कलाकारको सम्मान र सम्पदा संरक्षणमा उदासीनता

एकाबिहानै एउटा समाचारमा आँखा पर्‍यो । मनमा चस्स बिझायो । स्वर सम्राट नारायण गोपालको घर सङ्कटमा रहेछ । समाचारमा लेखिएको रहेछ–देवकोटाको घर पुनःनिर्माण हुन लागे पनि स्वर सम्राट नारायण गोपालको घर वेवास्तामा परेको छ । देवकोटाको घर पनि संरक्षण गरिएको चैं हैन । पूरै भत्काएर गरिएको पुनःनिर्माण हो । नयाँ बनाइएको घरमा पुरानो जत्तिको महत्व नहोला । वास्तवमा, हामीले सम्मान गर्दै आएका साहित्यकार र कलाकारका अमूल्य सम्पत्तिको रक्षा हामीले गर्नै सकेका छैनौँ ।

हामी साहित्य र कलालाई सम्मान गर्नै जान्दैनौँ । प्राचीन र मध्यकालीन कलाकार (मूर्तिकार, चित्रकार, वास्तुकलाविद्, साहित्यकार) हरू को सूची हामीसँग छैन । एकजना अरनिको प्रसिद्ध छन् मूर्तिकला र वास्तुकलामा, त्यो पनि चीन गएर सम्मानित भएकाले । सानै उमेरमा चीन जाने टोलीको नेतृत्व गर्ने अरनिकोले नेपालमा सिर्जना गरेका कलाहरू केके हुन् ? अरनिकोको वास्तविक नाम र ठेगानाका बारेमा पनि अझै अन्जान छु । अध्ययन भएको होला तर कुनै पाठ्यक्रममा पढ्ने मौका पाएको छैन । विदेशमा ख्याति नपाएसम्म आजपनि राज्यले चिन्दैन । परम्परा किन छोड्नु, हैन ?

मल्लकालका केही साहित्य र साहित्यकारका नाम सामान्य ज्ञानका किताबमा भेटिन्छ । त्यसबेलाका राजाहरू नै साहित्यकार ! पढ्ने लेख्ने राजाहरू मात्रै भएर हो कि ? जसले लेखेपनि ती महत्त्वपूर्ण ग्रन्थहरू र तिनमा के छ्न् भन्ने कुरा विद्यालयदेखि नै पढाइनु पर्ने हो । तर पाठ्यक्रम निर्माण गर्नेहरू आफ्ना कमसल लेखहरू पाठ्यक्रममा राख्न तत्पर छन् ।

आधुनिक नेपालमा (पहिले पर्वते या खसकुरा भनिने) नेपालीलाई केन्द्रविन्दुमा राखियो । सुवानन्द दासले लेखेको “पृथ्वीनारायण” काव्य नेपालीको पहिलो साहित्य भनेर घोकेको छु तर त्यसमा ठ्याक्कै के छ थाहा छैन । मोतीराम भट्टले नभेटेका भए भानुभक्त आचार्यलाई कतै गुमनाम हुने थिए । महत्त्व दिइएको भाषाका साहित्य पनि संरक्षित छैनन् । नेपाल भाषा, मैथिली, अवधी, तामाङ, किराँती लगायतका भाषा र जनजातिका साहित्य संरक्षण हुने कुरै भएन ।

सरकार त उदासीन भयो भयो, हाम्रा केही साहित्यकारहरू क्रान्तिकारी बन्ने नाममा इतिहासको संरक्षण नगरे पनि हुन्छ भन्ने विचार राख्छ्न् । देवकोटाको घर भत्काइएको विषयमा एकजना “लेखक”ले त्यो घर जोगाइयोस् या भत्काइयोस् मतलब भएन भन्ने आशयको ट्विट गरेपछि एउटा लेख नै लेखेको थिएँ । नारायण गोपालको घरको संरक्षण गर्ने विषयमा पनि उनको विचार जान्न मन लागेको छ ।

Finishing the Fifth Draft of a Story

I want to write every day but I don’t. Most of the times, I am so lazy that I don’t want to lift my pen. Sometimes, the things I’m writing is too personal and sometimes, the stuff I write makes me uncomfortable.

Right now, I am writing a story. I’m still not writing daily but I am more regular than before. I finished the fifth draft (fourth complete draft) today. Every draft has changed the way I am looking into the characters and the plot. The overall theme and plot has remained the same but the way to get to them have been varied.

I also found a way to calm my inner editor. Every time I see a problem, I promise myself to look into it in the next draft. Following expert advice, I used to wait for some time to revise. This time, however, I am not waiting. As soon as I finish one version, I begin another. It’s helping me a lot in remembering the things I wanted to change and it has also helped me regain confidence in writing.

I hope to complete the story in the next couple of drafts. Then I will move on to the next thing I have on my mind. Wish me luck!

Invisible

Until recently, I had not realized that I have become invisible on social media. I am there but I am not. As someone who finds it difficult to chat or call on regular basis, it has always been difficult to maintain friendship on social media. I have also been tired of thankless favours they ask me. Still, I’m scared of losing them.

Since the Covid-19 lockdown in Chait 2076 (April 2020), a lot of things have happened. These one-and-a-half years have been mostly unproductive. I have not written much. Neither did I make any progress in academics. I invested my last six months to qualify for government services but the exams have been stalled and now I feel like am in a limbo. I learnt a few stuffs related to art and animation but I haven’t turned them into anything productive.

But maybe I am thinking productivity in terms of monetary gains only. My parents say knowledge never goes to waste no matter how difficult gaining it might be. My lack of knowledge on simplest of the things related to my thesis work was one of the reasons I decided not to complete it within Bhadau this year. On top of that the errors I had made were fatal. They should have never made way into my research. I’ll be improving on it for sure so that my step back can help me leap forward.

Despite my fears, I am hoping for the best. I have more time for preparation of exams. I have more time for my research. I have more time for family. I have more time to make connections. All I want to do is not become invisible.

नेपाली साहित्यमा देखिएका केही निराशाजनक दृश्यहरू

यसै साता महाकवि लक्ष्मीप्रसाद देवकोटाको घर प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठानले भत्कायो । तर्क थियो, “घर जीर्ण थियो । सबलीकरण गर्न भन्दा भत्काएर नयाँ बनाउन सस्तो पर्ने भयो । नयाँ भवन सङ्ग्रहालय बन्छ । के नराम्रो हुन्छ र ?”

वाहियात तर्क गर्न, कानूनका छिद्र समात्न र दलका पछि लागेर विद्वान हुँ भन्दै हाँक दिन नेपालका प्राज्ञिक भनाउँदाहरूको विशेषता नै हो । उनीहरूमा न इतिहासको चेत छ न त भविष्यको सही योजना नै । ध्यान छ त केबल आत्मरति, अलिकति धन र नचाहिने कुरा गर्न ।

आम सर्वसाधारणलाई महाकवि देवकोटाको घर भत्काइँदैछ भनेर सचेत नगराउने “अभियन्ता” र मिडिया अर्को ठूलो समस्याका रूपमा अघि बढेका छन् । नेपालीमै लेख्ने एकजना “साहित्यकार”को ट्वीटले नेताहरूले रोपेको जातीय/भाषिक द्वेषयुक्त राजनीतिको प्रभाव प्रष्ट देखाएको छ । वर्तमानमा सुधार चाहने, अरू भाषाको उत्थान चाहने उनलाई नेपाली भाषासँग चैं समस्या किन छ ? नेपाली भाषालाई मात्रै महत्त्व दिने नीति कुनै बेला राज्यले लिएको थियो तर अब अरू भाषा संस्कृतिको संरक्षणको कुरा गर्दा नेपालीलाई बाहिर राख्नुपर्ने हो ? कुनै यो विषयमा नाम चलेका “फुल टाइम व्यावसायिक” लेखकहरूको मौनता अर्को दु:खद पाटो हो । इतिहासको सम्मान नगर्ने उनीहरू वर्तमानमा सम्मान पुगेन भन्न कसरी सक्छन् ? भविष्यमा तिनका नाम मेटिँदैन भन्ने के छ ?

अघिल्लो साता मदन पुरस्कारको छनौटमा परेका उत्कृष्ट पुस्तकहरू मध्ये एक पुस्तक यस्तो पनि थियो जसले वर्ग विभेदलाई प्रश्रय दिएको थियो । एक चोटि मात्रै छापिने र प्रिअर्डर गरेकाले मात्रै पाउने भनिएको उक्त कथा-सङ्ग्रह बजारमा सहजै पाइन थालेको सुनेको छु । प्रकाशक र पाठकसँग सिधै सम्पर्क बनाएको, वितरकलाई बीचमा आउन नदिएको भन्ने प्रकाशक अझै पनि नयाँ छापिँदैन भनिरहेका छन् । तर “आउट अफ स्टक” भनिएका ठाउँमा पनि फेरि बिक्री भइरहेको छ । अर्थात् प्रकाशकले प्रिअर्डरबाट मात्रै बिक्री गरेको भने पनि अलिकति सचेत पाठकले त्यो पत्याइहाल्ने स्थिति छैन ।

अनि लेखक भक्ति पनि मज्जैले देख्न पाइयो यो हप्ता । आफूलाई मन पर्ने लेखकको किताबको कमजोरी अरू पाठकले औँल्याउँदा लेखकमाथिको आक्रमण गरेको भन्ने विद्वान् पनि देखियो । पाठकले प्रतिक्रिया दिँदैमा कुनै लेखकका फ्यान त्यसरी उत्रिनु नै अनौठो लाग्यो । यस्तो भक्तिले त लेखकले सधैं पोजिटिभ रिभ्यु मात्र पाउँछ । जे लेखे पनि हुन्छ भन्ने मानसिकता उसमा हाबी हुन थाल्छ । लेखनको गुणस्तर स्वाभाविक रूपमा घट्छ । यो साहित्यको लागि कदापि राम्रो हुन सक्दैन ।

पाठक प्रतिक्रियालाई व्यक्तिगत आक्रमण ठान्ने, प्रकाशकले दिनदहाडै लुट्ने अनि प्राज्ञहरूले प्राज्ञिक धर्म पूरा नगर्ने प्रवृति नेपाली साहित्यलाई अधोगतितर्फ लान उद्दत रहेका छ्न् । सचेत पाठक, पाठकलाई सम्मान गर्ने लेखक/प्रकाशक र सही एजेन्डा बोकेका प्राज्ञ नभएसम्म नेपाली साहित्यलाई सही बाटो देखाउन गाह्रो पर्ने देखिन्छ ।

घनचक्कर: भुल्भुलैया र भविस्यवाणी

“घनचक्कर” उपन्यास विशाल मिलन केन्द्र, चण्डोलले आयोजना गरेको एउटा प्रतियोगितामा पुरस्कारका रूपमा पाएको थिएँ । पन्ध्र वर्षको उमेर, उपन्यास पढ्ने तीव्र हुटहुटी ! नयाँ किताब समाएपछि बिहानदेखि साँझसम्म नबिसाई पढिसकेको थिएँ । सकिँदासम्म उपन्यासको ‘म’ पात्र सँगसँगै आफू पनि पागल त भइनँ जस्तो लागेको थियो । उपन्यासका राजनीतिक विषय केही बुझे पनि गहिराईमा चाहिँ पुग्न सकेको थिइनँ ।

त्यस यता एसएलसी, बाह्र र ब्याचलर पास गरिसकेपछि “घनचक्कर” पढेको थिएँ । प्रत्येक चोटि नयाँ अनुभव भएको थियो । नयाँ रहस्य खुलेका थिए । देशका घनचक्करहरू अलि बढी बुझ्दै गएर होला ।
मास्टर्स पढ्न कीर्तिपुर भर्ना भएदेखि नै “घनचक्कर” फेरि पढ्ने अनि समीक्षा लेख्ने इच्छा थियो । दरबारमार्ग, शहीदगेट, कालीमाटी, बल्खु हुँदै कीर्तिपुर पुग्दा कयौंपटक उपन्यासका दृश्यहरू आँखामा नाच्थे । बाटामा पुलिसहरू देख्दा घनचक्करको ‘म’ पात्र जस्तै कति पटक झस्केको छु । विश्वविद्यालय र देशको राजनीतिका भुलभुलैयामा रुमल्लिएको अनुभव गरेको छु । त्यसैले होला पढ्ने इच्छा भए पनि यो उपन्यास पढ्न भने डर लाग्थ्यो ।

यसपालि “घनचक्कर”पढ्दा केही भविष्यवाणीलाई ध्यान दिएँ । टावरहरूको पतन र उत्थानको प्रसङ्ग पहिले पनि याद गरेको हो । सत्तामा रहनेले टावरको निर्माणलाई अतिशय महत्त्व दिएको भएर त होला पहाडका टाकुरा र तराईका फाँटमा भ्यू टावर बनाउने ट्रेन्ड चलेको, नयाँ बनेको धरहरालाई ऐतिहासिक भीमसेन स्तम्भ नै पुनःनिर्माण गरेझैं प्रचार भएको ।
टावरहरू जबजब निरङ्कुशताका प्रतीक बनेका छन् तबतब कोही नायक जन्मिएको छ ती टावर ढाल्न । तथापि ती नायक कतै गुमनाम भएका छन् या त प्याजका डल्लामा परिणत भएका छ्न् । यिनमा मानवीय संवेदना नै छैन । आशा गरेका नेताहरूले निराश बनाएका छन् । निरङ्कुशतन्त्रको विरोध गर्नेहरू आफैं निरङ्कुश बनेका छन्, गुच्चा खेलेझैं राजनीति गरेका छन्, शक्ति संघर्षको घनचक्करमा नराम्ररी फसेका छन्, जनतालाई भ्रमको जालोमा फसाएका छन् । यस्तो संघर्षको बीचमा हर कोही धेरथोर पागल भएको छैन र ?

यस बाहेक आफ्नो जीवीकाका लागि गर्नुपर्ने दु:ख, काम र आरामका विरोधाभासमा परेर पनि मानिस घनचक्करमा परेको छ । प्रजातन्त्र र स्वतन्त्रताका आन्दोलन, आन्दोलनका उद्देश्य विपरितका गतिविधि, निरङ्कुशता अनि फेरि प्रजातन्त्रका लागि हुने संघर्ष एउटा यस्तो चक्कर हो जसबाट उम्कन प्रत्येक नागरिक प्रत्येक पल सचेत हुन जरुरी छ । घनचक्करसँग जुध्नु नै यसबाट उम्कने मुख्य उपाय हो भनेर आशावादी विचारमा उपन्यास सकिएको छ ।

यद्यपि देशमा शक्ति संघर्षका घनचक्कर चलिरहेकै छ । सञ्जीव उप्रेती सर उपन्यासको म पात्रझैं आशावादी भएर लोकतन्त्र र निरन्तर पक्षमा उभिनुभएको छ । मलाई नेपाली राजनीति बुझ्न सहयोग गरेको “घनचक्कर” आज पनि उत्तिकै सान्दर्भिक छ । कहिलेकाहीँ लाग्छ, यसमा भएका भविस्यवाणी असत्य भइदिए ! तर शक्ति संघर्ष मानवीय गुण नै हो । त्यसै यो घनचक्कर कहाँ अन्त्य हुन्छ र ?

Targets of Bullying and Social Anxiety

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After being bullied for so long, targets can develop social anxiety. They withdraw from people because they fear future attacks. The target’s spirit has been beaten down and broken and the person has been abused to the point of losing faith in humanity. Also, they’re reprogrammed to believe the bullies’ lies that they aren’t worthy of love and friendship. They are under the presumption that it’s much safer not to engage in any social interaction.

But what the target doesn’t realize is that in closing himself off from the rest of the world, he unknowingly limits himself in all aspects of life.

Humans were created to socialize and to have relationships. When targets create this invisible fortress around them, it doesn’t ensure their safety but only brings about more bullying. Bullies get their power from our fear. They are like ferocious animals who can smell fear from a mile away…

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Movie Review: The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Kaguya-hime no Monogatari (The Tale of Princess Kaguya) is a 2013 animated movie produced by Studio Ghibli and directed by Takahata Isao. Based on one of the oldest and most popular folktale, “The Tale of the Bamboo-Cutter”, the movie shows the story of a nymph who descends from the Moon to the Earth.

In his early career, Takahata was inspired by French and other European animators and the tales they told. As his career progressed, he was more engrossed in the stories of his own country. That thought gave birth to the classic “Grave of the Fireflies”, one of the saddest tales ever told in cinema. His interest in telling stories rooted to Japan reaches its height in The Tale of Princess Kaguya.

The movie is painting in motion. Beautiful water-colour hand drawn paintings made me feel like I was watching old Japanese paintings in succession. The animation looks rough (a deliberate choice), the line art gets chaotic at some points (the best use of “abstraction” as said by some of the best animators in the industry) and does what it has to do (bring the characters and story to life).

The main characters are multi-dimensional. The woodcutter seems cold at times when he uses divine powers to name Kaguya a princess and makes her stay as a noble. However, he thinks it is the best thing to happen for a child who was divine herself. Kaguya’s mother is kindlier, although she also desires to make her a princess. Kaguya herself is a fun-loving girl who dreams of escaping back to her village when she is brought to the mansion in the town. Her sense of freedom is depicted well in the scenes in which she unleashes a cat, frees a sparrow from the cage, and dances when she sees sakura in the Spring.

The movie gave me a feeling so intense it is impossible to explain in words. Takahata’s mastery of story-telling, his artistic sense and vision has produced a movie that will soon be regarded as one of the classics.

Nepal’s Unity Day(?)

Blogger's World!

The worst thing about politicizing everything is that everyone is divided. We can’t even agree what unity means.

Today is Paush 27 according to Nepali calendar. On this day, 299 years ago, Prithvi Narayan Shah was born in a small kingdom of Gorkha.

Despite its small size, Gorkha had a huge reputation. King Ram Shah (six generations before Prithvi Narayan) was known for being just. People used to say, “If you go Kashi, you’ll find Gods. If you go Gorkha, you’ll find justice.”

Gorkha is also famous for Gorakhnath, the legendary cow-protecting Yogi. It is said Gorakhnath himself had blessed Prithvi Narayan in his dreams.

Another legend says Prithvi was the incarnation of Bhairav, the ferocious incarnation of Lord Shiva. Bhairav is also known as protector in the ethnic Newa community of Kathmandu.

Gorkha always had eyes on Nepal Mandal (present day Kathmandu Valley) because of its fertile soil and…

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Are the 12 Principles of Animation Random?

Notes of a Noob Animator

In Chapter 3 of the universally acclaimed book, The Illusion of Life by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, the authors describe how the 12 Principles of Animations came into existence. They write:

The animators continued to search for better methods of relating drawings to each other and found a few ways that seemed to produce a predictable result. They could not expect success every time, but these special techniques of drawing a character in motion did offer some security. As each of these processes acquired a name, it was analyzed and perfected and talked about, and when new artists joined the staff they were taught these practices as if they were the rules of the trade.

Thomas and Johnston in The Illusion of Life

The Principles thus developed were:

  1. Squash and Stretch
  2. Anticipation
  3. Staging
  4. Straight Ahead Action and Pose to Pose
  5. Follow through and Overlapping Action
  6. Slow in and Slow…

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What can a human gain? Reflections from Vishwamitra’s tale

Humans have no limit to their desires. Fulfill one, another is ready to knock your door. Sometimes, the desires inspire humans to do great things but most of the times, the crowds of desires take you to a deep dark ditch, from which it is impossible to come out.

Vishwamitra’s tales are all over Hindu scriptures. He appears not only in Ved and Puran (Shruti and Smriti) but also in Ramayan and Mahabharat (Kavya and Itihas). Born Vishwarath in the royalty of Kanyakubja, was initially mentored by Dattatreya, the avatar of Lord Shiva. As a king, he desires to become the Universal Monarch, the ruler of all the World. But a battle with Vashistha changes everything.

Vishwarath, happy and proud of his victories, one day appears at Vashistha’s ashram. The king and his soldiers are hungry and tired. However, the sage easily provides adequate food for the huge army. Vishwarath wants to know how. Vashistha shows him Nandini, the divine cow who can provide any wish.

Vishwarath wants the cow for himself despite Vashistha’s warning that Nandini has free will and will only go with Vishwarath if she wants to go. Enraged, he wants to capture the cow but with her powers, she created an army to destroy the king’s army.

Despite his loss, the king wishes to teach divine beings a lesson. He gains Daivi astras (divine weapons) through yagya and goes to attack Vashistha. The son of Brahma absorbs everything with a Brahmadanda (a stick).

Enraged, Vishwarath gives his kingdom to his sons and starts a tap. One day, while meditating, he discovers Gayatri Mantra, the beej (seed) mantra of creation. Vishwarath becomes Vishwamitra.

His discovery shakes Swarga. Indra sends Menaka, an apsara to disrupt his penance. Although, Vishwamitra falls for her beauty, when he realizes he had been tricked, he leaves her. Menaka goes back leaving their daughter Shakuntala to the ashram of another Rishi, Kanva.

Vishwamitra continues his Yogic practices, gains siddhi and reaches the level of Brahma when he creates a universe for Trishanku. Trishanku had been cursed by Vashistha’s son Shakra for wanting to go to heaven with his human body. Vishwamitra did what was forbidden but also gained the title of Maharishi from Brahma for the feat he accomplished.

But the desire of revenge against Vashistha does not die. He gets involved in a act that kills Shakra. Vashistha, while sad that his son died, is glad that Vishwamitra’s act has actually helped improve his clan morally. Vishwamitra, who had desired to kill Vashistha, comes to know that the Brahma Putra had actually guided him in his spiritual journey. He realizes that his journey was not to be the king of the world, but its friend, Vishwa Mitra.

The tale of Vishwamitra shows that humans can push their limits to any extent. They can even equal the Brahma. But the biggest achievement is to act on the benefit of the world. With great power, indeed comes great responsibilities.

(I was inspired to write this article after finishing Vineeth Aggarwal’s Vishwamitra.)