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Saturday, June 1, 2013

What is Black Day?

What is Black Day?
 

Asmeet Malla 

Source : http://www.nepalmandal.com/content/19371.html

Photo Credit : Sabin Muni Bajracharya

On Jestha 18th 2056 VS (Tuesday June 1st, 1999), the Supreme Court passed an unjust verdict regarding the linguistic rights and that day has since been observed as the “Black Day”. The Black day represents the indignation and dissatisfaction of the people towards the prohibitory decision on the linguistic rights.


Eventhough all the mother tongues of Nepal are equal, the "Khas" language had been unjustly dominating. On Shrawan 10th 2054 VS (Friday July 25th, 1997), a board meeting of the Kathmandu Metropolitan City decided to regard Nepala-bhasa as an official language for local legislation. But some tyrant and non-democratic people who regarded Khas language as the only dominating language filed a case against the decision in the Supreme Court.


On 3rd Chaitra 2054 VS (Monday March 16, 1998), under the single bench decision of Judge Hari Chandra Upadhyaya an interim stay order was issued which prohibited the official use of Nepalbhasa (the Newar Language) in KMC. Later on Jestha 10th 2056 VS (Monday May 24, 1999), the Supreme Court passed a verdict prohibiting the use of Nepalbhasa and Maithili language as official languages for local administration. This unjust verdict given by the highest judicial body of the country on Jestha 18 gave way to the annual observation of the Black Day.


The Black Day - then and now...

The Black day which started as a voice for linguistic rights is still held today. For 10 years, Black Day has been observed as a symbol of protest by the Newars and the indigenous communities. But now the controversial constitution of the past has been canceled. The Interim Constitution of Nepal 2063VS (2007) has provision of equal rights to all the mother tongues of Nepal and has declared rights that allows the mother tongues to be used as official languages for local administration and legislation, and any prohibitions on that regard has been uplifted. So, the question may arise - Why do we still need to celebrate the Black Day???


The times have changed. The Constituent Assembly is working to draw a new constitution. The Black Day held for 10 years has now grown and is not just limited to the linguistic rights. The Black Day is now associated with the cultural rights and political rights of the Newars and the indigenous communities. The Newars who started the street protests for linguistic rights have now continued to demanding for autonomy and self governance.


It is a matter of common realization that the language policy based on political domination has deprived the Newars and the indigenous peoples from their political rights. So, the demand arising in association with the linguistic rights is for the political rights. The enemies of -democratic groups who once stood against the linguistic rights in the past have now been seen to be standing against the cultural and political rights. The inference we can derive is that once we achieve the political rights, the linguistic rights will spontaneously come into being. The political rights of indigenous community will automatically incorporate the linguistic rights.


The Interim Constitution has declared all the mother tongues as national languages but the ones with autocratic mentality have been hindering its implementation in practice. On the contrary, they are still active in suppressing these mother tongues whenever and wherever possible. An example is preventing our political rights.


This is why, the Black Day still has relevance, and still represents the protests for our rights. The protests, demonstrations and movements by the indigenous communities with regard to their political rights have reached new heights, and importantly at a time when the new constitution is being drafted. However, there are still those active against the political rights of the indigenous communities. There are political leaders who have been providing a silent support to autocracy and tyranny.


Today is the most vital of times, in order to silence the autocrats, the tyrants and non-democrats and to establish our political, cultural and linguistic rights via the new constitution. With this regard, only after the establishment of the political, cultural and linguistic rights of the indigenous communities with assurance of autonomy and self governance, under the new constitution, will there be justice to the Black Day - 18th Jestha 2056 VS.


Asmeet Malla
Dedicated, skilled, with broad range of journalism experience and involvement in various social organizations. 
Academic background includes Bachelors of Arts in Broadcasting Journalism from Liaoning University, China.
 

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