Monday, September 28, 2015

India's 'Undeclared' Economic Blockade and Media's Role

Rabin Man Shakya
Former Associate Editor, The Rising Nepal

At a time when India is trying to increase its clout by imposing 'undeclared' economic blockade on Nepal, this tiny Himalayan nation has started to give fitting replies to India. With the economy crumbling and with the shortages of essential commodities and fuel, anger and discontent of the Nepalese people at the Indian government is mounting. Anti-India protests and demonstrations are taking place in major cities of Nepal.

Meanwhile, effective from Monday, all the Hindi channels have been shut down by the Nepal Cable Operators Association amid the growing public discontent about Indian economic blockade.

Likewise, yesterday, security forces of Nepal did not allow entry to more than two dozens Indian journalists trying to enter Nepal through Jogbani, India for covering anti-India protests in Nepal. Correspondents of Zee TV, Aaj Tak, India TV, NDTV, ETV Bihar and the Hindustan Times newspaper were among those who were denied entry to Nepal.

Given the history of biased and one-sided pro-Indian coverage of the Hindi channels on Nepal's issues, the decision of the Nepalese authorities not to allow Indian  reporters was probably the best we could have hoped for, at least, at this moment.

If India keeps demonstrating its stubbornness and creating chaos and hindrances in Nepal, its 'international and democratic' image will certainly be diminished for violating the 'internationally accepted rights' of a land-locked country like Nepal. The need of the hour is: All the political parties should be united at this critical juncture and all the Nepalese people are ready to sacrifice anything for this cause.

Ever since the political crisis erupted in Nepal during pre- and post-constitutional period, the Indian government has become increasingly paranoid about what it views as its special  interest and influence in Nepal.

The historical obstacle is that Nepal is an India-locked country and historically Nepal has been dependent on India in political and economic matters.

We, the Nepalese  living in the USA are against the irresponsible acts of the  Modi  administration. Nepal and the Nepalese people already have suffered a lot and they can not afford to stay hostage to the Indian idiosyncrasies. The international community should come forward to pressurize India to lift the economic blockade.

No doubt, Nepal is facing one of the worst crisis in its history, and the situation may further deteriorate if any early solution is not sought.

In such a situation of economic and political turmoil, the role of media is particularly important in explaining and disseminating the actual and true facts about Indian intentions. There is no easy solution to this blockade.

But one of the solutions that the Nepalese media can offer for reducing over-dependence on India is by publishing and broadcasting more stories about self-dependence, not just hyping about the scarcity and hardships.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Pen Is Mightier Than the Sword

Rabin Man Shakya
Former Associate Editor, The Rising Nepal

Nepalese moms and dads living in the United States are luckier in the sense that they get to celebrate Fathers' Day and Mothers' Day two separate times a year: one according to the Nepalese culture and traditions and another one in the United States. I was overwhelmingly surprised when my daughter Palistha Shakya presented me a black tee-shirt on the occasion of the Fathers' Day in the US. The words "The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword" were printed on the tee-shirt.

There is no doubt that a pen is one of the strongest weapons in showing the world the devastating effects of violence and wars with use of swords, guns and missiles. The old adage "The pen is mightier than the sword" rings true because the power of a pen is enormously more influential than a sword. A number of examples have shown what sharp-edged and big swords, guns and missiles could not achieve was achieved by the help of  little pens.

Historical experience across the nations in the world demonstrate that many great writers, philosophers and journalists had inspired social and political changes.

It goes without saying that the power of pen is much  more effective than the power of hatred, war and fighting. Power of pen, however, should not be used to disseminate false information and messages. Today more than ever, the people who owns and  control information and mass media are more powerful than the ones who control the security and military forces. That is why a free and independent pen is crucial for a vibrant democracy. Information, messages and news have more influence on people and events than the use of force or violence.

But pens should not be made vulnerable to swords. This is outrageous and unacceptable. There were hundreds of cases when swords outmaneuvered the pens. And, yes, a sword of Damocles is hanging over the heads of those  scribes who have to work  in the authoritarian countries of Asia, Africa, Middle East and Latin America.

Yet the importance of the pen also illustrates the threats and attacks posed to the scribes and reporters, not to speak of assassination and assassination attempt of journalists. One thing is sure: Threats and attacks will not stop the journalists' pen.

More often than not, a number of Western journalists have also been abducted and mercilessly beheaded by the Islamofascists in recent times often contradicting the old axiom that the pen is mightier than the sword. The souls of the brutally assassinated journalists will rest in peace only when the perpetrators of the violence will be arrested and given due punishment.

The need of the hour is: the governments of the US, EU nations, Russia and China should make fighting the ISIS and al-Quida the centerpiece of their multi-lateral cooperation, because it is already palpable that the US alone can not win the war against terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism.

Well, the old saying about the significance of the pen was first used by novelist and playwright Edward  Bulwer - Lylton  in 1839 in his historical play "Cardinal Richelieu".

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Pacific Northwest Nepalese Community Magazine "Jamghat" Released

Rabin Man Shakya
Former Associate Editor, The Rising Nepal

A Nepalese picnic or banbhoj was organized at Lynndale Park, Lynnwood, Washington on Sunday Sept 06, 2015 by Nepal Seattle Society (NSS). The pacific northwest Nepalese  community picnic was, kind  of, a confluence of people flooding from US states of Oregon and Washington and from British Columbia, Canada.

Baji (beaten rice) and other curries were served for lunch whereas rice was served for dinner. However, chicken and bacon barbecue cooked right on the picnic spot were the food items most liked by picnickers.

I have heard tidbits of information about attempts by some people to discredit the organizing of regional picnics. Picnics are about fun, food, friendship, entertainment and is about interaction among people. There  should not be any room for politicization and trivialization about picnics. Petty partisan and parochial activities are outrageous and unacceptable.

During the picnic, "Jamghat", a pacific northwest Nepalese community  magazine was released by Nepal Seattle Society president Mohan Gurung along with the editorial committee members. The editorial members of Jamghat's current issue are: Bharat Banskota, Daya Shakya, Mankajee JeNa, Shyam Kandel and Subhash Ram Prajapati.  "Jamghat" which is a bilingual magazine in English and Nepali offers a wide spectrum in terms of community news, poems, articles and messages of the respective chairs of Oregon, Washington and BC.

Judging by the past two issues of the magazine, it looks like the pacific northwest Nepalese community publication champions the cause of enhancing and disseminating news about community activities, provide information about Nepal and print poems of community members.

An article entitled "A Tribute to Helen" by Daya Shakya was vivid accounts about late Helen Ward who struggled hard to survive the breast cancer but ultimately succumbed to it not long ago.

As an alumni of the Belorussian State University, Minsk, it was so good to know from the "Jamghat" magazine that Mitra Kunj, Vancouver BC chapter  was established there ten years ago.  It goes without saying that Mitra Kunj, an organization of Soviet-returned specialists and experts - which boasts of 6,000 members is the largest alumni organization in Nepal.

According to the Jamghat magazine (issue 2, 2015), "it's been over a decade, the Nepalese from Pacific Northwest are gathering together to develop the mutual relationship and to share the Nepalese sentiments through the community picnic."

Well, the fact that the pacific northwest picnic has continuously been organized for last 13 years is a testimony of friendship, harmony and fraternal ties among the Nepalese communities in the US states of Oregon and Washington and BC Canada. This kind of picnic is organized once a year by NAO, NSS and NCS BC respectively.

The picnic was followed by a cultural program, volley ball tournament and women and kids activities. The trophies were presented to the winners of the sports events as well as to the past and incumbent presidents of NSS, NAO and NCS BC.

It was at this picnic that I got to confront with one of my old friends in Minsk, Belarus - Anil Pradhan who is an alumni of Belorussian Polytechnic Institute. Anil is now the president of Nepal Cultural Society of BC, Canada. It's been almost three decades that I have not seen Anil.

There was an overwhelming impression that this kind of picnic was very crucial to enhance friendly ties and communication among members of Nepalese communities in Oregon, Washington and BC Canada.

Given the limited resources, time and weather factors, the regional picnic - which was first organized in Vancouver in 2002 - has been able to draw more and more community members from Oregon, Washington and BC Canada.

There is no doubt that that organizations like NSS, NAO and NCS BC as the prominent diaspora associations in the pacific northwest to cater to the local needs of the communities have tremendous tasks ahead.