The Madhesh movement was conceived in the backdrop of a political discourse during the Maoist rebellion (1996-2006) that sensitized systemic exclusion of ethnic minorities, indigenous nationalities and Dalits. Terai/ Madhesh, the Southern belt of Nepal, which is predominantly inhabited by Madheshi and Tharu ethnic groups, has historically suffered ‘internal colonialism’ of the hill-based ethnic dominance in political, economic and social domains. The Madhesh resistance erupted in 2007, following the peace agreement between the Maoists and the government of Nepal in November 2006. The resistance still continues in different forms, such as Madhesh-based political parties, community mobilisation and self-organising resistance against structural inequalities, lack of service delivery and poor life conditions of Madheshis.
This article is based on a conversation between Tula Narayan Shah and Tejendra Pherali about the struggle of Nepal’s Madhesh movement to obtain political and social justice.