ट्य्या…. गर्दै कुदिरहेका दुईपाङ्ग्रेहरूको बिचमा, एउटा मोटरमा गीत घन्किरहेको थियो। कोलाहल र सङ्गीतको पनि कस्तो मिठो समायोजन, सायद गठबन्धनले पो हो कि। यस्तो चर्को घाममा त्यो भिडमा त्यत्रा मान्छे कसरी जान सकेका? सायद घामकै न्यानोपनले पो हो कि। होइन, युवा जोश पनि त हुन सक्छ। यी कुरा मेरो दिमाखमा दौँडिरहँदा म भने आफ्नै धुुनमा बिस्तारै हिँड्दै थिएँ। एक्कासी एउटा भ्यान रफ्तारमा कुद्यो, जसको एउटा भागमा महासङ्ग्राम भनेर लेखिएको थियो। सायद कुनै टि.भी. च्यानलको भ्यान होला। साँच्ची, यो त महासङ्ग्राम महिना पो त।
अत्यन्तै पृथक। पाँच वर्षमा एक पटक मात्र आउने महिना; महासङ्ग्राम महिना; हाँसो र रोदन एकसाथ बोकेर आँउछ। उम्मेदवारका मुहारमा मुस्कानका छिटा भने टिकट नपाएका प्रत्यासीका आँखामा आँशुका थोपा; क्या गज्जबको। यो महिनामा त लाग्छ सबथोक हुन्छ; चाडपर्व,भोजभतेर, घुमघाम, चलखेल, आदि। गलाभरि थेग्नै नसक्ने माला, वरिपरि थुप्रो मान्छे, छेऊमा बाजा। यो मैले कतै देखेको परिवेश हो। सुरूमा त सोँचे हैन कार्त्तिकमा कसको बिहे हुन आँटेछ? पछि पो चाल पाएँ, यो त महासङ्ग्राम महिना पो त। यो महिना छ नै यस्तो; द्वन्द्धकालदेखी राजसत्तासम्मको झल्को दिन्छ, साह्रै अचम्मको पनि; नेताले दु:ख र जनताले सुख पाउने पनि यहीँ महिनामा मात्र त हो।
पाँच वर्ष पहिले महासङ्ग्राम महिना र रामे एकसाथ अलप भए। यो महिना त फेरी फर्क्यो तर उसलाई भने त बिरामी देशको अर्थतन्त्र उकास्नै फुर्सद छैन। यस्ता रामे त लाखौँ छन् रे। रेलसँगै कुदेका सपनाले आज ३ कि.मि.को दूरीमा ६ वटा पार्टी कार्यालय भेट्छ तर अहँ अस्पताल, विद्यालय, विकास केही भेट्दैन। यी बिचमा के भएनन्? सिटामोलको अभावमा कतिका ज्यान बिलाए भने मलकै कारण कति बारी बाँझै पल्टिए। हाँस्यास्पद कुरा त अझ बहुमतको सरकार पाँच वर्षसमेत टिकेन, स्वास्थमन्त्रीलाई जनताभन्दा पाहुनाको चिन्ताले सतायो। त्यो महासङ्ग्राम महिना पछि त देशलाई राहुले नै छोएछ क्यारे,धन्नै टाट पल्टेको देश त। मैले सुनेको त, संविधान पनि मिचे रे अनि फेरी देश बेच्न समेत तम्सिए रे। यस्तै समस्यामा पिल्सिएका जनताको आवाज मैले एउटा गीतमा भेटेँ:
यो कस्तो मौनता हो बोल्दैन कोही किन?
यो कस्तो निन्द्रा हो जाग्दैन कोही किन?
कस्तो रोग हो यो?
साँच्ची नै नेपाल आमालाई सन्चो छैन। प्राकृतिक विपद् त कहिलेकाहीँ मात्र हो यहाँ, यहाँ त आमाको काखलाई नै लात हानिरहेका छन् कपुतहरूले। सिद्धान्त र विचारलाई पैतालाले टेकेर कुर्सीको लडाईँमा व्यस्त छन् लाज पचेकाहरू। कोही कोही जनता त नेताभन्दा कमका छैनन्; यिनीहरूले त जातको नाममा प्रेमको परिभाषा नै परिवर्तन गर्दिए, विचराको ज्यान पनि गएछ। दाइजोका नाममा बुद्धिजीविले बुद्धिको प्रयोग गर्न भुलेछन्। यो महासङ्ग्राम महिना पछि यो सब केेही नभइदियोस् है। राहु तिमी पनि जाऊ ल,नत्र त नेपाल आमा मर्छिन् होला।
यसपालिको महासङ्ग्राम महिनाको केही कुरा गरिहालौँ: माहोल सारै गरम छ। गुञ्जयमान् छन् सहरहरू भने गाँउगाँउमा दौडको प्रतिस्पर्धा चलिरहेछ। प्रचारप्रसार र प्रलोभनको खेतीमा कतिका धान काट्ने क्षणिक खेताला पनि भेटिए। महासङ्ग्राम महिना भएरै त होला, आजभोलि त सँधै एक्लै हुने आमाका हातहरू नमस्कार फर्काउँदा फर्काउँदै थाकिसके। ठूलाबुबा पनि बिहानै गोरू धपाउँदै बारी पुगिहाल्छन्, कोही उम्मेदवार आइ पो हाल्छ कि जोत्दिनी भन्दै। ठूल्यामा त झन् कुन चाहीँ स्वतन्त्र उम्मेदवारको प्रचारप्रसार समितिको सह-व्यावस्थापक रे, गाँस टिप्ने फुर्सद छैन, उहाँलाई। साँच्चै ,पाँच जनालाई ढुङ्गाले हान्दा एकजना त उम्मेदवार पर्छ भनेको सुन्दा हो कि झैँ पो लाग्यो। ५६४० जना त प्रत्यक्ष तर्फका उम्मेदवार मात्र रहेछन्, प्रतिनिधि र प्रदेश सभा गरेर। यति हुदाँ पनि एकदुई क्षेत्रमा त प्रतिस्पर्धी नभएकै कारण सांसद पट्काइसकेछन्। यो महिनाको अर्को विशेषता भनौँ, प्रमुख बुलेटिन महासङ्ग्रामकै समाचारले खचाखच भरिएका छन्। मतदान केन्द्र पुग्न ५ घण्टाको पैदल यात्रा, अपाङ्ग, वृद्धवृद्धा मतदानको अधिकारबाट वञ्चित हुनसक्ने। यो खबर सुन्दा मन त एकछिन गद् गद् भयो; आफैँले नगरेको विकासले आफैँलाई पिरल्ने भयो भन्दै। तर फेरि एकछिनमै अमिलो भयो सद्दे युवक कान्छा दाइलाई सम्झेर; “त्यत्रो बाटो हिँडेर को जाओस्? बेकारमा भोट हाल्न,ह्या जान्न म त।” कुल मतदाताको झण्डै ४४ लाख मतदाता कम छन् भन्ने त थाहा छ तर खै कति प्रतिशत मत खस्ने हो यसपालि? बडो जान्ने हतार छ। यो महिनाको विशेष समय त यसमा लाग्ने मेला हो। खास यो मेला नभएर जनभेला चाहिँ हो, क्यारे। एकजना हेलिकप्टर लिएर बिरामी लिन गएछन्। क्या राम्रो सुनिएको है, वास्तवमा उनी त भोट माग्न गएका रहेछन्, अनि फेरि हेलिकप्टर ल्याएकै भरमा भोट मागेका रे। कति रमाइलो। अर्को एकजना फेरि रात्रि क्लबमा भेटिएछन्, गीत पनि उस्तै बजेछ त्यहाँ; मनोरञ्जन हो कि भोट माग्ने शैली? खै। अर्का छन् आफ्नै क्षेत्र छाडेर अन्यत्रबाट उठेका, डर भनूँ या हिम्मत। किसिम किसिम देख्न पाइएछ। सायद, बालेनले पछारेकाहरू स्वतन्त्रको नामले झस्किएर पो हो कि। मलाई त यो महासङ्ग्राम महिना कहिल्यै नगइदिए नि हुन्थ्यो जस्तो लाग्छ। बेरोजगारहरूले भत्ता र पेट्रोल पाएकै छन्, गरिबले एकदिन भए पनि मिठो खाने आश छ, क्षणिक भएपनि खुशीको अर्थ जान्न पाउने छन्, घरपरिवार,इष्टमित्र सबजनाको भेटघाट पनि भइरहेकै छ। तर जानु पनि ठिकै हो, बित्थामा देशको ढूकुटीको सत्यनाश मात्र।
विरक्त लागेको मौसममा महासङ्ग्राम महिनाले उल्लास छाइरहेको छ। यहीँ उल्लासमै रम्दा बिर्सिसकेको रहेछु मैले त, गाँउलाई नै लत्याएर डाँडाघरे काकाको आँगनबाटै बाटो खनिएको; त्यही बाटो मुनिबाट गएको पहिरोले गाँउ नै सखाप पारेको।ए, काका हैन कार्यकर्ता पो। बिर्सिसकेको रहेछु खोलैै बिना पुल बनेको। बिर्सिसकेको रहेछु सहिदका सपना अनि सिमाका मर्महरू। हुन त यि दु:खहरू त बिर्सेकै राम्रो, यिसँगै भष्ट्राचार र चलखेलहरू पनि। सम्झन खोज्दै थिएँ राम्रा कार्य, मैनसँगै हराएको लोडसेडिङ्ग, चुच्चे नक्सामा उभिएका स्वाभिमानता, केही राष्ट्रिय परियोजनाको सुरूवात ; थाहा छैन त्यसको अन्त्य कहिले हुने हो? यी बाहेक खासै सम्झिनै सकिन। अनि फेरि मेरो मनको अँध्यारो झनै कालो हुदैँ गयो। यहीँ कालो मनले उम्मेदवारको गाडीलाई उनकै प्रतिस्पर्धीका कार्यकर्ताले फुटालेको देख्यो; लोकतन्त्रको खोल ओडेर त्यसलाई नै प्वाल पारिरहेछन् ब्वाँसाहरूले। इस्पिकर को आवाजले सहरलाई नै थर्काएछ; बिना स्पष्टिकरण नै प्रचारप्रसार बन्द गर्न लगाइएछ, गुहार माग्दै थिए। के हुदैँ छ खै? मैले जानेको त जित स्वच्छ र हार गर्वका साथ हुनुपर्ने हो; तर मैले केहीँ नि बुझिन; सायद महासङ्ग्राम महिना भएर होला।
अघि मैले मेलाको कुरा गरेँ, वास्तवमै यो महिनामा मेला हुन्छ; विचारको मेला; मतको मेला; सुख रोज्ने मेला। र यो मेला कान्छा दाइ र रामे सकेसम्म तिमीहरू पनि नछुटाऊ। नछुटाउनु कसैले पनि, ५ घण्टा लगाएर एकदिन हिँड्दैमा ५ जुनि फेरिन्छ भने, टुइनबाट गएर भोट हाल्दैमा पुल बन्छ भने, हेलिकप्टर लिएर मत माग्न आएका बिरामी लिन आँउछन् भने, विकास त छोडौँ केवल गाँस, बास, कपास, शिक्षा र स्वास्थको मात्र सुनिश्चितता हुन्छ भने, छाउपडीको अँध्यारो र चिसोपनले राजधानीको न्यानोपन र घाम भेट्छ भने, किन छुटाउने? जाऊ, नडराऊ, दिमाख लगाऊ, भोट देऊ, हाम्रालाई हैन राम्रालाई। बिर्सिदेऊ हिजो राति पिएका चुस्की, दाँतमा अड्केका चाम्रा छाला अनि खल्तीमा भएको हात्ती; बिर्सिदेऊ ति अनुहारहरू जसका कारण तिम्रा राम्रा अनुहारमा आँशु बगेको थियो; बिर्सिदेऊ ति मिथ्या भाषणहरू जसमा तिमी क्षणिक खुशी भेटिरहेका थियौँ; बिर्सिदेऊ स्वीजरल्याण्ड बनाउने सपना। केवल सम्झिदेऊ भर्खरै जन्मेको तिम्रो छोरा राम्रो बाटो हुदैँ राम्रो विद्धालय गएको; सम्झिदेऊ आफ्नै घरमा पानी झर्दा खोला जान नपर्ने भन्दै तिम्री छोरी रमाएको; सम्झिदेऊ बिरामी पर्दा घरसम्मै आमालाई लिन एम्बुलेन्स आएको। यी कुरा सम्झेर, बुझेर मात्र भोट हाल्नु है, रामे र कान्छा दाइ। यति गर्दियौ भने यो महासङ्ग्राम महिनाको जित हुनेछ। नत्र भने म जस्तैका मनमा छाएको अँध्यारोलाई सन्नटाले छोप्नेछ।दुई चार वर्ष त बिरामी नेपाल आमासँगै बस्नेछु तर अन्त्यमा भने विदेश नै भासिनेछु; महासङ्ग्राम महिनालाई सराप्दै।
तर म विदेश जादाँसम्म एउटा कुरा भने भइदियोस्: फ्रि भिसा, फ्रि टिकट।
On weekends, I and my best buddy Samir liked to go around visiting the cemetery by the Bagmati river. There’s a burial ceremony every other Saturday with the same ritual. First, the cemetery workers dig a decent-sized hole in a free spot. After an hour or so, hordes of vehicles enter through the intersection towards the cemetery following the white van with the corpse on it. The body is put on display and surrounded by flowers. Everyone tries to have a word with the cold body one last time before it is lowered into the ground beneath. People close to the deceased express their prayers over words trying to reason death, the sweet journey of the afterlife engulfing everyone’s speeches. And there is crying, lots and lots of crying. All in all the whole scenario is quite alluring, at least for Samir and I.
Although having this common odd fascination with death, we each had different views on the subject. His was the generally accepted one- that there was life even after death whereas I took the skeptical side- that death was the end of life and heaven and hell were concepts created by mankind to stray away from the haunting reality of nothingness. Taking different perspectives, our conversation always meaningfully explored new nooks and crannies on the subject of death.
Samir studied Business management during the day and tutored some of his neighbor’s kids in the evening while I had my hands full with 2-3 jobs at a time trying to make ends meet in the country’s capital of capitalism. Our personal lives were different too. He lived lavishly with his whole family in his house while I cramped up in a single rented room with myself. But no matter how different and busy our lives were, every weekend the world always aligned perfectly, freeing us from our obligations to provide a couple of hours of spare time for our weekly ritual.
One of these times, however, he bailed out on me to go on a date with his girlfriend. I wasn’t angry at him, just sad coming to realize that I had no one else except him to talk with. In a world of posers, he was the only one I shared my true colors with and now finding out that I was secondary to the only person I could talk to without a mask made me realize how lonely my life actually was. Knowing my imagination would spiral me down to the depths of my depression if I sat in my room, I headed to the cemetery without him.
As Poe would have said ‘the clouds hung oppressively low’ that chilly winter evening. The place was stranded which was unusual. Normally, there would be at least a couple of grave workers cleaning the grounds and a few people walking around or worse, on a date, but today no one was near the cemetery except a young couple walking through the road at a distance with quick steps. It finally dawned on me that it was October 31st, Halloween and even though people here didn’t celebrate the spooky festival, they wouldn’t come to a cemetery today for reasons both obvious and oblivious.
I took a stroll around and came across a freshly dug grave. With no sign of a burial ceremony anywhere near, the place seemed even more strange now. With no one around, the mischievous within me came alive. I jumped into the pit. It was shallower than the usual 6 ft graves. I looked around for a while reassuring myself I wasn’t being watched. Nothing seemed out of place. I laid my body on the damp soil and closed my eyes. “So this is how it feels to be buried”, I said to myself. It felt surprisingly comfortable lying a fathom deep into the earth, although the constant fear of someone closing up the pit mongered in the back of my head. As I tried to lift my body, my right hand didn’t sink into the damp soil the way the left did. There was something round buried under the ground. I sat up and started to remove the mud that surrounded whatever-that-was cautiously, so that I wouldn’t damage it.
It was a lamp, not too different from the one I saw on Aladdin- the movie. I climbed up from the pit and dusted off the little bits of mud that had stuck on the lamp. It seemed to be made of brass but was quite heavy for its size. Out of sheer curiosity, I rubbed it with my palm for a while. Nothing came out of it. I rubbed it with the sleeves of my shirt to see if it needed extra friction. It didn’t work either. I stifled a big laugh at my own naive stupidity. Judging from the heaviness of the lamp, I anticipated some long-lost treasure inside the lamp and decided to open it. At first, the tarnished brass didn’t budge so I had to pull it with all my might. After some jerks, the lid came off- whoosh.
Out of the opening came black smoke, at first dispersing everywhere, high-fiving the clouds and then accumulating into a bulky figure of a ghastly appearance. The whole place became eerily silent as the demonic angel opened his mouth,“Who is thy mortal that hath summoned me from my sleep?” he asked.
Doubtful, more than afraid, about the contrasting appearance of the genie that I had summoned I replied “Hello”
“Well well, you seem to be thrilled, ask any wish thy want fulfilled.” spoke the beast.
“Any… wish?”, I tried to bargain with the devil.
“From heaven’s trickling elixir fountain to the haunting bells of hell, if you can give the word, I can cast the spell ” stated the genie and laughed with all his might.
“I wish to be immortal” I smirked without any hesitation.
“Are you sure?”, he seemed astonished.
Finding out I had made even the demon worried, I chuckled “Yes, I’m sure”.
He then started chanting some mantras that I couldn’t decipher. The only words I could understand were “pleasure”, “away” and “death”. After he ended his chants, he gave me a sly grin and turned into a silhouette, vanishing into the clouds. I couldn’t understand why he would be smiling and rested on the conclusion that he wanted to seem tough even though he had made a terrible mistake, giving mere mortal godly power.
Over the next few days, I tried to kill myself in controlled conditions to see if what I had witnessed was real and not a hologram prank. At first, I constrained myself from drinking water. When I got thirsty just after an hour, I thought the genie’s wish was fake. But after dragging myself through one whole day without drinking, I wasn’t thirsty anymore. Rather, my body was replenished as if having been hydrated from within. I tried to drown myself but after suffocating for a few minutes, I could breathe underwater like a fish. Every part of my body was immortal. I even tried to cut my veins but no blade proved itself to be sharp enough. I would never wound myself, even the smallest of cuts, ever.
I was elated- everything a man feared just seemed pathetic to me now. Rising over every mere mortal, I was on cloud nine. Jumping out of cliffs and swimming with the sharks became my hobbies. However, the genie’s grin always lingered in my mind- the devious curve of his lips, the sparkle glaring out of his eyes, and his elevated cheeks as he finalized his chant.
Years passed and along with it centuries and millenniums. I tried to lay low for a time thinking that if people knew about my secret, they would try to trap me and they did too for a while after my secret went public. But they soon let go of me as it was no crime to not die. I had lost any empathetic emotions toward any people as the human attachment was only short-lived for me. I never aged as no part of me, even my skin never died. But after a while, in my time scale, nothing would stay the same.
Some thousand years into my existence, scientists had gone way too far performing experiments that people lived in constant fear of the many ways science could kill them. There was a big rumor that someone was playing with the Higgs field and everyone was scared to think about what would happen if it went out of hand. A few months passed and one day the false vacuum got triggered. When it crushed everything out, the feeble human civilization also got wiped out of existence. The sun, the stars, everything got obliterated into sub-atomic entities, everything except the immortal me.
Now, there is no light, no sound, no air, nothing. It doesn’t matter if I close my eyes or open them, for all I see is darkness. No senses are of any use. But I do feel cold, not because of the freezing temperature around me, but due to the loneliness inside my heart. As I drift into oblivion, I finally understand the devil’s chants. He was taking the pleasure of death away from me – because that’s what it was, death, a pleasure. It didn’t matter what there was after death, even if there was anything I would never know. All I now know is that death was an escape route from the burden of reality that had now been stripped away from me. The genie’s sly grin is the only thing that fills my head as I drift forever into nothingness- trapped for eternity.
Beneath a white canopy at a building compound on the bank of the Bagmati lay a man of 75, his body decorated with flowers, and garlands – with people flocking around, some in a line waiting to offer flowers and pay the last regards, some gathered around in their circles making a reunion with their friends, a horde incoming and a horde outgoing. The compound in Sanepa was busy with people struggling to park their vehicles afar, and the police cleared the roads so that the people in the red-blue plate land cruisers didn’t have to struggle with theirs. A lot of people there, like me, were drawn in by their admiration for a man; to mourn his death, and celebrate his life. The man was Pradeep Giri.
My admiration towards Pradeep Giri ignited during the lockdown when I came across his discourse on the epic Mahabharata, particularly because of my interest in the epic after binge-watching the Mahabharata TV Series on youtube. Not only was the analysis so profound, but Giri’s storytelling generated great interest in me. It had humor, it had simplicity and the tone had charm. That interest continued, and I started following the man, watching his interviews, talks, and parliamentary speeches.
Giri was a politician, political thinker, writer, and a lot of other things. But if there’s one word I would describe the man, it would be as a storyteller. He had a lot of things to tell. He had seen Nepali society and politics from up close. He was a voracious reader, particularly of literature, politics, and philosophy to name a few. He had gifted oratory skills. He was a profound thinker, an analyst, and a commentator. These aptitudes made him an excellent storyteller, who told stories of the people, to the people for the people – both rulers and the ruled.
Whenever you saw him speak – at the parliament, at an interview, at literature festivals, and on talk shows – you wouldn’t take much time to realize the richness of his knowledge and understanding. He would draw parallels and analogies from the Hindu scriptures, from instances in world history, classics, and contemporary literature, and from his own experience- to explain people and situations of the present. With natural sweetness in his tone, he brought up relevant Sanskrit Shlokas, Hindi Shayari, lines from Urdu poems, and English quotes to the Nepali discourse he gave. Needless to say, he also had a great command in Maithili which was the native language of his dear hometown, where he mostly lived in his Ashram. His intellect, complemented by his natural oratory skills made him one of the rare public intellectuals you would want to listen to, not just in the political sphere but in Nepal overall.
His simplicity in lifestyle and his love for rural life, close to the trees and nature made me admire him even more. He said on a talk show that he loved planting trees and how good he felt thinking about how the tree he planted grows and lives past generations with its ever-benevolent nature.
At parliament, he brought historical and literary contexts and drew connections to explain his arguments. He had poems, Shayaris, idioms, and quotes at his disposal. From bringing the story of Chamberlain and Churchill of World War in condemning the government’s inaction during Covid-19, to reminding the house of BP Koirala’s ideas on people-centered development – he held the mic. He brought the stories of Hamilton and Jefferson, Nehru, and Indira Gandhi, and explained how crucial the role of leaders is in shaping the nation during its initial years. Like the grandchildren gathered around to listen to interesting stories from their grandfather, the house would listen – folk stories, stories from his past – which were largely connected to the past of Nepali politics, stories from fiction, stories from the legends, and scriptures.
He wouldn’t get the best marks at attendance in parliamentary meetings, but he never came unprepared when important matters were in context, like the Covid-19 pandemic, MCC, the border dispute, and budgetary sessions to name a few. Words were his weapons. Yet, they were never harsh. There was a sense of responsibility in his words. Rather than blatant criticism, his words felt like advice. Contrary to the opposition speeches that were usually just derogatory rhetorics targeted at the government- Giri stood apart offering constructive criticism, with rhetoric so powerful, it left a pin drop silence in the hall – yet offended none.
He was a politician of course, but a large part of his identity was as a political thinker. Despite being a member of the Nepali Congress party, he had a strong inclination towards Marx and communism. He was also influenced by Gandhi and Indian socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia. While in Banaras, a place renowned for sheltering Nepali political refugees, Giri was influential not only among the Nepali diaspora but also among the Indian youth socialists. He was a strong supporter of BP Koirala’s ideas on socialism and an alternative model of development and was vocal against policies prioritizing urban over rural development. His stand on republicanism, inclusive socialism and Maoist Conflict resolution was significant in the transitional years.
Pradeep Giri was a rebel in his own right. He refused to sign the constitution of Nepal- 2072 as a sign of protest because he did not feel that it addressed the concerns surrounding the Madhesi people and he felt it was rushed. He expressed concerns to youth leaders of his party that there hasn’t been enough effort in challenging the party leadership, and that there should be more protests against the wrongdoings in the party. He gave discourses on Marxist ideology at the invitation of communist parties despite being a member of a party where anti-communist rhetorics are widely practiced when agendas don’t suffice at elections.
Giri, despite being a member of parliament from time to time, and having close ties to the likes of the then Prime Minister Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, never had an ambition for any powerful executive office. When offered by Bhattarai to be the spokesperson of his cabinet, Giri politely refused stating “ I don’t have a proper sleep schedule. Sometimes when I read a book at night, I don’t even stop until it’s dawn already. So, I am not capable of the job.”
Giri, an anarchist by nature, thought holding an executive post would deter his freedom. Despite being born into a wealthy political family, Giri was untouched by the lust for luxury and power. He preferred being in an advisory role – the ideological part of politics. He wanted the youths to lead but strongly believed that the youths needed to adhere to a guiding principle and an ideology. He preferred being Chanakya to a Chandragupta Maurya, in his own words.
At a time when the politics of ethics seems to be at its deathbed; when principles don’t drive a party and a leader anymore; when the politics of divide is on the rise; when power and wealth are the only motivation, the absence of a man like Pradeep Giri will create a void that cannot be filled so easily. Adieu to the man who had at hand the sword of power but never fancied wielding it, still chose to stay among the wielders teaching lessons; to the man who held words and stories as his power; to the man- Pradeep Giri.
It’s safe to say that Starry Night is one of the most recognized pieces of art in the modern era. It is an oil canvas painting by Dutch-Post Impressionist painter, Vincent Willem Van Gogh. He painted it while on his stay at the asylum of Saint-Paul-de-Mausole, near Saint-Rémy-de-Provence after mutilating his own ear! Though quite famous for the techniques (impasto) he used and the depiction of light from the moon and the stars in this painting, a quintessential trait lies beneath the ethereal beauty of the Starry Night; Turbulence.
Though science has the answer to seemingly everything, it fails to find a complete explanation on turbulence. A popular example of turbulence can be experienced on an airplane, when there’s a sudden jolt of vibration which seems to stem out of nowhere! Any one that has studied fluid mechanics is well acquainted with the unpredictability and beauty of turbulence. The primary factor governing any turbulent flow is the formation of eddies or vortices which are simply swirls of fluid formed when the fluid is in turbulent flow (as shown below).
Such swirls can also be observed in tornadoes and tycoons, most prominently on the big red spot in Jupiter.
“I am an old man now, and when I die and go to heaven, there are two matters on which I hope for enlightenment. One is quantum electrodynamics and the other is turbulent motion of fluids. About the former, I am really rather optimistic.”
Sir Horace Lamb
By using short and light brush strokes along with the use of contrasting colors and painting swirls or eddies to express the motion of light from the moon and stars, he was able to make the light flicker and radiate like most Impressionists of his time. In simple words, he was able to make the painting come alive. This is termed as luminance. In 2004, the Hubble’s Space Telescope discovered these very eddies of a distant cloud of dust and gas around a star which prompted scientists to refer to Van Gogh’s Starry Night. Thus began the wide research to study the luminance in Van Gogh’s paintings in detail.
The researchers digitized the paintings, and measured how brightness varies between any two pixels. From the curves measured for pixel separations, they concluded that paintings from Van Gogh’s period of psychotic agitation behave remarkably similar to fluid turbulence. However, other impressionist paintings of the time on inspection didn’t seem to correspond with the idea above (refer to “The Scream”, by Munch, Monet’s “Water Lilies” etc.) further adding to the genius of Vincent Van Gogh.
What’s more interesting is the fact that these turbulent patterns were not observed in paintings stemming from calmer periods of his life. To state that Vincent’s life was bumpy would be a major understatement. Plagued by psychiatric illness throughout his life, Van Gogh committed suicide in 1890. Evidence suggests that he had manic depression, a chronic mental illness thought affects many creative people.
Though it is quite difficult to express the deepest ideas of turbulence with math and science, Van Gogh, despite his mental trauma and intense suffering, and maybe unknowingly, was successful to perceive and represent one of the most supremely difficult concepts nature has ever brought before mankind.
Collaborating with the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Supplies, SOMES (Society of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Students) conducted a program on “Industry 4.0” on Pulchowk Campus on Friday. With the Deputy HoD of Thapathali Campus, Sushant Raj Giri as the main speaker, the program focused on educating students on the Fourth industrial revolution; its effects, and opportunities in Nepal. JB Consultancy provided the required expertise and funding for the event.
After three prior industrial revolutions each in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries respectively, the arrival of the 21st gave rise to a fourth one. Industry 4.0 focuses on evolving automated machines into autonomous ones, the difference being that autonomous machines are self-learning and utterly independent of humans. In contrast, automated ones need humans to set them up. The major components of Industry 4.0 are AI, machine learning, smart sensors, cloud computing, and IoT(Internet of Things). With remote surveillance through cloud computing, assessing the market needs through deep learning algorithms, and fault prognosis of machine components through health monitoring sensors, Industry 4.0 promises a higher production rate, better efficiency, and product optimization.
Most of Nepal’s educated and skilled manpower in the industry sector either stagnate through long unemployment periods, settle for a job unrelated to their core competency or flee abroad in search of a better opportunity. Industry 4.0 can help to fill the gap between the availability and demand of such skilled manpower.
The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Supplies aims to implement Industry 4.0 in Nepal’s agricultural sector first. To boost production rates and cut off the middlemen who cause price hikes, by directly connecting farmers and consumers, Industry 4.0 can help build an optimized Nepali agriculture market.
The rise of autonomy has started to sprout in Nepal and its industries, among which Hongshi Cement seems to have a better understanding and application of the concept in comparison to its fellow Nepali counterparts. To compete with the global market production and product optimization trend and to have its citizens working in state-of-the-art technology industries, Nepal needs to comprehend, incorporate and implement “Industry 4.0” within its industries.