बाबुरामको दिल्ली तीर्थाटनका सन्देश

मैले केहि समय देखि यो ब्लगमा लेख्न पाइरहेको थिइन तर अब रेगुलर लेख्ने बिचार गरेको छु। मेरा लेखहरु यो ब्लगमा र अन्य अनलाइन साइटहरुमा पढ्न सक्नुहुनेछ। अन्यत्र छापिएका मेरा लेखहरुलाई म यो ब्लगमा लिंक सहित पोस्ट गर्नेछु।

हालै नेपाली अनलाइन साईट पहिलोपोस्ट.कम मा मेरो एक लेख छापिएको थियो। त्यो लेख तपाइँ यो लिंक बाट पहिलोपोस्ट्मै पढ्न सक्नुहुनेछ। यो लेख नेपालीमा छ।

नेपालीमा पढ्न नचाहनेहरूका लागि यो लेख अंग्रेजीमा यहा प्रस्तुत गरेको छु। पहिलोपोस्ट्मा छापिएको लेख को हु-बहु ट्रान्स्लेसन ता होइन तर यो लेख करिब करिब पहिलोपोस्टमा छापिएको लेखको अंग्रेजी भर्सन भन्न सकिन्छ।

An Outsider’s view

Issue of nationalism or pilgrimage – Maoist leader’s India visit

By looking at Baburam Bhattarai’s (herein after Baburam) face book and twitter posts, it is not difficult to fathom his state of mind. He is tired of listening to commentators. He is tired of gossips in media circle about his India’s travel. Quite clearly, he does not like if anyone preaches and pontificates on nationalism. And, to me, it is very surprising but quite understandable. You only have to step on his shoes for a moment to read his mind.

His recent comments have stirred the social media. In face book post, he clubs those people who are raising the issue of nationalism as the ones who jump to embassy’s parties for free ka daru (free alcohol). He is absolutely bang on target in dodging real issues. It is a classic tool adopted and used by politicians of all beliefs. They only have to point to another issue so that they can reduce the gravity of the questions and get a satisfaction of throwing a doosara (One of the variations of spin ball in cricket). By using such paintara (tricks), Baburam seems to be in a good mood to evade the question rather than trying to engage in a debate of what constitutes nationalism or patriotism for us.

Despite being close neighbours and having multiple social and cultural similarities, Nepal –India relation generates heated arguments when it comes to issue of “allowing our neighbour to play a role” in our domestic affairs. There used to be a time when CPN-UML was the torchbearer of this debate. In 2052 BS, when the Maoists decided to start their “People’s Revolution”, it was said that they had no options as the then Deuba Government even refused to glance their 40 points demand sheet where many issues were relating to India’s policy towards Nepal. After the start of the “People’s War”, Maoists’ enemy No. 1 was always the “expansionist” India. That was that time and we (or rather Maoist Party) have moved much ahead!

After Maoists joined the peaceful democracy, people slowly came to know that the inside story was something different. Though in propaganda, India was their enemy but in practice, Maoist already had a “gentleman’s agreement” with agencies of Indian government and in return, safe accommodation was ensured for the guests. After Maoists came to join the mainstream democracy, so many skeletons have started falling from cupboard that they are not in a position to form a consistent and guiding view on how Nepal should shape its foreign policy vis-à-vis India. By looking at the unfolding events, Maoist’s lack of clarity on foreign policy and nationalism is going to linger for quite some time unless they start doing early self-introspection.

This ambiguous display on nationalism is the product of Maoist’s pitiable situation back home. Firstly, the more “free and fair election” than that of 2008 pushed Maoists at the periphery of national politics. The choice that people made in a democracy cut short the luxury of the party which had just started enjoying the “fruits of people’s democracy”. Secondly, the current Constituent Assembly is hell-bent to promulgate a Constitution under consensus, if possible and if that be impossible, “under a due process” set in place by the consensus of all parties. Since Maoists are only the toddlers in democracy, they have not yet fully understood how democracy actually works. The party, whose democratic commitment is still questionable, does not stop to dream that they have the “birth right” to rule Nepal, to run government, to declare enemy, or alter the enemy and if public pressure mounts at any point of time, then, finally to promulgate a Constitution based on their whims and fancies. They naturally believe this is all kosher.

What Maoists have managed to understand, however, is that the very first requirement of democracy i.e. people’s votes are not on their side. In such a situation, they do not have any other alternatives than to seek a “divine intervention”. This desire of being intervened by a “prabhu” (word used by Pushpa Kamal once to refer “India”) has brought Baburam on a pilgrimage to India. Ordinarily, this should not be the issue of great fuss as in the past too, right from start of revolution; Maoists were getting blessed in India’s capital.

It will be interesting to see if the new God installed in Lutyens’ Delhi after May, 2014 has promised any intervention in due course. As the largest democracy in the world, I expect that Prabhu must have delivered little sermons on how humble one needs to be in a democracy. If that were to be the outcome of this trip, then, I would rate Baburam’s pilgrimage to India a very successful one.

Let’s wait and watch for few days how dialogues between the parties move ahead. That would give us a clear indication of what “Kosheli” (gifts) Baburam has brought from Lutyens’ Delhi.

By Rajib Dahal. (You can contact me at twitter: @rajibdahal, or via email to rajib.dahal at gmail.com)

पहिलोपोस्टमा नेपालीमा छापिएको लेखको पिडिएफ कपि चाही यहा छ बाबुरामको दिल्ली तीर्थाटनका सन्देश __ Pahilopost

Common Nepali’s anger through various facebook images – expressing through facebook

Today Morning, When I got up and opened my facebook page, my news feed line (how do you say like twitter timeline) was full of posts and pictures and images. I could read, see and sense the people’s disappointments and angusih over the failure of Constitutional drafting process and immature death of CA! May be even the death of democracy for sometime.

There were funny posts, funny status messages but all of them representating the painful reality of this country, outlining the foolish actions of so called representatives of peoples and naturally the anguish and hatred towards these bunch of thugs – the politicians.

I am not sure what is going to happen next in Nepal? All options are being deliberated, I am sure by State agencies and ‘nikamma’ politicians. But, one thing is sure that we common man have to be more vililant while exercising our political rights and being disciplined to curb disintegrating forces which are busy in spreading hate message based on, quite a few occassion, false historica facts. I am sure that will make me more busy in my blogging and in public discourse via social networkings and forums-online.

At this post, I  have all collected all those images (copied from facebook and pasted here) that I could see in my facebook page. The images, some may be little over the top and I may not approve it in terms of my thoughts and views. Some of the images also show the Maoist’s real faces and their brutal killings in the past. This should be a lesson for common Nepali Man in the future while exercising its voting rights.However, that is how people have expressed to show their anguish and therefore, I have pasted them here without any edit (Sadly, I could not copy the caption of some of the photos) . Needless to say, I have no copyrights over these materials and it belongs to respective owners.

For more meaningful and thought provoking sensible and civilised views, keep on visiting my blog.

The farcical Saga of Kantipur

(If any errors are there, I will do additional editing tomorrow and link to old posts tomorrow.). Happy Reading

This is the final editing to this Article with Updates in recent days. The development to date is Kantipur has apologized about this incident. Kantipur claims that it conducted its investigation and found Mr. Luitel ‘guilty’ of plagiarism. In its apology, Kantipur has said that it has removed Mr. Luitel from the responsibility of ‘Hello Sukrabar’, the famous youth supplement of Kantipur Daily. This is not clear if Mr. Luitel has been assigned back end job or has been completely terminated from the service of Kantipur Publications but that matters least here. Mr. Luitel’s letter as a Reader has also been published in Kantipur where Mr. Luitel has documented his reasons of not being able to quote the sources and has also apologized to the readers.

The Link of that Kantipur News on apology can be found here: http://epaper.ekantipur.com/showtext.aspx?boxid=145032109&parentid=20026&issuedate=1022012

It’s a very good step taken by Kantipur and the rise of social networking, hopefully contributes more in the future to caution Journalism Sector.

Some related blogs and facebook page on the matter can be accessed from friend bloggers and facebookers below:

http://www.mysansar.com/archives/2012/02/id/24508

http://storify.com/nepaldiary/plagiarism-ism

http://www.nepalnews.com/archive/2012/feb/feb06/news01.php

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150638052786948&set=a.433501021947.218551.688386947&type=1

The above facebook page was the first unacceptable reaction of Kantipur which was condemned by entire right thinking people including me below in my Original Post.

The Original Post is below with minor edits:

The question of standard of Nepalese Journalism has once again been exposed. You can ask me, “Was there any standard at all in the first place?”. I thought it had. It had, I thought, especially after an Editor of Kantipur, supposedly the largest selling Nepalese National Daily, promises on the public forum that he will come with some sorts of clarifications on the issues of plagiarism by Kantipur (Yes, plagiarism by Nepalese National Daily Kantipur and not merely by an individual Reporter). However, the Paper fails to respect the views of the Editor and in effect, shows the middle finger to the readers and Critics of the papers who tried to correct a self declared intellectual and spoiled brat on small values of Journalism and values of feedback of his readers.

Though I said the promise was made by the Editor on Public Forum, it was in reply to two followers in his twitter account and he can state that he made a private promise if he wants to. Since the promises were not directly made to me, he can well question my ability to question him. However, we see the editor of a national daily in many ways: a public figure and a responsible institution to the people and readers of this country as much as he would have liked our political leaders to be responsible. Otherwise, if editors are to lose the confidence of the readers and the people, the nib of their pen would not last longer and they lose all their ‘barking ability’ when situations demand.

Going to the root of the matter and to present the facts in a succinct way, let us revisit the few events that have unfolded recently and in a recent past.

The Friday Supplement of Kantipur Paper seems to be fairly popular among the Nepalese Youth and it seems to contain contemporary topics on social, political, technological, lifestyle and sports etc. matter in a light hearted matter. The Supplement named as ‘Hello Sukrabar’, being focused for the youth seems to be managed by fairly young and immature groups with questionable education and journalistic credentials. However, since the paper was directed at large to the youngsters, it could not have been under intense journalistic priority of editors, nor even the readers complained much on the content and language where everybody acted to be in the modern phase of ‘high and bye’ generation.

However, occasional discomfort of readers with the tone, language and content of the ‘Hello Sukrabar’ was heard here and there in the past. At this stage, if the Editor of the paper had applied his mind, he would have definitely checked the multiplying arrogance of sharp but brash group who worked for Hello Sukrabar. But, rather than putting the system in the place, even some of the relatively senior journalists came to the rescue and defense of that rash gang at Kantipur and perpetuated a persecution of readers’ views not on any rational argument but trying to show all the readers who are critical of the writings as dumb. This has definitely tarnished the image of Kantipur among the young readers who thought that Kantipur represents a temple of truth and fair views. Otherwise, if it indulges in such a corrupt practices, whole edifice and ethics of Nepalese Journalism will crumble soon.

The problem in Kantipur is not rash mind making mistake as nothing better can be accepted expected from them but when the seniors, instead of reprimanding the juniors, spring to their defense with a confrontational question to the readers like “what moral right you have to tell us when you have not seen the printing press”. This was the best Kantipur Joke ever we could have heard in the year 2011 and we thought it was over.

But, now, we realise Kantipur had saved the better one for the year 2012.

The issue was raised about the originality of Articles claimed to be written by Mr. Ashish Luitel, a self-declared intellectual by his conduct in public forum. The number of Articles, till date, that are under the lens of originality are more than half a dozen and the so called writer has been questioned whether he copied them from New York Times. The Articles are related to the technology Sector.

The young journalist, if he can be called a one, who is most probably still flying high due to his ambidextrous ability of copying from other Papers and translating them in Nepalese Language, has admitted in his Twitter Account that he has made a mistake but ‘unintentionally’. Now, it is time for aspiring journalists to know if plagiarizing more than 6 or 7 Articles can be called ‘unintentional’ what in earth would be intentional then?

Of course, the young journalist has not stated what mistakes he has done but has shown a turn around by saying that he appreciates the thoughts of valuable readers. It is very fresh in our mind that it’s not long ago that he treated readers not even with a respect that scum would generally entitled to. How come so much turn around? How did he take such turn around now? It is simply because he has been caught red handed and people have shown with comparison that almost 7 Articles Mr. Ashish Luitel wrote were actually plagiarized from New York Times Articles without any credit to original source. When the young celebrity Journalist was getting all accolades from the plagiarized articles, editor did not waste his time pondering about the unexceptional talent of a kid. oOr in my opinion, Mr. Editor was fully aware of the source of the articles but considered as if he was doing some sort of favor to Nepalese People by letting them to read in Nepali which otherwise illiterate Nepalese would have never been able to read from New York Times.

The murky nature of this matter raises several fundamental issues like what is the role of a paper in first place? Should not it promote new talents focusing on originality? And What should be the roles of editors? Are not they supposed to be the person who are responsible for choosing and deciding what will be printed in a Paper? Or the quality of Nepalese journalism is so low and editors are simply incapable, incompetent and are there only for namesake?

Well, giving a benefit of doubt to whole journalism filed, should we refine our question and ask Is Mr. Sudheer Sharma, Editor of Kantipur a simply incompetent man in helm of affairs in Kantipur who could not even detect 7 plagiarized articles being published in the paper? Even more incompetent to issue a genuine apology when the matter of plagiarism was brought to his attention? Or, is Nepalese journalism is stooping so low and making way for king of plagiarism to give a stardom in the short span of time?

The readers’ concerns should have been handled properly by the paper and after the Editor promised to clarify. However, the childish approach of Journalism was brought in focus when Kantipur issued a one line in its February 3, 2012 Hello Sukrabar that the source of Article published under ‘Wiki Tech’ should have been New York Times etc. and was omitted because of technical reason. This smacks of dishonesty.  in public and despises the readers. The one line which have been hidden somewhere in the bottom of one of those pages in very tiny letters fails to tell us:

A. How many Articles were published where Credit of New York Times was omitted? (We, the readers have found till now 7 Articles. But, the King of Plagiarism can accurately tell to his editor how many such articles were plagiarized.)

B. With what heading and on which dates such articles were published? Or how come the source of such articles were missing over the period of time?

C. Under Wiki Tech, only one authors plagiarized the articles and published them or Do Kantipur have band of plagiarizers? to write Articles under different ‘talented’ journalists?

D, Especially, how they realized that the source is missing? And more importantly, what does source New York Times etc. means? Whom does the copyright of these Articles belong? Is it under Copyright transfer agreement with New York Times such articles were translated? These questions assume significance here as on readers’ views, the articles were plainly copied from a Single paper and translated to Nepali thereby violating the copyright of original article. Or Did Editor tried to say when he mentions ‘including New York Times’ that there are other articles which have been copied may be from Guardian, Times etc. etc. in the same fashion as were done with article from NYT?

These all above questions remain unanswered and we may never get answer to these issues so long as arrogant bunch rule the affairs of Kantipur. There is a need of regime change in Kantipur as well.

Let me think for a moment Mr. Editor was in a good faith when he promised that he will clarify the issue. May be he came under intense pressure from management, and junior and immature employees in the organization and surrendered before their pressure. Whatever he did under whatever circumstances, when the prig like Mr. Ashish Luitel remain as a face of Kantipur, and any street urchin with questionable education and qualification keep on becoming journalist, there will not be a day that far when another farce like these will not be repeated.

The pusillanimity that has been exhibited by Editor Mr. Sudheer Sharma is another wasted opportunity for mainstream media to show a brave face among the public. However, this farcical saga called Kantipur and its established practice of ‘Quick Guide to be at the top with the help of…………(U know what)’ hopefully will not last long and we can only hope we need not have to voice again on ‘unmeritorious topics.’ which have inglorious conclusion!

Condemn the Plagiarism!!

Nepal: (Un)Necessary – ‘doctrine of necessity’

My this article below is published in Telegraph Nepal today. You can read it from here:

http://www.telegraphnepal.com/views/2011-09-21/nepal:-unnecessary-doctrine-of-necessity.html

THE term ‘doctrine of necessity’ has found an unwarranted place in Nepalese legal development despite not having any acceptable legacy behind it. The doctrine itself has a very dubious purpose to serve and the outcome of application of this doctrine would be debated for a long time. The doctrine, in its simple understanding, is a validating tool for those illegal, extra-legal, and invalid administrative state actions and these actions get validity from one’s understanding of necessity, mostly based on his/their momentary understanding of what was the necessity of that time. Therefore, there would be divergence in views even among the legal luminaries. One’s view of what was necessary at a time can always be contested by other set of legal luminaries.

Therefore, in this article, my effort has been to make a jurisprudential fathoming of legacy that ‘doctrine of necessity’ inherits and to examine whether we have acted judiciously to patronize this doctrine in Nepalese legal development.

The doctrine helps to bestow legality on any extra-legal actions if such actions are found to be to restore legal orders and if, at the give point of time, the state machineries would have no alternative viable recourse available. Therefore, most often, the courts have given breath to this principle when constitutional validities of states are to be upheld even when such state actions sans constitutionally permitted limits.

The credit for giving birth to this principle goes initially to the medieval jurist Henry de Bracton (c.1210-1268), and later, justification of the doctrine has been advanced by another great authority, William Blackstone. The legal maxim that has been credited to Bracton goes like this: “……………that which is otherwise not lawful is made lawful by necessity…………………”

The constitutional lawyers should be troubled in Nepal as the doctrine seems to be gaining unshakable ground to justify diverse extra-legal state actions. In a judgement delivered in April 2010, the Supreme Court of Nepal, in a matter relating to parliamentary hearings for appointment in constitutional bodies, had opined that all the articles of Interim Constitution of Nepal can be amended as per the doctrine of necessity except those relating to democratic republic, human rights and an independent judiciary. The reasoning though may sound to be a political victory for the supremacy of parliament; it comes with the imminent danger of having serious implications in the future.

Once again, the discourse on this doctrine has gained momentum since the Hon’ble Supreme Court of Nepal has invoked this principle in another verdict while upholding the extension of tenure of Constituent Assembly (CA). The court cited and applied the doctrine to uphold the Ninth Amendment of the Interim Constitution of Nepal. The court verdict has, therefore, upheld the extension of the tenure of the CA by three more months on May 28, 2011. The Supreme Court reasoned that the objective of CA was to draft and to promulgate a new constitution and to conclude the peace process and that has not been achieved yet. Therefore, the doctrine has to be applied to uphold the actions taken by CA when the twin tasks are yet to be performed, reasoned the Apex Court.

A brief overview to world history shows that the Chief Justice Mohammad Munir of Pakistan had invoked the doctrine to validate the actions of Governor General Ghulam Mohammad who had dismissed the Constituent Assembly and appointed a Council of Ministers in 1954. While putting breath in the doctrine in modern times, Justice Munir in Pakistan in 1954 relied on Bracton’s maxim ‘that which is otherwise not lawful is made lawful by necessity’, and on the Roman law maxim urged by Jennings, ‘the well-being of the people is the supreme law’.

In countries like Nigeria and in Fiji, this doctrine were invoked and applied whenever the state had acted against the constitution. There were striking similarities in all these states at the time when the doctrine was invoked – dysfunctional parliamentary democracy. Therefore, this will inevitably leads us to the question – whether doctrine of necessity is a necessary doctrine when there is a breakdown of parliamentary democracy.

In the instant case, another immediate question that needs to ponder is how long the doctrine of necessity can save the functioning of CA or any such extra – legal actions of state actors in the future. Dealing with the issue vis – a – vis functioning of CA, what if, the CA fails to perform its functioning of promulgation of new constitution but based on this doctrine; it keeps on extending its term for another dozen times. By adopting this doctrine by highest judiciary of the country, we have placed ourselves in a very precarious situation where CA may not function as per the mandate given by people and the constitution but whatever it does going outside the Constitution would be held constitutional. Then, what incentives CA members would have even to be serious for constitution making when their terms and tenures are guaranteed by ‘doctrine of necessity’. There would be some argument to say that the doctrine of necessity alone cannot extend the tenure of CA for more than six months. However, the so called sovereign CA has all the incentives to amend the provisions in Interim Constitution and remove such barriers where if the mighty CA wishes, it can extend its term by innumerable times.

At this juncture, the first and foremost issue among the legal experts should be the implications of borrowing such principle into Nepalese Legal System which can have serious ramifications on fundamental points concerning the rule of law and constitution, the retrospective exercise of legislative powers by the law makers, and the yardstick and benchmark to adjudge the legality of actions in the future.

What we have to understand is the constitution is not only a legal document but also a political, social, economical testament and vision of a nation. Constitution embodies the hope and aspiration of the people of many generations and expected to be so in the time period yet to come. Therefore, CA, which has received the mandate from the people, will be exercising its power in various capacities and its functioning are not merely discharge of legal and constitutional functions. In this scenario, in my humble opinion, the court should have rescued itself to adjudge on the matter of extension of CA tenure, as the issue will have different dimensions including political and courts are not to interfere on such political powers. It is not only the implications of the outcome is political but the role of CA is itself is different from parliament under democratic set up. As the ‘doctrine of necessity’ comes with enormous peril of being misused and susceptible to tampering in future, it would be difficult for courts to stay away from the controversy inasmuch as the present verdict could be taken as stamping on the power of CA to extend its term, sometimes based on its own sweet will and fancy.

However, if we have to take a positive from the verdicts rendered, a silver lining can be that the court has upheld the supremacy of the parliament/CA and this supremacy could have been upheld even without resorting to ‘doctrine of necessity’. When there is enormous pessimism on people for not having stable functioning parliamentary democracy with able executive, it can only be hoped that the verdict, though may be founded on uncanny reasoning would be taken as a positive steps towards stable supreme parliament. If people are able to take this positive, another positive hope that comes to our mind naturally would be, hopefully, we will soon see our New Constitution.

© Rajib Dahal. The Author is an Advocate. He can be reached at rajib.dahal@gmail.com

Freakonomics – a Book Review

I had read this book called Freakonomics sometimes back and going to review it here today. The book can be purchased from here:

http://www.infibeam.com/Books/info/steven-levitt/freakonomics/9780141019017.html or from many such other online book stores. I strongly suggest you to look around in various websites before you buy as there will be varying discounts. The book is written by Steven D. Levitt, who is an Economist Professor and Stephen J. Dubner.

The book is amazing to speak in short and in few words. For those like me who want to read on plain economics without going in deep and without being distracted by calculus and quantitative analysis, the book is the one to read. For them, who know economics but do not know how to apply on our common sorroundings, the book is the one to read and ponder. Though the author takes help of the some of the mathematical tools to analyse, what he does is to apply economics principles in seemingly unrelated topics. For example, no one thinks that there is any economic rationality behind drug dealers staying with their mothers. But, the book demystifies this point says that yes there is. Think of the economic linkages between cheating primary school teachers in USA, sumo wrestlers in Japan. You cannot think of anything unless you read the book. Cheating, I mean, cheating in their profession and not in their personal lives. J

This is the greatness of the book. The Authors, one Economic Professor and other a Journalist after constantly observing, researching and applying minute principles of Economics come to the conclusion that there are economic rationality and relations between various social activities. Let us see another example and this is the first topic covered in the book and I found the most amazing among all. What is the reason of reduction in Crimes lately in US, in the decade of 1990s when there were predictions that crimes go unchecked? There were experts who told that crimes would grow but when crimes did actually reduce, then, he same experts came with various explanations like Gun Control Laws, Rise in Affluence, Population Control, and better Police in US etc. etc. These experts could not see these all when they were predicting that crimes would go unchecked but when actually crime rate got lowered, they started devising reasons for that. That may be so, they may be right but Freakonomists say that these experts are either wrong or even they are right, they are fractionally right. So, what is the main cause of crime reduction? They relate the incident of Roe v. Wade, US Supreme Court judgement which allowed the abortions legally. The Authors say that this judgement made sure that unwanted children were not born in US and mainly, the unwanted children used to get birth in poor black ghettos, and reduction of such numbers ensured that the children which were like likely to get driven to crimes were not actually born. So, US got a relief! No one saw this point before authors make a link between a US Supreme Court judgement and a crime and whose effects were to be seen after 20-25 years as the judgement made sure 20-25 years back that a child was not born who is going to be a criminal once he attains an age of 18-20 years later. What a link and what an observation.

The books keep on revealing those economic secrets that once you start, you cannot stop. I am sure that everyone who read it must have liked it. So, it became a bestseller. The greatest point about the book is the book is very simple, written in a simple language and you need not have even college level economic degree to understand it. Authors make it so simple that it is just like reading stories and nothing about economic principles. Second thins about the book is it covers such a simple topics that we wonder what economics has to do with such a mundane things. But, authors are good and very good to demonstrate us what economic link they are trying to unravel.

But, do not be confused that this is not a standard University textbook on Economics. This is not a book that you read and be economist, as one of the Authors is a Journalist here. This book does not help you to score more marks on your Economics Paper in College. But, certainly makes you wiser and takes you to the world that you start thinking for a while, if not for a longer time period. I say, a MUST Read. Enjoy Reading! And Comment here with your views.

For Official Freakonomics Blog, you can visit here and for other reviews, here, here and here.

(A Short Note: The authors were maintaining a blog with New York Times and later have published another book called Super Freakonomics, I shall review the second book shortly.)

Girija Prasad Koirala – Causes of mass exodus?

I have said in my first blog entry about GPK/Girija Babu/ Girija Prasad Koirala that I will be writing another blog post with some facts and little fiction to tell how people felt on the day GPK passed away.

The day GPK passed away; I was in Goa in Palolem Beach in some Beach hut lazily lying on not so comfortable bed. I think the hut was called ‘High Tide’ Beach Huts, also popularly called Coco Huts. The beach huts were artificial huts made for tourists and would remain there only in the tourist seasons. It was beginning the end of tourist season and were little cheaper. Though there were many around, I did not feel like going around and bargaining for the price as the first hut owner himself quoted price very reasonable and were within my reach. When I said that I will be there for 8-10 days, then, he gave little discount and I settled there.

Lazy day had just started, and I got up, cleaned myself err took bath and brushed etc. and I went to the Restaurant there called the same ‘high Tide’. From the past 9-10 days, I was there getting up early in the morning and going to that restaurant and used to start my day with Indian adrakwala Chai( Milk Tea) and oat milk fruit porridge. My days were going as usual and in the same manner. I sat near the television where I could connect power chord to my laptop. I did the same on that day as well. Though I was completely disconnected with the outside world, I had taken my laptop with me. Therefore, now and then, I used to browse my Gmail store and facebook with my Tata Indicom slow internet

That day was nothing as usual and nothing interesting to me. When I was browsing facebook, I suddenly see Asish Shrestha’s Facebook status message that he feels sad for Girija Babu’s death and expresses his heartfelt condolence. I was shocked. I knew that GPK was not well now and then, but had not even imagined that he is in such a grave situation that death was the only option before him. I immediately replied to Asish Shrestha’s facebook profile and expressed my shock, and heartfelt condolence. I felt bad for that old man and I could only wish that he should live little longer…………may be few more years. I immediately went to see Nepal’s news sites like ekantipur, nepalnews, mysansar.com etc. but either all sites were not opening or especially mysansar was not updated as the blogger Umesh was outside valley and his last news on the blog was ‘Girijababu’s deteriorating health on previous day’. Sites not opening only confirmed what Asish had updated in his facebook profile, and that was unfortunately true but I wanted to see more updates and conditions of GPK’s demise. Suddenly, an idea struck my mind. I put Girija Prasad Koirala’s name in Google search and got much news. I refreshed the page and tried to see only the news. There it was. Nepal’s democratic leader’s death had filled the web portal of many international news sites where visitors were not thronged as they were in Nepal’s indigenous media, and these sites opened very quicker. N I could read every minute details from one site and then, from another and from many, which I did for hours.

I read them for hours and called up Mr. Asish Shrestha in Pune, who told that he got the news from Hem Acharya in New Delhi. Then, he says to me that he felt sad and depressed and anguished after hearing the news. H thought about the Nepal’s future and emerging democracy/republican set up. He said he thought about ongoing peace process; and felt for the time being that all are going to come halt. I thought the same before calling Asish but by the time I called him up, he was calm and quiet and thought that despite GPK’s departure, we grow; we rise and be a civilized country in this world.

Meanwhile, when I was surfing the news on death of GPK, a waiter came to me. He was a Nepali waiter/worker from Birganj, and was Mr. Gurung. I told him GPK died. He asked me whether it is true or not. I said It is. He said he is so happy. He added this man must have died long back. He abused GPK for a while. Machi………muj…….marera ramrai bhayo (Momfu…….cunt……….it’s good that he died. He should have died long back. All problems in Nepal are because of him. He created environment for rising of Maoists and Madhesi Movement.)

I felt sad for GPK as I thought that after 2062-63 democratic movement, GPK deserved better comment and much better when he has just died. But I did not argue with him. I had no option but to listen to Mr. Gurung. Mr. Gurung continued that when Pahade (Hilly People) kill a Madhise, Girija put them in prison but when a Madhise killed a hilly man, GPK did not do anything. GPK allowed Madhise to sit on our head and all that Terai aandolan happened. He adds that if GPK could have burnt 1000 lives and houses and Madhise, either they would have gone to India like Muslims went to Pakistan after partition or they would have lived peacefully under the rule of Nepalese people like Muslims are staying in India.

Remember that Mr. Gurung comes from Birganj, not exactly Birganj in fact but from Dhalkebar is what he clears to me later. He after ranting against GPK and Terai/Madheshi People asked me whether the news is correct or not. I said, ‘Of Course, it is’, why should I otherwise spread such news in Goa?

He answered once again that he is very happy and intends to party tonight, and ran to spread the news. By that time, I was browsing Prajwal Baral’s Facebook Profile. He was updating his profile from Bhopal, NIT and wrote something like he is very happy for GPK’s demise and intends to party in his room in Hostel. I think there was something like invitation to all Hostelians to attend that party.

Meantime, when I was reading Prajwal’s Facebook Profile update and replying there, Mr. Gurung went little far near the cashier and was telling other fellow Nepali waiters that GPK died. I could hear that people were asking who said, and how did you know. I could hear that he was referring my name. Another Lama Brother, who was the partner of that Restaurant asked me from distance whether that is true. I said that is true brother, GPK passed away. He again expressed enormous happiness and said now, there will be party tonight. I could hear that he was calling up his friends and telling loudly in Nepali that GPK died, and it is true. But, I did not hear anything his talking about party on that night; neither could I hear any invitation for party.

By that time, I had left my laptop alone and had moved under a Coconut Tree watching bikini clad women taking sunbath and then jump to adjacent Ocean. Nothing could charm me. The words were playing in my mind about what Mr. Gurung said, and why people think that GPK should have died long back and why are they ready to party tonight. Should not have we mourned?

I was thinking about Mr. Gurung’s words. The issue of Madheshi and Terai movement is very complex. I cannot analyse here. But I started to think about other issues on which GPK might have influenced and that might have affected them.

I wondered why they are there. I am there for my holiday/my vacation. I know Goa from Gorakhpur is almost 2600 Kms far and there is not a direct train. Why these people are there to serve tea and porridge and beer bottle to me and to many people like me. I looked around I could see many Nepalese waiters Mr. Gurung, Mr. Lama, Mr. Bhuwan and other unknown Nepalese Brothers and Mr. sundar Shrestha of Bhaktapur, one of the main partners of that Restaurant High Tide and Mr. Prem Kumar Shrestha from Sindhowpalchok working there as waiters. In fact, I could see another 10 more Nepalese waiters whose name I could not gather in those stay. But my point is why? Why are they here?

Mr. Sundar Shrestha met me day before GPK died and in that evening mentioned that he owns this restaurant in partnership with 2-3 more Nepali and 1 localites in goa. He said he entered in India in 1989 and started as a waiter in German Bakery in Pune which was recently bombed. He operates another German Bakery in Palolem which is managed by his brother now. He said me over the drinks on that evening that the restaurants on that beach are operated only in season and season will be over by May and then, he will proceed to Leh and Laddakh in State of Jammu and Kashmir and in Himachal Pradesh to maintain his other restaurants in that region with all his crew (waiters) members. Therefore, these people get job throughout the year and earn little money.

On the day, GPK died; I thought what made these people to come here. I got up and moved to German Bakery in Palolem. I had been there many times by this day. There was a sale boy called Prem Kumar Shrestha from Sindhowpalchok who used to visit to that another Restaurant as well. A nice short fair and smiley boy with nice soft and charming voice used to be standing there softly talking/ telling why cheese cake made there is really good and tastes really nice. If he had got a good education and opportunity to study, he would be a great salesman in some multinational, I would feel. Over the days, I talked with him about his home, work and education. He was educated, had completed Class 12 and had come there. He had good command over English as well, that could be heard from when he talked with foreign customers there in English.

He also told the same story that he will be going to Leh and Laddakh after June. He was supposed to go home on May and stay a month there in Nepal and again start a journey back to India. He sounded intelligent.

While discussing generally, I asked him, “Laddakh/Leh must be nice”.

He replied, “Yes, Nice it is. But, we have to work.” And I could read the pain on his face. I just thought life may be very cold and difficult there. You can go one or two day as a tourist and enjoy your life there but you will not understand how difficult people struggle in hilly and mountains barren rocky cold land. When I was in these thought, Prem Bhai told me that Leh is at a very high altitude and sometimes, you suffer from respiratory problem as oxygen is low. He says that it is difficult to get good treatment also. That was painful blow to my chain of thoughts. Why young people instead of going college and School in Nepal come to India for these kinds of jobs? To be waiters? I paid the bill, and smiled with that boy and said I will be leaving soon. I wished his good health and happiness and we smiled and parted. On the way back to my hut, I started thinking; do these young people blame GPK for their migration? Exodus from homeland?

I think yes. Yes, to certain extent, GPK was responsible for people leaving Nepal and coming to India just to meet their basic needs. I know that India is a large democratic country, and here are also there are many poor people. People from all parts of India go to foreign countries like UAE, Saudi Arabia etc. to do small scale jobs in construction sector. In today’s globalised world, you cannot stop migration. Labor and capital both flow in and out of any particular country and that cannot be stopped. However, if there were good governance, orderly public administration, corruption less society and if funds were properly utilized for health, education and welfare, then, people would get quality education. If that had happened, Prem Kumar Shrestha and Bhuwan Tamang would not have stopped their study at class 12 and many more people could study instead of donning role of waiters in these dusty beach shacks and restaurants. GPK was undoubtedly a great hero for democracy but he managed corruption, ill-governance, nepotism, and extreme form of breakdown of public law and order. GPK was not alone responsible for these ill-governance issues but GPK was the torch bearer and many after, and with him participated to rape democracy. Therefore, in a way, GPK was responsible for many people fleeing out of Nepal and coming to India and these people think that they deserve at least a party within these hectic schedules to celebrate hopefully a death of despot, autocrat who could not offer any tangible benefits to these exodus masses. I think that should be the reason of party, is what I could decipher there in Palolem, South Goa, which was almost 80 kilometers from main city Mapusha.

This is the final and last issue on Girija Babu. Readers can concur with me or reject my conclusion as they wish. I love to hear from you. The location, the place and some actors have been renamed to dramatize it little. I will write more about Goa and Nepalese there on coming days!



Girija Prasad Koirala – What he was not or….?

I know this Article is little out of date and People may have lost interest in GPK by now, but I still feel that anything on GPK would be a good read to ponder – what that man was and was he really like that?

I should have written this long time back. This article is about Girija Babu, about death of Nepal’s former Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala. He died in the month of March, when I was travelling and was not in Hyderabad. I thought that I will write about him soon once I get back to my online computer system. However, time not permitting and because of sheer laziness, I am writing this article today. This article is purely on ‘GIRIJABABU’ that is a man called Girija Prasad Koirala.

He was not a God! A simple human being having lots of vices though his democratic credentials were impeccable is what they say. He always remained in limelight mainly because his dictatorial leadership, not so transparent party policy, nepotism and corruption on which he indulged in. He spent many years in Media after restoration of democracy in Nepal for many bad reasons. If there was no People’s Movement in 2062-63 BS in Nepal, he would die as another leader. But that movement made him a true leader of People when others were giving up against royal takeover, and acquisition of democracy. He stuck with his democratic plans and made King to bow for that. Thereafter, his image was turned to a picture larger than size/life, whatever you may call it.

The man, who was despised by many, and a man, who always was on people’s mouth when they used to say, “Girija! Kina marna nasakeko hola! (Girija, why can’t he die?), was changed till the time he died. The transformation was in the last five years and whatever he did in the last five years before his death, will be remembered by all.

Though after he died, people remembered only his democratic legacy, many people did an oversight for his bad deeds. He was a strong dictator, no doubt within his party, and could almost do anything for power. His involvement in suppressing any opposition, humiliation to political leaders including his own party men like Kishun ji (Krishna Prasad Bhattarai), extreme favour to nepotism, always being surrounded by his own close coterie were his hallmark for many years. His involvement in Bansbari Chhala Jutta Company (a company which produced leather shoes) privatization and bankruptcy of profit making government company after privatization, his involvement in Dhamija Kand, Lauda Air Corruption cases are some of few examples where he should be remembered for not that good reasons. I was reading one article somewhere in Nepali media, I think it was written by Rabindra Mishra, a BBC Nepali Sewa Journalist (I hope he is still there) where Rabindra has tried to summarize the life of Girijababu.  In fact after his death, GPK (Girija Prasad Koirala) has been turned to a savior of democracy and it seems that all political commentators have completely forgotten his misdeeds. GPK was a great democratic hero in his last days but certainly not the greatest as it has been presented by some media. It was funny to see competition among people and media house to coronate him with so many adjectives like true democrats, people’s leaders, great freedom fighters from 2007 BS, etc. It seems that his death has brought so much agony and illusion among people that he has been transformed to a great great hero overnight and that too after his death. I think people’s perception on GPK should have been influenced by people’s short memory, which we generally tend to have and that works most of the time to our great advantage. However, if Koirala has to be missed, remembered, mourned, then all his goods and bad deeds must be considered with balance. His involvement in 2062-63 BS democratic movement alone cannot be the yardstick to measure his heights. We should also consider those notorious hallmarks that he had after he gained power in 1991 and always stuck there and did almost everything to thwart any democratic in house Nepali Congress’s movement to internal democracy in party.

I am aware of the fact that he has been remembered for his initiation of privatization and liberalization of our trade and economy post liberalization and democracy in Nepal after 1990. But, we should be equally mindful of the fact that his mismanagement of democracy and corruption culture brought severe threats to democracy – one of them being ‘Rising and Rising of Maoists’. If we thank him, appreciate him for bringing Maoists in mainstream democracy or democratic movement, or whatever you call or if you believe Maoists have come to the fold of democracy, but you cannot forgive, condone or pardon him lightly for creating that conducive environment for Maoists to breed. If he has cooperated within party for stable government and leadership and had he been not so power hungry, then, leaders could divert their attention to some meaningful actions, rather than protecting their chair from Girija’s arms or making Girija happy just to stick in power. For these things, Koirala should be remembered forever as he was a root of mismanagement or ill-governance in the country, and the fruits of his actions were Rise of thugs, called Maoists. Thankfully, may be stars or moon were on his right side, Koirala did  reach some understanding with Maoists and removed king, which act alone became larger than his life and Koirala could die in little peace, and became a great leader in our History book, probably!!!

(There will be part two of this Article based on some facts, fictions, and my talk with People on the day GPK died. I am sure that will be another interesting read.)