In love of my son

IMG_20160415_183339_1460820419530I cried. Yes, I cried alone. No one was there to see my tears. Oh No, that scientific invention to capture even the private most moment of an individual was there to record my state. The CCTV. Some ‘Big Brother/Boss’ at the hospital designated to oversee the security services had perhaps seen my sufferings.

Blood sample has been taken for Culture. It requires 72 hours to come the report, they say. OMG, medicines or cocktales, I cannot say. IV, oral, nasal, and even rectal … what not. All to reduce fever and control the infection. More of tragedy is while drawing blood. It was on three days back for CBC (comprehensive blood count) and CRP (c reactive protein). And now for Culture, twice pricked and again to vein open.

How much of pain a kid has to suffer. Some months back, perhaps he was still a newborn, there was a physiological jaundice, a normal condition which gets subsides with early morning sun bath. But when he was taken to a Pediatrician, he told a rare chance causing such symptoms because of abnormal thyroid function. And again, a tiny body has to face a sharp needle to give blood for the medications.

Finally, on the 6th day of admission at hospital, he was discharged and taken to home. It was much of relief.

The importance of factchecking in journalism

Before writing on the necessity of fact checking in the mainstream media, it is relevant to state why journalism. One purpose of journalism is to inform people to help them make a conscious opinion. The journalistic task in print, online, and social media is therefore to report the events as if the readers can feel what Clifford Geertz, an anthropologist says of ‘being there’. However, the reality is not always ideal. Journalism is no exception. Any solutions? There could be many, one is fact checking.

With digital freedom, citizen journalism can flourish further. This is much encouraging. Yet, the freedom without responsibility can dilute the purity of news and its sources. The statements coming from the politicians, high level government officials, and newspaper columnists make the public opinions. When unchecked, personal opinion may pass to the public as a fact. For instance, one can argue by saying that a section of society is not immunizing their children. This does not make much sense than saying 13% of children below one year has not received the immunization as per the government schedule. Verifying the assertion against the fact makes them accountable of what they speak or write.

When someone writes anything, there is always a question of how she uses her authority to represent the subject of her choice. This, most of the times, is influenced by power dynamics between the author and the subject. Academic write up requires the author to disclose her personal position and are bound by ethical guidelines. In journalistic writing, such practices are not yet institutionalized at least in our part of the world. Can this be an excuse? Certainly not if we are to be accountable and do people centric journalism. Welcome to the world of fact checking which at least can play its part of game to improve the situation.

Utho Meri Duniya….and standing all the night until the dawn (LAAL)

When you are in Delhi and something is happening in JNU, the chances are you got to go there. It so happens more when something of exotic flavor comes in like international food festival and so. We went there to listen LAAL last year and had an awesome as well as awful night. This year Taimur Rahman of LAAL came to our University itself and had his performances just down a few floors from my hostel room at Akbar Bhawan.

When some programs of this sort happens in a residential university, the outsiders often become the most vulnerable and  marginalized minority whose concerns are nobody’s business. Why am I saying this? Read more to find it. Somebody informed us that the JNU program would start around 9 pm or so and most possibly be over before midnight.

In fact, when a bunch of us (students at SAU) went to JNU for the program, the JNU program has not yet started. After some time of wait, it started but for us it was already getting late to back Akbar Bhawan. I could not resist myself not listening the band at the open theatre of Partha Sarathi Rocks (PSR) area. The crowd was another reason. When the program was over around 1 am (the other morning), it was to late to find an auto. Thus how we did until the next dawn was basically “utho meri duniya”.

[Courtesy: Ganpat Teli]

Traditional and Contemporary Art meets to speak up for bruised mothers, sisters, and partners

Abused Goddesses

Click to enlarge

Saraswati, Durga, and Lakhsmi are Tri Devi (three goddesses) in Hindu religion who are worshipped for knowledge, strength, and the fate perhaps equally by both men and women. While these goddesses enjoy such a high respect in the society, this is not the case with their living ‘replica’  in the form of our mothers, sisters, and partners.  This disjuncture between the religious ideals and the societal reality is portrayed by  art works which combines both hand made traditional art and modern photography clicking the real models designed by Mumbai based advertising agency Taproot India. The campaign is being used by an NGO called Save the Children India under Save Our Sisters initiative and the image also has the text which says:

“Pray that we never see this day. Today more than 68% of women in India are victims of domestic violence. Tomorrow it seems like no woman shall be spared. Not even the ones we pray too.”

News and Image source: http://ibnlive.in.com/news/abused-goddesses-spread-message-against-domestic-violence/420065-77.html

The reason to buy the incense

Incense

Nine month before from today i.e. on 30th of October 2012, I was heading towards Nehru Place to  find some electronic devices for me.  And on the way, I was not aware that I had to encounter an old man selling an incense  sticks while The auto was waiting for the traffic signal to come. This old man asked me to buy his product by saying that he had not taken his meals for days. For me, the incense was of no use until the date I took this to home during this summer breaks in my University. My mother very happy to see the incense perhaps thinking that her son had now started to buy things required for her. But then when she along with father heard this story behind buying the sticks, they spoke nothing and I did not know what they had thought of.

Image Source: http://www.peacefulmind.com/images/incense/sacred_incense.jpg

My first visit to and one month stay in Delhi

If I begin to narrate my initial one month at South Asian University, the thread connects me to the time when I began to learn the ABC of social sciences and developed the interest to pursue a post graduate course in social sciences which is global in its features yet having strong footing with the local. Therefore, the choice was obvious: South Asian University for its unique feature in the South Asian region.

November – Dec 2011, the end and the beginning

It is safe to start this narration from Dec 2011 which for me is both the completion of a formal Graduate Diploma in Social Sciences (GDSS) at Nepā School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Kathmandu and entry to social science research for I was graduated on second of Dec 2011 and one of my teacher who taught me sociology offered me to work with him some weeks before my graduation.

January 2011, the orientation

I was completely in different terrain then, if one looks at my career path and disciplinary training.  But I was also in some way trying my luck in one area on which I can truly enjoy both texts and pedagogy. The school was promising and it fulfilled its promise for me. I still remember the first day of the class when Wayne and Charlotte made us to interact in such a way that we, all students, get introduced with each other in less than half an hour. Recalling what Wayne used to say, here things come into mind- CAT (critical, analytical, and theoretical), the acronym I made for what he wanted us to have as the course progresses. His aim as he used to say was to make us equals by equipping the linguistic skills which social scientists require. Wayne and Charlotte taught us the necessary skills to survive academically in a new environment which was geographically in Nepal but in its essence, it was a replication of the western universities.

February – June 2011, the first innings

After the 3 weeks of orientation in Academic English, a cohort of students were taken into first semester with the courses in Sociological Theories from Classical to Contemporary Era, Research Methods, Modern Political Thought accompanied with Academic English I. The faculties had their own reputations in Nepal. It was the time when I learnt the essence of managing time differently and many other academic skills like reading the primary texts and writing reflection papers for the first time.

21st May 2011, South Asian University (SAU) Entrance Test for the first batch of MA Sociology, the seed of interest

The first semester was about to end and the second semester was yet to be started, there was an admission announcement for MA Sociology at South Asian University for its first batch on which I did not apply even after browsing the University website and departmental status including the course curriculum, faculties and the methodology. It was because I did not want to terminate the course midway for two reasons: firstly, the courses in the second semester were also equally promising – Anthropological Theories, Gender Studies, Comparative Social Sciences, and Academic English II and secondly, it was in a sense the preparation for the course that I am currently enrolled in SAU.

July – November 2011, the second innings

The second semester was more demanding than the first because of volumes of readings and number of assignments. In many instances, I felt like to leave the course because of the academic pressure but I had no other options than to complete.  I must not forget to mention one thing during his semester that the course on Gender studies became a litmus test in many ways. With such volume of reading materials and weekly reflection paper it was really a game of alchemy. However, I found this “grinding machine” approach beneficial to me at this stage of my life. Besides this, the course on Anthropology; Comparative Social Sciences; and Academic English II made me able to think differently than before.

Dec 2011 – May 2012 (25th and 27th May 2012, Entrance at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and SAU, and Nepal’s deadline to draft the Constitution)

As I began to work, I felt that I need some substantive course at Masters which could add some meaning to my work experience. Therefore, I applied to two different Universities in India because I wanted to see India and the countries of South Asia not just through maps, atlases, newspapers, Bollywood, and television etc. but through my eyes and ears in addition to my study. As I began to review the readings that I did during the Diploma, I felt I utterly lack the time because I was working full time and getting time to prepare for the test was virtually impossible for the duty I was associated with that  time.   JNU Entrance was on 25th of May 2012 which was on Friday and on 27th May; I had to appear for SAU entrance. 27th May was also the final deadline for Nepali politicians to draft the constitution of New Nepal and because I was working as a member to assess the relevance and efficacy of informal dialogue space created by for the second tier leaders representing major political parties to bring in their bottom line and discussing about the possible way out for consensus. I had to assist senior researchers to interview some of these politicians and highly regarded journalists/editors and political analysts. To find the time of these people during this time itself was scarce. In such circumstances, I was not able to ask for the leave to prepare for the entrance.

Choosing one between the two when both are good in their own ways

I was offered admission at both South Asian University and Jawaharlal Nehru University. For some reasons, I was already hooked with SAU instead of many of my seniors advising me to enroll at JNU. I wished to be in a new one reflecting my habit of making wild decision for others but it was a conscious decision because my happiness always comes with my decision. This also reflects my long term career objective to study the comparative political history of South Asia which is incomplete without the study of Pakistan and there are no students from Pakistan at JNU, I guess, which is not the case of SAU because of easy SAU visa scheme. Sociology at SAU is one of the nuanced courses in sociology in the region that has two papers on Sociology of South Asia examining the social science scholarship across the region. The course also includes some forums like – Cinema and Society, Sociology Lecture Series, Student run blog, Dissertation option etc.

Arriving in India and at SAU, the actual day counts from today

I came to India for the first time in the monsoon of 2012 i.e. 29th of July 2012. On the day I arrived at Indira Gandhi International Airport, I realized the infrastructure that India has. I took a trolley at the airport and moved to the nearest station where I could find the taxi or auto.  I took the taxi and moved to the place called Dwaraka Sector 13 where one of my friends was staying for a few months. On the first day, I could not find anything different than Nepal except the Indira Gandhi International Airport and the wider roads. Two days later, I experienced the Delhi Metro while I was coming to the University. “Agala Station Race Course Hai. Darbaja Baai Taraf Se Khulegi. Kripaya Sabdhani Se Utare.” (The next station is Race Course, the doors will open at the left) This is what this new form of means of transport said to me which was introduced in Delhi some years back.

At the University

I met with Admission Officers at the University and completed necessary formalities. The University assigned me the temporary room where I was staying with a matured student from Srilanka for whom I began to teach basic communicative Hindi because Hindi was essential for him to communicate in market place. Until the course began, I was introduced with some new and existing students from the countries across South Asia. If I have to recall the first month at SAU, I am worried about the upcoming months because I got chance to visit many institutions, places and meet many persons of importance with some beautiful hearts.   About the days to come on which I am not sure about the God’s plan for me; however, I hope only good things in his store house for me.

I met and talked with my Dean, Dr. Sasanka Perera which was facilitated by one of my seniors. I also met with all my Professors and talked about the academic issues. I replied the email to Meena maiju, emailed to thulo mama, my teachers, supervisors and colleagues at work.  The cultural life at SAU, as I feel, is something that is beyond the academic life inside classroom and library that truly reflects the South Asian sensibility in the University as evidenced in the celebration of independence days of Pakistan and India jointly.  The President of the University, Prof. G.K. Chadha who attended the event until the end, and other South Asian witnessed the same. For me, this was a historical moment because if one talks about the prosperity of entire regions, the countries representing the region have to work harmoniously. If we can raise such event to the state level, many common anxieties of South Asia can be solved. Being here, I’ve already begun to see myself as South Asian no just Nepali.

Having explained all these, I am happy to be in a University which has a multipronged approach in teaching. The only thing that I want to change in the University if someone asks me would be further addition of informal and continuous assessment but the removal of written examination that would, in my opinion, sustains the patterns of memory race even if the questions are innovative, the preparation by the students seem much similar as they used to do before.

To conclude, I have got some beautiful experience at India because of being at SAU which if put in Hellen Keller’s words: The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart. 

Image source:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/borisjohnson/9702398/Ive-seen-the-future-in-India-and-Britain-can-share-the-spoils.html

The life line and the deadline

To read anything is easy but when comes to see the same things the level of understanding, increases. But the experiencing the same only can tell you the real sense of it. This week I am suffering from flu and taking medicines. Now I realize that my paramedical and public health training as well as interaction among the patients suffering from the flu was incomplete to understand the ‘rites de passage’ they went through. The realization came to me when this affected both my life line and deadline. Life line, the physical well being and the deadline, the assignment at the University.