I admit defeats

I admit defeats! First, I admit the defeat of hope of an average Nepali in the hands of the politicians whom I had the misunderstanding of having some qualities of the statesman.

By extending the term of the Constituent Assembly (CA) by one year, they proved true those who liked to call them the corrupt-minded and selfish. I’m sure many of the 601 CA members did not like the extension (compared to constitution) but they are more helpless than us.

They had to follow what their party/top leaders say and keep quiet. I can at least vent out.

I had always believed that no matter what the leaders say or do, they will somehow come out united to promulgate the new constitution within the deadline. For this side of the story, I debated at tea-shops/gatherings with some of the most pessimists; I wrote blog entries and I believed it would happen despite all odds.

But I am proved wrong. My belief based on hope was just a passing thought. My hope was just an arrow swishing through the dark unknown of its destination.

And, the the most importantly success in the part of the leaders (in keeping us foolish) is that they made us pray for the extension (forgetting that the mandate we gave them was for promulgation of constitution by May 28, 2010). Otherwise, they made us the believe, the country will go into deepest trouble possible.

Defeat is hard to digest; and to admit. The parties (I don’t know if they could be called political) could not even compromise (defeat is a long way ahead); not even for the betterment of the country and decided despite knowing the possibility of dirty games from extremists that the liquidity of the situation should continue rather than consolidated.

And, as I – as an average Nepali who provided mandate for the leaders to write constitution in two years – feel betrayed with the defeat, I sat to analyze where I was wrong.

The first wrong thing I thought was: Maoists are different. They proved not to be. They fought for power (not for people) as all other parties; were divided internally on personal egos and double-tongued.

The second wrong thing I thought was: the leaders learnt lessons after the Maoists’ War and the Royal Takeover that extremism can put the country in danger. They however did not. The April Uprising that people (not the parties) staged was not enough for them.

The third wrong thought I had: belief in magic. Yes, the country had never suffered much. Whenever it looked like the country going into a real danger of being a failed state, there was some magical turn that put the nation back on the track (the end of Maoists’ conflict and the end of Royal Regime).

I still believe in magic. I still believe that the leaders will do something. And, I still believe there will not be much problem. All this beliefs are there because I have no other options to believe on positively.

And, although I admit the defeat; there is no winner. I am defeated; all Nepalis are dejected; nation is beaten and the all those leaders, they too have lost. The winner: no one.

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On Seasons of Flight

After finishing Manjushree Thapa’s new novel – Seasons of Flight – within eight hours of getting a copy of it, I could, at least, say that the book is a page-turner.

It has everything to be an interesting read: a little bit of political scenario set by the bloody Maoist conflict along with its social impact; the storyline based on ever increasing abroad-going phenomenon of contemporary Nepali society and, to spice up, love and a lot of sex (not explicitly explained but omnipresent) – something that the publishers – Penguin – explains as sexual awakening!

After finishing the novel, two phrases were in my head: absurdism and social alienation. I could call it absurdist because the main character, Prema, searches for the meaning of the life throughout the novel. As a woman who is on her own – both when in Nepal and America – she feels vacant within (and also searches for meaning of love by actions of lust). The feeling arises more due to her alienated life, from her family and country, than anything else. And, after spending a few years in America, she feels she does not belong to anywhere; America is not her while in Nepal, she finds herself as an escapist.

And, the novel ends with, what’s Albert Camus described as ‘acceptance without resignation’, Prema chooses to live with her condition trying to find meaning within the situation is in. This ends the novel happily with two people in love indicating that they would remain together.

With a fine-tuned language and narration, the novel reflects the ground realities of the present Nepali society especially in context of the abroad-going phenomenon. The decade long bloody war, the ever increasing political instability and the lack of opportunities in Nepal have brought along a feeling of hopelessness among people and they are looking at the developed countries as if they are the lands of fulfilling dreams. The author indicates that however a few years’ of struggle in the land of dreams makes one more alienated and frustrated with life.

The best part of the novel is the beauty of narration with which the author describes the reality of the people in Nepal and their lives after migrating to America.

However, I always find it hard to absorb the omnipresent sex in English literature by Nepali writers. In the name of sexual awakening – which for me is knowing the joy of sex – why do the writers toss in sex everywhere? Prema’s sexual awakening is more or less deals with her sexual relationship with her American lover – but then I cannot actually understand what the awakening has to do with her having relationship with a foreigner she meet for a few hours in Nepal or that in casual sex with half-a-dozen people (sex sells – even for celebrated authors)!

I have read author’s previous novel The Tutor of History. That took a long time for me to finish, however despite that lacking, it was a good novel for it reaches the roots of the events whereas Seasons of Flight just runs on the surface of the stories without getting much into the heart of the events.

Seasons of Flight is an engaging read – a must for leisure reading – but for me it doesn’t qualify to be worth remembering for a long time!

[DISCLAIMER: Neither am I a qualified critic nor I read the book with a view that I will be writing the review. I bought the book, an author-signed copy, and read is casually. I am not introduced to the writer.]

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(Enough is enough) End strike.

Our vote is for peace.

[UPDATE: At 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Maoist withdrew the general strike.]

So many wars, settling scores
Bringing us promises, leaving us poor
I heard them say, love is the way
Love is the answer, that’s what they say,
But look how they treat us, make us believers
We fight their battles, then they deceive us
Try to control us, they couldn’t hold us
Cause we just move forward like Buffalo Soldiers
Waving Flag by K’naan

On Friday, the indefinite general strike called by the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) entered the sixth day – without indicating that it’s going to do any good for anyone. The increasing incidences of minor clashes, however, are clear indication that a few more days of it may result in violence – the last thing that Nepalis want.

It’s time for main political parties to make compromise because this is not a ‘win-win’ situation but rather a ‘lose-lose’ situation with the Nepal – the country – and Nepalis – the people – are set to become the biggest losers.

Watching the Maoists’ YCL cadres carrying iron-rods or locals at Budanilkantha carrying Khukuris does not feel good in the hard time when for an average Nepali, their village/city is becoming a jail-like environment due to strike.

CPN-UML/Nepali Congress

We know this is the biggest time for you to ‘bring the Maoists on/below their real ground as their strike seemed to have no popular participation’.

But, for the country, the strike/indecisive situation is fast becoming a quicksand. So please, compromise – begin thinking that the Maoist is the biggest political force and the one that received votes of more Nepalis than any other party.

MAOIST

Success and failure travel together. Withdrawing a strike does not mean you failed – rather it will mean that you care for the country. If an agreement can be reached with the parties by withdrawing the strike first, please show that mercy to the country/people.

Don’t continue difference over a ‘bird first or egg’ issue.

The path to confrontations leads only to more confrontations, to achieve peace, all have to turn back to take a different path.

Enough is enough. End strike.

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The Great Red Roadshow!

Welcome to Nepal – a nation rich in diversity. And, to ensure that you get taste of many of the cultural aspects of the country in a short span of time, ‘we’ bring you the Great Red Roadshow!

The Great Red Roadshow is a blend of culture, music and more [more is a surprise… witness it yourself as it could be anything].

It’s called Great because everything associated with the organizers are great [great organizer, great history and great individuals]; it’s Red, because this year everything will be colored in red – even the t-shirts of the performers who have been brought to Kathmandu from far flung districts for your entertainment. And, the city is waving with red event flags everywhere.

Since it’s a Roadshow – it will be staged on the road – everywhere – and the organizers have made it clear that there would be no vehicles [well, except those which carries either heavyweights or no-weights] to disturb you during the event.

Best of all – the entry to the Roadshow is completely FREE!

[Errr, are you thinking what benefits the organizers get from the event? It’s a little complex. If the Roadshow is organized well-managed and best possible way, they will be called good organizers and will get chance to earn through other businesses. Else, they are ready to bear the loss for the betterment of the people and nation’s cultural diversity.]

The government has ensured your security and will be deploying more policemen to ensure that you all are safe. If required, the army could be sent in to protect you.

The organizers however believe that the security arrangement is ‘waste of resources’ as the event will be as peaceful as possible.

What to expect? Expect dances, songs, traditional (and non-traditional) musical instruments, chants, hymns, march past and runs at every nook and corner of the main streets. Meet people of every walks, race and dresses – brought in especially for you.

And, the Great Red Roadshow is happening just a few months shy of 2011 – the year of tourism for Nepal and the hopes are high the event will ‘really’ help to bring the country in news headlines thus affecting the tourist flow during the year.

Nepali people are so ‘enthusiastic’ about the event that they will close down all their business outlets, shops, schools and offices to ‘support’ the event.

So, what are you waiting for? Welcome to the Great Red Roadshow!

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Experiences of live webcast / blog

[This write-up includes experiences of live webcasting/live blogging two events in Nepal and a brief review of two most popular live blogging web services – Coveritlive and ScribbleLive.]

Webcast: a conjunction of website broadcast, information dispersed to a large audience via the Internet which could include streaming audio, streaming video, visual aids or live demonstrations.

Live blog (also liveblog): A blog or blog entry that is updated in real time during a particular event.

Live blogging (also liveblogging): The act of writing text and/or uploading photos and/or integrating video/audio for the live blog.

* * *

On April 24, 2010, online teams of nagariknews.com and myrepublica.com ran a live webcast/blog for the Nagarik Republica Summit that marked the first anniversary of their two mainstream publications – Republica and Nagarik dailies.

Umesh, Krishna, Rishikesh, Ashok, me, Bipul and Binita at Soaltee.

There were photos, video and text for the program held at the Soaltee Crowne Plaza that ran for three hours available at both news website live.

This was the first time that a mainstream media’s website ran live webcast/blog although the bloggers in Nepal had already played with live blogging/webcast in the past.

On April 28, 2010, the team ran similar live webcast/blog for the Decisive Debate on National Consensus for Peace and Constitution from Hotel Yak & Yeti. It was a moderated debate of nine top leaders (three each from Maoist, CPN-UML and Nepali Congress). The webcast carried video while the live blog carried text (and a few photos).

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