Chandra Shamsher Jung Bahadur Rana inaugurated the Tribhuvan-Chandra (now called Tri-Chandra) College in 1918. After the inauguration, he supposedly said, “I dug a grave for the Ranas with my own hands.” What caused the downfall of the Ranas–the college or his division of Ranas into three classes–might have been debated by historians. What this statement shows, however, is the attitude of the rulers towards this educational institute.
Tri-Chandra has been ill for a long time. When I had written a poem, titled Shatabdi (Century), the condition of the original building (Ghantaghar) was already bad. The walls were rotting, peepal had sprouted in the cracks, and roofs were leaking. I used to call it a Ghost House. After the earthquake of April 2015, the laboratories of the Department of Geology had been shut down. Since then, the practicals have never been regular. The southern section of the building closer to the Jame Masjid collapsed last year. Ironically, the building which produces geologists who study earthquake and earthquake resistance technology has suffered such a fate!
Tri-Chandra College has always been a torch-bearer in Nepalese politics. The vicinity of Narayanhiti Palace and Singha Durbar as well as other centers of power may be one of the reasons. However, the impact of this college on politics was predicted by Chandra Shamsher himself. Tri-Chandra’s students have been part of movements that toppled the Ranas, the Panchayat, and the Shah dynasty. From talents and visionaries like Mahakavi Laxmi Prasad Devkota, Bal Krishna Sam, Dayananda Bajracharya, and so on to the present PM Sher Bahadur Deuba and popular leader Gagan Thapa (who are not doing that great, by the way), Tri-Chandra College has produced many personalities in the past.
The curse that has dragged Tri-Chandra College into this abyss is perhaps politics itself. The ones who used Tri-Chandra as ladders to gain power, probably don’t want the youth to come up. Perhaps, they see the rise of college as a grave to their political careers. If not so, why haven’t they done anything since the earthquake?
Some students somehow got united and conducted a march demanding to save Tri-Chandra. It touched me. How could I forget about the institute where I studied for four years? Why did I stop writing blogs about the state of the college? Why didn’t I join #SaveTriChandra campaign earlier?
I don’t know who is responsible for improving the condition of the college. I don’t know if the college, university, or the government should work towards saving the college. What I do know is that the current students and the alumni all can help the college. A lot of us can provide financial and technical support. If not, we can at least raise our voices. Let’s do something, please! Let’s save Tri-Chandra!
I watched two South Korean movies this week: Train to Busan (2016) and Silenced (2011). Both of them coincidentally starred Gong Yoo and Yu-mi Jung as the leads. I had heard of Train to Busan as one of the best horror movies showing zombie apocalypse, but it felt like a drama for the most part. Silenced, on the other hand is categorized as drama but it shows the horror of being under-privileged in the society. In this blog, I am presenting short reviews of both the movies.
1. Train to Busan (2016)
In this movie, Seok-Woo (Gong Yoo) is taking his daughter, Soo-an (Su-an Kim) to her mother from Seoul to Busan during a zombie apocalypse. The zombie virus originates through a leak in a biochemical factory. The virus is spreading on the scales of a pandemic. People are getting crazy and cannibalistic. But the apocalypse is only a set-up to show the horrors of society.
Seok-Woo is a workaholic, who thinks only about himself. Soo-an, the daughter, is polite and selfless. She is the heart and soul of the movie. Her interactions with the other passengers show to her father that one should never be selfish, even in worse of times. However, the world has mean people, too. The acts of one selfish person can jeopardize the lives of other people. The movie also shows that good people can follow bad people out of fear and can make irrational decisions. Thus, this movie is an excellent commentary on the society.
The zombies in this did not scare me but thought that I might act selfishly in times of apocalypse or pandemic scared me. We saw how some selfish people created the global pandemic of COVID-19. Those memories made Train to Busan even more scarier. Is a selfish society more dangerous than a pandemic or apocalypse? Yes, I think it is.
2. Silenced (2011)
Silenced is based on real events that happened at a school for the hearing-impaired in 2005. I had watched a review (before watching the movie) on the YouTube channel Accented Cinema and had not been able to stop my tears. It took me a couple of weeks to gain courage to watch this movie.
Kang In-ho is a new art teacher at a school for disabled in Mujin. He loves art but cannot pursue his passion his wife died, his daughter is sick. To end his financial problems, he steps into the school thinking it might help his career. But the teachers, including the principal, are repeatedly sexually assaulting students. Despite all odds against him, In-ho decides to fight for justice with the help of an activist Seo Yoo-jin.
The school administration, however, has been bribing the police, education office, and “doing charities”. In-ho and Yoo-jin are helpless against the priviledged criminals. I was expecting them to succeed but the movie shows their failure. For the under-priviledged, the lack of justice is not only a tragedy, it is also a horror.
Nations were built in the past so that everyone could get security and justice. But over time, the fight for justice has been huge struggle for common people, even in prosperous nations. Silenced exposed the flaws in judiciary system of South Korea. The movie became such a strong voice that the existing laws were amended and the culprits were given harsher punishment.
This movie shows how powerful a cinema can be. A movie was able to change the laws of the nation. This is what movies or any art form should strive to do–change the society for good.
१. ज्ञान र शिक्षा फरक कुरा हुन् । २. गलत शिक्षा हुनुभन्दा नभएकै वेश । ३. शिक्षाको उद्देश्य सिक्ने या बुझ्ने हुनुपर्छ । त्यसो नभएसम्म शिक्षा र शिक्षा प्रणाली गलत हुन्छन् । ४. उत्सुकता र प्रकृतिसँगको निकटताले मानिसलाई ज्ञानी बनाउँछ भलै उसले औपचारिक शिक्षा नपाएको होस् । ५. दक्षिण एसियामा मातृभाषामा ज्ञान पाउन धेरै नै गाह्रो छ । मातृभाषाबाट हुने सिकाइले बालबालिकालाई उत्सुक बनाउन सिकाउँछ र उनीहरूको आत्मविश्वासमा समेत मद्दत गर्छ । मातृभाषामा राम्रो पकड छ भने अरू भाषा सिक्न पनि सजिलो हुन्छ । ६. भूगोल र माटो अनुसारको शिक्षा उपयोगी हुन्छ । युरोपेलीको नक्कल गरेर अघि बढ्न सकिन्न । ७. सरकारमा रहेका/प्रभावशाली व्यक्तिका सन्तानहरू सार्वजनिक शिक्षा प्रणालीमा नभएसम्म सार्वजनिक शिक्षामा केही परिवर्तन आउँदैन । ८. प्रकृतिमा प्रकृतिसँग सिकेका कुराहरू वास्तविक ज्ञान हुन् तर त्यसतो मौलिक ज्ञानको साटो हाम्रा शैक्षिक संस्थाहरू युरोप र अमेरिकाका कोर्सहरू कपी-पेस्ट गरिरहेका छौँ । यसले हामीलाई पछि पार्छ । ९. शिक्षाका तीन माध्यम हुन्छन्: (१) श्रुतियुक्त (सुनेका र पढेका कुरालाई महत्त्व दिने), (२) चेतनायुक्त (सुनेका/पढेका कुरालाई मनन गर्ने र तीमाथि तर्क गर्ने) र (३) भावयुक्त (अनुभव लिँदै सिक्ने) । हाम्रो शिक्षा प्रणालीमा अनुभव लिँदै सिक्ने कुराको अभाव छ ।
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.)
Atomic bombings on August 6, 1945 in Hiroshima and three days later in Nagasaki are among the cruelest acts humans did. In 2014, when I wrote a blog on the bombings, I had written:
Humans proved that day [the days of bombings] that they could do anything against anyone to gain power.
I had also written:
As for Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they have been recovered as major cities but no crops, no grass has grown yet and it’s unknown until when.
I did not know that a red canna flower (Canna sp.) had bloomed in the rubble some months later giving hope to the survivors. Gingko trees that survived have another story to tell. Look for the links below to know their stories.
Stories of the red canna trees that survived the Hiroshima bombing:
These are amazing stories of survival, rebirth and restoration. Some humans had stooped very low, destroying humans, cities and the nature, with their pride. Some humans had lost hope. Nature challenged their pride. She told them, “Your pride, your wars cannot destroy me.” And gave hope to the victims, “Not everything is destroyed.”
What is justice? Is it based on objective evidence or subjective judgement? I had not thought much about these questions until I watched Death Note, the 2006–2007 animated series.
Death Note is about Yagami Light who finds a notebook (aka Death Note), dropped by a Shinigami (God of Death), in his school. Using the notebook, he can kill anyone whose name and face he knows. Seeing the rotten world around him, he decides to use the notebook to get rid of criminals.
Ryuk, the Shinigami who dropped the Death Note in the human world, asks if it is the right thing to do. Light replies that people will on the surface say, “It’s not the right thing to do”, but deep down they want all criminals to be executed.
Murderers get away with little to no punishment using money and political influence, several cases have become stuck on the court, smugglers are caught only when the “setting” with police does not work, honest people are scared of the crooks because they control everything from the economy to government, and the media, criminals wave at cameras without any fear. Living in such circumstances, would I have done what Light does? If I say no, I am not being honest. …
You have been climbing for three hours. Every pore of your skin is sweating. Your legs are tired. Your head is spinning. You are still conscious of not slipping down the narrow foot trail. There are small round seeds that have fallen off the tress beside the trail. They threaten your existence. The peak is just “there” but you can’t seem to reach it. The peak is just at an elevation of thousand metres, and it takes your breath away. “What if it was Mount Everest?” you ask.
One of your friends, Anish, climbed a five-thousand metre peak last year, above the Everest Base Camp. “It was cold. I felt my fingers would fall off. But once I reached the peak, I forgot all the pain.”
‘This is not even a tenth of the harshness of close to the Everest’, you think. Your spirit lifts up a little. Legs drag you up better than they had a couple of minutes back. But your lungs are not helping. Your low stamina hampers your movement.Luckily, your friends are in your support. They themselves are tired, but they do not lose the hope of reaching the peak. The hope of finding the target village-Sathimure.
Your climb began from Mugling—an old hub connecting Kathmandu, Pokhara and Chitwan with three of your friends: Anil, Anish and Ishwor. The town is at the altitude of about 180 m from the mean sea level,well-developed, full of life. Your twenty-eight years old topographic map shows a foot-trail leading to the village in question. The policemen show you a road. It looks easy, but it’s long. ‘How long will you have to walk?’ you discuss with your friends. You and your friends decide to take a foot trail if possible.
You are not hiking. It’s a geological exploration. You measure the rock orientation, wonder at the folds you see and imagine the amount of stress the region might have undergone. You know these rocks tell the history of the evolution of the Himalayas over a million years. These mountains are not as tall as the mighty mountain peaks that are popular as the Himalayas or Great Himalayas. You call them Lesser Himalaya, but reaching its peak is tough. More so, when you realize you have to climb up another two hundred metres and climb down to Kalikhola if you are to make an accurate geological map. But you lack time, and you make a rush.
You realize your stamina has lowered because of eating and sleeping for the last couple of months. You are panting. You take long breaths. Nothing helps. You have not walked a mile and you have felt the heat. You strip off your jacket. Your body balances heat by sweating. You reach a shade. The sweat cools you. After a rest, you don’t want to move. Yet you carry your legs forward. “Return back if you can’t,” your friends suggest. It’s a good advice. One person should not slow the group. Yet your ego gets hurt. You can’t give up before it has begun.
You ask help from the locals. Most of them are girls. Some help, some don’t. It’s a cultural thing. Villagers don’t trust city men. Girls are told to shy away from men in most of the occasions. Male-female interaction is still spied in the cities. Anyway, you find help and catch a foot-trail, width decreasing with each footstep.
You don’t find villages along the trail. One house at an interval of about one-hundred metres climb. They have farms and gardens. You and your friends express desire to reach Kalikhola. The locals say it’s a dangerous path. Three people died some months back. You and your friends are scared. Safety comes before the map. Your teachers did not expect you to go all the way. You give up the thought of completing the track. Had you been allowed to stay for a day at Sathimure, you could have hit the target. But you have restrictions. You decide to reach the village, at least.
“Look out for the real trail,” Anish calls. Foot-trail has forked. Each time you saw a fork, you made a unanimous decision: “Take the route that goes up.” This time, the up-going trail looks dangerous. Ishwor says the other path goes nowhere. “Are we stuck?” you fear. Anil goes up the dangerous route, reaches the peak and calls out. You follow. The ground is slippery and covered with grass. You don’t know where you are stepping. “Goats would not climb this,” your friends behind you tell. You are attacked by ants.One last step. And you reach the top. You lose yourself for a moment. At that moment, you have become victorious over the mountain. You feel blessed.
A little farther, you see what you had been longing for. Sathimure. A small village. A place where you have found solace in it even from the distance. Bamboos, oranges, cucumbers and other fruits and vegetables. A farming village. That’s what you wanted all day.
The village has less than twenty houses—small, all of them painted in blue and red. The people are amicable. Your group wants to buy some oranges. They don’t fix a price. “Give whatever amount you want to give.” These people have hardships. There is some help from the NGOs but the nearest town, Mugling, is miles downhill. There is no good road. They have to buy everything.Yet, they are generous. They don’t take our offer for granted. They believe in emotional relationship, not commercial. They give you noodles. You longed for it but can’t help wonder that noodles have made way into even in a village that small.You eat anyway. The taste reminds you of home.
You begin to descent. There was an error in the map. You have decided to correct it. Sitting upon a ground facing north, you look at the Great Himalayas, the Lesser Himalayas, and the miniature town of Mugling. You can’t see a human from that height. You feel lost. “Humans might have built civilizations and have dreamt of exploring other planets but we are microscopic in the universe. If a portion of the Earth is this big, how big the Earth is! And it is not even the largest planet.” The extent of universe amazes you. It’s not for the first time, though. The universe has always fascinated you. Geology was one way you thought that would help you understand the universe.
Mugling viewed from Sathimure
The walk downhill takes two hours. The villagers at Sathimure had told it would take about forty-five minutes. “Time is relative,” you begin to understand. They have lived their whole lives going up and down the hill. Their legs have strengths your legs do not. They are faster because they have lived with the mountain. You see school children going up and get a stronger proof.
When the journey ends, you are satisfied. You might not have met all your goals but you made memories. You have learnt something. You have something to tell others. You have stories for your children and grandchildren.
The fieldwork was going on in its rapid pace. We barely had time to rest. On Wednesday, October 31, fieldwork had been set for “individual” areas. Each of six groups were in separate routes looking for the geology of the area around Mugling, Chitwan. We (Anil, Anish, Ishwor and I) were walking up to a small village called Sathimure. On top of the hill in the north east, we could see a bazaar. “Is it Manakamana?” we had discussed. “It is Manakamana, indeed,” the villagers had later confirmed.
“If we get to go Manakamana tomorrow, can we walk all the way up?”
It would have been difficult. The way to Sathimure had proven to be tiring. We were bathed in sweat the whole climb.
May be fatigue, may be disinterest, we didn’t actually want to go Manakamana. There were other friends, who were absolutely excited about the climb. My experience fifteen months earlier had made me sad. But I had seen a photo of my sister-in-law in front of the newly made temple. Aha! The temple has changed! I had thought but still I didn’t have the desire.
In the evening, our teachers announced the six routes to be taken the other day. Two groups were to take the routes that included Manakamana. The first route was: Aanbu Khaireni-Manakamana-Arubot-Tinkilo. The second route was: Aanbu Khaireni-Manakamana-Kurintar. To avoid dissatisfaction, our teachers suggested a lottery. Anil picked up a cheat and we got the first route. Despite having no desire to go, the Mother had called us.
As soon as you cross the Marsyangi Bridge at Aanbu Khaireni, you step into the Gorkha district. Then taking a dusty road to the north, you head towards the famous Manakamana Temple. After we separated with other groups at the bridge, eight of us took the road to Manakamana.
Geological study began as soon as we reached near the confluence of Marsyangdi and Daraudi. We took some data and set off again. As per the instruction from our teacher, we took shorter routes asking the villagers. Some of the foot-trails are not being used due to the bigger road.
Short roads were not so short though. We climbed up and up. As we went higher, the mist thinned and we were up above the clouds. On the north were the mighty white Himalayas. “People must have been to a place like this and called it a Paradise,” we wondered.
At Dhadbari (?), we left the motor road and climbed up the stairs to the temple. On the way, we bought flowers and Prasad. The climb took more than half an hour. We were all fatigued.
The New Temple
The new structure of the temple was enough for me to forget my tiredness. The two storied pagoda now had new brick walls and two golden roofs. On the top, is a golden pinnacle. I am mesmerized. I can’t believe the change that had occurred.
Fifteen months ago, I had seen a broken temple. It was distressing. I had written an account showing my pain. Now fifteen months later, I was standing before the temple praising the grandeur of the Mother.
The new structure has not been a temple yet. The Mother still stays in the small temple built after the Gorkha earthquake. “Isn’t she established in it yet?” my parents ask on Saturday after I am home. “It was supposed to happen during Dashain.”
“Maybe they did not find an auspicious date,” I say.
Fifteen months ago, I had been so sad that I had asked for the reconstruction of the temple as soon as possible. I had also doubted on the powers of the Mother. I had asked, “If the Goddess cannot make Her own home, how do I believe asked?”
This time, I believe the Mother called me to show that She has a new home. I believe She made me write this so that I could tell to the world the change I had seen. I don’t see any other reason why my group was selected despite having no desire at all to visit Her abode.
Time was tight. We had miles to go. Taking several snaps, our groups took our respective routes.
एकाबिहानै धरहरा निर्माण सम्बन्धमा लेखिएको एउटा पोस्ट इन्स्टाग्राममा देखियो:
नेपाङ्ग्रेजीमा लेखिएको पोस्टले भन्छ– सरकारले ४.५ अर्बको लगानीमा २२ तले धरहरा बनाउने योजना बनाइरहेको छ ।
यो विषयमा आएका टिप्पणीहरू रोचक छन् । जस्तै:
सारांश: “धरहरा बनाउनुको औचित्य के हो ? त्यसमा लगानी हुने रकम कुनै दीर्घकालीन पार्ने काममा लगाउनु पर्छ ।”
सारांश: “एउटा कलाहीन खाँबोप्रति यति आशक्ती किन ? किन धरहरालाई सांस्कृतिक महत्त्व भएजसरी प्रस्तुत गरिएको छ ।”
“धरहरालाई जस्ताको त्यस्तै राखेर संग्राहलय बनाउन किन नहुने ?”
यस प्रकारका टिप्पणीहरू टन्नै देखेपछि खुसी हुने कि दु:खी हुने द्विविधामा परेँ । र आश्चर्य पनि लाग्यो–हाम्रो बुद्धि किन ढिलो पलाउँछ ?
धरहरा पुनर्निर्माणको कुरा आजको होइन । यो २०७२ वैशाख १२ मा धरहरा ढलेदेखि नै आएको हो । त्यही बेलादेखि धरहराको चित्र बनाएर “हामी फेरि जाग्नेछौँ” (“We will rise again”) भन्ने युवाहरूको जमात ठूलै थियो । तिनै युवा भन्थे, “धरहराको पुनर्निर्माण प्राथमिकतामा पर्नुपर्छ ।”
धरहरा पुनर्निर्माणको प्राथमिकतामा पर्नुपर्छ भन्ने कुराको विरोध मैले पहिले नै गरेको थिएँ ।
“धरहरा फेरि नबनाेस् भनेर सायद कमैले साेचे हाेलान् । म तिनमा पर्छु जाे धरहराको ठाउँमा स्मारक बनाेस् भन्ने चाहन्छन् । म त अझ भन्छु- धरहराको अवशेषलाई संरक्षण गरियाेस् । नजिकै एउटा ग्यालरीमा धरहराका पुराना फाेटा राखिउन् । त्याे ग्यालरीले सन्देश दिओस्- हामी प्रकृतिलाई जित्न सक्दैनाैं तर प्रकृति सुहाउँदाे परिवर्तन गर्न सक्छाैं ।
मेराे परिकल्पना साकार नहाेला, धरहरा नै बन्ला तर जुन देशका जनता कठ्याङ्ग्रिदाे जाडाेमा भाेकै नाङ्गै मरिरहेका छन्, त्यस्ताे देशमा धरहराजस्ता संरचनाको कुनै अर्थ छ र ? के त्यस्ता संरचनाले ती आहत जनतालाई मलम लगाउन सक्छ ? सक्दैन भने अहिले धरहरा बनाइहाल्नु पर्ने केका लागि ?
माथिका प्रश्नहरू बाँकी रहुन्जेल धरहरा फेरि बन्नु सायद हाम्राे लागि अभिशाप नै हुनेछ । सभ्यता र संस्कार खाेक्रा अाडम्बर हुनेछन् । हामी इतिहासमा मानवीय संवेदना नभएका मानिसका रूपमा चिनिने छाैँ । हाम्राे संस्कृतिको धरहरा भत्किने छ, जति नै अग्लाे संरचना बने पनि ।”
Corruption prevails and we watch. Someone among us cheats us and we let it go. We lose common sense while giving priority to emotions over artificial structures. More than twenty lakh rupees have been raised on the fund for reconstruction of Dharahara. A new tower will be built that will resemble nothing with the past. It will fall some day. We will fall some day. Our descendants will cry looking at it. They too will lose their common sense as we have done. Another structure would rise. The cycle would go on.
सारांश: “नयाँ धरहरा नयाँ स्वरूपमा बन्नेछ । यसको निर्माणमा हुने भ्रष्टाचार आँखा चिम्लेर स्वीकार्नेछौँ । त्यो ढल्नेछ अनि हाम्रा सन्तती रुनेछन् । फेरि बनाउनेछन् त्यस्तै संरचना । फेरि ढल्नेछ ।”
नयाँ स्वरूपमा धरहरा बन्छ भनेर सरकारले पहिले नै भनेको हो । अर्थात्, यो पुनर्निर्माण होइन, नवनिर्माण हो । सर्वसाधारणले धरहराप्रति जुन लगाव देखाए, सरकारले त्यसैलाई क्यास गर्न खोजेको होला । तर सरकार असंवेदनशील किन ? नाफामुखी किन ? धनीमनीको मात्रै किन ?
सोचौँ त, २२ तले टावर बनाउने साढे ४ अर्ब रूपैयाँले कति भुकम्प, बाढी र पहिरोले पीडितलाई राहत दिन सकिन्छ ? कति विद्युत् र सिँचाइ परियोजना बन्छ्न् ? कति स्तरीय बाटाघाटा बन्छन् ?
हुन त हामी जस्तो, नेतृत्व पनि त्यस्तै हुने हो । अनि भ्रष्टाचारी कर्मचारी प्रशासन र फटाहा (लुटाहा) व्यापारी भएपछि जनतालाई नचाहिने कुरामा खर्च हुन्छ नै । पहिले नै “धरहरालाई म्युजियम बना सरकार, अर्को चाहिँदैन” भन्या भए तिनलाई पोस्नै पर्ने थिएन ।
उपन्यासको अन्तिम संवादले मन उथलपुथल भयो । यसपछिका वाक्यहरूतिर मन जानै मानेन । आँखाले पढेँ, मनमा आएनन् । यही संवादमा उपन्यास सकिएको भए हुन्थ्यो जस्तो लाग्यो । चलचित्र भएको भए त्यो संवादको अन्त्यमा बुढेसकालमा भेटिएका दुई बालसखा देवघाटको एउटा कुटीमा गएको दृश्य “टप शट” बाट देखाइन्थ्यो होला । किन हो मेरो मनमा यस्तै दृश्य कैद भइदियो ।
यो संवाद चानचुने होइन । उपन्यासकार अमर न्यौपानेको मन भेदेर उनलाई बालविधवाका विषयमा कलम चलाउन उत्प्रेरित गर्ने वाणी हुन् यी । त्यसैले पनि यही संवादमा “सेतो धरती”को अन्त्य भए हुन्थ्यो भन्ने लाग्यो ।
“भगवान् छ्न्” भन्दा वृद्ध ताराले आफूभित्रको भगवान् चिनेकी हुन् भनेर लेखकले प्रष्ट नलेखिदिएका भए वैचारिक बहस र विश्लेषण हुन्थ्यो होला यी तीन अक्षरलाई आधार बनाएर । उपन्यासकारले भने आफूलाई त्यो वाणी सुनाउने वृद्ध आमामै भगवान् देखे सायद ।
तारा, यमुना, पवित्रा र गोविन्द
यी चार पात्र एकै ठाउँबाट छुट्टिन्छ्न् अनि भेटिनछ्न् एकै ठाउँमा । भिन्नभिन्न शैलीबाट जीवन बाँचेका यी पात्रहरू अन्तिम क्षणमा भगवान् समीप पुगेका छन् । उपन्यासमा भनिएझैँ यी पात्रहरू नदी हुन् जो देवघाटरूपी तलाउमा बग्दै आइपुगेका छन् । अब त्यहाँबाट एउटा मात्रै बाटो छ । माथी । अर्थात्, मृत्युु । यमुना, पवित्र र गोविन्दसँग ताराको बिछोड र संगमले उपन्यास “फुल सर्कल” (Full circle) बनेको छ ।
वैवाहिक प्रचलन: केही अकल्पनीय परिदृश्य
“सेतो धरती” बालविधवाका विषयमा लेखिएकाले यसमा बालविवाहको प्रसङ्ग स्वतः आउने नै भयो । पाँच वर्षकी बालिकाको (ताराकी बहिनी) समेत विवाह हुने कुरा मनै चिर्ने खालको छ । तारा आफैँ सात वर्षकी भएकाले उसका लागि विवाह पूजा, खेल र सपनाजस्तो भयो । तर खेलजस्तो विवाहले उसको जीवन नै वर्वाद भयो ।
आफ्नो जेठो छोराको उमेरकी केटीसँग जब ताराको “बा”ले बिहे गर्छ, चकित हुन्छु । तारालाई समाजले अर्को बिहे गर्न रोक्छ । तर ताराभन्दा कान्छी केटी बिहे गर्न समाजले उसका बालाई उकास्छ । उसका बा पनि राजी हुन्छन् ।
यस्तो अनमेल विवाहले ल्याउँछ अनौठो परिदृश्य । एकै उमेरका ताराका जेठो भाइ र “सौतेनी आमा” खेल्छन् बिहेको खेल । उमेर बढेसँगै उनीहरूको जिस्काई र हिमचिम देखेर तारा गर्छे शंका । सौतेनी आमाको पहिलो छोरामा देख्छे आफ्नो भाइको रूप !
बहुविवाहका प्रसङ्ग पनि उपन्यासमा आएका छ्न् । एउटीलाई पाउन पहिले अर्कीलाई बिहे गर्ने यमुनाको पति अनि गाउँकी दुलहीलाई अनपढ भनेर “आधुनिक” शहरीया बिहे गर्ने गोविन्द दुवै विकृत मानसिकताका उपज हुन् ।
यौनिकता र मातृत्व
“कपडा नलगाउँदा सधुवा र ममा के फरक छ र ?” ताराले गरेको यो प्रश्न उनीमाथि समाजले लगाएको बन्देजको उपज हो । कुण्ठित उसको मनले सधैँ उसलाई पिरोलेको छ । उनमा सन्तान जन्माउने क्षमता हुँदाहुँदै समाजले बनाएको दायराले गर्दा ऊ सन्तान जन्माउन पाउँदिन । उनको मातृत्व समाजलाई अपाच्री हुन्छ । समाजले उनलाई बाँधेर राखेको छ ।
तारा को ठीक विपरीत छे पवित्रा । ऊ समाजको जञ्जीर तोडेर नर्तकी, वेश्या, र एकल आमा पनि बन्छे । जीवनको उत्तरार्धमा ऊ कुण्ठारहित जीवन बाँच्दछे । पवित्राका भोगाई र यमुनाको वैवाहिक जीवनको प्रसङ्गहरूले ताराका कुण्ठित मनको वेदना छ्ताछुल्ल पारिदिएका छ्न् ।
उपन्यासमा केही कुराहरू दोहोरिएका जस्ता लाग्छन् भने केही कुरा अधुरा । जस्तै, यमुनाको यौन जीवनका कुराहरू दोहोरिएर आएका छन् । त्यस्तै, एकपटक आफ्नी बहिनी भेट्न भनी गएकी तारा बहिनीको घरै पुग्दिन । उता, वर्षौँदेखी हराएको ताराको कान्छो भाइ देवघाटमा आइपुग्छ तर उसको कहानी थाहा नपाउँदा त्यो कुरा नै नभनिएको भए हुन्थ्यो जस्तो लाग्छ ।
सामान्य कथा बोकेको सामान्य शब्दहरूमा लेखिएको “सेतो धरती” सामान्य उपन्यास भने होइन । लेखक न्यौपानेले भनेझैँ यो अनुभूतिमुलक आख्यान भएकाले नै यो सशक्त बन्न सकेको हो ।