Proof of Residence and National Identity Card

Tribhuvan R. Tuladhar


In any democratic society the determination of the voter’s right to cast vote is Central. A citizen of a country has his Adult franchise right to “One man, One vote”, which has to be determined very carefully, systematically, and in fair and just way to reflect the uniqueness of the country in question. One size does not fit all!

The voter registration taking place in Nepal today with distribution of “National Identity card” or “Ratriya Praman Patra” is supported by the present government and many “Nepali” organizations as it gives them a leg-up in future governance of the country and also keep the status-quo without sharing power with the rest of the people of Nepal. The Election Commission directives also read that way and call out requirements that are not compatible and conducive to the nature, characteristic and historic development of Nepal through the centuries.

Partiality is reflected in the Election commission directives which is written previously in favor of one segment of the populace while totally disregarding the rest of the people of this Multi-Cultural, Multi-Ethnical, and Multi-Religious Nepal.

If this exercise is pushed through without proper discussion and addressing the need of its people, then it will stand out to be a stumbling block towards a just-fair and inclusive Democracy.

Presently, this distribution if the NIC is being executed under the radar when attention of the people are focused more on the “Pradesh and Pranta” restructuring of the Country. Some “overly smart” people are creating this anomaly that will give an insurmountable advantage to one segment of the society in the way the vote will be cast. This lop-sided, unfair and un-thought through assumption will jeopardize the very existence of Nepal on the long haul and will definite turn Nepal over to India on the geo-political struggle that is happening in the Himalayas. Never ending struggle and the absence of peace can easily be foreseen in the region where once the peace-loving Nepalese people lived and where the “Messenger of Peace and Non-violence – Lord Budhha was born. Nepal wants to exist in Peace and as a free and sovereign state. The honest people of the country will always fight to keep it that way.

Casting of the votes determines which candidates wins or looses in a particular jurisdiction and election. Therefore, proper determination of who has the proper right to stand for election and who has the proper right to vote in that polling booth will have to be made clear by the requirement of the PROOF OF RESIDENCE.

We have to clearly define the PROOF OF RESIDENCE before any National Identity Card is given out, and it will be better to distribute the NIC after the restructuring of the Federal states concludes. Doing it now is trying to jump the gun and will throw a monkey wrench into the political process underway.

The PROOF OF RESIDENCE is commonly determined in many countries by the person’s place of birth, and by ownership of property. Such as in US and other countries which does not have a complicated cultural and ethnical history or legacy. On the contrary, in the case of Nepal, these minimalist two criteria will not be sufficient enough, right enough, and just enough, because Nepal was ruled and dominated by one caste and kind for too long and the surrogates of the defunct regimes are still dreaming of retaining their stranglehold on power by all means. The massive migration of the Khas population into the valley that took place in the last 60 immediate years and more so in the last 250 historic years with the onset of annexation of the various region of the Himalayas by Prithivinarayan Shah from his kingdom of Gorkha cannot be brushed aside and is central to this issue that involves more than 25% of the population of Nepal living in Newah Rajya.

The immigrant population of Newah Rajya around 1950 could be said to be in few tens of thousands while the indigenous population of Kathmandu valley was around 7, or 8 hundred thousands. In sixty years since, the population of Newah Rajya has exploded to some 5 millions by some estimates. Clearly the new immigrant entering Newah Rajya in pursuit of Jobs, studies, business, vacation and others will turn the voting pool of the region upside down if the present conditions and criteria are to apply as per the Election commission rules. To be fair and just to the local population, it will be correct to say, that those who have migrated here since are on temporary basis and have homes ancestral properties and relatives in their own hometowns and villages. They cannot be considered, in any logically and rationally way, as the inhabitant of this region of Newah Rajya.

Therefore, in the determination of the voting requirement of a citizen, Ancestral origin, property and relatives, will have to be considered fully as to where one has come from, where his legacy belongs and where he has the right to vote. It is clear, definitely, not in the new place of temporary residence, as in the case of millions of people living temporarily in the Newah Rajya. These new immigrants must be made to vote in their place of origin from where they or their past generation has come from.

If one has come to Kathmandu from Surkhet and is a “Karmachari” in the “sarbocha-adalat”, his National Identity card has to say so. THE PROOF OF RESIDENCE shall say that he has the right and responsibility to cast his vote in Surkhet in the polling booth and number where he will be enlisted in the voter’s Registration. Furthermore, if he cannot physically go to Surkhet to vote, then voting by “absentee ballot” has to be made available so that he shall cast his vote for candidates in his hometown Surkhet, not in Kathmandu jurisdisction, where he temporarily resides. He cannot vote for the Kathmandu candidate. If he tries to do so this will be unfair to the true and real population of Newah Rajya, and in case of other Prantas, like Limbuwan, Kirant, Madeshi , tharuwans and others, the same conditions should apply. Such are standard provisions in any democratic countries around the world. Here in the US too, millions cast their votes by “Absentee Ballots”. In the US no on can cast his vote wherever he wants, unlike in Nepal. One has to go to his designated polling booth where his name is registered in the voter registration book and then only he can cast his vote.

This arrangement will allow those living outside their ancestral state to be able to cast their vote like the 52% Newars living outside newah rajya to cast their vote in Newah Rajya, and so also other people to cast their votes in their own land for their own candidates of their choice without being mixed up with immigrants who does not associates themselves to the land and culture or its local people.

If the present election Commission rules is allowed to stand with the immigrants of millions voting for immigrant candidates it will completely overwhelm the Newah population and annihilate them completely without dropping a single bomb. This will be ethnic cleansing at it best where the people, its cultural heritage, evaporate from the face of Kathmandu and from the face of this world in a matter of one election. If this is what the ruling Khas-bahun coalition wants which they, along with human rights organizations like HURON are promoting vigorously, then their true nature and dominating aspirations becomes quiet obvious. Their dream of renaming Newar Culture and the land as “NEPALI” Culture will be fulfilled. This is a very dangerous ambition they hoard. Be careful it might come true, and then the hell will be let loose. We cannot let this happen. I think the real Khas-bahun populace are much wiser that some zealots in them.

A vigorous argument for ANCESTRAL PROPERTY and ORIGIN of the voter has to be made and included in the criteria and rules of the election commission and the voting rights fairly determined.

An Ancestral origin and generation relation of at least 5 generations or 100 years has to be established; best would be the reference point of the first belligerent attack of Prithivinayan Shah against Nepal Mandala outside Gorkha fiefdom.

If the Khas-Bahuns people insist on these conditions and will not want to adopt the Ancestral Origin condition, and will continue to cheat the unsuspecting people then there is no meaning to Federal Restructuring whatever number of Pranta or States are being devised as this aspect of voting rights determination circumvents the Federal restructuring process and keeps the Khas bahun population dominate everywhere and will continue to rule as an elitist group as they are doing today and maintain the status-quo. This is unacceptable, undemocratic and unjust.

Switzerland is an example where ANCESTRAL ORIGIN criteria have been adopted to save their heritage and their country. We are very similar to Switzerland, landlocked, and multi-cultural, unlike America which has no culture of it own per se.

In the bigger game of geo-political struggle this very argument for the inclusion of the condition of ancestral Origin and property will safeguard and preserve the sovereign and independent state of Nepal from being gobbled up by India on the long haul.

If the present rules apply mass migration of Indians into Nepal, just waiting to happen, will take place, and the new immigrants of Indian origin will flood the country. The two simple conditions for voting rights can be easily met as they will be able to buy Birth certificates or fake some LAL_PURJA of property holding from corrupt official in the various departments of this present government. In the next 50 to 75 years we will have an Indian candidates running for election and an electorate of Indian Origin in place to elect him. When those who are now adamant about the Ancestral origin and property argument say that they were wrong, it will be already too late then. It will be just be a matter of time for Nepal to be another state of India as India wants. This is India’s game and geo-political strategy to get hold of Nepal and its never-ending renewable natural resources without sending troops to battle. All these “over-the-top” smart Khas-Bahuns politicians and their supporters running around today are playing into the Indian hands.
Under such scenario there will not be a Newar state, Limbuwan, Kiranti or Tharu Pradesh; because, there will not be the sovereign country of Nepal. It will all be India, and the Nepalese people will be known as Indians.