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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Editorial

Certain things prevented us from bringing KUFIT into a form desired for a celebratory anniversary issue. These are the things that have helped defer many good plans in a larger context. But despite uncertainties looming around, and a number of reasons to resign from positive reflection and creativity, we have been able to collect some insightful contributions to start the second year.
Academics have their commitments; their work must not come to a halt even though the world around them is falling apart. We could have written tons about our time’s happenings, about deterrents of smooth academic pursuits. But we spare that area for those who are good at it, and keep to more sustainable, universal critical lines. Thus, the Forum sustains with its interdisciplinary fervor. We hope to continue the venture and invite regular cooperation from colleagues. Please read and let us feel KUFIT has served its purpose.
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Posted by on May 23, 2012 in Editorial

 

Teaching and Research

– Deepak Subedi
I would like to quote a Chinese proverb to begin my article. “To hear is to forget, to see is to remember and to do is to understand”. In fact, to understand something one has to go through it. Hearing and seeing are not enough. This fact is of crucial importance in teaching as well as in research. Teaching is an art of transferring knowledge to create new knowledge. However, research is neither an art that can be taught nor a set of rules and regulations to follow. It is a skill that can be acquired and whose acquisition can be supported by training. It is not the case that one day we are unskilled in a field and the next day we are experts. There are steps and phases in the acquisition of skills. It requires a continuous effort for a long time in a particular area to be skilled.
In the words of Peter Baumgartner and Sabine Pyar, research based education system became necessary because of the interconnected problems, rapidly changing unstable environments and indeterminate future of the modern society. The conventional teaching methods consist of procedural knowledge for solving pre-defined problems. Several evidences have shown that traditional education system has not been successful in stimulating creative thinking in students. What is required for the students is the active skill of framing problems, designing desirable changes and inventing ways to bring these changes about. The complex nature of the problems in modern society show that much of the knowledge that students have been taught cannot be helpful in real- life problems. They are taught to solve a particular type of pre-defined problems and this knowledge certainly cannot help in solving newly emerging complex problems.   
Cloude Cohen says that research and teaching are complementary activities which cannot be dissociated. In fact, if a teacher gives lectures without doing research the lectures becomes rapidly obsolete because such lectures do not follow the progress of science. On the other hand, it is very important for a research scientist to give lectures for improving his/her research. When a researcher tries to explain scientific concepts in the clearest possible ways, he/she gets new interesting ideas and physical insights which can stimulate new directions of results. This is perhaps an exact explanation of the relation between teaching and research. Hence research and teaching are complements of each other.  
Currently, I am involved in research in the field of surface energy of polymers which consists of measurement of contact angle of liquid drops made on solid surfaces. I am giving my lectures in the same filed for the students of applied science. In my experience,  I have found that my research work has helped me a lot in my teaching whereas the preparation of regular lectures has given me new insights in my research work. I am of the opinion that new generation of students should be taught on research-based education system so as to enable them to fight with the new challenges of the rapidly developing world.
 
Works Consulted
  • Baumgartner, P., Pyar, S. Learning as action: A social science approach to the evaluation of  interactive media: Carlson, P., Makedon, (eds) F. Proceedings of ED-MEDIA 96, AACE Charlottesville, 1996, pp-31-37.  
  •  Claude Cohen Jannoudji. Adventure with cold atoms in: One Hundred Reasons to    be a scientist, 2nd Ed, ICTP, 2004.
 
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Posted by on May 22, 2012 in Discourse

 

चेखोभको जन्मभूमिमा

– जङ्गब चौहान
दक्षिण रसियाको एउटा सानो तटीयनगरको नाम हो तगानरोग। नोबेल पुरस्कार विजेता सोभियत लेखक मिखाइल शोलोखोभको प्रसिद्ध उपन्यास शान्त दोनको पृष्ठभूमि यो क्षेत्र विख्यात रसियाली नदी दोनको सिञ्‍चित प्रदेश मानिन्छ।
तीनतिरबाट अजोभ सागरले घेरिएको यो सानो हरियालीपूर्ण सहर वास्तवमै मनमोहक छ। दक्षिणी रुसको रस्तोभ प्रान्तको केन्द्रीय सहर सोलोखोभको जन्मभूमि रस्तोभबाट ७५ किलोमिटर पूर्वमा रहेको तगानरोग पुग्न दोन नदीको किनारैकिनार अजोभ सागरतिर लाग्ने विद्युतीय रेलबाट जानुपर्छ अथवा सानो जहाज यात्रा पनि रोज्न सकिन्छ। मास्कोबाट लगभग चौबीस घण्टाको एक्सप्रेस रेलयात्रापछि रसियाको सुदूरदक्षिणमा रहेको यो रमणीय सहरमा म तगानरोग विश्वविद्यालयको पाहुना भएर गएको थिएँ। जुन महिनाको सुन्दरता आफ्नै किसिमको हृदयस्पर्शी लागिरहेको थियो। मेरो मन भने विश्वविख्यात रुसी कथाकार एवम् नाटककार अन्तोन चेखोभको पावन जन्मभूमि टेक्न हतारिएको थियो।
म तगानरोग पुगेको रातभरि नै पानी परिरहयो। दिउँसो भने आकाश छ्याङ्ग। मीठो घाम। गर्मी पनि होइन जाडो पनि होइन। यसरी नै उघ्रिएका दर्जनौँ आकर्षक दिनमध्ये एउटा बिदाको विशेष बिहानी आइपुग्यो। दूरदेशबाट आउने दुई दिनको पाहुनाका लागि अजभ सागरको चञ्‍चल लहरसँगै चेखोभको भावदशामा रमाउने तगानरोग सानो भए पनि आँखाको नानीजस्तै प्रिय लाग्ने रहेछ।
चेखोभको जन्मघर
रणनीतिक र व्यापारिक महत्वको दक्षिण रुसको यो तटवर्ती सहर साहित्य, कला र संगीतका दृष्टिले रसियाको पावनभूमि मानिदो रहेछ। जार अलेकसान्द्र प्रथमले निरंकुशताको विद्रोहमा लागेका रुसका महान कवि पुश्किनलाई यसै भेगमा निर्वासनमा पठाएका थिए। यसरी ५ जुन १८२० मा तगानरोग आइपुगेका पुश्किनले यहाँको जीवन र प्रकृतिबाट थुप्रै काव्यात्मक प्रेरणा ग्रहण गरेका थिए। व्यापारिक केन्द्रका कारण १६ राष्ट्रले यस सानो नगरमा उहिले नै आ-आफ्ना वाणिज्य दूतावासहरू खोलेका थिए। त्यसैको स्मृतिमा यहाँका कतिपय सडकहरूको नामाकरण गरिएको रहेछ, जस्तै ग्रिक गल्ली, इटालेली चौक आदि। यस नगरमा विश्वविख्यात रुसी संगीतकार चाइकोभ्स्कीले आफ्नो जीवनको महत्वपूर्ण समय बिताएका थिए। उनले आवासको रूपमा प्रयोग गरेको वनकिनाराको कलात्मक रातो घरले अहिले पनि देश-विदेशबाट आउने भावुक यात्रीहरूलाई स्वागत गरिरहेको हुन्छ। यही घरमा बसेर चाइकोभ्स्कीले कयौँ मृदु सिम्फोनीहरूको सिर्जना गरेका थिए।
सागरतटमा अवस्थित एउटा सुन्दर वाटिकाको मध्यभागमा पुश्किनको विशाल कदको सालिक छ। नगरको केन्द्रमा पुश्किनको स्मृतिमा सडकको नाम राखिएको छ। त्यहाँबाट अलि पर जाँदा नाट्यचोकको अगाडि रहेको चेखोभ नाट्यशालामा देश-विदेशका उत्कृष्ट नाटकहरूको मञ्‍चन भइरहेको हुन्छ। यहाँ भद्रभलादमीहरूको मौन भीड देख्दा अचम्म लागेर आउँछ। भीड तर शान्त। कताकता जीवन र मृत्युको खोजमा हराएजस्तो।
यसरी तगानरोगले कयौँ स्रष्टाहरूको सम्झना गर्ने क्रममा अन्तोन चेखोभलाई आफ्नै मुटुभित्र टाँसेको रहेछ। चेखोभको जन्मभूमि भएकाले पनि यसो हुन गएको होला। उनको पुर्ख्यौली घर, उनले अध्ययन र सिर्जनाको क्रममा बाल्य र युवा दिनहरू बिताएको सानो चिटिक्‍क परेको आवासगृह, चेखोभ पुस्तकालय, चेखोभ संग्रहालय, चेखोभ नाट्यशाला, उनको पूर्णकदको सालिक, चेखोभ मार्ग, चेखोभ स्मारक माद्यमिक विद्यालयजस्ता सवै चेखोभ स्मारकहरूलाई तागानरोगवासीहरूले गौरवका साथ जोगाएर राखेका रहेछन्। कति गौरव छ चेखोभमाथि यस नगरलाई। कुनै पनि नगरवासीलाई चेखोभबारे सोधियो भने उसले प्रसन्‍नता र हार्दिकताका साथ चेखोभको जीवनी र कृतित्वका सम्बन्धमा सविस्तार बताउन खोज्नु आफ्नो कर्तव्य नै ठानेको हुँदोरहेछ। हामी नेपालीले तगानरोगवासीबाट यस सन्दर्भमा सिक्नुपर्ने कुरा धेरै रहेछ। उद्योगधन्दा, बन्दव्यापारसँगसँगै आफ्नो सहरलाई कसरी साँस्कृतिकरूपमा सम्पन्‍न  बनाउन सकिने रहेछ भन्‍ने तथ्यको एउटा ज्वलन्त उदाहरण बनेर बसेको रहेछ यो सहर।
सुदूर धर्तीको यो सामुद्रिक सहरको भ्रमणबाट मलाई के अनुभव भयो भने रुसी हृदयहरूलाई छाम्ने हो भने मास्को, सान्तपितर्सबर्ग होइन यो दोन नदीद्वारा सिञ्‍चित भूभागतिर आउनुपर्ने रहेछ, तगानरोग आउनुपर्ने रहेछ, कृषकहरूले आफ्नो श्रम पसिनाद्वारा सिँगारेको प्रदेशमा आउनुपर्ने रहेछ। यहाँ भेटिने छ सिर्जनात्मक रुस, तोल्सतोयको रुस। यहाँ चेखोभको रुस भेटिने छ, गोर्कीको रुस भेटिने छ र भेटिने छ चाइकोभ्स्कीको संगीत र शिशकिनको कलाले सिँगारिएको रुस। यहाँ शोलोखोभको प्रियभूमिमा बस्ने दोन नदीको शान्त धारहरूलाई स्पर्श गर्न पाइन्छ। कहाँ पाउनु यो आत्मीयता, यो हार्दिकता, यो कलात्मक संसार रसियाका विशाल नगरीहरूमा हिजोआज।
दिनभरि विश्‍वविद्यालयसँग सम्बन्धित कामपछि बेलुकीपख तगानरोगका सडकहरूमा, तटीय इलाकामा, सार्वजनिक उद्यानहरूमा, संगीतालयमा, नाट्यशालामा, अजोभ सागरको नौकाविहारमा जताजता गए पनि वातावरण चेखोभमय हुने रहेछ। यहाँको समुद्रीतटमा उभिएर कलात्मक मौनता साँध्न सकिने रहेछ। तटीय इलाकाको शून्यता, सेता समुद्री छालहरू र पक्षीका संगीतमय गान सबै सबैले जति तान्दै जान्थ्यो, विश्‍वका यी महान स्रष्टाको सिर्जनात्मक संसारले जति जति आफूभित्र समाहित गर्दै लान्थ्यो, भित्र भित्र कता कता घाउ दुखे झैँ लागिरहन्थ्यो आफ्नो मुलुकको सम्झनामा। यहाँको  सुन्दर आत्मीयताको, शालीनताको, हार्दिकताको अनन्त गीत गाउँदै छुट्टिने बेलामा मनभरि यस्तो भाव आएको थियो – तगानरोग, म तिम्रो महानताको गीत गाउन सक्छु तर मलाई बाँच्न मेरै हिमालको छहारी चाहिन्छ, मेरै पहाड र तराईको वासना चाहिन्छ। शीतल शीतल प्यारो प्यारो। मलाई लाग्यो चेखोभको सिर्जनात्मक संसारमा जस्तै दैनिक यथार्थबाट उठेर दर्शनको नीलगगनमा चिलझैँ उडिरहने मन लिएर बितेको यौवन र हराएका आकांक्षाहरू समेट्दै लयात्मक जीवन बाँच्न सके कति राम्रो हुने थियो।
 
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Posted by on May 22, 2012 in Memoirs

 

Mathematics: Exciting or Hard?

– Pushpa Raj Adhikary
Traditionally mathematics has been an integral part of the courses in natural sciences and engineering everywhere. But experience has taught us that learning mathematics has never been a priority of majority students. The high rate of failure in mathematics of mathematics majors as well as Engineering students confirms this fact. Perhaps the motivation and encouragement given to learn mathematics are not sufficient.
Although mathematics is considered the most prestigious subject in the school curriculum at any level, it continues to be a subject taught more for enabling students to get through the examinations only. It is taught in an authoritarian fashion. There is least worry about motivation. At most, all emphasis is on solving tedious and rather complicated problems with little explanation on the inherent beauty and logic of the methodologies involved and their practical implications. Mathematics is one subject where the gap between the intended and the implemented objectives is wide. As a consequence, mathematics is considered a most difficult subject and is considered as a useless, boring and hard subject. Also, it is considered as abhorred by a majority of the educated people. This attitude of parents and educated people in the society is creating a negative impact upon the younger generation that it is a difficult and not so useful subject. This causes great panic among the students to study mathematics.
Part of the reason why mathematics puzzles the majority of persons is that it is hard for them to decide what kind of thing mathematics is. Is it a science? Is it an art? Is it a language? In fact mathematics is all three. Among all the existing sciences, it is the science which is least restricted to any one particular area of the world, real or imagined. It is hard to say all that mathematics is. The famous philosopher Bertrand Russell said that pure mathematics is something which we can talk about without understanding what it is.
Some parts of mathematics can be useful to any intelligent person. They help one to make better decisions. They help anyone to see the structure of the world more clearly and help in common activities. Graphs and tables summarize a lot of information. To be able to read a graph or a table makes the information accessible. Estimating is a technique of making good rough guesses about numbers. Models, plans, schemes, maps, diagrams are the representations or pictures of the real world. In all these activities, the results are not obtained without hard work. Moreover, such mathematical scales are a part of any skill/aptitude test for a job or for advanced study in any discipline.
Mathematics contains ideas that can be, and deserve to be, communicated to a wider public. But mathematicians claim that math is not a spectator sport. You cannot understand math, or enjoy it, without doing it. A mathematician who tries to communicate his subject to the layman soon finds himself in trouble because if he sticks to the truth he cannot communicate, and when he tries to communicate, he strays from the truth. Talking without being understood is pointless, lying is painful, so most often mathematicians abandon the attempt to communicate mathematics to others.
But this is not the case in other branches of science. Not only a geneticist doing research in recombinant DNA research knows about DNA but many others know what DNA is. Likewise, you need not be a Physicist or a Chemist to know that matter consists of atoms. But the reverse is true in case of mathematics. When mathematicians, physicists or electrical engineers talk about anything, sooner or later they scribble down formulas. To them formulas are the most precise and economical way of expressing their thoughts. Without formulas they think they cannot communicate well. But showing a formula to someone who can’t remember the symbols is something like encountering nightmares. An English major student once asked a mathematics professor to suggest him a book of geometry written in plain English without any mathematical formulas and symbols. Can mathematician write such books for students majoring other subjects?
Formulas do not scare only non-mathematicians, but sometimes even to the persons of science. Michael Faraday, best known English investigator for his pioneering work connecting magnetism and electricity, wrote the following to one of his junior, James Clark Maxwell:
When a mathematician engaged in investigating physical actions and results has arrived at his calculations, may they not be expressed in common language as fully, clearly, and definitely as in mathematical formulae? If so, would it not be a great boon to such as I to express them so?
If formulas in mathematics and other physical sciences are considered weapons of intimidation by others, cannot they be replaced by common language? But to explain the mathematical formulas in details, words are often clumsy and sometimes ambiguous.
Having talked about something on the nature of mathematics, now let us answer the question, “Is mathematics exciting?”. Today mathematical methods not only pervade the whole world of physical sciences and engineering but such diverse branches of knowledge as the social sciences, management  sciences, psychology, economics, biology, linguistics, and military affairs. Why mathematical methods are so popularly used is because it has ability to reduce complex problems into a set of simple step-by-step solutions. In the absence of such a technique, problem solving would mostly be a trial and error or a subjective matter.
We are living in the greatest age of mathematics ever seen. Mathematics started being more abstract since the beginning of twentieth century and many feared whether mathematicians would be working on silly intellectual exercise. Since World War II, it has became a single unified discipline having profound influence in the development of human civilization. So, learning and creating mathematics is a worthwhile way to spend life.
Now, to the second question: “Is mathematics hard?  Unfortunately most people confess that they are not good at mathematics.  You may not find a single good mathematician who claims that mathematics is easy for him or her. While mathematics is intensely enjoyable, it also requires hard work and discipline. Very bright students who are good in mathematics at high school do not graduate in mathematics courses and still a few eventually get their PhDs. The truth is that one should be driven to study mathematics and it is literally difficult to convince that they could shine in this discipline. But the fact is: it is exciting. The earlier frustration of learning mathematics should not deter anyone in the thrills of learning and creating new mathematics. Mathematicians are the only people who, by their mathematics, help to create new technologies and knowledge to enhance human civilization further.
 
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Posted by on May 22, 2012 in Science

 

वाणीको नालीबेली

मुकुन्दप्रसाद उपाध्याय
धेरै पहिले एकजना कविको एउटा कविता पढेको थिएँ। कविको नामचाहिँ याद रहेन। त्यस कविताको एउटा हरफ म अझै सम्झन्छु। त्यो थियोबोलीबाट हुँदैन क्यै किन भनूँ, बोलेर पो हुन्छ के?अर्थात् कविले हाम्रो बोलीको महत्ता र प्रभावबारे लेखेका थिए। हुन पनि हो, हामी मानवजातिलाई प्रकृतिले दिएको अनुपम एवं अद्वितीय उपहार नै बोलीहो, जसलाई संस्कृत भाषामा वाणीभनिन्छ। बोलीवा वचनशब्दले भन्दा वाणीशब्दले वृहत् अर्थ समेटेको हुन्छ। 
धार्मिक मान्यताअनुसार जलचर, थलचर र नभचर जीवहरूको सङ्ख्या ८४ लाख बताइएको छ। त्यसैले हामी जीवहरूले ८४ लाख योनिमा भ्रमण गर्नुपर्ने कुरा पुनर्जन्मको सिद्धान्तले बताएको छ। ८४ लाख जीवहरूमा मानवजातिलाई नै सर्वश्रेष्ठ मानिन्छ। जीवहरूमा मानव नै यस्तो प्राणी हो जो कर्म, तप, ज्ञान, भक्ति आदिबाट देवतुल्य बन्ने वा देवता हुने सामर्थ्य राख्दछ। त्यस्तो सामर्थ्य हामीलाई बुद्धिविवेक प्राप्त भएकाले सम्भव भएको हो। बुद्धि र विवेकको प्रकटीकरण र ग्रहणको माध्यम अनि सार नै वाणी हो। ज्ञान वा ब्रह्मज्ञान बुझ्नुपर्दा वा बुझाउनुपर्दा वाणीकै सहारा लिनुपर्ने हुन्छ। त्यसैले वाणीलाई ऋक् भनिन्छ। ऋक् भनेकै ज्ञान वा प्रज्ञा हो। वेदले नै भन्छ — ‘प्रज्ञानं ब्रह्मअर्थात् यो प्रज्ञा नै ब्रह्म हो। 
ज्ञानको खोज, संरक्षण र अभिलेखको माध्यम त्रेतायुगसम्म वाणी नै थियो। गुरुकुलमा सम्पूर्ण वेदवेदाङ्गहरूको अध्ययनअध्यापन गुरुशिष्यपरम्पराअनुसार गरिन्थ्यो। गुरुले वाणीद्वारा घोकाउँथे र शिष्यले कण्ठस्थ गर्थ्यो। अनि त्यही शिष्य कालान्तरमा गुरु बनी अर्को पुस्ताका प्रतिनिधि शिष्यहरूलाई घोकाउने गर्थ्यो। धेरै पछि मात्र लिपिको आविष्कार भयो र त्यसपछि वाणी लिपिबद्ध भई संरक्षित हुन थाल्यो। प्राचीन लिपि ब्राह्मीलिपिलाई मानिन्छ। त्यसकै शाखा देवनागरी लिपि हो, जुन हाम्रो लिपि हो। यो लिपि प्राचीन कालमा शिलालेख र ताम्रपत्रमा लेखिन्थ्यो। धेरै पछि कागजको आविष्कार भयो र त्यसपछि यो लिपि कागजमा आयो। झन्डै हजार वर्षभन्दा बढी कागजको साम्राज्य भयो भने २१ औँ शताब्दीदेखि यो क्रम क्रमशः कागजबाट कम्प्युटर चिप्समा रूपान्तर हुँदैछ। 
बोलीको प्रभावबारे भन्नुपर्दा के भन्नुपर्छ भने यो पारसमणितुल्य मूल्यवान् छ र अनेकानेक समस्या र सङ्कट आदिबाट तत्तत् समयमा बलिएको वाणीवचनले ठूलो राहत र मुक्ति प्रदान गर्दछ। विश्वमा भएका अनेक ठूलाठूला वादविवाद, सङ्घर्ष र युद्धको कारण पनि कुनै खास परिस्थितिमा कसैले बोलेको वाणी नै हुन पुगेको छ। इतिहास र पुराणहरूमा पछिल्लो कालखण्डका सबैभन्दा चर्चित र लोकप्रिय महाकाव्यहरू रामायणमहाभारतमानिन्छन्। ती दुवै महाकाव्यको कथावस्तुको उत्कर्ष नै भीषण युद्ध हो भन्दा हुन्छ। रामायणको चुरो नै के हो भने त्यस बेलाको त्रिलोकविजयी असुरसम्राट् रावणले देवताहरूसमेतलाई परास्त गरेकाले उसलाई युद्धमा परास्त गर्न परब्रह्म परमात्माले नै अवतार लिनुपरेको थियो। लङ्काकाण्ड वा युद्धकाण्डको पृष्ठभूमि रामको वनवास हुनु थियो, अनि त्यसको पृष्ठभूमि र कारणचाहिँ राजा दशरथले कुनै बेला रानी कैकेयीलाई दिएको वचन (वरदान) शियो र त्यस वचनको कार्यान्वयन हुनुको कारण फेरि मन्थराको वाणी नै थियो। सीताहरण रामरावणयुद्धको कारण बन्यो र त्यस सीताहरणको कारण पनि रामको वाणी प्रतीत हुने गरी हे लक्ष्मण !भनेर गुहार मागेको मारिचको वाणी नै थियो। 
ऐतिहासिक महाभारतको महायुद्धमा ऐतिहासिक सयौँ वीर महायोद्धाहरूले वीरगति पाई एउटा पिँढीकै विनाश भएको थियो। त्यस्तो भयानक युद्धको कारण पनि द्रौपदीको कटुवचन (वाणी) अर्थात् अन्धाको छोरो अन्धोभनेर युवराज दुर्योधनलाई भनिएको वचन नै थियो। त्यही महाभारतमा वर्णित असुर कंसको विनाश र जरासन्धसँगको श्रीकृष्णको पटकपटकको युद्धको पृष्ठभूमि पनि देवकीविवाहपश्चात् भएको आकाशवाणी नै थियो। त्यस्तै, यस ब्रह्माण्डका विभिन्न लोकहरूमध्ये सबैभन्दा महत्वपूर्ण लोक ध्रुवलोकलाई मानिन्छ। किनभने यस ब्रह्माण्डको बीचमा कुमालेको चक्‍काको सुमेरुका रूपमा ध्रुवलोक रहेको छ, जसका वरिपरि अन्य सबै लोक, ग्रह, नक्षत्र र ताराहरू निरन्तर चक्कर काटिरहेका हुन्छन्। त्यस लोकका स्वामीभक्त ध्रुवले त्यो लोक प्राप्त गर्नुको पृष्ठभूमि पनि वाणी नै थियो। बाल्यकालको बालसुलभ मस्तिष्कमा सौतेनी आमाको कटुवचनले मर्माहत भई उनी कठोर तप गर्न वनतिर हिँडे र त्यही तपका प्रभावले उनले श्रीहरि विष्णुबाट ध्रुवलोक पाएका थिए। 

वाणीको बेलिविस्तार लगाउँदा अक्षरको पनि चर्चा गर्नुपर्ने हुन्छ। अक्षरलाई शास्त्रहरूले अक्षरं ब्रह्मभनेर ब्रह्मसँग तुलना गरेका छन्। क्षर भनेको नाश हुने वस्तु हो भने अक्षर भनेको नाश नहुने वस्तु भएकाले यो ब्रह्म हो। हामी जीवहरूको, देवीदेवताहरूको, कहाँसम्म भने सृष्टिकर्ता ब्रह्माको पनि निश्चित आयु हुन्छ, अर्थात् यस सृष्टिमा दृष्टिगोचर हुने, उत्पत्ति हुने र वृद्धि हुने हरेक वस्तु नाशवान् छन्। तर अक्षरको कहिल्यै नाश हुँदैन। यो न कहिल्यै जन्मनेवाला नै हो। यो त सनातन हो। त्यसैले अक्षरलाई ब्रह्म हो भनेर बताइन्छ। अक्षरब्रह्मको प्रतीक प्रणव अर्थात् ॐकारलाई लिइन्छ। सम्पूर्ण अक्षरहरूको सार र जनक ॐकार भएकाले ॐकार शब्दब्रह्म हो र यो वाणीबाट अभिव्यक्त हुँदा नादब्रह्म हुन्छ। पञ्चतत्वबाट जीव र पञ्चतत्वबाटै अखिल ब्रह्माण्ड बनेको हुन्छ। सृष्टिको आरम्भमा एकोऽहम् बहुस्याम्का रूपमा परब्रह्मले एकबाट अनेक हुने चाहना र सङ्कल्प गर्नु नै सृष्टिको कारण र आधार हो। पञ्चतत्वमा पहिलो तत्वका रूपमा आकाश उत्पन्न भयो। आकाशबाट क्रमशः वायु, तेज, जल र धर्ती बनेका हुन्। हरेक तत्वहरूका विशेष गुणहरू पनि हुन्छन्। आकाशको गुण नै शब्द हो। शब्द भनेकै ध्वनि हो, अर्थात् आकाशतत्वको गुण ध्वनि हो अनि ध्वनि र शब्दको सम्मिलन, समायोजन वा मिथुन नै वाणी हो। ध्वनि मात्र स्वरलहरी हुन सक्छ, लिपिबद्ध गर्न नसकिने ध्वनि हुन सक्छ, अनाहत नाद वा सङ्गीत हुन सक्छ भने वाणी नाद र सङ्गीत दुवै हो र यो लिपिबद्ध पनि गर्न सकिन्छ। आकाशको गुण शब्द हो। विनाआकाशतत्व शब्द वा ध्वनिप्रवाह सम्भव छैन। त्यसैले मादल, ढोल, तबला, वीणा, बाँसुरी, हार्मोनियम आदि सम्पूर्ण वाद्यवादनहरूको संरचनालाई नियाल्दा त्यहाँ खाली ठाउँ देखिन्छ। खाली ठाउँ वा आकाश भएकाले नै तिनीहरूबाट ध्वनि उत्पन्न हुन्छ। त्यसैले हाम्रो बोली उत्पादन हुने मुखको बनोटमा पनि दुई तालुबीच खाली स्थान (आकाशतत्वको उपस्थिति) हुन्छ। त्यसैले बोली फुट्ने गर्दछ। सम्पूर्ण वैदिक मन्त्रहरू र स्तुतिहरूमा शब्द र वाणीको विलय भएकाले शब्दलाई शब्दब्रह्म भनिएको हो र देखि सम्म (‘क्ष’, ‘त्र’, ‘ज्ञलाई शास्त्रमा अक्षर मानिएको छैन) का हरेक अक्षरलाई बीजमन्त्र भनिएको हो। 
हिन्दूधर्मलाई सनातनधर्म र वैदिक धर्म पनि भनिन्छ। विश्वग्रन्थहरूमै सर्वप्राचीन ग्रन्थ मानिने वेदविहित धर्म हिन्दूधर्म हो। वेद भनेको ज्ञान हो, अनि वेद भनेको इतिहासका अनेक कालखण्डहरूमा भएका तत्वदर्शी ऋषिमुनिहरूका वाणीको सङ्ग्रह हो। वेद, उपनिषद्, संहिता आदिको सारवस्तु पनि वाणी हो। वाणी कतै मन्त्रका रूपमा, कतै स्तुतिका रूपमा त कतै सूत्रका रूपमा रहेको हुन्छ। १०८ वटा उपनिषद्हरूको निचोड वा सारांश श्रीमद्भगवद्गीताहो, जुन अन्य धेरै भाषाहरूमा अनुवाद गरिसकिएको छ। गीताभनेको पनि सारमा भगवान् श्रीकृष्णको वाणी नै हो। त्यस्तै अन्य गीताहरूमा रामगीताश्रीरामको वाणी हो भने शिवगीताभगवान् शिवको वाणी हो। 
हाम्रा ऋषिमुनिहरूले आआफ्ना वाणीको आदानप्रदान गरी शास्त्रार्थद्वारा तत्वको निरूपण गरेका हुन्। त्यसैले हिजोआज पनि हामी भन्ने गर्दछौँ — ‘वादे वादे जायते तत्वबोधः।हाम्रो भौतिक जगत्का विभिन्न आविष्कारहरूमध्ये अधिक मूल्यवान्, चर्चित र क्रान्तिकारी आविष्कारहरू वाणीसम्बन्धी आविष्कार नै हुन्। लिपिको आविष्कारपछि सूचनाप्रविधिक्रान्तिसम्म आइपुग्दा वाणीसम्बन्धी विविध आविष्कारहरू हुँदै गए र हामी आकाशवाणी, टेलिफोन, स्पिकर साउन्ड सिस्टम आदि हुँदै मोबाइल, टेलेक्स, फ्याक्स, इन्टरनेट र इमेलमा आइपुगेका छौँ। यी सबै वाणीविस्तारका विभिन्न शैलीहरू हुन्। त्यसैले होला गीतामा पनि भगवान् श्रीकृष्ण १७ औँ अध्यायमा अर्जुनलाई वाणीको महत्व बताउँदै भन्नुहुन्छ — “प्रिय, हितकर एवं सत्यभाषण (सत्यवचन), वेदशास्त्रको पठनपाठन र भगवान्को नामजपसम्बन्धी अभ्यास नै वाणीसम्बन्धी तप हो।
हाम्रो जीवनको अभिन्न अङ्ग तथा अति महत्वपूर्ण र संवेदनशील धरोहरका रूपमा रहेको हाम्रो बोली अर्थात् वाणी कसरी प्रस्फुटन हुन्छ ? हामीले आफ्नो मुखारविन्दबाट धाराप्रवाह वाणी प्रस्फुटन गर्दा शरीरभित्र कुनकुन स्थानहरूबाट बहँदै मुखसम्म आइपुग्छ ? यी कुराहरू जान्नु पनि आवश्यक देखिन्छ। हाम्रो शरीरमा विभिन्न चक्रहरू हुन्छन्। पलेटी कसेर सिधा भई आसन जमाएर बस्ता तलबाट क्रमशः मूलाधार, स्वाधिष्ठान, मणिपुर, अनाहत, हृदय, विशुद्ध, आज्ञा हुँदै टुपीनेर सहस्रारचक्र भएको अनुभव गर्न सकिन्छ। यी चक्रहरूसँग वाणीको सम्बन्ध रहेको हुन्छ। वाणीहरू चार प्रकारका हुन्छन् अथवा उद्गमदेखि प्रवाहसम्म आइपुग्दा हाम्रो वाणीले चार चरण पार गर्नुपर्ने हुन्छ। ती हुन् परा, पश्यन्ती, मध्यमा र वैखरी। कसैले यिनैलाई परावाणी, पश्यन्तीवाणी, मध्यमावाणी र वैखरीवाणी भनेर व्याख्या गर्ने गर्दछन्। हाम्रो गुदद्वार अर्थात् मलद्वारभन्दा दुई अङ्गुल माथितिर चार अङ्गुल क्षेत्रफलमा फैलिएको एक आधारकमल रहन्छ, त्यसलाई मूलाधारचक्र भनिन्छ। त्यो चक्र सुषुम्णानाडीको पनि आधारस्थान भएकाले त्यस स्थानलाई कुण्डलिनी पनि भनिन्छ। कुण्डलिनीलाई शक्तिको आधारस्तम्भ र विन्दुशक्ति मानिन्छ। त्यही शक्तिद्वारा मूलाधारचक्रमा अव्यक्त वाणीको उद्गम हुन्छ, जसलाई परावाणी भनिन्छ। परावाणीको उद्गम गराउने शक्तिलाई वीणावादिनी सरस्वती भनिन्छ। हाम्रा मुख्य तीन नाडी इडा, पिङ्गला र सुषुम्णाको पनि उद्गमस्थल त्रिवेणी भनिने यो मूलाधारचक्रलाई अङ्ग्रेजीमा Pelvic Plexces भनिन्छ। परावाणी मूलाधारमा उत्पन्न हुँदा क्रियाशक्ति र ज्ञानशक्तिको योगबाट भइरहेको हुन्छ। गुणातीत महायोगीहरूले मात्रै परावाणीको प्रभावलाई अनुभव गर्न सक्तछन्। मूलाधारचक्रभन्दा दुई अङ्गुल माथि लिङ्गस्थानको समानान्तर मेरुदण्डमा स्थित चक्रलाई स्वाधिष्ठान भनिन्छ भने स्वाधिष्ठानको पनि दुई अङ्गुल माथि तेस्रो चक्रका रूपमा मणिपुरचक्र रहन्छ। त्यसलाई नाभिस्थान पनि भने हुन्छ। त्यहाँ दसपाते कमल हुन्छ जुन स्वर्णवर्णको हुन्छ। यहाँबाटै पश्यन्तीवाणी प्रवाह हुन्छ भनिन्छ। पश्यन्ती नामक निरपेक्ष वाणी प्रवाहित हुने नभई मूलाधारबाट प्रवाहित हुने परावाणी यहाँबाट पश्यन्तीवाणीमा रूपान्तरण हुने हुन्छ होला। यसमा चाहिँ मतान्तर हुन सक्छ। मणिपुरचक्रकी अधिष्ठात्री देवी लाकिनी हुन् भने देवता विष्णु हुन्। यहाँको वाणी पश्यन्तीचाहिँ सुषुप्त मनसँग सम्बन्धित हुन्छ। आफ्नो मनलाई जित्‍न सकेका योगीहरूले मात्र पश्यन्तीवाणीको प्रकाश पाउन सक्तछन्। अनाहतचक्रमाथि हृदयमा मध्यमावाणी रहन्छ भनेर बताइएको छ। यो चक्र शरीरको केन्द्रीय चक्र हो। हृदयचक्र बाह्रपाते कमलको आकारजस्तो रहेको कल्पना गरिएको छ र कमलको बीचमा जीवका रूपमा रहने रातो ज्योतिलाई वाणलिङ्ग भनेर बताइएको छ। यस स्थानका देवता स्वयं शिव र शक्तिचाहिँ काकिनीदेवी हुन्। हृदयस्थानमा प्रवाहित हुने अव्यक्त वाणीले बुद्धिसँग समन्वय गर्दछ। यस विन्दुमा वाणीलाई बुद्धिले प्रभावित र निर्देशित गर्न सक्तछ। बुद्धिमान् योगीहरूले मध्यमावाणीको प्रकाश पाउन सक्तछन्। अनाहत नाद अर्थात् उद्गीथ ध्वनि ॐकारवाणीको उद्गमस्थान पनि यही नै हो भनेर शिवसारतन्त्रमा बताइएको छ। हृदयकेन्द्रबाट माथि उठेर कण्ठ हुँदै दाँत, जिब्रो र तालुका सहायताले मुखबाट अरूले सुन्ने गरी व्यक्त हुने वाणीचाहिँ वैखरीवाणी हो। अव्यक्त गुणातीत स्थानबाट स्वतः स्फुरण भएको हाम्रो परावाणी पश्यन्तीमा मनसँग र मध्यमामा बुद्धिसँग समन्वय गर्दै वैखरीका रूपमा मुखबाट उच्चरित हुने गर्दछ। भाषाशास्त्रहरूले मध्यमाबाट स्वरवाणीहरू प्रवाहित हुन सक्ने र वैखरीबाट व्यञ्जनवाणी प्रवाहित हुन सक्ने तर्क गर्दछन्। तर सारमा केचाहिँ बुझ्नुपर्ने हुन्छ भने परा, पश्यन्ती र मध्यमा, यी तीन वाणी अव्यक्त वाणी हुन् भने वैखरी मात्र व्यक्त वाणी हो। 
हिजोआज अर्थहीन, विना कुनै प्रयोजनको बकबक वाणीलाई हेय दृष्टिले वैखरी भन्ने चलन चलेको छ। तर वाणीप्रभावको गतिलाई हामी कसरी पनि बुझ्न सक्तछौँ भने जसरी गङ्गा आफ्नो उद्गमस्थान गङ्गोत्रीबाट बगेर हरिद्वार, प्रयाग, वाराणसी हुँदै गङ्गासागरमा समाहित हुन्छिन्, त्यसरी नै वाणीको उद्‍गम मूलाधारबाट परावाणीका रूपमा प्रवाहित हुँदै पश्यन्ती र मध्यमा भएर वैखरीवाणीबाट शब्दब्रह्मको महाकाश (वायुमण्डल) मा समाहित भइरहेको हुन्छ। 
अस्तित्वमा जड र जडभिन्न गरी दुई तत्व छन् भनिन्छ। यी दुवै स्थायी तत्व हुन्, जो प्रलयपर्यन्त रहिरहन्छन्। जडवस्तु भनेको पदार्थ हो, जुन अणुपरमाणुका रूपमा रहन्छ। पदार्थ रूपान्तरण मात्र हुन्छ, नाश हुँदैन। त्यसरी नै जडभिन्न पदार्थहरूलाई पूर्वीय दर्शनले चैतन्य भन्छ त पाश्चात्यले शक्ति, ऊर्जा वा प्रकृतिका रूपमा स्वीकार्दछ। यस समष्टिगत रूपको द्वयविभाजनमा वाणी पनि निश्‍चय नै जडभिन्न वस्तु हो। जडभिन्न वस्तुको पनि नाश हुँदैन, केवल सङ्कुचन र विस्तार मात्र हुन्छ। वाणी शब्दब्रह्म भएकाले यो नाशवान् वस्तु हुँदै होइन। हामीले बोलेका, विश्वका अन्य जीवहरूले बोलेका, इतिहासका अनेक कालखण्डमा बोलिएका र भविष्यमा अनन्तकालसम्म बोलिने सबै वाणीहरू यस वायुमण्डलमा घुमिरहन्छन्, सुरक्षित भइरहन्छन्। आकाशतàवको गुण नै शब्द भएकाले यो विशाल अनन्त महाकाशले सम्पूर्ण शब्द (वाणी) हरूलाई धारण गरिरहेको हुन्छ। सरसर्ती हेर्दा त्यत्रा अरबौँ मान्छेले बोलेका करोडौँ वर्षपूर्वदेखि अनन्तकालसम्मका वाणी कसरी भण्डारन हुने होला भनेर विश्वास नलाग्न सक्छ। भौतिक जगत्मा पनि आजभन्दा ५०६० वर्षअघिसम्म हजारौँ स्क्वायरमिटर क्षेत्रफलमा अवस्थित पुस्तकालयका पुस्तकका पानाहरू सिर्फ एउटा एक स्क्वायरमिलिमिटरको कम्प्युटरचिप्सभित्र भण्डारन वा समाहित हुन्छ भनिएको भए मान्छेले विश्वास गर्दैनथे। तर आज विश्वास गर्नुपर्ने भएको छ। मानवनिर्मित जाबो एउटा कम्प्युटरचिप्समा त यति सामर्थ्य छ भने परब्रह्म परमात्मा, अखिल ब्रह्माण्डका नायक ब्रह्मद्वारा सिर्जित अनन्तकोटि ब्रह्माण्ड धारण गर्न सक्ने महाकाश (आकाशतत्व) ले सम्पूर्ण वाणीहरू धारण गर्न नसक्ला त ? निश्‍चय नै सक्छ अनि गरिरहेको छ र भविष्यमा पनि गरिरहनेछ। 
यसरी हामी मानवजातिलाई परब्रह्म परमात्माको अनुपम कृपाबाट प्राप्त वाणीको पूर्ण रूपले सदुपयोग गर्नुपर्दछ। वाणीको दुरुपयोग भनेको मिथ्यावचन, झूटो बयान, अपशब्दको प्रयोग, गालीगलौज, परनिन्दा, चाकडीचाप्लुसीजन्य अभिव्यक्ति, असत्यको पक्षपोषण गर्ने तर्क आदि पर्दछन्। अप्रिय र कटुवचनलाई त हिंसातुल्य शब्दवाण नै भनिएको छ। वाणीको दुरुपयोग किन पनि गर्नु हुँदैन भने यो नाश नहुने तत्व हो र ब्रह्मतुल्य मानिन्छ। रुद्रहृदयोपनिषद् भन्छ — ‘रुद्रो अर्थ उमा अक्षर तस्मै तस्मै नमोनमः।अर्थात् शब्द शक्तिस्वरूप हो अनि त्यसको अर्थचाहिँ शिवस्वरूप हुन्छ। श्रीमद्भगवद्गीतामा धेरै ठाउँमा अक्षरलाई ब्रह्म भनिएको छ। कतै  ॐकारलाई शब्दब्रह्म बताइएको छ भने एक ठाउँमा चाहिँ परम अक्षरब्रह्मभनिएको छ। परम अक्षरको अर्थ गर्दा केही विद्वान्हरूले प्रणव भनिएको होभन्ने अर्थ लगाएका छन्। तर परम अक्षरभनेर परा, पश्यन्ती र मध्यमामध्येको परावाणीलाई सङ्केत गरिएको हुन सक्छ। यस अर्थमा परावाणी पनि ब्रह्मतुल्य नै रहेछ भनेर बुझ्नुपर्ने हुन्छ। स्वयं ब्रह्म वा ब्रह्मतुल्य जे भए पनि त्यो हामी जीवभित्र रहनुचाहिँ ज्यादै नै महत्वपूर्ण र संवेदनशील पक्ष हो।
 
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Posted by on May 22, 2012 in Discourse

 

SLC Now and Then

– Eak Prasad Duwadi 
Like other folks in Nepal, I used to cherish School Leaving Certificate exams so much. For the same, I gave so much importance forfeiting many things— asceticism to sleep, time, money and family duties. Consequently, I even did not take part in brother’s marriage ceremony though it was scheduled two and half months before the exams.
People time and again ask me the name of the high school I was graduated from, and the percentage I secured in the  SLC. Though I have received more than half-dozen degrees after that, SLC has superseded all of them. However, the fact is many who did poorly in the same SLC have already excelled me widely. 
Unsurprisingly, there are many similarities between 2012 and 1992. To begin with, exam fever is still high. As a result, the students have excessive paranoia. Next common thing is the rampant cheating milieus both in Terai and far-flung areas. Then comes similar transitional phases– post- 1990s mass movements and its hangovers were there like present impasse after 2006 peoples’ movement. Like then incumbent leaders, today’s top brass politicians are so corrupt.  Above all, SLC is still the Iron Gate– there are many cases of expulsions and death of students. Again the three-hour long exams are going to determine his future. Like me, he is also mugging up the definitions, formulas, solutions and analysis that are copied and pasted in the textbooks. Nor are his other skills (team work, social service, how to repair mobiles, how to plant cereals, how to plough the field, how to organize rituals, how to earn in business, how to rare cattle, how to guide tourists, etc.) going to be assets of the exams. His future is equally unsecure like mine. Interestingly, the craze of Science-Stream has not faded out. The validity, authenticity and washback of SLC are also similar. There are cases of students who in spite of the excellent results in the SLC have either failed in the Intermediate or achieved very low. There are still hues and cries about the existence of SLC. Moreover, hot debates are still going on because of the politics of two types education (private and public schools) in Nepal. 
Unerringly 20 years have passed since I appeared in SLC exams in 1992. Coincidentally, my younger nephew is taking his SLC now. I happened to judge SLC against then and now. In 1992 question models of English, Maths and Science were changed, but now they are like in previous years. I took seven subjects but now my nephew has to take one more paper. There were less than 100 thousand examinees, where as there are more than a half million now. My SLC exams were being held in January and the results would come out in the last week of June, but now his have started in March and it perhaps is going to be out around the same time. Having passed SLC, I opted Proficiency Certificate Level, but he is going to join either plus two or A-Levels. There were less pass percentage rate (for example just 24 % in the year of my graduation) and distinction was rare, but now it is more than 60 %. There were fewer guides and guess-papers, now the number has grown in many folds. Unlike current school-centered coaching, I used go to teachers’ home for extra tuitions. I did not see frequent bandhas except few curfews then while my nephew observed dozens of strikes even in his tenth grade.
There some changes in twenty years, but many similar problems also exist herein. I do not say that SLC should be abolished from Nepal like some of the intellectuals who seemed to be playing gimmicks in the direction of foreign conglomerates because they want to dismantle Nepal’s school education system as the higher levels. What I want to suggest is making it more inclusive so as to make it more students-centered. Moreover, both the guardians and the teachers ought to not give so much pressure to the juvenile minds since SLC is not the end but it is the beginning of their children’s education. There are hundreds of other exams (either academic and or practical) to face for them. I have told the same to my nephew unlike what my seniors used to advice, “Do or Die”.
 
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Posted by on May 22, 2012 in Discourse

 

Nexus between Law, Morality and Public Policy

 Hem Raj Kafle

Introduction

This article discusses the nexus between law, morality and public policy. It shows that the three are complementary and interdependent factors, human society being the ground for each to emerge and operate. The first three sections of this essay present the mutual relationships between the three in this order: law and morality, morality and public policy and law and public policy. The final part concludes the discussion.

Law and Morality

The common function of law and morality is to regulate human behaviour so as to establish a congenial social environment for all humans. Law and morality help manage the relationships between individuals and the society, or further, between individuals, societies and the state. Morality encourages individuals towards ‘being good’ and ‘doing good’ for the sake of the well- being of the society as a whole. Thus law and morality come together — “… to complement each other, rather than compete with each other” because “human flourishing requires such complementarity” (Shiner 436).
The “complementarity” implies that law and morality rely on each other; one can be both means and end to the other. Certain legal provisions are directed by the need to respect existing moral norms. This can be seen in the way law prohibits and penalizes actions that are universally considered immoral. To quote Kent Greenawalt’s argument, “Murder, assault, theft and fraud are immoral. In any society sufficiently developed to have law distinguishable from its social morality, the law will forbid murder, assault, theft and some forms of fraud” (476). One of the ends of law is, therefore, to enforce morality in the society, especially when it comes to controlling the practices which directly or indirectly harm the society itself. Law, therefore, preserves the dignity of human life and brings “pleasure and satisfaction to those who live it” (Shiner 436). This indicates that dignity is a relative stage of human psychology and is realized as a source of “pleasure and satisfaction” in connection with the performance of moral duties and responsibilities.
There are arguments for and against the place of morality in the foundation and functions of law. Natural law theory holds that “there is a necessary connection between law and morality, such that an immoral law is invalid or not binding” (Smith 304). According to this school of thought, for law to be a just law, it has to be based on two sources: the law of the divine and the law of nature. But the positivists, in their fundamental “separability thesis” claim that “it is not necessary in all legal systems that for a norm to be a legal norm it must possess a moral value …” (Coleman and Leiter 241). Though such divisions exist, in contexts where law has to address the social, cultural, moral and natural needs of individuals and society, the interdependence between law and morality cannot be ignored. In the words of C.G. Weeramantry, “Just as moral standards have exercised a continuous and continuing influence on the law, so also legal standards can exercise an influence on morals” (132). Weeramantry highlights the inseparability and interdependence between law and morality and illustrates that such interdependence has worked throughout the phases of the evolution of the law. 

Morality and Public Policy

Morality forms a ground for the evolution and legal enforcement of public policy. As stated above, morality inspires people to be united and to care for the welfare of one another; it enhances the concept of collective well-being in people. Morality also helps public policy take birth. Public policy in a broader sense is a system that addresses the moral, cultural and economic values that maintain the unity of the society. A society accepts only those practices that have passed the test of the norms of morality it has consistently observed. This is why the issues like prostitution and homosexuality may not be easily be legalised in Nepal because majority of the Nepali citizens take them as immoral practices. Morality, like law, has norms “relating to the avoidance of interpersonal harms and the management of limited resources, … norms which regulate the distribution and holding of goods” (Shiner 437). When we talk about harms, we don’t mean the direct assaults or immolations alone. Practices that indirectly disrespect the moral sentiments of other people can equally be taken immoral. Law respects these sentiments and enforces the norms of morality to maintain public policy. Greenawalt highlights this concept saying that “in a country that is overwhelmingly Jewish or Muslim, prohibitions on pork eating would be acceptable” (484). If so applies, it is equally plausible on the part of the governments to impose restriction on slaughtering cows in a society dominated by Hindus.
There are limitations in the process of imposing morality in the name of the respect to public policy. In the context of secularism, it would be questionable if the government of Nepal imposed legal restrictions upon the cultural practices of other religious and ethnic communities in the name of respecting the sentiments of majority Hindus. Legal restrictions on the practices of minority, which are thought to offend the beliefs of the majority, may fail to materialise as a sufficient justification in liberal democracy (Greenawalt 485). The point here is that if people are divided in terms of religious beliefs, moral norms grounded upon individual religions do not form consistent public policy. However, morality supports and enhances public policy for the common good of the members of the society.
The relationship between morality and public policy can be seen in the way both are connected to law. Natural law theorist Lon Fuller asserts that law is a particular means to an end, “the enterprise of subjecting human conduct to the governance of rules” (qtd. in Bix 231-32).  Fuller’s proposition clearly binds morality and public policy, as law’s means and ends are “human conduct” and “governance.” Both morality and public policy commonly deal with the regulation of human conduct for the governance of the society. But, where law has been absent (or ineffective) in its service, moral values and social conventions encourage people to maintain peace and harmony, thereby making the society a good place to live. Here the role of morality and public policy as a companion and complement to law is inevitable. 

Law and Public Policy       

Law and public policy contain and complement each other. In the first place, law is a part of public policy. This means that obeying law and helping in its effective functioning is the duty of the people in the society. Law can play its part only when people obey it or realise its efficacy in giving them the service they need. People expect from the state a “full extent of the legal guarantee of freedom of expression … of a right to life, liberty and security … and equal treatment …” (Shiner 438).  In this sense, respecting the natural rights of citizens and guaranteeing impartiality in its treatment are at the root of a state’s public policy. Moreover, the state has the duty to enforce morality as a part of its policy. As stated earlier, the cultural values of a community in majority have an influence in the mechanism of the state, and it has the obligation to protect and respect these values. Apart from being the saviour of cultural practices, the law is entitled to enhance the political norms of the state. In a democratic event like an election or a referendum people do not usually make inquiry into the “objective soundness of the winning side” provided the victory follows fairness, because the fact that “the side secured the majority is sufficient” (Shiner 439). This is possible because people respect the policy of the state and give utmost value to the results of processes in which they are directly involved.
The public policy of the state authority — both administrative and judicial — is to act as a legal guardian of all the citizens. The first duty of the state is to make citizens aware of the law itself. The famous maxim “Ignorance of the law is no excuse” maintains that citizens should be aware of the law. With this view, the governments print books of law and make them available to the public, or make law a part of higher education. In addition, authorities run awareness campaigns through the media with a message that every adult citizen, because law influences their everyday life, should have minimum orientation on their country’s legal system. For instance, Nepal Bar Association publicised its awareness programmes through television and radio channels in order to provide legal assistance to the needy Nepalis. As a result of such campaigns, people take it as a requirement to know about the uses of law in their lives, and refrain from violating law and disturbing the values of the society. Moreover, as a guardian, the state has the responsibility to protect the citizens’ rights to observe traditions related to birth, marriage and death, and equally to prevent unpractical and collectively harmful traditions from taking place. This is why the practices like early marriages, forced marriages, desecration of graves, mutilation of human body and racial discrimination are made illegal in all countries. 
Public policy is also an important source of law. Certain laws emerge out of the policy of the contracts. This means the state allows citizens to enter into individual contracts. Because of this provision, many social issues do not reach the legal court for an official settlement. For example, individuals run monetary transactions and buy and sell properties without law interfering in these affairs. Even many of the disputes and anomalies related to these contracts are settled within the society itself. But, when these issues reach the court, they may form a basis for a law. They are settled with reference to an existing provision. New cases, on the other hand, evolve new policies which later get incorporated in the legal system. Both positivist and realist schools of thought commonly value these real social conventions as the reliable grounds for law to evolve and operate.  

Concluding Remarks

The above discussion shows that law, morality and public policy function in complementarity, as is the case between each to each. Each contributes to the formation and evolution of the other. But this does not mean that one is the only means or end to the other. Law respects, contains and enforces morality. In the same way, morality directs, supports and enhances law. Similar is the nexus between morality and public policy. Morality directs, supports and enhances public policy. Like law, public policy respects, contains and enforces morality. Law and public policy exist in the same relation of interdependence. Law contains, respects and enforces public policy. Like morality, public policy directs supports and enhances law. Thus function law, morality and public policy together as fundamentally intertwined factors working for the accomplishment of human flourishing within a systematically functioning society. To conclude, law, morality and public policy, functioning in correspondence and complementarity, promote the welfare and development of human society under a systematic state mechanism.

Works Cited

  • Bix, Brian. “Natural Law Theory.” Patterson 223-40.
  • Coleman, Jules L. and Brian Leiter. “Legal Positivism.” Patterson   241-60.
  • Greenawalt, Kent. “Legal Enforcement of Morality.” Patterson 475-87.
  • Patterson, Dennis. Ed. A Companion to the Philosophy of Law and Legal Theory. Massachusetts: Blackwell, 1996.
  • Shiner, Roger A. “Law and Morality.” Patterson 436-49.  
  • Smith, Patricia. “Feminist Jurisprudence.” Patterson 302-10.
  • Weeramantry, C.G. An Invitation to the Law. New Delhi: Lawman Pvt. Ltd., 1998.
 
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Posted by on May 22, 2012 in Reflections