After I covered the declaration of Momoland and Tuppiwan last week, I got an email from one particular ‘entity’ inside present-day Nepal who called himself (or herself) Robot. He claimed to be the spokesperson of a separatist movement “Buttoms Liberation.” He informed me that they were making preparations to declare an independent nation of “Andoland.” After some exchanges, I was interested enough to ask him for an online-interview. I am publishing the interview in two parts. This post is part one of the series. (Click here for part two).
Shoonya: So, you are declaring an independent country in itself?
Robot: Yes. We have decided that that is the only way we can secure a place where our rights are safeguarded and concerns are heard. We are no more interested in the present day country of Nepal. That is because we don’t have the slightest of faith in our interests being addressed by this completely failed system of mess. We have been wronged, humiliated, kept systematically out of the mainstream and given deferential treatment for too long. We have decided that we have had enough.
Doesn’t that amount to the violation of the interim constitution of Nepal?
It doesn’t apply to us. First of all, we no longer care about the constitution of Nepal. Even if we were too, observing from the ongoing developments, this wouldn’t amount to the violation of the constitution. The interim constitution of your country mentions about Nepal being a federal state, with several provinces/states. Look around you, people are declaring ‘autonomous republics,’ which is not what was visioned in the interim constitution. If states or provinces can be intrepreted to be equivalent to ‘autonomous republics,’ we may as well extend that definition to encompass ‘independent countries.’ We are glad that you picked on this in your writing, but look at the press and opinion in Nepal- all the criticisms are against ignoring the mandate of the Constituent Assembly, and not about violating the very spirit of the constitution. They are very sensitive about each word in other legal documents, but choose to ignore a very distasteful misinterpretation of the words and spirit of the supreme law.
Couldn’t you have taken your concerns for hearing within the existing system? The constituent assembly is writing a constitution – you could have lobbied for your concerns. There are many rights-organizations, political bodies, civil societies that could have supported your demands for greater inclusion and rights. It looks like you are more interested in spreading instability than getting your demands addressed.
Your question implies that the civil societies and other actors are unaware of our plight which is a very misleading and dangerous implication. But this is not unexpected. In fact, this is the most-asked question to us. I’d like to repeat that we have lost all our interest and faith in your system. We think it is easier for us to run a country of our own than asking for redressal in Nepal.
Why do you think so ?
Most thinkers – though we don’t think they are capable of thinking – in the system are too engrossed in the grand debates of proportionate inclusion, federalism, whether to call it a insurgency or a people’s war, whether to dry the linen in a nylon rope or a PVC-cord, whether to wear a black cap with white tunic or a grey cap with a pink underwear, deciding from the measurement of a person’s stomach’s stiffness whether he had a bottle of whiskey or a sip of coke, whether somebody is progressive or regressive, never-ending meetings with one foreigner or the other, with one leader or the other, demonstration and strikes, whether this and that bull shit, all yack, yack, yack.
We can’t participate in such debates, it’s out of the question and our limited ability. It’s like asking an atheist to choose the most proper religious text to be read out in a religious ceremony. Despite not being good at this all, we have written many times to the public personalities in Nepal asking them to give some thought on our conditions and address our issues. We don’t know if they didn’t understand us, or were uninterested or thought that ignoring the voices of non-entities like us would not matter much. After all, there are many important subjects like the ones mentioned above for the whole opinion-makers and influencers of Nepal to concentrate on. A slight deviation or lack of concentration would mean disaster for Nepal.
You have been repeatedly talking of the plight of this community you claim to represent. Who are you all actually?
We are a*holes.
Excuse me ?
Yes, you heard it right.
Could you please elaborate? Are you some kind of punk band, hippie-kids or members of the more later cult of hip-hop? Please remember that you are on-record for a prestigious blog in the region.
Some of us might be, in fact, some of us might even be like one of you – though it clearly seems you are not – we are a diverse group of people, of all races, cultures, sex, origin, profession and personal values. But there’s a very strong and common binding factor in all of us – we all are a*holes.
And how’s that? How are you all what you say you are?
See, we are the most neglected and depressed – everybody sits on on, shits on us – part of the body, underbelly is a lot more privileged than us. We are out of sight of the eyes and out of consideration of the head. Our voice is the most despised of all sounds. We don’t claim to be the most useful, powerful or brilliant of all body-parts, but we definitely are very necessary and important. But other parts of the body have never given it a thought. They are still thinking that this can continue. And they are to be blamed for all this – the heads, eyes, hands, lips, legs, bellies, even our own neighbors- the buttocks.
Readers with questions for Robot: please send it as comment below, or send me a mail at shoonya3 at gmail.com and I’ll forward them to him/her.
Picture Sources: top , bottom .