Left member of the House of Representatives, argues, "the problems of the Janajatis are one of the most serious problems faced by Nepal at the moment."

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