The So-Called First Batch Tag

– Indira Fuyal

Reminiscing about the day I went to Kathmandu University in August 2014 just to dig into the details about the new program Business Information System and ending up with the enrolment at the end of the day, now feels like a “roller coaster ride” to me. That day I gave up all my academic plans which I had heaved for the past two years and made a decision to spend my four valuable years in studying the things which I never imagined I would opt for. I attempted and strived to get into the medical education field through scholarship for those two years which indeed resulted out to be an unattainable part of life for me. I just went on and on with the rhythm of try and try until you die track without realizing my valuable time and effort. So it was almost time for my track to break the ice; which happened unexpectedly and changed its way the day I visited Kathmandu University.

The vivid flashback of what, who and how I got motivated to study the program is brain-intriguing. Honestly speaking of the motivation factor, the semester wise course offering was the major one. But then again my mother was not fully supportive on my decision to join this program because she wanted me to study medicine which I had always dreamt for or at least an engineering course. Yet, I was able to convince her with the fact that whatever course I study I can do better in that field. Also, the head of the department and other faculties explained clearly to her about the benefits and future prospect of the course. I might have been tempted to go to Kathmandu or elsewhere for my undergraduate studies. But I saw that studying in a university close to my home had greater rewards. First, I was at the central campus, along with more than 3500 students from the programs of engineering and science, which was a huge community for befriending networking. Second, I could save a lot of time for my studies and other natural activities.

Resting under an umbrella of the Humanities and Management Unit (HMU), which in those days was under School of Engineering, this program Bachelor in Business Information System appeared alien to Kathmandu University ‘Central Campus’ because it was the first management program being taught there. All the other management programs were taught at the Kathmandu University School of Management. There began the so-called BBIS first-batch tag which made our class proud as well as isolated sometimes. We often went through the hardships of letting other departments know about our existence followed by the dilemma of the academic calendar. As per KUSOM calendar, our internal and end-semester exams were completed one month before engineering and science programs. This revealed the true genesis of a management program. However, our classes were resumed earlier when all the other departments were on a semester break. It was one of the most unacceptable in the eyes of youngsters like us because, perhaps vainly, we wished for a homogeneous calendar and identical treatment.

When I recall the days about my department and its activities, a blended feeling of happiness and frustration flow together. Some days, especially during the first year, we were frustrated about being excluded in the central campus activities and some other days were about the dissatisfaction of imbalance between course curriculum and lack of teaching resources. Despite the dissatisfaction coming and going, we enjoyed the combination study of management, information systems and information technology along with the study of social science and humanities. This perfect blend worked out to provide us a broader and better insight of the world, society, business, information technology and life as well. At the end of the day, those clashes and set offs drove great to shape up the unity among students and faculty members. Most of us were not financially much unprepared to start with, but the University provided us fair amount of financial aid as one of the key motivators in our studies. I received 50% exemption in my tuition fees, and worked hard to retain the facility throughout four years.  This also gave me an opportunity to provide practical managerial service (in return to the aid) to the University.

BBIS was a happy family, always ready to face challenges and imprint a bookmark for the upcoming batch. We understood that HMU had its own share of challenges making us feel comfortable at a time we carried the mixed feeling of alienation from the School and exclusion from the activities of central campus. We grew up empathizing and adjusting, making sense of the annals of limitations borne by all past and contemporary first batches in the University. I am glad to note that HMU, which had taken up this arduous assignment to launch BBIS in KU central campus by welcoming us, evolved into the Department of Management Informatics and Communication and got administratively relocated to School of Management. This happened with BBIS program as the key propelling factor. The batches following us have got a more consolidated, expanded and motivated guardian department functional under the parent School.

Talking about the current status of the BBIS program, it has grown to four batches after us. This triggers an extraordinary feeling to my heart making me realize the true meaning of adversities and blisses experienced during the formative days of our program. How BBIS marked a history in KU central campus? An exact answer to this question is difficult to assess but it is overwhelming to know that the awareness level about the program and its existence among the people around has increased since we graduated. People seem to be mindful of the importance of interdisciplinary courses like BBIS in university education system. In the initial days, for being run in the morning hours, BBIS was almost immune from the disturbances of the campus. Our calendar ran perfectly well while our counterparts at dayshifts were continually delayed by more than a month to start and end the semesters. It makes me slightly uneasy now the succeeding batches are facing occasional disturbances on campus.

A year ago the department invited me to speak in an orientation program to the new batch regarding my experiences about this program and its future prospects in the professional world. Decently, I was thrilled to share with them my experiences, those ups and downs and how this program led me to professionalism.

Ultimately, I want to remember the dedication, belief and everlasting assistance our professors as well as visiting faculties had upon the first batch. Even though many of us were confused and worried about our unclear future after graduation, they supported us in every hurdle and took this program to the next level. Bravo! Our batch is doing great after graduation. Some of us are working in financial sector, IT companies, banks, semi-government companies while some of us are pursuing post graduate studies here in Nepal as well as abroad. I feel honoured to wear the “so-called first batch” tag on my life which redirects me to a huge collection of memoirs and knowledge within me.

[Ms. Fuyal is an alumna from the first cohort of BBIS program at Kathmandu University]

We Didn’t Do So Bad After All

– Rubeena Mahato

It seems like a lifetime ago when I first came to Kathmandu University to inquire about a new program that was being offered by its Department of Languages and Mass Communication. The advertisement for Bachelor in Media Studies, which was published in a national daily a few days ago, was intriguing enough for me to give up other academic plans I had at the moment and take the long bus ride to Dhulikhel. It was difficult in those days for those inclined towards a liberal arts or social sciences education to find the right program if they didn’t want to go abroad for higher studies. As someone who did not have a specific career plan but a vague idea of what I might enjoy studying for the next four years of my life, the program’s broad, well-rounded curriculum of History, Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and Rhetoric and Media felt like a good fit and I took the plunge. In the years since, I have graduated from the program, worked as a journalist, pursued further studies in Public Policy and International Politics, switched to a different line of work and seen my classmates go through their own ups and downs as they went on to build illustrative careers in their chosen fields.

Looking back, I am struck by what an interesting and intrepid bunch of people made that first batch: the students of course, but also the founding department members who convinced a university mostly geared towards STEM programs to see the value in offering a liberal arts education. In a university of science and engineering students, here we were, signing up for a non-STEM and therefore financially less rewarding program, that too at a time of significant political and economic turmoil, hopeful that we will carve a niche for ourselves. There was a great deal of shared idealism, passion and camaraderie in the class, especially among those of us determined to pursue journalism.

As the first batch, naturally, there was also a lot of uncertainty about the future and also some dissatisfactions with the curriculum and its structure and lack of resources. I, for one, distinctly remember not feeling happy about having to take multiple programming and statistics classes, and complaining about it to professors even though I later came to enjoy learning and using those skills at my work. Some of us were not satisfied with the more theoretical nature of the curriculum and wanted more hours devoted into practical work and skills training. But, despite these initial problems, it helped that the general environment in the department was friendly and accommodative and we knew our inputs into the courses and instructors would be well-received. When the students demanded some of the classes to be shifted to Kathmandu, so that we could more easily pursue jobs and internships, the department swiftly set out to make those arrangements. Later, a media lab was also set up equipped with computers, cameras and recorders, which finally made us feel like rookie reporters.

Having come from a rather hierarchical and instruction-heavy educational system, it was refreshing to be able to interact with our professors in an open manner. But I don’t suppose it could have been any other way in a class where students aspired for a liberal education in every sense of the word!

There is now a greater awareness about the importance of having solid social sciences programs in university education that are grounded in theory and research. But even up until our time, the theoretical nature of Media Studies generated some unease among the students. Even as we became fairly clear that this is not intended to be a journalism degree but rather a course of critical media theory and allied disciplines, perhaps job market pressures and student expectations made it such that the research component of the degree came to be less emphasized upon and the skills component became predominant. With the program now in its fifteenth year, perhaps the University could do better in terms of pushing similar other courses that are perhaps more theory and research-oriented.

Something else I distinctly remember and must mention here is the genuine concern we felt for our well-being and future from most of our professors and visiting faculties. They really wanted us to thrive and succeed as the graduating members of their first class. And for all the uncertainties, fears and doubts surrounding those first few years, I think we didn’t do so bad after all!

[The author is currently based in the US working as a development consultant for UNICEF]




Breathtaking Beijing

 – Kashiraj Pandey

With a shimmering kaleidoscope of abundant natural scenery, history and colorful cultural identities of numerous ethnic groups, China is rich in arts, beliefs, customs, cultures, and scientific accomplishments. Besides being a leader in manufacturing industries and development works, it features many magnificent natural and historical sites with royal cities.

I first arrived in Kathmandu leaving my home in 1987 when China had a profound imprint in my mind. Almost everything Chinese around me; to start with, a pair of shoes, clothes, pens, pencils, cups, utensils, and later a lovely Phoenix bicycle that I bought with my first cheque, were all manufactured in China. Therefore, it was a dream for me to visit China and for long I was hopeful about my coming to this beautiful country of amazing people, specially to see two places that I heard from time to time; the Great Wall and Tian’an’men Square. Not surprisingly, on 8 May 2012, I arrived in Beijing and I am writing from here today. Filled with reflective and vivid thoughtfulness, a hope to visit many more places itself is an excitement. Travelling with a group of educationists and writers like myself from 18 different countries of the world is an additional benefit to me.

Regardless of several rumours about Beijing’s pollution, on the very next day of my arrival, I was happy to witness a clear blue sky, the rising sun and a panoramic view of the city from the window of my dormitory room at Beijing Chinese Language and Culture College. Below, I could clearly observe a group of people walking, running and doing exercises; stretching out the parts of their body in the bright sunlight, twisting and bending in a seemingly choreographed shadow-play; couples, youths, children, students and everybody. Moreover, my first observation of Beijing is to see everyone proud to use either bicycles or public vehicles as the most common modes of transportation, and therefore, this cuts down greatly on air pollution despite the city’s size and dense population.

I too could see cultural and linguistic variations in Beijing, representing different regions of this vast country. For such a large nation it is interesting that the society is relatively uniform, with a sense of national identity based on the ideals of equality and hard work. Beyond the beauty and steady progress of China, I am amazed to see how they have successfully tackled the challenge to encourage people for mutual affection and unity, a lesson all Nepalese should learn at the critical juncture of the history of our nation.

For me, it is simply awesome to see the hard work and commitment people have put in to build this nation and expand the rich heritage and virtues to the outside world. My trip to China, therefore, has proved more than wonderful. This will remain in my memory forever and I wish to unfold Beijing from the tours, arranged every Sunday from our college, which also served as great breaks from the intensive in-house activities.

A trip to the Great Wall

In line with the purpose of my visit to China, I was taken around the significant sites of Beijing where an excursion to the Badaling Great Wall became among the best treats I was given during my stay, which is some 55 kilometers north of Beijing, linking many high hills. After a short drive, our day started with an ecstasy preparing ourselves for an uphill walk at least for more than an hour.

To anyone who has the energy to walk up to the top of the area where the tourists congregate all the times, busy taking pictures and enjoying the convalescent fresh air from the natural Air Condition with superb views, this trip with spectacular sight will be etched out in my mind.

Each guard tower, appearing on the way up, literally chills the visitors, while thinking how anything so big and so long ever came into being. Everything I saw around was simply simple and well managed as the Great Wall has always been a fascination for the visitors. Thousands of tourists from all over the world have come to experience the walk on the wall with the majestic view of nature and the hills around.

The Great Wall was primarily built to protect China from outside aggression, especially from the North to stop Mongolians, and for the safety of the country and her people as early as the 5th century BC which has become the major touristic site these days.

Bearing an exceptional testimony to the civilizations of ancient China, this military structure holds historic and strategic significance. It is said that a great army of manpower, composed of local people, soldiers, and prisoners built the wall. Any moment I could imagine an overwhelming sense of awe at the weight of history embedded in every stone on which I was stepping (up) on that day.

A feeling of an unconscious heroism appears in all who reached to the top. With more than an hour’s strenuous walk, I too wonder who had thought of my climbing the Great Wall this time, and same is the feeling of the other people around me. I, along with my two other colleagues from Fiji Mr. Waisake and Ms. Venina also walked uphill to the top among many other travelers, all mesmerized by the blend of natural and architectural grandeur, one of the most appealing attractions for people from all around the world.

I notice everyone sweating but never tired of walking up the wall, up, straight and curves; people over seventy or eighty, women, children, and couples – all are energized while climbing. I could witness everyone being at the highest degree of joy; our spirits have taken us beyond the imagination, thinking how the Chinese erected such highway-like huge walls during those days; the masons and resources, hats off for you also built it to preserve your culture from foreign invasions. The wall that proved useful as a main road, transporting people and supplies during the past, was also wide enough for four to five horses to be ridden side by side on its top.

After a while, with a rejuvenated mind we had no option but to return. First time in life, I had an ecstatic experience of human traffic on the way. Unlike our initial planning to meet at 10.45 am at the base, we arrived an hour late, a wrong calculation as the organizers also failed to sense the flow of tourists and budding beauty of nature all around that one had to capture in the camera.

Fortunate I find myself today, for I am writing from the highest point of Badaling Great Wall, a symbol of spirit of determination and human intelligence of Chinese people. From this powerful site, among the Seven Wonders of the World, the only man-made structure that is visible from the moon, which also saw countless wars between Chinese rulers and other warring nomadic tribes. Standing here I am trying to constantly envision many brave soldiers in one of the lookout towers who safeguarded this country, centuries ago. Standing by the walkway, and looking out from the top of the Great Wall of China, today, I must be gazing at the same scene that thousands of workers, men and women, then armies of soldiers, and tourists alike would have also looked out during the past centuries, almost every day. Whenever cherishing this day in future, I know I will say I would have rather spent another day or so at the Great Wall, alone.

A glimpse of Tian’an’men Square and the Forbidden City

On the fourth day of my arrival in Beijing, I left my hotel room at four o’clock in the morning.  With an excitement to witness the popular flag hoisting ceremony at the sunrise, I hurried toward the Tian’an’men Square. As early as 5 am, I reached at this biggest open theatre of the world that “can accommodate one million people at one time” according to Yuan Yuan Laoshi, a Chinese language teacher at Beijing Chinese Language and Culture College.

When the Emperor and his courtiers were quite corrupt in China, people felt the need of a real revolution for long and they got the result of their wish in 1949 establishing the country as People’s Republic. With this historical background, Tian’an’men Square is a widely popular site of several demonstrations and events, as well as the location of Chairman Mao’s tomb. Other attractions of this site are Tian’an’men tower and the Great Hall of the people. The Hall was built in 1959 within 10 months, said Zhou Laoshi of Beijing Chinese Language and Culture College, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of People’s Republic of China.

Looking the world around from this Square, I could easily feel the difference between the Republic of Nepal and another republic, adjacent to us. Instantly, I proceeded towards the Forbidden City, an endless complex of labyrinth right behind the Tian’an’men Square, that served as the home of 24 Emperors, their court and households for centuries. The Forbidden City, with its Chinese name Gugong, is a Palace Museum too. With an impressive architectural vocation of temples, palaces, courtyards, a magnificent and awe-inspiring sight with wide passageways and gardens around, this is a must-see spot for travelers that has “9999 rooms in total”, said Wang Laoshi, Associate Professor at Beijing Chinese Language and Culture College. As I was walking from one courtyard to the next, our tour unfolded a many-layered vista of palaces, as if it was wrapped as gift for each group of visitors.

Each gate of the palace building opens to the royal chamber. With a predominant red colour throughout the City, every palace boasts flamboyant ceilings with intricate interlocking of wooden painted tiles. Looking at each of the palace, my eyes are dazzled seeing a big container to measure the grain, an indicator of time, an image of crane, an artistic water tank to extinguish the fire with a vision of good fortune, comfort, power and safety centuries ago. My surprise knew no bounds when I saw a stone carving that would weigh over 200 tons.

A human crowd is busy every moment and from all directions to capture its picture in the best possible angle, while I imagine how the Emperor made it possible to get this huge stone. It is written in the inscription that “some 1000 horses and 2000 people were deputed” to carry this stone from about 90 km away. Although this complex was off limits to civilians in the past, people, sightseers and tourists can admire its terraces and pavilions today.

A day’s trip to the Summer Palace

Another remarkable site is the Summer Palace, also known as the ‘garden of gardens’ which is apparently Beijing’s another popular tourist site, a classical garden with worldwide reputation. The Summer Palace, Yi-He-Yuan in Chinese translates as ‘Garden of Peace and Harmony’, which is the largest and best-preserved imperial garden in China. As its name implies, the Summer Palace was used as a summer residence by China’s imperial rulers – as a retreat from the main imperial palace now known as the Forbidden City.

Indeed, the Summer Palace represents a distinct Chinese ideal of harmony between nature and its inhabitants. This is the proof how China has preserved history so well where thousands of tourists pour in to have a glimpse of their intelligence in garden arts. Situated between Kunming Lake and Longevity Hill, in their unique styles, the pavilions, halls, trees, rocks, bridges and temples, all blend together – harmoniously.

Kunming Lake is the main attraction of the Summer Palace, and as I walked around I could feel cool summer breeze floating across the Lake. Perhaps it is more mesmerizing to me because I could associate it with the Phewa lake of Nepal every moment.

Although a little smaller than the Phewa, the way this was maintained beautifully, it featured to create a poetic effect between different scenes in me. I think the emperor and his family must have enjoyed immensely looking around the hillside and the lake at once while sipping the green tea during those summer days.

Walking leisurely through the corridors that encircle the lake is the most pleasurable moment with the crowd of tourists from everywhere. The rich paintings that adorn the cross-beams and walls, along the entire walkway with the beauty of four octagonal pavilions fascinate anyone. Moreover, exploring the lake on boat perfectly serves the purpose of any tourist for a day.

The street artists and the musical programme that was held at one of the pavilions by the bridge made me realize the significance of accessories to develop tourism in Nepal.

 [Published in The Rising Nepal, 13 July 2012]


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।

My Beijing Experience

-Jangab Chauhan
The last month of 2011 left esteemed reminiscence in my heart. In the chilling cold of December, I was heading to the People’s Republic of China as one of two-member delegate led by the Registrar of Kathmandu University, Professor Bhadra Man Tuladhar. The raison d’être of our visit was participation in Sixth Conference of Confucius Institute. For me, it was also an opportunity to have first-hand witnessing of the worlds’ second greatest economic power. This sojourn, however, was my second visit; during my first one in 2005, the country had not attained the record; it was striving and my visit was not official.

During the visit, I had reached Beijing while returning from Moscow by trans-Siberian railway, which runs through the great part of Russia, Mongolia and China. I had been cordially welcomed in the quarter of China Radio International (CRI) by my friend Kamal Lamsal, whom I had known since my student life in USSR. The experience that I had shared about my trans-Siberian journey and China stay in CRI Nepali program is so vivid that it reverberates like yesterday’s episode. After having seen the grand view of eastern civilizations such as The Great Wall, ancient palaces and museums of Ming and Qing dynasties, Beijing Temple of Heaven, grand structure of Tiananmen Square, Badachu Park for five days I had travelled back to Hong Kong. It was during September. It was during this journey, I had got an opportunity to feel the grandeur of People’s Republic of China via rail journey – both the high and plain land – from northern to southern border.
I was impressed by the Chinese people’s sense of discipline in work-force, love for the nation, respect for language and culture. What would happen in such a huge country and consequently in the world if the people went anarchic! Even thinking of any undisciplined spark brings chill to the bone. Thanks to the visionary leadership and disciplined citizens of the People’s Republic of China for making the country a centre of worlds’ attraction and attention. 
Coincidently, a year after my visit i.e., in 2006 Confucius Institute was established in the name of 6th century BC Chinese thinker and social philosopher. 
Confucius is an indexical figure in Chinese tradition and belief. Based on the foundation of respect for ancestors and love for family, Confucius postulated on indispensability of family as the base of ideal state. Philosophizing further, his notions express ethical concern – do not behave with others which you do not anticipate from them. I realized that this simple sounding but very ethical and grave practice stands as golden rule for the Chinese people. Confucianism in this sense is humanism of Chinese tradition. The same of ethicality can also be observed in Confucius’s preference for exemplary governance. He would regard orders unnecessary and un-pragmatic if the leaders appropriately take in tow. Indeed, decoding underlying intelligence of the philosopher’s sense of shame would impart very evocative sense. 
From among many issues discussed in the conference, the précis I have drawn is that the People’s Republic of China has been in commendable direction. So, Confucius cannot only be linchpin of Chinese people; he is the cultural pillar of the world. 
 Confucius Institute in Kathmandu University with the co-operation of Hebei University, for us, is the matter of both happiness and pride. We wish for very active and productive presence of an institution that reminds of such a great person in Kathmandu University. 
While writing these paragraphs, I recall the concluding remarks of Dr. Hao Ping, Vice-Minister of education minster and executive member of the Council of the Confucius Institute Headquarters:
“Do wholeheartedly whatever you do.
… This gathering is a forum for diverse cultural experience.
… Confucius Institute not only belongs to the Republic of China; it is the common heritage of the world.”     
[Translated from Nepali by Khagendra Acharya]

A Visit to Madam Curie Museum

Dipak Subedi

On October 8, 2011, I got an opportunity to visit the house in which Madame Curie, one of the greatest scientists of 20th century, was born. The house is in 16 Freta street in the old town of Warsaw, the capital city of Poland. It has been turned to a museum in her name. 

The museum possesses good collection of letters and photographs which remind us of the life of a great genius in science. I had a great desire to visit the place when I read her biography written by Beverly Birch. Although Curie spent most of her life in France, it was Warsaw where she inherited a desire to devote her life in science. In the museum, we can see her writing desk, inkpot, ruler and even her spectacles case. The physics practical instruments which her father had collected and were very important in stimulating a lifelong interest in science in little Curie’s mind are now preserved in this museum. Another important aspect of the museum is that it also depicts photographs and documents about the life of her Husband Pierre Curie and her daughter Irene curie, who are also great scientists and Nobel laureates. I found that the story of the life and achievement of Madam Curie has inspired thousands of scientists around the world. 

The house in 16 Freta  Street in the old  Town of Warsaw where Marie Curie was born.
The place where the museum is situated is a unique place with exhilarating beauty of nature. Just behind the Freta street there is gentle slope leading to the bank of Vistula river which is flowing majestically dividing the historic Warsaw city. This is a lovely place. 
Curie was born in this house on November 7, 1867. There is simple plaque beside the door of this house which proudly announces the date of her birth. Her father was a Professor of physics and her mother was a teacher in a school. Marie had a great impression from her father from her early life. She was grown up in an academic environment. Her teachers remembered her as an extraordinary student even at her early years in school. At that time girls were not allowed to enter university and hence she had to go to France for higher studies. She had to work very hard for about seven years in a remote town in Poland to collect money to go abroad for study. Her intense desire to study science was fulfilled when she could get admission in a university in Paris. 
Curie recalled her happiness of the first day at the university saying that this was one of the happiest days in her life. She proved herself as one of the best students of the university few months after her arrival and after few years as one of the greatest scientists of her time. She became world famous for her discovery of radium with her husband and was awarded the 1903 Nobel prize for Physics. She again received the Nobel prize in Chemistry in 1911. This has been a rare achievement.  Madame Curie could have become one of the wealthiest persons in the world because of her discovery of the most precious element radium but she did not use her discovery for her personal benefit. She gave all the radium which she had separated by her four years of hard work with her husband to research laboratories for the benefit of mankind. It is said that when she herself needed some radium later for her own research, she did not have enough money to buy it and had to go to the USA in a fund raising program. It was a great irony.
She was not only a great scientist but also a very kind-hearted person. During the First World War, she along with her daughter served as a volunteer health worker with hundreds of mobile X-ray units built by herself. It is believed that thousands of wounded soldiers in the battlefield had undergone X-ray in her machine and were treated by Curie herself. It is surprising to know that she was working in the battlefield in addition to her regular lectures in the university. 
I regard the place where Marie Curie  was born as one of the holy places for those who love science and want to devote their life in the service of humankind.


– हेमराज काफ्ले
भक्तपुरको सूर्यविनायक मैले यदाकदा मात्र टेक्ने गरेको ठाउँ हो। यहाँ मसँग परिचित मानिस भेटिने सम्भावना निकै कम हुन्छ। 

एकदिन दिउँसो सञ्‍जोगले यहाँबाट बस धुलिखेलको लागि पक्रिनु पर्‍यो।

मैले गाडी पर्खिरहेको बेला एकजना ज्यान परेको हकर छेउमा उभिएको थियो। उसले निधार छोपिेने गरी रातो रङ्‍गको क्याप लगाएको थियो। उसको हातमा एकबिटो पत्रिका र केही पैसा थियो। दुईटा भरिएका बसहरू त्यहाँ रोकिएका थिए। तर ऊ बसको नजिक गएर पत्रिका बेचिरहेको थिएन। त्यसै अल्मलिएर उभिइरहेको जस्तो लाग्थ्यो। ऊ घरी-घरी मतिर पनि पुलुक्‍क हेर्थ्यो। पत्रिका किन्ला भन्‍ने आशाले हेरेको होला भन्ठानेर म वास्ता गर्दिनथेँ। यो साँझ पर्ने बेलामा बिहानको पत्रिका कसले किन्दो हो, म मनमनै भन्दैथिएँ। 
धेरै परसम्म हेर्दा पनि आइरहेको गाडी नदेखेकोले समयको सदुपयोग गर्न म नजिकको पसलमा गलैँचाको दाम सोध्न गएँ। फर्कँदा ऊ त्यहीँ थियो। पर्खेर बसेको पो रहेछ। देख्‍ने बित्तिकै छेउमै आएर बोल्नथाल्यो, चिन्‍नु भो सर मलाई? प्रोफेसर भइसक्नुभो होला हगि?
मलाई यो अप्रत्यासित तर चिरपरिचित भावको सामिप्यले थोरै चकित बनायो। एउटा हकरलाई म प्रोफेसर भएको नभएको के मतलब?
छैन। तर मैले तपाईँलाई चिनिनँ त। हाम्रो भेट कहाँ भाको हो र?
मैले केयुमै पढ्‍या हुँ त। तपाईँले पढाउनु भाको हो नि, उसले विनम्रता प्रकट गर्‍यो।
 “तर कहिले नि ! मैले अनुहार ठम्याउनै सकिनँ, भाइ
आज हो र, २०५८ सालमा
आई. एस्सी?
अरू के गरिन्छ त?
यस्तै उस्तै, उसले मलिन अनुहार लगाएर नाक खुम्च्यायो। 
अरूलाई भए पढाइ कहाँ पुग्यो भनी सोध्थेँ होला। यो युवकसँग यसभन्दा बढी सोधखोज गर्न मन लागेन। शायद उसले आई. एस्सी नै पास गर्न सकेको थिएन। मलाई लाग्यो ती टोपीमुनि लुकेका आँखामा कतै केही पीडा पनि पक्‍कै लुकेको छ। 
नाम मात्र सोधेँ। सन्तोष रहेछ। झट्ट सोचेँ नाम अनुसारको जीवनशैली भनेको यस्तै होला।
धुलिखेलको बस आइसकेकोले बिदा लिएँ। ऊ पनि बस स्टपबाट पश्‍चिमतिर लाग्यो। मलाई कताकता अनौठो लागिरह्‍यो।
केयुबाट टाढिएका अधिकांश विद्यार्थीहरू स्वाभावत: सधैँका लागि हामीबाट पनि टाढिन्छन्। अहिलेमात्र फेसबूकमा यदाकदा एकदुई जना सम्पर्कमा आउँछन्, अनि हराउँछन्। चिनजान फ्रेन्डलिष्‍टमा सीमित हुन्छ। सुनिन्छ, धेरैजसो राम्रा ठाउँमा गतिला काम गरेर बसेका छन्। मलाई लाग्छ यहाँ पढेकाहरू माथि नै पुग्छन्, अनि एकाध यताउता देखापर्नेहरू या त नियतिले ठगेका या जे छ त्यसैमा सन्तुष्टि लिएर बसेकाहरू हुन्।
केही वर्ष अघिसम्म म एकजना केटालाई बनेपामा तरकारी र फलफूल बेचिरहेको देख्थेँ। आ… सर, मलाई त यही काम मनपर्‍यो भन्थ्यो। उसलाई त्यस्तो काम किन मन परेको हो मैले कहिल्यै सोधिनँ। 
कहिलेकाहीँ धेरै माथि पुगिसकेकाहरूसँग पनि जम्काभेट हुन्छ काठमाडौँका सडकहरूमा। थोरैले मात्र चिनेझैँ गर्छन्। कसैकसैले बोलाइ पनि हाल्छन्। यस्तो भेट मलाई रमाइलो लाग्छ। देखेर नदेखे झैँ वा नचिने झैँ गर्नेहरूसँग पनि केही गुनासो छैन। मानिसहरूबीचको सम्बन्ध पानीमा हिँडेजस्तो हुनु नपर्ने हो। तर व्यवहारमा यस्तै हुँदो रहेछ। तर एउटा शिक्षकले पुराना सम्बन्ध छुट्दा खिन्‍न भइहाल्नुचाहिँ पर्दैन। नयाँ नयाँ भेट र सम्बन्धले उसको जीवनलाई सार्थक बनाइरहेकै हुन्छ। शिक्षक समुद्रको किनार र विद्यार्थी लगातार आइरहने पानीको छालजस्तै हुन् रे। छाल आउँछ जान्छ। किनारले आत्मसात गरिरहन्छ। कहिलेकाहीँ किनारमा रहेका फोहरहरू बढारिन्छन्। कहिले पानीसँग आएको फोहर किनारमा थुप्रिन्छ।
केही मानिसहरू केयुले सहरकेन्द्रित र विदेशोन्मुख युवाहरूको जमातमात्र उत्पादन गर्ने गरेकाले देशलाई समग्ररूपमा खासै फाइदा भएको छैन भन्‍ने टिप्पणी गर्छन्। कोहीचाहिँ यहाँ पढेपछि सरासर सफल र धनी बनिन्छ भन्‍ने विश्‍वासले भर्नाका लागि मरिहत्ते गर्छन्। यसरी यहाँ पढेपछि के हुन्छ के हुँदैन भनेर आग्रह राख्‍नु मानवजीवनको समग्रतालाई राम्रोसँग नबुझ्नु हो। कुनै स्कुल वा कलेजले जीवनको एक कालखण्डमा महत्व राख्छ, तर त्यो एकमात्र निर्णायक पक्ष हुन सक्दैन। मानिसहरूले यो कुरा बुझेकै हुनु पर्ने हो।
तर केयुमै पढेको मानिस दशवर्षपछि सडकमा पत्रिका बेचिरहेको पाइएला भन्‍ने कल्पना कसले गरेको थियो होला। मैले त गरेको थिइनँ। 
यसको अर्थ केयुमै पढेका कारणले कसैले पत्रिका बेच्नुपर्‍यो भन्‍न खोजको होइन। पत्रिका बेचेर जीविका चलाउनु नराम्रो हो भन्‍ने पनि होइन। पत्रिका बेच्ने मानिस अर्को अझ गतिलो काम गरेर बसेको पनि हुनसक्छ। पढेका मानिस सबै जागिरे र हाकिम बन्‍नै पर्छ र बनेकाले पत्रिका बेच्नै हुँदैन भन्‍ने झन् होइन। हाम्रो समाजमा कुनै कुनै शिक्षित मानिसहरूले निर्धारित गर्ने सफलताका मापकहरू गजबका छन्। यहाँ भने सानोतिनो काम गर्न इज्जत जाने, बिदेश गएर जेसुकै गर्न पछि नपर्ने अधिकांश शिक्षित वा अर्धशिक्षित नेपालीहरूको सफलताको मापक पैसा र त्यसले किन्‍न सक्ने भौतिक सुविधाहरू हुन्। यी जीविकोपार्जनका प्रमुख साधनहरू हुन्, तर यी मात्र सफल र सार्थक जीवनका निर्णायक आधारहरू भने होइनन्। 
प्रचलित दृष्‍टिकोणले सन्तोषको जीवनलाई हेर्दा ऊ एउटा हरूवा र पछौटे लाग्न सक्छ। मैले छोटो भेटमा उसमा पाएको आत्मविश्‍वास र जीवनप्रतिको इमान्दारी भने उदाहरणीय छ। उसको पेशा र अवस्था मेरो लागि अप्रत्यासित थियो भन्‍ने जानी जानी उसले आफूलाई चिनायो। त्यो उसको सामाजिक परिपक्वता थियो। युवावस्थाको प्रातकालमा केही समय कक्षाकोठामा देखिएको र अहिले विस्मरणमा गइसकेको एउटा पुरानो शिक्षकसँग लामो समयपछि भेट्दा देखाउँन पाएको हार्दिकता भने उसको लागि पनि अविस्मरणीय भएको हुनुपर्छ।
सन्तोषले आई. एस्सी. पास गर्‍यो गरेन, त्यसभन्दा माथि पढ्यो पढेन वा सडकमा पत्रिका बेच्न कसरी आइपुग्यो भन्‍ने एउटा खोजको विषय हुनसक्छ। हिजोआज पनि सूर्यविनायकको छेउछाउ पुग्नासाथ म सडकको दायाँ वायाँ राम्रोसँग चिहाउँछु। अनायास उसलाई खोज्छु तर देख्‍दिनँ। भेटेको केही वर्ष भइसक्दा पनि उसको अतीतप्रतिको मेरो खुल्दुली मेटिएको छैन।
सन्तोषले छुट्टिने बेलामा भनेको कुरा पछिसम्म मेरो कानमा गुञ्‍जिरहला, मेरो हालत देखेर अचम्म नमाने हुन्छ, सर। तपाईँका सबै चेलाचेलीले डाक्टर, इन्जिनियर, वैज्ञानिक वा अनुसन्धाता बन्‍ने अवसर पाएका छैनन्। तपाईँले अरू पनि सन्तोषहरू भेट्नुहुनेछ
सन्तोषको यो भनाइमा वास्तविकता छ जस्तो लाग्छ। देश सन्तोषले आई. एस्सी. पढ्दाको भन्दा फरक भइसक्यो, अनि फरक भैसकेको छ केयु पनि। अहिले त यस्ता अरू पनि स‍न्तोषहरू सडकभरि आइसके होलान, स्वदेशमा नभए विदेशमा। तर कोही कतै भेटिए भने पनि भक्तपुरे सन्तोषलाई भेट्दाजस्तो विस्मयानुभव चाहिँ मलाई हुनेछैन।
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