Just saw a news on the list of “endangered languages” published by UNESCO, and thought of checking how many in Nepal are on the list. I’m not into language research or anything, but as somebody who’s always interested in learning new languages, I find it sad that many of the world’s minority languages are in decline, and threatened with extinction. UNESCO website has a nice interface with Google Maps giving the general area where the languages on the list are spoken, and in Nepal, of the 71 languages on the endangered list THREE-FOURTH are classed as endangered or extinct – that’s 53 out of 71 languages! The remaining 18 are on the “unsafe” category. The list reads like this.
- Unsafe – 18
- Definitely endangered – 33
- Severely endangered – 13
- Critically endangered – 6
- Extinct – 1 (Dura)
You can view the details on the UNESCO website here.
I think it should have come about 7 years earlier – but better late than never. Headlines everywhere are that the Himalayan nation has voted to become the newest republic ending 240 years of monarchy. But I particularly liked the following headline on the BBC WorldService Radio at 03:00 GMT -
Nepalese decide to get rid of the king, without knowing who to replace him with.
Another day and I’m back in front of my computer screen hitting refresh button every so often for all the election results pages that are open on my browser. Here is my list of websites from where I am getting the latest updates (ordered by the frequency of updates):
- kantipuronline.com election results page: very frequent updates, and with intermediate results that can be viewed by district
- CafeDeNepal.com election results page: following very closely (and occasionally faster than) kantipuronline.com, and with intermediate results by district in one big table
- MySansar blog: frequent updates on results and other post-election events in Nepal
- nepalnews.com election results page: fairly frequently updated but a bit disorganised in presentation
And its extremely refreshing to see NC and UML fighting for the SECOND place!
So the Constituent Assembly election in Nepal was largely free and fair, and with very few incidences, which certainly answered many of the sceptics – and that includes myself, I must add. Not that I was thinking the election will not happen, I just was not sure it would happen in a manner that was in stark contrast to the run-up to the election – with very little violence, and with very little accusations and counter-accusations of vote-rigging. Of course, the results have yet to come, so depending on how the major parties fare, we might start to see the complaints once the results are made public. Especially seeing the UML slipping behind the Maoist and the NC in initial stages of the count, and some of its politburo leaders likely to lose (one has already lost in KTM 1), it would not surprise me if MKN and others cry foul. However, if the observers declare the process free and fair to a large extent, then the losers will have very few issues to complain about, and their complaints will not have as much legitimacy.
As for the showing at the CA election, Maoists must themselves be surprised at how well they are doing, especially when we consider some of their pre-election tactics of threat, intimidation and violence against the other parties, mainly through YCL. I bet they are now regretting not controlling YCL’s thuggish behaviour during the election campaign. YCL’s antics must have cost them a good percentage of votes, especially in closely-fought areas, where it might cost them the seats which they could otherwise have won. Of course, we just have to wait and see if that will be the case. Initial counts certainly show however that the people might have decided to give Maoists a chance, as they had asked during their campaign.
16 Feb 10:20:59 me: hey, how is it going? working on a saturday?
16 Feb 10:21:55 him: all fine here..except lack of water, electricity, petroleum products, etc.
I thought what an optimist this friend of mine is! Then came the crucial point -
16 Feb 10:32:49 him: it’s really hard in nepal now…if u r thinking of coming back, think not twice but 100 times
16 Feb 10:33:10 me: yea, thats the advice from everybody
16 Feb 10:33:19 me: except mum of course
Well, everybody has his/her limits, limits of toleration, limits to adversities in life – and I guess my friend is also approaching his pretty soon. If not within months, I think he’ll be somewhere else within a year! This actually comes only a couple of days after I received an email from my brother suggesting not even to think of coming back to Nepal! I think I’ll leave this issue of returning back/running away for some other time.
Life’s a mess…here, there, everywhere…
Anyway, the issue of fuel and fuel-politics is not new, and definitely not confined to Nepal. You just have to look at Russia-Ukraine and Russia-Georgia fuel-disputes in recent times. Ukrainian president was successful in buying more time before Russia cuts the oil supply, but returned with a threat of missile target if Ukraine aligned itself with NATO. But global fuel-politics aside, Nepal’s situation does look bleak indeed – in a season when there is already more than 8 hours of load-shedding, shortage of petroleum will mean almost no energy at all for a third of the day!! How will the economy function without energy? I was asking my friend, who works in medical transcription sector for foreign clients, how is his company still functioning without electricity for more that 8 hours a day. He just told me casually that they use diesel-powered generator, and have been sourcing diesel in black market for more than 100 rupees a litre!