लेखक गनेस पौडेलको फेसबुक पोस्टले नेपाली साहित्य प्रकाशनका बारेमा उजागर गरेका प्रश्नहरू

हिजो साँझ कुमार नगरकोटी को नयाँ किताब आउनेबारे थाहा पाएँ । ७७७ पेजको, हार्डकभर ज्याकेट, झोला, बुकमार्क सहित मूल्य रू. २०२१ अरे । अनौठो चैं किताब एकपटक मात्रै छापिने रे । त्यसैले प्रि-अर्डर गर्नुपर्ने । जति कपि माग हुन्छ, त्यति नै छापिने रे । मार्केटिङ स्किम राम्रै होला किनकी चर्चा त निकै नै छ (सकारात्मक पनि नकारात्मक पनि) । फेसबुकमा यस सम्बन्धी सूचना देख्नेबित्तिकै “ओहो ! मूल्य धेरै भएन र? किन्नै नसकिने पो रैछ !” हीनभाव मनमा आयो । धेरैले यस्तै कुरा लेखेको पनि भेटेँ । केहीले आफैँ किन्ने, कसैले ग्रुपमा किनौँ भनेको पनि भेटेँ ।

बिहानसम्ममा मूल्यको विषयमा थुप्रै वादविवाद भइसकेछन् । अलि कम मूल्य भएको भए किन्थें भन्नेहरू देखिए । स्किम चित्त नबुझेर जोक बन्नु/गुनासो हुनु स्वाभाविक नै हो । यसैबीच यस्ता गुनासाका बारेमा अर्का लेखक गनेस पौडेलको को एउटा पोस्ट देखापर्यो फेसबुकमा । उनको ७ बुँदे पोस्टले नेपाली साहित्यमा रहेका केही समस्या उजागर गरेको छ ।

यो फोटोको ठाउँमा लिंक नै इम्बेड गरेको थिएँ । लेख्दा लेख्दै ढिलो भो, अकाउन्ट डिएकटिभेट गर्नुभएछ* ! धन्न स्क्रीनसट थियो !!

१. बुँदा नम्बर १ मा पौडेल लेख्छन्

“एउटा कथित पूर्णकालीन लेखकले औसत ३ वर्षमा यौटा किताब लेख्छ ।”

कुनै पनि सिर्जनामा सर्जकको कति मिहिनेत र खर्च परेको हुन्छ भन्ने लेखाजोखा गर्न असम्भव नै हुन्छ । पूर्णकालिन लेखकका लागि त लेख्नु सौख मात्र होइन, माम खाने दाम पाउने काम हो । परिश्रमको उचित पारिश्रमिक पाउनु श्रमिक अधिकार पनि हो । तर लेखकहरूले उचित लेखकस्व पाएका छैनन् भनेर उनी स्वीकार्छन् :

“सम्झौता पत्रमा बढीमा २० प्रतिशत रोयल्टी दिने प्रचलन छ । तर त्यो प्रतिशत देखाउने कागज मात्रै हो । बेस्ट सेलरै भनिएका किताबवापत पनि नेपाली लेखकले औसतमा २ लाख बुझ्छन् ।”

केही दिनअघि साहित्य सम्बन्धि छलफल हुने एउटा फेसबुक ग्रुपमा लेखकले कति रोयल्टी पाउँछन् भन्ने प्रश्न उठेको थियो । त्यतिबेला सालाखाला यति पाउँछन् भन्ने पनि कोही भेटिएनन् । जे होस्, आज जवाफ भेटियो ।
तर पौडेलले सातौं बुदामा रोयल्टी सम्बन्धि कुरा आफ्नो अनुभव हैन भनेका छन् । प्रकाशकहरूले खुल्लमखुल्ला यी कुरा नभन्ने भएकाले उनी आफैंले नभोगी वा आफ्नो नजिकका अरू लेखकले नभनी थाहा पाउन असम्भव छ ।
प्रश्न उब्जिन्छन्:
क) आफ्ना किताब कति बिक्री भए र कति आम्दानी गर्दैछ, त्यसबाट आफूले कति पाउँदैछु भन्ने कुरा थाहा पाउनु लेखकको अधिकार हैन र ? एकएक हिसाब हुनुपर्ने हैन ? ‘विश्वास’को आधारमा बजार कसरी चल्छ ?
ख) अनेकौं कुराहरूको गर्न सक्ने लेखकहरूले सम्झौता अनुसार रोयल्टी नदिने फटाहा प्रकाशकको भण्डाफोर गर्नुपर्ने हैन ? कानूनी उपचारमा ल्याउनुपर्ने होइन ?
ग) पूर्णकालिन लेखकले पनि उचित लेखस्व पाउँदैनन् भने तिनै कथित पूर्णकालिन लेखक र प्रकाशक रोयल्टीबाट बाँच्न सकिन्छ किन भनिरहन्छन् ?
घ) नयाँ साहित्यकारलाई भ्रममा फस्न नदिन स्थापित लेखक र प्रकाशकले सहयोग गरेका छन् त ?


२. दोस्रो बुँदामा रिसाउँदै भन्छन् :

दुई लाखले के यौटा पूर्णकालीन लेखकको ३ बर्ष कट्छ ? कथित सेलिब्रिटी बनाइएको लेखकले दालभात खानु पर्दैन ? रोग लागेपछि राज्य वा चन्दादाता गुहार्नु के लेखकको नियति हो ?

लेखकलाई काम बापत माम खान पुग्ने दाम दिने (र बाँच्न सजिलो बनाउने) जिम्मा प्रकाशकको हो, पाठकको होइन । किनकी उनकै अनुसार पाठकले एउटा किताबमा २००० नै खर्चिए पनि “कथित पूर्णकालिन लेखक”ले बढीमा पाउने ४०० रूपैयाँ हो । ५००० प्रति विक्दा लेखकको हातमा २० लाख हात पर्ने रहेछ । तर यहाँ प्रश्न उठ्छन्:
क) ५००० प्रति बिक्छन् ?
ख) ५००० मात्र होइन, ५०००० प्रती बिकून्, हार्दिक शुभकामना तर एकाध साहित्यकारको ब्राण्ड भ्यालु बढ्दैमा साहित्यको ब्राण्ड भ्यालु बढेको हुन्छ र ? अरू साहित्यकारले पनि सजिलोसँग बाँच्न पाउँछन् ?
ग) प्रकाशकले साहित्यको कन्टेन्ट भन्दा एकाध जनराका साहित्यकारलाई मात्रै पो प्रश्रय दिन्छन् कि ?
घ) नयाँ साहित्यकारलाई प्रकाशकले यसैगरी चर्चामा ल्याउन सक्छन् ? कतै स्थापितलाई मात्रै त महत्त्व दिँदैनन् ?


३. तेस्रो बुँदामा पौडेल लेख्छन् :

मलाई लाग्छ, कुमार नगरकोटीको यो किताब एउटा सिर्जनात्मक मात्रै होइन आर्थिक प्रयोग पनि हो । यस्तो प्रयोगका लागि एउटा उत्कृष्ट किताब चाहिन्छ जुन कल्प–ग्रन्थ छ ।

नगरकोटीको फ्यान फलोइङ देखेर चकित भएको छु । रचना राम्रो पनि होला । तर,
क) लेखक, प्रकाशक र लेखकका मित्रगणले राम्रो छ भन्दैमा उत्कृष्ट हुने ग्यारेन्टी हुन्छ र ?
ख) फ्यानहरूले मात्रै पढ्ने भए पछि उचित समालोचना कसरी होला ? उचित समालोचना बिना लेखकको सिर्जनात्मक ग्रोथ कसरी होला ?
ग) लेखक र प्रकाशकले “खतरा प्रयोग गरेको छु” भन्नु भन्दा पाठकले प्रयोग बुझ्नु र त्यसलाई मन पराउनु राम्रो होला नि, हैन र ?


४. चौथो बुँदामा भन्छन्, “सबै किताब सबैका लागि हुँदैनन्”  र पाँचौँ बुँदामा थप्छन्, “यो एउटा दर्शन हो ” ।

सबै किताब सबैका लागि हुँदैन । मान्छु । जस्तो कि यो किताब मेरो लागि होइन । न बजेटका हिसाबले न कन्टेन्टका हिसाबले । यो किताब धेरै साहित्यझैँ मेरो आधारभूत आवश्यकता पनि होइन । तर यो दर्शन हो भने सर्वसुलभ हुनुपर्छ । जहाँ, जहिले, जसले पनि दर्शन बुझ्न सक्छ । दर्शनले कुनै विभेद गर्न सक्दैन । विभेद गर्ने दर्शन त दर्शन नै रहँदैन ।

त्यसै गरी  पढ्न चाहनेले पढ्न पाउनुपर्छ भन्ने मान्यताले नै पुस्तकको महत्त्व बढेको हो । सबै किताब सबैको लागि नभए पनि सबैको बनाउने प्रयास गर्नुपर्छ भन्ने मेरो मान्यता हो ।

किन्नेले किनिहाल्छ भन्ने सोच पनि एकदम खतरनाक हो । यसले वर्गीय विभेदलाई बढावा दिन्छ । अस्वस्थ प्रतिस्पर्धालाई प्रोत्साहन गर्छ । गुणस्तरमा समेत असर पार्न सक्छ । फेरि बजारले निर्धारण गरेको मूल्य मात्रै किताबको मूल्य होइन । जीवनलाई निर्देश गर्ने किताबको बजार मूल्य नभए पनि त्यो अमूल्य हुन्छ । जति धेरै पाठकको दिलदिमागमा बस्न सक्यो, किताबको मूल्य बढ्दै जान्छ, हैन र ?


५. छैठौं बुँदामा ग्रुपमा किन्दा हुन्छ भनेपछि त असमञ्जसमा पो परेँ । ग्रुप बनाउन सजिलो नहोला । बन्यो भने पनि साना गोजी भएका पाठकको गोजी जोड्दा पाठकको समस्या त हल होला तर के लेखकको गोजी भरिएला ? १० जनाले २००० रूपैयाँ दरको १ प्रति किताब किन्नु र १० जनाले ३०० रूपैयाँ दरको १० प्रति किताब किन्नुमा कुनमा बढी आर्थिक फाइदा लेखकलाई होला ? लेखकलाई लेखेर खान पुग्दैन भनेर सुरु भएको बहस आखिरमा त्यहीँ पो पुग्यो त ।


“कन्टेन्ट इज् द किङ” साहित्य र चलचित्रमा अक्सर भनिन्छ । कन्टेन्ट राम्रो भएन भने ब्राण्ड र कमाइ मात्रैले केही हुँदैन । उदाहरण हो केही महिनाअघि रिलिज भएको डिज्नीको चलचित्र “मुलान” । साहित्यमा पनि स्थापित लेखक (ब्राण्ड) को पछाडी दौडनु एउटा उपभोक्ता (पाठक) का लागि रिस्क हुनसक्छ । किताब पनि एउटा उपभोग्य वस्तु भएकाले अरू सामान किन्दाझैं किन किन्ने, ‘मलाई काम लाग्छ कि लाग्दैन ? मूल्य बढी पो भयो कि ?’ भन्ने प्रश्नहरू गर्ने अधिकार उपभोक्तालाई हुन्छ । नगरकोटीको ब्राण्ड पछि फाल हान्नेले ब्राण्ड भ्यालु बुझेका होलान् तर यो अन्धाधुन्ध उपभोगको भीडबाट अलग रहन चाहेँ ।

नगरकोटीलाई यो स्किमले कति फाइदा गर्ला ? नेपाली साहित्यमा आउँदा दिनमा कस्ता “प्रयोग” होलान् ? नयाँ साहित्यकारलाई कसरी फाइदा होला ? बढी मूल्य राख्दैमा लेखक मोटाउँछन् भन्ने तर्क कति ठीक हो ? आदि इत्यादि प्रश्नको जवाफ छिटै पाइने नै छ !

*पुच्छ्रे टिपोट: सुरुमा “ब्लक खाएँ” लेखेकामा फेसबुकमा पछि त्यसो होइन भन्ने कमेन्ट आएपछि सच्याइएको । “कुतर्क गर्नेलाई ब्लक गर्छु” भन्नुभएको थियो । “बाघ कराउनु, बाख्रा हराउनु” भनेझैं भएछ । क्षमाप्रार्थी क

सरकार ! नक्सा मात्रै निकालेर पुग्छ ?

(गणतान्त्रिक नेपालमा “सरकार” शब्द भद्दा लाग्छ । “सरकार” शब्द प्रयोग गरिरहँदा म आफूलाई भुईंमा बसेर गद्दीमा गमक्क परेर बसेको शासकको निगाह बक्स गरिरहेको कल्पना गर्छु । तर शासन संयन्त्रको लागि यो जत्तिको अर्को संबोधन छैन किनकी “सरकार” को चाकर नगरे सम्म जनताले जीवनका आधारभूत आवश्यकता पूरा गर्न सक्दैनन् । त्यसैले त्यही शब्दले सम्बोधन गर्न बाध्य छु ।)

२०७७ जेठमा नेपालको नयाँ नक्सा पारित भयो । भारतसँग विवाद रहेको कालपानी क्षेत्र लाई समेटेर नक्सा बनाए पनि त्यहाँको वस्तु स्थिति बारे बुझ्न सरकार तयार भएको देखिँदैन । साझा कथाले यूट्युबमा राखेको भिडियो हेरे पछि सरकारप्रति रिस उठेको छ ।

नेपालको नयाँ नक्सा
साझा कथाको साहसी टिमले बनाएको वृत्तचित्रको पहिलो भाग

कालापानी भू-भाग हाम्रो हो भन्ने कुरा भूगोलको आधारमा त गलत छैन तर त्यहाँ राज्यको अनुभूति खै त ? ज्यान हत्केलामा राखेर छाङरू सम्म पुगेको साझा कथाको रिपोर्टिङको पहिलो भागमा नै त्यहाँ मात्र होइन, विवाद नभएको ठाउँमा पनि राज्यको उपस्थिति शून्य देखिन्छ । पारि भारतमा दुई लेनका सडक छन्, बस्तीहरू मा आधारभूत सुविधा छन् , लगातार सुरक्षा गस्ती छ । बाटो निर्माण चलिरहेकै छ । यता पट्टि नेपालमा डरलाग्दा ठाडा भीर छन्, पहिरो छ । सुरक्षाकर्मीको नाम निशान छैन । ठूला मान्छे आएको बेला मात्रै ड्युटी चल्छ । सीमाना जस्तो संवेदनशील क्षेत्रमा समेत कोही सैनिक प्रहरी र प्रशासन नहुनुले हामीलाई देशका साँध सीमाको कुनै मतलब छैन भन्ने देखाउँदैन र ?

सीमालाई गम्भीरताका साथ नलिएको त आफ्नै आँखाले देखेकै हुँ सिन्धुपाल्चोकको तातोपानीमा । मितेरी पुल अगाडि साइन बोर्ड छ जसमा लेखिएको छ ‘यहाँ फोटो / भिडियो खिच्न मनाही छ ।’ सँगै एउटा सानो पोस्ट छ जहाँ हरबखत एक जना सुरक्षाकर्मी हुनैपर्छ तर छैनन् । पारि चिनियाँहरू पहरा दिएर बसिरहेका छन छन् । फोटो खिच्न मनाही भने पनि ‘उताको नखिच्नु यतापट्टीको खिच्दा हुन्छ’ भनेर यता बाट अनुमति पाइयो । सुरक्षाकर्मीहरू चैं गफ चुट्नमा व्यस्त थिए । पारिबाट कोही आयो भने पनि यता थाहा पाउने स्थिति छैन तर पारिका सुरक्षाकर्मी हाम्रा एकएक गतिविधि ध्यान दिएर हेर्छन् ।

त्यो भन्दा पनि अप्ठ्यारो अवस्था साझा कथाले बनाएको वृत्तचित्रमा देखिन्छ । सरकार, हामीले यहाँ नक्सा पास गरायौँ, खुशीयाली मनायौँ । तर आफ्नो स्वामित्वको, त्यसमाथि विवादित क्षेत्रमा सेना किन नपठाएको ? यत्तिका वर्ष उता बाटो बनिरहँदा किन चुप बसेको ? ‘मलाई कसैले रिपोर्टिङ गरेनन्’ भनेर प्रधानमन्त्रीले भनिसक्दा पनि रिपोर्टिङ गर्ने संयन्त्र स्थापना गर्न अझै पनि ढिलासुस्ती किन ? सरकार, अझै कति लाचार बन्ने ? नेपालको जमिनमा बसेका तर नेपालको सरकारले काहिल्यै नहेरेका त्यहाँका नागरिकले अपराध बोध किन गर्नु पर्ने ? बस्नु अपराध आफ्नो जमिनमा विवाद निम्त्याइ सकेपछि समाधानको पहल किन गर्न नसकेको ?

संघीय संसद्को नयाँ ‘लोगो’ जसले नेपालीको भावनामाथि उपहास गरेको छ

देशको कुनाकुनामा राज्यको उपस्थिति भए मात्रै देश बलियो र समृद्ध हुन्छ । नक्सा पास त संघीय संसदबाट भयो तर त्यही संघीय संसद्को लोगोले नयाँ नक्सा र जनभावना प्रति कटाक्ष गरेजस्तो लाग्छ । कालापानी क्षेत्रको समस्या समाधान नभएसम्म नक्सामा मात्रै राखेर गमक्क पर्न छुट छैन सरकार ! नक्सा सुरुवात मात्रे हो । यो पर्याप्त छैन । छिमेकीलाई बलमिच्याइँ गर्न नदिन हाम्रा संयन्त्र अझै लागेका छैनन् । केटाकेटी खेले जस्तो गरेर सीमा विवाद समाप्त हुँदैन । सरकार ! नक्सा मात्रै निकालेर हुन्छ ? झन्नै ६० वर्ष भो राज्यको उपस्थिति त्यहाँ नभएको । अझै कति ढिलाइ गर्ने हो ?

7 Days 7 Books

7 Days 7 Books is a challenge on Facebook that has been running among Nepali book-lovers for a couple of years. The aim was to promote reading culture. This year, it got an extra agenda-“Make books tax free!”

The addition of tax on imported books and those printed in India/overseas should have affected the publishers and distributors, but it looks like they won’t be affected. Instead they would hike the price and make things difficult for parents and students (who are in compulsion to buy textbooks from abroad), and for book-lovers. “The total removal of tax in books would help a lot of students,” a lot of us argued. #Makebookstaxfree got into the internet, and there were campaigns against the taxes at several places, of which Patan was the first. I could not go there because the time clashed with my language classes but I gave my moral support.

The 7 Days 7 Books Challenge says, “Post a book’s cover everyday for 7 days without any review or explanation.” But when I was challenged by my friend Gauri Bomjan, I had a strong urge to at least explain why I chose those books. I thought, ‘Anyone can Google book covers and post them. If I don’t explain, people will not be attracted.’ But later I accepted the challenge as it was to see if I can be wrong. Since the challenge is completed, I now list the 7 books that I posted (all of which are Nepali) along with answers to “Why I chose them?”

Day 1: मोती र गुलाफ (My Translation: Pearls and Roses) by Shivahari Adhikari

I received this book when I was in Class 1 as a prize in a poem recitation contest. This book has 6 folk tales from 6 countries. This book is close to my heart, and since it came back to me after remaining at one of my neighbours for several years, my mother did not allow anyone to take it away.

Day 2: बनारसमा बेचिएकी बहिनी (My Translation: A Sister sold in Benaras)–Nagendra

We did not have book-shelves as there was no space in our house. (We still don’t have much space but we got our first book-shelf last week, thanks to my parents.) So, those days, books were stored in an old carton box. I used to extract books and magazines from it time and again. I found this book in that box when I was in Class 8 while we were shifting to our neighbour’s on rent (we were building a bigger house where our old small house was). Before reading this book, I thought essays were always factual with very little chance of bringing in fiction or personal opinions. This book changed my thought.

I have a deep respect for this book as a Guru for my essays and blogs. It has inspired the way I evaluate situations and people, and I have no shame in saying that Nagendra’s writing style has inspired some of my writings.

Day 3: धुवाँ (Translation: Smoke) by Atma Ram Sharma

My father got this book from his friend (the author). I read this book several times during my vacations during my childhood. I had forgotten it completely until I found it while looking for books to post for the challenge. The story collection has several stories of sorrow. I have never read it as an adult. So, the challenge has reminded me that I should read it again.

Day 4: एउटा कथा भन्नु न हजूरआमा (My Translation: Grandma, Please tell a story) by Ramesh Bikal

Ramesh Bikal is a writer who has written stories for all age groups. This books for children are noteworthy for their mythical and magical elements. My mother gave this book when I was in 15. I fell in love with the stories instantly. But as I haven’t read it for a long time, I have forgotten them. Another book in the to-read-again list.

Day 5: जंगबहादुर (Junga Bahadur) by Shree Krishna Shrestha

I read parts of this book in Sadhana Magazine. I read it last year in free times during my trip to Japan and wrote a review in Nepali. I looked for information on the author but could not find him then. After I posted this photo for the challenge, my teacher Nir Shakya wrote that Late Mr Shree Krishna Shrestha was a chemist and was also the Head of Water Resources Department. I had a mixture of emotions as I got some real info about the author after so many years, but after his demise.

Day 6: घनचक्कर (Ghanachakkar) by Sanjeev Upreti

Ghanachakkar is a crazy ride with one of the craziest narrators of all time. Set during the insurgency period Kathmandu, this novel is a psychological experience. I got this book as a prize in Class 9. I finished the book within five hours the day I got it, leaving me in hallucinations and confusion. I have read it several times since and each time I have found something new.

Day 7: लिखे (Likhe) by Sharad Poudel

I read some chapters of this book in Nawa Yuwa magazines of the late nineties. As with Junga Bahadur, I bought it immediately when I saw it in a book store. This novel shows real struggles of the so-called “untouchables” in a small village in the Western District of Baglung. The dialect, the life-style and the social problems have been captured so well that Likhe’s struggles in his young age can make one cry.

At the end, I realized that it is possible to attract readers to books by just showing the photos. So, why a long post as this? Because, (1) I can’t find peace until I write this and (2) I hope I can attract more readers through this article.

Book Review: Dr Sanduk Ruit’s biography could have been brilliant but it lacks lustre

The first time I had heard the name of Dr Sanduk Ruit was in 2006 when he was awarded with the Magsaysay Prize. As uncommon his name sounded to me, the determination to help the poor by treating their eye diseases at an affordable price was also uncommon.

Despite his revolutionary work in treating cataracts and establishment of the famous Tilganga Hospital, Dr Sanduk Ruit is not as famous as he should be. This is probably due to his low-profile attitude, his appreciation for his team, and insufficient media coverage from Nepal. This is a book that helps one understand Ruit and appreciate his hard work in helping the helpless. It gives insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the beloved doctor. It tells about his family, his beliefs and his passion. These factors make the book valuable.

The book is interesting at first. The early life of Ruit engaged me. The hardships of his and his parents’ lives tells a lot about the struggles the blind have to go through in the rural Himalayas. However, their journey to Darjeeling, Dhankuta and later to Kathmandu makes them more privileged than most people in the area. The book has not emphasized this, however, which seemed quite odd to me.

Dr Ruit’s greatest achievement lies in the establishment of a cheap and efficient method of cataract surgery, and the book does wonderful work in capturing that. His work in the Upper Mustang is the best because the team had suffered a lot to reach there and establish a camp. In spite of all the hardships, they were able to restore sights of hundreds. This and several other camps are inspiring.

The non-linear narration gives the feel of watching a documentary. In some places, it is good but in many places, when the timeline shifts from one to another, I felt like I missed an important matter. The non-linearity also means that sentences, paragraphs, and at one instance, a case are repeated.

There are some issues in the book that disappointed me. One is the exaggeration of the caste issue. In the part where Ruit’s parents get married, class could have been an issue instead of caste. But it does not matter because it does not take the narrative anywhere. The wedding is accepted by both the families and there is no pride in them. In the chapters of his childhood in the school at Darjeeling, he is said to have been bullied and he was left alone because of his caste/race. A picture in the book itself, however, tells a different story.

When the doctors of Nepal Eye Hospital refused to follow Ruit’s method, caste system is blamed directly. The reasons are obvious: (1) Ruit’s method had not gone through a proper clinical trial, and (2) people are always sceptical about new technologies that have not appeared in peer-reviewed journals. To bring caste, in this case, was absolutely unnecessary.

This one part of Ruit’s life that made me sad and furious. Ruit pulled off a cheap Bollywood style stunt in order to make Nanda talk to him. This is the worst part, and the most uninspiring. The fact that Nanda, despite being great at nursing, left her job “to look after the family” is also uninspiring. She did what is traditionally expected of women in Nepal. But I felt they could have done so much more, had she and Ruit been together in all their camps.

I wish Nepalese journalists gave more emphasis on inspiring works of common people instead of conspiracy theories and political figures. It’s a wonder we did not have a Nepali book on Dr Ruit before this book came out. The translation of the book has also arrived, but Khagendra Sangraula has not been able to deliver an interesting retelling in Nepali. There is literal translation in most places, including titles, that put me off.

Summary

Book: The Barefoot Surgeon (Sanduk Ruit in Nepali Translation)

Author: Ali Gripper

Rating: 3/5

The Deserted Landscape

Down below is a river valley that widens in the southwest as it mixes with the Sunkoshi. This terrace is fertile, as evident from the cultivated farms. Less than 50 metres higher, where we stand, there is a different scenario. The soil is red, hard, and clayey. Trees, here are rare. Bushes are scanty and prickly. Cacti have reached heights of more than 3 metres.

A view from Ratmate

Are we walking on a desert?

When I say “desert”, the first image you usually come up is that of arid, sandy land with little to no vegetation, no water, mirages, and camels. You are not wrong. Your mind has what popular culture has engraved in it. The popular culture shows just one picture of desert that is actually a rare phenomenon. Only one of the things that you thought of is common in deserts: scarcity of water.

Does this area lack water?

We survey this area close to Ratmate[1] Bazaar, Sindhuli. The surface has been scoured by running water. These rills imply the relative impermeability of the soil. (We also confirmed the very low permeability by a simple infiltration test). This almost impermeable soil does not allow water to infiltrate (and so the rills form!). Thus, there is no possibility for occurrence of spring or well.

The redness suggested otherwise. We theorized, “Some time back in the past, the area could have been a lake, providing water required for oxidation of iron present in the soil.” Can we find iron here?

On examining the origin of the soil, we find allochthonous granite boulders. These boulders apparently settled here during a landslide event. When we produced “fresh” samples, we saw that the boulders themselves were stained in red. Only one of ten samples was unstained. A little further, we found quartzite, and saw similar scene. The red soil, the granite, and quartzite samples, all had high specific gravity. We could conclude: “The iron comes from both the granite and quartzite. This iron reacted with oxygen and produced haematite, a red and heavy iron oxide.

Later when I searched for the properties of red soil on Google, I found some useful information: 1) The red soil is generally acidic; 2) It is low in nitrogen; 3) It is suitable for rice plantation (because of water holding capacity) and some beans; and 4) The soil is naturally infertile.

The land we studied hosted some bushes, as I have mentioned earlier, but the lack of water, acidic nature of the soil and general infertility helped us conclude: “We were on a desert or were seeing some sort of desertification.”

What can lack of water do to villages? We observed this two days later.

That day, we climbed a peak of about 1400 m in Ramechhap and came down a trail. We had thought it would lead us down safely. But that was not to be.

A small landslide had occurred near the main trail. From there we could see a path that went downhill. As we walked, it suddenly ended into what looked like a same baari[2]. There was nothing but colluvium, but it was definitely cultivated in the past. (We had seen a cultivated baari some 10 metres above). We looked around and saw a heap of stones. This, we assumed, where the house was. After the owners left, people nearby might have demolished the house, taken doors and windows for fuel and heaped up the stones in order to take them later.

As we roamed around in despair looking for the main trail, we found four more similar scenes. This, we concluded, was a nice settlement until something forced them out. In our topographic map (some 26 years old), there are some clusters of houses. This, we concluded, was one of those clusters.

Finally, we found the trail but instead of taking us down, it took us up! Sometime later, it disappeared. On observing, the trail was still there but the grasses had made it invisible and slippery. Helping each other, we went down and finally reached the trail we had used to climb up earlier that day.

A Trail that Vanished

What drove off people from that place? The immediate thought was: landslide. But the slide looked younger than the desertion. Lack of water was another reason we discussed about. In that hill and in most of the hills in that district, there is scarcity of water. But was there another reason?

It did not come to me at that time, but the whole of Ramechhap was important place for the Maoists during the 10 years of civil war in the last decade. Many people in the district undertook the ideology and carried guns in the name of revolution. Some families were involved in entirety. Some families were driven away. Some left to safer places to avoid the war. Did the village we walked through die because of nature or politics? While I feel that the nature pressured the desertion, politics could have also played some role. The definite history, however, cannot be drawn unless we find the people who left the place.


[1] Red-soiled.

[2] a small land usually cultivated for flowers, fruits and vegetables by a single household

हतार

बिहान कलेज जान समयमै निस्कन खोजे पनि कहिले के मा कहिले के मा अल्मलिन्छु । हतार गर्दै निस्कन्छु । आफूलाई चाहिने चीजबीज छुट्छन् । ‘छुटे छुटुन् है !’ भन्दै पुग्छु गाडी चढ्न । गाडी चढ्ने कुनै निश्चित बिसौनी छैन । भित्री सडकमा न ट्राफिक चाप न त गस्ती । जहाँ गाडी भेट्यो त्यहीँ हात दियो, गाडी रोकिन्छ तर यति हतारमा हुन्छ कि पाइला राख्न नपाउँदै हिँडिसक्छ । लड्दैपड्दै सीट सम्म पुग्छु । बसमा तै बिसेक, माइक्रोबसमा त कहिलेकाहीँ बस्ने ठाउँसम्म हुन्न । कोच्चिन्छु । गन्तव्यसम्म पुग्न हतार छ ।

मैले मात्रै हतार गरेर भएन । चालक दलका दुई सदस्यलाई आराम छ । अघि म चढ्दा हुइँकाउने चालक दाजु अहिले कछुवाको चालमा अघि बढाउनुहुन्छ । “मान्छे नै छैन,” सहचालक भन्नुहुन्छ । म चाहिँ घडी हेर्छु अनि आत्तिन्छु । ढिला हुन लागिसक्यो ।

गाडीले वेग लिएपछि दङ्ग पर्छु । अचानक घ्याच्च ब्रेक लाग्छ । अगाडि हुत्तिन्छु । धन्न नाकको डाँडी भाँचिएन । “के गरी चलाको हौ ?” यात्रुहरू आक्रोशित हुन्छन् । “पचासी आइसक्यो” सहचालकको आवाज सुनिन्छ । पछाडिको गाडीले उछिन्यो भने पेसेन्जर पाइन्न । चालक दललाई हतार भयो अहिले चाहिँ । यात्रु चढाउने र ओराल्ने काम तीव्र गतिमा हुन्छ । वेग बढेको गाडी कतै जाकिने हो कि कसैलाई ठोकिदिने हो कि, सातो जान्छ ।

टुँडिखेल पूर्वको पुरानो बसपार्क नयाँ बनाउन हटाएपछि खुल्लामञ्चमा पुग्यो । केही महिनापछि भृकुटीमण्डपमा माइक्रोबस र अधिकांश गाडी रोक्न प्रतिबन्ध लाग्यो । अचम्मको कुरा चाहिँ के भने ती स्टपका प्रतीक्षालयमा प्रतिबन्धको केही दिनअघि मात्रै नयाँ रङ्ग लगाइएको थियो । अब जमलदेखि सुन्धाराका बीचमा कतै गाडी रोक्न पाइन्न । तर हामी यात्रुलाई नीतिनियमले कहाँ बाँध्छ र ? घण्टाघर ओर्लिनुपर्नेलाई जमलमा ओर्लिन हुन्न । अरू बेला ‘नियमसियम बाल’ भन्ने चालकदल सकेसम्म जमलमा नै ओर्लिदियोस् भन्छ । तर ढिट यात्रुका सामुन्ने प्रायः लाचार हुन्छ अनि झारिदिन्छ जहाँ यात्रु चाहन्छ । यस्तो दृश्य वागबजारको आकाशे पुल, भृकुटीमण्डप अगाडिको प्रतीक्षालय र शहीदगेटमा सधैँजसो बिहानपख देखिन्छ । दिउँसो ट्राफिक प्रहरीले बढी निगरानी गर्ने हुनाले यात्रुलाई गाली गर्दै र यात्रुको गाली सुन्दै भए पनि जमल र सुन्धारामा नै गाडी रोक्छ चालकदल ।

“कति हतार हो हामीलाई ?” आफैँलाई प्रश्न गर्छु । ज्यानलाई हत्केलामा राखेर, असुरक्षित तरिकाले बाटो काटेर, ट्राफिक नियमको पालाना नगरी हामी छिटो ठाउँमा पुग्ने नाममा यो के गर्दैछौँ ? यस्तो बेतुकको हतारो केका लागि ?

हामीलाई हामीले खोजेको ठाउँमै गाडी आइदिनुपर्ने, जहाँ भन्यो त्यहीँ ओरालिदिनुपर्ने, ट्राफिक प्रहरीको लागि मात्रै नियम पालना गरिदिनुपर्ने, आदि इत्यादि समस्याको मूल जरो अनुशासनको कमी हो । सरकारले सबै ठाउँमा एकै किसिमको नियम लागू गराउन नसक्नुमा सरकारको कमजोरी त छँदै छ, कतै न कतै हामी आम जनता पनि त्यस्तो कमजोरीका कारक हौँ । ट्राफिक नियमका सामान्य काइदा पालना गर्न नसक्ने हामी नेपालीहरू अरू नियमकानून पनि लत्याउँदै उन्मुक्त साँढेझैँ हिँडेका छौँ । यस्तो हिँडाईले हामी विकास र समृद्धिको गन्तव्यमा पुगौँला ? म त सम्भावना ज्यादै कम देख्छु ।

हतारिनु र हतासिनु कमजोर मनस्थितिको उपज हो । हामीभन्दा पछि स्थापना भएका देशहरू अगाडि बढेको देख्दा हामी छ्ट्पटिन्छौँ । उनीहरूले समातेको बाटो पहिल्याउन खोज्छौँ । तर तिनका योजना हामीले लागू गर्न सक्दैनौँ । उनीहरूका र हाम्रा चुनौती र अवसर नै फरक छन् । स्काइस्क्रेपरहरू उनीहरूका समृद्धिका प्रतीक हुन् भनेर हामी पनि समृद्ध देखिने हतारमा त्यस्तै गगनचुम्बी भवन बनाउन थाल्छौँ । यस्तो देखावटी अनि योजनाविहीन प्रतिस्पर्धाले कतै हामीलाई भड्खालोमा जाक्ने त होइन ?

अनुशासन बिना कुनै योजनाको सफल कार्यान्वयन हुनै सक्दैन । जसरी पनि अघि बढ्ने नाममा सोचविचारै नगरी बाटो खन्दा पहिरो खस्ने सम्भावना बढ्छ । त्यस्तै अरूलाई उछिन्न खोज्दा हाम्रा मूल्यमान्यता परिवर्तन भएका छन् । जो धनी देखियो उसलाई सम्मान गर्ने समाज अनि संभ्रान्त बन्न हतार गर्नेहरूका कारण भ्रष्टाचारको चक्रव्यूहमा हामी फसेका छौँ । आफूलाई अनुशासित राख्ने मानिसहरू कागको हुलमा बकुल्ला बन्ने अवस्था रहेसम्म हामी हत्पतको काम लत्पत गरिरहने छौँ ।

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

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 ।

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!