Have a multi-sectoral approach to national development
Three ways to realize the vision:
1) Keep education at the heart of our future vision.
2) Empower women to create better families and societies.
3) Produce leaders with strong political will.
Even if it is the most practical one, a nation can’t progress with a single vision. So, I have visions for various sectors. We have to work on all of them simultaneously, and political will is what can change Nepal. So there should be an eagerness in leaders to achieve progress. For this, we need to produce leaders, not politicians. My visions can be materialized by leaders who dare to take charge.
Our education system—both curriculum and classroom—has to reach the most remote parts of Nepal. The state should provide free education to everyone until Grade 12 and schooling must be made mandatory for all. For me, education is the key to progress, and every other sector should connect to it. Everything starts from here, so our education needs massive investment. It’s not about big roads and buildings; it’s beautiful minds that will make those infrastructures possible.
In terms of curricula, our country needs a major upgrade. We are still clinging to the concept of the 90s, which will take us nowhere. It’s not just about now, the education system should be updated frequently. For example, for six years, we have been practicing secularism, but due to the lack of awareness and proper schooling, Hinduism and casteism still play a big part in creating divisions among Nepalis.
Besides the upgrade in curricula, everyone should be taught moral and civic values. Not only students and youths, but parents and adults should know how to behave and teach their children about their rights and duties. What I have seen in Dharan and Pokhara is that parents want their children to do something that they want. This compels a large number of youths to train for the very limited seats available in the British and Indian armies. This is a violation of the rights of children and has held us back in producing qualified writers, musicians, doctors, and other professionals.
Moreover, I think the government should make it compulsory for every educated Nepali adult to spend at least a year teaching the younger generation, just like many countries have made military training for citizens compulsory.
We should organize nationwide campaigns to teach the public what is wrong with the concept of patriarchy and how it is hampering Nepal’s development. But this doesn’t mean disrespecting men or trying to be superior to them. Women are and should be equal to men. This not only facilitates women but also helps men sustain a proper livelihood because if women are taught to be financially independent, not only will the national economy rise, men will also not feel the pressure of looking after the family. The richest nations have women in the lead and this is the time for us to learn from them.
Women are still treated as untouchable during their periods and there are other misogynistic practices in different parts of Nepal. To abolish these things, women’s empowerment is a must.
At this point, environmental stability is a matter of concern for countries around the globe. We too should work to maintain environmental balance. We have enough resources to implement this vision, but all our resources that are in control of other countries should be brought back. Let’s do it for this planet because we have no other options. We can be leaders and examples for the world if we can understand the importance of the environment.
The Covid-19 situation has exposed the underbelly of our health systems. There is negligible investment in health facilities and research. Our doctors and researchers can’t utilize their knowledge to the fullest due to the lack of equipment and labs. So there must be investment in infrastructure and encouragement for our health experts and researchers.
Music, arts, and culture
Music, arts, and culture are the nation’s assets and they should be deployed wisely to build Nepal. But sadly, the government has neither invested in the sector nor paid any attention to it. It is a disgrace that they don’t care about the human mind because music and art are all about feelings and creativity. Our audiences seek Hollywood-level quality. Hollywood invests 20 million in a project, and we don’t even do 20,000—so is it fair to compare?
Politicians forget how big a part music, arts, and culture have played in every political change and revolution in Nepal. Also, the urban youth culture is not being represented at all. In France, television or radio broadcasters have to promote French music. This safeguarding directive has helped build the music culture of France in a broader sense and again, we could think of something like this for the Nepali industry.
Whenever we talk about culture, we only think of centuries-old things. But actually, culture should be lively and progressive. We need to research the history and diversity of every part of Nepal so that each indigenous tribe or person feels the ownership of the country. Let’s stop advertising ourselves in the name of Gautam Buddha and Sagarmatha.
Lastly, only by working with concrete plans in every sector can Nepal have a better future. I have mentioned some sectors and my plans for them, but there are a lot more areas. So, let’s join hands and work together.
Photo: Yujen Manandhar/LOD
A quote you live by.
I will say two. “To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering” by Friedrich Nietzsche and “You’ll never find a rainbow if you’re looking down” by Charlie Chaplin.
If there were a Ministry of Music in Nepal, who would you see as the minister?
There must be a rotation of tenure every few years so that everyone gets the chance. So, I will say Kunti Moktan, Robin Tamang, and then others.
Name Nepali musician(s), dead or alive, with whom you would love to collaborate.
Gopal Yonjan and Bacchu Kailash.