On July 22, 2017, Quora users of Nepal met for the first time at Taragaon Museum. John Shrestha (Yaatri) and Swapna Bizness had organized the programme on a very short prior notice via Quora and Facebook.
Until I reached Taragaon Museum that day and met Mahesh and John, I was dubious there was any programme. During the introduction session that day, John said how he conceived the idea for a Meetup in Nepal.
One day, he stumbled upon an answer in Quora which described a Meetup in a city of India. John was baffled. “Can we organize such a programme in Nepal?” He thought and found out how he could gather people.
“We had not expected more than eight participants,” he said. “But the overwhelming number of people interested in the event stumped me.” The number of interested people had reached over 200 within the few hours. It was unexpected because the number of active Quora users was very few. Probably, the phrase “first ever” had attracted people.
“I had thought of calling some people to a public park like Ratna Park but for 200 people, it would not work. The 1st Quora Meetup had to be exciting.”
He sought for sponsors, found Swapna Bizness. He looked for an interesting place and found Taragaon Museum. It is an art museum ran by Taragaon Hotel (Hyatt Regency). Despite that many interested people, only 39 gathered. John was relieved.
That day, all of them were strangers to me but strangely, everyone seemed familiar. We immediately bonded. That was the first time I had such an experience.
I was waiting for another Meetup to occur soon and the date had been decided but was cancelled because Quora announced the first ever official Quora World Meetup.
So, on November 11, 2017, the first Quora World Meetup was held in King’s College, Kathmandu. The original location was the Taragaon Museum but unfortunately it had been booked.
It took me no time to find King’s College. I could see it in front of my eyes, but the road I took never ended. I was walking along the left bank of Dhobi Khola. I had to return back, cross the bridge at Bijulibazaar and take the road on the right bank. I nearly missed the introduction session.
The second session was the Question/Answer session that was in spirit of Quora. Some of the questions were:
1. Who was the most influential teacher in your school?
2. What incident in life has affected you the most?
3. Do you think we dream what we desire? (The discussion for this went for almost an hour. There were many different perspectives and knowledge. I learnt for the first time that dream interpretations were subjective.)
After a short break, the programme recommenced. During the break, I saw that Quorans have mutual respect for each other and yeah, Sulav Karki, who answers a lot of questions about Nepal is largely popular.
The final session included debates on two subjects:
1. Should Kathmandu still remain the capital of Nepal?
2. Should Diversity Visa (DV) be stopped for Nepal?
Two groups were divided. We had a fewer number of people in our group but luck favoured us on both occasions as we won the toss and got to choose. We chose to support Kathmandu being the capital in the former and DV should be stopped.
In the first debate, when Sulav presented the points for Kathmandu remaining the capital of Nepal, Sushovan remarked, “Ten wickets in the power play.” Meaning, we had won the debate because they could not be negated by the opposition. And they really could not.
The second debate was more balanced. Several interesting points came up. It also took us to another question: Which is more important–an individual or his nationality?
At the end, there were no personal grudges, no fights, no accusations. The debate session ended as it should have. The Quora users of Nepal surprised me once again.
नेपालमा अहिले चुनावी चहलपहल निकै नै छ । नेताहरू घरदैलोमा व्यस्त छन् तर घरमै बस्नेले चाहिँ सायदै तिनका मुख देखे होलान् । खैर, “तिनीहरू नेता कसरी पो नेता बने हौ ? अनि हामी चाईँ कसरी बन्ने ?” भन्ने प्रश्न कसैलाई उठेको भए ती प्रश्नको जवाफ खोज्ने प्रयास यो प्रबन्ध हो ।
चरण १: यी प्रश्न आफूले आफैँलाई सोधेर नेता हुने गुण छ कि छैन पत्ता लगाउनुस् :
१. धुर्त हुनुहुन्छ ?
२. अरूलाई औँलामा नचाउन सक्नुहुन्छ ?
३. स्वार्थी हुनुहुन्छ ?
४. अर्काको मन दुखाएर हाँस्न सक्नुहुन्छ ?
५. आफन्त, नातागोता, साथीसँगी, गुरु वा जोसुकैलाई कोखामा छुरा हानेर अघि बढ्न सक्नुहुन्छ ?
६. जनताले जे भने पनि कानमा तेल हालेर सुतेजस्तो गर्न सक्नुहुन्छ ?
उपर्युक्त गुणहरू तपाईंसँग छ भने मात्रै तपाईं राजनीतिक नेता बन्न सक्नुहुन्छ । नत्र त तपाईंको यात्रा सुरु नै हुँदैन । भइहाल्यो भने पनि कतै कुनामा बसेर रुनुपर्छ ।
चरण २: प्रवेश
चरण १ मा पास नभए पनि चरण २ मा आउन सक्नुहुन्छ तर दिगो उपलब्धिका लागि चरण १ मा भएका कुराहरू आफूमा जतिसक्दो चाँडो लागू गर्नुहोला । फाइदा तपाईंलाई नै हो । अब जान्नुस् यो चरणमा के गर्ने:
१. तपाईं आफ्नै पार्टी खोल्न चाहनुहुन्छ ? यसका लागि विचार र (वा) कार्यशैली मिल्ने (यसमा अरूलाई थर्काउने कार्यशैली पनि हुन सक्छ) एकदम धेरै मानिसहरू भेला पार्नुपर्ने हुन्छ । अरूलाई कन्भिन्स गर्न पनि धेरै समय र उर्जा खर्चिनुपर्छ । समय अलि बढी नै लाग्न सक्छ यदि तपाईं चरण १ मा भएका गुणहरूलाई नजरअन्दाज गर्दै हुनुहुन्छ भने ।
२. यदि तपाईंलाई छिटो माथी जानु छ भने चाहिँ स्थापित पार्टीमा लाग्नुस् । धेरैजसो मानिसहरू ठूला पार्टीको सदस्य बन्छन् तर साना पार्टी पनि शानदार पो हुन्छन् त ।
एउटा उदाहरण दिउँ है त । मेरो कलेजमा थुप्रै पार्टीका भ्रातृ संगठन (भन्नलाई स्वतन्त्र विद्यार्थी युनियन) छन् । नेपाली कांग्रेसको नेविसंघ र नेकपा एमालेको अनेरास्ववियुमा लाग्नेहरूको संख्या धेरै छ । खिचातानी पनि यिनमै धेरै छ ।
साना पार्टीका भ्रातृ संगठन धेरै छन्, कार्यकर्ता थोरै । कम्पिटिसन शून्य बराबर । सदस्य बन्नेवित्तिकै माथिल्लो पद हातमा । अनि पावर पनि ठूला संगठन जति नै । हेर्नुस् त काइदा !
कुन ठाउँबाट राजनीति सुरु गर्नुहुन्छ भन्ने कुराले पनि फरक पार्दछ तपाईंको जिन्दगीमा । एक चोटि फेरि मेरो कलेजतिर आँखा डुलाऔँ । तपाईँ प्रायः देख्नुहुनेछ, नेताहरू :
नयाँ विद्यार्थीलाई भर्ना गर्न मद्दत गर्दै हुन्छन् ।
पुराना विद्यार्थीका समस्या समाधान गर्दै हुन्छन् ।
विभिन्न कार्यक्रम गरिरहेका हुन्छन् ।
यिनीहरू पब्लिक रिलेसन (Public Relation) बनाइरहेका छन् जुन भविष्यका लागि लाभदायक हुन्छन् । मेरो एक जना साथी छ जसलाई म जुनसुकै बेला फोन गरेर जुनसुकै काम लगाउन सक्छु । भोलि ऊ कुनै चुनावमा उठ्यो भने म भन्दिन्छु नि “यसले काम गर्न सक्छ” । उसले यसरी भोटर कमाउँदै छ ।
आफ्नो समुदायमा राजनीति गरेर अघि बढ्न चाहनेलाई चुनौतीको पहाड नै आउँछ । चरण १ मा भएका गुण नभए पहाड फोर्न गाह्रो हुन्छ ।
चरण ३: कुटनीति / चालबाजी
महाभारतमा शकुनिको भूमिका सम्झनुस् त । कसरी धृतराष्ट्र र उनका छोरालाई भड्काउँछन् । उनको धुर्त्याइँले पाण्डवहरू जुवामा मात्र हारेनन्, कुरुक्षेत्रको युद्ध पनि भयो ।
कुटनीतिक चालबाजी एउटा कला हो । राजनीती गर्नेहरूले आफूले भनेको ठीक, अरूले भनेको बेठीक भन्ने पारेर जनतालाई आफ्नो पक्षमा पार्छन् । अझ कतिपय अवस्थामा अस्थिरता ल्याइदिन्छ्न् ।
गेम अफ थ्रोन्समा लिटलफिङ्गर भन्छ:
अस्थिरता सिँढी हो ।
यसका उदाहरणले मेरो मुटु चिरिन्छ । हाम्रा नेताहरूले पनि अस्थिरतालाई भर्र्याङ् बनाएका छन् । जब स्थिरता आउँछ, उनीहरू माथि हुन्छन् । पुष्पकमल दहाल (प्रचण्ड) ज्वलन्त उदाहरण हुन् जसको बारेमा मैले चर्चा गरिरहनै पर्दैन ।
कोखामा छुरा घोप्ने काम पनि चालबाजीको विशेषता हो । एकजना मेरो छिमेकीलाई चुनावमा “टिकट” दिने वाचा गरियो । पक्का आउँछ भन्दै बधाई दिने पनि भेटिए ।
मनोनयनमा भने उनको नातेदारको नाम आयो । ती नातेदारले विरोध गरेनन् । मनोनयनमा हेराफेरी गर्न सक्नेलाई ती नातेदारले हातमा लिएछन् । यसरी आफन्तलाई पनि धोका दिन सके तपाईंको राजनीतिक यात्रा उकालो लाग्नेछ । शुभकामना !
चरण ५: अरूले जेसुकै भने पनि “बाल” नदिने
अरूले तपाईंको गल्ती औँलाइदिए भने तिनको औँला काटिदिनुस् । यो त तपाईंले सुनेको प्रमाण पो हो क्यारे ! यसो गर्नुस्, सुन्दै नसुन्नुस् । हुन त यो गुण तपाईँमा पहिले नै छ । जति गाली गरे पनि, जति सरापे पनि, एउटा कानबाट छिरेको कुरो अर्को कानबाट निकालिदिनुस् । यसो गरेपछी न अरूको पिर, न प्रेसरको चिन्ता !
१. यी चरणहरूलाई नजरअन्दाज गर्न त तपाईं राजनीतिक परिवारमा जन्मिनुपर्छ । बा प्रभावशाली थिए भने त उनले बसाएको जगमा चुनावैपिच्छे जीत दर्ता भइहाल्छ ।
२. माथि उल्लिखित चरण र गुणहरूमध्ये पब्लिक रिलेसन र सानो पार्टीबाट उक्लिने उपायबाहेक अरू सबै व्यङ्ग्य हुन् । सिधा भन्ठानेर त्यसै गर्नुभो भने मलाई अवगाल नआओस् !
अझै सजिलो बनाइदिन्छु । यी काम नगर्नुस् :
नकारात्मक चालबाजी नगर्नुस्
कोखामा छुरा नहान्नुस्, जेल पर्नुहोला !
रचनात्मक प्रतिक्रियालाई आत्मसात् गर्नुस्
३. नेतामा हुनैपर्ने दुई कुरा हुन् : ज्ञान र बोल्ने क्षमता । यी दुईलाई प्राथमिकता दिनुस् ।
The question I asked last week while the alliance was declared. I was shocked. I mean, how could a party that is in the government (CPN Maoist Centre) decide to work together with the party that is a staunch opposition of the government (CPN-UML)? But Mr Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda) said:
“Politics is a game of probabilities to a huge extent.”
As far as I understand Nepali politics, the probability of Maoist Centre and UML coming together was extremely low. Not long ago, Mr Prachanda had broken an alliance with Mr KP Sharma Oli, almost filed an impeachment and Mr Oli gave a resignation from the PM. Not only did the Maoist Centre break the coalition, they went ahead and supported Mr Deuba.
We got another former PM Dr Baburam Bhattarai in this alliance. He had broken up with the Maoists, because of his bitter experiences with Mr Prachanda but he’s back joining hands with him.
What was going on? I think:
1.Polarization: Polarization has often been termed as negative but we always expected fewer political parties, didn’t we? This election-time polarization is most probably a step into that stability we wanted. However, this is not a complete polarization. Maoists did not leave the government to make this alliance. If this was a complete polarization based on political ideologies, I think we would be alarmed.
2. Selfish interests: The political leaders and parties of Nepal do everything for the “sake of the nation and the people”. Have we progressed though? The “leftists”, while making the alliance, again said that this is an important step in stability. I’m skeptic. Look, this is just an alliance, not unification. The larger probability is that after the elections are conducted and winning a large number of seats, Mr Prachanda, Mr Oli and Dr Bhattarai will play the same old blame-game, break the alliance and we’ll fall into instability again. I believe not many Nepalis will say, “We didn’t see that coming.”
3. Politics between the three major parties: The NC and the UML led government were polar opposites during the blockade we faced. UML (particularly the then PM Mr Oli) blamed it on India completely, went on against even genuine demands of Madhesh. Very few people remember that it was continuity of the stance taken by Late Sushil Koirala while he was the PM. After Mr Koirala’s resignation, NC stated it was not a blockade at all. Mr Deuba rose to power following Mr Koirala’s death. He showed an affection with the Madhesh. It was important in NC’s victory in Province 2.Maoists, showing the behaviour of opportunists, wanted to capitalize on that by making an alliance with NC but it did not bear fruit. Now they make alliance with the party that won the largest number of seats in the local level. I believe it’s the alliance that ensures survival of the Maoists and helps Mr Oli gain a upper hand in politics for at least a couple of years to come.
What could happen?
1.Communists win: While it seems good for us that one of the major political ideology becomes victorious, I’m a bit scared. Why? These Communist parties of Nepal are not the communists that are against democracy and capitalism but they still stick to the term because it lures common people. However, the US, NATO and the EU look upon even the word “Communist” against Democracy. I’m scared that they will try creating instablity if they see “Communists” running the Nepali government.
2. Political Stability at least for some years: The Constitution prohibits impeachment of the PM for the first three years but it does not prohibit breaking of political alliances or coalition and it also does not prevent the PM from resigning. I think this will be again used as a tool for instability. With an alliance of larger parties, it might be more stable but will they stick together for long? I doubt.
I am dubious that everything will be nice henceforth and there will be a political stability.
I am scared about world-view regarding the “Communist” victory.
I believe this alliance is temporary. If it becomes long-lasting, I would be positively shocked and smile from ear to ear.
And yeah, I didn’t mention it above but this alliance could be a way for the UML to use government resources. Who knows?
Kite flying was a sort of “national sport” during Dashain some years back. The tradition is now almost dying. I don’t even see kites in shops these days.
Amidst the chaos and constant rush, I stumbled upon these cute fellows at around koteshowr area trying to fly kite even when the flow of the wind was very subtle. They happened to be playing in groups and constantly pulling each other’s leg. Watching them play actually triggered my memories and took me back to my childhood days and made me realize how we people are forgetting our lives beyond social sites.
I still remember me and my folks gathering up as soon as our Dashain vacation begun. We used to play cards, ‘okkhar’, ‘Langur burja’ and fly kites. Dashain, for us, was a chance to gather up and play for whole day till night, no one would ever tell us anything because we’re on vacation! Back in the days, we would see many kites in the sky which entails dashain vibes. We could easily identify the kite flyer through…
Alarm at Quarter to Four in the Morning (3 : 45 a.m.)
The word “alarm” is actually related to a sudden fear, whether it be a feeling or device. What was the fear that the alarm at quarter to four related to? Sleeplessness?Maybe. Loss of sweet dreams? Probably. Coming out of the warm bed? Most certainly!
Anyways, the alarm could not wake me up. I slumped into a sleep again. Mamu and baini had to make me wake up at quarter past four.
Within the next fifteen minutes, I was ready for the tour. Mamu gave us tea and biscuits. It is said, “Don’t worship gods and goddesses after you’ve eaten.” It is also said, “If the god within you is weak and unhappy, the god outside cannot help you.”
The biscuits got into the stomach easily but the warm tea killed the taste buds on the tip of my tongue. Before the tea could be finished, Mamu’s phone rang. The reserved vehicle had arrived. The four of us rushed down and reached the means of transportation in no time.
I don’t know what I should call the vehicle. It was larger than a micro-bus but smaller than a mini-bus. Maybe it should be called mini-micro or micro-mini? I don’t know. The seats were much more comfortable than that of either mini- or micro-bus. After all, it was registered for tourists (green number plate). We had become tourists today. Nineteen of us from Pragati Tole, Dhumbarahi went on this religious tour.
Hustle-Bustle at Chabahil
It’s Dashain time. Of course, Kathmandu Valley is going to be empty! Chabahil is one of the busiest chowks (squares) but I had not expected a jam at 5 : 00 in the morning. Not today.
I have been through traffic jam at this before during my exams and it was because of the Melamchi Project. This time, the scenario was different. Hundreds of vehicles were placed obliquely on both sides of the road, affecting the smooth movement. These vehicles were moving to different places out of the valley. It took about fifteen minutes to come out of that traffic jam.
People People Everywhere!
From Chabahil to Jadibuti, we saw people on the roadside waiting for vehicles. These were the people leaving Kathmandu Valley for Dashain. They were going back to their homes from this city of opportunities (opportunists’ city?).
The migration of people from villages to cities is a global trend. Dashain is the most important festival in Nepal and people wish to celebrate it with their families. This inspires millions of people who come to Kathmandu for jobs and education go back to their homes.
The biggest crowds were at Chabahil, Tinkune, Koteshwor and Jadibuti. People at Chabahil, Tinkune and Koteshwor might go both east and west. Those at Jadibuti though, were definitely going east some via the Araniko-BP-Mahendra Highway and some via Araniko Highway.
Some of the sights I saw are really depressing. The first among them is the condition of roads. The Chabahil-Gaushala section of the Ring Road of Kathmandu is one the dustiest roads of the entire valley in recent times. Similarly, between Dhulikhel and Panchkhal, Kavre, the road has deteriorated. Reason? Landslide, which does not look natural in most places. There are signs that those weak hills have been scraped by dozers. We’re destroying natural state of mountains without considering the future consequences. How stupid can we be?
The sight of people leaving Kathmandu during Dashain was also sad. It shows how centralized development in Nepal has been, how opportunities are low in other parts of the country and how Kathmandu itself runs. Now that millions of people have left the city, the city life will cease, basic necessities will be difficult to find, the number of public vehicles will decrease, and so on.
When you visit a temple in Nepal, you expect to see a grand temple in Pagoda style. Unfortunately, one of our destinations, the temple of Palanchok Bhagawati does not have roof these days. The same feeling I had while visiting Manakamana two months ago, resurfaced. The reconstruction is slow. To whom and why are we showing our misery? Can’t we reconstruct our heritage’s ourselves? Businessmen around these temples make thousands of rupees daily, donation is collected independently (didn’t see this at Palanchok), development budget worth millions of dollars is frozen every year. And still we say, we are poor. We’re not poor, our mentality is!
The fourth thing I must mention is the attitude of people. I find it strange that they speak a blatant lie and say, “How can I like in front of the Goddess?” This was the attitude of people who jumped the queue to get to the front. How can people lie so easily. Don’t they have a shred of guilt? Don’t they feel ashamed with themselves? What are they teaching their kids? They don’t even stop to think even for a second.
Maybe we are so accustomed to such scenes that we don’t look them as problems. But what are we doing and what are we showing to the world? Do we want to show to the world that we are beggars? Don’t we have dignity? Don’t we even have self-respect? If not, why are we leaving everything at the grace of others? Why do we try justifying our wrong and immoral actions?
Time for some Legends of Palanchok Bhagawati
There are two temples at Palanchok. One of the Palanchok Bhagawati which gives the district half of its name–Kavrepalanchok. The other temple is of Kalika. Legends say that they are sisters. Kalika is the eldest sister, Palanchoki, the middle and the youngest is the Chandeshwori at Banepa.
Kalika was extremely fierce. She wanted too much Bhog because of devoured a lot animals and people. To control her appetite, her head was cut and buried on the ground (probably by Palanchoki or enraged people. A headless idol represents this goddess but her temple too is damaged severely.
During Baishakh Poornima, a huge mela occurs at Palanchok and Banepa. Chandeshwori is taken to Palanchok on a palanquin to meet with her sisters.
Another legend says that Palanchok Bhagawati, Naxal Bhagawati and Shobha Bhagawati, the latter two of which are in Kathmandu, are sisters and Palanchoki is the eldest. They are believed to have been carved by the same sculptor.
Somewhere between Palanchok and Dhulikhel
Although the line at Palanchok Bhagawati was long, we worshipped the goddess in less than an hour. After some grocery shopping, we went Nala Bhagawati at Banepa.
The day had become very hot but we lacked water. We saw a tap on the side of the highway between Palanchok and Dhulikhel. A locked tank that tapped the spring and made the water cool was also installed. The water cooled our heated bodies and even quenched hunger to some extent.
At Nala Bhagawati
Although the line at Palanchok Bhagawati was long, we worshipped the goddess in less than an hour. After some grocery shopping, we went Nala Bhagawati. This temple was grander, four-storied and looked unaffected by the earthquake. A pleasant sight.
The foundations of Nala Bhagawati was made in the year 1677 Bikram Sambat (B.S.) by the king of Bhaktapur Jagajyoti Malla. Twenty years hence, the first storey was made by Jagat Prakash Malla. The second storey was made in 1699 and the third in 1703. The fourth storey and the golden pinnacle were made by Devanand, a rich man of the Nala area and his sons. The idol of the Goddess is golden and has eighteen hands.
This was unexpected. Sanga is the border between Bhaktapur and Kavre districts or in other words Kathmandu Valley and Kavre district. It is a Bhanjyang (saddle) to the east of Kathmandu Valley. Here, on a hillock stands the tallest statue (144 ft. tall) of Lord Shiva in Nepal.
The journey back home was pretty smooth except a jam at Jaya Bageshwori. The usual problems of dust, smoke and traffic jams do not seem to end. At around three o’clock, our religious tour came to an end.
We humans have always been guided by two fundamental systems: Faith and Science. Faith implores us to live life as it is and accept what comes in life as the will of God or fate. It has its own pros and cons, which I shall not discuss here. Science, on the other hand, urges us to transcend the boundaries that are created by our surrender to the fate. The advancement in medicine and technology is the result of inquisitive minds who studied the nature and imagined what else they could do with the knowledge they gained. They also disseminated the knowledge they obtained so that it would not be lost with time.
Suppression of knowledge and scientific inquisition in Europe during the Middle Age (5th to15th century) led to numerous wars, widespread famine and submission to fate. During this period in the history of humanity, also known as the Dark Age, several scientific discoveries are said to have lost. Scientists were termed “heretics” by the Church and were executed. The Renaissance Period, of which the Republic of Florence and Leonardo da Vinci are central, gave rise to art and through it, promotion of scientific discoveries, inventions and rediscoveries.
In the ancient Indian sub-continent (most of the times attributed to the Indus Valley Civilization), the Vedas and Upavedas, and later the Upanishads promoted the culture of scientific and logical discourse. Proverb such as Vaade Vaade Jaayate Tatwabodha (वादे वादे जायते तत्वबोध:), i.e. knowledge is gained through debates is alone sufficient to understand the importance of discourses in order to discover the truth of the world. The knowledge however came under the control of few people on the administration for centuries. The lack of effective dissemination of the ancient wisdom has created a lot of problems in the sub-continent.
Scientific discoveries have made things possible that were treated only as imagination in the past. The discovery of sea-routes brought people closer, the invention of aeroplane reduced the time for the journeys between different parts of the world, the invention of telegraph and telephone changed the way messages were shared. On the basic principles of navigation, aerodynamics and telecommunication, the humanity has moved from the Age of Cultivation to Age of Global Communication.
Not just that, humanity has also given up the instant submission to fate. In the Dark Age, Black Plague killed thousands of people in Europe. Venice, because of the lack of burial grounds, suffered the most. Instead of contemplating that the disease was spreading through the canals, they believed they were suffering the wrath of God and their loss was God’s will. In the modern age, humans do not readily submit to Faith when they encounter diseases. They investigate the disease, their causes and work on the vaccines and inoculation.
As students of Geology, a branch of science, we have gained some fundamental knowledge about the Earth and how it works during the four-year B.Sc. programme. We have learnt to observe the rocks and soils, to ask what they are and why they are there. We have familiarized ourselves with the Earth processes and the benefits and the problems they bring. We have studied about natural hazards and some ways to mitigate them. We can strive to learn more and publicize what we know. We can make the world a better place.
There is no doubt that the Earthquake of 2072 B.S. (2015) gave rise to a mass awareness about how that particular earthquake occurred. Some people used to say, with much politicisation, “There are two plates: Indian and Chinese. The Indian plate moves to the North to encroach the Chinese plate. Nepal is in middle. That was why the earthquake occurred.”
While I myself tried to remove politics whenever I could, there is a mass of people who believe the above statement to be true. They are right that Nepal lies in between two plates. But most of them are not aware what “plate” really is and that the Earth’s lithosphere is made of a number of plates. As a student of Geology, I feel that we have a lot to do to make the public aware of what the plates are and how they are formed.
We, ourselves however should be ready to face skepticism. Science is not a belief system. Whenever scientists come across hypotheses and theories, they first question, “Is it true? What are the evidences?” A hypothesis can become a major theory if evidences support it. The theory of Plate Tectonics is a common example. If the evidences from submarine navigation and Paleomagnetic studies had not been available, the theory would still have remained a hypothesis. Similarly, if a new hypothesis can challenge and prove that it is stronger than an existing theory, the existing theory, even if popular, will be discarded.
Many people put a blame upon science for the problems we’ve been facing. Sure, guns and bombs have been developed by science and are being used to inflict terrors. Nuclear weapons have threatened the existence of our dear home itself. The knowledge of making explosives and harnessing nuclear energy was not bad itself. Gunpowder and dynamite were used in construction works, and nuclear energy has become an important source of energy in many nations. That’s why I firmly believe that it’s not science that is faulty. The fault is on our crooked desire of using knowledge that we have.
In short, as a student of science, I appeal to everyone to gain right knowledge from the nature, from each other and from what our ancestors have passed on to us. I urge everyone to deliver the knowledge to the public and to the generations to come. Because only with the right knowledge, we the make the world a better place.
[The above article was intended to be the editorial for GEOWORLD Students’ Magazine, Vol. 8, 2017. It was heavily cut in the magazine for the sake of relevance and space]