Tag Archives: india

Buddha’s truck with trilateral aspirations

A truck with flags of Nepal China and India

A truckload of aspirations: I was traveling along the curvy Tribhuvan rajpath, heading towards Tistung Deurali, last week when I saw this truck parked precariously on the edge of the road above a house. I stopped for a few minutes to take stock of the situation including the geopolitical one. Would I live in the house under the existing circumstance? No way.

From left: Narendra Modi, Sita Dahal, Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Xi Jinping yesterday in Goa. Pic by Prakash Dahal

From left: Narendra Modi, Sita Dahal, Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Xi Jinping yesterday in Goa. Pic by Prakash Dahal

The sight of the truck that had tasked itself with the vital responsibility of promoting and maintaining the trilateral relations struck me. The vehicle also aspired to connect the two most populous countries on earth with Nepal, the birthplace of Buddha and the zone of peace, as a transit hub. I admit I didn’t know at the time of taking this photo the leaders of three countries would actually listen to the Truck and meet in Goa as they did yesterday.

एउटा गहन जिम्मेदारी: अघिल्लो हप्ता टिस्टुङ देउरालीलाई लक्ष बनाएर त्रिभुवन राजपथमा हुँइकिरहेको बेला मैले यो ट्रक देखेको थिएँ । एउटा घरभन्दा एक कान्लोमाथिको सडक किनारमा अप्ठेरोगरी पार्क गरिएको अवस्थामा यो बाहन देख्दा अवस्थाको अाँकलन गर्न र सम्भवत: भूराजनीतिबारे पनि केही गम्न म रोकिएको थिएँ । यही हालतमा के म त्यो घरमा बसुँला ? अहँ ।

ट्रकले त्रिपक्षीय सम्बन्धको प्रबर्द्धन गर्ने र त्यसलाई कायम राख्ने गहन जिम्मेवारी अाफ्नो काँधमा लिएको देख्दा म गम्भीर बनेको थिएँ । त्यतिमात्रै हैन ट्रकले भगवान बुद्धको जन्मस्थल, शान्तिक्षेत्र नेपाललाई पारवहन केन्द्र बनाएर पृ्थ्वीका दुई सबैभन्दा बढी जनसंख्या भएका मुलुकहरूलाई जोड्ने अाकांक्षा पनि लिएको थियो । फोटो खिच्दाको यो क्षण तीन देशका नेताहरूले यो ट्रकलाई सुन्ने छन् र हिजो गोवामा भेटेझैं भेट्नेछन् भन्ने मलाई के थाहा ।

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Dry Fruit Sellers of Old Delhi

19th March Satish took me to parts of Old Delhi where I hadn’t gone during my two-year stay in the city. We had gone to the area looking for the shop where we had found best lassi in Delhi in 2010. I liked the effort they have put to decorate these dry fruit shops and the orderly manner in which items were on display. Shopkeepers were surprisingly peaceful and calm (at least looked so) despite the street atmosphere being so chaotic.

Migrant Workers: Nepali (Rolpali) Porters of Shimla

भागी ती भागीका छोरा पिलेन घुइक्याउदा छन्
अभागी गरिवका छोरा भारी चुइक्याउदा छन्

मसुरी डाँडोमा भारतभरीका र संसारकै मान्छे पुग्छन् । तिनीहरु कुन देश या भारतीय राज्यका हुन् खुट्टयाउन हत्तपत्त सकिन्न । तर खुम्चिएको ढाका टोपी लगाएका, काँधमा नाम्लो भिरेका र यहाँका साघुरा गल्लीमा भारी बोकेर या त्यसै भौतारिइरहेका जुनै पनि मलिन अनुहारलाई सहजै चिन्न सकिन्छ । परिचय विनाकै पहिलो प्रश्न (‘कताबाट हो दाजू ?’) ले तत्कालै उत्तर पाइ हाल्छ– ‘कालिकोट’ ।

एक हिसावले पुरै मसुरी शहर कालिकोटेहरुको थाप्लामा अडिएको छ ।

केही मिनेट असिना बर्सिएपछि चिसिएको हालैको एक साँझ एक हुल कालीकोटेहरु मसुरीको केन्द्रमा रहेको घन्टाघर नजिकै सडक किनारमा आगो तापिरहेका थिए । दिउसो एकपटकमा डेढ क्विन्टलसम्म बोक्दाको थकान मेटाउन केहीले मदिराको सहयोग लिएका थिए जो गफमा प्रष्ट झल्किन्थ्यो ।

‘लौ लेख्नुस्, हामी कालिकोटका,’ ५९ बर्षे धनु विकले लरबरिएको लवजमा भने– ‘आफ्नो देशमा काम नपाएर अर्काकोमा कुकुरको जिन्दगी विताइरहेका छौं । यही हो हाम्रो खवर ।’

थाप्लोमा मसुरी (फेब्रुअरी २००९) बाँकी यहाँ छ .

Nepali porters of Mussoorie, India. Photo taken in 2009.

Nepali porters in Mussoorie, India. February 2009.

22/23 March 2013 For the first time in a long time I was traveling as a tourist with no possible story ideas storming at the back of my mind. This was a strange feeling and also a relief. I didn’t have to do a story when I was seeing one in front of me. I didn’t have to approach and talk to people the way a reporter in me normally would have. I didn’t have to organize the voices in a structured story. I was just a tourist, not a reporter looking for stories. Not that I hated doing all that but this time I was not a reporter, I was just a tourist.

Approaching people, talking to them and composing a story- that all takes effort. Words have to reflect, as accurately as possible, feeling of the people involved in the story. They have to portray pictures of people in such a way that this portrayal properly supplements the photos of the same people that are often printed alongside the story. Continue reading

A Quick trip to Shimla

Dinesh Wagle in Shimla

No prize for spotting me. Pic by Gokul Dahal

Shimla is a town of Monkeys who behave like Monkeys. But I will keep this album free of monkeys. I present here the atmosphere of the town- crowds and buildings- as I saw it.

During my two-year stay in Delhi as a reporter I traveled to most of the famous ‘hill stations’ in north India. Here’s the list: Darjeeling, Shillong, Mussoorie, Manali and Gangtok. Somehow I hadn’t found time to go to Shimla. I had imagined the place to be not drastically different from other hilly Indian towns. But some descriptions that I had come across (can’t remember the exact one at the moment) had put this place slightly ahead of others in the beauty contest of ‘queens of hills’. May be some political events (like the Shimla Agreement) provided some importance (and glamour) to the place. I also wanted to experience the toy train of Shimla (and wanted to compared it with similar one in Darjeeling). Continue reading

Dinesh Wagle

March 17, 2013

Back in the city where I lived for two years as a correspondent. Fortunately it’s not that hot today (29c). It’s not expected to be so for the rest of the week except for Wednesday (35c), according to the Weather Channel. The heat of Delhi terrifies me. That’s the reason  why I have written a couple of articles on the Delhi heat (and cold). Expecting to be in a cooler place this weekend.

(This trip interrupts my UK entries though I will post one this evening (about revised impression of the Speakers’ Corner at Hyde Park) and the rest after I am back in Kathmandu next week.)

1.Heat and Dust of Delhi (talks about the curfew)
2. Delhi is getting hotter (around this time 3 years ago)
3. Dinesh Wagle Has Moved to New Delhi, India (announcement)
4. Reasons to Come Home (announcement and impression of India)
5. दिल्लीबाट काठमान्डु (for Kantipur)

And on Cold
6. Winter Flagbearers: Delhi Cold and JNU Food Festival (winter cold gets as bad as the summer heat)

A car with two license plates. Spotted in Kathmandu

All the way from Jharkhand (JH), India to Kathmandu…with two identities…perhaps suitable for a society that is being engulfed by the rise of identity based politics. Spotted in downtown Kathmandu last week.

Reasons to Come Home

By Dinesh Wagle
Wagle Street Journal
I came back to Kathmandu last week after completing my two year tenure in Delhi. “Welcome back to darkness,” some of my friends said.

Load shedding is not a new phenomenon in Kathmandu. But the continued and unacceptably long hours of power cuts have fueled further frustration. Not to mention the ‘deadlocked’ politics and lack of developmental activities. I was mildly surprised to learn that some of my friends preferred to see me in Delhi (meaning anywhere out of Nepal) than in Kathmandu.

kathmandu post sunday 13 feb 2011

Kathmandu Post 13.02.11

This familiar love-hate relationship with the homeland—can’t live with it, can’t live without it. You may run away from home to escape problems but you cannot live away from it for long. You may want to earn a degree or work abroad for a few years but you do not want to die there. The desire to return becomes so strong that at one point it overwhelms you. You will start feeling uncomfortable even with the relatively comfortable life there.

People want to share their happiness with their own. In a foreign land, however many good friends they may have, they can’t communicate their excitement with foreigners as easily as they can with their friends, relatives and neighbours back home. Even if they do, foreigners won’t understand them. They also want to show off their progress—not to their newly acquired foreign friends but to their folks back home. “A Nepali won’t feel validated without showing off his colour television set to his neighbour in Nepal despite earning millions of rupees in Japan,” a senior journalist colleague once told me.

That’s true because there are many other millionaires in developed societies where personal achievements aren’t taken as the significant step they would be considered in Nepal. This is true with any other nationality too. For some it could be the other way around. I have come across many Westerners who have decided to spend their life in third world countries like Nepal and India because they get ‘royal treatment’ and ‘attention’ here. They can’t get the same level of importance in their native society because there are so many other people just like them.

Another very important reason for people to return to their homelands is their desire to do something for their society. After gaining knowledge or amassing wealth, they want to come back to serve their motherland.

My case is slightly different. I do have a strong desire to serve my society and uplift the quality of my profession, but I didn’t go out of Nepal to study or seek employment. And I didn’t come back to show off or share my happiness and progress with my family. In fact, my significant other is still in Delhi studying, among others, econometrics. While in Delhi I was working for a Kathmandu-based company, this newspaper and its Nepali-language sister publication, as fulltime staff. Very few Nepalis work for Nepali companies from outside of Nepal because of the nation’s frail economy.

But Delhi is no New York or Tokyo. This is the capital city of a country where tens of thousands of unfortunate Nepalis toil day and night for meagre earnings. During my stay in the city and trips to other parts of India, I didn’t meet a single Nepali who was very happy or proud to be where he was. And Nepalis are everywhere. From Jammu to Kanyakumari, Mumbai to Shillong, Lucknow to Hyderabad. In all these places I saw Nepalis working at dhabas and shops. Not a good sight. I overheard them talking loudly in Nepali about their difficult life. Not a good sound. All of my attempts to track a Nepali who has done a great deal of ‘progress’ (apart from Udit Narayan and Manisha Koirala) resulted in encounters with momo sellers or small-time liquor sellers in Delhi. I have realised that Nepalis do not go to India to seek success. They go there to sustain their lives. India is not a land of opportunity for us, but a temporary escape from our reality.

But India is not to be blamed for our misfortune. The problem lies with us, not with them. If you are poor and divided, others will look down upon you.

Instead, I feel, India is doing us a favour by allowing us to enter its boundaries without asking. Of course, it does so because of its own compulsions and to safeguard its own strategic interests.

Despite all the hype and hoopla about India being a constitutionally secular country, in my understanding, this is not the case. India can’t become a secular country because it is not just a country. It’s a continent in itself and, more than that, it’s a civilisation. This civilisation is different from that of, say, the Chinese or the West or Muslims. It’s the Hindu civilisation. You don’t have to be a Huntington to understand why a nation that has the second largest Muslim population in the world fought twice with Pakistan and is fencing its frontiers with Bangladesh with barbed wires but is so keen on keeping the border with Nepal open. Jawaharlal Nehru once said something about the Himalayas being India’s final frontier and Hindu nationalists in India continue to believe even today that Nepal is part of what they call the Bharat Barsha.

My understanding is that India has no problem with Nepal as long as it remains a predominantly Hindu society. All the rhetoric that comes out of Delhi that Nepal is ‘tilting’ towards China or becoming ‘a hotbed for anti-India activities’ is lame. This happens despite knowing that Nepal can never be as close to China as it is with India because of civilisational differences with its northern neighbour.

This article was first published in today’s Kathmandu Post. Nepali version of the same was published in the Saturday (12 Feb) edition of Kantipur.

Hello from Hyderabad, India

A quick note. Have been traveling to east,central & south AND west India. First leg was in Puri and Konark of Odisha state. Today arrived in Hyderabad. Had boarded into the train, which we almost missed as the Sun temple in Konark demanded more time from us, in Bhubaneswar last year- last day of 2010. Some kids in the train woke us with their Happy New Year screams. The train, on schedule, was moving somewhere in Andhra Pradesh. Here are a few mobile pics from today.

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First day in Hyderabad:

1. Bangles on sale in Lad Bazaar, very near to the landmark Charminar.

2: Kids enjoying themselves in, ahem, LUMBINI Park!

3/4: Giant standing Buddha statues in Hussain Sagar, not very far from Lumbini park.

Two Years in Delhi, India

SpiceJet at kathmandu airport

A plane belonging to the Indian budget airline Spicejet at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. Landing at the TIA was smooth. The change in temperature (from IGI Delhi

Two years ago today (Nov 6) I left Kathmandu for Delhi. It wasn’t planned but here I am, today, back in Kathmandu from Delhi. I am in a hurry now- have to go to play deusi– so I am not writing a detailed entry like I did last year about my life, time and observations in Delhi and around India. I plan to extend this entry sometime in the middle of this month when I return to Delhi. Happy Tihar to all.

Related posts:

1. A Year in Delhi, India
2. Dinesh Wagle Has Moved to New Delhi, India

The Mahakali Bridge on Nepal-India Border

Chandani Dodhara Bridge on Mahakali River

The 1453 meters long bridge on Mahakali River that connects Chandani Dodhara villages (of Nepal) on the border with India with rest of the country.

Chandani & Dodhara villages:

These two villages of Mahakali pari (beyond Mahakali) were connected to the mainland Nepal only in 2005 when the government built a 1452.96 meters long suspension bridge. The structure is quite a sight.

The suspension bridge is 12 kilometers away from Mahendranagar town and is connected by a dusty road.


A bike ride on the Chandani Dodhara suspension bridge over Mahakali river.

Purba Mechi dekhi paschim Mahakali samma. From Mechi in the East to Mahakali in the West.

That’s how Nepal is referred to whenever Nepalis talk about the geographical & political boundaries of their country. Beyond these two rivers is not the present day Nepal with the exception of two villages Chandni & Dodhara on the bank of Mahakali.

Last year I walked on the Mechi Pul (bridge) and crossed over to the Indian side. That was on the day of Maha Ashtami (the 8th day of Dashain festival).

This year I crossed the Mahakali river, for the first time, and walked into Nepal- again on the day of Maha Ashtami (the day before yesterday).

The most preferred mode of transportation while crossing the border is a Horse Cart. A ride to Mahendranagar from Banbasa (about 10 kilometers) cost Indian Rs. 60. Additional charges for heavy luggage. This video was taken on the Nepali side of the border soon after we crossed the Seema Surakshya Bal (Indian border security force for the border with Nepal) check post.

Continue reading