Sunday, April 26, 2009

श्रेष्ठ मानव

उता फूलमा पुतली रस चुसिरहेको छ
बाँच्नका निम्ती,
यता म राँगाको मासु लुछिरहेको छु,
बाँच्नकै निम्ती,
फरक यत्ति हो-
ऊ पीडा नदियी खान्छ,
म मारेर खान्छु ।

सडकको भिखारी फोहोरको थुप्रोबाट खाइरहेछ
बाँच्नका लागि संघर्ष गरिरहेछ,
म महंगो कलेज धाइरहेछु,
आखिर संघर्ष नै गरिरहेछु ।
न मान्छेलाई उस्को सुर्ता छ,
न कसैलाई मेरै वास्ता छ,
फरक यत्ति हो-
ऊ बाहिरबाट फोहोर देखिन्छ,
म बाहिरबाट सुकिलो देखिन्छु ।।

थाहा छैन अरुको श्रेणिमा मान्छे कहाँ छ?
तर आँफैले आफुलाई भन्दा ऊ-
एक सर्वश्रेष्ठ प्राणी ।
न लाम्खुट्टे परजिवी हो,
न म सर्वश्रेस्ठ,
त्यसैले अब म बाँच्न बाँच्दिन,
बाँच्नु को अर्थ बाँच्नु रहेनछ ।।

----इतिश्री----

मानदेवको चाँगुनारायण : हामी आधारहीन इतिँहासका पाठकहरु

राजा त्रिभुवनलाई अब राष्ट्रपिता मान्ने कि नमान्ने भन्ने वैचारिक दोधारमा परेको छु म आजकाल । केटाकेटी छँदा तिनीजस्तै राष्ट्रसेवक बन्ने लक्ष्य नराखेको हुइँन मैले । ईतिहास सत्य भन्दा पनि शक्तिले निर्माण गर्दछ भन्ने कुरा मैले बुझ्न थालेको छु । धारावासिको "राधा"ले मलाई कौरवको चरित्रप्रति केही सहानुभुतिको भावना जताउने सोच भरिदिएको छ । म रावणको दुष्टता र रामको पराक्रमितामाथि शंकालु आँखाले हेर्न थालेको छु ।

हामीले पढ्दै आएको चाँगुनारायण मन्दिरको ईतिहास त्यस्तै आधारहीन छ । परापूर्व कालमा यो मन्दिरको नाम के रह्यो भन्ने कुनै आधार छैन। लिच्छवी कालमा यिनको नाम डोलाशिखर स्वामी थियो । त्योबेला चाँगुनारायण भनिन्नथ्यो। चाँगुनारायण मन्दिर अवस्थित डाँडोको नाम डोलागिरी र यसको शिखरको स्वामीको रुपमा यिनलाई डोलाशिखर स्वामी भनिएको हो । मल्लकालमा यिनको नाम नेपाल भाषामा कथिन पुग्यो । नेपाल भाषामा 'चाँप'लाई 'च' र 'वन'लाई 'गुँ' भनिन्छ । त्यही चंगुनारायण भन्दा-भन्दा अहिले आएर चाँगुनारायण हुन गएको हो । संस्क्रित् मा यिनलाई चम्पकनारायण भनिन्छ । काठमान्डौमा चँगुनारायण (अकार) र भक्तपुरमा चाँगुनारायण (आकार) बोलिन्छ । यिनको खास नाम भक्तपुरको बोलिअनुसार रहन गएको छ ।

चाँगुनारायण मन्दिरको स्थापना राजा मानदेवले गरेको भनेर हामीले पढ्दै आएको कुरा बिल्कुलै झुटो हो । हामीलाई झुटो कुरा पढाईएको हो । राजा हरिदत्त वर्माले उपत्यकाका चार नारायणका मन्दिर बनाइदिएको भन्ने कुरा लेखिएको चाँहीँ पाईन्छ । तर सातदोबाटो एक ठाउँको नाम भएजस्तै त्यो चार लेखिएको बहुबचन नारायणको निर्माण इचंगुनारायण मात्रै हुनसक्छ । त्यो भन्दा पहिले नै चाँगुनारायणको स्थापना भैसकेको थियो । अहिले सम्म चाँगुनारायण राजा मानदेवभन्दा धेरै अगाडि स्थापना भएको भन्ने आधार त्यो मात्रै हो र अहिले सम्म अरु प्रमाण भेटिएको छैन ।
१) प्रमाण नभएका कारण राजा हरिदत्त वर्मालाई नै स्थापनाकारका रुपमा मान्ने हो भने उनी राजा मानदेव भन्दा नौ पुस्ता अगाडिका मानिन्छन । त्यही भएर नौ पुस्ता अगाडिका राजाले मन्दिर बनाइदिएको र नौ पुस्ता पछाडिका राजाले मुर्ती स्थापना गरेको कुरा मिल्दैन ।

२) राजा मानदेवको अभिलेख(वि.स.५२१) मा चाँगुनारायण मन्दिर र मुर्ती स्थापना र निर्माणको कुरा कुनै पनि अंकित छैन । तर त्यही अभिलेखमा राजा मानदेवले चाँगुनारायण मन्दिरको गुठीको लागि जमिन/खेत चढायेको कुरा चाँहीँ अंकित छ । त्येसबेला राजा मानदेवको अभिलेख पढ्न नसकिएको तर उनको नै हो भन्ने चाँहीँ थाहा भएकोले हचुवाको भरमा उनले स्थापना गरेको भनेर लेखिएको हुनसक्छ ।

कक्षा ८ (२०५२-२०५८)को पाठ्यक्रम 'जनसंख्या वातावरण'मा चाँगुनारायण मन्दिर सम्बन्धमा लेखिएका धेरैजस्ता कुरा झुटा छन् । त्यो किताबले चाँगुनारायण जात्रा माघमा हुन्छ भन्छ तर जात्रा चाहिँ बैशाखमा हुन्छ । त्यहाँ चाँगुनारायणलाई माघमान नारायण भनिन्छ भनेर लेखिएको छ तर चाँगुनारायणलाई चम्पकनारायण, चँगुनारायण, गरुडनारायण मात्र भनिन्छ । अर्को नाम छैन । अर्को चाङुनारायणलाई साँखु लानु पर्छ भनिएको छ, तर साँखुलाई चाँहीँ चाँगुनारायणमा ल्याउनुपर्छ । कान्तिपुरका राजा भुपालेन्द्र मल्ल ले नेपाल संवत ८१४ फागुनमा यो मन्दिरको renovation गरिदिएका थिए ।

स्रोत: चक्रधरनन्द राज उपाध्याय (पूजारी-चाँगुनारायण मन्दिर),
तेजेश्वर बाबु ग्वङग

Sunday, April 19, 2009

चाँगुनारायणको उत्पतिभित्र : जुठो नबार्ने पूजारीहरु

"तिमी मरेपछि म तिम्रो क्रिया गर्दिन"- हिन्दू धर्ममा आफ्नो सन्तानबाट कुनै पनि बाबु-आमाले पाउन सक्ने सबैभन्दा अपमानित र हृदयविदारक गाली हो यो । आफ्ना बाबुआमा वा नर-नाताको मृत्‍युमा जुठो बार्नु लगायत अन्य पित्रि-पुजाहरु अनिवर्य धार्मिक कर्तव्यहरु हुन् । यो कर्तव्य पालन भनेको हिन्दू धर्म र आस्थाको जगेर्णा गर्नु पनि हो । तर चाँगुनारायणका मूल पूजारीहरु आफ्नो आमाबाबुको जुठो बार्दैनन् । यो उनीहरुले आफ्नो धार्मिक आस्थाको अपमानित गरेका हैनन् । यसो गर्नुमा उनीहरुको परापूर्व कालदेखी चलिआएको आफ्नै अडिग धार्मिक आस्था छ । यो आस्थासँग काठमाडौं उपत्यकामा अवस्थित सबैभन्दा पुरानो मन्दिर चाँगुनारायणको धार्मिक र ऐतिहासिक गाथा जोडीएको छ ।

चाँगुनारायणको मन्दिर काठमाडौं उपत्यकामा अवस्थित सबैभन्दा पुरानो मन्दिर हो । पुरातात्त्विक कलाहरुले भरिपूर्ण यो मन्दिर काठमान्डौबाट २२ कि. मि. टाढा पर्दछ । कुनै स्पष्ट प्रमाण नभए पनि यो मन्दिर चौथो शताब्दीतिर बनेको हो भन्ने विश्वास छ । यो मन्दिर काष्ठकला र मुर्तीकलाहरुको उच्च नमुना नै हो । उपत्यकाको सभ्यता, जीवन, इतिँहास र सँस्कृतिको सुन्दर प्रतिमुर्ती हो चाँगुनारायण ।

परापूर्व कालमा चाँगुनारायण मन्दिर रहेको ठाउँ अधिकांस रुपमा चाँपको वन थियो । वन को एक छेउमा सुदर्शन नाम गरेका ब्राह्णण बस्थे । जंगलको वरिपरि अरु गोठालाहरु बस्थे । ति ब्राह्णणलाई तिनै गोठालाहरुले पाल्ने गर्थे । उनीहरु ब्राह्णणकहाँ बिहान-बिहान दूध पुर्याउन जाने गर्थे ।

तर एकचोटि धेरै दिन सम्म पनि कोही गोठालाहरु दूध पुर्याउन गएनन् । र, ब्राह्मणले किन दूध नल्याएको भनेर सोध्दा गाईले दूध नै नदिएको गुनासो पोखे गोठालाहरुले । भर्खर ब्याएको गाईले किन दूध दिएन भन्ने रहस्य बुझ्न चर्दै गरेका गाई सँगसँगै ब्राह्मण अहिलेको चाँगुनारायण अवस्थित ठाउँमा आइपुगेछन् । त्यती नै बेला चाँपको रुखबाट एउटा कालो पुरुष निक्लिएर गाईको थुन चुस्न थालेछ । अनि ब्राह्मन रिसाएर त्यो आफ्नो दूध खोस्ने कालो पुरुषको टाउको काटिदिए । त्यही टाउको काटिएको पुरुष चार वटा हात भएको चाङुनरयन को रुपमा त्यहीँ उत्पति भए । यो देखेर ब्राह्मन अचम्मित भए । उनलाई डर पनि लाग्यो । त्यसपछी अपराध गरेको महसुस गरेर ब्राह्मनले आफू पनि नबाँच्ने निर्णय गरे र मर्न तयार भए । त्यो उत्पति भएको चाँगुनारायन्बाट भगवान बिष्णु प्रकट भएर ब्राह्मनलाई मर्नबाट रोके । विष्णुले त्यसमा ब्राह्मनको केही दोष-अपराध नरहेको भनि तिनलाई सम्झाए । उनले यस सम्पूर्ण घटनाको प्रिष्ठभुमी ब्राह्मनको अगाडि पेश गरे ।

भगवान बिष्णु - "धेरै पहिला देवता र अशुरहरुको सँग्रामको बेला सुमति नाम गरेका ब्राह्मन अशुरहरुको तर्फबाट लड्न आएका थिए । अनि उनलाई मैले बाध्य भएर वध गर्नु पर्‍यो। त्यसपछी ब्राह्मनका गुरु शुक्रचार्यले मलाई ब्राह्मन हत्याको श्राप दिए । अनि त्यो श्राप कहिले मुक्त हुन्छ भन्दा जब सुमतिको सन्तानले तिम्रो शिर काट्छ तब तिमी श्राप-मुक्त हुन्छौ भन्ने उत्तर पाएँ । त्यही श्राप मुक्त हुन सारा प्रपन्च आँफैले रचेको हुँ । अब म श्राप मुक्त भएँ । तिमी त्यही सुमतिका सन्तान हौ ।"

अब म यही ठाउँमा बस्छु भनेर भगवान बिष्णुले त्यही सुदर्शन ब्राह्मनलाई आफ्नो पूजा गर्ने मुख्य पूजारी बनाइदिए । अनि त्यही सुमतिका वङ्शजले यस मन्दिरमा पूजा गर्नुपर्ने भएकाले आफ्नो मातापिता मर्दा पनि ति पूजारीहरुले जुठो बार्न पाउँदैनन् । अनि पूजाको नित्य सर्-सामानहरु तिनै गोठालाहरुले जुटाउन थाले । ति गोठालाहरु जुठोको बेला पूजारीकामा बसे भने उनिहरुलाई पनि जुठो नलाग्ने भयो । त्यो चलन अहिले सम्म पनि चलिरहेकै छ ।

स्रोत: चक्रधरनन्द राज उपाध्याय (पूजारी-चाँगुनारायण मन्दिर),
तेजेश्वर बाबु ग्वङग

Needs and desires - The Kathmandu Post

or, Read From The Kathmandu Post
“Should I take you to Adidas showroom?” I asked my father's friends, actually a couple from New Zealand, who were wishing to buy a pair of shoes. “Your father had told me there are inexpensive wholesale markets in Asan. Can you take us there?” Francine, the lady, replied to me.

I was a little ashamed. But I forgave myself having grown up in a Nepali society and among people who like to show off.

It was Paul who needed a pair of sport shoes. But Francine was also checking out things in the lady's corner. “Are you also going to buy one?” I asked her. “Yes, I want them but I don't think I need them. I'm just doing window shopping.” She replied with a smile. Her acts were somehow influencing me. It was her fifth visit to Nepal and I could always see her in the same outfit. She is a high school teacher and was going to buy an apartment for herself after returning to her country.

Humans have desires that we can never fulfill even though we sometimes attain the objects of our desire. Their desire keeps growing. Thus they die poor even when they have enough wealth and comfort. They cannot live their life to the fullest because they are never satisfied with the things they amass. Instead, they long for things others have amassed -- whether wealth, or success, or fame. They rarely stop to ponder over the difference between needs and desires.

My yearning for a motorbike when I was doing +2 was not fulfilled, not because my parents could not afford it but because they knew I did not need it. They knew that people of my age generally feel the need to show off; that adolescents often demand things not because they truly want it, but because they want others to see what they own. Now I feel ashamed for my past stubborn behavior. I am now an undergraduate student and still don't feel the need of a bike. These days I counsel my brother, a fifth grader, who keeps crying for an MP4.

Need over desire is not just a philosophical idiom but a guidance for youths, especially for those who end up doing wrong things because of their problems and frustrations. Some of them are overambitious at this age. Their impatience and aggressiveness for their desires make them burdens for family and society. The guidance teens receive can shape their entire life. And the sooner they learn to prioritise their needs over desires, the better.

Nepal has to stomach political interferences and pressures from other nations because it depends on them. One simple way of becoming truly sovereign is by taking up a lifestyle that suits our means, and by using our internal resources as best we can. How about unemployed youths using bicycles instead of motorbikes to decrease import of petrol and reduce pollution?

COMMENTS- Letters To the Editor
Need and desire
Read from The Kathmandu Post
Thanks to Rajan Kathet for the nice piece “Needs and desires” (April 18, Page 6). The piece offers a lesson for all the youths, especially the unemployed ones. I agree that it is very important to differentiate between one's need and desire. In our hypocritical society, many people end up in a pitfall because of their desire to show off. Many youths, especially in Kathmandu, are suffering because they want things they can't have. So I'd like to ask all young people to be down to earth and choose a lifestyle that suits your means.

Rabin Rai

Khotang (from Kathmandu)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Chisapani Breeze


Far from the city and the crowds that I have,
My country place reminding- the hilly top,
In front, the dark hill- waving the trees,
Hitting my back- the midnight breeze,
The fire lighting me warm over the night,
My friends cracking jokes
And keeping me alive,
Trimming down the tensions- the local wine,
Giving me the life - "tumse manki lagan",
Cheering truest fun- your inner presence!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Man Prasad Subba

कवि मनप्रसाद सुब्बाका केही कविताहरु
दार्जिलिङ तिम्रो पछिल्तिर
पेन्टिङ् जस्तो टाँगिएको त्यो कन्चन्जङा
यदि कृष्णको हत्केला भैदियको भए
घरी- घरीको यो चिर हरणमा
तिमी नाङ्गिनु पर्ने थिएन यस्तरी.......................

काठमाडौं एक दृष्‍टिछेद
कुनै एउटा सभ्यताको मस्तिस्कबाट उब्जेर,
अनि अब उपत्यकाको
फराकिलो नाङ्लोमा पनि नअटाएर,
फैलिरहेछ फिँजिरहेछ काठमाडौं निरन्तर
रिङ् रोड को घेरो नाघ्दै पर पर ।
आँफै दिशातर्फ निर्लित्त पल्टिरहने
सौम्यता र सरलताका
ति खेतबारी फाँटहरुलाई चपाउँदै निल्दै
बेहिसाब बढीरहेछ यो,
टाढा दुर्गम् क्षेत्रका आफन्तहरुलाई
सम्झने फुर्सत सम्म नपाएर
बाजी जित्नै जस्तो चारैतिर दौडिरहेछ यो ।।

सेन्ट्रिपिटल सेन्ट्रिफुगल दुबै शक्तिको श्वास प्रश्वासले
काठमाडौं जिवन्त छ यस्तरी
कि यस्ले श्वास लिँदा
गाउँहरुको मन काठमाडौंतिर खिचिएका हुन्छन,
अनि येस्ले निश्वास छोड्दा
वरिपरि बढिसकेको हुन्छ शहरको आयतन,
रिङ् रोड को लठारोले पनि
बाँधिराख्न नसकेको यो काठमाडौंलाई
तर काठमाडौंले नै आज थाम्न सकिरहेको छैन ।।

त्यैपनि काठमाडौंलाई छोडेर काठमाडौं
कतै टाढा भैहालेको पनि छैन,
बरु गाउँबाट गाउँहरु नै भाग्दै आएर
यो खबरै खबरको शहर भित्र
आँफैलाई खोज्दै बेखबर भै रहन्छन्,
त्यसो त काठमाडौं भित्रै काठमाडौं नै हराइसक्यो रे
भनेर पनि बूढाहरु अचेल कुरा गर्दा रहेछन् ।।

हुन त कुनै पनि ठूलो शहर भन्नु
चाहे त्यो भित्र भित्रै रोगी होस् या निरोगी
त्यो त्यसै पनि सर्वभोगी हुन्छ,
अनि कुखुराको ठूलो खोँगि जस्तो होस्
या त सुकुम्बासी जोगी होस्
शहर निकै ढोँगी पनि हुन्छ,
बाँच्नु को होड्मा येस्तो हुनुबाट
काठमाडौं मात्रै किन अपवाद होस् ?
आखिर शहर न हो
शहरमा जे पनि स्वोभाविक हुन्छ ।।

आवाजका वादहरु
ट्रक र बसहरु स्टार्ट गरेको थर्किँदो गर्जनले तर्सेर उठेपछि
अचेल मेरो यो सानो शहर पनि
अत्याचारी आवाजहरुको चिथ्योर्याइ र टोकाइहरुमा छट्पटी रहन्छ ।
अतिक्रमनको होड्मा बेहद-बेफुर्सद
सत्रतिरबाट दौडिरहेका संगीतका ध्वनिहरु पनि
अराजक्ताको असङ्गतिमा परेर साम्प्रदायिक दङ्गामा जुद्दछन् ।।

वर्षौँ वर्षमा पनि नखेदिएको दैनिक रुटिनको वाक्वाकी जस्तो,
आरीको दाँतमा दाँतै कुड्याउने रेतीको अन्तहिन किरिक् किरिक् किरिक्
एक एन्त्रमा पीडित निर्दोषको चिच्याहट जस्तो,
इलेक्ट्रिक रन्दाको चर्को ट्याँ ट्याँ,
सडकमा गुडिरहेका हतारहरु अधिर्ता कराउँछन झर्को लाग्दो,
प्रोपगान्डाका नाराहरु चट्याङ चड्काउँदै गर्जिँदैछन,
कारखानाको एकोहोरो कराउनु बाट सुरु भएको प्रगतिको क्रान्ति
हजारौँ मुख चारैतर्फ फर्काएर मान्छेको गिदी खाँदै कराएको कराएकै छ ।।

आक्रमणमा छन् अचेल जताततै हिंस्रक आवाजका बाजहरु,
खेदिएर भाग्दा भाग्दा लखतरान छन् बिनम्रताका ढुक्कुरहरु,
माहामारी जस्तो फैलिँदो छ यो गन्हाउने कोलाहाल,
यो अटुट कोलाहल बिच् कराएर बोल्नुपर्छ, सुन्दैनन्,
म्रिदु बोलि त अब इमान्दारिता जस्तै खतरामा छ,
खस्रो आवाजले लगातार रगेटेर बोधो भैसके बोधहरु,
रुखो आवाजहरुको राज छ,
त्यही राजका हामी संवेदना हराएका नागरिकहरु ।।

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Democracy and Journalism

'Democracy needed journalism to get started. Journalism needs to re-absorb the values of democracy into its own self-conduct if it is to function effectively: to open itself to scrutiny and challenge.'(Ian Hargreaves, Journalism: Truth or Dare, OUP, 2003)

"It is difficult, in looking back; even to separate the concept of journalism from the concept of democracy. Journalism is so fundamental to that purpose that societies that want to suppress freedom must first suppress the press. They do not, interestingly, have to suppress capitalism. At its best, journalism reflects a subtle understanding of how citizens behave; an understanding that we call the Theory of the Interlocking Public." If we try to separate journalism from democracy well, then, it may be news, but it's not journalism.

The theory of freedom of the press assumes that the press will not overlook the needs of poor and powerless. Actually, journalism is the voice of the voiceless people. Though mass media have a dual responsibility- to their owners and advertisers, and to the public; both of them are very important; but the priority should be given to the public. Only then the freedom of mass media will be meaningful. The mass media in democratic system are often described as a ‘trustee’ or ‘representative’ of the people, and even as a ‘fourth branch of government’ because of its duty. It is only in a world of duties that rights have significance. The press must be a watchdog, not a lapdog.

Before going through the intermingling and interdependence between Journalism and Democracy in detail let’s learn about the State-Press relation of Myanmar.

In Myanmar, media can only report news sanctioned by the government. Minimal international news is reported. Aung Zaw, editor of Irrawaddy magazine, described journalism in Myanmar as "comatose."

Myanmar newspapers print official decrees such as the 1982 citizenship law. Myanma Alin (New Light of Myanmar), published since 1914, is distributed in four languages and contains daily government press releases and negative international wire articles about countries critical of Myanmar. Editorial cartoons denounce the opposition's National League for Democracy.

Myanmar officials are especially angered by media they think might cause people to regard the government disrespectfully. Most Burmese realize that news is for the most part manufactured to portray the junta as Myanmar's best rulers.

Political parties were united into the Burma Socialist Program Party, which further tightened control of the press. The 1962 Printers' and Publishers' Registration Act stated that only government-approved media could apply for the annual licenses that were mandatory for operation. Media was ordered to focus on topics supportive of Burma's socialist revolution. By December 1965, private newspapers were forbidden. Military leaders established The Working People's Daily as the official distributor of government news. The bureaucracy controlled access to limited supplies of newsprint and paper. The traditional Burmese media was effectively paralyzed.

The government tries to block news regarding any negative events in Burma, with the end of keeping the current government in power. Because reporters cannot prepare factual accounts about topics that the government considers taboo, news is unreliable. Political enemies such as opposition leaders are described unfavorably, and all state-owned media is required to present these opinions. Events that are covered internationally, such as opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi's release in 1995, are restricted from Myanmar media. The Ministry of Information indoctrinates government journalists at journalism courses. Reporters are expected to write pro-government propaganda and never criticize leaders or their political actions. Articles are not to mention political corruption, reform, education, and HIV/AIDS. Even stories telling about losing Myanmar sports teams and torrential rainstorms are forbidden. The press is not welcome at government meetings.

Liberal theories accept that intermingling and interdependence of the journalism and democracy is inevitable. The proposition by default or otherwise envisages a meaningful role for the media in a democratic society. So little wonder that the journalism is regarded as the nerve of the polity in democracies.

Since democracy and a free press cannot meaningfully prosper in the absence of the other, the spurt of mass media in Nepal in the post-1990 era seems only but natural. In spite of the inherent failings and shortcomings of the fledgling democracy, the openness that it ushered in did have its implications. Irrespective of the glitches and hitches, the Nepali media did take a leap forward. Media development, thereafter, doesn't seem to have looked backwards.

The journalism, given the favorable environment, grew in reach and number. It also made inroads as a productive business venture and profession. That makes it obvious that the advent of multiparty democracy and liberal economic policy had its underpinning in the advancement of the Nepalese journalism.

The evolutionary growth that came about vis-à-vis the 1990 changes saw the Nepalese journalism grow both in terms of quantity and quality. The trend that picked up with the print has now spread across audio and audio-visual mediums. Alongside newspapers, magazines, radio and television networks of various hues and shades, the growth has encompassed the online medium as well. The internet-based sources, which cut across geographical boundaries and time zones, are also gaining ground at their own momentum and pace. Community-based initiatives are other telltale examples of the progress.

However, in spite of the apparent achievements, the challenges of the digital divide continue to plague the polity. The inequitable access to opportunities within the industry is another issue to reckon with. The want for a fair and sensitive media is an equally glaring concern facing the fourth estate. Nonetheless, despite the underlying challenges and dynamics, the spurt has been momentous. By any reasonable standard, the extent of media outlets, investors and professionals that have come about is noteworthy.

For a country of 25 million, there are 11 national dailies now catering to the populace. There are nine television channels currently hitting the airwaves. The number of radio networks and news portals among other ventures in the print media is equally staggering. But that is not all. There are newer media ventures in the pipeline. This might defy conventional business logic, but the number only seems to be growing.

The growth, despite a greater number of alternatives, serves well for democracy; for a bigger and accommodative public sphere translates into lively debates and discussions. This not only stands consistent with the ideals of liberal democracy but also paves the way for inclusion of pluralistic notions and approaches in practice.

The advancement nonetheless does not spell an end to the media's role and duties. This, in fact, heaps burdens on the fourth estate. The growth inevitably means greater competition among the fraternity notwithstanding the diminishing deadline. The changed context also translates into larger public expectations, which inevitably calls for a sensitive media role and intervention.

In other words, the media's functioning as a watchdog is being further streamlined if not redefined by the day. The media's duty as against conventional wisdom is not merely to inform, educate and entertain. As per the changing context, a vibrant media has to play the frontrunner in the realization of a just society. It has to emerge as a champion of the people in the truest sense. However, for that to materialize, the media first and foremost has to introspect.

The Nepali media as a civil society entity has garnered its share of acceptance. Its space in a functioning democracy has been duly recognized. The media as an advocacy tool too has been practiced and discussed. Despite such propositions, there are however, gaps and grounds to be covered.

To begin with, the Nepali media has oft been criticized for associating with the elite. The refrain is that the media is so elitist and plays the lapdog. The Kathmandu-centric reality has also found its space in public discourses. In other words, there are persistent calls for fair and inclusive media rendering.Nonetheless, the media against a backdrop of a violent conflict and the times of transition has had its share of experiences. It is widely believed that a newspaper is a reflection of society. By that token, media experiences in Nepal, given the challenging times, does mirror societal realities.

For starters, the International Media Mission that visited the country early this month raised an alarm over the continued threat to press freedom in Nepal. The mission, quoting the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), said there were a staggering 342 press freedom violations in 2008 alone.

The mission was equally concerned over the significant escalation of physical attacks against journalists and media houses. The international mission, to drive home its assessment on the shaky times, underscored that four journalists-Uma Singh, Birendra Sah, Puskar Bahadur Shrestha and J.P. Joshi-had been killed since 2006. Such an assessment indeed speaks volumes of the challenges confronting the fourth estate. That depicts the grim reality that journalists face in everyday life. Call it ironical or what you will; the state of the watchdog of society, in turn, reflects the state of affairs dogging the country.

With a new constitution in the making, Nepal stands at the crossroads of history. Unfortunate though, a spate of uncertainties now transcends the socio-political realm. Amid the uncertainties, one thing is sure and certain anyway. There is an unprecedented people's desire for a just and equitable society. The transformation, however, won't see the light of day sans a free press and liberal values in place.

Read what Thomas Jefferson, a former U.S. president, had to say, “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

Works Cited:
Adhikary, Nirmala Mani. Communication, Media and Journalism An Integrated Study. 1st ed. Kathmandu: Prashanti Pustak Bhandar, 2008
Myanmar press
Ekantipur
Myanmar Protest
Amnesty overview (of Myanmar)
Mediawise.com
Cyber-journalist


Media Studies- 4th sem

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Alternative energy- Letters to the editor


Sushma Joshi's “Waiting for rain” (March 28, Page 6) was interesting. Citing the example of her nephew's drawing of a house with six solar panels, the author has illustrated the urgent need for alternative energy sources for our country. I agree with Joshi that it is high time we started doing what is possible from our side and what benefits the coming generations.
As she writes, “...it may be time for us to start selling those Pajeros and putting the money back into water harvesting tanks which store rainwater from the monsoon for the dry winter months.” Let's learn from Joshi's nephew. We might not have the courage to donate our half month's salary to help our country as South Korean citizens did for five consecutive years, but we can at least begin to design our world with the rocks we have in our garden.
Read from The Kathmandu Post

Friday, April 3, 2009

बालापन

मेरो छुच्चो बोली मेरो बोली होइन
मेरी आमाको स्वोर हो त्यो
मेरो हातको कलम पैसाको धाँक होइन
मेरो बुवाले बुझेको औजार हो त्यो
मेरो निर्दोष मुहार कोमलताको संकेत होइन
मेरो मात्रै एउटा परिचय हो त्यो ।।

Thursday, April 2, 2009

स्प्रिङ्गउड- एउटा अपुरो प्रयास

कुरा चाँही थर्ड सेमेस्टर को नै हो । जिउमा जोस जाँगर थियो तर पनि देखाउन ठाँउ मिलिराखेको थिएन । एक्कासी बिजेन श्रेश्ठ (राम्री)बाट थाहा भयो कि 'स्प्रिङ्गउड'ले बिज्ञापन कम्पिटिसन गराउँदैछ भनेर । हामी क्लासका सब जना केटाहरु यो कुरा सुनेर तात्तिहाल्योउँ । अनी सुजो न बुझो भनेजस्तै म (राजन), प्रेम, बिजेन, नसिब, शैल, अनुग्र (ENE), अमोल, रतन र शेखर 'स्प्रिङ्गवूड'को शोपिङ कम्प्लेक्स तिर लाग्योउँ । काठमाडौं मल, वोर्ल्ड ट्रेड सेन्टर इत्यादिमा शूटिङ गर्न उचित ठाउँ नपाएपछी अरु ठाउँ खोज्दै जाँदा थापाथलीमा सबैको मन गड्यो । त्याहाँ कुरा गरेपछी थाहा भयो स्विकृतिको लागि कलेजबाट एउटा चिट्ठी ल्याउनुपर्ने रैछ भनेर । हाम्रो त्यो जत्था घोसे मुन्टो लाउँदै फेरी धुलिखेल फर्कन वाध्य भयो ।

केही दिन पछी सोही जत्था (बिजेन बाहेक ) थप दुईजना साथीहरु (अमिसा र शिक्छ्या)को साथमा थापाथली रवाना भयो । सबैको लागि यो नयाँ काम भएकाले हिच्किचाहट पनि नभएको चाँहीँ होइन । फेरी हाम्रो केटा मोडल नसिबलाई हतपत्त लुगा नै फिट भएनन् । बल्लतल्ल ३-४ घण्टा पछी त्याहाँको काम फत्ते भयो । बाँकी शुटिङ हामीले केयू नजिकैको खर्पुको गल्लितिर गर्ने बिचार गर्‍योउँ । अनी बसमा फर्किँदै गर्दा थाहा भयो 'बिज्ञापन कम्पिटिसन' त क्यान्सिल भइसकेको रहेछ । त्यही भएर बिजेनले आउनको लागि कर पनि गरेन । एसपछी त्यो शुटिङ्को RAW video एत्तिकै थन्केर बस्यो कम्प्युटरमा । र आज त्यो शूटिङ भएको ४-५ महिना पछी अपुरै भएपनि यता-उता मिलाएर यो भिडियो finalize गर्ने जमर्को गरेका छउँ ।।

Civic Journalism- MEDS 203

Civic Journalism was actually pioneered acknowledging loss of public trust in traditional journalistic values. According to professor David K. Perry of the University of Alabama, the civic journalism, also known as public journalism, is an attempt to abandon the notion that journalists and their audiences are spectators in political and social processes.

According to W. Davis Merritt Jr., one of the pioneers of civic journalism, it is "a set of values about the craft that recognizes and acts upon the interdependence between journalism and democracy. It values the concerns of citizens over the needs of the media and political actors, and conceives of citizens as stakeholders in the democratic process rather than as merely victims, spectators or inevitable adversaries. So, with a small but committed following, civic journalism has become as much of a philosophy as it is a practice.

Civic Journalism attempts to situate newspapers and journalists as active participants in community life, rather than as detached spectators. It aims at making a newspaper a forum for discussion of community issues. It favors the issues, events and problems important to ordinary people. It considers the public opinion through the process of discussion and debate among members of a community. It attempts to use journalism to enhance social capital.

Civic journalism is both a philosophy and a set of values supported by some evolving techniques to reflect both of those in journalism. At its heart is a belief that journalism has an obligation to public life - an obligation that goes beyond just telling the news or unloading lots of facts. The way we do our journalism affects the way public life goes. Journalism can help empower a community or it can help disable it.

Civic journalism aims to help return journalism to its core mission -- to give people the news and information they need to do their jobs as citizens. Civic journalism has focused not only on some problems of journalism, but also possible solutions. It has sought to:
- Restore good journalistic habits.
- Build connections with readers.
- Get better stories
- Build better citizens.

Civic journalists are motivated by deep concerns about contemporary journalism. Media surveys tell us that the public believes that the lines between reporting and commentary have become blurred; the lines between entertainment and news have become blurred. Journalists seem to be unable to "get it right." The news media are spending more time serving elites than ordinary citizens. People tell pollsters that the media is out of touch with the public. They also say that journalism is motivated by commercial interests, which are driving sensational coverage. Jim Lehrer, anchor of the respected NewsHour on U.S. public television, commented a few years ago: "Journalism, as practiced by some, has become something akin to professional wrestling -- something to watch rather than believe."

Civic journalists wanted to see if it was possible to:
- Retain the media’s watchdog role, spotlighting corruption and injustices.
- Abandon the attack dog role that seemed to be just creating a lot of noise in a very noisy media environment.
- Add the duties of a guide dog – we say “seeing-eye dog” -- helping people figure out what kind of roles they could play in a democracy beyond simply casting a ballot.

Civic journalism is now a broad label put on efforts by editors to try to do their jobs as journalists in ways that help to overcome people's sense of powerless and alienation.

The goal is to produce news that citizens need to be educated about issues and current events, to make civic decisions, to engage in civic dialogue and action -- and generally to exercise their responsibilities in a democracy.

Civic journalists believe that it is possible to create news coverage that motivates people to think, and even to act, and not simply entice them to watch, ogle or stare. And, in fact, they believe it's their responsibility to do so.

However, civic journalists don't want to tell readers and viewers WHAT to think or HOW to act. The journalists are simply creating a neutral zone of empowerment, arming citizens -- with information and sometimes methods -- to shoulder some responsibility, or offer some imagination or solutions for fixing a problem.

Civic Journalism seeks to expand these definitions of news so that they better serve citizens. Among their techniques, they seek to:
- Cover consensus as well as conflict.
- Include solutions and success stories.
- Abandon scorecard journalism. Citizens are not keeping score.
- Make sure we not only get the story right, but that we also get the right story.

Most journalists define news as conflict: Incumbent vs. challenger, winner vs. loser, pro vs. con, good vs. bad.

In the U.S., if you send a reporter out to cover a meeting in which everyone agrees on something, they are likely to come back and tell their editor, "Nothing happened." There's no story. Journalists find it difficult to cover consensus even when we’re agreeing on major changes in our communities. In fact, I would suggest to you that newspapers don’t value consensus; we value conflict. In fact, we want conflict.

Civic journalists try to probe where people agree, as well as where they disagree. They report success stories as well as failures. And they examine solutions that have worked elsewhere and may be copied in their own communities.
For detail, visit: Doing Civic Journalism
Wikipedia: Civic Journalism

Media Studies- 4th sem