N. P. Upadhyaya
The program became interesting and lively wherein the main topic “Women in Peace and Civil Society” got dramatically fused with the French scholar, Isabelle Duquesne, penned book on “Nepal: Zone of Peace” and the attending participants got more than confused over this mysterious synthesis of two separate but yet very important subject matter. Thanks the Nepali scholars can adjust in any scheme of things to which they did eventually. If they were found as an expert in defining the meaning and the very essence of this peace zone proposal forwarded by late King Birendra then they also shed immense light on the women-role in building peace which also demanded the passable role of the “overly politicized” dollar or Euro earning civil society of Nepal.
Chelsea Academy together with the German Foundation, FES, and Pragya had organized this program on 23 July, 2011.
All began well with the rewarding power point presentation of Isabelle Duquesne. She began with her presentation wherein she compared a recent appeal of Nepal President Dr. Yadav wherein the President had stated that peace needs to be institutionalized in Nepal with what King Birendra had stated in his ZoP as back as in 1973.
But Dr. Yadav is basically is a congressman and by extension and for some rationally unexplainable reasons, he must not have uttered so which may add to the strength of the slain King’s proposal. But by and large, so said Isabelle, Dr. Yadav’s and King Birendra’s proposal were strikingly similar. How can Dr. Yadav praise Nepal King(s)?
The reasons are aplenty to think so. The fact is that for the NC men, Nepal Kings have ever remained as untouchables. They prefer, for example, Nehru, Indira and now Sonia Gandhi. Ajab Kashi Gajab Nepal…
Initiating the debate on peace, a government secretary said that “no money, no peace”. More than he talked on peace and role of women, he centered his discussion on Tibet and said that “we need to provide adequate attention towards Tibet as China has a special interest in safeguarding its underbelly”.
He, however, claimed that ZoP proposal was of his personal concern as well.
Professor Anand Aditya, Chair of Pragya Foundation, explained in details as to why Nepal should make tireless efforts in getting the ZoP endorsed from the international community. He says, “Since the entire South Asian region was in an unstable state, politically speaking, the Nepalese ZoP could be a panacea for the ailments that this region is undergoing through.
The learned scholar requested the audience to declare Nepal as a ZoP on their own strength henceforth.
Rajesh Adhikari of the Chelsea told that the ZoP matter should be taken seriously.
Mrs. Shanta Shrestha, the Maoists candidate for Nepal’s Vice Presidency, said that when 116 countries across the world endorsed the ZoP proposal of King Birendra, he was killed brutally. She advised the audience to talk less and work more in favor of the neglected women folks of Nepal.
“Seminars and symposiums will do little than going to the field and educating the illiterate women about their rights on the spot”, said Shanta Shrestha. She lamented that Nepali media too ignored the issue related with the women’s plight.
Mrs. Shanti Shrestha, an educationist, questioned at the very opening of her comments as to whether the “Maoists really want peace to prevail in Nepal”?
She too lamented that the workload that the Nepali women folks shoulder has not yet been evaluated. “The political parties must think on how to empower the women folks”, she said. She also accused that some high flying five star dwelling women engaged in various NGO/INGOs pocket money allocated for the up-liftment of the Dalit women.
She spoke the truth.
Bishnu Hari Nepal, a Maoists activist now, said that “one woman can change anything, many women can change everything”.
He took King Birendra’s ZoP as a good proposal and appealed the government of the day to reconsider in reviving this issue which, he maintained, could become an effective tool for regional security.
“Reconciliation must be centered on peace”, Mr. Nepal concluded.
It was then the turn of Sakina Khan, a qualified Muslim woman, who said that not so much has changed in the perception of the Muslim society in looking at the Women. She advised that the “males have to change their perceptions in looking at the women folks”.
Aruna Sharma opined that females must get enough support from their respective families and advised the women of Nepal to understand their dormant potential what they possess in abundance.
Julia Guenther, a trainee at FES Nepal office, claimed that her country was a peaceful one and the German civil society was very strong yet some visible challenges remain in the German social order.
“Our society is an individualized society”, Julia concluded.
Dr. Samira Luintel in her short speech opined that whatever we have today in Nepal is a dead peace and that if and when there is the eruption of violence it is the women who are the most hit.
She said “we need peace, no more violence”.
Mrs. Bimla Karki advised the oppressed women of Nepal to seek their rightful demands from the State and also said that this gender was not at all a powerless one. “Understand your hidden aptitude”, Mrs. Karki summarized.
Jagdish Sharma said that for some interested quarters, the Zone of Peace proposal could be an anathema. He later claimed that every citizen of Nepal embodies a zone of peace in him or her.
Senior Advocate K. P. Bhandari lauded the role of his own female family members.
Political leader Krishna Raj Burma talked more on German society than his own.
Mr. Keshar Bhandari, retired army man, claimed that if one were to compare the potential of women with those of the men then the previous one has more ability than the latter. “For the prevalence of peace, tolerance must go together”, Bhandari said.
Professor Birendra Mishra lambasted at the King Birendra’s Zone of Peace proposal and said that “had the King first demilitarized Nepal then the countries across the world must have accepted the proposal verbatim”.
King Birendra should have met Professor Mishra in advance. The King made a blunder, let’s presume it to be so.
Mishra’s comments, however, were not taken in good taste by most of the attending participants.
Ms. Samira Poudel, FES Nepal office, conducted the seminar proceedings in an impressive manner. Thus ended the FES supported Chelsea/Pragya seminar.