T. W. Rhys Davids, “Note on the Middle Country…,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (JRAS), 1904, p. 83:
LET IT BE FREE:
7 formidable reasons why India should support an independent Madhesh:
- To avoid an ethnic war, turmoil and violence on its northern border and get a stable and peaceful neighbour, because if Madhesh does not become an independent nation within the next 10 years, it is bound to be marred by a large-scale ethnic conflict and violence.
- To avoid the influx of the 15 million Madheshis as refugees in India. With a conspiracy to deny citizenships to a large number of the Madheshis, stripping them of fundamental rights, and brutally suppressing them using army and police, hundreds of thousands of Madheshis have already taken a refuge in India, unrecorded.
- To stop further settlement of fiercely anti-Indian Pahadi population at its very border. The population of the Pahadis in Madhesh has increased from 6% to 36% between 1951 and 2011. It should be noted that a large number of retired army and police personnel were settled in the border regions through planned (re)settlement projects, and those places are always mired by endless Indo-Nepal border conflicts.
- To avoid a communist/totalitarian state as its northern neighbour, with an open border and a close relationship across the border. (The current government led by K. P. Oli is evidence to it.)
- To keep foreign powers, piggybacking Nepal and using its land for sinister purposes, away from India’s border. Nepal, with its strong anti-Indian sentiment, has been always eager to allow spaces to foreign powers working against India.
- To avoid a poverty-stricken, economically deprived, famine-hit, crime infested region adjacent to India (resulting from the continued Nepali colonisation and exploitation of Madhesh, if unchecked)
- To protect the interest of the people having millennia old relationships and having family, historical, cultural and linguistic ties with India.
Myths and Misconceptions on Independent Madhesh vis-à-vis India
Some of the reasons, for not supporting an independent Madhesh traditionally, given by Indian leaders, policy makers, diplomats and bureaucrats almost unanimously have been:
(1) It will set an encouraging example for secessionist movements in our own country, where we already have problems in Kashmir, Asam, Nagalim and Tripura. (2) If India supports a free Madhesh, Nepal will go out of its hand and China will come closer to India increasing a security threat. (3) Nepal acts as a buffer zone / border protection for India. (4) Nepal may turn into a playing field of international powers, and the security concern of India shall be compromised. (5) India has vital interest in Nepal’s hydropower and other resources and thus cannot annoy it. (6) We cannot interfere in other country’s internal affairs. (7) Madhesh cannot sustain as an independent nation. It’ll be too small. (8) We cannot go against the centuries old cordial relationship with Nepal. We have several lacs of Nepalis working in India, including in the Indian Army. (9) We want peaceful and stable neighbour.
Let’s dissect them one by one: