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

Advertisements

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 !

काठमाडौँ

घामसँगै अस्ताउँछ यो शहर
सुनसान भइदिन्छ, बढाइदिन्छ डर
निद्रा प्यारो, जाग्न सक्दैन हर पहर
मरेतुल्य बाँचिरहेको छ यो महानगर !

सपनाको भारी, प्रतिस्पर्धाको कहर
घोलिदिन्छ मस्तिष्कमा कालकूट जहर
जरैदेखि उखेल्दै आशा र रहर
मरेतुल्य भएको छ यो महानगर !

सहन नसकी अनेक प्रहार र अत्याचार
कराउँदै छ रक्षाका लागि गुहार
कसरी पर्छ खै नागरिकको भर ?
मरेतुल्य बाँचेको छ यो महानगर !

© सन्दीप्त

Fifteen Months Later at Manakamana

Fatigue of the fieldwork

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.

The Lottery

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.

The Journey

Selfie at Marsyangdi Bridge / Photo from Nirjal Pokharel’s Facebook

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

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
Worshipping still continues in the small temple. The floor is still being tiled.

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.

A group photo / Left to Right: Ishwor, Nirjal, Me, Angela, Sujata, Suman, Anish, Anil / From Nirjal Pokharel’s Facebook

पन्ध्र महिनापछि फेरि मनकामना पुग्दा

फिल्डवर्कको थकान

शनिबार, कार्तिक १० बाट सुरु भएको फिल्डवर्क रफ्तारका साथ चल्दै थियो । बुधबार दिउँसो मुग्लिङबाट दक्षिणमा रहेको साठीमुरे गाउँ पुगेका थियौँ अनिल, अनिश, ईश्वर र म । झन्डै चार घण्टा ठाडो उकालो चढ्दै गर्दा ठीक पारी पट्टीको डाँडोमा ठूलो बजार देखिएको थियो । मनकामना बजार हो त ? हामी एकअर्कालाई सोध्दै हिँडेका थियौँ । साठीमुरेका बासिन्दाले त्यो मनकामना बजार नै हो भनेका थिए ।

त्यहाँबाट मनकामना बजार झन्डै उस्तै उचाईमा छ भन्ने लागेको थियो । “भोलि मनकामनातिर पर्‍यो भने त हिँड्न गाह्रो हुन्छ,” सल्लाह गरेका थियौँ । यसपालि एम. एस्सी. पहिलो सेमेस्टरको फिल्ड आँबुखैरेनी परेको थियो । मनकामनाको “रुट” दुई टोलीलाई पर्ने कुरा थियो ।

थकानले गर्दा हो वा पहिल्यै गएकाले हो या अघिल्लो साल देखेको दुरावस्थाले हो, मनकामना जाने इच्छा खासै थिएन हाम्रो ग्रुपको कसैलाई । इच्छुक ती साथीहरू थिए जो पहिले गएका थिएनन् । अघिल्लो साँझ फेसबुक चलाउँदै गर्दा देखेको एउटा तस्वीरले मन केहीबेर तरङ्गित भने बनाएको थियो । “ओहो, मन्दिरको रूप त बदलिएछ” भन्दै खुसी भएको थिएँ । जाने लालसा भने पलाएको थिएन ।

चिट्ठा

बेलुका गुरुहरूले भोलिपल्टको रुटको जानकारी दिनुभयो । मनकामना पुग्ने दुई टोलीका लागि दुई रुट छुट्याइएको थियो । पहिलो रुट थियो । आँबुखैरेनीबाट मनकामना पुग्ने अनि त्यहाँबाट गोर्खा जिल्लाको आरुबोट, ज्यामिरे हुँदै तीनकिलो झर्ने । अर्को थियो, मनकामना पुगेर कुरिनटार झर्ने । मनकामनासम्म दुई टोली सँगै हुने थिए ।

मनकामना जाने रहर प्रायः सबै ग्रुपले गरेकाले चिट्ठा गर्ने सहमति भयो । अनिलले हाम्रोतर्फबाट चिट्ठा थुत्यो । मनकामनाको पहिलो रुट परेछ । अरू ग्रुपलाई पनि उनीहरूको इच्छा र क्षमता अनुसारको रुट परेछ । “माताको इच्छा होला,” मैले भनेको थिएँ ।

यात्रा

मर्स्याङ्दी पुल सेल्फी / निर्जल पोखरेलको फेसबुकबाट / बायाँबाट दायाँ: पहिलो हार – अनिल,एन्जिला, अनिश, अशोक – दोस्रो हार – निर्जल, दीपक,अस्मी, म, ईश्वर, सुजाता -पर- सुमन

आँबुखैरेनीको मर्स्याङ्दी पुल तरेपछि गोर्खा जिल्ला टेकिन्छ । त्यहाँबाट अरू साथीहरूसँग बिदा भएपछि हाम्रो टोली र निर्जल दाइको टोली दरौँदी तरेर उकालो लाग्यौँ । चट्टान देखिएको सडाक किनारमा काम सुरु भयो । केही डाटा लिएत अघि बढ्यौँ, सरहरूको निर्देशनअनुसार स्थानीयसँग छोटो बाटो सोध्दै ।

छोटो बाटो पनि छोटो कहाँ थियो र ? स्याँस्याँ फ्याँफ्याँ गर्दै उकालो चढ्यौँ । बाटोमा चट्टान धेरै भेटिएनन् । जति भेटिए ती तलका भन्दा खासै फरक थिएनन् । बरू धुलोको रङ्ग हेरेर तलको माटो कस्तो होला भनेर अनुमान गर्‍यौँ । डाटा लिने परिस्थिति भने थिएन ।

डाँडा चढ्दै गर्दा तल नदीले बनएको कुहिरो हट्दै गयो । सात-आठ सय मिटर माथी पुगेपछि बादल हामीभन्दा तल तैरिएको देखियो । उत्तरमा देखिए, सेता हिमाल । बाटा छेउमा सुन्तलाका बोट । केही दिनअघि बन्दीपुर जाँदा पनि यस्तो दृश्य देखिएको थियो । त्यही पनि “यस्तै ठाउँलाई स्वर्ग भनिँदो हो,” हामी कल्पित भयौँ ।

मनकामना पुग्नै लाग्दा हामीले मोटर बाटो छोड्यौँ अनि सिँडी चढ्यौँ । सुन्तला खाँदै माथि चढ्यौँ । फूलप्रसाद लिएर फेरि चढ्यौँ । सिँढी चढेर माथी पुग्न झन्डै आधा घन्टा लाग्यो ।

मन्दिरको बदलिएको स्वरूप

अगस्ट २, २०१७ तिर गोर्खा मनकामना शीर्षकको यात्रा संस्मरण लेख्दा साह्रै पीडा भएको थियो । त्यसबेला मन्दिरको अवस्था देखेर विचलित भएको थिएँ । भाग्यले भनौँ या माताको प्रभावले, मौका जुर्‍यो । साथीहरूसँग म पनि मनकामना पुगेँ, ठीक पन्ध्र महिनापछि ।

पन्ध्र महिना पहिले

पहिले जस्ता बेरेर, खट बाँधेर जीर्णाव्स्थामा देखेको “मन्दिर”को ठाउँमा अहिले लोभलाग्दो संरचना छ । ईँटको भित्तामाथि सुनको छाना छन् । अनि दोस्रो तलाको छानामाथि सुनकै गजुर । दिउँसो घाममा मन्दिर झन् टल्केको छ । मन्दिरको संरचना पुरानो छ तर सामग्री सबै नयाँ । पुरानै प्रकारका सामग्री राखेको भए पुरानै जस्तो देखिन्थ्यो भन्ने बिचार पछि मनमा आउँछ । त्यहाँ भने म निस्तब्ध हुन्छु; मन्दिरको सुन्दरताले मोहित ।

IMG_1841

मनकामनाको नयाँ मन्दिर

नयाँ संरचनाभित्र देवीको स्थापना भइसकेको छैन । गोर्खा भुकम्प (२०७२) पछि बनाइएको अस्थायी मन्दिरमा नै क्षमापूजा गरेर देवी बसाइएको छ । शनिबार (कार्तिक १७) मा घर आएपछि मामूबाबा भन्नुहुन्छ, “यही दशैँमा स्थापना गर्ने कुरा थियो त ।”

“जुरेन होला,” म भन्छु । मैले देखेको दृश्यका आधारमा निस्किएको निष्कर्ष त्यही हो ।

IMG_1843
भूकम्प यता पूजाका लागि बनाइएको सानो मन्दिर / भुइँमा टाइल छाप्ने काम भइरहेको छ

***
अघिल्लो साल मनकामना मन्दिरको दुरावस्था देखेर विचलित भएको मैले मन्दिरको पुनर्निर्माण छिट्टै होस् भनेर कामना गरेको थिएँ । उहाँको शक्तिमाथि प्रश्न र गुनासो पनि पोखेको थिएँ । यसपालि माताको बोलावट भयो । सायद उहाँले मलाई आफ्नो सामर्थ्य देखाउन बोलाउनु भयो । अनि यो लेख लेखाउन पनि नत्र त्यति धेरै उत्सुक साथीहरूको बीचबाट मेरो ग्रुप किन छानियो ?

मनकामना माताको नयाँ मन्दिर हेरिरहने मन थियो तर समयको पावन्दी पनि थियो । तीनकिलोसम्म पुग्न कति हिँड्नुपर्ने हो ? थाहा थिएन । तैपनि दुई ग्रुपका अनगिन्ती फोटो खिचेर हामी आआफ्नो रुटतर्फ लाग्यौँ

45282636_1884530991631097_4034300817363173376_n
धेरै मध्येको एक ग्रुप फोटो / बायाँबाट दायाँ: ईश्वर, निर्जल, म, एन्जिला, सुजाता, सुमन, अनिश, अनिल / निर्जल पोखरेलको फेसबुकबाट

धरहरा निर्माण: म मेरो देशको नेतृत्व र मानिसको मन बुझ्दिनँ

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 ।”

धरहरा पुनःनिर्माण- केही प्रश्नहरू (अप्रिल ३, २०१६

अङ्ग्रेजीमा पनि लगभग त्यही कुरा लेखेको थिएँ:

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.

Reconstructing Dharahara: Why use common sense? (March 30, 2016)

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 ।

पुस्तक समीक्षा : सेतो धरती

“भगवान् छ्न् नि !”

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 ।

Photo obtained from: Twitter.com/ageingnepal. No copyright infringement intended.

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 ।

***

अन्त्यमा,

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 ।

***

“सेतो धरती”

विधा: उपन्यास

लेखक: अमर न्यौपाने

पृष्ठ: ३७३