Canadian filmmaker says rural people in Nepal have advanced

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Shahrzad Arshadi, a Canadian filmmaker in a movie venture on the social status of Nepali women has said rural women in Nepal have become extremely aware of their rights and it would be almost impossible to ignore them in coming years.

Arshadi was speaking at an interaction programme on ‘The Dreams and Realities of New Nepal’ organized by South Asia Research and Resource Centre based in Montreal, Canada recently, according to the Canada Forum for Nepal.

Arshadi had returned to Canada after a tour of rural hinterlands of Nepal including places like Rolpa. She spoke of her experiences of meeting people in these remote villages and natural beauty of Nepal. She said that the level of social and political consciousness in rural women of Nepal was much beyond what economic status of Nepal indicates. Arshadi also said Nepali women had developed resilient communities worthy of appreciation.

In her exploration to this insurgency epicentre, she found many villages completely run by women mostly the Maoist women who had fought in the last ten years of war. She said she was amazed by the political consciousness that these women have acquired.

In her appreciation to the political awareness among the rural women, Arshadi said, “Nepali women bear potential to show to the world what women empowerment means, and the women around the world have a lot to be proud of Nepali women.”

The other speaker, Dr Pramod Dhakal, Executive Director of Canada Forum for Nepal, presenting the brief history of Nepal, said, “Until 1950s feudal rulers were living in luxury by extorting taxes from the people but the rural-urban divide was not as apparent. However, over the last 50 years, Nepal has produced two-economies: a prosperous economy in urban centres and a neglected and devastated economy in the rural Nepal.”

He opined that the rural-urban divide was exasperated by corporatization of education, which delivers better schooling to urban-wealthy and leaves the rural-poor in the state of perpetual disadvantage. He said, “This urban-rural divides, which is prevalent everywhere from Terai to Rolpa, has been exposed by the mass participation of people in the last ten years of Maoist rebellion, and then in the agitation of Terai, Janajati and Dalit communities. And, instead of addressing the core grievances of the people, rulers are busy buttressing other countries to get aid and other political blessings. However, Nepal’s road ahead is perilous if people’s grievances are not addressed.”

Prof. Daya Varma of McGill University, Canada, said, “Nepal became an example to the world in building massive political uprisings from the grassroots but its future course is laden with obstacles largely imposed from foreign capitals.”

He claimed that Nepal is not free of Indian sphere of dominance in the region. Dr Varma was anxious to know what may have made Nepal’s popular uprising to be so successful and whether Maoists would be successful in the government as they were in the mass uprising.

Dr Dolores Chew, a political historian, cautioned that unity may rupture once parties get place in the government. ia May 06 07

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