Tuesday, May 30, 2006

"8. NEPAL SHALL BE A SECULAR STATE."

This proclamation, issued by the House of Representatives of Nepal's new government, has sparked off, with its punchy Article 8, a significant Samudaya.org, the BJP and, somewhat bizarrely, Congress have been getting a bit exercised over the border in India. Uday Bajracharya, writing in the independent Kantipur Online, defends Nepali secularism by saying:
In the case of Nepal, it is mainly the Buddhists that have been asking for secularism. Buddhism and Hinduism have co-existed extremely well in Nepal for centuries. Secularism only means freedom from dominance of one religion by another [...] the people of Nepal have to understand that the path to secularism is not going to be easy. Certain sections of the community that had been benefiting from Nepal being a Hindu state may well resist the change. The secularists mustn’t see the recent event as a ‘victory’ over Hinduism because secularism is not anti-Hinduism.
All entirely admirable, of course, but rendered a little comic by the appearance of "Muslim Brides Dinner Club" in the Google Ads beneath his column.
Meanwhile, the Agape Press wonders whether a newly secular Nepal might offer growth opportunities... which won't help Outlook India, as it examines the RSS's claims that it's all just a Christian conspiracy - and wonders whether this might serve to make Hindutva worse. And the media isn't immune either. Zee News reported that 1700 copies of the Kathmandu Post were burned by Hindu groups in Southern Nepal, during a protest against the government's decision. US papers avoided a similar fate, presumably since the reactionary diaspora issued a call to arms via this letter from "Nepalese living in America". Track Nepal's blogosphere here at the ever excellent Global Voices.
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