Tag Archives: nepali

Dubai and Yam [केटो जो विदेशियो]

Friend Sudeep Shrestha is in UAE at the moment (today’s his last day there, as per his tweet) for what seems like a fun trip of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. He filed a nice story of Nepali migrant workers there for Setopati the other day (पिङपङदेखि मिङमङ ). His trip, the photos he posted on his FB account and this story encouraged me to finish an entry that I started to write long ago on my Dubai trip last year. Highlight of the trip was my meeting with Yam whom I had interviewed for a story in Kantipur in 2008. I was meaning to post this entry sometime last month but laziness came in between me and this entry.

Wagle Street Journal

‘दुबई जाने चक्करमा छु हो सर,’ केही क्षण अघिसम्म उल्लासमय लवजमा गफिएको यामले अलि निराश स्वरमा अचानक त्यसो भन्दा मलाई कताकता चसक्क गरेजस्तो भएको थियो।

‘यो देशमा टिक्न नसकिने भइयो,’ प्रश्न सोध्नै नपाई उसले भनेको थियो।

केही बाध्यताले, बाँकी आफ्नै लापार्वाहीले २६ बर्षे याम रिनमा चुर्लुम्म डुबेको थियो जसबाट उत्रिन उसलाई विदेशिनुको विकल्प थिएन।

जिउदै छु प्रिय यतै भौतारिदै छु
के गर्न सक्थे अझ पछारिदै छु
एक्लिनुको पिडामा हारको पनि पिडा थपी
जसोतसो गल्लिमा लतारिदै छु

त्यो गजल यामकै हो। इन्टरनेटमा केटीहरुसँग च्याट नगरेको र म्यानपावर नधाएको बेला ऊ कापी पल्टाएर गजल कोर्न थाल्छ जो मुख्यत, भन्नै पर्दैन, निराशाले भरिएका संघर्ष र पीडाका गाथा हुन्छन्।

इन्टरनेट जालसाजीमा परेपछि विदेशिने चक्करमा लागेको याम फेरी फस्यो। थाइल्यान्डमा पानी जहाजमा काम लगाईदिने भनि उसलाई लगिएको थियो, मलेसियामा अलपत्र छाडियो। जसोतसो नेपाल फर्केपछि आफूलाई ठग्ने दलालको कठालो समाउन ऊ भारतीय शहरहरु पुग्यो तर नसकेपछि लत्रेर काठमान्डू आयो। ऊ थप रिनमा डुब्यो।

‘मेरा गजलजस्तो निराशावादी…

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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.

Kids of Dadeldhura on the Dashain Tika Day

kids of dadeldhura nepal on the day of dashain tika

Rockstars of Dadeldhura: This pose too was their idea, I just clicked.

I was in Dadeldhura on the day of Tika this Dashain. The small bazaar on the hill was closed as people were busy celebrating the festival. I had to spend my Tika day on the hill because I was stuck there. The road was empty. I waited for a day for the buses to ply so that I could move to the next destination. To kill time and my curiosity about the way people celebrate Dashain I wandered around the the almost deserted bazaar. A few people, with tika on their forehead and jamara clipped to their ears, were walking on the street. I presumed that they were moving towards their relatives’ homes. Some men wore beautiful garlands of jamara. That was a new sight to me. We don’t do that in the east. Later a friend of mine in Dadeldhura told me that only so called tallo jaat (lower caste) people, especially damai wear jamara garlands on the Tika day. I am not sure if that’s the truth but it was definitely a new sight to me. I liked the idea. I thought about large families. They need to grow a lot of jamara to get enough garlands for each member of the family.

Related Entries on Kids:

1. Time For Kids To Go Back To School (After Dashain Holiday)

2. The Highway Kids #Nepal

A Man from Gorkha in Delhi who Voted for Dr. Baburam Bhattarai

words of wisdom

Kathmandu Post 08July2010

The young man is from Dr. Bhattarai’s constituency in Gorkha district

By Dinesh Wagle

It was the hottest June day in five years, Delhi boiling at 45 degrees Celsius. I was waiting for someone at the international airport. There I met him. He had gone there to receive one of his relatives from Kathmandu who was supposed to stop overnight in Delhi before flying to Moscow the next morning (He had a 16-hour long transit). That didn’t materialise. The traveller wasn’t allowed to go out of the airport. We drove back to the city centre together.

“I have been living in Delhi for the last four years,” he said. “India is the best place for a Nepali like me who doesn’t mind working hard for a living.”

There’s no official data but there are estimated five million Nepalis living and working in India. Vast majority of those who work do so in unorganised sectors: security guards, cooks/waiters and other lowly positions in private and government institutions. There’s no reason to complain for the poorest country in the region that has miserably failed to create jobs for its citizens.

Sujan Lamichhane came to Delhi to work as a peon in a private office three years after finishing his school. He worked as a waiter in a restaurant in Kathmandu for some years before coming here. The man from Gorkha district admitted himself in a college in Delhi while he continued with the job as peon. Continue reading

Meghalaya, India: Marriage is Not a Private Affair

I am working on photos from my Manali trip that I hope to post tomorrow. Meanwhile, I share with you a page (or two?) from my Meghalaya diary. A version of this article, in Nepali, first appeared in Kantipur daily (मेघालयका “घरज्वाइँ’हरु). First, second and last paragraphs of this article have also been used in a piece that I wrote for July 2010 issue of Himal Southasian magazine (Dakhar still)

By Dinesh Wagle
Wagle Street Journal

Patriarchal and Hindu Nepali migrant coalminers marry matriarchal and Christian Khasi indigenous women in India’s Meghalaya state. Read on to find out what happens

Kul Bahadur Magar, his wife Deng and their children.

Marriages, history shows us, are often tactical arrangements between rulers to expand empires, strengthen political alliances, establish peace between warring nations, avoid wars or create harmony in a conflict-ridden society. The Romans did it, the Mughals followed suit, and Nepal’s rulers were no different, in the seventh century marrying off Princess Bhrikuti to powerful emperor Songtsan Gampo of Tibet. Similarly, in the eighth century, King Jayadev II of Nepal brought home Rajyamati, daughter of Harshavardan, the king of Kamrup, Assam.


Kul Bahadur

In contrast, when Kul Bahadur Magar, a Nepali coalmine worker in an area of Meghalaya that borders Kamrup, married Deng, a local ethnic Khasi woman, he did not have lofty goals of alliance building or peace-making. “Who thinks like that?” asked 45-year-old Magar. “I liked her, she liked me. We were both young and one day we married.” That was 13 years ago. Since then, the couple has been living peacefully in a shack with their four children, near the coalmine where Magar works. But their peace has now been shattered. The simmering mistrust between Nepali-speakers and the local Khasi community erupted into full-scale conflict during the course of May. Several Gorkhas (Nepali-speaking Indians) and migrants from Nepal were killed, the tragedies highlighting the constant vulnerability of both categories of Nepali-speaking residents of the Northeast. (Khasi Nepali Ethnic Conflict in Meghalaya, India)

Two years ago an ethnic conflict arose in a small town called Barsora in East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya, a north-eastern Indian state. The Khasis who are majority in the state that has other indigenous communities like Garos and Jaintias, started evicting Nepali migrant labourers who toiled in the coal mines there. A group of leading Nepali migrants from Ladrampai, the commercial hub of neighbouring Jaintai Hills district, went there to hold talks with the locals. Locals had four complaints against migrants: 1. You steal our jobs. 2. You consume alcohol and crate nuisance at public places. 3. You are involved in terrorist activities. 4. You marry our women and help destroy our culture. Continue reading

स्लमडग नेपाली


ठूलो पार्न क्लिक गरे हुन्छ

स्लमडग मिलिनायरको हविगतमा दिल्लीका झुपडबस् तीमा बस् ने नेपालीको कथा-व्यथा पनि कम्ती दुःखदायी छैन ।

‘धेरै वर्स्ट छ,’ ‘खराब’ अर्थ दिने अंग्रेजी शब्द प्रयोग गर्दै हिन्दी लवजमा सुरज रानाले भने, ‘मैले सोचेको यो झुकी टुटोस, यहाँबाट फटाफट निस् कम । यहीँ खाने, यहीँ बस्ने, त कहिल्यै अगाडि बढ्दैन ।’

सोच्ने क्षमता विकास भएदेखि सुरजले मनमा त्यस्तो कुरा खेलाउन थालेका हुन् । अहिले उनी १५ वर्षका भए । दिल्लीको यही झुप्रेबस्तीमा उनी जन्मिए, यहीँ हुर्किए, यहीँ खेले, यहीँबाट स्कुल गए र यसपालि १० औं कक्षाको परीक्षा दिँदैछन् । ठ्याक्कै उनी जन्मेकै झुप्रो चाहिँ १० वर्ष अघि नष्ट गरएिको थियो । औद्योगिक क्षेत्र ओख्लाको फेज-२ अन्तर्गतको त्यो ठाउँमा अहिले एउटा बहुतल्ले अफिस भवन छ । त्यसैको कम्पाउन्डसँग जोडिएको खँदिलो, नाला तथा फोहोर व्यवस्थापन नभएको र मुख्यत झ्याल विहीन सयौं साना झुप्रा छन् । तिनैमध्येको एउटामा सुरज आफ्ना दुई दिदी र बाबुआमासँग बस्छन् ।

व्यापकरूपमा ‘स्लम’ भनिने यी झुप्रेबस्ती खासमा भारतीय गरबिीका प्रतीक हुन् । कतिपय भारतीयले ‘झुग्गी झोपडी’ भन्ने यी बस्तीमा मुख्यतः गाउँबाट कामको खोजीमा सहर पुगेका मानिस बस्छन् जो न्यून तलबमा निम्नस्तरको काम गर्छन् । (‘झुग्गी’ लाई प्राय सुरजले जस्तो ‘झुकी’ पनि उच्चारण गरिन्छ ।) भारतमा एसियाको सबैभन्दा ठूलो स्लम छ जहाँ झन्डै १० लाख मानिस बस्छन् । धारावी नामको मुम्बईको त्यो स्लममा यसपालि ओस्कार जितेको फिल्म ‘स्लमडग मिलेनियर’ को छायाङ्कन गरएिको थियो जसले स्लमको जिन्दगीलाई यसअघि कहिल्यै नमिलेको प्रचार र ‘ख्याति’ दिलायो । मुम्बईमै अरू थुप्रै स् लम छन् जहाँ अरू लाखौं बस्छन् । -विश्वकै सबैभन्दा ठूलो स्लम किबेरा चाहिँ केन्याको नाइरोबीमा छ । त्यहाँ २२ लाख मानिस बस्छन् ।) झन्डै डेढ करोड जनसंख्या भएको दिल्लीमा छरएिका स्लमहरूमा ३० देखि ३२ लाखसम्म मानिसहरू बस् ने तथ्याङ्क छ । गाउँको गरबिीबाट पिल्सिएर भारतमा रोजगारीका लागि आउने कतिपय नेपाली यिनै स्लममा बस्छन् । तीनैमध्येका एक हुन् सुरजका बाबु दिलबहादुर राहुँ जो बितेका २२ वर्षदेखि ‘जनता-जीवन क्याम्प’ भनिने यो स्लममा बसिरहेका छन् ।
‘अब उही भनौ न,’ ४१ वर्षे दिलबहादुरले आफू कसरी झुग्गीमा आइपुगे भनी बताए- ‘मेरो त आफ्नो समस्या थियो तर कुल मिलाएर हेर्ने हो भने रोजीको समस्याले आइयो ।’ Continue reading