08/20/2015, 00.00
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For young Catholics, focus should shift from the constitution to Nepal’s development

by Christopher Sharma
Nepal’s new constitution continues to elicit protest. The separation between state and religion is an issue that has been settled for young Christians. The latter are economically independent and ready to join their peers in other religious groups to fight poverty and unemployment.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – A group of young Christians have issued an appeal to their peers in other religious groups against wasting time on useless discussions like the separation between state and religion. The focus should instead be on the country’s development.

This comes as the debate over the draft of the new constitution approved in late June continues to elicit protests.

Young people complain that there is too much focus on issues already settled, like the separation between state and religion, and very little is being said about Nepal’s real problems.

"Young Catholics believe that secularism is the most democratic, both in terms of theory and practice,” Kishor Shrestha, a former president of the International movement for local catholic students (IMCS), told AsiaNews. “Wasting time on discussions on alternatives to secularism is just expressing regrets over missing the train.”

For Shrestha, “The country suffers from poverty and unemployment. Millions of young people have gone to work abroad. Politicians and experts should discuss how to revive the country’s economy and promote development."

"Secularism is the best way to democracy,” he added. “Thanks to the secular system we are all free to profess our faith. There is no other alternative. Now we must unite and work for the prosperity of the people and the nation.”

“Lawmakers and the government should focus on development,” said Regina Thapa, another young Catholic. “We cannot improve if we indulge in unnecessary discussions.”

“The government and the people have to work hard to create job opportunities and use available resources,” she said. “Secularism is already protected under the interim constitution and the draft constitutional proposal. We should no longer discuss it. "

Dilip Singh said that most young Christians are independent from an economic point of view and are engaged in productive activities that are useful to the country.

"We appeal to all young people, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist or other faiths, to join together to work rather than protest,” he said addressing his peers.

“We can show them the way we work. Words alone lead to nothing. Only when one has a full stomach and is healthy in body and mind, can one make a contribution to the country’s well-being."

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