KATHMANDU: A fighter of democratic movement Ghoiro Kami was involved in the anti-Rana movement before 1950. He was the representative of Dalit community, who had joined anti-Rana movements to ensure that general public will get rid of them and relieved from their clutches. An innocent 14 year old Dal Bahadur Kami, who had joined Nepali Congress unknowingly, later turned into a freedom fighter Ghoiro Kami. He was not only the leader of Dalit movement, but also of the democratic movement. From his early days to the final days he sacrificed his life for Nepali Congress. But he never saw any respite to Dalit community.
Nepal’s Dalit community has not only contributed in overthrowing Rana regime but also been supporting the rulers since the unification of Nepal. History is a witness that during the unification of Nepal many Dalits including Bise Nagarchi, Bange Sarki and Jasbir Kami had supported Prithvi Narayan Shah. Bise Nagarchi was the one who used to advise Shah and he used to manage necessary cash. Therefore people used to say of all the liberation movements Dalit movement is the eldest one. Even the first martyr of the latest people’s war was a Dalit boy Dil Bahadur Ramtel of Gorkha district. It’s difficult to name the movement in which Dalit was not involved.
Dalit community has sacrified at all the movements of the country whether it is Bise Nagarchi supporting Prithvi Narayan Shah, Ghoiro Kami of democratic movement, Ramtel in people’s war by Maoists or the Setu BK, Dipak Bishwokarma and Chandra Bayalkoti of 2006 second people’s movement. Like Ghoiro Kami there are many Dalit leaders who have been supporting different parties. So there is no dearth of Dalit community’s struggle and sacrifice during every political change of the country. It’s been seven decades since Ghoiro Kami supporting the political parties but Dalit community has not got justice yet. They have sacrificed for the democratic movement, republican set up, federalism and constitution drafting process. They are found in the forefronts of all the political movements. But their presence in major organs of the state including political parties, judiciary, executive, legislature and bureaucracy is almost nil. They are occupied by those having access and non-Dalits despite the continuous fight for the same.
Dalit leaders and political leaders from Dalit community expressed concern to the top leaders of the political parties over the representation of Dalits in political parties during an interaction organised by Jagaran Media Centre on Inclusiveness and Political Committment on July 29. They said Dalit community has been deprived from all sectors including politic, economic, socio-cultural since centuries. They said there is a need for an objective analysis of partys’ leadership, those in the forefronts, rulers and administrators. The new constitution drafted following the peoples’ movement of 2006 and other democratic struggles has also ensured inclusiveness and proportional representation of Dalit community at all organs of the state and its bodies. Different studies have also stated that Nepal’s political parties needs to ensure inclusiveness of Dalit community at all sectors as per the legal and constitutional provisions. But the representation of Dalit community in Nepal’s political parties is very weak and negligible. According to the concept paper presented at the function entitled Dalit Inclusiveness and Political Commitment there is only seven percent Dalit’s representation at the central committee of CPN-UML.
The UML that has been adopting progressive reservation to Dalit community has only 17 Dalit members in its 241-strong central committee with only three women. UML standing committee member and spokesperson Pradeep Gyawali said Dalit issues should be considered in a holistic way. He said Dalit issues are not only political but a holistic form of economic, social, cultural and educational movements. “Inclusiveness is one agenda in the question of Dalit’s liberation,” said Gyawali, a former foreign minister. “UML will always work for ending all kinds of discrimination and for inclusiveness and social justice.”
Ruling Nepali Congress also has seven percent Dalit leaders in its 85-member central working committee. Only six-members –three women and as many men are from Dalit community. Those too, were selected from the reservation quota. In its upcoming national convention one joint general secretary has been allocated for Dalit community. Addressing the function central member of Nepali Congress Badri Pande said inclusiveness policy was adopted to ensure Dalit representation in the party. “Dalit issue is not only political but also social and cultural movement as well,” Pande said citing that leaders from Dalit community was in the leadership of the party ever since it was established.
However, CPN(Maoist Centre) has only four percent of Dalit representation in its central committee which is very much pathetic. Among its 200 central members only eight are from Dalit community including two women. But it has ensured 15 percent Dalit representation at all its structures in the near future. “We will give special rights to Dalit community within our party–13 percent as per the population and two percent as special rights. Therefore we will ensure 15 percent representation of Dalit,” said Shakti Bahadur Basnet, standing committee member and former minister. He said all the political parties must make caste based discrimination and untouchability major issue of their movement and campaigns.
Out of total 51 member central executive committee of the Janata Samajbadi Party there are only two leaders from Dalit community including one woman. A member its central executive committee Durga Sob said the issue of inclusiveness of Dalit community in political parties has become more challenging.
Even the representation of Dalit women was very much pathetic, she said. Vice-chairperson and spokesperson of the Rastriya Janamorcha Durga Poudel said for the representation of Dalit women there must be separate quota reserved for them for which there must be changes in constitution and necessary laws.
Presenting his working paper at the function member of the Constituent Assembly Parshuram Ramtel said a scientific solution must be sought to the political problem of suppression, discrimination and exclusion of Dalit community. He said the discrimination, untouchability, insult agianst Dalit community was rampant at all sectors and therefore it is the problem of whole human civilization and not only that of Nepali society.
General Secretary of Jagaran Media Centre Bhim Ghimire and its Executive Director Rem Bishwokarma said political parties should come up with a clear policy and workplan to ensure proportional representation of Dalit community in their party structures.