24 July, 2021

This Rashtra Is A Republic

Nepal, having opted to become a republic cannot declare itself a Hindu rashtra without impairing its republican character.

This Rashtra Is A Republic

Some eighty per cent of Nepal’s population is Hindu. In ordinary parlance that makes Nepal a ‘Hindu majority’ nation. But to dub it ‘Hindu rashtra’ would be democratica­lly discordant and ‘valuationally gross’ (an Amartya Sen phrase). Calling a nation after the religion of its majority is now archaic. It is also, for a republic, odious, since there is a defining distinction between an ‘ordinary democracy’ and one that is also a republic. In a democracy, the majority party ‘rules’. If that political majority represents the nation’s religious majority and makes that religion its driving force, then it would be doing something that would be ideologically questionable but, still, politically legitimate. But in a democracy that is also a republic, the situation is different. In a republic that has become so after a popular uprising, the distinction is also startling. The republican character of such a nation makes the democratic majority subservient to the foundational principle of republicanism. What is that...

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