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 My father is an Indian, my mother Nepali and I’m a “stateless” child: Apsana
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Posted on 06-09-16 10:45 AM     Reply [Subscribe]
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My father is an Indian, my mother Nepali and I’m a “stateless” child: Apsana

My father used to work as a tailor when he met my mother. Both fell in love and got married. To fall in love was itself an unusual act in our society and that too with an Indian Muslim was close to impossible. Their love story went fairly smooth without any interruption by any family members; they fell in love in Kathmandu, married in Delhi, came back to work in Kathmandu and then finally settled here. Now they have three kids, me and my two younger brothers.

I hardly remember going to my father’s house in Delhi. They say I was only two years old when they last took me there. Both my brothers haven’t visited my father’s home place. In fact, it’s been almost 24 years since my family has gone back to Delhi.

I was born and raised here in Kathmandu. I was born in one of the houses in Bhimsenthan where we still live. When I was ready to appear for the School Leaving Certificate (SLC) examination, I was asked a birth certificate for the first time. Without hesitation I received a certificate from the local municipal body. I knew that it would ease the process to get my citizenship later. Even the municipality staff suggested the same. But it was totally a false hope that they’d given. My application for citizenship has been ignored numerous times without any convincing reason. The reason behind the denial was that my father was an Indian.

Just like any one in our patriarchal society, I too kept my surname after my father’s which is Khatun. For me being a Khatun is like having a normal surname just like any other people. I still remember being harassed by my friends for being a Muslim when I was a kid but I haven’t been treated badly in my adolescence.

The fact that I am being denied a citizenship makes me think if I made a mistake by taking on my father’s surname.

But immediately after this thought passes my mind, another bitter reality strikes me hard reminding me that there’s no place for a mother’s identity in this society.

I researched everything and anything I could, to find out a place for mothers whose identity has been erased. I even flipped pages of law books to check if being a mother is really valuable in this society. I read line by line over and over again to check and recheck if I was really deprived of that right by the constitution. The Constitution of Nepal clearly states that I can obtain a citizenship. It states that in its Clause 11, (2) (b), that a person whose father or mother was a citizen of Nepal at his or her birth is eligible. It gives me hope to compete for it. I have done everything that I could. I have xeroxed my documents more than ten times to give it to the lawyers and agents who assured me that I would get a citizenship certificate. Of course nobody could get me one. One agent even asked me for a bribe of 60,000 rupees. I told my parents about this and my parents almost gave him 1, 20,000 rupees to make two certificates, one for me and one for my brother. But we ended not wanting to get citizenship illegally.

I have been everywhere like a fanatic in search of a citizenship. I know my parents must have been worried seeing me worrying about it. They could only calm my angst and do nothing more. Like me, they too have knocked every door. I am definitely desperate for it. I had to let go of many opportunities because of this very reason. I can’t even ride a bike as I don’t have a license. My mother owns land in this country but how is she going to pass it over to her children even if she wants to?

My fight is definitely to get a citizenship by birth through my mother’s name. I feel I should stand firm.


There is also a clause in the constitution which makes me eligible to apply for citizenship by naturalization. It says any foreign national of full age and capacity may submit an application to obtain Nepali citizenship if he/she can speak and write in Nepali, if he/she has resided in Nepal for at least 15 years, if he/she has a good conduct and character, and if he/she is engaged in any occupation in Nepal. I do match all the provisions asked by the constitution. I fluently speak, write both Nepali and Newari. I have lived in this country for more than 25 years now. I believe I have a good conduct and character and every month I pay taxes to this government too. If this government wants me to apply for this category, I could. But I am not a foreign national. I don’t have an Indian citizenship. I never considered myself an Indian.

But this society is cruel. It keeps telling me that I am Indian because of an Indian father and because my mother is a Nepali woman, her identity doesn’t count.

I was in a relationship for seven years with a Shakya guy from the Newar community. We were all set to get married. For seven years my partner didn’t have any problems with me. He would always support me saying, “You are still a daughter from a Newari mother which undoubtedly makes you a Nepali.” When we started to talk about marriage, his family denied meeting me, even once. They found out that my father was a Muslim. They even prevented him from seeing me. It was a painful moment when I heard about his marriage which would take place with another girl whose parents were both Nepali. Later, his marriage celebrations took place a couple of blocks away from where I live. It broke me into pieces and tore me apart. Before he got married he used to console me saying, “Your parents are inter-caste and inter-national, which is even better. I will convince my parents anyhow”. But it seemed like the whole country itself has not accepted it till now.
I am twenty-six now, which is a common age for a girl to get married in my community. I might marry soon. And once I get married to a Nepali guy, I know I will be qualified enough to apply for the citizenship of this country.

This constitution gives more credentials to a Nepali man than a Nepali woman despite holding the same citizenship certificates.

My husband, a Nepali man, will be the person who will liberate me from this crisis.Though this might be a way out for me, I wonder how my brothers are going to fight for it.

I have fought lots of battles which I have lost. But I still feel independent and am able to face numerous upcoming fights for my rights. If I ever get a citizenship through my to-be-husband, I am sure I would consider myself a humiliated Nepali throughout my life.


story & photos contributor: Bikkil Sthapit


 
Posted on 06-09-16 12:00 PM     [Snapshot: 85]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Man...that sucks.
I really hope she finds herself a good man that truly supports her and listen to her needs instead of husband parents need.
When i read these story....make me glad that i was never part of that society......and i don't ever wanna be part of that society. People want to change and modernize the country and wanna be like the west.....but can't even get the basic concept correct.
If i have to live as humiliated nepali all my life.....i wouldn't even call myself nepali and try my best/hardest to leave the country and start a new life where having a simple thing as a certain last name wouldn't lead to being discriminated and proudly say that I'm mixed when asked.

I wish the best for her


 
Posted on 06-09-16 1:05 PM     [Snapshot: 189]     Reply [Subscribe]
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This issue has been there for a long time. Hope, government will soon implement the law to provide citizenship through mother.
 
Posted on 06-10-16 1:25 AM     [Snapshot: 526]     Reply [Subscribe]
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This was when Nepal got the time to put up and come up with the best constitution of the world, after years of civil war and thousands of lives lost in making of the better Nepal. It still has minor issues as such which makes the Govt fail to adderss such issues. What a awful constitution.. Nepal is a fail country and it needs another war.

 
Posted on 06-10-16 2:08 AM     [Snapshot: 537]     Reply [Subscribe]
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the way nepal is getting famous as a great prostitutes supplier and a sex paradise for both hetero- and homo men internatinally, we would be getting hundreds of thousands of illegal and unwanted children in few years. it has already started ;since a decade the foreign workers from middle eastern countries are coming back/being sent back pregnant and give birth in nepal.
on the one hand we cant/shouldnt deny citizenship to children of any nepali nationals, on the other ,how are we going to control the population outburst and the demographic change which could change the very nature of nepal.
just in the last 3 decades the population in terai increased by average of ca. 10%, how are we going to sustain this?
 
Posted on 06-10-16 5:56 AM     [Snapshot: 584]     Reply [Subscribe]
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this problem, you can't judge and project as a liberal gay ass agenda with western values, assume USA sandwich between 1 billion Canadian and 1 billion Mexican with 30 million population, what u gonna do? what your policy gonna be like for USA to exist? while i've sympathy for her unique case, I dare her to fight with madeshi's special treatment of so called "rojibeti" where daughter-in-laws get immediate citizenship and now they are demanding to in- in constitution. They have something in their mind don't they? . The real good system would have been a both genders of nepal given 7-15 years to show they are serious about their marriages but do spoiled Madeshis want it to compromise? reminder , same provision in India not discriminating? also while this girl wants seems to be on the ngo / ingo crusader list, nepal govt. have provision to take her situation as case by case basis. Which is better than open door policy where not only son-in-laws can apply thru door , Banja's Bhandji's can do too. Do you want nepal to exist or not? that's is the question instead of who your mom finally decided and u exist. finally f**k Rojibeti, i tell them either u r citizen of nepal or may not be, you have to decide. what about the rojibeti of himali people, kumal gadwal people doti dadheldura people , no care huh ?. does such law exist between USA and Canada? I see plenty of marriages between. The law applies same don't they? so f**k this Rojibeti excuses, either u belong to nepal or u have tendency to consider nepali yourself nepali on the basis of what u can get benefits here. Final word: You can get your citizenship , just u have to work little hard. it ain't about gender discrimination it has to to do with country with it's geographical origin. God if I could defeat this stupid "Rojibeti" argument and get help with your problem fast. but remind u, u can get it thru back door they just can't make it as open door policy and I understand why is that. IF your intention is to dissolve nepal in india I understand that too.
 


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