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Opinion

Kanyadaan – Donation of daughter

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During one of my regular scrolls on Instagram, I came across a beautiful couple’s wedding photos. It was a normal, beautiful Hindu wedding that suddenly led me wondering about Kanyadaan. ‘Kanyadaan’ was just another normal word for me until I realized how it is made up of two words: ‘kanya’ and ‘daan’. I was tempted to Google about it and what came up next on my smart screen shook me to the core.

‘Kanya’ means a maiden and ‘daan’ is donation. So literally, Kanyadaan is the donation of girls. As per my near and dear ones and the internet, Kanyadaan is supposed to be the highest honor that a girl’s parents can ever receive to cleanse out their sins. After donating your daughter to the groom, your pathway to the heaven is made all clear! Someone genius on the internet also pointed out how the word starts with ‘kanya’ and not ‘stree’, denoting that only virgins can cleanse the sins of their parents. I see. Back since hundreds and hundreds of years ago till now, Kanyadaan is very much prevalent in our society. It is one of the sexist traditions that objectifies us, women. The thought of giving away your daughter makes me sick because no matter whoever she gets married to, she is still a person before being your daughter and no one has the right to give her away as if she is some sort of a property that can be passed around.

You may wonder that the definition and meaning behind it might have changed and that it does not hold true to its initial original concept but has evolved into something entirely different and welcoming? Well, how I wish it were true but no. The reason behind it is that the people don’t care; they do not know the significance behind this tradition. Kanyadaan had been followed through ages and rather than questioning it, they are easily influenced by the people to adopt the tradition largely on emotional basis. However, these days people do not follow it solely for the purpose of bringing down women but are simply not aware of it which adds up to uplifting misogyny in our society.  Ignorance is the cause of almost all of the existing problems; we are never taught to question. In the name of god and purity we are ready to anything and everything without realizing how wrong we may be.

If more people came to know about the true meaning behind this sexist tradition, I bet you that Kanyadaan would definitely change into something more meaningful and welcoming, something that begins with ‘stree’ and does not end with daan.

Originally published in MyReublica

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Knowledge & Infos

Citizenship Act: What’s the issue

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Many from Nepal seem quite confused when it comes to the debate on citizenship provision in New Constitution and I reckon that’s because the constitution came in rush without much of discourse and debates and lot other factors like nationalist rhetoric.  So here is my attempt to explain everything in very simplistic way.

What constitution has said about citizenship

There are two kinds of citizenship:

  1.  Citizenship by descent.
  2.   Naturalized citizenship

What’s the difference

Citizenship by descent is quite superior to naturalized citizenship in sense, in order for a person to be elected, nominated or appointed to the office of President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief of State, Chief Minister, Speaker of a State Assembly, and chief of a security body, the person must have obtained the citizenship of Nepal by descent.

Which basically means if you have naturalized citizenship, you can never become President or Prime Minister or Chief Justice or anything mentioned above. Naturalized citizenship is basically designed for people who would like to obtain Nepali citizenship though didn’t have ancestral root in Nepal.

Ya, in a way, it makes sense for not letting naturalized citizen to become president of Nepal or Prime Minister of Nepal.  Up to here, no issue.

So what’s the issue

This is the most complex part.  So let’s go slow from here.

Neha and Raj are siblings.  They both got married and both have children from their respective partners.  As their children reached 18, they both went to get citizenship by descent for their children.

Neha’s child can get citizenship by descent if:

Clause a.  Her husband holds Nepali citizenship.
Clause b.  Her child was born in Nepal.
Clause c.  Father of her child is not traceable.

Which means, Neha’s child can never get citizenship by descent even though she herself is citizen by descent if:
1.  Her husband is a foreigner.
2.  Her child was born outside Nepal.
3.  She didn’t want to lie or hide father’s identity.

So, Neha must prove that either her husband is Nepali, or her child was born in Nepal, or she should simply lie that she does not know where the father of her child is.  If she fails to provide any, her child will only get naturalized citizenship which means her child can never ever become president or prime minister of Nepal.

Whereas, Raj’s child can get citizenship by descent without any clause.

Can you see the difference??

 

 

Do we ask the same question to a man? “if he is married to a foreigner, he should get citizenship for his child from his wife’s country.  Why Nepal?”

We don’t.  Why? Because we are culturally wired in patriarchy.

Sufferers of this constitutional provision will not be Nepali girls marrying Nepali guys.  Sufferers will be the following:

  1.  A Nepali girl married to a foreign guy and got abandoned later with a child.
  2.  A Nepali girl, who while working abroad, got impregnated through exploitation.
  3.  A Nepali girl, who wants her child to be remained as Nepali though married to a foreigner.
  4.  A couple (Nepali woman and foreign man) who wants to settle in Nepal and helps their children grow and reach to their full potential as freely and openly as any Nepalese couple by descent.

This will not be a case if is a Nepali man.  If his wife (foreigner) abandons him, his child can still get citizenship by descent.  If he wants his child to remain as Nepali though married to a foreigner, he can make that happen.  If he wants to settle in Nepal with his foreign gf/wife , he can and still help his children grow and dream to their full potential as freely and openly as any Nepalese couple by descent.

Another issue is, 

There is a provision though that will let child from such women get citizenship by descent.  All she has to do is lie and tell “I don’t know where the father is.

11.5  A person who is born in Nepal from a woman who is a citizen of Nepal and has resided in Nepal and whose father is not traced shall be provided with the citizenship of Nepal by descent.

How awful, sad, frustrating, and sick can a constitutional clause be that is designed to work as loophole, to encourage contempt, practice lies, and make someone feel terrible??  Why can’t her child be given that goddamn citizenship by descent without too much drama and questioning??

There are thousands of Nepali women married to Indian men.  Now what?? we give citizenship by descent to all those children?? No way!!

Boom! Nationalist rhetoric.

Why can’t we set uniform criteria for both male and female? Maybe something like, a child, whose father or mother is of foreign nationality, must have stayed in Nepal for X number of years to qualify for citizenship by descent.  That would be win win for all.

To sum it up,

A brother gets married to an American girl. A sister gets married to a Korean guy. They both have babies from their respective partners. After some years, they got divorced.

Brother comes back to Nepal with his child and sister with her child.

18 years passed since then.  Child from both have grown up.  Time to get the citizenship.  Brother’s child gets citizenship by descent and sister’s child gets naturalized citizenship.  One can dream to become president of Nepal or Prime minister, and another’s can’t….just because she is not man.

That’s discrimination.  Please don’t justify it showing people from other side of borders.

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Opinion

Running Off the Track

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In a race, the most important rule for any player is to run on and along the lane. If players run out of their lane, they will be disqualified. If we apply this criterion as a prerequisite to our current government, what result will we get? Will the KP Oli led government still qualify?

There are several factors responsible for the landslide victory of NCP in the federal elections. The prosperity rhetoric, hyper notion of stable government, nationalist image of K.P. Oli and the unification of two major communist parties are some that benefitted them. It made people trust and immensely believe in them. People voted the NCP with a great enthusiasm and hope that the country will have a better future if they come to power. Today, the NCP is ruling in 6 out of 7 Provinces and KP Oli leads the powerful federal government. The party solely has near to two-third majority in the House of Representatives and more than two-third majority in the National Assembly. And after one year of their reign to power, a fundamental question has and needs to be raised. Has their performance in the federal and provinces been splendid as expected? Are the promises made to people during elections being delivered?

The answers aren’t positive at all. People have lots of expectation with the NCP but it is repeatedly indulging into affairs that doesn’t address the vital concerns of common people. For instance, People desperately wanted syndicate to be gone. The Government promised to put an end to it but didn’t do much for strictly implementing their own decision. People lately realized that it was nothing but a hype, promoted by the Home Ministry. Several major policies and programmes of the government have met the same fate. The massively advertised and equally criticised Social Security Scheme has failed to attract private sector, its workers and employees. Economists highly suspect that the 120 day-unemployment allowance scheme introduced by government would actually help reduce unemployment from the country.

PM Oli and his cabinet has time and again proved their incompetence as an administrator. People have seen and felt a rapid increment in corruption and criminal conducts. Impunity is on the rise as convicts of corruption are allowed to freely roam around and court-convicted murderers are pardoned by the President. There was no quick response from government and concerned authorities on the recent Nakkhu bomb blast incident that injured three innocent pedestrians. Biplov – Maoist, taking responsibility of that criminal conduct which claimed the life of one innocent person, termed it “a minor mistake”. The government was very late to condemn this terrorist act. This proves its failure to adopt adequate and viable measures to obstruct such adversity and maintain peace and security in the country. At one point, it seemed as if the government is more concerned about regulating social media than securing the lives of people of this country.

At this point, the Oli – led government seems very confused on its core mission. Even someone like CK Raut has trapped the Prime Minister to set himself free from the bars. After amassing much failure on almost every front of governance, one thing where the government seems to be most successful, is at creating controversies. In this one year, people have seen the President, head of the constitutional bodies and the entire cabinet involved into nasty controversies. Even the judiciary became a part of it resulting in a series of conflict for several months. Though this has come to an end for now, it has diminished its dignity and trust from among people. Today, the Prime Minister is seen freely scoffing and mocking his critics and the opposition but there is a bill registered in Parliament that proposes to punish people for their posts in Social Media. Another bill tabled in the parliament creates barrier to acquire citizenship through mother. The cadres of NCP are seen publicly threatening singers to remove their “anti-government” songs from YouTube.

The government is busy staging an unclothed dance of power while the opposition is weak and dumb to play its role. All that is left for people is grievances and outrage.

 

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Opinion

Freedom is not our culture!

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Freedom as beautiful as it sounds, it’s equally a terrifying thing for some people because freedom leads to a free society.  In free society, your gain and loss is determined by your core competency.  You need to earn things to get them.  You need to prove yourself to claim to be worthy for something.  You can’t inherit  anything showing your group affiliation or historical background.  Free society is a very individualistic world where sky is the limit for competent ones and misery is the destiny for incompetent ones.  

Our society had never been a free society.  It’s a close society.  Historically, privileges were decided per caste and creed and their group affiliation.  The society was communal by culture.  Community would come before individuals.  What is good for community would matter the most than individual preferences and happiness.  Community was governed by handful of individuals who would decide what is best for rest.  Those who would not follow the command and expectations of the community would be outcast from the community.  So, what would be the basis to select someone as a leader to decide what is best for rest? It was not based on personal qualification and competencies but rather his last name or preferences of Kings and Ranas.  Many 100 of years of this practices had cultivated culture of “bade log” “bada hakim” “thulo manche.”  You were not supposed to question them, but just quietly follow their instruction or get outcasted from society and even country.

What happens when incompetent people get to higher position through entitlement? They like to avoid tough questions, they hate criticism.  They think themselves superior to others and they don’t like to deal much with people subordinate to them.

This attitude is still reflected in our house, in our society, in our work place.  Because it’s a culture. Listen to what dad says or get out of house.  Listen to what your elders say or be termed as rude, arrogant, uncultured.  Society is not an entity but a group of people.  Most of the people from our society hold that attitude.  Some of them may be running a company, some of them may be running a political party, some of them may be director in a government body, and some of them may be in cabinet running this country.  They may be walking around like a modern human, living a  modern life with modern amenities, but their brain is wired in close society attitude.  They live and breathe with a sense of entitlement.  They think they are privileged.  They don’t like to be questioned, they don’t like to be criticised.  They don’t like to prove their competencies to get into a position.  They just get their as entitled one.

This culture exists in our politics as well.  After all, all those politicians are a product of this society.  Look at those ministers from Maoist quota, look at their sons and daughters, they act like they are entitled to the special privilege for their past.  Before Maoist, congress and UML were acting like that.  This is not what you get to see in western world.  Because, they principally believe in open society and culture of earning over entitlement.

What happens when incompetent people get to higher position through entitlement? They like to avoid tough questions, they hate criticism.  They think themselves superior to others and they don’t like to deal much with people subordinate to them.  They like things to go as it goes in “Guthi.”  In the name of law and order, they come up with rules to safeguard them.  They do everything possible to not entertain freedom of expression and discourse.  There are N numbers of people who are cultured in close society and believe that’s how it should be, so such actions of them won’t be taken as inappropriate.  And rather, people who act like in open and free society, will be termed as “unsocial,” “wild,” “unmannered.”

That’s Nepal we are living in.  If you believe that you need to earn every position, every respect, every opportunity; if you believe that if you are incompetent, you don’t deserve any position regardless of your sacrifice in past; if you believe that individual happiness and liberty comes above all, then sorry to say that you are a minority, being ruled by government of majority that believes in entitlement, collectivism over individualism.  So, now your choice is — either fight for the freedom and free society or compromise and succumb to close society.  Some choose to fight, some choose to surrender, and some choose to escape to free society.

I am choosing to fight.  How about you?

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