The 2018th year of Gregorian Calendar has begun today. As most of the world was preparing to celebrate New Year, I was busy counting the number of New Years celebrated in Nepal. I remember 7 of them.
Bikram Samvat New Year: Bikram Samvat is the official Solar Calendar of Nepal. Baishakh 1st (Mid-April) is the first day of the Bikram Calendar. This day is also known as Mesh Sankranti, the first day the sun reaches the Mesh Rashi or the Aries constellation.
Nepal Samvat: It is the official Lunar Calendar of Nepal, at least in papers because the adoption has taken a long time. There is an interesting legend behind the calendar. In the year 941 B.S., a merchant named Sankhadhar Sakhwa obtained gold from the Bagmati River and helped the citizens of Nepal pay the debts of the king. Marking this freedom, the king issued a new calendar the Nepal Samvat.
The first day of the Nepal Samvat is Kartik Shukla Pratipada, the first day of waxing phase in the month of the Kartik (October-November). This day is also the fourth day of Tihar. Newas, the indigenous people of the Kathmandu Valley celebrate the Nepal Samvat New Year (Nhu: Daya) with much pomp and show in the day. In the evening, they do Mha: Pooja, in which each individual worships their Self or the Soul.
Tamu Lhosar: Tamu Lhosar is celebrated as the New Year of the Gurungs, the indigenous people mainly in the Gandaki region. Tamu Lhosar falls on 15th of Poush (December 29-30) every year.
Gregorian New Year: This New Year is celebrated in majority of countries and in Nepal as well. It falls on Poush 17-18 of the Bikram Calendar. It’s been used along with the Bikram Calendar for long but is the only one New Year in which the Government does not issue a public holiday.
Maghi: This day is also known as Maghe or Makar Sankranti, the day in which the Sun reaches the Capricorn. Maghi is the New Year of the Tharus, the indigenous people of the Terai region.
I am astounded every time I look at her. She moves with grace and agility, plays with the table tennis ball as she should play with a mouse (and like a pro footballer), and jumps like an athlete. She grabs a piece of rag and drags it around. She smells the ground and discovers every corner of the house. She covers up her liquid and solid excreta. When she is hungry, she looks up, her eyebrows narrow, and cries, “Myau Myau”. Except during such hunger and times she’s irritated, this little tabby kitten understands the instructions we give her. Who teaches her to do all these things she does?
I met her first the first time in November with her twin. Their mother had left them after keeping them in a drum under the stairs. They were crying. We waited for their mother’s return but that cat did not return. We kept them in a box and started feeding them with milk in a bottle. The nutrition in the dairy milk we get is non-existent. The twins survived but were malnourished. We named them Lily and Billy.
Even when they were malnourished, Billy was the smarter among the two. She had figured out how to jump out of the box, how to play with her sibling and how to irritate her. Life was going on pretty good for them until two weeks later when their mother came back with two other kittens. Would she recognize and accept Lily and Billy and take them away? We thought it would be good if she did and at that, we made the mistake we should never have.
We showed the cat Lily and Billy on our roof. They were smaller than the other kittens she had brought but she seemed to recognize them from their scent. She wanted to take Billy first but the kitten was too stubborn and reluctant. She did not let the cat carry her. Lily too resisted but she was not as smart as her twin. The cat caught her scruff and took her away.
The mother cat came back again. We decided to give up Billy as well. We did not know whether Lily-Billy could survive. Even if they died, it would be nice if they died together, we thought. After an effort of more than half an hour, the cat took Billy away. A little farther, she could not carry Billy. She was still struggling to get away. The cat tried her best to take her away but when she could not, left her. Billy cried alone on that balcony for more than an hour in front of our sight before we decided we would now adopt her as long as she wants to stay with us.
Meanwhile, the cat took away the fourth kitten and never returned for the kitten. She came back a few times to steal milk and we haven’t seen her for more than a fortnight now.
Now Billy is with us on her own. And she has learnt everything her instinct allows her. When she was with her twin, we thought they learnt together but even when this tabby is alone, she has learnt everything on her own. Who teaches her? I tried to know the answer. I discussed with my parents and my sister.
Does Nature teach her? How, though? Could Billy’s genes have carried her natural instincts and behaviours? Does the DNA carry all the things she needs for survival?
It’s strange to note that humans have very few individual survival instincts. We are not as agile as the cat, we don’t have the physical strength they have. We don’t even cover up our excreta as a natural instinct. It’s a learned social behaviour. Why does a cat have more survival instincts and more unique natural behaviours than a human? Aren’t we vain in saying that we are the smartest or the most intelligent creature on the planet? I have seen the kitten picking up our language before we picked up hers. How are we the only sapient beings? And finally, I came to the question that has intrigued people for ages: why are we here thriving (not just surviving) against all odds?
Humans are physically weak. We don’t have strong legs like that of the felines and canines. We don’t have strong teeth and claws to hunt. We don’t have a thick hide to protect us from cold. We don’t even have furs. The only strength we have is our large head (more than 2 kgs), which is also an evolutionary liability.
Yet, it is in our head the brain lies and it has the ability to analyze the world like no other creature in the world. We are the only creatures that can understand the secret of this world and that of the universe. Only we can alter our natural instinct of fear to compassion.
Are we really thriving to understand the real secrets of our lives, how we originated and to care for the lives around us, to coexist with every living being in harmony? Eastern philosophers and poets of my own country have answered “Yes” to the question.
But is there any force or energy that compels us to survive, to contemplate and to understand? Why is the Nature the way it is? Why is the cat the way she is? What is the source of the chaotic order that rules the Earth? I have come to believe in the existence of that energy that has created this chaotic order. I have now come to believe this energy is the God–the Creator, the Caretaker and the Destroyer.
In these two months, the cats have taught me a lot of things about life and the way we behave and feel. And we can’t always control everything that happens. We make mistakes we can’t amend. We don’t know what happened to Lily but Billy continues to grow and to impress. She is here in my house with a purpose–to teach me about other living beings, including humans.
On Mangsir 18, 2074 (December 4, 2017), three days prior to the second phase of general election, an explosion at Chapali, Kathmandu injured 11 people. One of them was the candidate former Minister of Health Gagan Thapa. He was shown to put on bandages around his forehead but some hours later, he was seen at Reporters’ Club and he spoke for more than an our without showing a trace of injury.
I don’t know if the injury was faked. The mainstream media never said it was faked but there were others who said Gagan Thapa was somehow involved in the explosion and that it was one thing that would fetch him “sympathy” votes. He did win the election. Another rumour that surfaced was that there was involvement of the Left Alliance behind the attack. What we got to hear after the elections was that anti-election group led by Biplov did it.
We all know Gagan Thapa won but what happened to the 10 other people who were hospitalized? They were not in news after the election.
Were those who did the explosion caught and punished? We don’t know. This is really strange. A former Minister is bombed amidst his cadres before the election and ten people are injured. Gagan Thapa should have been burning with rage and should have demanded the arrest of the bombers within twenty-four hours. But no one has been arrested till date.
Who did it–Gagan Thapa, Left Alliance or Biplov Group or somebody else? Where is our police force, intelligence and investigative journalism?
On Bhadra 7, 2072 (August 24, 2017), an incident in Tikapur Kailali shook the nation. Seven police officers, one of who was a Tharu, were brutally killed, and a two years old baby was shot. After the incident, hundreds of Tharus were tortured for being involved in the carnage.
Who did it?
The government blamed the Tharus. Resham Chaudhary was accused of being the mastermind behind the killing of the police. But there were rumors that the attackers were highly trained and that they could be a gang or R&AW agents from India. The Tharus blame the police for burning their huts.
For more than two years, Resham Chaudhary is in India. Before he fled, he was a popular media personality. I used to like his Gaijatra albums that were released during the period of censorship. (The king was in power then and the only way to express dissatisfaction was through the comic satires during the festival of Gaijatra.) When he was accused, I could not believe that he could plot for such a heart-wrenching incident. But he fled. He might have his reasons but running away is never a way to say that he is good.
This Mangsir, he came in news again. He was nominated for the elections held in Mangsir 21 (December 7) through his relative. (He is still in India.) Nobody opposed it and he won the election with an overwhelming amount of votes.
The police says Resham Chaudhary a Most Wanted criminal. The fact that Election Commission allowed him to be a candidate says otherwise. Who resgistered his nomination and why?
Now that he has won, the Election Commission wants him to come and fetch the certificate of victory. The police says they will catch him. This is not to the first time an accused has won an election. But they have walked among the policemen without a trouble.
I have a lot of questions: What stops Resham Chaudhary from coming Nepal and claiming victory? Police? If so, will the police arrest him? Will the police let him go after political pressure? Will the victims of the Tikapur incident ever get justice?
And the biggest of all: Who really is the mastermind behind the incident?
I am feeling a little lost since it’s been so long since I wrote a blog post. I am more nervous now than two years ago, when I wrote the first post on this blog. But I think everything will be fine once I hit the Publish button.
I had been planning to write something else but saw from my Dashboard that this was going to be my 200th post. I had been away from blogging for quite a long time (probably the longest since I began my WordPress blog) as well. So, I wanted to reconnect to all of you out there and express a few words of gratitude.
Thank you WordPress for providing this platform.
Thank you readers, followers, friends and relatives. You all have been a source of inspiration. I don’t know how many will see this post but I want to shout out again: Thank You! Without your support through likes, comments, admirations and encouragements.
On July 22, 2017, Quora users of Nepal met for the first time at Taragaon Museum. John Shrestha (Yaatri) and Swapna Bizness had organized the programme on a very short prior notice via Quora and Facebook.
Until I reached Taragaon Museum that day and met Mahesh and John, I was dubious there was any programme. During the introduction session that day, John said how he conceived the idea for a Meetup in Nepal.
One day, he stumbled upon an answer in Quora which described a Meetup in a city of India. John was baffled. “Can we organize such a programme in Nepal?” He thought and found out how he could gather people.
“We had not expected more than eight participants,” he said. “But the overwhelming number of people interested in the event stumped me.” The number of interested people had reached over 200 within the few hours. It was unexpected because the number of active Quora users was very few. Probably, the phrase “first ever” had attracted people.
“I had thought of calling some people to a public park like Ratna Park but for 200 people, it would not work. The 1st Quora Meetup had to be exciting.”
He sought for sponsors, found Swapna Bizness. He looked for an interesting place and found Taragaon Museum. It is an art museum ran by Taragaon Hotel (Hyatt Regency). Despite that many interested people, only 39 gathered. John was relieved.
That day, all of them were strangers to me but strangely, everyone seemed familiar. We immediately bonded. That was the first time I had such an experience.
I was waiting for another Meetup to occur soon and the date had been decided but was cancelled because Quora announced the first ever official Quora World Meetup.
So, on November 11, 2017, the first Quora World Meetup was held in King’s College, Kathmandu. The original location was the Taragaon Museum but unfortunately it had been booked.
It took me no time to find King’s College. I could see it in front of my eyes, but the road I took never ended. I was walking along the left bank of Dhobi Khola. I had to return back, cross the bridge at Bijulibazaar and take the road on the right bank. I nearly missed the introduction session.
The second session was the Question/Answer session that was in spirit of Quora. Some of the questions were:
1. Who was the most influential teacher in your school?
2. What incident in life has affected you the most?
3. Do you think we dream what we desire? (The discussion for this went for almost an hour. There were many different perspectives and knowledge. I learnt for the first time that dream interpretations were subjective.)
After a short break, the programme recommenced. During the break, I saw that Quorans have mutual respect for each other and yeah, Sulav Karki, who answers a lot of questions about Nepal is largely popular.
The final session included debates on two subjects:
1. Should Kathmandu still remain the capital of Nepal?
2. Should Diversity Visa (DV) be stopped for Nepal?
Two groups were divided. We had a fewer number of people in our group but luck favoured us on both occasions as we won the toss and got to choose. We chose to support Kathmandu being the capital in the former and DV should be stopped.
In the first debate, when Sulav presented the points for Kathmandu remaining the capital of Nepal, Sushovan remarked, “Ten wickets in the power play.” Meaning, we had won the debate because they could not be negated by the opposition. And they really could not.
The second debate was more balanced. Several interesting points came up. It also took us to another question: Which is more important–an individual or his nationality?
At the end, there were no personal grudges, no fights, no accusations. The debate session ended as it should have. The Quora users of Nepal surprised me once again.
नेपालमा अहिले चुनावी चहलपहल निकै नै छ । नेताहरू घरदैलोमा व्यस्त छन् तर घरमै बस्नेले चाहिँ सायदै तिनका मुख देखे होलान् । खैर, “तिनीहरू नेता कसरी पो नेता बने हौ ? अनि हामी चाईँ कसरी बन्ने ?” भन्ने प्रश्न कसैलाई उठेको भए ती प्रश्नको जवाफ खोज्ने प्रयास यो प्रबन्ध हो ।
चरण १: यी प्रश्न आफूले आफैँलाई सोधेर नेता हुने गुण छ कि छैन पत्ता लगाउनुस् :
१. धुर्त हुनुहुन्छ ?
२. अरूलाई औँलामा नचाउन सक्नुहुन्छ ?
३. स्वार्थी हुनुहुन्छ ?
४. अर्काको मन दुखाएर हाँस्न सक्नुहुन्छ ?
५. आफन्त, नातागोता, साथीसँगी, गुरु वा जोसुकैलाई कोखामा छुरा हानेर अघि बढ्न सक्नुहुन्छ ?
६. जनताले जे भने पनि कानमा तेल हालेर सुतेजस्तो गर्न सक्नुहुन्छ ?
उपर्युक्त गुणहरू तपाईंसँग छ भने मात्रै तपाईं राजनीतिक नेता बन्न सक्नुहुन्छ । नत्र त तपाईंको यात्रा सुरु नै हुँदैन । भइहाल्यो भने पनि कतै कुनामा बसेर रुनुपर्छ ।
चरण २: प्रवेश
चरण १ मा पास नभए पनि चरण २ मा आउन सक्नुहुन्छ तर दिगो उपलब्धिका लागि चरण १ मा भएका कुराहरू आफूमा जतिसक्दो चाँडो लागू गर्नुहोला । फाइदा तपाईंलाई नै हो । अब जान्नुस् यो चरणमा के गर्ने:
१. तपाईं आफ्नै पार्टी खोल्न चाहनुहुन्छ ? यसका लागि विचार र (वा) कार्यशैली मिल्ने (यसमा अरूलाई थर्काउने कार्यशैली पनि हुन सक्छ) एकदम धेरै मानिसहरू भेला पार्नुपर्ने हुन्छ । अरूलाई कन्भिन्स गर्न पनि धेरै समय र उर्जा खर्चिनुपर्छ । समय अलि बढी नै लाग्न सक्छ यदि तपाईं चरण १ मा भएका गुणहरूलाई नजरअन्दाज गर्दै हुनुहुन्छ भने ।
२. यदि तपाईंलाई छिटो माथी जानु छ भने चाहिँ स्थापित पार्टीमा लाग्नुस् । धेरैजसो मानिसहरू ठूला पार्टीको सदस्य बन्छन् तर साना पार्टी पनि शानदार पो हुन्छन् त ।
एउटा उदाहरण दिउँ है त । मेरो कलेजमा थुप्रै पार्टीका भ्रातृ संगठन (भन्नलाई स्वतन्त्र विद्यार्थी युनियन) छन् । नेपाली कांग्रेसको नेविसंघ र नेकपा एमालेको अनेरास्ववियुमा लाग्नेहरूको संख्या धेरै छ । खिचातानी पनि यिनमै धेरै छ ।
साना पार्टीका भ्रातृ संगठन धेरै छन्, कार्यकर्ता थोरै । कम्पिटिसन शून्य बराबर । सदस्य बन्नेवित्तिकै माथिल्लो पद हातमा । अनि पावर पनि ठूला संगठन जति नै । हेर्नुस् त काइदा !
कुन ठाउँबाट राजनीति सुरु गर्नुहुन्छ भन्ने कुराले पनि फरक पार्दछ तपाईंको जिन्दगीमा । एक चोटि फेरि मेरो कलेजतिर आँखा डुलाऔँ । तपाईँ प्रायः देख्नुहुनेछ, नेताहरू :
नयाँ विद्यार्थीलाई भर्ना गर्न मद्दत गर्दै हुन्छन् ।
पुराना विद्यार्थीका समस्या समाधान गर्दै हुन्छन् ।
विभिन्न कार्यक्रम गरिरहेका हुन्छन् ।
यिनीहरू पब्लिक रिलेसन (Public Relation) बनाइरहेका छन् जुन भविष्यका लागि लाभदायक हुन्छन् । मेरो एक जना साथी छ जसलाई म जुनसुकै बेला फोन गरेर जुनसुकै काम लगाउन सक्छु । भोलि ऊ कुनै चुनावमा उठ्यो भने म भन्दिन्छु नि “यसले काम गर्न सक्छ” । उसले यसरी भोटर कमाउँदै छ ।
आफ्नो समुदायमा राजनीति गरेर अघि बढ्न चाहनेलाई चुनौतीको पहाड नै आउँछ । चरण १ मा भएका गुण नभए पहाड फोर्न गाह्रो हुन्छ ।
चरण ३: कुटनीति / चालबाजी
महाभारतमा शकुनिको भूमिका सम्झनुस् त । कसरी धृतराष्ट्र र उनका छोरालाई भड्काउँछन् । उनको धुर्त्याइँले पाण्डवहरू जुवामा मात्र हारेनन्, कुरुक्षेत्रको युद्ध पनि भयो ।
कुटनीतिक चालबाजी एउटा कला हो । राजनीती गर्नेहरूले आफूले भनेको ठीक, अरूले भनेको बेठीक भन्ने पारेर जनतालाई आफ्नो पक्षमा पार्छन् । अझ कतिपय अवस्थामा अस्थिरता ल्याइदिन्छ्न् ।
गेम अफ थ्रोन्समा लिटलफिङ्गर भन्छ:
अस्थिरता सिँढी हो ।
यसका उदाहरणले मेरो मुटु चिरिन्छ । हाम्रा नेताहरूले पनि अस्थिरतालाई भर्र्याङ् बनाएका छन् । जब स्थिरता आउँछ, उनीहरू माथि हुन्छन् । पुष्पकमल दहाल (प्रचण्ड) ज्वलन्त उदाहरण हुन् जसको बारेमा मैले चर्चा गरिरहनै पर्दैन ।
कोखामा छुरा घोप्ने काम पनि चालबाजीको विशेषता हो । एकजना मेरो छिमेकीलाई चुनावमा “टिकट” दिने वाचा गरियो । पक्का आउँछ भन्दै बधाई दिने पनि भेटिए ।
मनोनयनमा भने उनको नातेदारको नाम आयो । ती नातेदारले विरोध गरेनन् । मनोनयनमा हेराफेरी गर्न सक्नेलाई ती नातेदारले हातमा लिएछन् । यसरी आफन्तलाई पनि धोका दिन सके तपाईंको राजनीतिक यात्रा उकालो लाग्नेछ । शुभकामना !
चरण ५: अरूले जेसुकै भने पनि “बाल” नदिने
अरूले तपाईंको गल्ती औँलाइदिए भने तिनको औँला काटिदिनुस् । यो त तपाईंले सुनेको प्रमाण पो हो क्यारे ! यसो गर्नुस्, सुन्दै नसुन्नुस् । हुन त यो गुण तपाईँमा पहिले नै छ । जति गाली गरे पनि, जति सरापे पनि, एउटा कानबाट छिरेको कुरो अर्को कानबाट निकालिदिनुस् । यसो गरेपछी न अरूको पिर, न प्रेसरको चिन्ता !
१. यी चरणहरूलाई नजरअन्दाज गर्न त तपाईं राजनीतिक परिवारमा जन्मिनुपर्छ । बा प्रभावशाली थिए भने त उनले बसाएको जगमा चुनावैपिच्छे जीत दर्ता भइहाल्छ ।
२. माथि उल्लिखित चरण र गुणहरूमध्ये पब्लिक रिलेसन र सानो पार्टीबाट उक्लिने उपायबाहेक अरू सबै व्यङ्ग्य हुन् । सिधा भन्ठानेर त्यसै गर्नुभो भने मलाई अवगाल नआओस् !
अझै सजिलो बनाइदिन्छु । यी काम नगर्नुस् :
नकारात्मक चालबाजी नगर्नुस्
कोखामा छुरा नहान्नुस्, जेल पर्नुहोला !
रचनात्मक प्रतिक्रियालाई आत्मसात् गर्नुस्
३. नेतामा हुनैपर्ने दुई कुरा हुन् : ज्ञान र बोल्ने क्षमता । यी दुईलाई प्राथमिकता दिनुस् ।