Saturday, June 14, 2014

No country for old

Tulmaya aama peers out through the wooden-carved window of the oldage home. The street is busy with people moving here and there. But unlike the rest, she was there lying stationary with her shabby choli and old dhoti and her eyes full of tears.

I remember how her world turned upside down after the demise of her husband. The way her son, daughter-in-law and even grandchildren tortured her was so much intolerable. I also heard that they tried to kill her so many times that she had to escape. And with nowhere to go, she took a shelter in the oldage home. It’s been 17 years already.

Since then, she is living the lonesome life. She spends most of her time praying to God, chanting hymns, crying silently. ‘I hope my children are very happy and wish they have to suffer no problems in their life.’ She prayed with a wrinkled smile.

It’s really strange, how a child can act so inhumanely with his own parents; the one who gave birth to him, nurtured, and made him capable enough. And when the time comes to pay them back, he kicks them out of the home. The cases of misbehavior, torture, forbidding the parents in the oldage home or temples has become very common these days. Has the situation become worse?

We also can’t deny the fact that the society has become very competitive and fast at present. We need to work vigorously, run here and there to earn a living. We have to struggle really hard to survive in this world, resulting a very little family time. In this rush hour, how can we stop everything and sit to look after the old parents? Who will earn for their medical treatments and many other expenses? Humans have turned into machines. The issue is also very genuine. Unlike the past traditional society, where women used to stay at home, took care of the house and old members of the family now, we are in complete different arena. Women have double loads; look after the household chores along with outside office. How can the time be spared to take care of the elderly member?

I recall the poem, ‘Sailing to Byzantium’ by W.B Yeats where he wished to be in the heavenly place where he needn’t regret being old. So, is there any way out to address both parties? Yes, it may sound very rude as per the traditional mindset of our society but it can help both old as well as younger generation to keep the relationship bonded. We need to build some sophisticated oldage homes that fulfill all the services and requirements of the old people; including medical services, sanitation, nutritional food, religious programs etc.

If the parents stay at those well equipped homes at their own will, it will not deter the relationship with the children as they won’t have to go through the torture given by their own children. The children also will be compelled to visit their parents every weekend or holidays. This approach will address both the traditional as well as modern society’s aspiration making this nation another Byzantium for old.  

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Uneven greens


Sumitra aunt
Women in forest management

Community forestry has been a successful and important policy in forest conservation as well as livelihood development of rural people. However, there is still a pressing demand to minutely and effectively address the gender-based issues in forest management. 

The deeply rooted patriarchal mindset has always dominated women and forestry sector is no exception. Women are the primary collectors and users of resources such as forest and water. But the patriarchal division of labor has limited them only to household chores. Most of the women are engaged in food production: planting, harvesting, washing, peeling, preparing, cooking, serving and preserving food. Besides, they have to clean the house, harvest and chop straw for the animals, milk the buffaloes and make the offerings and pray to the gods. 

Women power undoubtedly is Nepal’s one of the valuable untapped resources. Realizing this fact and for directly incorporating women in the institutional framework, forestry policy has made it mandatory for at least 50 percent of women representation in Executive Committee (EC) of community forest user group (CFUG). This has contributed a lot to bring women out of the household domain and realize their role as the real managers of the forest. 

With changing scenarios of our village where the male partner in every third household is a migrant worker and most of the children are sent to the cities for higher education and jobs, only women and senior citizens reside in the village. Who will be responsible for the management of the forest now? 

I had recently got the opportunity to visit Jhauri community forest, one of the most famous CFUGs in Parbat district, which was awarded the third prize by Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation with Ganeshman Singh Forest Conservation Award for the better management of forest in 2003. I was assisting my Colombian researcher Paola there. We stayed there for two weeks in the house of one of the community leaders and shared most of our time with the local women. 

During my stay, I observed that most of the men were away from the village. Young ones have been sent to study either in Kushma, Pokhara or Kathmandu. The youths are either working in Kathmandu or been abroad for work/studies. And the middle-aged men, mostly the retired ones, are involved in the management of the forest and carry out related works. For this, they have to travel to the closest cities most of the time. Only women and the elderly people remain behind. 

According to their constitution, the CFUG has to select the EC members every three years. However, in Jhauri no changes have been made and most of the male members of the committee are the same faces since the beginning. This has promoted a strong and centralized leadership in the community. There is an urgent need to switch the leadership to the next generation.

Being a woman, it was easy for me to get information on women’s perspective on community forestry. For men, it will be difficult to get information as rural women are very shy and quiet in front of men. We had long discussions with aunts, sisters, sisters-in-law while working in the field, kitchen, or doing other domestic chores. I talked with them about their role in the committee, decision making, and benefit sharing so that I could get the actual picture of their involvement. As per my expectations, the participation of women is merely limited to representation rather than being meaningful. 

Actually, women don’t feel the need to speak when their male counterparts are discussing or making decisions as they think men know everything. It’s all guided by the patriarchal norms, the behavioral values that good women are not supposed to put their views freely in front of their respected in-laws and husbands. 
Nevertheless, during my informal chats I realized that even though women were shy to put their views in the mass, they did analyze the decision and talked with other women about it. Another important thing is that women gave their views on the matter or any decisions while chatting with their husbands in the night. I found this indirect influence of women on men interesting. This shows that women are highly interested in the management and decision-making affairs. 

Sumitra Regmi is a very bold, beautiful and inspiring woman in the village having an influential role among women. She has been actively involved since the establishment of the forest, its conservation and management. Despite her tireless efforts, the villagers don’t realize their importance or explore their capabilities and strength in forest management. 

Two issues stand out in forest management discourse in the village: a) Male outmigration and urge to transfer power to another generation and b) Latent leadership qualities and interest of women in forest management. If these two are placed in the appropriate position, many pressing problems will be solved. Placing women in the vital post can encourage the most enthusiastic women to take the lead. This will address the problem of leader deficiency and fulfill the aim to bring women in the mainstream of sustainable forest management. 

Forestry is probably the largest sector where thousands of women have officially been part of user groups and involved in resource management. However, comprehensive homework is needed to ensure active and meaningful participation of women rather than merely representative participation.

The Himalayan Times : student reporter: Students unite for animals

The Himalayan Times : student reporter: Students unite for animals - Detail News : Nepal News Portal

To mark the importance of conservation of wildlife, National Wildlife Week is observed on the first week of Baisakh every year.

And with the theme ‘Coalition for Human-Wildlife Conflict Reduction’, various green organisations within Institute of Forestry (IOF), Pokhara celebrated the 18th National Wildlife Week from April 14 to 20 in Pokhara.

Institutions like BCN, SHEAC, SOWREC, Bat friends, UNC, AACD, FAN, PSM et cetera — collectively known as G10 — organised different programmes to mark the week that aimed to create mass awareness on wildlife conservation.

Various programmes took place throughout the week to mark the celebration.

One such programme held on the first day was conservation rally that started from Prithivichowk to Chipledhunga.

Meanwhile, a street drama based on human-wildlife conflict was also staged during the week-long event.

On the second day, they organised a sanitation programme from IOF to Tutunga so as to create public awareness on sanitation. Similarly, to enhance the oratory skills among students of IOF, speech competition was held based on the theme of wildlife week.

Likewise, a group of about 90 students visited the nearby Raniban forest to observe the beautiful birds. Bird watching was conducted in collaboration with Tiger Mountain Lodge. Along with that, another event showcased the bat capturing techniques amongst students at local Banpale Danda.

Next day, there was tree plantation programme on the premises of IOF. Altogether 20 seedlings were planted to maintain the greenery of the institute. Documentaries on wildlife and human relations were also screened every day.

Finally, on April 20, the closing ceremony was conducted with various presentations on the issues of wildlife conservation and management.

Sonam Tashi Lama, Co-ordinator of the programme, remarked, “There is a need to disseminate information on wildlife conservation among the public as we have seen the human-wildlife conflict getting intense these days. We, students have to take a lead in this as it’s connected with us. Let’s unite for the sake of animals.”— Anisha Pokharel,
- See more at:

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Glancing back to the year 2070 B.S

I have no repents for what I couldn't accomplish but I am very grateful for what I have achieved so far. Year 2070 B.S was filled with lots of learning, networking, travelling.

Baisakh/Jestha: My visit to Sindhuli, my home town.. @Sindhuligadhi
I had a very joyous time at my hometown. The year itself began with networking. I met many people who are very close to me but I had never met them or known them. I also visited Sindhuligadhi, the place where Brave Gurkhas fought with 2000 British and got the glorious victory.

Ashar, Shrawan was exam time, rush hour. On Bhadra, had this opportunity to be a part of the International Conference on Forest, People and Climate: Changing Paradigm. It was very interesting to hear the research works of many experts.

Had this great opportunity to visit the beautiful Koshi plains, observe wild water buffaloes, rich culture and most importantly assist research in Human-elephant conflict. KTWR and the local people loved me immensely and I am really grateful to Ashok dai for this opportunity. I do recall the paans early in the morning and barmajhiya's peda in the evenings and the famous Ranjit bhaiya :) 

Boating on ghodaghodi lake.. College tour
 Ashwin started with the journey towards Western Nepal and Uttarakhand, India as our college tour. The best moments of college life where classmates become friends, where love blooms and bonding become stronger. We visited Bardia National Park, Shuklaphanta W.LR, Forest Research Institute, Haldwani, Dehradun, Nainitaal, Musoorie, India. These are the best days of my life, the moments we share with our friends.
Mera bodyguards at FRI(Student of the Year was shot here;))
ASKB4; MY Besties!!!

Dashain, tihar celebration took over the latter part of Ashwin and initial Kartik. 

Mangsir was another important month where I got the chance to be a part of WEPA(Working Elephants Programme of Asia). I learned about positive reinforcement method to train the sweet elephants. Met many amazing people. Helena, Marc(my Guru), Sudeer dai, Nirvaya, Aija,Karpa Sandesh Kadur (Nat Geo videographer) Freya, Amanda, Brian, last but not the least Shawn ;) I celebrated my Birthday at Chitwan+ Home. I got many insights on Elephant biology and the training method. 

My article featuring South Asian Youth Conference in The Himalayan Times
3rd South Asian youth conference was another important part of this year where I met my fellow neighbours from South Asian regions, discussed about the common problems, shared our ideas, knowledge, and inspired each other. I was amazed by the passion, energy and the wish to make a difference in every one's eyes. Made some very good friends, talked a lot( couldn't sleep for 3 days), played some strange games, midnight memories. 

Yay, Sikles.... No words to explain the fun we had there. Homestay, Maghe Sankranti, The Edge Band, Jeep Ride and price conflict, the Panchkanya dance, Gurung culture etc etc.. The mountains... It still makes me laugh like crazy person. 
Following month was too boring, exam and all. 

Then, comes Falgun... Mero pyaro Okhaldhunga, Bhusinga(Sherpaland)

My most adventurous journey to the place called Bhusinga, one of its kind, my first travel to the mountains at an altitude of 3300m with only men ;) Was indebted my the love, hospitality, Se Se culture of Sherpas, various delicacies made up of potatoes only.. Camping in the middle of the jungle, snowing, running behind scats, chilling cold, rhododendron clad forests, open defecation in the woods ;), self -defense, revolution talkies, Dream House... Continuous walking for 2 days..This is the most exciting, thrilling travel. Thank you so much John Brooks.. I have no words to thank you. 
Last but not the least, got selected in the US Embassy Youth Advisory Council 2014. Ya, I know I missed 2 days n I am not in the group photo but I am happy to join the program at the end.  As the famous Hindi dialogue, 'Hero's entry is always at last scene.' I don't know if I am speaking too much. Hehe, but I loved it. Many inspiring people from all around the country.
Oops, I forgot to include the another important thing of 2070B.S, Guess what??
Yes, yes... I know it sounds soo girly but I trimmed my long, beautiful hair. Now, I feel I have no hair at all. I feel so bad when I look people with long hair around. Argh!!  And I feel so Nepali myself, trying attires of different culture!!

To conclude, year 2070B.S was a gift to me. I had many good memories, new learning, many good friends, lots of energy to make a difference, to dream. Life would definitely be dull without ups and downs but with less peaks and falls. 2 things I learnt out of many things;
1. Life lived in fear is life not lived.
2. Try Not, Do or Do Not!!! 

So, Wishing you all a very Happy New Year 2071 B.S. I would love to see this year as Year Of Actions!!!!!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

USYC 2014: Two Days of Lifetime Momento

So, You’re Anisha Pokharel?’
‘Yess’- I replied with a sigh.
‘Why are you so late?’
‘Umm, I was busy searching wild cats in the Himalayas’
Seriously?? (They make faces; some with surprise and some with disbelief)
Welcome to US Embassy Youth Council Nepal 2014
That’s how it started…..

53 cool people from nook and corner of the nation
Were interwoven into a single chain of change
Engineers, doctors, journalists, artists, environmentalists, lawyer
Entrepreneurs to many talented youths from diverse fields.

Driven by the motive to rebuild the society
Breaking all the boundaries, injustices and discrimination
We vowed to make a difference and lead
And accomplish our mission of global good.

Despite being late, I was welcomed heartily
Introduction, chitchats, gossips and all those midnight mastiz
Things can’t be better when we all got on the dance floor
And go wild as if there’s no tomorrow.

Inspirational figures and encouraging works
Reminds us of our roles that we gotta do
It’s high time to dream Big and SMART
So, guyz lets make it happen without much ado.

We won’t believe in the saying’ Youth is wasted on young’
Coz we’re intelligent, smart, vibrant, active and powerful
Most importantly, we make fun out of everything
That’s what makes us special from the rest.

I do agree that road ahead is tough
We’ll be swarmed by the bugs of hurdles
But we refuse to stop fearing the unseens
We may lose our sight but not our vision.

We’ll rise from the ashes like a phoenix
To convert our hopes into realities
To create the world we wish to see
To bring the best out of ourselves……

Friday, March 7, 2014

Being BAD !!!

Since the kindergarten level, we are taught to be good. I still remember how happy I used to be when my teachers, relatives, parents would call me ‘gyani nani’. But, what does it take to be a good girl?

Characteristics of a good girl;
Study well, get good job, dresses (the more complex the better), no parties, home by 5, talk less, no affairs (otherwise would be called as sluts), all house hold chores, no shouting, no loud laughter, no discussions, marry at time (sooner the better), bear child soon, and the list just doesn't end; And greatest of all, bearing adversities with a smile.

On the contrary, Hindu mythology also claim that God would be happy in that house where women are respected well.
“Yaed grihe pujyate nari
Ramante tatra devata”

Our culture has made women submissive, shy, introvert, fragile and always shadowed. But it has also described gallantry role of women. Her courage, patience, strength, creativity, intelligence are very much admired in our ancient mythologies. If both dauntlessness and demureness are well praised in the mythologies, then why our society wants us to be demure rather than dauntless at present?
Why are we compelled to act shy rather than outspoken? 

Should women become like men in order to become equal with men and women or should both men and women become androgynous, each person combining the correct blend of positive masculine and feminine characteristics in order to be equal with every person? This is my fight, our fight against ourselves and against the discrimination, exploitation we are going through.

I can’t force myself to do things that I am not comfortable with. I can’t mute my laughter, I can’t tolerate any injustice, I can’t agree whatever others try to impose upon me. And I can’t give up all my Dreams just to be considered as a so-called Good Girl. I am damn sure, I am not alone; there are millions behind me, together with me aspiring for the beacon of freedom and equality.
Hence, I prefer being Bad!!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Lost and Found!!!

I love you but I admit I am too chicken to say it in a best way.

I wished that moment to stop forever when we hugged each other because I did not want to say good –bye with the unknown see- you laters. I wished the earth would stay still at the very moment.

I never knew how and when we exchanged our hearts in course of sharing smiles and those signals through our eyes. How a casual hi-hello turned into miss u lot.
I think about you every day. Literally, every day. I feel butterflies in my stomach and my heart flutters with your thought. And this social media has been assisting me a lot. I often fantasize about everything going as per my wishes and if I moved to your world. The distance haunts me these days.

I often think about us. I have spent too much time thinking of all the reasons we will never work; I am not your type, we are different, from different socio-cultural background and the biggest reason we belong to different continents. The list goes on and on.

But still, there is something about you that makes me wanna grow old with you.  
I often remember the conversations we had while strolling around the lakeside about life, happiness, marriage(not with each other, of course) but it was apparent that we both valued relationships, families and minute things about life.
I wanted to hold you but feared as it was not considered good in my culture and you also couldn’t dare being unaware about my reactions. I liked that shy part of yours, the simplicity, the eyes that looked right through me and the way you felt happiness in the very small things like a smile of a kid.

Haha,I often smile silently alone like a crazy person every time I think how I used to tease you for doing nothing like a tourist. And you would reply with that precious smile, ‘I will surely do something tomorrow.’ I long for those moments now.

Those weird messages you texted me, now make sense to me. I remember sitting next as you slept on a bus trip and thinking that you were adorable. I wished that you were leaning on me and not that window. I still cherish that time when I leaned on your shoulders while I was asleep and funnily I hold onto you. And the way, you grabbed my hands till it started sweating off.

You sparked that feeling which I had tried to dump in my secret chamber of the heart. Those who know me know that this is so NOT me. While my heart and mind were in conflict, I tried hard to stop my emerging feelings for you but finally my heart got the victory. These lines below also triggered my feelings for you.
Date a boy who treasures experience over toys, a hand-woven bracelet over a Rolex. Date a boy who’s lived out of a backpack because he lives happily with less. A boy who’s travelled has seen poverty and dined with those who live in small shanties with no running water, and yet welcome strangers with greater hospitality than the rich. And because he’s seen this, he’s seen how a life without luxury can mean a life fueled by relationships and family rather than a life that fuels fancy cars and ego. He’s experienced different ways of being, respects alternative religions and he looks at the world with the eyes of a five year-old, curious and hungry. He also understands your need to live for yourself and that you have a bucket-list of your own. Understand that your goals may at some points differ but that independence is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship when it’s mutually respected. You may lose him for a bit but he will always come home bearing a new story and a souvenir he picked up because it reminded him of you, like it was made for you and because he missed you..

I am pretty naïve about being in relationships and the etiquettes that I should follow but I can just make you happy from the heart. I may be little childish at times and irritate you with my own chitchats but I will always care about you. I may not be there to support you when you need me the most but I am always there in your heart.

I also may not be there to prepare food for you when you come home with an empty stomach and very tired. But, I will always be online waiting to talk with you whenever your stomach starts making hungry calls ;)

But, yes… you will always be in my morning prayers, afternoon nap’s dreams and late night’s chats. I also don’t wanna bother about future when present is so convincing.
 I don’t know why I’m giddy like a little girl when I think of you, or why you have this effect on me. But it is true. I have been liking you more and more. I love to wait for you patiently hoping we will meet soon. 

Those 3 words are said too much but still never enough. Love u !!!