The constitution came…. after 8 years…apparently we had the time, and the money, and we could totally afford it…so no worries. We even survived the earthquake to live under this constitution.
But we survived to live under THIS constitution? These are six things about the constitution that really perturbs me.
1) The definition of us : “Nepal is an independent…state, oriented towards democratic socialism…”
Did we really agree to have the government take one of our two cows (that we bought from our sisters’ and brothers’ remittance) and give it to our neighbor when we voted for them to write the constitution?
Did we really agree to be forced to join a cooperative where you have to teach your neighbor how to take care of his cow (which was actually yours?)
2) Welfare dependence: Sit back, relax, enjoy the constitution, and the country.
We have right to clean environment, employment (and thus unemployment benefit), food, healthcare, and other social securities. Everything we need is a right! You’re gonna get these things no matter what. So, Sit back, relax and enjoy the country. The omnipotent state is going to do everything for us. It does not matter if these are realistically deliverable. Where else, if not the constitution, will you dream high and set tall ideals? Afterall, उद्देश्य के लिनु उडी छुनु चन्द्र एक ….
If you are smart, the next thing you do after reading the constitution is get hold of a good lawyer to make some good money cause there are likely to be enough opportunities to sue the government in near future. If you are lucky, you will actually get a date at the court in a couple of years and if you are super lucky and win, the government will actually pay you after losing!
3) The haziness associated with property rights: Keep your property, only as long as the state does not want it!
It does say “Every citizen shall, subject to laws, have the right to acquire, own, have professional gains, sell and otherwise utilize, or dispose of property.”
But wait….after a few lines its says : Provided that it shall not be deemed to obstruct land reform, management and regulation by the State for increasing produce and productivity of land, modernization and professionalization of agriculture, environmental protection, and for an organized settlement and urban development as provided for by sub-clause 93) and (4).
I don’t know any property owner whose property might not be interpreted to violate this law.
4) Creating this ‘us against them’ for perpetuity : All Nepalese are equal but some are more equal than the others.
Some of us are really special to secure a special clause in the fundamental rights section. Like the Labour Unions, but not the employers huh (c’mon why put this profit hungry evil employment providers whom we don’t even need cause we now have unemployment benefits lined up). If you belong to certain caste group, great for you, you are right there on the fundamental rights section. Rest of you – better luck next constitution. Hopefully you will have become a minority by then. Divide people across those lines. Perpetuate minorities, that’s how you get elected every time.
5) Defeating the purpose overall: Autonomy! What does that mean?
Local states are all made of Jon Snows. They know nothing! That’s what the drafters thought. Otherwise there would be something local states could do, other than waiting for the center to send them leaders, money, food, administrators, everything basically.
6) And the vagueness: Prepare to fight!
The duties of a citizen as mentioned in the constitution includes “Compulsorily enlist when the nation needs the service”! Somebody please tell me what would ‘when the nation needs the service’ could possibly mean. Big flood? Big earthquake? Diarrhoea epidemics, etc.?
Welcome to the New Nepal!
Let me know if there are things in the constitution that you disagree with. Use the hashtag #notmyconstitution and share!
Note: Views are personal!
Ms. Sapkota is the Coordinator of Communication and
Development at Samriddhi Foundation and was previously engaged with the Foundation as a Research Associate for more than three years. She is a graduate of political science and also contributes articles for Samriddhi's column at The Himalayan Times' Perspectives supplement.