Federalism – Uniting or Breaking Apart?
Federalism is the hottest topic right now in the country. 10, 11, 14, ethnic, non-ethnic, one madhesh and what not are the most famous words in the newspapers these days. Well, Nepal has been a “Federal” Democratic Republic for almost 4 years now but we don’t have federations till now…nor do we actually have a democracy – with the top leaders extending their tenure with consensus, it actually can’t be called a democracy.
Anyways, since Federalism is such a hot topic at the moment, just wanted to write something on it. I was in middle level schooling when I came to know about the wider geography and political boundaries of the world and then came to know about the states in India and how Europe was trying to bring all the European countries together creating a confederation. These things used to interest me – could be unusual for a school goer but that’s how it was. And then, I used to compare it with my own country – divided in 5 development regions, 14 zones and 75 districts. We used to also study that the development in Nepal has not been able to reach outside Kathmandu. I used to think if we had states with governments, it might help! So, basically, I have been in favor of federalism since a (really) long time. However, I had actually never thought of having a caste based federalism.
The pros and cons of the various models of federalism are open for discussion – with everyone having their own logic. For me, the only right logic for federating the country would be to decentralize the development and progress activities. If enough power is given to the local bodies, we don’t even need states. Because if the will power is there in the leaders, development is not far away. Also, federalism around the world has been done usually to bring together different independent states together to create a larger and powerful country – with the USA and India being examples. If we divide now, it will be a reverse process, actually. But even if we do, it should be a sustainable model and not something that will create an internal conflict.
Having said that, Federalism should not be taken as breaking the country into pieces but as sharing the responsibility of building the ONE nation together – and not centralizing all the power in the capital. Let’s hope we have the right system in place on time.