In Search of Destiny: Tribute to Girija Prasad Koirala

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Despite claiming that Nepal was a land of tolerant philosophies, the tale of Nepal for the last few centuries has been that of moral decline where intellectual descent was not tolerated. Understandably, those enjoying the power wanted to keep the status quo while the deprived ones sought to bring a change. Only unfortunate side of that inconvenient reality was that the discourse could not take a path of civility. For long, rulers acted as the gatekeepers of “truth” creating a dangerous antagonism between those who already embraced a new truth and those who will eventually end up embracing it tomorrow.

Aspirants of revolutionary change in the 1950s were vehemently suppressed just until the Rana regime was toppled. Panchayat regime suppressed the socialist and democratic forces until it was brought down by a popular movement in the 1990. Repeating the same pattern, the post-1990 regime sought to suppress the minority aspirants of change and challenged them to dare to rebel, and we know what the result was. Continue reading

In Search of Wisdom: The Dilemma of a Truth Seeker

Published in: PratibhaPunj(Print Media)

“Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.” Albert Einstein

Shortly after writing the final semester exam of Intermediate in Science (Grade 12), I headed to Rasuwa, a district north-west of Kathmandu bordering China, in search of a teaching job. I arrived at Dhunche Bazaar in a winter evening. Coincidently, a day earlier in Dandagaun, I had found that there works a supervisor from my own district, Baglung. And his presence was a thread to hang onto in a strange place. I met him at the upper floor of District Education Office building, where a group of people were playing a card game. He was considerate to make an arrangement for me to stay with a junior staffer, a young and spirited person who hosted me by sharing a meal of rice and mountain potato curry, and his only bed in a crammed apartment. I slept under a warm Sirak (quilt) shared with him and escaped the bitter winter cold of Dhunche. Continue reading

Open University of Nepal concept presented in NRN-USA Conference

On behalf of CFFN, NRNA, and SKI Task Force of NRNA, Executive Director of CFFN and ICC Member of NRNA, Dr. Pramod Dhakal, and NRNA Regional Coordinator for Americas, Dr. Ambika Adhikari, prsneted the Open University of Nepal concept in the Annual Conference of NRN-USA at Louisville, Kentuky, USA on Saturday, February 20, 2010.
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State and People: A Country and Its Diasporas

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Healthy discontent is the prelude to progress. M.K. Gandhi

I: Who are NRN?

“Who are Non-resident Nepalese (NRN)?” I thought that the answer to this seemingly innocent question was obvious. But after spending a month in Nepal traveling as well as attending a weeklong conference of the Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA), I was compelled to think otherwise. Being among the thousand delegates and observers in the largest of conference in NRNA history, listening to the President and Prime Minister of Nepal to “who is who” of Nepalese politics, businesses and diasporas from over 50 countries, and interacting with common people in the cities, towns and villages, made me realize that NRN is a well heard but poorly understood term. Consequently, instead of writing a report on the conference, I am pondering on above question with the context that made me rethink. This article is written with a hope to divert some of the intellectual energy currently expended in anchoring divisive thoughts onto healthy debate on NRN identity.

The history of migration of Nepalese in South Asia would be older than Nepal itself. However, we are concerned here with what is known in the world as Nepal, and Nepali, on the present context. Taking their distinct languages and cultures with them, Nepalese people migrated along the Himalayas and the environs, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Sikkim, Bhutan, Burma, Bangladesh and Tibet, for long. The rate of international migration increased in the last few decades and started to span into countries of all continents. According to the United Nations, 3.2% of Nepal’s population has become international migrant in recent times [1]. Although cause of migrations of all times is mainly the interests of individuals, migrations of earlier times had not caught much attention of the Nepalese state, which saw no opportunity for stimulating knowledge, innovation, trade, and investment on the foundation of those migrations. The migration of the last few decades has, however, caught the attention of the state as well as the general populace. This may be because of the outflow of people and inflow of remittance ($3.1 billion in the last year [2]) at an unprecedented rate and also due to efforts of the NRNA. Continue reading

USHA: Ushering Shared Aspirations

This presentation of USHA: Ushering Shared Aspirations (उषा: शाझा चाहनाको सेवामा) is in Nepali with English slides. It was given by CFFN’s Executive Director at the 4th NRN Global Conference, hosted by the Non-Resident Nepali Association on October 14, 2009. The Open University of Nepal grew out of this project.

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In Search of Wisdom: The Paradox of Rituals

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As a young boy, I grew up amidst traditional Hindu rituals that permeated most aspects of our lives. Year-long mourning of a deceased parent, 13 days mourning of close relatives, homage to ancestors, warding off of scabies or ghosts, periodic fasting, worshiping of deities, daily prayers, harvest ceremonies, greetings, and cleansing of the body are some examples of those rituals. Rituals defined our loyalty, respect, and interrelationships with gods, ancestors and everything that existed around us. Rituals came with magical qualities of communion, self-awareness, awe, solace, and intrigue. They often espoused happy memories in our psyche. On the downside, rituals were also like pests. They carried the burden of orthodoxy, competition of show-off, exposition of social hierarchies, financial burden, fear of ridicule in not-following or improperly-following them, and threat to scholarly freedoms.

I remember a time when my neighbours caught me not wearing my prescribed “sacred thread”. To them it was solid proof of my deviation from my sanctioned duties. This became a matter of big ridicule and laughter in the village. I was relieved for the fact that my parents did not have to face this for they had already passed away. A student of engineering, dissatisfied by the lack of pursuit of science, technology and research in Nepal when some other countries were in the age of space exploration, I was appalled by the shroud of religion worn by the oppressive rulers of Nepal at the time. To me, our rituals looked so outdated, draconian, and superstitious. They did not make sense to me, albeit they did to my villagers for whom they were like fundamental basis of existence. Therefore, contradictions existed between the young and the old, learning and the all-knowing, aspiring and the habituated, and proof and the belief. And I belonged to the rebelling camp that sought justification and proof as the basis of accepting anything and everything. Continue reading

Remembering Shailaja Acharya

Citation of Commentary by Pramod Dhakal

She is there no more!

She had been fighting for her life for last two years. The diseases finally won over her. Her life was a long struggle with the old regime and even after the change she may have lost a great deal- her place in history by choosing less popular stands and political incorrectness. She was known for her stubbornness, and sticking to her grounds, her principles and fighting corruption all her life. She probably would not have changed any thing. She would be herself. She dealt events and life on her own terms.

“A man must do what he must in spite of consequences.” She symbolized this expression without question. v And, finally they ALL paid her the due respect she deserved. Continue reading

The Law of Rule: Centralized, Decentralized and Distributed Systems

Prepared for CFFN, NRN-Canada, and NRNA as an input to the constitutional development process in Nepal

Ottawa, Canada
2009 April 03


Many debates on the merits and demerits of centralized, decentralized and distributed system of governance have been carried for a long time in Nepal but very few actually understand what these words really mean. Consequently, the best debating “experts” are able to sway our opinions based on rhetoric than on the basis of rational logic. Despite carrying profoundly different meanings and implications to the society we tend to view these word almost interchangeably, especially when it comes to decentralized and distributed systems. It has been noticed that even highly educated and politically veteran people also lack critical scrutiny of the implications of those systems. Sometimes, even scientific literature fumble. This article aims to clarify these terms in a hope that it will help people select social and political systems that represent the aspirations of the general public. Continue reading

The Law of Rule: Democracy and Federalism of the Future

Prepared for CFFN, NRN-Canada, and NRNA as an input to the constitutional development process in Nepal

Ottawa, Canada
2009 March 10 (First presented on 2007 September 03 at Houston, Texas, USA)


Political stability is best preserved if everyone feels they can have a say in government. Such feeling is possible to espouse only when governments represent small population, conducive for making consensus based decision making. Democracy flourishes in relatively small and homogeneous societies, whose members respected each other as equals, and are thus able to reach group consensus and do abide by it. Forming of a large country out of these small but numerous democratic states is possible if proper protocols for binding the states through free mobility of knowledge, trade and people is instilled. And I call such federalism as distributed federalism. Continue reading

The Law of Rule: The Governance of Innovation

Prepared for CFFN, NRN-Canada, and NRNA as an input to the constitutional development process in Nepal

Ottawa, Canada
2009 March 10


A futuristic and sustainable system of governance must have four independent faculties: Legislative, Innovative, Executive, and Judicial. Of the four, the role and workings of the three have become a common knowledge for they existed in the industrialized West and copied by the rest of the world for some time. The governance of the innovative faculty is the subject of interest of this article. The role of the innovative faculty is to expand the sphere of innovation and knowledge for our collective prosperity. The key element of the governance of innovative faculty has been identified in this paper as: 1) transfer of jurisdiction of innovation from executive to the an independent one, 2) the presence of intransitive Power Relationship between legislative, innovative, executive, and judicial faculties, 3) special and constitutionally mandated funding of innovative faculty, 4) inter and intra constituency competition, 5) inter constituency exchange, 6) simple accounting scheme, 7) society taking custody of invention while rewarding the innovators, 8) the right to be wrong, and 9) distributed governance as the key elements of the governance of innovation. The innovative faculty should inspire innovation at grassroots level as well as professional level. The paper also proposes methodologies to reward those endeavors and resulting innovations. Continue reading

The Law of Rule: The Fourth Faculty of Governance

Prepared for CFFN, NRN-Canada, and NRNA as an input to the constitutional development process in Nepal

Ottawa, Canada
2009 March 04


Modern thoughts have considered three independent faculties in governance: Legislative, Executive and Judicial. The ancient philosophers, however, seem to have been more advanced than us in discovering the fourth faculty in governance on top of these three. This article picks up on that ancient wisdom to propose a system of governance with four independent faculties: executive, judicial, legislative, and innovative. Continue reading

In Search of Wisdom: The Art of Giving

Recently a friend had invited me to attend an exclusive gathering of select industrialists, entrepreneurs, and politicians including the Industry Minister of Canada. While attending the program, I encountered an environment that made me discover the ease, unease, nuances and opportunities that relate to giving and taking. Most importantly, this event compelled me to think about the art of giving.

The program was organized by a brilliant and charming friend in an exquisite venue with great ambiance, superb dinner, and ample supply of beverage. As I quickly discovered, each seating in the table had a pledge form and all the pledged money would go to an environmental scholarship fund created for young and aspiring students in a rural riding currently represented by the minister. Being a person of rural upbringing, respectful of environmental causes, earned three degrees with scholarships, and concerned about depletion of rural fortunes, I was inspired to give. The key people behind the creation of the concept were there and sitting on my left was the chairperson of the scholarship fund who had traveled to Nepal some 20 years ago. He had a positive influence on me and I felt a sense of duty to encourage his affinity to giving for the society. On my right was a successful manufacturer, and beyond him was yet another businessman. I filled up the form except the dollar amount for which I started to think and my mind traveled over vast distances in a quest of determining the right amount while I was talking to the gentlemen around me. Continue reading