Bara-Parsa Tornado: Reconstruction and Lessons

On September 16, my friends and I attended the third lecture series organized by Nepalese Society of Engineering Geologists (NSEG) at the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST). The first lecture of the series included a presentation titled, “Bara-Parsa Post Tornado Reconstruction—An Overview”. Lt. Col. Shrijan Bahadur Malla, the leader of the Parsa Karyadal (“Karyadal” translates to “task force/group”), showed through a series of slides the effects of tornado, the government’s response and the Nepal Army’s effort in accomplishing a near-impossible task within the given time-frame.

What had happened at Bara and Parsa? 

Between 7: 45 to 8: 15 PM, March 31, 2019 (Jestha 17, 2076), a storm swept through several villages of Parsa and Bara districts of Nepal. The reports that came since puzzled the scientists as such a wide range of destruction had never been reported before. The winds had travelled 90 km (30 km of which was observed from the satellite images) within 30 minutes, uprooted trees, overturned trucks and completely damaged some masonry buildings. The winds were stronger than what was usually observed. They had to dig deeper into what had actually happened.

Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM) had observed the possibility of rainfall in the area, but due to lack of resources, had not been able to predict the nature of the storm. On the other side of the border, India Meteorological Department (IMD) had issued a warning against “chakravaat”. However, there was no official information exchange between the DHM and IDM. So, we were completely unaware of what was about to come.  

A week later, the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM) confirmed it was a tornado, with intensity up to F2 and F3 (180-332 km/hr) on the Fujita Scale. The actual speed could not be determined. The tornado had generated at the Chitwan National Park and had travelled eastwards, reaching a maximum width of 200 m and destroying everything that came in its way. Bharbalia, Parwanipur, and Pheta villages of Bara suffered the worst. 28 people died (according to the official report), about 1200 people sustained injuries, and around 1450 houses were destroyed. Farmers also suffered the loss of crops and livestock.

Was it the first ever tornado that occurred in Nepal?

Most media and even among the scientists, the event was discussed as the first ever tornado occurring in the Nepali territory. However, as someone with roots in the Terai, and having heard accounts of hard-hitting storms from the past, I don’t believe it was the first ever tornado. Still, it is the first time, a tornado event has been recorded and studied scientifically. To confirm this further, I would like to quote from Kiran Nepal from his article in the Nepali Times:

“The tornado was not the first of its kind in Nepal. In fact, literature and folklore speak of twisters ravaging Tarai villages. But because these are localised disasters, they did not make it to the news.”

(Ground zero in Pheta)

Response to the crisis

Government of Nepal made a quick response. Rescue teams were immediately employed. On April 1, the Government declared a state of emergency in the affected area. Nepalese Army then got involved in the rescue and relief operation. All three levels of Government—the Federal, Province No. 2 and Local Governments—worked together to manage the relief works, and to rehabilitate the affected people before the Monsoon hit them hard again.

So, the Local Government brought up all the data necessary for the reconstruction process, the Provincial Government facilitated the smooth operation, and the Federal Government asked the Nepalese Army to complete the task as soon as possible. On April 26, it was declared that the Nepalese Army would be involved in the construction of new houses under the Janata Aawas Kaaryakram (People’s Housing Programme).

Challenges to the Nepalese army

Lt. Col. Malla provided his first-hand experience on the challenges the Nepalese Army had to face.

1. Timeframe. The task had to be completed within 3 months. The Local Governments had enlisted a total of 884 houses to be constructed. All the construction had to be parallel. They needed a lot of construction materials, required large areas to heap them until the construction. The need for human resources was also paramount.

2. Weather Condition. The summer was in its peak. The temperatures reached more than 40 degrees Celsius during the day time. Winds blew from time to time, destroying the temporary shelters, and floods delayed the construction.

3. Health Issues and Snake Bites. Heatstroke is among the common health issue in the summer. Flu is another illness that can occur because of the cold sweat drenching your clothes and skin. There is also high risk of malaria and Kala-Azar. Snake bites are also frequent occurrences. Lt. Col. Malla reported incidents of flu and snake bites.

4. Socio-poilitical issues. When huge reconstruction work is at hand, most families separate so that they can enjoy the compensation provided. The number of victims fluctuated frequently and even at the end, there were issues related to citizenship and land-ownership.

How did the army complete the task?

Nepalese Army was provided with the design of houses by the Department of Urban Housing. The design had two rooms, the frame and trusses were to be made from bamboo. The Army changed it slightly. They added a verandah and a toilet. And instead of bamboo, they would use steel.

With the design in hand, they had to look for huge amounts of construction material. The government had eased the process by letting the Army buy directly from the market (instead of the usual bidding process). The contractors for construction materials were chosen such that they could supply the materials required without any corruption and commission.

Since the task was labour intensive, they required to hire a huge labour force. It was convenient to use the troops themselves. The Army personnel were divided into the highly-skilled, skilled and semi-skilled and the work division was done accordingly. They worked in shifts from 6 to 10 o’clock in the morning and 4 to 8 o’clock in the evening.

There were some hurdles, as state in the section above. Nepalese Army went through and helped themselves and the victims. They worked as smoothly as they could. Finally, 869 of 884 houses were completed by the end of August. The remaining 15 houses were not built due to the issues such as citizenship and land ownership. These houses were handed over to their respective owners officially on 4th September.

Lessons Learnt

At the end of the presentation Lt. Col. Malla presented a list of lessons learnt from the Bara-Parsa Tornado event. I have added some by myself.

1. Improvement in Weather Forecasts. The DHM and IMD are now working together to identify such disasters. The weather forecasts are also becoming increasingly reliable.

2. Where there is will, there are ways. The government’s response was quick. The Army was given the rights to final decision on the construction. The buying of essential construction materials was made easier. All there levels of government came together. The tiff between the Federal Government and the Province-2 Government did not affect the victims.

3. Enhancement of the capacity of the Nepalese Army. From all sort of labour-intensive work to planning and design, the Army has grown stronger, Lt. Col. Malla stated with pride.

4. Goodwill among the people. All the government bodies, and especially the Nepalese Army won the hearts of the people affected by the tornado.

5. Civil authorities need to play important roles in future disasters. As he concluded, Lt. Col. Malla said that Nepalese Army cannot do all the reconstruction work by themselves in the future. Though he was proud of what the Army had been able to do, it is the task of civil authorities to actually involve in the disaster prevention, risk reduction and reconstruction. Thus, they must be prepared to provide relief, and for rehabilitation and reconstruction in the aftermath.

Conclusion

The presentation brought out a sense of joy and pride in everyone present in the seminar hall. It helped us understand what actually happens during the reconstruction. It’s one thing to read and say, one should do this and that. But listening it from someone who has had first-hand experience in the act, we knew how difficult the task is. And how it feels to see smiling faces as the hard work comes to fruition.

Many thanks to the Government! Salute to the Nepalese Army!!

References

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-01159-w

https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/nepal-army-constructs-869-houses-for-tornado-victims-of-bara-parsa/

https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/na-hand-over-houses-to-tornado-hit-bara-and-parsa-people/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_2019_southern_Nepal_tornado

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भेडा (भाग-२)

डेढ वर्षअघि भेडा शब्दलाई चुनावी सन्दर्भमा मात्रै बुझेको थिएँ । हिजो साँझ बल्ल यो शब्दको वास्तविक अर्थ बुझेँ ।

कुनै व्यक्ति वा दलले आफ्ना कुरा मान्नेलाई वा (मनाउनु पर्‍यो भने) जनताजनार्दन भन्दा रहेछन् । जब जनताजनार्दनले अरू कसैको पक्ष लिन्छ, उसलाई दुत्कार्दै भन्दा रहेछन्, “भेडो कहीँको!!

जतिसुकै आशावादी भए पनि नेपालको राजनीतिले आशालाग्दो बाटो कहिल्यै देखाएन । कुनै राजनीतिक पार्टी एनजीओ (NGO) शैलीमा काम गर्छन् त कुनै अधिनायकवादी सोच राखेर । पदको कुन हदसम्म लोभ छ भने पूर्वपार्टीप्रमुख र पूर्वप्रधानमन्त्री भएर देश हाँकिसकेकाहरू, जसले पार्टी बाहिर रहेर बृहत्तर हितका लागि लाग्नुपर्ने हो, पार्टीभित्र मर्यादाक्रमका लागि जोरी खोज्छन् । अनि तिनै तप्काका “व्यक्तित्वहरू” विदेशी मन्त्री/सचिवलाई हतारिँदै होटलमै ढोगभेट गर्न जान्छन् । तिनलाई चुनावमा जिताउनेले प्रश्न गर्‍यो भने जवाफ दिन्छन् (तिनीहरूभन्दा पनि उपबुज्रुक तिनका कार्यकर्ताहरू), “किन जान्ने हुन्छौ, भेडा हो ?”

जनताका झिनामसिना कुरा सुन्ने फुर्सद छैन उनीहरूलाई । ठूला सपना देख्दा आँखा यसरी टट्टिएका छन् कि नजिकको समस्या देख्दैनन् । आफू अघिको समस्या समाधान गरौँ अनि ठूला सपना साँचेको सुहाउँछ, मज्जा पनि आउँछ । तब कोही बुर्लुक्क उफ्रिन्छ, “सपना देखेको पनि देखी सहँदैनन् भेडाहरू ।”

साधारण नागरिक पलपल मरिरहेको छ । देशभित्र ऊ काम गरेर खान सक्दैन । यसका केही कारण छन्:

१. उसलाई विदेशमा पारिजातको फूल झरेझैँ पैसा झर्छ भन्ने सुनाइएको छ ।

२. नेपालमा काम गर्न उसलाई लाज लाग्छ । समाज नै त्यस्तै छ । काम गर्नेलाई खिसी गर्छ अनि काम नगरी फूर्ती देखाउँदै हिँड्नेलाई खुट्टामा ढोग्छ ।

३. कुनै उद्योगमा राजनीती घुस्यो भने धराशायी बनाएरै छोड्छ ।

४. जसरी पनि कमाउनुपर्छ भनेर लागिपरेका छन् मानिसहरू । भ्रष्टाचार नभएको ठाउँ छैन ।

५. भुइँमान्छेका बीचबाट नेता बनेकाहरू तिनको टाउको टेक्दै अघि बढेर आकाशमा पुगे । भुइँमान्छेहरू पातालमा भासिँदैछन् ।

मान्छेसँग जब विकल्प बाँकी हुँदैन, कि ऊ नयाँ कुराको खोजी गर्छ, कि भएका सर्जामलाई अलि भिन्न प्रकारले चलाउन खोज्छ । विदेशिनु नयाँ कुराको खोजी हो (किनकी नयाँ भनिएका पार्टीहरू जनतामाझ पुगेकै छैनन्) । त्यस्तै, दुईतीनवटा पार्टीलाई पालैपालो जिताउनु पुरानाप्रतिको नयाँ आशा हो । यो चलन नेपालको मात्रै होइन । अमेरिकामा प्रायः डेमोक्र्याट्स र रिपब्लिकन पार्टीहरू पालैपालो सत्तामा जान्छन् । त्यस्तै बेलायतमा लेबर र कन्जर्भेटिभले पालैपालो बर्चस्व बनाइरहन्छन् । हुन त ती पार्टीकै समर्थक बीच पनि दह्रो रस्साकस्सी चल्छ । तर जनतालाई “भेडा” भन्ने नेताको बारेमा चैँ आजसम्म सुनेको छैन ।

चेतनाको स्तर पनि एउटा मापक हुँदो हो । नेपालका सबै मानिस पढेलेखेका छैनन् । पढेलेखेका सबै विवेकी र नीतिवान छैनन् । यसर्थ पढेलेखेका चेतनशील र अनपढहरू अचेतनशील भन्ने छुट मलाई छैन । किनकी “भेडा” उपमा जन्माउने र फैलाउनेहरू शिक्षित भनाउँदा नै हुन् ।

हालसालै पत्रकार रवि लामिछाने जेल पर्दा उनको समर्थनमा जनसागर उर्लियो । ती जनतालाई फेरि पनि भनियो, “भेडा”; भन्नेहरू थिए जसले उनको कार्याक्रम हेरेका थिएनन्, कार्यक्रम मनपराउँदैनथे वा चिढिएका थिए । कार्यक्रम नहेरी मूल्यांकन गर्ने अन्तर्यामीहरूलाई त के भनूँ ? उनको शैलीमाथि बहस हुनुपर्छ भन्ने कुरामा म पनि विश्वास राख्छु र उनलाई देउता मानेर पुज्नु हुन्न भन्ने कुरामा म अडिग छु । तर उनलाई देउता मान्नेहरूप्रति दुराग्रह छैन । कुन परिस्थितिमा उनी कसका लागि उनी देउतातुल्य भए, म बुझ्छु । अनि उनले त्यत्रो वर्ष कार्याक्रम चलाउँदा चुइँक्क नगर्नेहरू उनी तल पर्दा कुर्लिएको देख्दा लाग्यो, “ओरालो लागेको मृगलाई बाच्छाले पनि खेद्छ ।”

आफूलाई अनुकूल हुँदा जनतालाई “भगवान” भन्ने अनि आफूलाई प्रतिकूल हुँदा “भेडा” भन्ने मानिसहरू विवेकका दुश्मन हुन् । जनताको शक्तिको आडमा सर्वोच्च सत्तामा पुगेकाहरूले जनतालाई यो हदसम्म गिराउन कसरी सक्छन् ? ताजुब लाग्छ !

टीयू गन्थन

बिहान ६-७ बजेबाट नै टियूतिर हिँड्छु । घरबाट कीर्तिपुर पुग्न दुईवटा गाडी चढ्नुपर्छ । २६ वा २७ नम्बरका गाडी शहीदगेट/सुन्धारा पुग्छ्न् । पुरानो बसपार्क (जुन नयाँ बन्ने तर्खरमा छ र खुलामञ्चमा सरेको छ) बाट कीर्तिपुर जाने २१ नम्बरको गाडी चल्छन् । ती गाडी शहीदगेटमा रोकिन्छन् केहीबेर । अहिले त्यहीँबाट २१ नम्बरे गाडी चढ्छु । पोहोर खुला मञ्चबाट चढ्थेँ । भाग्यले साथ दियो भने घरबाट हिँडेको ४५ मिनेटमा नै भूगर्भशास्त्र केन्द्रीय विभाग पुग्छु । नत्र बिहानको समयमा प्राय: एक घन्टा लाग्छ । दिउँसो र साँझ भने डेढदुई घन्टा सामान्य हो । किनकी अध्ययन गर्न चाहनेलाई सहज होस् भनेर छात्रावासमा वास दिन सक्दैन मेरो विश्वविद्यालय ।

टियू गेटले पहिले सबैलाई स्वागत गर्थ्यो । अचेल आफ्नै गाडी र बाइक भएका वा तिनीसँग आउनेलाई मात्र गर्छ । सार्वजनिक यातायात चढ्नेलाई ल्याब स्कुल देखि उता नयाँ बाटो बनेको छ । टियूले पुरानो बाटो बिग्रेको भनी नयाँ बाटोबाट चलाउन लगायो भनी गाडी चलाउनेहरू भन्थे । तर कीर्तिपुरबाट आउँदा थोरै भए पनि गाडी चलेकै हुन्छ्न् । पुरानो बाटो पनि बनेको छैन । त्रिविले वर्गभेद त गरेको होइन ? कहिलेकाहीँ सोच्छु । होइन होला जस्तो लाग्छ । तर हो कि ? … (आ.. जेसुकै होस् !)

बिस्तारै बगिरहेको प्रमाण देखिने, धुँजाधुँजा परेका बाटाहरू अनि तरहतरहका संरचनाले टियूमा स्वागत गर्छन् । नयाँ बाटोबाट ओर्लिँदा सबैभन्दा पहिले देखिन्छ आँखा अस्पताल जुन विश्वविद्यालय अन्तर्गतको भएपनी उपचार सोचेजस्तो सस्तो छैन । अर्को छेउमा देखिन्छन् पुरुष छात्रावास । सबै अटाउँदैनन् यी छात्रावासमा । एक वर्ष पढिसकेपछि बल्ल “सिट” पाइन्छ । त्यसमा पनि होडबाजी र राजनीति चल्छ ।

अलि पर आउँछ जनबोलीको तीनकुने । रङ उडिसकेको बोर्डमा लेखिएको छ “TU Coronation Ground” (अङ्ग्रेजीमै) । त्यहाँ कसैको मूर्ति छ, जुन देख्न मलाई एक वर्षै लाग्यो होला । त्यो मूर्ति पहिलो उपकुलपति सुवर्ण समशेरको हो कि जस्तो लाग्छ । ठ्याक्कै याद छैन । किनकी त्यो “चौर” घेरिएको छ पर्खालले अनि भित्र ढाकेका छन् अग्ला घाँसहरूले ।

पिच उप्केको छ ठाउँठाउँमा, पानी पर्दा खोला बग्छ । यस्तो गर्नुपर्थ्यो, उस्तो गर्नुपर्थ्यो भन्ने प्रशस्त मानिस भेला हुने यो विश्वविद्यालयका संरचना पनि छक्क पर्दा हुन् । भन्दा हुन्, “गफ हाँक्न छोडेर एउटा मात्रै काम ठीकसँग गरेर देखाओ त !”

असार २५ गते त्रिभुवन विश्वविद्यालयले साठीऔं त्रिवि दिवस मनायो । उपकुलपतिको नयाँ भवन उद्घाटन गर्न कुलपति (प्रधानमन्त्री) जाँदा जुन कन्तविजोग त्रिविले देखायो, त्यसले लज्जाबोध भयो । त्योभन्दा लाजमर्दा काण्डहरू– गोल्ड मेडलको किनबेच, परीक्षाफलमा गरिएका अनियमितता, आर्थिक अनियमितता, जग्गा बाँडफाँड आदिले कहिलेकाहीँ त सोच्न बाध्य बनाउँछ, ‘उच्च शिक्षाको लागि त्रिवि रोजेर गलत त गरिनँ ।’

२०१३ सालतिर देशभित्रै विश्वविद्यालयको खाँचो महसुस गरेर तत्कालीन शिक्षामन्त्री लक्ष्मीप्रसाद देवकोटाको भिजनलाई तत्कालीन राजा महेन्द्रले साथ दिएका थिए । विश्वविद्यालयका लागि ठूलो ठाउँ लिएर अध्ययन अनुसन्धान गर्ने उद्देश्यले कीर्तिपुरमा जग्गा अधिग्रहण गरी त्रिविको स्थापना गरिएको थियो । त्यस यता कीर्तिपुर क्षेत्र शिक्षाको पर्याय बनेको छ । यद्यपि यो जग्गा विवाद बेलाबेलामा आइरहन्छ, जातीयताको रङ्ग घोलेर ।

पाइलापाइलामा गरिने राजनीति, दम्भी अजासुहरू अनि मनपरी गर्न उद्दत कर्मचारीतन्त्रले त्रिभुवन विश्वविद्यालय कति थेग्ला ? शिक्षा क्षेत्रको आमूल परिवर्तनका लागि टीयूको संरचना र कार्यपद्दती नै परिवर्तन गर्नुपर्ने देखिन्छ ।

माली

सिंचेर फूलका डाली डाली रमाउँथ्यो माली
कमाई थोरै भएपनि सन्तोकले भर्दथ्यो थाली ।
लोभ लालच थिएन, तर थियो पिर मनमा
यहीँ बसेर मात्रै त हुन्न क्यारे उन्नति जीवनमा ।

बाउबाजेले बिताएथे जिन्दगी खेली त्यही माटो
छोरोले थोरै दुनियाँ देखे पनि लियो उही बाटो ।
देखेर घर छोडी हिँडेका साथीभाइको प्रगति
त्यस्तै बन्ने आशामा बदलियो उसको मति ।
धन कमाई आफ्नो र सन्ततिको भविष्य बदल्न
हिँड्यो छाडेर घरबारी, जुनतारा सरी चम्कन ।

मालीको स्याहार र प्रेम सम्झी फूलबारी रोइरहेछ
हासीखुसी देखिने घर आज एक्लै झोक्राइरहेछ ।
सुँक्सुँकाइ उसकै कहानी भनिरहेछ्न् फूलका डाली
बोलाइरहेछ्न्, “टाढा गएपनि चाँडै फर्की आऊ ए माली !”

पुस्तक समीक्षा : जङ्गबहादुर

साधना मासिक सन् नब्बेको दशकको उत्कृष्ट म्यागजिन थियो । यस मासिकका धेरै अंकहरू बाबाले संग्रह गरेर राख्नु भएको थियो, जसमध्ये धेरैजसो डेरा र घर सर्दा हराए । अब केही मात्रै बाँकी छन् । “जङ्गबहादुर” उपन्यास धारावाहिक रुपमा प्रकाशन हुन्थ्यो । गगनसिंहलाई मार्न फत्तेजंग, अभिमानसिंह राना र जङ्गले लिएको सपथ अनि कोतपर्वको विवरण भएका दुई भिन्न अंकहरू अहिलेसम्म पनि सुरक्षित छन् । उपन्यासलाई आधार मानेर सामाजिक शिक्षाको परीक्षामा जङ्गबहादुरको उदयलाई अंग्रेजीमा लेख्ने गर्थें । यो विषयमा मैले पाठ्यपुस्तक कहिले पनि हेरिन । तर बजारमा उपन्यास भेटिंदैनथ्यो ।

यसपाली पुसमाघतिर विशालनगरमा यो उपन्यास अचानक देखेँ । सपनाजस्तो लाग्यो । केही दिनमा पैसा जुटाएर लिएँ तर पढ्ने फुर्सद थिएन । पाँचौँ संस्करण रहेछ । मार्च महिनाको सुरुवातमा जापान भ्रमण ताका सँगै लिएर गएँ अनि पढें पनि । तर थकान अनि किताबमा भेटिएका गल्तीका कारण पूरै पढ्न सकिनँ । फाइनल एक्जाम सकिएपछि चाहिं फेरी थालेँ र पढी भ्याएँ ।

सबल पक्ष

१. उपन्यासले जङ्गबहादुरलाई क्रुर मात्र देखाएको छैन, उनलाई कुन परिस्थितिले त्यस्तो बनायो भन्ने पनि प्रष्ट बताएको छ ।

२. त्यस समयमा भएका षडयन्त्रहरू र हत्याकाण्डहरू कहाली लाग्दा छन् । रानी लक्ष्मीदेवीको उन्माद र राजा राजेन्द्रको अकर्मण्यताले घटनाक्रमलाई अगाडि बढाउन मद्दत गरेका छन् ।

३. कोतपर्व र भण्डारखाल पर्वको चित्रण उत्कृष्ट छ । हत्याका दृश्यहरू सजीव छन् । यसले पारेको प्रभाव माथि पनि लेखिसकेका छु ।

४. जङ्गबहादूरको प्रेमिल पक्ष अनौठो र रमाइलो लाग्छ । यो त्यत्तिकै आएको छैन । जङ्गकी प्रेमिका (पछि पत्नी) पुतलीले जासूस र सलाहकारका रूपमा जङ्गलाई सहयोग गरेकी छिन् ।

५. जङ्ग र उनका भाइहरू बीचको सम्बन्ध राम्रोसँग देखाइएको छ अनि डायमन शमशेरको “सेतो बाघ”को अन्त्यमा भएका घटना (जङ्गका छोरा नातिको हत्या) को बीजारोपण पनि यहाँ गरिएको छ । तर सेतो बाघभन्दा बढी तथ्यपरक छ ।

दुर्बल पक्ष

१. सेतो बाघमा जस्तो लेखकको विचार नै त आउँदैन तर “यसो होला भन्ने कसैले सोचेको भए” भन्ने किसिमका वाक्यहरू दोहोरिइरहन्छन् । यसले कथावाचनलाई अलि कम्जोर बनाएको छ ।

२. चरित्र चित्रण गर्ने केही वाक्यहरू दोहोरिइरहन्छन् । यसले कथालाई छरितो बनाउनबाट रोकेको छ ।

३. अलौ पर्वसम्म विस्तारमा भनिएको कथा त्यसपछि भने सारांश बन्छ । जङ्गबहादुरको बेलायत भ्रमण, मुलुकी ऐनको घोषणा, नेपाल-तिब्बत युद्ध जस्ता विषय केही वाक्यमा समापन हुन्छन् ।

४. जङ्गले इष्ट इन्डिया कम्पनीलाई भारतको सैनिक विद्रोहमा सहयोग गरेको प्रसङ्ग आएकै छैन ।

५. उपन्यासमा प्रिन्ट एरर धेरै छन् । सम्पादनको कमी छ । र पुस्तकको ISBN नहुनु आश्चर्यको विषय हो ।

पुस्तक : जङ्गबहादुर

विधा : ऐतिहासिक उपन्यास

लेखक : श्रीकृष्ण श्रेष्ठ

पृष्ठ संख्या : ३०२

प्रकाशक : कामना पब्लिकेशनस्                      

PUBG Ban: An Analysis

It’s been about a week since the Government of Nepal imposed a ban on the First Person Shooting Battle Royale game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (popular as PUBG). The reasons cited were:

  1. The game is addictive.
  2. It is violent.
  3. It affected the grade of students.
  4. It lowered creativity.

The number of complaints that parents and teachers registered was the trigger behind the restriction.

Some reactions that I saw are:

“Excellent! Such violent games should be banned.”

“Good! Our children will focus on studies now.”

“The government encroached our freedom!”

“I had not played once before the ban!”

“As long as VPN is available, no worries!

Now, let me analyse the cause and effect.

#1 The game

As it is an FPS survival game, PUBG is inherently violent. However, this is not the first violent game. In fact, I have seen that most popular video games are violent. And they have been around us in silence for decades.

So, what exposed PUBG? I believe it’s the interactive mode. It can be played solo, or as a squad of two or four. In most cases, you need to move together.  Communication is important. The words “kill”, “help”, “fight”, “guns”, “bombs”, and so on are going to attract the people around you. If you are a teenager and if your parents hear this, they might believe you are involved in something unpleasant or that the game is promoting violence.

Another problem the game has is that it is for teens. However, the nature of the game and online interaction be difficult even for adults. There is high chance of cyber bullying and it may be disturbing for some. But teens (and even pre-teens) play mature games (which have not been banned) all the time.

#2 Parents and Children

I see problem in our parenting. At the age of two, when a child does not want to eat food, they are shown YouTube videos. Soon they get addicted. By the age of three, the child starts scrolling the “smartphones”. When they reach four, they become aggressive when they don’t get the phones. They also start playing games and get furious when the parents don’t want them to play.

Though most teenagers today have not come through the path, they are naturally curious and are also dependent on peers in making decision. If someone says, this game is nice, they decide it is nice. As these teenagers also have access to smartphones (parents buy phones for them to meet their obstinate demands), they soon get addicted. Notion is that a child should stay at home. If a child does not go out, all is well! However, parents seldom take care of what their children do at home with phones and computers at their hands.

Parents themselves are also ignorant of the effects of social media and long hours of gaming on their children. So, they don’t talk with their children. They try to impose a restriction without proper reasoning. That’s counterproductive as restriction evokes curiosity.

#3 Government and the limitation of restriction

The government did what parents wanted and imposed a ban on the game. They recognized the problem but without understanding the limitation of the restriction.

As said earlier, there are numerous interactive, survival, strategy games available on and off the internet. Internet is the modern Hydra. You cut a head, another takes its place. Today PUBG created problem, tomorrow some other game will. How many games will government shut down?

Not just games, social media could also be behind poor performances and violent inclinations. Will the government ban social media. If there is enough complaints, there is a possibility that they will be banned.

Until then, let me enjoy my freedom!

A review of the Year 2075

The year 2075 B.S. is coming to an end as I am writing this article. The year has been tough but felt like it fluttered away in no time. Time management has been a big deal throughout the year and it’s stressing me a bit. So, here are the things I would like to remember from 2075.

1. At the University

By the end of 2074, I had already admitted in the Masters’ Degree Programme on Engineering Geology at the Central Department of Geology, Tribhuvan University. The classes began from the 9th of Baishakh and assignments began haunting. That week I was excited and completed them long before the submission deadline. However, as time passed, assignments became more than enough and the excitement died. I still completed them but only because I had to. The trend continued in the Second Semester and I regret doing them for the sake of doing.

University has mostly been a frustrating experience. The fees are high but the way we study is not different from what I had experienced at schools and Bachelors’ programme. “It’s like school,” is what I had concluded three months ago. Teachers come and give lectures, we jot them down. But a class is 3 hours long. By the time the class ends, notebooks are filled with incoherent sentences, easily forgettable shorthand, and loads of confusion.

The confusion, as I evaluated a few days back, is because I can’t get through the lessons beforehand. The books are way too technical and the meanings, vague. A lot of terms are defined in similar manner and there is very little time to dissect them. To my own surprise, I have been completely dependent on what my teachers say and I don’t want to revise anything soon because everything felt like heavily into my mind.

Whatever the situation be, it is fun to have people sharing the experience. My 23 friends have been a revelation. You guys are the best thing I got at the university!

You guys make my every day. What else should I say?

2. Poetry and Stories

The frustration wanted to vent out and the best way I discovered was through poems. Short, symbolic and satirical. I had begun to think in poems one time during the first semester. Then I went through the Mahabharat in Nepali and it helped me understand the rhythm in poems.

Though I was writing my frustrations through poetry, it felt insufficient. Also, the environment in the university became hostile to free, direct expression. So, I didn’t write articles, nor did I write anything on my diary. Whatever I am writing here is because I am leaving those things behind. No, I am not going to be frustrated nor sad for not expressing myself.

That’s why, during the second semester, I began writing short stories and continued on my novel. The basic idea was to complete the novel before I complete my four semesters. But I found a plot hole and had to stop. Then I wrote two short stories, one each in English and Nepali. The story in English got into the Top 25 and the latter, I sent to a nation-wise contest. The results will be announced, most probably, within this week.

3. Battle Royale

Before I was writing stories, I got involved in video games FIFA 15 and PUBG (recently banned – will conjure an article on it soon). The game gave me a brilliant idea, which had already become a controversial book and movie some 20 years back. Still, I was awed. I wrote a series of essays on the topic in October-November. Here they are:

https://storiesofsandeept.wordpress.com/2018/10/12/battle-royale-pubg-the-movie-the-novel/

https://storiesofsandeept.wordpress.com/2018/10/26/battle-royale-themes-in-movies-and-books/

https://storiesofsandeept.wordpress.com/2018/11/09/why-kazuo-kiriyama-did-not-win-the-battle/

4. A Week in Japan

Though the university lacks the infrastructure and teaching methodology I had expected, it still provides opportunities to learn and I was lucky to be selected in the Sakura Science Exchange Programme (Feb 28-March 7) between TU (my university) and Shimane University, Japan. I am grateful to the both the universities for making the programme informative as well as fun.

I have a lot to say on the stuffs related to the tour but I couldn’t because the exams knocked on the day we returned back. I will be sharing my experiences there in due course of time.

5. Cats

So, after the tragedy with the kitten towards the end of 2074, I thought cats would leave us. But one of her siblings found ways into our house, and with his sneaky ways, he has been protecting himself and his another brother. He is not as close the deceased kitten but he has a cute way of asking what he wants. We brought the dead kitten’s cardboard house and so, he has been a happy guest for about six months now.

The grey male cat here helped me understand new things on parental behaviour in cats