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Rain in Tana

February 9th, 2014 No comments

20140209-182151.jpg
Torrential rain is one of those things I miss the most from the tropics when I’m in Northern/Western Europe. Although I have witnessed heavy rain almost every day (nighttime actually) since arriving in Tana, I still get excited when I hear the rain thumping on the tin roofs around, making so much noise that you have to shout out load to be heard. It has been raining at night usually, but today it rained in the afternoon and the raindrops were some of the largest I’ve ever seen. When they hit the roof, it felt like hailstones hitting the roof, only that they were just big raindrops!

Not always doom and gloom

January 29th, 2014 No comments

Its not always that we get sunny days in Bangor, considering the average number of rainy days in this city is around 20 days a month! But whenever we do get sunny days, the views are just fantastic in this place, just see below.

markdown writing and madagascar

January 27th, 2014 No comments

Another random blog post before I head off for my fieldwork for two months or so, where I will probably be beyond the reach of internet, telephone or even electricity for the most part of the trip.

Lately, I’ve become a big fan of writing in Markdown, and more I use it, more I like it, especially when I can export what I writing in the format that others want without me having to spend a lot of my time trying to format the text. Although I have a pretty good setups to write in Markdown at home in my Mac and on my iPad, I haven’t yet found an app that I’m completely happy with for my Windows 7 PC in office. As I am looking for and trying new Markdown apps for Windows 7, I have found one that is Open Source and looks pretty feature rich, and it lets me publish on my blogs directly – its called MarkPad. If you are into Markdown writing, its worth a spin.

Now, for my fieldwork, I’m heading to Madagascar and will spend most of my time there in the eastern rainforest. Its the rainy season there so expecting lots of torrential rain, probably some typhoons, and plenty of mosquito and leeches. I’m prepared though, and very much looking forward to it :-)

a moving piece

August 15th, 2013 Comments off

I bet you had a number of other thoughts but the one I’m going to talk about as soon as you saw the title of this piece, the headline. And I’m also pretty sure this is not going to be a moving piece, albeit I am going to talk about moving here – moving as in relocating, changing places.

A few weeks ago I alluded to the fact that I was going to be changing job, country of residence and so on. Now that time is coming ever so close, may be just a couple of weeks. Although we haven’t yet found a place to live in the new karma thalo, we have started clearing things at our present place, making our minds up for the eventual move, and wondering how and when and where to start packing. We are hoping to be able to fit our lives within a few boxes and some suitcases when we finally make the move so a ruthless clearing is the key, not going to be easy, but got to do it regardless.

I haven’t spelled out yet where we are headed, but a google map could easily tell you that, like so: (and before you wonder, of course we are not going to walk all the way!)

alidhem2bangor

Image: Google Maps

Categories: personal Tags: , , , , ,

A rant on Nepali politics and what not

July 4th, 2013 Comments off

People in Nepal are too quick to point out what happened in Egypt should happen in Nepal too – that the army should intervene and ‘teach political parties a lesson on how to govern’ (Nepal already has a judge as the head of government)! A coup d’état by the army is certainly not a good way to go about ‘strengthening democracy and instilling good governance’, ends do not always justify the means, and definitely not in a case like this where the society and the political system needs to learn from the mistakes and create a functioning democracy and instil good governance in all aspects of the society. Of course, in Nepal this has thus far failed, even after two bouts of ‘revolution’ with one monarchical misadventure in between.

I am no expert in Nepali politics or the society. Call this a ‘layman’s rant’ if you will on Nepali politics and political classes and those who either make or influence decisions affecting the nation. So lets begin!

First, Nepal has never been a democracy in the truest sense of the word. Definitely not before the 1990 (read between 1951–60), but also not after the 1990’s first people’s movement to end the party-less Panchayet. And not even after the ‘second people’s movement’ of 2006 that brought the Maoist in power among other things. At best, Nepal has been an oligarchy (don’t think of the Russian oligarchs now, read this instead (from Oxford Dictionary of English): {ORIGIN late 15th cent.: from Greek oligarkhia, from oligoi ‘few’ arkhein ‘to rule’.}). I don’t think anyone can claim that Nepal has had a government of the people, for the people as yet. There have been ‘elected’ governments but not really for the people. The problem is that the political parties themselves are not democratic, and are dominated by a few individuals. That has filtered through to the national political arena with wheeling-and-dealing by the so called ‘top leaders’ from these parties. For example, almost all of the major political decision since the 2006 people’s movement have been made by these so called ‘top leaders’ without even properly consulting their own parties, let alone their constituents! And that says it all. And the only solution to this has to be the internal democracy within these political parties to begin withHow can we expect these parties and their leaders to represent the people and follow democratic norms and be part of good governance when they are in the habit of doing just the opposite within their own parties?

But this oligarchic tendency is not limited to the politics and political parties in Nepal unfortunately. The agenda setters, the decision makers (or at the very least those who influence the decisions), the opinion makers, those influencing the policies, and so on are all a small group, mostly residing in Kathmandu and within themselves deciding what should happen to the country, and what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’. Most of these ‘elites’ have little knowledge about the life of an average Nepali, say in the far west or in some obscure village in Terai or even in a nearby village bordering Kathmandu, but of course they pretend to do so! They neither know the people nor truly represent them, but they still think they are speaking for the entire Nepali population when they open their mouth or roll their pen, and to me that is another tragedy of our country. This oligarchy in thinking and agenda-setting!

Second, the corruption in and politicisation of almost every sector in the country has to stop. Lets be clear, political awareness among all parts of the society is a good thing and should be encouraged, but not politicisation of every sector from education to healthcare to now even judiciary! The culture of political appointments that started pretty much after the 1990s has gone hand in hand with increasing corruption. Not saying there was no corruption during the Panchayet but after the 1990, the country has seen ‘democratisation of corruption’ more than that of the polity! More worryingly, most of those involved have gone unpunished and/or have received protection from the so called ‘top political leaders’. Since the middle of 1990s Nepalis have been witness to one corruption scandal after the another, almost always involving the so called ‘top leaders’ – from the Dhamija scandal to Lauda to Pajero culture to…(just fill in the blanks!).

Third, the increasing culture of violence and threats of violence has now become a norm rather than exception. Maoist party must take a huge responsibility on this issue, but others are not completely innocent either, especially in recent years with gangsters on the payroll of most of the ‘big’ parties and ‘top leaders’.

In all these years, and despite all the (unscrupulous) going ons in the society and polity, the judiciary was seen as relatively incorruptible and fair, now that is beginning to fade as well with the chief judge at the helm of the government.

Some people might be thinking/saying ‘you haven’t mentioned India yet, what about its role in all the mess?’ – I say to those people, first try getting your own house in order before blaming your neighbours for the mess you have created within! There seems to be certainly some truth in the (not so positive) role our neighbour plays in the politics of our country, but when you really think about it as to who created the space and the opportunity for such incursions then it is glaringly obvious that our short-sighted ‘leaders’ are much to blame. If we don’t allow such space and opportunity for incursions through a well-functioning and incorruptible system then it’ll certainly be harder for our neighbours to do so.

I intended to finish this rant within 1000 words so I have to end here, but you get the point, I hope! 140 characters in twitter was just not enough!

Categories: random rant Tags: , , , ,