Picture By: Dipesh Poudel
Eight years after turning Nepal into a secular nation, major political parties in the country have made an informal agreement to replace the word "Secularism" with another appropriate word. The political parties are forced to do so because of the massive response to the draft constitution in which people said that they don't want Nepal to be a secular nation.
The reestablished parliament decided that Nepal would be a secular state after the People's Movement–II. There was a wave of change so most people accepted this without much thought. As time passed by, a few people started to talk in favor of declaring Nepal a Hindu state. During the suggestion collection on the draft of new constitution, many people were against Nepal being a secular nation.
The problem was in the starting itself. The parliament should not have taken such a decision on its own since it was an outdated parliament. A decision of this magnitude should have gone through referendum. If the issue was solved through referendum, there would be a smaller chance of conflict. The issue of our nation’s secularism is not going to be solved just by changing the words. The mistake that political parties made is haunting them now. This issue may cause something that has never happened in the history of Nepal—war in the name of religion. History is the witness that whenever politics has stepped into the subject of religion, the outcome has never been good. If this issue is not addressed properly, bad intentions of reviving an old autocratic system will hide in the shadow of the conflict and take advantage of it. All the sacrifice that people gave will then go to waste. There is still time, we can still solve the issue of secularism through referendum.
A country is made up of its people; hence, the leaders who drive the nation should always listen to the citizens, and referendum is one of the best ways to know what exactly the majority of citizens want. Let's not take the risk of starting a war in the name of religion, let’s go for referendum.