On Scientific Inquisition

We humans have always been guided by two fundamental systems: Faith and Science. Faith implores us to live life as it is and accept what comes in life as the will of God or fate. It has its own pros and cons, which I shall not discuss here. Science, on the other hand, urges us to transcend the boundaries that are created by our surrender to the fate. The advancement in medicine and technology is the result of inquisitive minds who studied the nature and imagined what else they could do with the knowledge they gained. They also disseminated the knowledge they obtained so that it would not be lost with time.

Suppression of knowledge and scientific inquisition in Europe during the Middle Age (5th to15th century) led to numerous wars, widespread famine and submission to fate. During this period in the history of humanity, also known as the Dark Age, several scientific discoveries are said to have lost. Scientists were termed “heretics” by the Church and were executed. The Renaissance Period, of which the Republic of Florence and Leonardo da Vinci are central, gave rise to art and through it, promotion of scientific discoveries, inventions and rediscoveries.

In the ancient Indian sub-continent (most of the times attributed to the Indus Valley Civilization), the Vedas and Upavedas, and later the Upanishads promoted the culture of scientific and logical discourse. Proverb such as Vaade Vaade Jaayate Tatwabodha (वादे वादे जायते तत्वबोध:), i.e. knowledge is gained through debates is alone sufficient to understand the importance of discourses in order to discover the truth of the world. The knowledge however came under the control of few people on the administration for centuries. The lack of effective dissemination of the ancient wisdom has created a lot of problems in the sub-continent.

Scientific discoveries have made things possible that were treated only as imagination in the past. The discovery of sea-routes brought people closer, the invention of aeroplane reduced the time for the journeys between different parts of the world, the invention of telegraph and telephone changed the way messages were shared. On the basic principles of navigation, aerodynamics and telecommunication, the humanity has moved from the Age of Cultivation to Age of Global Communication.

Not just that, humanity has also given up the instant submission to fate. In the Dark Age, Black Plague killed thousands of people in Europe. Venice, because of the lack of burial grounds, suffered the most. Instead of contemplating that the disease was spreading through the canals, they believed they were suffering the wrath of God and their loss was God’s will. In the modern age, humans do not readily submit to Faith when they encounter diseases. They investigate the disease, their causes and work on the vaccines and inoculation.

As students of Geology, a branch of science, we have gained some fundamental knowledge about the Earth and how it works during the four-year B.Sc. programme. We have learnt to observe the rocks and soils, to ask what they are and why they are there. We have familiarized ourselves with the Earth processes and the benefits and the problems they bring. We have studied about natural hazards and some ways to mitigate them. We can strive to learn more and publicize what we know. We can make the world a better place.

There is no doubt that the Earthquake of 2072 B.S. (2015) gave rise to a mass awareness about how that particular earthquake occurred. Some people used to say, with much politicisation, “There are two plates: Indian and Chinese. The Indian plate moves to the North to encroach the Chinese plate. Nepal is in middle. That was why the earthquake occurred.”

While I myself tried to remove politics whenever I could, there is a mass of people who believe the above statement to be true. They are right that Nepal lies in between two plates. But most of them are not aware what “plate” really is and that the Earth’s lithosphere is made of a number of plates. As a student of Geology, I feel that we have a lot to do to make the public aware of what the plates are and how they are formed.

We, ourselves however should be ready to face skepticism. Science is not a belief system. Whenever scientists come across hypotheses and theories, they first question, “Is it true? What are the evidences?” A hypothesis can become a major theory if evidences support it. The theory of Plate Tectonics is a common example. If the evidences from submarine navigation and Paleomagnetic studies had not been available, the theory would still have remained a hypothesis. Similarly, if a new hypothesis can challenge and prove that it is stronger than an existing theory, the existing theory, even if popular, will be discarded.

Many people put a blame upon science for the problems we’ve been facing. Sure, guns and bombs have been developed by science and are being used to inflict terrors. Nuclear weapons have threatened the existence of our dear home itself. The knowledge of making explosives and harnessing nuclear energy was not bad itself. Gunpowder and dynamite were used in construction works, and nuclear energy has become an important source of energy in many nations. That’s why I firmly believe that it’s not science that is faulty. The fault is on our crooked desire of using knowledge that we have.

In short, as a student of science, I appeal to everyone to gain right knowledge from the nature, from each other and from what our ancestors have passed on to us. I urge everyone to deliver the knowledge to the public and to the generations to come. Because only with the right knowledge, we the make the world a better place.

[The above article was intended to be the editorial for GEOWORLD Students’ Magazine, Vol. 8, 2017. It was heavily cut in the magazine for the sake of relevance and space]

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“So it goes!”: A take on Slaughterhouse Five

I had never heard about Dresden, I had never heard about Kurt Vonnegut though I think I had heard the book’s name somewhere (I am not so sure) before I watched the Crash Course Literature videos on Slaughterhouse Five. At the end of those two videos, I felt I must read the book.

The first chapter of the book which seems like a preface or the background, is about Vonnegut trying to write a book on Dresden for more than 23 years. He thinks he can do it but cannot pull it up. While still writing the preface, he also adds a case of dialing a wrong number, which we know later on,  had been received by Billy Pilgrim–the main character of the novel. After he meets O’Hare’s wife Mary, he promises that he would not glorify war and call it the Children’s Crusade. Therefore, the Slaughterhouse Five is also known as The Children’s Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death.

Billy Pilgrim’s Plot (Summary and Analysis)

Billy Prilgrim is a prisoner of war (POW) in Germany but he can time-travel. He can be in the moments of past, present and the future. Vonnegut says, “Billy has come unstuck in time.” The life of Billy Pilgrim is not shown in chronological order. In one moment he is a soldier, in another he is a twelve-year-old boy and quickly, he becomes an old optometrist who lives with his daughter in Ilium. He sees his infancy, childhood, adulthood, old age and even death.

On the day of his daughter’s wedding, he says he had been abducted by the toilet plunger-like aliens known as the Tralfamadorians. Billy says that he had been to the alien planet for years but nobody missed him because the aliens had warped the time in such a way that years would become less than seconds on the earth. The Tralfamadorians are able to see the fourth dimension–time and they can go to the moments again and again. The linear concept of time is absurd to them. On free-will, a Tralfamadorian says:

“If I hadn’t spent so much time studying Earthlings,” said the Tralfamadorian, “I wouldn’t have any idea what was meant by ‘free will.’ I’ve visited thirty-one inhabited planets in the universe, and I have studied reports on one hundred more. Only on Earth is there any talk of free will.”

–Chapter 4, Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut

The Tralfamadorians believe that what has to happen will happen. They cannot change the moments that have happened and will happen. They can see every moment that will occur but they can’t change the bad moments. They look for the good moments and find peace in it.

Billy Pilgrim himself has no free will. When he is twelve, he does not want to swim but his father forces him into the swimming pool. He does not want to come out of the water but it pulled out. He did not imagine marrying Valencia, yet he does. He wanted to die in the war but he survives instead of the characters around him who wanted to survive.

Billy Pilgrim also tries to find moment of happiness and solace but he never finds such an instance. In all the above examples, he is unhappy. Even in the moments he tries to be happy, he is reminded of the war and deaths. As the story progresses, we know that Billy cannot speak about the war to anyone and that has resulted in a mental disorder.

Billy’s mental instability is the result of the losses of his mother, his wife, his father-in-law and most of all, his experience during the war in Germany and in addition to that the fictions of Kilgore Trout. Despite his psychological imbalance, he is saner than the people who thought that bombings on Dresden were justified. Dresden was not a strategic point for warfare, there were no industries that produced weapons and hence, there was no logic behind the attack. Thousands of lives were lost for the show of unnecessary pride.

“So it goes”

This is a repetitive phrase throughout the novel. According to Nick Greene (2014), the phrase is repeated 106 times. Whenever death and destruction are mentioned, the phrase comes up. It is in accordance with the Tralfamadorian concept of time, life and death. The death is inevitable but there is nothing to worry about it. In other moments a dead person would always be alive.

I found this “Tralfamadorian” concept similar to the Bhagavad Geeta where Lord Krishna says to Arjun that there is no need to worry for someone’s death. The death is pre-determined. It’s not in the hands of humans to change it. And there is no need for regretting that.

Billy Pilgrim, too tries to take things as his fate and accepts that he had no power to change them. But it’s too difficult to get out of the trauma he feels. “So it goes”, might give him solace for a while but it is not a statement he wants to follow. It’s been dictated upon him by fate.

Some Memorable Quotes:

“Billy had a framed prayer on his office wall which expressed his method for keeping going, even though he was unenthusiastic about living. A lot of patients who saw the prayer on Billy’s wall told him that it helped them to keep going, too. It went like this: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom always to tell the difference.” Among the things Billy Pilgrim could not change were the past, the present, and the future.”

–Chapter 3, Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut

“Everything is all right, and everybody has to do exactly what he does. I learned that on Tralfamadore.”

–Billy Pilgrim

“It was peaceful in the ruins.”

“American fighter planes came in under the smoke to see if anything was moving down there. They saw Billy [who was also an American] and the rest moving down there. The planes sprayed them with machine-gun bullets, but the bullets missed.”

“The blind innkeeper said that the Americans could sleep in his stable that night, and he gave them soup and ersatz coffee and a little beer.

“Good night, Americans,” he said in German. “Sleep well.””

[Americans had destroyed Dresden only two days ago. These lines brought tears to my eyes.]

 

References:

SparkNotes Editors. (2002). SparkNote on Slaughterhouse-Five. Retrieved September 10, 2017, from http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/slaughter/

Greene, N. (2014). 15 Facts About Slaughterhouse-Five. Retrieved September 10, 2017, from http://mentalfloss.com/article/58888/15-things-you-may-not-know-about-slaughterhouse-five/

गोर्खा मनकामना …

“उठ्, हामीसँग मनकामना हिँड् ।” ठुल्ममीको आवाज आयो ।

“जानू दादा, फुर्सद पनि छ ।” बहिनीले भनी ।

साउन १० गते मङ्गलबार मेरा कानमा परेका पहिला शब्दहरू यिनै थिए । म भने निद्राबाट राम्रोसँग ब्युँझिएकै थिइन । के भइरहेको छ भनेर बुझ्नै सकिन निकै बेर त । सपना पो हो कि ? एकछिन रनभुल्लमा परेपछि सपना होइन भन्ने लाग्यो अनि नुहाउनु पो पर्छ भन्दै जुरुक्क उठेँ ।

शरीर भित्र र बाहिर सफा भएपछि चियाको चुस्की लिँदै बिस्कुट चप्लक्क चोब्दै चपाएँ । मन्दिर जानु थियोे तर भोक असाध्यै लागेको थियो । पेटको जलन शान्त भयो । साँच्चै भैरव अर्यालले भनेझैँ भुँडी पूजा नभएसम्म केही गर्न मन नलाग्दो रहेछ ।

सवा ६ बजेतिर ठुल्ममी र ठुल्बाबासँग घरबाट निस्किएँ । कालो बादल बर्सिन थाल्यो । घरबाट धुम्बाराही चोक नपुग्दै मसिनो भए पनि भिज्ने गरि पानी परिसकेको थियो । ठुल्बाबा त लमकलमक अघि लागिहाल्नु भो । ठुल्ममीलाई चैँ हिँड्न गाह्रो हुन थालेको रैछ । त्यसमाथि मामूको सानो चप्पल लगाउनु भएको थियो । उहाँको गतिमा हिँडेँ म पनि, छाता ओढ्दै ।

धुम्बाराही चोकमा पुग्नेबित्तिकै महानगर यातायात चढियो । हुन त चक्रपथ परिक्रमा गर्ने गाडी पाउन गाह्राे छैन तर जुन पहिला आयो त्यही नै चढियो । पहिले महानगर यातायातको गाडी चढ्दा बस्न अफ्ठ्यारो भएको थिएन । त्यो गाडीमा बस्दा चैँ अगाडिको सिटमा घुँडा ठोकियो । ‘घुँडा नठोक्किने सिट स्पेस भएको गाडी पाउन पनि अति मुस्किल !’ मेरो सोच ।

सात बजे कलंकी पुग्यौँ । एकैछिनमा नारायणगढ जाने गाडी (माइक्रोबस) मा मनकामना (कुरिनटार) ओर्लिने भन्दै चढ्यौँ । सुरुमा प्रती व्यक्ति ३७० रुपैयाँ भन्दैथिए तर ३०० मै माने । सुरुमा त सोचिनँ तर एक जनालाई ५० रुपैयाँ जती महङ्गो पर्न गयो कि जस्तो चैँ लाग्यो ।

कलंकीमा सातै बजेदेखि जाम ! एक लेन बाटो खनेको छ अनि मास्तिर चोकमा पहिले बनेको आकाशे पुल भत्काएर बिजोग ! आधा घण्टापछि जाम खुल्यो । काठमाडौँ जिल्लाका नगरहरूको बिजोग पनि देखियो । बाटोभरी पानी परिरह्यो । हिलोले छ्पक्कै छोपेको छ काठमाडौँको सडकलाई । गाडीहरूले जोतेका छन् तिनलाई । कमी छ त रोपार र धानका बीउको ! काठमाडौँ महानगरपालिका, नागार्जुन र चन्द्रागिरि नगरपालिकाका मुल बाटाहरू नै खेतजस्ता भएका छन् । कीर्तिपुरमा सडक निर्माणमा घोटाला भयो रे भन्ने सुनिएको थियो अघिल्लो दिन । स्मार्ट नगर बनाउँछौँ भन्ने निर्वाचित पदाधिकारीलाई सम्झेर हाँसो उठ्छ । माया पनि लागेर आउँछ । कम्तीमा सिटी त पहिला बनाउनुस् भन्ने सुझाव पनि दिन मन लाग्छ ।

धुवाँधुलोको शहर छुटेर गाडी नागढुङ्गाको ओरालो झर्यो । हिलो कम भएको थियो तर कुहिरोले डाँडो पुरै छेकेको थियो । पानीमा रुझ्दै गाडीले कुहिरो छिचोल्यो । नौबिसे आइपुग्दा त आकाश अलि खुलेको थियो, पानी पर्न पनि रोकिएको थियो ।

सिम्लेमा गाडी एकछिन रोकियो । पर पानीले डुबाइएका खेतमा खनजोत गर्दै रोपाइँ चल्दै थियो । मलाई रमाइलो लाग्दै थियो । ती किसानहरू चाहिँ रमाइ रहेका थिए वा सधैँ गर्नुपर्ने कामको बोझले थिचिएका थिए, थाहा नै भएन । अझ पर पर पहाडको टाकुरीमा सेतो-कालो बादल मडारिइ रहेका थिए । ती बादलले किसानलाई खुसीको सन्देश दिन्छन् सायद । तर कल्पना नै गर्न नसक्ने त्रास पो दिन्छन् कि सँगै बाढी पहिरो ल्याएर ।

IMG_0993
सिम्लेमा हाईवेबाट देखिएको दृश्य

 

त्यसपछि गाडी फेरि हुइँकियो । निकैबेर हावाले मुखमा हानिरह्यो । मुख अलिकति कुच्चियो कि जस्तो पनि लाग्थ्यो घरीघरी । तर मीठा गीत सुन्दै बाहिर हेर्दै हावा खानुको मज्जा शब्दमा वर्णन गर्नै सकिँदैन ! बैरेनी बजारमा बाटो बन्दै रहेछ । त्यहाँ पनि हिलो र धुलो देख्न पाइयो । काठमाडौंं झैँ निर्माणाधीन बजार रहेछ भन्ने मेरो मनमा पर्‍यो । तर अलि पर मोडमा पुग्दा खनिएको पहाड अस्थिर भएर अहिले नै ढुङ्गा खस्छन् कि जस्तो पनि देखियो । त्यो बजार कटे पछि फेरि रफ्तार पकड्यो माइक्रोले ।

साढे नौ बजेतिर मलेखु बजारमा गाडी गुड्दै थियो । मेरो मन पनि उड्दै थियो । परार साल हिउँदमा दुई साता बसेपछि त्यो ठाउँमा प्राणको अंश नै छोडे झैँ लाग्छ । त्यहाँ हिँडेका बाटा-गोरेटा, पहाड र खोलाहरूको सम्झना मस्तिष्कमा ताजा नै छ । गाडी त्यो क्षेत्रबाट जाँदै गर्दा सोच्छु–ओहो, धेरै नै पो हिँडिएछ त्यो बेला !

हामीले परार साल “इन्डिभिजुअल फिल्ड” का क्रममा सुन्तला किनेर खाएको ठाउँ शितलबजारमा गाडी रोकियो । ड्राइभर दाइले धेरै समय लगाए खाना खान । कुरिनटार अब बीस मिनेटमा पुगिन्छ पनि भने । खासै टाढाजस्तो त मलाई पनि लागेको थिएन त्यहाँबाट तर बीस मिनेट मात्र होला ? प्रश्न आयो मनमा ।

आधा घण्टा गाडी त्यहीँ रोकियो । अनि गुड्न थाले पछि बीस मिनेट घडीमा हेर्न थालेँ । समय मात्रै अघि बढ्यो । ठाउँ त आउँदैन त । अर्को बीस मिनेटमा पनि आइपुगेन । होइन, ड्राइभर दाइले त उसै भनेछन् । निकै टाढा रहेछ । शितलबजारबाट हिँडेको ठ्याक्कै एक घण्टामा कुरिनटार पुगियो । त्यसबीचमा थुप्रै ठाउँ देखियो । इच्छाकामना नेर पर पहाडबाट झरेको झरना देख्दा मन रमाएको थियो तर गाडीको बेगका कारण फोटो खिच्न चाहिँ सकिनँ ।

मनकामना केबलकार

मनकामना मन्दिरसम्म सजिलो गरि आवतजावत गराउने उद्देश्यले मनकामना केबलकार प्रा. लि. ईस्वी सम्बत् १९९९ देखि सञ्चालनमा आएको छ । कुरिनटार र मनकामनामा दुइटा स्टेसन छ्न् । बीचमा २० वटा टावरमा बाँधिएको तारको लट्ठामा गोन्डोला (कार) हरू समान दूरीमा झुन्डाइएका छन् । जम्मा ३६ वटा यात्रुबाहक र ३ वटा मालबाहक कारहरू छन् । तर मर्मतका लागि केही कारहरू छुट्टै राखिएका हुन्छन् । केबलकारबाट ओहोरदोहोर गर्न औसतमा दस मिनेट लाग्छ । काउन्टरमा तीनजनाको लागि ठुल्बाबाले टिकट लिनुभयो । हामी स्टेसनतर्फ लाग्यौं ।

मनकामना केबलकार स्टेसन, कुरिनटार
केबलकार चढ्न मानिसहरूको लाइन । माथि बोर्डमा सुरक्षा निर्देशन ।
एनसेलले कुनै बेला पर्पल बनाइदिएको त्रिशुली पारिको बस्ती
करालो

मनकामना बजार

गोर्खा जिल्लाको मनकामना स्टेसनको गेटबाट बाहिरिने बित्तिकै मनकामना बजार देखिन्छ । दश वर्षअघि यो बजारमा खानाको व्यापार व्यापक थियो । अहिले पनि छ । तर अझ व्यापक भएछ, फोटोको व्यापार !

“फोटो खिचाउन यता आउनुस् (दाजु/दिदी/अंकल/आन्टी) ।”

“हाम्रोमा अरू पसलमा भन्दा सस्तो छ ।” रेट कति भनेर सोध्दा भित्र तानेर लान्छन् अनि थरीथरीका फ्रेम देखाउँछन् । चित्त बुझेन भने पनि सकेसम्म आफ्नोमा फोटो खिचाइदिन चाहन्छ्न् । खिचातानी चल्छ । रिसाउँछन्, गाली पनि गर्छन् । रमाइलो मानेकोले मात्रै तर फोटो खिचाउनु छैन भने त अत्ति नै हो नि !

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व्यापार

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बजारमा अग्लाअग्ला घरहरू छन् । छक्क पर्दै हेर्छौँ । बजारको अन्तिम मोडमा पुगेपछि देखिन्छ मन्दिर …

मनकामना मन्दिर

किंवदन्ती

गोर्खाका राजा राम शाहकी रानी महिमावती (जसलाई लीलावती वा चन्द्रमुखी पनि भनिन्थ्यो) सँग महाकाली, महालक्ष्मी र महासरस्वतीको शक्ति थियो । उनको शक्तिका कारण गोर्खामा जनताले न्यायको प्रत्याभूति गर्न पाए । उनको न्यायका कारण “न्याय नपाए गोर्खा जानू” भन्ने लोकोक्ति प्रख्यात हुन गयो । उनका भक्त लखन थापा मगर मात्र उनको दिव्य शक्तिका बारेमा जान्दथे ।”

एकदिन राजाले रानीलाई देवी स्वरूपमा देखे । उनले त्यो कुरा रानीलाई भनेको केही समयमा नै उनको मृत्यु भयो । तत्कालीन चलन अनुसार रानी सती जानुपर्ने भयो । लखन थापाले ठूलो बिस्मात् गरे । रानीले उनको घर नजिकै अवतरित हुने वाचा गरिन् ।

केही महिनापछि एउटा किसानले खेत खन्दै गर्दा हलो एउटा ढुङ्गामा ठोक्कियो । त्यो ढुङ्गाबाट दूध र रगत बहन थाल्यो । किसानले लखन थापालाई बोलयो । उनले त्यो ढुङ्गामा देवी अवतरण हुनुभयो भन्ने बुझे । तान्त्रिक शक्तिको प्रयोग गरेर उनले दूध र रगतको वहाव रोके अनि मनकामना देवीका रूपमा स्थाप्ना गरे । उनै लखन थापाका सन्तानहरू मनकामना मन्दिरका पुजारी रहन्छन् ।

वर्तमान 

… त्यस दिन मनकामना मन्दिरको जुन स्वरूप देखियो, त्यो मैले कल्पना नै गरेको थिइनँ । पहिले देखेझैँ रातो रङ्गले रङ्गिएजो दुई तले मन्दिर देखिन्छ भन्ने लागेको थियो । तर देखियो गजुर र माथिल्लो तला झिकिएको, खट बाँधिएको, फुङ रङ उडेको एउटा संरचना !

२०७२ वैशाख १२ गते गोर्खा जिल्लाको बार्पाकलाई केन्द्रविन्दु बनाएर भुकम्प गएको थियो । त्यही बेला नै मनकामना मन्दिर भत्किएको थाहा पाइएको थियो । ठीक ६ महिना अघि मामुबाबा त्यहाँ जाँदा खट बाँधेको रहेछ भन्नुभएको थियो । तर मैले त्यहाँ मन्दिरको स्वरूप नै देखिनँ । शंका लाग्यो, मनकामना मन्दिर यही हो त ?

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मनकामना मन्दिर । पुरानो स्वरूप जस्तापातामा टाँगिएको फ्लेक्समा । मान्छेले नगरी त भगवानले पनि आफ्नो घर बनाउन नसक्दा रहेछन् !

बजार र वरपरका संरचनामा भुकम्पको प्रभाव देखिँदैन । मन्दिर चाहिँ पुनर्निर्माण गर्न भन्दै भत्काइएको छ । चन्दा उठाइँदै छ । “मनकामना मन्दिरको र केबलकार कम्पनीको आम्दानीबाट नै मन्दिर बनाउन सम्भव छैन र ?” ठुल्बाबाको प्रश्न । “सरकारी सहयोग पनि कुरेर बसेका होलान् ।” मेरो तर्क । तर मन्दिर छिटो नबन्नु दुर्भाग्य नै हो ।
मन्दिर हेर्दाहेर्दै मनमा उठ्यो, “ढुङ्गाको मूर्तिमा भगवान मान्नु अनि संरक्षण गर्नु मानिसको कल्पना बाहेक केही होइन रैछ । शक्तिशाली भए त ढुङ्गाका भगवानले आफ्नो घर त जोगाउनु पर्ने । अनि आफ्नो घर आफैँ बनाउनु पर्ने । तर मान्छेको कल्पनाभन्दा माथी केही पनि छैन । मान्छेले नगरी त भगवानले पनि आफ्नो घर बनाउन नसक्दा रहेछन् !”

ढुङ्गाको मूर्तिमा देउता हुँदैनन् भन्ने मान्यता राख्ने मजस्ताका लागि यो निकै राम्रो प्रमाण हो । तर म खुसी हुन सकिनँ । मन्दिर र मूर्ती हाम्रा पुर्खाको कला र मिहिनेतका निशानी हुन् । मन्दिर बनाउन ढिलो गर्नु भनेको पुर्खाको उपहास हो ।

मूल मन्दिर छेउमा एउटा टहरो बनाएर “देवी”लाई राखिएको छ । मगर पुजारीका हातबाट म “बाहुनको छोरो”ले टीका थाप्छु । जातीयताको कुनै प्रश्न उठ्दैन । पछाडि रहेको गोरखनाथमा बेलपत्र चढाउछौँ । अनि दश-पन्ध्र मिनेटमा नै हामी मन्दिर प्राङ्गणबाट बजारमा आउँछौँ । बजार तीनचार पटक ओहोरदोहोर गरे पछि हामी स्टेसनमा फर्कियौं ।

मनाकामना स्टेसनमा केहीबेर लाइन बस्नुपर्यो । तर दुई बजे हामी तल्लो स्टेसनमा पुगिसकेका थियौं । तर काठमाडौं आउँदा नौबिसेमा जाम परेकाले अनि पानी पनि परेकाले नौ नबजी घर आइपुगिएन ।

फर्किने बेलाको लाइन

पुस्तक समीक्षा: चीरहरण

गुरु व्यास जयन्तीको दिन गुरु व्यासको सबैभन्दा चर्चित कृति महाभारतमा आधारित चीरहरण पढेर सकियो । नीलम कार्की निहारिकाको यो नेपाली उपन्यास पढ्न सकिन्छ कि सकिँदैन भन्ने द्विविधा थियो सुरुमा । मैले आजसम्म पढेका मध्ये सबैभन्दा ठूलो हो यो पुस्तक । त्यहीपनि कथानकमा जुन ‘फ्लो’ छ, त्यसले ५२२ पृष्ठ पढ्न धेरै समय लागेन ।
चीरहरण महाभारतभन्दा पृथक छ र छैन पनि । पृथक यस अर्थमा छ कि यसले महाभारतका नारीपात्रहरूका सुख, दुःख, पीडा र समस्याहरू देखाइएको छ । पृथक यस अर्थमा छैन कि यसले महाभारतको कथा (मैले जानेसम्म) परिवर्तन गरेको छैन । महाभारतमा रहेका जादुमयी कुराहरू, उदाहरणका लागि गुरु व्यासको जन्म, लाई जस्ताको तस्तै प्रस्तुत गरिएको छ ।

उपन्यासको सुरुवात जादुमयी छ । कुनै जलाशयमा सुभद्राबाहेकका सबै पात्रहरू आएका छन् । पालैपालो आफ्ना कथाहरू राख्छन् । पहिलो पुस्ताको पात्र सत्यवतिबाट महाभारतको कथा सुरु हुन्छ । दोस्रो पुस्ताको प्रतिनिधित्व अम्बिका र अम्बालिकाले गरेका छन् । तेस्रो पुस्ता कुन्ती र गान्धारी अनि चौथो पुस्ताका नारीका रूपमा द्रौपदी, चित्राङ्गदा, उलूपी र भानुमती वक्ताका रूपमा आउँछन् ।

पहिलो देखि चौथो पुस्ता (अझ पाँचौं) सम्म आइपुग्दा नारीले भोग्ने समस्या उस्तै छन् । सत्यवतीको वर्णन पढ्दा पीडा, आश्चर्य र साहनुभूतिका भावना जाग्छन् । त्यस्तै की दिदी अम्बाको पीडामा आँसु बग्छन् । अम्बिका र अम्बालिकाले पतिको मृत्यु पछि व्याससँग गर्ने नियोगका बारेमा जानकार हुँदाहुँदै पनि मलाई चकित पारिदियो । गान्धारीको हठात् गरेको आँखामा पट्टी बाँध्ने प्रणले पारेको असरको बारेमा सायदै कसैले याद गरेका होलान् । अनि कुन्ती र माद्रीले भोग्नुपरेका दु:ख र पतिको मृत्युमा सती जानुपर्ने विषयमा भएका वादविवाद र मत-मतान्तर दु:खद छन् ।

उपन्यासको आधाभन्दा बढी भाग द्रौपदीको कथाले लिएको छ । शिर्षक नै चीरहरण भएको र महाभारतको पनि क्लाइमेक्स द्रौपदीसँग जोडिएकाले होला । द्रौपदीको इतिहासमा पीडा, क्रोध र विद्रोह छ ।

उपन्यास समग्रमा विद्रोही किसिमको छ । पात्रहरूमा बारम्बार विद्रोहको आकांक्षा आउँछन् तर फेरि धर्म र कर्मको नाममा दबिन्छन् । सबै पात्रहरूले कुनै न कुनै समयमा सम्झौता गर्छन् । चीरहरणले धर्म र बाध्यता को नाममा महिलाप्रति हुने विभेद र अत्याचारका विरुद्धमा धावा बोलेको छ ।

उपन्यास राम्रो हुँदाहुँदै पनि बारम्बार दोहोरिने वाक्य, वाक्यांश र संवादले अलि झिंझो लाग्छ । उपन्यासमा थुप्रै गल्ती पनि भेटियो । ५२२ पृष्ठ सम्पादन गर्नु सजिलो कुरा होइन तर गल्ती नभएको भए अझ राम्रो हुनेथियो भन्ने मेरो विचार हो ।

पुस्तकको नाम: चीरहरण

लेखक: नीलम कार्की निहारिका

पृष्ठ सङ्ख्या: ५२२

What might happen to my body after my death?

I was really amused reading the question (If God doesn’t exist, what will happen after you die?) because I was thinking, “How would God’s existence or absence influence what happens after you die?”

Anyway, the first thing that would happen after my death is my consciousness would come to an end forever.

Another thing that would happen is that my name, my personality would all die with me. As soon as I die, I would become a “body” or a “corpse” (laas, shav in Nepali).

Then I would be cremated. My body would turn to ashes in hours. People would think I have rested in the sky. If I had decided to donate my organs after my death, my organs would be saving someone. If my body goes for donation to a medical institute, my “body” (body is what they would call) would be studied.

If I met death horribly, for example, sunk down into a lake or swamp, my body parts will decay therein or become fossilized. If I drown into a river, my body might be swept downstream, discovered horribly swollen, or may never be found, dismembered and fed off by fishes and even water itself. Still some of my body parts would be fossilized.

If my death occurs by being crushed over by a building or a rock or a mountain of a vehicle, my body parts might scattered here and there. It would never be donated but could be cremated, if lucky or would be fossilized.

It got too gory even for my own taste. Maybe you believe that God will take you or your soul will get to heaven (or may go to hell or remain in purgatory.) I can’t be as sure about that. I have never seen God do that yet except in some movies.

Originally posted as an answer on Quora.

I could not find a formula!

I was lazily scrolling down the questions and answers on Quora. When I had first known about that site, it was full of mind-boggling, interesting and informative questions and answers. These days, nice questions are rare and answers are more sarcastic than informative.

So, as I was scrolling down, I received a notification. Someone had requested answer to a question, “What is the formula for excellent essay writing?”

This is a popular question. A lot of people have already answered the question and yet people ask it over and over again. I looked at some of the answers and said to myself, “Why do so many people asking for a formula for writing an essay or an article or a story? And why, despite several answers, they are not satisfied?”


My brain began imagining fictional characters and scenes since I was seven. My first story (which has not yet been written on paper) was Shivam: The Sailor, inspired by stickers of ships with the name Shivam (probably the name of the company that produced them) under them. I imagined my stories in my native language Nepali but dialogues in English. And I used to tell them to my imaginary friends. The trend continued for more than five years with many superhero characters: Rakerilisis (Raker = Robotic, Ilisis = Hero; a name I had imagined myself) aka Ram, Vikram, Mike, Richard, Roger and many others.

In school, we were often given “handwriting” homeworks and teachers used to tell something like: “Copy two paragraphs from page number 34 stories”. At the age of twelve, I completely rejected the idea of copying down from the books. I brought the story of Rakerilisis (changing the name to Star Man, the hero) and Mike (the anti-hero) onto my handwriting homework. I was not sure how my teacher would react, but she praised it. I was encouraged.

I wrote more as years passed. I don’t remember most of them, some of the stories were lost before they came to paper and some after being penned. After I read an essay collection from Nagendra Raj Sharma, I started confidently writing essays and that inspired me to blog.

In all these years of writing my heart out, I never looked for a formula. Sharma’s essays had taught me that there is no real formula in writing. The basic structures of essay writing that we were taught in school need not be followed strictly. In a way, I rejected the concept of using formula on free writing.


Whenever I hear the word “formula”, I think of Mathematics and I also remember my father and some of my teachers saying, “Formula eases problem solving in Maths in many cases. With the help of formula, we don’t need to repeat the long process of derivation to solve similar problems.” This applied while I studied calculus in high school.

In free writing however, there is no short-cut. You have to go through the same basic process again and again even if you are a recognized writer. You always write for your target audience, you always need some knowledge in what you are writing for credibility, you must always convey a meaningful message you always wait for the response of the readers.

Writers have their own thought-processes and their own styles. Their processes and styles may not work for others. They can’t even guarantee their process will work for themselves every time. That’s why I haven’t found a hard and fast rule that applies to everyone. This must be the reason people are not satisfied with the “formula” others give.

The only thing that can help writers succeed is PRACTICE and PATIENCE. Practice makes them better than they were earlier. Patience helps them continue even when they are low. Writing again and again may be the only thing that promotes excellent writing.

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Note: First published on Blogger’s World.

भेडा

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नेपालको चुनावी सन्दर्भमा “भेडा” शब्द एकदम प्रचलित छ । कुनै बेला सर्वमान्य नेता गणेशमान सिंहले “काठमाडौंंका जनता भेडा हुन्” भन्नुभएको थियो भन्ने सुन्दा सानामा रमाइलो लाग्थ्यो । प्रजातान्त्रिक शक्तिलाई नपत्याएको झोंक थियो सायद उहाँको ।

वैशाख ३१ गते पहिलो चरणको स्थानीय चुनाव सकियो । “भेडा” शब्द फेरि चर्चामा आयो । पहिलेजस्तो नेताको भाषणमा होइन, जनताको सामाजिक सञ्जालको भित्तामा ।

भेडा को हुन् ?

वर्तमान सन्दर्भमा भेडा भन्नाले कांग्रेस, एमाले, माओवादी लगायतका लामो समयसम्म शासन गरेका दलहरूलाई भोट हाल्ने जनता हुन् रे । नयाँ दलहरूलाई भोट हाल्ने (खासगरी काठमाडौंको सन्दर्भमा) चाहिँ भेडा होइनन् रे । मलाई यस्तै भनेका थिए एकजनाले फेसबुकमा । यसरी बुझ्दा मतदानमा सहभागी अधिकांश जनता (म सहित) भेडा हुन् ।

अर्को परिभाषा पनि भेटिन्छ यदाकदा । “राम्रा”लाई भन्दा “हाम्रा”लाई भोट हाल्ने पनि भेडा हुन् । यसमा मेरो विचार के छ भने नि “हाम्रा राम्रा” हरूलाई भोट दिनु सर्वोत्तम हो । तर “राम्रा” जति “हाम्रा” हुन् भन्ने ग्यारेन्टी नभएसम्म जनताले आफ्ना नजिकका (“हाम्रा”) लाई नै भोट हाल्छन् । एउटा उखान छ त, “टाढाको देउता भन्दा नजिकको भूत वेश” ।

पुरानाका विरुद्ध नयाँ

यहाँ नयाँको पनि अपव्याख्या भएको देख्दा छ्क्क पर्छु म त । भर्खर खुलेका दलहरू अनि युवाहरू नयाँ हुन् रे । नयाँ हुन त सोच पनि नयाँ हुनु पर्‍यो नि । तालिवानहरू युवा शक्तिका रूपमा अफगानिस्तानमा देखा परे । तर तिनले पुरातनवादी शरिया कानुनमा जोड दिए ।

नेपालमा भएका “नयाँ” दलहरूमा पनि नयाँपन छैन । बाबुराम भट्टराईको नयाँ शक्ति पार्टीलाई नयाँ ठान्ने युवाहरू छन् यहाँ । भट्टराईको अध्यक्ष बन्ने सपनाको उपज थियो यो पार्टी । भयङ्कर ठूलो सभा गरेर पार्टी घोषणा गरे हाम्रा डाक्टरले ।  हजारौंले वर्ष दिन नपुग्दै पार्टी छाडे । बौद्धिकताको कदर भएन भन्दै थिए ।

दुई महिना अघि बीबीसी नेपालका पूर्वप्रमुख रवीन्द्र मिश्रले घोषणा गरेको तर दर्ता नभएको “साझा पार्टी” सामाजिक सञ्जालमा भाइरल बन्यो । युवाहरूलाई तान्यो पनि । कामनपाको मेयरमा पूर्वसचिवलाई उठायो । झट्ट हेर्दा उनी योग्री देखिए तर ब्यूरोक्रेटहरूलाई जनताले पत्याउने बेला भयो त । हुन त सबैलाई एउटै कित्तामा हाल्नु ठीक नहोला देश बिग्रनुमा कर्मचारीहरूको असक्षमताको ठूलो हात छ भन्ने अधिकांश ठान्छन् । अनि साझा पार्टीको घोषणा अर्को एउटा पार्टी विवेकशीलको विरुद्धजस्तो पनि देखियो ।

विवेकशील-मैले अलि भिन्न होला भन्ने ठानेको दल । भिन्नता देखाएको पनि थियो । टायर बालेर गर्ने आन्दोलनलाई प्लेकार्ड बोकेर, हल्लाखल्लाको विरोध छाडेर मौन विरोध सिकाउने दल । म कति इम्प्रेस्ड भएको थिएँ । स्वास्थ क्षेत्रमा सुधार हुनुपर्ने माग राखेर डाक्टर गोविन्द केसीले अनसन बस्दा साथ दिने पहिलो दल पनि यही थियो । तर त्यही अनसन ताका मैले स्वास्थ सेवा लिन गएका हजारौंले दु:ख पाएको देखें । काठमाडौंका निम्न/मध्यम वर्गीय र बाहिरबाट उपचारका लागि आएका जनताले दु:ख पाउनु जायज हो त भन्ने प्रश्न गर्दा जायज हो भन्ने पनि भेटिए । विवेकशीलले त्यस बेला एउटा आयामबाट मात्रै हेर्यो भन्ने मेरो ठम्याई हो । तर उनीहरू भर्खर पार्टीका रूपमा आउँदै थिए  अनि आन्दोलनको केन्द्रमा पनि थिएनन् । विवेकशील बारे मैले सोचेको पनि थिइन त्यो बेला ।

यसपाली चुनावमा काठमाडौं महानगरको मेयर पदमा २१ बर्षिय रन्जु न्यौपाने “दर्शना” लाई उम्मेदवार घोषणा गर्यो । उनको पहिलो अन्तर्वार्ता हेरिसकेपछि मलाई लाग्यो, “अरू कोही योग्य थिएनन् यो दलमा ?” अनि त्यसमाथि विवेकशीलको नारा, “काठमाडौंलाई फेरि सुन्दरमाडौं बनाउछौं” । काठमाडौं कहिल्यै पनि सुन्दरमाडौं थिएन । काठमाडौं काठमाडौं नै हो र काठमाडौं नै रहनुपर्छ । फेन्सीफुल शब्दको जालमा पार्न त पुरानाले नै जानेकै थिए त । नयाँ कसरी फरक भए ? सपना देखाउन त पुरानाले पनि देखाएकै थिए । गफकै राजनीति गर्ने भए नयाँ-पुरानामा नाम बाहेक अरू के फरक भयो त ?

नयाँ र पुरानामा खासै फरक रहेनछ भन्ने मलाई त्यो दिन थाहा भयो जुन दिन मैले मेयर उम्मेदवारले नसुहाउदो भाषण गरेको भिडियो हेरें । कति कृत्रिम र भद्दा थियो त्यो भाषण । विवेकशीलको मौन राजनीति तोडियो । गालीको राजनीति सुरु भयो । पुराना र नयाँ बिचको खाडल पुरियो । चुनाव अघिको मौन अवधिमा पनि हल्ला गर्न जब विवेकशील चुकेन, म हतास भएँ । नयाँ पनि पुराना जस्तै नै रैछन् । शक्तिमा नपुग्दै नियमको अपव्याख्या गर्न सक्ने दल शक्तिमा पुग्यो भने के होला ? मैले यही सोचेँ ।

पुराना दलमा सबै खराब नै छन् त ?

​एमाले, कांग्रेस, माओवादीमा फटाहा मात्रै छन् भन्ने ठान्छन् टीनएजर्स । नयाँ पार्टीका भविस्य यिनै मा अडिएको छ । हो, माथि पुगेका मिडियामा सधैं देखिने केही नेता खराब छन् जसले इमान्दार मान्छेलाई छायाँमा पारेका छन् । युवाहरूले छायाँमा परेका त्यस्ता मान्छेलाई नदेख्नु नै नेपाली राजनीतिको मूल समस्या हो । तर स्थानीय तह जनताले “हाम्रा राम्रा” मान्छे चिनेका हुन्छन् । अपवाद छाडेर जनताले धेरैजसो सक्षम मान्छे नै छान्छ्न् स्थानीय तहमा । त राम्रा मान्छे चुन्ने जनता भेडा कसरी भए ? केही खराब नेतालाई देखाएर जनता नै भेडा हुन् भन्नू कतिको जायज कुरा हो ?

नयाँहरूले बुझ्नु पर्ने

मेयर, उपमेयर र केही वडा पदमा एकदुई जना उठाउँदैमा विकल्प भइँदैन । यदि नयाँ दलहरूले बनेको “नयाँ” शब्द व्याख्या एकछिन मान्ने हो भने दुईजना नयाँ आएर केही हुँदैन, १६० जना पुराना आएपछि (काठमाडौंको सन्दर्भमा) । अनि जनतालाई भेडा भन्दा त्यसो भन्न हुन्न नभन्ने गणेशमानका पाला देखिका र भर्खर टुसाएका नेताहरुमा त म पटक्कै फरक देख्दिन ।