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Monthly Archives: March 2012

Editor’s Say

It feels like a while ago when I first told Prof. Pushpa Raj Adhikary of my desire to run a monthly academic blogzine for KU faculties. He showed intense liking for it and promised to contribute one article a month. The desire became a plan. I requested four of my colleagues to coordinate. Their enthusiasm and commitment equaled Prof. Adhikary’s and mine. We were afoot at once with KUFIT.  Then I, as the initiator and editor/moderator, took up sneaking into the inboxes of majority KU inmates asking  for contributions. One year’s pestering yielded little or naught in terms of writings. But it at least made many realize that some ‘inspired’ apparitions were already  around tinkering in private spheres.  Glad to note, nevertheless, the Forum has completed a year and heads for a celebratory anniversary issue next month.  
Discipline-wise distribution of posts
A brief survey of one year’s coverage lends optimism to the KUFIT team and their readers. We have been able to publish nine issues altogether, with 46 articles and 9 editorials. We  would forgive ourselves for skipping three months because they involved vacations, festivals, evaluations and, above all, strikes at the University. The posts represent disciplines as broad and diverse as popular science, education, social sciences (history, politics, theology, sociology etc.), interdisciplinary discourse, media and communication and literary criticism. 
KUFIT has never been a space to scribble anyone’s unwarranted ramblings. Nor has it provided an outlet for one disgruntled neighbour to come by and vent frustrations about another disgruntled neighbour.
The site has covered an interesting variety of themes ranging from universe, science, human nature, academic growth, ethics, values, rhetoric and migration to constitution, historical events, teaching experiences and travels.  Genre-wise, it has included narratives (fictions, memoirs, travelogues and reflections), research articles, features, reflective essays, book reviews and editorials. 

Genre-wise distribution of posts
KUFIT has faced nonchalance and non-cooperation. But it has never been a space for unwarranted ramblings. Nor has it provided an outlet for one disgruntled neighbour to come by and vent frustrations about another disgruntled neighbour. Nor even is it for the team an image booster. We did not need one both in personal and professional levels. Most of us have been in KU for over a dozen years, spent most of our life’s productive hours struggling to grow and let grow here, and established our firm ethical-professional footings among faculties and students. We have only wanted to diversify our commitments by bringing out an accessible platform for scholarly involvement.


Audience status on a typical day


The number, quality, critical diversity  and readership KUFIT represents should tickle skeptics for a nod, at least now when we prepare to publish the anniversary issue. And we heartily thank all our contributors and readers for being with us till date. With your readiness to write and read for one year, you have already assured us of your future commitments. We only want you to help us sustain our zeal by motivating others to join. On our part, we will continue to struggle and emulate. 
May New Year 2069 bring more knowledge and optimism to all of us.
   Hem Raj Kafle
Editor/Moderator
 
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Posted by on March 31, 2012 in Editorial

 

Face to Face with the Universe: A search for vacuum

– Pushpa Raj Adhikary
All of us have seen a pipe fitted with a piston. When the lower end of the pipe is dipped in water and the piston is pulled up, water rises in the pipe. This is the way ink is filled into a fountain pen and liquid medicine is pulled in a hypodermic syringe.
No water rises in a pipe when dipped in water, but water can be made to rise up in a pipe once the piston fitted on it is pulled up. How do you think a piston is capable to pull water up in a pipe? When medieval scholars saw that water follows a piston up a pipe , they found a simple, though hardly convincing, explanation. They reasoned that the piston, when pulled up, also pulls the air contained in the pipe, so a void or nothingness is created and water, in turn, rises up to cover this void or vacuum. Although a simple explanation was found out, it was not less than a horror for them to conceive the idea of the vacuum.
In 1643 AD, an Italian scientist, Evangelista Torricelli, carried out an experiment. He took a meter (33 foot) long glass tube with one end sealed and filled it with mercury. By closing the open end with the thumb he carefully lowered this end into a cup filled with mercury. Once the tip was dipped well into mercury, he removed his thumb and held the tube upright. Some mercury from the tube flowed out into the cup and a gap appeared in the upper end of the tube.
Torricelli reasoned that the upper end of the tube was sealed off from the atmosphere and no air could pass into it through the glass walls or the mercury. Therefore, it didn’t contain air or anything, hence an empty space or a total vacuum is created. The space above the mercury column has been named as “Torricellian vacuum”.
Today any physicist will tell you that a Torricellian vacuum is not a real, absolute vacuum. For one, it contains mercury vapour. Secondly, there are molecules of nitrogen, oxygen and even carbon dioxide. These gases are dissolved into mercury and they readily evolve from mercury to spread into the space over mercury.  Every earthly material, even metal, glass, wood or plastic, contains some gases. These gases readily diffuse into a vacuum. This process is analogical to the bubbling of gas in a bottle of coca or soda. As long as the bottle is closed, the pressure inside the bottle is above the normal pressure of the air in the atmosphere. The gas is dissolved in the water and nothing reveals its presence. When you open the bottle, the pressure drops and the bubbles of gases pop out in the surface as if the liquid in the bottle were boiling.
The physicists could also tell you of the difficulties which they encounter in their attempts to produce and, even more so, maintain a high vacuum. When scientists began sending high altitude rockets up to take samples of air in the upper layers of the atmosphere, they thought the job would be quite simple. The scientists have metal cylinder of suitable size with airtight valves, pump all air out of it, place it into a rocket and shoot it two or three hundred kilometers up where automatic devices would open the valves, let the air outside flow into the cylinder and close it again. A parachute would carefully bring the sample back to earth. This, however, is easier said than done.
A process, similar to the boiling of liquid and bubbling of gas in a bottle of coca, though not so violent, takes place in the materials of which a rock is built by the time it reaches an altitude of 250-300 kilometers. Even in a laboratory, with ingenious devices designed to create an ultrahigh vacuum in a glass or metal cylinder, it is impossible to maintain the vacuum for very long as gases begin to evolve from the cylinder walls, and air even filters through them from outside. So you see that it is not easy to bring an air sample from a very high altitude.
Can complete vacuum be found anywhere in the universe above the layer of air which we call atmosphere? A trip beyond the atmosphere is necessary to find out, and we need suitable vehicle to embark upon such a journey. A balloon, evidently, will not do.  A balloon could take up to 20 kilometers which means that the atmosphere up there is still fairly dense. If we ride in a gondola even up to eight or ten kilometers high above sea level, the air would be so rarefied that we cannot take normal breathing.

 We can say that the emptiness of outer space is as illusory as the emptiness of Torricellian vacuum. Our dream of finding total emptiness or absolute vacuum ends in void.

Clouds present another tangible and visible indication of atmosphere. Clouds generally appear at an altitude of 80 kilometers from the surface of the earth. Somewhat higher, between 100 to 120 kilometers above the surface of the earth, meteors appear as shooting stars. And it is a proof that the atmosphere, which is unable to support our breathing, is still sufficiently dense at an altitude of 120 kilometers from the surface of the earth. The aurora Polaris (northern and southern lights) which occur in the uppermost layers of the atmosphere, have been observed as high as 1,200 kilometers.
It can be said that neither lighter than air balloons nor heavier than air aeroplanes can be used to study the upper layers of the atmosphere. The atmosphere, which surrounds our earth, has no sharply defined boundaries. It becomes less and less dense the higher we go, and somewhere between 2,000 to 3,000 kilometers up it gradually thins out into interplanetary gas.
Once the atmosphere vanishes completely at a sufficient height above the earth, would there be vacuum from there and afterwards? At a height of 3000 kilometers above the surface of the earth, just outside the edge of the atmosphere, we encounter electrically charged particles. These electrically charged particles are known as elementary particles because they are the building blocks of matters which make our universe. These elementary particles come from different sources like sun, stars and other energy emitting bodies found in the universe. These elementary particles are trapped by the magnetic field of the earth and spiral along the earth. There are three such belts of elementary particles of high energy which surround our earth.
There was a time when scientists compared the earth with a large nut encased in a thin gaseous shell. Today we know that the atmosphere is extended only up to 2000 kilometers up and it trails away into the gas filling interplanetary space. The earth is surrounded by a great halo of radiation, about 50,000 kilometers in diameter consisting of electrically charged elementary particles gyrating around the magnetic force of the earth.
So, where do we look for a total vacuum? Beyond the atmosphere or even beyond the 50,000 kilometers boundary of the charged particles? If we move away from the earth beyond 50,000 kilometers, say, to the moon, are we able to get a total vacuum? Moreover, the moon does not have an atmosphere surrounding it and no magnetic field to trap elementary particles and make them move around it. But the rockets which reached the moon as far back at 1959 A.D. had detected an increase in charged particles near the moon.
Can we detect a vacuum even far away from moon, or say, very very far away, beyond our solar system? It is known that the interplanetary space is pervaded by a tenuous gas with over a hundred molecules in every cubic centimeter. But even if there were no molecules of gas, could the outer space be empty? The answer is still no because it is pierced by the charged particles which come out of the radiation of the stars. We know that light rays, x-rays, infrared and ultraviolet rays the whole gamut of electromagnetic radiation – are of material nature and can be treated as streams of tiny particles, photons, possessing mass, velocity and energy. We can hardly regard space as empty through which endless streams of particles pass. To add to this, we have gravitational field which interact in space. We can note here that gravitational fields are omnipresent. Every material particle, be it a tiny molecule or a giant star, emanates a field of gravity. It attracts and is attracted by other material bodies.
We can say that the emptiness of outer space is as illusory as the emptiness of Torricellian vacuum. Our dream of finding total emptiness or absolute vacuum ends in void.
 
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Posted by on March 29, 2012 in Science

 

Across Diaspora and Rhetoric

 – Hem Raj Kafle
The term ‘diaspora’ becomes a buzzword in Nepalese mainstream media at least for a week every two years. The occasion is the international ‘congregation’ of Non-Resident Nepalis (NRN) in Kathmandu. In everyday mediated sense  diaspora takes the same semantic value of ‘someone living outside the national border’ as rhetoric does for ‘a cunning, cheap, false comment.’ A conscious user, initially fed with the mass-mediated meaning of these terms, may turn gravely self-critical and self-emulative after learning that they reveal serious implications at specific contexts. But one certainly has to have zeal to quiz beyond the superficial.
I learned both ‘diaspora’ and ‘rhetoric’ in two levels and two phases. My learning started with acquiring the clichéd  but diverged into the serious and critical when faced with academic challenges. I love both concepts, the first as the area of my completed M. Phil. research and the second as the subject of my ongoing doctoral studies.
But I leave rhetoric at this point for future ruminations. There is more to know, much more to realize, and even more to practice and share about it. Though, for me, diaspora as a field of scholarship is a bygone thing, or is temporarily postponed/suspended before rhetoric matures into doctorate, I always cherish the phases of growing with it from ignorance to research to realization.
I picked up diaspora from a mainstream English daily  sometime in the autumn of 2003 around the first International conference of the Non-Resident Nepalis Association (NRNA). NRN was strange and new and special as a human species as was  its signifier, diaspora, at least for some newspapers which took this species for harbingers of hopes come all of a sudden from out of nowhere.
I got academic curiosity about Nepali diaspora only in February 2006 after joining Pokhara University’s M. Phil. programme. It happened during a visit to a small community of Nepalis in Jammu, India, at the end of the first South Asian Universities Youth Festival. And it so happened that, having known through local media about the arrival of “a group of Nepalis from Nepal,” who danced to Nepali folk songs and wore traditional Nepali costumes, two gentlemen came to invite our team to Gorkha Nagar, a settlement of the second and third generation Nepali migrants on the Tawi river. The purpose of this invitation was simple: “to meet Nepalis from Nepal.” One of the two men, S. B. Rana, the then president of J & K Gorkha Sabha, an organisation of the settlers of Gorkha Nagar, explained, in largely creolized Nepali, that they wanted their young children to see the ‘actual’ Nepalis and hear the ‘pure’ Nepali we spoke. 
We managed to reach the settlement only at the office time when most adults were out for work and the young to schools and colleges. So, Mr. Rana’s plan of getting the younger generations to talk with us literally failed. The population that stood in our welcome comprised only the old and middle-aged. They showed great excitement for the fact that we shared with them (at least) one distinctly common heritage, Nepali, although the ‘danger’ of their gradual melting into the local community of Dogris and Punjabis rang sharp in their own accents. But  they seemed to struggle to retain Nepaliness with such regular rituals as congregating every evening in the temple of Gorakhnath, which as much was an ideal deity as a symbol of Gorkha, a little surrogate for Nepal.
I perceived a sense of mutual identification between the Gorkha Nagar residents and us – of real and imagined homeland. They were our hosts and constituted an imagined home, at least after our two-week sojourn in a foreign land. On their part, we represented their living memory of a homeland which was lost long ago by their ancestors with rare chance of physical reconnection. The meeting appeared to be an opportunity for a distanced community to actualize the identity which was imagined but not experienced in real Nepal. I realized our presence had induced their reorientation towards Nepal, to an extent though very scanty. I concluded instantly that this small community was a real Nepali diaspora. 

Even if the early instances of dislocation are excluded on the plea of inadequate official records and for migrants’ possible assimilation into the host communities over the last centuries, the spread of Nepalis to Bhutan, Northeast India, and Burma lends a very discernible location for diaspora scholarship. 

Later, during my M. Phil. studies, I thought writing a research paper about Gorkha Nagar and its people would be one of the best contributions ever; it would be a substantive addition to diaspora scholarship in the Indo-Nepal context. But having had nothing documented for a research work, and with only fragmented recollection of that meeting with the enthusiastic settlers, I could produce only a two-page text in the structure of an argumentative essay with a thesis “The people of Gorkha Nagar suffer a perpetual crisis of identity.” 

The thought of exploring the lives of migrant Nepalis persisted. I turned from Gorkha Nagar to the proposed Gorkha Land and beyond, where there was far greater population of Nepali migrants and a bulk of literature to go through. I got hold of the novel Brahmaputraka Chheuchhau by Lil Bahadur Chhetri and critiqued it as a book on Nepali diaspora. I took very scanty trouble in exploring the theoretical intensity and eclecticism of the term “diaspora” with a general cocksureness for its usage as a substitute for a migrant community. My first treatment of Nepali diaspora was by no means satisfactory to myself. I realized I was too preoccupied with the mass-mediated meaning of diaspora to see any need to study its origin, critical intensity and contextual relevance.

But these questions regularly bothered me: Can’t Nepali migrants be placed within the framework of diaspora? Aren’t Nepalis of India Nepali diaspora? Does geo-political and cultural proximity affect the formation of the real diaspora? What are the accepted modes of mobilities and resettlements that determine the formation of a diaspora? Are there specific diasporic features and related theoretical paradigms? I began to realize that diaspora studies should incorporate diversity of meanings and theoretical dimensions. The initial considerations would be to see whether migration and diasporization meant the same. Upon reading writers like Khachig Tololyan, Robin Cohen, Steven Vertovec and many more, I saw that scholarship in diaspora departed greatly from its clichéd usage, for the former strictly considered at  least three factors about migrants: first, the (unfriendly) nature of dislocation from the country of origin; second, the (often unfriendly and distanced) condition of living in the country of relocation; and third, the migrants’ efforts to negotiate their identities across the homeland, hostland and the migrant community themselves through constant networking and lobbying.
My critical pursuit towards Nepali diaspora culminated into a 9-credit thesis for M. Phil. Degree in English Studies.  I titled the work “Diasporic Nepalese Identity in the Cyberspace.” The kernel of my thesis is that the recent Non-Resident Nepalis (NRN) movement is a veritable critical ground for the study of the discourse on Nepalese diaspora. I had to get back to NRNs in 2008, to see profundity in their supposed identity politics, only when they were reduced to clichés by Kathmandu’s critical circles in a span of mere five years from their first emergence to ‘amuse’ Kathmandu’s elites in the autumn of 2003.
What I achieved through my critical pursuits is very little, considering the scope of knowledge further work can uncover.
Aside from taking the recent case of NRN activism, which is critiqued as representing the west-centric affluent Nepalis in majority,  I think the Nepalese diasporic discourse can expand to earlier historical realities taking as distant issues as Nepalis’ dispersions at different points of pre-and post-unification eras. The aftermaths of power-mongering in and around the central courts of Nepal during the whole of the nineteenth century signal the displacement of a huge population to India. Though there is hardly any record of how many and where of the eviction of courtiers and commoners during the unification, in the times of Bhimsen Thapa and Junga Bahadur Rana, and at the rise of Shumshers after the massacre and exile of the Jung lineage, this early historical reality cannot be ruled out from representative Nepalese diaspora scholarship. Even if the early instances of dislocation are excluded on the plea of inadequate official records and for migrants’ possible assimilation into the host communities over the last centuries, the spread of Nepalis to Bhutan, Northeast India, and Burma lends a very discernible location for diaspora scholarship.
The case of Bhutanese Nepalis (refugees) in Nepal lends a curious subject of study. The chain of settlement (in Bhutan), expulsion, resettlement (in Nepal) and repatriation (in the West) of this population could always provide interesting arenas of study, especially in view of the repercussions of these multiple physical shifts and cultural exposures on the people.
Finally, there is this everyday flow of hundreds of Nepalis out of the country to destinations like Malaysia and Gulf region for employment, and to Europe, America and Australia for studies, employment and permanent settlement. With all these instances to qualify as a migrant supplying country in South Asia, Nepal remains to be a productive space for diaspora scholarship.
I see that diaspora and rhetoric will easily go along. My post-doctoral work may be to cross-pollinate these two domains: one the discourse on identity politics, the other the lens for unraveling the intricacies and nuances of a discourse. Broadly, the product of cross-pollination will be either ‘rhetoric of Nepalese diaspora’ or ‘Nepalese diaspora as rhetoric’ or ‘diaspora as Nepalese rhetoric’ or any meaningful phrase that combines diaspora and rhetoric.
 
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Posted by on March 29, 2012 in Discourse

 

सन्दर्भ प्रेसधर्मको

– मुकुन्दप्रसाद उपाध्याय
नेपालमा प्रेसको विकास भएको धेरै भएको छैन। छ दशकपूर्व पहिलो जनक्रान्तिअघिसम्म नेपालीले बुझेका र जानेका अखबार भनेको गोरखापत्रर पत्रिका भनेको शारदामात्र थियो। २००७ देखि २०१७ सालका बीचमा गैरसरकारी अखबार र पत्रिकाहरू देखापर्न थाले।  रेडियो नेपालको स्थापना भयो। २०१७ सालपछि पुनः प्रेसमाथि नियन्त्रणको नीतिका कारण व्यावसायिक पत्रकारिता फस्टाएन। केही साहित्यिक पत्रिकाहरू भने स्थापित भए। मधुपर्क’, ‘गरिमा’, ‘रूपरेखाआदि पत्रिकाहरू स्तरीय पत्रिकाका रूपमा फस्टाउँदै गए। यस कालखण्डमा मोफसलबाट पनि पत्रपत्रिकाहरू निस्कन थाले भने पहिलो टेलिभिजनका रूपमा राज्यनियन्त्रित नेपाल टेलिभिजनको वर्चश्व रह्यो।

 नेपालको पत्रकारिता जगतले फड्को मारेको चाहिँ २०४६ सालको पहिलो जनआन्दोलनपछि मात्र हो। संविधानले नै प्रेसस्वतन्त्रतालाई स्थान दिएपछि स्वतन्त्र, निष्पक्ष र व्यावसायिक पत्रकारिताको थालनी भयो।  पत्रकारिताशब्दलाई साँघुरो महसुस गरी प्रेसजगत् वा मिडिया भन्न थालियो। टीभी, एफएम र इन्टरनेटका कारण प्रेसलाई मिडिया भन्न थालिएको थियो। गैरसरकारी क्षेत्रमा कान्तिपुरजस्ता दैनिक अखबारहरू र एफएम रेडियोहरूबाट अनेक समाचारहरू छापा र अनलाइनमा समेत देखिन थाले। प्रेससँग सम्बन्धित काउन्सिल र सङ्घसङ्गठनहरू पनि देखिन थाले।
 
यति हुँदाहुँदै पनि २०६२६३ सालको आन्दोलनअघिसम्म समग्र मिडियामा सरकारी नियन्त्रणै त नभनूँ, तर सरकारी छाया भने रहेको थियो। त्यसैले दलका नेताहरू मन्त्रालयको बाँडफाँडमा सञ्चार मन्त्रालय लिन बढी नै हानाथाप गर्दथे, जुन क्रम २०६२६३ सालपछिचाहिँ अलि घटेको छ। पछिल्लो दशकमा आएर देशमा पत्रकारिता र मिडिया विषयको पढाइ हुन थाल्यो अनि विदेशबाट यस्ता विषयमा स्नातक र स्नातकोत्तर गरेका व्यक्तिहरू प्रेस र मिडियामा संलग्न हुन थाले। एकताका त कतै नबिकेका र धेरै नपढेका मान्छेहरू कि पत्रकार हुन्थे कि राजनीतिक कार्यकर्ता। तर आजको स्थिति त्यस्तो छैन। आज व्यावसायिक पत्रकारहरूकै बाहुल्य छ।

 वर्तमान नेपाली प्रेस पूर्णरूपेण स्वतन्त्र, निष्पक्ष र व्यावसायिक भने अझै भइसकेको छैन। सम्पूर्ण प्रेसहरू दलीय भागबन्डाको एउटाएउटा कित्तामा कित्ताकाट गरेर बसेका छन्। जुनसुकै दैनिक वा साप्ताहिक खबरपत्रिकाको पहिलो पृष्ठका दुईचार हरफ पढ्नासाथ यो पत्रिका यो दलको निकट रहेछ भन्ने कुरा थाहा भइहाल्छ। यही कारणले कुनै घटनाको समाचार छापिँदा तत्काल रूपपक्षको मात्र व्याख्या हुन्छ, ‘सारलाई कि त वास्ता गरिँदैन कि त लुकाइएको हुन्छ। अनि भोलिपल्ट या पर्सिपल्ट पीडित पक्ष वा पीडक पक्षका पत्रिकाहरूले सारपक्षको चर्चा गर्न थाल्दछन्। कहिलेकाहीँचाहिँ आग्रह र पूर्वाग्रह नराखे पनि खबरलाई सनसनीपूर्ण बनाउन वा रसमय र चासोमय बनाउनका लागि त्यसो गरिन्छ। प्रायः यही कारणले होला नेपालका प्रायः सबै अखबारहरूले नकारात्मक समाचारहरूलाई मात्र स्थान दिन्छन्, सकारात्मक समाचारहरू कि त दिँदै दिँदैनन्, दिइहाले पनि भित्री पृष्ठको कुनै उपेक्षित स्थानमा २४ वाक्यमा दिन्छन्। यस विषयमा कुरा चलाउँदा पत्रकार साथीहरू भन्ने गर्छन् — ‘हाम्रो धर्म नै यस्तै हो मित्र ! कुकुरले मान्छे टोकेको कुरा समाचार बन्दैन, तर मान्छेले कुकुर टोक्यो भनेचाहिँ ठूलो समाचार हुन्छ।सहरमा दिनका दिन राम्रा र सुन्दर महलहरू बनिरहेका हुन्छन्, त्यो समाचार बन्दैन। तर आक्कलझुक्कल कुनै घर भत्कियो वा आगलागी भयो भनेचाहिँ त्यो समाचार बन्छ। सायद पत्रकारिताको यस्तैयस्तै धर्मका कारण हाम्रो समाजमा नयाँ उखान बनेको छ। त्यो के हो भने प्रहरी र पत्रकारलाई धेरै नजिक पनि राख्नु हुँदैन र धेरै टाढा पनि राख्नु हुँदैन।

पत्रकारहरूको व्यावसायिक कर्म जेसुकै भए पनि र मार्केटिङ शैली जस्तोसुकै भए पनि केही आधारभूत धर्म पनि हुनुपर्छ। जस्तै: कुनै पनि प्रेसले राष्ट्रियता, राष्ट्रिय अखण्डता, लोकतन्त्र र मानवताका विरुद्धचाहिँ कलम चलाउनु हुँदैन। व्यक्तिगत शत्रुता साध्ने, अर्काको चरित्रहत्या गर्ने, विज्ञापन नदिएको झोक पोख्ने, थैला, झोल र भोजबाट प्रभावित हुने आदिचाहिँ सामान्य विसङ्गतिहरू मात्र हुन्, जुन क्रमशः देशविकासको क्रममा हट्तै जानेछन्। तर राष्ट्रिय अस्मिता, राष्ट्रिय अर्थतन्त्र, राष्ट्रिय धरोहर, संस्कृति, परम्परा आदिको जगेर्ना मिडियाले नगर्ने हो भने कसले गरिदेला त?
 
आठदस वर्षअघिको एउटा घटना यस्तो छ सिङ्गापुर एयरपोर्टमा एकजना यात्री लागूऔषधको ठूलो परिमाणका साथ पक्राउ परेछन्। त्यहाँको कानुनअनुसार मृत्युदण्ड दिनुपर्ने अक्षम्य अपराध थियो त्यो। तर पक्रिएका व्यक्ति गोर्खाली परेकाले त्यहाँको सरकारले र प्रेसले यस घटनाबारे एक शब्द पनि उजागर गरेनछन्, तर त्यो समाचार एकदुई हप्तापछि नेपालमा यहाँको राष्ट्रिय दैनिकले चाहिँ छापिदिएछ। सिङ्गापुरका जिम्मेवार प्रेसहरूले नछापेको कारणचाहिँ के थियो भने सिङ्गापुरका राष्ट्रप्रमुख र सरकारप्रमुखलगायत विशिष्ट व्यक्तिहरूका बडी गार्डप्रायः गोर्खाली सैनिक नै हुन्थे र लागूपदार्थको कारोबारसम्बन्धी जघन्य अपराधमा गोर्खाली समातिएको समाचारले भीभीआईपीका गोर्खाली सुरक्षाकर्मीको मनोबलमा असर पर्छ भनेर गोप्य राखियो। दुर्भाग्य, नेपालभित्रकै पत्रिकाले चाहिँ नेपालीको अपमानलाई सगौरव प्रस्तुत गर्‍यो।
 
नेपालका टीभी मिडियाले हालसालै पर्यटनउद्योगलाई असर पार्ने एउटा समाचार नै नबन्ने घटनालाई बढाइचढाई ठूलो घटनाका रूपमा प्रस्तुत गरे। पर्यटनउद्योग नेपालको अर्थतन्त्रको मेरुदण्ड हो।  यसको जगेर्ना र प्रवद्र्धन गर्नु हामी हरेक विविध पेसाकर्मीको धर्म पनि हो। टीभीको त्यो समाचार एकजना विदेशी महिलाकी छोरी पदयात्रीका विषयमा थियो। उनी हराइछन्। उनी मरेबाँचेको खबर नपाएको घटनालाई टीभीमा यसरी प्रस्तुत गरियो कि त्यो समाचार नेपाल आउन लागेका कुनै विदेशीले विदेशमा हेरेका भए उनले नेपालको भ्रमण नै रद्द गरिदिने थिए। विगत १० वर्षमा लाखौँको सङ्ख्यामा नेपालमा विदेशी पर्यटकहरू आएका छन्। त्यसमध्ये एकजना हराउनु प्रतिशतमा शून्य दशमलब धेरै शून्यपछि गणना हुन्छ अर्थात् त्यस्तो घटना विश्वमा जहाँ पनि हुन्छ। त्यसमा पनि पर्वतीय पदयात्रा जहाँ पनि जोखिमपूर्ण नै हुन्छ। माथि डाँडा, तल गहिरो खोल्सो र नदीबीच कतै चिप्लिँदा लास बेपत्ता हुनु अस्वाभाविक हुँदैन। तर समाचारको सार थियो नेपाल पदयात्राका लागि सुरक्षित गन्तव्य होइन भन्ने। यस्तो समाचारसम्प्रेषण मिडियाको धर्मभित्र पर्छ कि पर्दैन?

त्यस्तै केही समयपहिले स्वास्थ्यराज्यमन्त्री राति रक्सीले मातेर वीर अस्पतालमा गई अभद्रता प्रदर्शन गरेको समाचार सबै मिडियाले प्राथमिकताका साथ प्रस्तुत गरे, जसले एकखाले एकाङ्गी जनमत सिर्जना भयो। तर घटनाको अर्को पक्षलाई लुकाइयो। हो, मन्त्रीजस्ता गरिमामय व्यक्तिले सार्वजनिक स्थलमा अभद्रता प्रदर्शन गर्नु हुँदैन। तर यथार्थ के पनि हो भने मन्त्री रक्सी खाएर सार्वजनिक स्थलमा सरिक भएका होइनन्, बरू कार्यालयको समयपछि राति रक्सी खाएर सुत्ने बेलामा सासूको आपतकालीन ब्रेन ह्यामरेजको समाचारले जेजस्तो स्थितिमा थिए उनी अस्पताल गए। यो र यस्तो अवस्था सबैलाई पर्न सक्छ। पत्रकार मित्रहरूलाई पनि पर्न सक्छ। प्रायः राति कुनै वारदातमा प्रहरी जाँदा मातिएका भेटिन्छन्। किनकि प्रहरी दरबन्दी कम हुन्छ, वारदात हुँदा आठघन्टे ड्युटी सकेर मदिरासेवन गरी सुतिसकेका प्रहरीलाई समेत उठाएर युनिफर्म लगाएर पठाउनुपर्दा तिनको मुख गनाउनु स्वाभाविकै हुन्छ। नेपाल मदिरानिषेधित देश होइन। जातिगत धर्मपरम्परा हेर्दा केही जातिमा त अनिवार्य पनि हुन्छ। रक्सी खाएपछि कुनै दुर्घटना पर्दा, अस्पताल जानुपर्दा वा मलामी जानुपर्दा कोही पनि रक्सी बान्ता गरेर जाँदैन। अनि आफन्तको औषधोपचारमा चिकित्सकको लापर्वाहीको प्रतिकार आम नागरिकले जसरी गर्दछ, ती मन्त्रीले पनि त्यसरी नै गरे होलान्। घटनाको यो पाटोलाई पूरै उपेक्षा गरिनु हुन्नथ्यो। स्वाभाविक र व्यावहारिक पाटाहरूलाई उपेक्षा गर्नु पनि हुँदैन। उदाहरणका लागि कुनै दिन कुनै मन्त्री एकाबिहानै ५६ बजेतिर कट्टु र गन्जी वा लुङ्गी मात्र लगाएर सडकमा आएछन्। त्यहाँ कुनै फोटोपत्रकारले फोटो खिचेछ र अखबारमा सडकमा मन्त्री नाङ्गैभनेर छापेछ। फोटो देख्ता सबैलाई हो जस्तो लाग्छ, तर त्यस दिन त्यति बेला ४५ रेक्टर स्केलको भूकम्प गएको समाचारलाई चाहिँ लुकाएर सडकमा नाङ्गै देखिएको मात्रै छाप्नुचाहिँ बेइमानी हुन्छ। भूकम्पको झड्कापछि जोसुकै जेजस्तो अवस्थामा हुन्छ, सडकमा आउँछ, त्यो स्वाभाविकतालाई उपेक्षा गर्न मिल्दैन।
 
त्यसरी नै मन्त्री, नेता वा कुनै भीभीआईपीले कुनै ठाउँमा बोलेको कुरा भनेर परिवेशसन्दर्भलाई लुकाएर बोलेको केही वाक्यमा केही वाक्यचाहिँ लुकाएर समाचार दिइयो र बोलेको त्यो वाक्य एफएम र टीभीमा सुनाइयो भने दर्शकलाई हो जस्तो लाग्छ, तर यथार्थ ठीक त्यस्तो नहुन पनि सक्छ। जस्तैः २०२५ वर्षअघि भारतका प्रधानमन्त्री अटलविहारी बाजपेयी नेपाल आएका थिए। कुनै एउटा कार्यक्रममा उनले आफ्नो भाषणमा भने — “विश्वको सबैभन्दा खराब व्यवस्था बहुदलीय लोकतन्त्र नै हो।केही बेर रोकिएर उनले भने — “तर के गर्ने, यसभन्दा राम्रो व्यवस्थाचाहिँ अर्को छँदै छैन।अर्थात् भन्न खोजिएको के हो भने विश्वमा हालसम्म प्रचलित व्यवस्थाहरूमा केही कमीकमजोरीहरू भए पनि बहुदलीय लोकतन्त्र नै उपयुक्त व्यवस्था मान्नुपर्छ। तर कुनै प्रेसले अघिल्लो वाक्य विश्वको सबैभन्दा खराब व्यवस्था बहुदलीय लोकतन्त्र नै होभनेर बाजपेयीले भने भनी समाचार बनाएको भए अनर्थ हुने थियो। हिजोआज केही मिडियाहरूले नेता र मन्त्रीले बोलेका कुराहरूमा बीचको अंश सस्वर प्रसारण गरेर समाचार बङ्ग्याउने गरेको पनि पाइन्छ। सायद यो पनि प्रेसधर्म होइन कि?

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2012 in Discourse

 

शासकीय स्वरूप: लोकतन्त्र कि प्रयोग?


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शासकीय स्वरूपका विषयमा मुख्य राजनीतिक दलका बीचमा एकमत हुन सकिरहेको छैन। माओवादी दलले कार्यकारी अधिकारसहितको राष्ट्रपति हुनुपर्ने कुरामा जोड दिएको छ। नेपाली काङ्ग्रेसले संसदीय प्रणालीलाई नै केही सुधार गरेर आलङ्कारिक राष्ट्रपति राख्नुपर्ने बताएको छ। नेकपा एमालेले जनताबाट प्रत्यक्ष निर्वाचित सरकारप्रमुख हुनुपर्ने भन्दै आएको छ। संविधानसभामा प्रतिनिधित्व गर्ने दलहरूको गणितीय हिसाब गर्ने हो भने बहुसङ्ख्यक सभासद्ले जनताको प्रत्यक्ष मतबाट राष्ट्रप्रमुख वा सरकारप्रमुखको व्यवस्था हुनुपर्ने भनेर जोड दिएका छन्। संविधाननिर्माणका क्रममा शासकीय स्वरूपका विषयमा मतविभाजन भएमा प्रत्यक्ष निर्वाचनबाट कार्यकारीप्रमुख चयन हुने स्पष्ट देखिन्छ। संसदीय व्यवस्थाको करिब दुई दशकलामो अभ्यासका क्रममा मौसमपरिवर्तनसँगै सरकारको परिवर्तन भइरहेको अवस्थाबाट मुक्त हुने वैकल्पिक रोजाइका रूपमा प्रत्यक्ष निर्वाचित नेतृत्वको चयन उपयुक्त हुने भनिए तापनि यस्तो निर्णय नेपालका सन्दर्भमा अपरिपक्व, अदूरदर्शी र अव्यावहारिक हुने निश्चित छ।

नेतृत्वमा राजनीतिक दलबाहिरका व्यक्तिलाई पनि प्रतिस्पर्धामा सहभागी गराउन खोजिएको देखिन्छ। यस कार्यले राजनीतिक दलले गर्दै आएको नेतृत्वमा अब गैरराजनीतिक व्यक्तिको पनि समान पहुँच हुन सक्ने कुरालाई स्वीकार गरेको छ। यसरी राजनीतिक दलले नै गैरराजनीतिक व्यक्तिको नेतृत्वलाई सहजै सरकारका नीतिनिर्माण र निर्णयमा ल्याउन गरिएको प्रयासलाई अब बन्ने संविधानमै उल्लेख गर्न खोज्नु गैरराजनीतिक व्यक्तिहरूका लागि सराहनीय कार्य भए तापनि राजनीतिकर्मीका लागि भने चुनौतिको विषय हुनसक्छ। दलीय राजनीतिको संस्कार व्यक्तिविशेषमा रूपान्तरण हुँदा राजनीतिक दललाई शक्तिका रूपमा हेर्दै आएको अवस्थामा ह्रास आउँछ। जनताको राजनीतिक दलप्रतिको विश्‍वास घट्नु भनेको समग्र लोकतान्त्रिक पद्धतिमा नै प्रश्नचिह्न लगाउनु हो, अथवा दलगत समूहको निर्णयप्रक्रियालाई बेवास्ता गरेर कुनै एक व्यक्तिले गरेको निर्णयप्रक्रियालाई प्रोत्साहन गर्नु हो।

अर्कातिर विश्‍वराजनीतमा बढ्दै गएको महँगो चुनावी प्रतिस्पर्धाको लहर नेपाली राजनीतिमा पनि नभित्रिएला भन्न सकिँदैन। आजको सूचना र सञ्चारको विस्तारले गर्दा चुनावी मैदानमा उत्रिने कुनै पनि राजनीतिक दल वा स्वतन्त्र प्रतिस्स्पर्धीले सञ्चारमाध्यम (रेडियो, टेलिभिजन, पत्रपत्रिका) तथा प्रचारप्रसारका अन्य सामग्रीको सहयोग लिनुपर्ने हुन्छ। त्यसो नगरेमा उम्मेदवारले मतदातासँग आफ्ना विचार राख्न सक्ने अवस्था हुँदैन। उम्मेदवारले कुनै पनि सञ्चारका माध्यमहरू चाहेर वा नचाहेर पनि प्रयोग गर्नुपर्ने बाध्यता हुन्छ। यसरी मतदातासमक्ष आफ्ना विचार राख्न र उनीहरूका कुरा सुन्न पनि उम्मेदवारले समाचारमाध्यमको सहयोग लिनुपर्ने हुन्छ। स्वतन्त्र वा राजनीतिक दलको जुनसुकै उम्मेदवारले समाचारमाध्यमको प्रयोग गर्दा ठूलो मात्रामा विज्ञापन तथा प्रचारप्रसारका सामग्री तयार गर्नुपर्दछ। त्यस्तो सामग्री तयार गर्न धेरै जनधनको परिचालन हुन्छ। यसका लागि वर्तमानमा निर्वाचनका क्रममा खर्च हुँदै आएको रकमभन्दा कैयौँ गुणा बढी रकमको आवश्यकता पर्दछ। आजका राजनीतिक दलको निर्वाचन आयोगमा प्रस्तुत आयव्ययविवरणलाई केलाउने हो भने पनि त्यो रकम ज्यादै न्यून हुन आउँछ। त्यस्तो न्यून आयबाट कुनै पनि उम्मेदवारले निर्वाचनमा सहभागी हुन नसक्ने मात्र होइन, आवश्यक प्रचारप्रसारको अभावमा मतदाताहरू योग्य नेतृत्व चयन गर्नसमेत असक्षम हुन्छन्।

नेपालको राजनीतिक संस्कार अन्य विकसित मुलुकको तुलनामा फरक किसिमको छ। त्यसैले यो शासकीय प्रणाली फलानो मुलुकमा सफल भयो, त्यसकारण नेपालमा पनि सफल हुन्छ भन्न सकिने आधार हुँदैन। नेपालमा दुईचारवटा राजनीतिक दलहरू बिचमात्र प्रतिस्पर्धा  हुँदैन। निर्वाचन आयोगको अभिलेखमा ८० भन्दा बढी राजनीतिक दलहरू छन्। विगत वर्षहरूमा क्षेत्रीय राजनीतिक मधेसवादी दलहरू सरकारको गठन र विघटनका क्रममा चोइटिदै गएको अवस्थालाई विश्लेषण गर्ने हो भने राजनीतिक दलहरूको सङ्ख्या अझ बढ्ने सम्भावना देखिन्छ। यसरी व्यक्तिव्यक्तिबीचको टकराव, महत्वाकाङ्क्षा र पदलोलुपताले सङ्कुचन र विघटन हुने संस्कृतिको प्रतिनिधित्व गर्दछ। जनताद्वारा प्रत्यक्ष निर्वाचित राष्ट्रप्रमुख वा सरकारप्रमुख हुने प्रावधान बनाइए राजनीतिक दलसँग आबद्ध व्यक्ति वा स्वतन्त्र व्यक्तिसमेत उम्मेदवार बन्न सक्छ। यसरी एक पदमा धेरै व्यक्तिको निर्वाचन गराउनुपर्ने बाध्यता र निर्वाचित व्यक्तिले समग्र नागरिकको प्रतिनिधित्व गर्नुपर्ने अवस्थाले गर्दा निर्वाचन पटकपटक गर्नुपर्ने हुन्छ। धेरै चरणमा हुने निर्वाचनले सक्षम र योग्य व्यक्तिलाई नै चयन गर्न मद्धत गर्छ भन्न सकिँदैन, बरू यसले राष्ट्रको अथाह धनराशीको क्षयचाहिँ गर्छ। निर्वाचन गराइरहनुपर्ने अवस्थाले नेपालको विकासयोजनाको धेरै बजेट निर्वाचनकै लागि खर्चिनु पर्ने हुन्छ। दलीय वा स्वतन्त्र उम्मेदवारले पटकपटकको निर्वाचनमा धेरै रकम खर्च गर्नुपर्ने पनि हुन्छ। यसका लागि राजनीतिक दल वा स्वतन्त्र उम्मेदवारले विगतमा खर्च हुँदै आएको रकमभन्दा धेरै बढी रकम सङ्कलन गर्नुपर्ने हुन्छ। रकम सङ्कलन गर्दा गैरराजनीतिक समूहहरूसँग सहकार्य र सहमतिसमेत गर्नुपर्ने हुन्छ। राजनीतिक उद्देश्य पूरा गर्न गरिने कालोबजारी, तस्करी र घुसखोरी जस्ता गैरराजनीतिक कार्यहरूले खुला प्रतिस्पर्धाको राजनीतिमा मद्दत पु¥याउँदैन, राजनीतिक दलको भूमिकाको निर्धारण गैरराजनीतिक शक्तिको हातमा पु¥याउँछ र त्यस्तो शक्तिको सहयोगमा बन्ने सरकारले तय गर्ने नीति, नियम, कानुन तथा निर्णयमा नकारात्मक असर पर्दछ। नेपालको राजनीति दलगत प्रतिस्पर्धामा नगई समूहगत वा कुनै अराजनीतिक उद्देश्य पूर्ति गर्ने दबाब समूहका हातमा पर्ने पनि सम्भावना हुन्छ।

लोकतन्त्र सबै नागरिकको समान हक, अधिकार र अवसरका लागि भनिए पनि देशैभरि प्रत्यक्ष निर्वाचनद्वारा कुनै व्यक्ति छानिनुपर्ने अवस्थामा उम्मेदवारका लागि ठूलो धनराशीको आवश्यकता पर्छ तर रकम सङ्कलन गर्न नसक्ने व्यक्तिले आवश्यक धनराशी जुटाउन नसकेकै कारणले निर्वाचनमा उम्मेदवार बन्न सक्तैन। यसले समाजमा राजनीति हुनेखानेका निम्ति हो भन्ने नकारात्मक सन्देश दिन्छ।

निर्वाचनमा उम्मेदवार दलीय रूपको भए पनि निर्वाचनचाहिँ व्यक्तिविशेषमा केन्द्रित हुन्छ। किनभने मुलुकको हितका लागि अलोकप्रिय निर्णय गर्नुपर्ने अवस्थामा पनि मतदाताहरूलाई खुसी पार्न उम्मेदवारहरू लोकप्रिय हुनका लागि मुलुकको अहित हुने निर्णय गर्न सक्छन्। राजनीतिकर्मीमा सामाजिक उत्तरदायित्व बहन गर्नुभन्दा सस्तो लोकप्रियताका लागि कार्य गर्ने संस्कार विकास हुन्छ।  यस क्रममा आमसञ्चारका माध्यमको प्रमुख भूमिका रहन्छ। जनहितको कार्य गर्नेभन्दा पनि सञ्चारगृह धाउने संस्कृतिको विकास हुन्छ। राजनीतिमा अराजनीतिक भूमिका बढ्दै जान्छ र नागरिकको मुद्दा राजनीतिक पार्टीले उठान गर्न नसकी त्यसलाई अराजनीतिक समूहले नियन्त्रण गर्दछ। जनतासँग प्रत्यक्ष सरोकार राख्ने सवालमा गैरराजनीतिक समूहको दबाब भएमा त्यहाँ दबाब समूहको बढी स्वार्थ लुक्ने हुँदा अनावश्यक मुद्दाले बढी र आवश्यक मुद्दाले कम महत्व पाउने संस्कृतिको विकास हुन्छ।

थोरै अवधिमा भएको लोकतान्त्रिक अभ्यास र खुला प्रतिस्पर्धाको राजनीतिक संस्कारको जग बसिनसकेको अवस्थामा क्षणिक लक्ष्यपूर्तिका लागि गरिने प्रतिस्पर्धामा पार्टीको भूमिका घटाएर एकल व्यक्तिको नेतृत्वलाई बढावा दिने प्रणालीले निरङ्कुश अधिनायकवादतर्फ उन्मुख गराउनेछ।

नेपालमा नेता वा दलहरूले अधिनायकवादी चरित्रबाट उन्मुक्ति पाइसकेका छैनन्। केही दलका नेताहरू निरङ्कुशतावादी सिद्धान्तबाट दीक्षित भएका छन् र लोकतान्त्रिक देखिने धेरै दलहरूमा पनि अधिनायकवादी सोच भएकाहरूको उपस्थिति देखिन्छ। नेपाली समाजमा राजतन्त्रको भूमिका अझै रहनुपर्छ भन्ने मान्यताका आधारमा नै लोकतन्त्रका पक्षधर राजनीतिक दलहरूले केही वर्षअगाडिसम्म पनि संवैधानिक राजतन्त्रलाई स्वीकारेका हुन्। अधिनायकवादी नेताहरूलेचाहिँ जनताको समर्थन पाएर नेतृत्वदायी भूमिका पूरा गर्ने प्रयास गरे पनि पुरानो सोच र मान्यतालाई आफू अनुकूल पुनरावृत्ति गर्न सक्छन्। सबै दलमा नयाँ पुस्तालाई नयाँ सोचका साथ नेतृत्व सुम्पने साहस कसैले देखाउन सकेको छैन। क्षणिक लाभको कल्पना गरेर नेतृत्वचयनका विषयमा जथाभावी निर्णय गर्ने दलहरूको संस्कारले त्रास र अनिश्चित वातावरणको सिर्जना गर्न सक्ने पनि देखिन्छ।

मुलुकले सङ्घीय ढाँचाको खाका कोर्न लागेको छ। सङ्घीयतालाई व्यवहारमा उतार्न भौगोलिक सीमारेखा कोरेर मात्र पुग्दैन। शासकीय स्वरूपको जिम्मेवारी प्रत्येक प्रान्त वा राज्यमा सुम्पनुपर्दछ।  प्रत्यक्ष निर्वाचित नेतृत्वले केन्द्रीय शासनप्रणालीलाई मद्दत गर्दछ। एक व्यक्ति नेतृत्वको शासनव्यवस्थाले सङ्घीय राजनीतिलाई मद्दत गर्दैन। व्यक्तिविशेषको नेतृत्वमा सरकार बन्ने भएकाले व्यक्तिले आफूमा भएको अधिकार प्रत्यायोजन गरेर सबै राज्यलाई सुदृढ बनाउँछ भन्न सकिँदैन।

नयाँ संविधानमा जनताबाट प्रत्यक्ष निर्वाचित राष्ट्रप्रमुख वा सरकारप्रमुखको व्यवस्था गर्ने कि नगर्ने भन्ने कुराभन्दा निर्वाचनप्रणालीलाई कसरी व्यावहारिक बनाउने, नीतिनिर्णयको विषय अन्य समूह वा शक्तिमा कसरी जान नदिने र लोकतान्त्रिक मूल्यमान्यतालाई कसरी स्थापित गर्ने भन्ने विषय नै प्रमुख बनाइनु पर्दछ। यस कार्यका लागि नयाँनयाँ प्रणाली र व्यवस्था स्थापित गर्ने र प्रयोगभूमि बनाउन खोज्ने गर्नुभन्दा नागरिकको त्याग र बलिदानबाट प्राप्त भएको लोकतन्त्र र बहुलवादलाई कुनै व्यक्ति वा पार्टीको क्षणिक स्वार्थका कारण फेरि पनि विलय हुन नदिनेतर्फ सोच्नुपर्ने बेला भएको छ।
 
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Posted by on March 29, 2012 in Discourse

 

Statues had better go to Museum

 – Eak Prashad Duwadi

Recently, the government of Nepal (GoN) decided to pluck king Tribhuvan Shah’s statue from Shahid Gate (formerly Shahid Smarak) and to mount it at the Narayanhiti Museum. The logic behind this is that king Tribhuvan’s input in fighting against Ranarchy was not as much significant as that of  the four martyrs, namely Dharma Bhakta Mathema, Dasarath Chanda, Shukraraj Shastri and Gangalal Shrestha. In fact, these four Prajaparisad leaders sacrificed themselves for people’s freedom from the Rana autocrats rather than kneeling down for their petty interests.
That raised hackles among a section of public and pro-monarch politicians who term the move an “offensive that downplays the role of Shah in bringing democracy in the country”. But the Supreme Court of Nepal ordered the government not to implement its decision to remove late King Tribhuvan’s statue from Shahid Gate in Kathmandu  (Nepalnews.com). The order followed a writ petition filed by advocates Kamalesh Dwibedi and Gulab Bista who argued that the then government headed by B.P Koirala had declared the late King a ‘martyr’ for his fight against Rana oligarchy.  

So, even if he did not have any share in the anti-Rana movement, he certainly maintained a say in the agreement so as to restore the long-lost prominence of Shahs. This victory, which placed him at the helm, lent him enough ground to get himself portrayed as a veteran pro-democratic monarch.

The history of Shahidgate is also not less interesting as it was constructed after 1960 by late king Mahendra. Initially, it was Shahid Smarak. He reportedly asked the builders to make it in such a way that he could pass through it on the Elephant’s back while rambling in the capital as there were only few vehicular movements. Since he introduced Panchayat system deposing the first-elected PM BP Koirala, he perhaps wanted to amplify his father’s glory by keeping the latter’s statue on the top of all four great martyrs in the Shahid Smarak. Some years later, the passage was blocked, and sideways were made on both sides. Guards were appointed to protect it and newly-elected PMs often used to go there to show their reverence to the heroes of Nepal. Mainly after the dawn of republicanism, political leaders hardly make homage to this place. The once revered place appears to have been deserted these days.
Some historians say King Tribhuvan, though updated rarely by the freedom fighters about their secret movements against Rana oligarchy, had shown sympathy to the then political leaders. B P Koirala nods, “What is true is in 1950-51 movement the king (Tribhuvan) showed his solidarity to the people although it is not clear whether he had really become pro-people or just an opportunist” (268). Madan Bhandari, a strident critic of Shahs  in Nepal, purports that the claims about Tribhuvan’s  anti-Rana activism are just hoaxes fabricated by his successors to portray the monarchy’s positive image (300).

Circumstances show that as the head of the state he  was a signatory to the decision of giving capital punishment to the four patriots. Sympathizers accord this to his compulsion to work at Ranas’ gunpoints. When the movement led by Nepali Congress was in peak, he quit the palace along with all his family members (except a grandson  — Gyanendra Shah) seeking asylum in India. Many take this as a wise action for  intensifying pressures ton Ranas. Others deem it a mere escape from is ambiguous position of loyalty between the Ranas and the people. 

He returned to the country only after the trilateral agreement between the monarchy, the Ranas and the Nepali Congress, with restored powers and Mohan Shasher’s premiership. No one of his family members was killed in the revolution. Neither did his family have to abdicate the throne. So, even if he did not have any share in the anti-Rana movement, he certainly maintained a say in the agreement so as to restore the long-lost prominence of Shahs. This victory, which placed him at the helm, lent him enough ground to get himself portrayed as a veteran pro-democratic monarch.

Those who think that Tribhuvan also contributed a lot in ensuring peoples’ freedom ask, “Did not he peril his throne to abolish Ranas? If Tom, Dick, Harry can be martyrs now just dying in clashes for personal matters, or being killed in road accidents or even being shot while watching the protest from out of their window, then, apparently, king Tribhuvan did more than that.” Because of these sentiments, they have padlocked the Shahidgate now displaying a banner that denounces the GoN’s recent decision.
Yet, there are others, particularly young generations, who do not want to debate whether king Tribhuvan’s contribution to bring democracy in Nepal is equal to that of those four great souls or not. Because fierce tongue wars are being ensued presently in Nepal, what they think is keeping statues at different corners, and sometimes in the roads, is not wise. Most probably, it was appropriate in ancient times and medieval periods when there were no books, archives, photography and videos. However, now there are many such media which have unlimited archives about almost everything and every movers and shakers. Moreover, there are museums where antiques are preserved.
Therefore, not only the statue of Tribhuvan but also other statues have to be removed from the highways and the crossings so as to make smooth traffics. Erecting statues by blocking or dividing the roads is quite unpractical in the present context. Still the big question is: what does the GoN’s stand on over ten thousand new martyrs? Are they like the FOUR?
Works Cited
Bhandari, Madan. “Rajtantra nai Janata ra Rastaka Shatru Hun [Monarchy’s the enemy of Nepali  and Nepal].” Thaps, Soorya. Nepalma Rajtantra ra Dalharu bich Sangharsha [Rows between Monarchy and Political Parties in Nepal]. Kathmandu: Navayug, 2005. 297-330.
Koirala, B P. “Rajtantra le Gatisil Samajko Netritva Garna Sakdaina [ Monarchy cannot lead the developed society].” Thapa, Soorya. Nepalma Rajtantra ra Dalharu bich Sangharsha [Rows between Monarchy and Political Parties in Nepal]. Kathmandu: Navayug, 2005. 251-278.
Nepalnews.com. SC stays decision to remove King Tribhuvan’s statue from Shahid Gate. 10 January 22012. <http://www.nepalnews.com/home/index.php/news/2/15894-sc-stays-decision-to-remove-king-tribhuvans-statue-from-shahid-gate.html&gt;.
 
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Posted by on March 29, 2012 in Discourse