Reasons to be Unhappy with the Constitution of Nepal
2015 was a very important year for Nepal for on 20th September the constitution of the new republic was promulgated, harshly, even killing its own people. The deaths were associated with the constitution of Nepal but of course the constitution solely can not be blamed for it.
Clashes at protests over draft constitution killed at least 40 people (as per BBC News). Let us take a moment to remember them. Some of the most violent incidents were:
- Tikapur, Kailali district: Clashes kill 8 police officers and a child, 24 August, 2015
- Birendranagar, Surkhet district: Three protestors were shot dead by police, 10 April, 2015
- Bethari, Rupandehi district: Four killed in police firing including a four year old boy and a 14 year old girl, 15 September, 2015
- Jaleshwar, Mahottari district: Three protesters shot dead by police on 9 September; one police officer killed on 11 September, 2015
- Janakpur, Dhanusa district: Three protesters killed in police firing, 11 September, 2015
The enactment of the new constitution was indeed a relief to the majority of people because it meant the end of a fruitless tensions among the political parties, their agendas and ideologies causing a great political instability. But not everyone was happy. Everyone had their own reasons. But, as I saw it, most of the unhappy people were unhappy because they were told to be so. Sounds funny. But it’s true. You can ask yourself people showing dark flag on constitution day why they are doing so and see what most of them answer.
I embrace the constitution with all my heart because of the good things it has brought. But it most definitely is not perfect. Two annoying things I don’t like in the constitution which I think needs immediate amendment are as follows.
1. Celebration of Patriarchy
The Part 2, Article 11 – 5 says, ‘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. Provided that his or her father is held to be a foreign citizen, the citizenship of such person shall be converted into naturalized citizenship as provided for in the Federal law.’ Further, 11 – 7 says, ‘ Notwithstanding anything contained elsewhere in this Article, in the case of a person born from a woman who is a citizen of Nepal and married to a foreign citizen, the person may acquire the naturalized citizenship of Nepal in accordance with the Federal law if he or she has permanently resided in Nepal and has not acquired the citizenship of a foreign country. Provided that if such person’s mother and father both are citizens of Nepal at the time of acquisition of citizenship, such person born in Nepal may acquire the citizenship of Nepal by descent.’
Quite uncool! It means that my sister who is a Nepali citizen if marries a Portugese man then her child will acquire the naturalized citizenship but not citizenship by descent. And this does not apply to my brother of course whether he marries a woman of any country. What in the earth? This is plain stupid, annoying and chauvinistic.
2. Moderate Secularism
The constitution is not secular enough. Of course! It sympathizes Hinduism and is unable to totally detach itself from it.
Article 9 – 3 says that the cow shall be the national animal. Why cow? This bias in constitution is very unconstitutional for Article 4 claims the nation to be secular. Article 4 further clarifies what ‘secular’ means. ‘”Secular” means religious, cultural freedoms, including protection of religion, culture handed down from the time immemorial.’
My question is, ‘why cow?’ There are other animals too which contest for the national animal, rhinoceros (PM Oli’s favorite gainda) for example.
The choice of cow as the national animal reflects the sympathy of the constitution towards Hinduism undermining the very essence of secularism.
PS: Every life is precious. No one should die for any reason whatsoever. Least for nationalism or religion.
About The Author
Nitesh Kumar Roy
Lover of Literature and Visual Arts