The nation goes to local polls today, the second time since the country adopted the federal democratic constitution in September 2015. Our charter envisages periodic local polls every five years. This time, too, polls at 753 local bodies, revered as the very basis of our federal system of governance, have shone a light on our contemporary governing system that prides itself on devolution of power to the grassroots. Our local bodies enjoy over 250 rights, thanks to the legislation, arranged by the people's representatives through constituent assemblies.
Teaching is a platform where teachers impart knowledge to students. The more knowledge they share the more the student learns. However, sometimes problems pose dilemmas for teachers in teaching. When a teacher happens to be a female, she encounters a special problem - the menstrual cycle during teachings. The menstruation period is not only about a situation of facing bleeding problems but there happened to be both physical and psychological disorders among females which can be perceived mainly in the form of pre-menstrual syndromes such as painful cramps that cause troubles in the teaching and learning process.
Lil Bahadur Kshyatri flew to Delhi from Assam and received the prestigious national award Padmashree there from India’s president and returned to his home at the end of 2021. He is now 91 years old. This honour from the Indian government, which the nonagenarian litterateur received, is for his contributions to the Nepali language and literature. In this regard, it would be appropriate to remember Kshyatri as a litterateur, who has also been widely known for ‘thin book with powerful theme’ since he wrote a highly popular small novel named “Basain" in the Nepali language. Thus, Lil Bahadur’s contributions to Nepali literature and language are non-stop and it is hard to measure his selfless creative devotion.
Mustang, the last frontier of the trans-Himalayan fiefdom, is a land cloaked in a mystical veil of enigmatic parables. The facades in the upper and lower Mustang have kaleidoscopic natural rejigging. The amber-hued mountains guard the region with their majestic presence, exuding a veneered pastiche of mother nature. From its surreal semi-arid desert to motley formations of rock, snow-kissed mountains, and the stark contrast of green crop fields amidst the off-beaten landscape akin to a desert, it's a homeland of juxtaposing panorama. Opined as the "Plain of the Aspirations" in the Tibetian language, it simply oscillates with a sense of alchemy.
Grishma Paneru Sarita was a sophomore. She fell in love with a mysterious but attractive boy. It was a perfect relationship, until one day she felt his hand on her face. He said, "You stupid, if you were silent, that wouldn't have happened." From that moment on, her life was upset. She was psychologically, emotionally, and sexually abused. He humiliated her, talked about her being overweight, and robbed her of all her power. She began to question her self-esteem, self-confidence, and the true purpose of life. She often thought of suicide. Sarita said that was the way for her, with tears in her eyes. She didn't tell anyone at first. She was embarrassed and ashamed and couldn't say what she was experiencing. His family and friends worshipped him. He isolated her from her support system, the people who loved her and cared for her deeply. Contact with family and friends was limited. He monitored all her movements.CourageEventually, she gained enough courage and power to talk to her friends. She left him and moved with one of her friends for a while, but the abuser persuaded her to return to him. He vowed to seek counselling and anger management programmes, but he never did. He said everything was right to get her back. She truly believed in him. She gave in to another chance.No change has ever come. One day he put his hand on her neck and began to strangle her. It was like being possessed. He vowed to kill her if she left him. She saw herself dying in his hands.It was the most horrifying time of her life. It was very difficult for her to start over without him, but she decided to move forward and live again. She went to a friend who helped her contact the trauma counsellor. It took her a couple of months to recover from the trauma that she had from her husband. She went through multiple counselling and therapeutic sessions and recovered mentally and emotionally.Sarita is not the only one who has been a victim of domestic violence. Domestic violence and abuse (DVA) are major public health issues affecting the lives of people around the world. Violence against women is increasing around the world, triggered by the Covid 19 pandemic. But even before the pandemic, the World Health Organisation reported that nearly one in three women (about 852 million women worldwide) were exposed to violence at some point in their lives. According to the United Nations Population Fund, 48% of Nepali women reported experiencing some form of violence at some point in their lives, of which 15% experienced sexual violence. This happens when a partner attempts to gain psychological and emotional control over a woman by insulting, controlling behaviour, verbal abuse and intimidating the woman. There is a link between domestic violence and mental health problems. Mental health problems are a common consequence of domestic violence for both adults and children. And there are mental health issues that can make a person more vulnerable to abuse. It is perhaps not surprising, then, that a substantial proportion of people accessing mental health services have experienced abuse. Despite these strong associations, domestic violence often goes unnoticed in mental health services, and domestic violence services are not always able to assist those with mental health problems.Women who have experienced domestic violence or abuse are at very high risk of experiencing a variety of mental illnesses, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, substance abuse and suicide ideation. Physical and psychological abuse not only causes pain but also psychologically damages and increases the risk of developing mental illness in women. Fear, anxiety and sadness are the usual emotions associated with domestic violence. Although these negative emotions do not automatically indicate mental illness, the effects of trauma can significantly alter a person's memory, arousal and emotional and cognitive responses to the outside work. For many survivors, healing begins when they find that these symptoms are predictable, temporary and treatable consequences of the violence they survive. Although domestic violence and abuse (DVA) are associated with an increased risk of mental illness, little is known about the mental health of female DVA survivors seeking assistance from domestic violence services. Seeking Mental Health ServicesSurvivors should look for therapists, counselling groups and mental health services who are familiar with trauma and have experience dealing with the long-term effects of domestic violence. Treatment, counselling and support groups for survivors of domestic violence are not limited to those experiencing long-term effects such as PTSD and depression but are part of the mental health toolkit. Children affected by domestic violence can also benefit from talking to trauma-savvy professionals.We can learn about how violence and mental health problems affect those close to us on an individual level. Being there in a supportive, non-judgmental role, listening and helping in finding resources are all good ways to break down the stigma and isolation that abused women often feel. Domestic violence officers must be aware of the link between domestic violence and other adverse experiences and impacts and ensure that they respond to it. They need to hold local leaders accountable for providing support and intervention to victims/survivors and perpetrators with diverse needs (including mental health) and risks of all levels. In addition to emphasizing the mental health issues faced by victims of domestic violence, there is a need to identify multidisciplinary interventions that can provide practical and timely solutions for victims of domestic violence amid the pandemic, ranging from personalized care strategies to educational programs, escape plans, legislation and regulations, and more technology-based mental health solutions. There is a significant need for more multifaceted and multidisciplinary strategies to address domestic violence during and after the pandemic, particularly interventions that could benefit from the ubiquity and cost-effectiveness of technology-based solutions.(Paneru is a psycho-social counsellor and mental health consultant)
The moment when the crown of Miss Teen Nepal was placed on my head is still fresh in my mind. I was proud of myself, overwhelmed with joy and a strange feeling of satisfaction flowed down all my nerves. That time, I did not realise what had happened to me though I was crowned with the Miss Teen Nepal 2021 title organised by Kathmandu Jaycees.
"I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance,Among my skimming swallows;I make the netted sunbeam danceAgainst my sandy shallows.I murmur under the moon and starsIn brambly wildernesses;I linger by my shingly bars;I loiter around my cresses;And out again I curve and flowTo join the brimming river,For men may come and men may go,But I go on forever" These are excerpts from Lord Tennyson's poem 'The Brook' in which the poet beautifully portrays the life and journey of a river that begins as a small rivulet to grow bigger before joining the vast ocean. Like the poem, the Gorkhapatra had a humble beginning and grew slowly and steadily to become the proud and living history of the Nepali media industry. Writing about the Gorkhpatra is, thus, writing the history of Nepali newspapers and journalism. Gorkhapatra is a pioneer newspaper in Nepal which began in 1901. Gorkhapatra is the seed from which Nepal's journalism grew fast and steadily to become a vibrant media industry. Generally, newspapers and the media industry begin and prosper in the open and democratic ambience. The Gorkhapatra publication started when the country was reeling under the Rana family oligarchy that denied free expression and dissenting voice. Seed Of JournalismRana rulers considered education and information as an instrument that may dig a deeper grave for their demise. Even a sane person would not opt to begin a newspaper when the country's literacy rate was less than 5 per cent, let alone the number of people who could buy newspapers and read. But a reform-driven Dev Sumsher Rana took this initiative that sowed the seed of journalism and newspaper in Nepal.Jang Bahadur Rana, who began the Rana family oligarchy through what was notoriously called the Kot Massacre, visited Britain in 1850. Jung was highly impressed by the prosperity and development of Britain. He saw the tradition of British aristocrats reading newspapers during the morning breakfast. It is believed that Jung brought a hand press with him to Nepal from London, perhaps, with the idea in mind to begin a newspaper in Nepal. But it is only guesswork as it did not materialise in Jang Bahadur's lifetime. Even his successors did not show any interest as newspapers were considered inimical to the then regime. Dev Sumsher Rana, who took power after his brother Bir Sumsher Rana's death, was a reform-minded ruler. He tried to introduce some positive initiatives to bring about reforms in the country. Dev Sumsher Rana began the publication of Gorkhapatra, which was also a noble idea of that time as the literacy rate was exceptionally low. It is, perhaps, due to his reforms and liberal approach, Dev Sumsher was forced out of power by his siblings within a short period of three months. The publication of the Gorkhapatra started not in a planned way and not with much afterthought. It began with the cynicism of a ruler. As goes the hearsay, a few copies of Gorkhapatra had been printed when Britain's future King Edward VII was invited to hunting in Nepal during his visit to India in 1890. Ranas had heard that British royalties and aristocrats had the habit of reading newspapers during their breakfast. Ranas ordered to print a few copies of Gorkhapatra to show the British dignitary that Nepal also had a newspaper. But Edward did not come to Kathmandu and returned from far-western Nepal after hunting. It is not on record and has remained merely a title-tattle. Gorkhapatra has continued its publication without any interruption for over 121 years no matter how the tumultuous period and circumstances it was. There are very few newspapers in the world with such a long and continued history as Gorkhapatra has. Gorkhapatra is owned by the government, owing to which it is called the government's newspaper. But Gorkhapatra is the history and heritage of Nepal and the entire Nepali media fraternity. In its long history, Gorkhapatra has been a witness to many tumultuous changes and political upheavals. It saw the Rana family regime, monarchical multi-party system, Panchayat regime under the king's absolute power, restoration of democracy, and the present republican system. In the 122 years, many regimes have come and disappeared. Several newspapers were born and perished. But Gorkhapatra, like Tennyson's "Brook," keeps on going and continues its journey. Humble BeginningThe beginning of Gorkhapatra was, of course, humble as a weekly one. Later it came out twice a week and finally as a daily newspaper. Now Gorkhapatra has become a publishing house with some sister publications like English daily 'The Rising Nepal', monthly Literary magazine Madhuparka, Children's monthly magazine Muna and youth magazine ' Yuva Manch'. However, the question always hunts Gorkhapatra as to whom it serves. Being a government-owned newspaper, this question will always keep on striking. In response, a former editor of The Rising Nepal had once said 'The Gorkhapatra serves the people by serving the government.' After the restoration of democracy, another frequently asked question is: Should the government own and run the newspaper in a democracy? Here lies the onus for Gorkhapatra to give an answer by action and prove its worth and relevance in the days to come. (Lamsal is former editor-in-chief of TRN and former ambassador)
Newspapers these days have encountered threats of different hues. The explosion of social media and online news outlets has led to a shrinkage of newspapers around the world. In recent years, coronavirus pandemic hit the newspaper business hard while the shortage of newsprints in Nepal and the global market buffeted the publishers.
Ukraine came under unprovoked Russian military attack on the 24th of February. Exactly a month later, on the 24th of March, US President Joe Biden announced the launch of a 'European Democratic Resilience Initiative' (EDRI) to help countries in the Eurasian region. A follow-up announcement, made on the 27th of April, places journalists on priority in the new scheme. Civic activists and at-risk groups are also to be covered by the EDRI. The broad objective of ‘defending journalists’ is to be achieved by way of enhancing the ‘safety, security and operational effectiveness of journalists’.
In 1871, Karl Marx wrote a letter to the Paris Commune. But Le Figaro, a French daily morning newspaper, published a completely different version of the letter with Marx’s signature. It apparently aimed to blow Marx’s thoughts on the international labour movement out of proportion. It reads: “...Then the world will belong to us, for it will be not only Paris, Lyon, Marseilles, which will rise against odious capitals, but Berlin, London, Brussels, St. Petersburg, New York. And before this new insurrection, such a history has yet to be known, the past will disappear like a hideous nightmare; for the popular conflagration, kindled at hundred points at once, will destroy even its memory!”
From its very beginning, Gorkhaparta daily has continued to serve Nepali society on three fronts - language, literature and news. It has remained a measuring yard of the Nepali language and its grammar. It has also been carrying the Nepali literary trend along with it because writers and scholars of the country prefer expressing their views on contemporary issues via Gorkhapatra.
Today (Baisakh 24) is a very important day in the history of journalism in Nepal. In 1958 BS (1901 AD), Gorkhapatra, the sister publication of The Rising Nepal, came into existence. Initially, it was a weekly newspaper. The publication became bi-weekly from Asoj 29, 2000 BS while it started being published three times a week from Poush 8, 2003 BS. It turned into a daily from Falgun 7, 2017 BS. The newspaper has been serving the nation constantly over the past 121 years.
Elections are a testing time for media and journalism. While the media has the responsibility to provide fair coverage of the election process and electoral management and impart news, information and ideas on the issues of public interest, the public has the right, in democracy, to receive such information. Likewise, elections draw the maximum media attention among all political activities for about a month.