Inclusiveness

State of Inclusiveness in Nepalese Army

The issue of inclusion (Samabesikaran) of different castes, ethnic groups, genders and regions has been a frequently heard term in Nepal. Nepal has 103 castes/ethnic groups and more than 93 languages. Unlike the Gurkha Regiments of foreign armies which often have selective ethnic requirement practices, as the national army of Nepal, the Nepalese Army must maintain a national character primarily in terms of inclusion of all castes, ethnic communities, genders, regions and religions.

At the time when the Government of Nepal did not have any policy on inclusion in the state organs, the Nepalese Army was the only institution in Nepal which had a system of reservation for five different ethnic communities- Magar, Gurung, Tamang, Kiranti/Limbu and Madhesi. The total strength of the five battalions reserved for this process is about 3950, which make 4.4 % of current strength. In the rest of the formations, units and subunits all castes / ethnic communities, religions and regions are given equal opportunity based on open competition.

Recruitment is voluntary and competitive. Hence forcing citizens to sign up in the proportion of the demographic breakup of the nation would violate the rights of the people who may not want to join the Army and at the same time be unfair to those qualified and wishing to join. Presented in the following page is a comparative table in which various castes and ethnic communities represented in Nepalese Army are compared with their respective population size.

 

Among various castes and ethnic communities the Chhetries seem to have domination in the military. Magar, ewar, Rai, Gurung, Damai/Dholi, Gharti/Bhujel, Thakuri, Sanyasi, Kumal, Hajam/Thakur, Darai and Jirel are also slightly over represented compared to their respective population ratio. But Brahmin, Tamang, Kami, Limbu, Sarki, and Tharu are slightly under represented. Various Madhesi castes make 14.25 percent of total population (excluding 134, 496 Terai- Brahmin population which make 0.59% of total population, currently in NA statistics, they are apparently mixed with Hill Brahmin) whereas only 6.26 percent are seemingly serving in the army. The cause for this lesser degree of inclusion seems to be the lack of interest on the part of Madhesi communities to join military services.

Inclusion of Females in Nepalese Army: Female enrolment in Nepalese Army began in 1962. Current status of women participation in Nepalese Army is shown in the table below.

 

Picture of Aspirants from Various Castes / Ethnic Groups.

For the Post of Sipahi & Followers: comparison of the statistics of aspirants of various castes and ethnic communities from those who had registered their name to join the NA in January 2008 in Dhading, Patan, Sarlahi, Dang, and Okhaldhunga recruitment centers was very revealing. Out of 15,825 applicants only 1,683 (10.6%) Madhesi and 835 (5.3%) Dalits showed interest to join the NA. Applicants from Brahmin /Chhetri and Janajati groups topped the figure by 53.3% and 30.9% respectively.

 

Comparison of Candidates Applied For the Post of Sipahi and Followers

Source: Statistics Received from Various Recruitment Centers.
S.No.
Recruitment Center
Brahmin,
Chhetri
Janajati/ Indigenous
Community
Dalits
Madhesi,
Tharu
Total
1.
Dhading, Baireni
294
280
141
53
768
2.
Sarlahi, Nawalpur
764
468
48
289
1569
3.
Patan, Lagankhel
4240
2768
258
273
7539
4.
Dang, Tulsipur
294
473
152
534
2462
5.
Okhaldhunga
531
410
84
0
1025
6.
Dang
1303
473
152
534
2462
 
Total
8,435
4,872
835
1683
15,825
 
Percentage
53.3
30.9
5.3
10.6
 

 

For the Post of Officer Cadets (2/Lt): Application for recruitment of S. N. 50 Officer Cadets (already commissioned as Second Lieutenants) was called by Directorate of Recruitment, Army HQ in November 2007. A total of 4,993 male youths from all five development regions and 75 districts applied for the post. Status of representation from various castes / ethnic groups and region are shown in table in the following page:

 

Aspirants for Officer Cadet on Casts / Ethnic and Regional Basis Source: AG Dept (Recruitment Selection), Nepalese Army HQ.
S.No
Development Regions
Brahmin
Chhetri
Janajati, Indigenous
Community
Dalits
Madhesi
Tharu
Total
%
1.
Eastern
411
168
9
14
602
12.05
2.
Central
2056
701
56
35
2848
57.03
3.
Western
651
197
28
10
886
17.75
4.
Mid Western
286
37
14
14
351
7.02
5.
Far Western
279
21
3
3
306
6.15
Total Applicants
3683
1124
110
76
4993
Percentage
73.8
22.5
2.7
1.5
 
 

 

Out of 4993 aspirants for the post of Officer Cadet (2/Lt) 3,683 (73.76%) applicants belong to Brahmin / Chhetri community, 1,124 (22.51%) belong to Janajati / Indigenous community, 110 (2.7 %) belong to Dalit community, and 76 (1.5 %) belong to Madhesi community. From the perspective of geographical representation, more than 50% applicants come from Central Development Region. From Far Western Development Region about 7% aspirants registered their name. As probability of selection would remain approximately same for all applicants because of competitive exams, inclusion from Madhesi, Dalit, Mid Western Development and Far Western Development Regions are likely to be relatively less. A balanced education policy is needed to increase probability of proportional representation to all ethnic groups and regions. Sipahi Deependra Yadav, himself a Madhesi and currently working in the Supply & Transport Battalion, Kathmandu reflected on the relatively lower turnout of Madhesis in the NA and says that it is primarily due to the nature of training and the fact that most Madhesis simply prefer to join the Police and other government sectors which offer more scope for near home postings rather than in the Nepalese Army.

 

Comparative Result of IQ and Written Exams for Officer Cadet
Source: AG Dept (Recruit Selection).
S.No
 
Brahmin, Chhetri
Janajati, Indigenous Community
Dalits
Madhesi, Tharu

Total

1.
Number of Applicants
3683
1124
110
96
4993
Percentage
73.8
22.5
2.2
1.5
 
2.  
Passed in IQ Test
1267
327
19
16
1629
Percentage
77.77
20.07
1.16
0.98
 
3.  
Passed in Written Exams
312
46
5
2
365
Percentage
85.47
12.60
1.36
0.54
 

 

Applicants for Officer Cadets undergo various exams before they finally get selected. Generally, it is found that bulk of the applicants normally fail in the written tests. The table below depicts that success ratio of Brahmin and Chhetri community in written tests are relatively high i.e., 85.47 percent. Whereas success rate of Madhesi / Tharu, Dalits and Janajati communities are quite less with 0.54, 1.36 and 12.60 percent respectively. Why the latter three communities are relatively weaker in written tests is a matter of research in relation to their education quality and social opportunities that fall beyond the responsibilities of the Nepalese Army itself and an area of concern to the state as a whole.