People have heaved a sigh of relief as the general strike of the indigenous people and different nationalities of Nepal has been called off following an agreement between the agitating groups and the government. The strike, as all strikes do, caused tremendous hardship to the people. In view of the hardship of the people, both the government and agitating groups made sincere efforts through negotiation to settle the issue. The indigenous people and nationalities have been demanding federal provinces on the basis of ethnic identity, for which the government has responded positively. There can be differences and debate on the federal model but such differences and disputes should be resolved on the negotiating table through compromise.
Democracy is a political system that provides an opportunity to air grievances of all kinds and seeks to settle them in a peaceful manner on the basis of dialogue and negotiation. This is the beauty of democracy. The indigenous people and nationalities have the right to express their grievances and put forth their demands. But other methods could have been used to press for their demands instead of the general strike that created trouble to the general people and hurt the national economy. Strikes have become a normal practice for the parties and groups to press for their demands these days. The indigenous people and nationalities just followed this normal practice. There is also a tendency of the government to listen to the demands only when they resort to strikes. Now the old culture of calling strikes to press for demands must be put to an end, and we should begin a new culture to resolve the problems and settle difference through negotiation.
Nepal is a country of ethnic and cultural diversity. Many ethnic communities exist in Nepal, and different cultures are being practiced. This ethnic and cultural diversity is our national heritage which has helped Nepal to remain a unified country. This diversity must be promoted and preserved. All languages spoken in Nepal are our national languages, and all cultures being practised here are our national cultures, which must be preserved, promoted and developed. This is why Nepal is constitutionally a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and multi-cultural country. In other words, Nepal is known as the country of unity in diversity. The national identity of Nepal depends upon this cultural and ethnic diversity. The state, thus, must treat all languages and cultures equally and take initiatives for their equal development. But there must not be politicisation of culture and language nor should the state resort to any suppressive measures against any language and culture. Irrespective of ethnicity, culture and mother tongue, we are Nepalese, and Nepal is our country. We should by no means develop animosity in the name of ethnicity, culture and language. We must maintain social harmony and promote our broader Nepali national culture.