Himalaya Watch

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Saturday, March 21, 2009


After six long years spent in the town of Bhairahawa, I have now reached another small town of Dadeldhura in the extreme west of Nepal. Here I have started my professional journey as a clinician. With this I’ll have to learn a host of practical lessons that will help me through my future life.

My first impression about the far west was that of a relatively stable and peaceful corner of Nepal yet less populated than the other parts making it possible to lead a life more or less detached from the cacophony of the poorly managed but well-populated parts of Nepal. This is of course not to undermine the fact that I have been exposed just to the brighter part of the overall dark chunk of Nepali territory. The immensity of the difficulties in the Karnali region of Nepal can no how decrease with this particular part of Nepal having been more developed. This disparity can be perhaps explained by the fact that the Karnali region was not fortunate enough to give birth to any politician who could rise to the highest echelons of power in Nepal.

With the infamy of the eastern Terai for the notorious communal and political unrest, the western Terai beyond kapilvastu seemed pretty quit and peaceful though not absolutely so. The long stretches of the east-west highway without any sign of inhabitation, particularly the jungles including the Bardia national park reminded me of what natural resources remain in Nepal to be exploited. This exploitation has not come alone and the unrest in the east can spill over the west over any span of time depending on how swiftly and properly our political machinery responds to the turmoil in the east.

The trip along the mountainous road from Dhangadhi to Dadeldhura was the most refreshing one. Compared to the other roads in Nepal whose maintenance is extremely neglected, this section through one of the most hostile lands was impressive. The extent to which the flora on the sides of the road was preserved was shown by the Salla and the Rhododendron trees which were seen to have cut down only occasionally. The variant of Nepali spoken here seems more like the cocktail of many related languages like the Nepali spoken elsewhere, Bhojpuri and Hindi, that has evolved over the time.

The town of Dadeldhura itself deserves some admiration for its peculiarities. Situated on the top of the mountain with the historical fort of Amar Singh at the peak, it is well-known for its round-the-year winds that maintain the coolness even during the hot summer months. With dense jungle in the east intact, the western part of the mountain-top has been crafted into terraces that hold the government offices as well the private houses of the town. A road that barely accommodates two six-wheelers at a time traverses the town and heads towards the other district of Baitadi.

I was lucky enough to enjoy the hospitality of one family on the day I arrived, thanks to the link that I was provided before departing to Dadeldhura from kathmandu. I am still not sure if it is the usual practice or an exception( I wish it were the former one) but this particular aspect helped me a lot in accommodating in the new atmosphere.

The district hospital, the place where I have been appointed to work as a medical officer, is located above the town just below the fort of Amar Singh now occupied by the Nepal Army. When I arrived here in the evening it appeared to be a silent and stagnant place, even more so than Bhairahawa whose lack of dynamicity we loathed so much. It was be the place where I would have to spend a minimum of one year, addressing the realities whether favorable or not and compromising with so many things, desirable or not. After all, this was the inauguration of my professional life, quite dissimilar to the student life that was characterized by more privileges and fewer burdens. Here I would have to learn the cost of making one’s livelihood by oneself, that of having to depend on myself to sustain my life.

Even more important than this, my arrival to this place has symbolized my entry to another phase of my life with another set of challenges to be faced and the other set of objectives to be accomplished. My stay in Bhairahawa and my accomplishments over those six years would now serve as the baseline, how much above them can I accomplish now is to be seen.

1 comment:

Indra Dhoj Kshetri said...

Western part of Nepal always remains a mystery to me. A myth has been created; in fact there are many myths. One is the walk uphill Ghanaghashya. I had to go through an essay by Dr. Taranath Sharma in my high school book which has created me such an image that conquering this hill is like conquering mini-Mt. Everest.

The other myth is about Amar Singh Fort which reminds us of true bravery our predecessors- men and women, minors and elders unfolded in 1814-1816 Anglo-Nepal war.

I am happy that you have been posted closer to these places and I believe, at the end you will come up with a very critical understanding between the east, centre and the western parts of the country. I wish you all the best on the assumption of your professional life and all your future endeavors.

विजय कुमारको खुशी पढेपछि

जीवन, खुशी अहंकार

जीवनमा अफ्ठ्यारा घुम्तीहरुमा हिंडिरहँदा मैले कुनै क्षणमा पलायनलाई एउटा विकल्पको रुपमा कल्पना गरेको थिएँ, त्यसलाई यथार्थमा बदल्ने आँट गरिनँ, त्यो बेग्लै कुरा हो त्यसबेला लाग्थ्योः मेरा समग्र दुखहरुको कारण मेरो वरपरको वातावरण हो, यसबाट साहसपूर्वक बाहिरिएँ भने नयाँ दुख आउलान् तर तत्क्षणका दुरुह दुखहरु गायब भएर जानेछन् कति गलत थिएँ !

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