This is also a normal picture!

A Mushlim man takes photograph of a group of Mushlim women who are under
veils (Burkas). In a world of cultural diversity, this should be taken very
normally. There are multiple truths, multipal realities, multipal

No criteria for a leader

No criteria for a leader

By Vijay Singh Chhetri

Sept 24 - Politics is a game of the elderly people. Even if you invest your youth in it, you won't be a popular politician until you are quite old." My grandfather used to tell me this whenever I wanted to involve myself in politics. Since a majority of political leaders are aged, I have realized that my grandpa was telling the truth.

 In Nepal, one is not eligible to apply for civil services after you are 35 years old. Besides, you have to retire from service once you are 58 years old. However, there is no age bar in politics. Once you are 25, nobody can stop you from joining politics.

Most of the political leaders who were appointed to top-position following the 1990 movement were beyond their retirement age. If we remember the history of our prime ministers, most of them were on this category of age and this tradition is still in existence.

Besides, there is no qualification bar in politics. In civil service, you should be at least SLC passed to be a 'Khardar'. Although the qualification is enough to enter a government office, it is not enough to lead the country. In civil service, one can get a job as per qualification but in politics it is the power of speech that matters. So, there is no discrimination in politics, anybody of any status can apply.

To be a minister, it is not necessary to have knowledge of that ministry. For example, one can be a health minister even if he doesn't know much about health. Similarly, anybody can be a minister of science and technology even if he believes that earth was created by Madhu and Kaitab.

To lead a country is not a joke. When unqualified persons are given ministerial posts, how will the intellectual bureaucrats feel? When these delegates issue orders, will it not frustrate the bureaucrats? And how can they make plan for the development of the country?

If a civil servant has to leave service after a certain age, why not the political leaders? If the retirement age is specified in civil service to give space to the new generations, is it not a good thing to give a chance in politics as well? It must be always remembered that the future of the country rests upon able leaders. A country requires well-qualified and intellectual leaders. The tradition to allot ministerial post depending on one's dedication in politics should be breached. So, the qualification along with age bar should be strictly governed. Qualification criteria gives a chance to the intellectuals to show their talent at the ministerial level, while the age bar allows energetic young generation to be involved in politics. This will in turn make politics a respectable profession in the future.

(The writer is a lecturer in Microbiology)

Nepal getting dangerous

Nepal getting dangerous

Last week yet another journalist was attacked and brutally killed by a group of unidentified men in Nepal. This reminds Nepalis of the fact that two years after the peace agreement, the country's security, press freedom and peace are still far cry. In 2006, the Maoists struck a peace deal with the government ending a decade long violent conflict. They won the election and headed a coalition government. Hundred days on the Maoist leading the government, things are getting worse.

A young woman journalist has been murdered in southern Nepal.
Uma Singh, a radio journalist in her 20s, was hacked to death by between 12 and 20 men in her room in the southern city of Janakpur.
Ms Singh is believed to be the first female reporter killed in the country, although journalists have long lived with violence or the threat of it.
A friend and fellow journalist told the BBC there was no part of her body that was not covered with blood.
She died on the way to the capital after attempts locally to help her failed.
Recurring basis
The manager of her station, Brij Kumar Yadav, who also reports for the BBC, spoke of his shock and praised Ms Singh as "very brave and multi-talented".
Uma Singh had broadcast and written about women's rights and against the caste system, and on political issues.
But there was no clear motive and no-one immediately said they were responsible.
The most senior local official told the BBC the police had been mobilised and security had been tightened in the area but no-one had been arrested so far.
Ms Singh was working in a part of the country where armed groups, many connected to an ethnic separatist movement, have proliferated in recent years.
The Federation of Nepalese Journalists, an umbrella body for reporters, said it was sending a team to investigate her killing.
The local office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights deplored the murder and called on the authorities to identify those responsible and bring them to justice.
"This tragedy should galvanize those responsible for protection of media freedom to take the necessary action to ensure the security of journalists," the head of the office, Richard Bennett, said.
For several years, journalists have come under attack in Nepal, where a decade-long Maoist insurgency ended in 2006.
Several were killed by the Maoists, although last year one pro-Maoist journalist was killed and another had his hand cut off.
In recent years, many varied factions have threatened reporters for not describing events as they would like them to.
An international media watchdog, the Committee to Protect Journalists, places Nepal on a list of 13 countries where journalists are murdered on a recurring basis and governments fail to prosecute the killers.

Free Press Needs to Make a Profit

A Free Press Needs to Make a Profit
By Geneva Overholser and Geoffrey Cowan, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Newspapers are for sale across the country. National Public Radio and television news shows are laying off staff. The Tribune Co. (which owns the Los Angeles Times and other newspapers) is in bankruptcy. It's clear that journalism is in crisis, and in the current recession, things probably will get much worse.
That's alarming. A robust media is vital to our democracy. And while bloggers and other new-media news operations have enriched the public dialogue in important ways, their work still depends on the painstaking -- and expensive -- reporting supplied by traditional journalists.
Some conclude from the recent dire reports about the news business that people are no longer interested in serious journalism. In fact, more people than ever are consuming news. The Los Angeles Times, for example, still has nearly 750,000 subscribers to its daily print edition -- and it also attracts more than 9 million visitors to its Web site each month.
What's broken is the economic model.
For decades, publishers and broadcasters operated as an indispensable source of news and advertising, with the advertisers paying most of the freight. Today, much of the classified advertising market has fled to sites such as Craigslist, and the Web gives other advertisers more targeted and less expensive options. Subscriptions too are down, as readers who used to pay for newspapers and magazines increasingly access them online for free. As a result, journalism -- like music, cinema and other creative industries -- is confronted with the question: Who will pay for creating content?
Serious news coverage is costly. The New York Times reportedly spends more than $3 million a year to cover the Iraq war, for example. And the kind of investigative reporting that uncovers wrongdoing in government and business requires months-long commitments of reporters and editors. Yet as recent events demonstrate, we have a crucial need for independent reporting that gets to the bottom of what's happening in Iraq and Afghanistan, in Israel and Gaza, in Washington, D.C., on Wall Street and at city hall.
Although a banking-style bailout would be rejected out of hand by people concerned with maintaining a free and independent press, there are other possibilities. Since the start of the republic, the government has found creative ways to support the press. Insisting that the far-flung American population needed to be connected and informed, George Washington and James Madison led the effort to pass the Postal Act of 1792, which heavily subsidized postal rates to encourage the dissemination of news throughout the land. In fact, federal officialslobbied for a totally subsidized delivery service, contending that there is "no resource so firm for the government of the United States." Since then, the government has found countless ways to encourage or subsidize journalism, including the Federal Communication Commission's requirement that broadcasters cover the news as a condition of obtaining a license. Today, we need to think anew about how government can ensure that citizens get the information they need and want.
Journalism is starting to look toward new ventures and possibilities, from nonprofit investigative reporting collaboratives to online community news start-ups. Citizens have begun contributing as well as consuming news, and many old-media companies have gained relevance in the age of new media. But it will take more.
Seventy years ago, with the advent of broadcasting, government insisted that the new medium include a rich array of news. In 1967, visionary leaders created the Public Broadcasting Act, giving us PBS and NPR. When newspapers seemed in jeopardy, Congress passed the Newspaper Preservation Act of 1970, which allowed newspapers in the same market to pool resources for such things as printing and distribution. With a new administration and a new Congress seeking fresh solutions to other crises, we need to consider new possibilities to help ensure that journalism remains able to provide the information needed by a great democracy.
There are many areas for creative solutions. Congress could increase postal-rate subsidies for magazines. It could change tax policy to remove barriers to philanthropies purchasing major news outlets. FCC policies, including rules against cross-ownership, could be reconceived to reflect the new realities of the information marketplace. Antitrust laws could be revised to allow publications to band together to charge for content. The founders understood that writers should be compensated for their work and included the copyright clause in the Constitution. We need to be equally aggressive in finding new ways to protect and reward journalism's intellectual property in this new era.
Some commentators have suggested more direct funding for journalism. Although we won't ever match the backing that the British Broadcasting Corp. gets from a tax on radios and television sets, we might increase support for public broadcasting and newer media through fees paid by commercial operators for use of spectrum licensed by the FCC. Others have suggested reviving the Federal Writers Project of the New Deal era. Research and development is needed too. Government-funded research created satellites, the Internet and other innovations that sowed the new-media landscape. A new initiative might help journalism earn more revenue from developing technologies.
Government action is no substitute for innovations in content and delivery mechanisms, or for fresh business models by news organizations. Nor is it a cure-all. Media owners, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, civic organizations, individual citizens and journalism schools all have a vital role to play. So do the consumers of news who might be asked to emulate listeners to public radio and pay to support the newspapers they read for free on the Web. But, as Washington and Madison recognized more than two centuries ago, the government has an indispensable role as well. This is the time to play it.
Overholser is the director of the Annenberg School of Journalism at the University of Southern California. Cowan is dean emeritus of the USC Annenberg School and directs its Center on Communication Leadership.
-The Washington Post

Travel and tourism: Experiencing ultimate roughness in remote and rural Nepal

Experiencing ultimate roughness in remote Nepal

By Kamal Raj Sigdel

Are you bored by too much of law and order, silk and smoothness? Do you like to "feel" the melody of disorder, chaos, and the ultimate roughness? Try a newly discovered hotspot in a South Asian country Nepal.


In a beautiful Himalayan country like Nepal, it is hard to find the place of ultimate roughness. But mind it, Nepal can be as rough as beautiful it is. This scribe, who hails from the country, has found one and wants to brand it internationally the other way round. It is Rajapur, a hinterland in the mid-western Nepal.


Roughness of Rajapur is melodic. Since you are going to find a place of ultimate roughness, the journey won't take you to pristine mountains. You can call it a journey to primordial roughness. It begins with a bus travel.


The buses are really rough; most of them aged more than 40 years. Yes, like wines. Choose the oldest one; remember, the older the wine the better the taste! These are the perfect scraps moving. As you get into one of them, you feel like you are in a warehouse.


I am already into it. It is so raucous, cramped, and rickety. Suffocating passengers cry themselves hoarse but the bus won't move an inch until it gets "full", which means much more than the capacity (40 seats): additional 50 in the passage, about same the number on hood and a bunch of them to hang on the doors.


At last, the driver decides to leave. Don't get surprised, there is no electric start. A bunch of passengers get down and push the bus forward. The driver suddenly pulls the rust-eaten gear with all his strength and the engine roars: an exciting applause by the pushers!


The cramped bus then moves along the roughness of the road bumping you up and down on the rustic seats. The louder the crowd, the faster the old engine rattles along the earthen road and the first gust of dust gushes into the bus. You cannot shut the window, they are all broken.


Meanwhile, an old native woman, who is almost battered by the passengers, grumbles in her guttural growl, fumbles a few words toward the driver. She wants him to slow down. But the driver won't listen. Indeed, it is hard for her – a woman with a stomach that bore seven children sags, incapable of emptiness!


Clamoring inside, all her daughters, one is still hanging on her flat and fallen breasts that imbued seven waiting for a son. Her face taut with pain, yells at her husband who is hooting in the hood. 


The husband is a real macho – a giant figure, violent and uncaring. He could thrash up four children sags single-handedly to their mother's lap when they get unruly. We frequently hear him and his friends hooting in the hood.


The engine moves ahead roaring monstrously through the muddy road leaving everything behind in the cloud of dust. It swings into the confusion of street – wagons and carts, children and cycles, bulls and buffalo -- and it is impossible not to admire such courage of the driver.


There is an America tourist too in the matchbox. She fears whether the bus may break apart, whether all four wheels are intact … for she could see most of the motor's parts are tied up with ropes. Not a joke -- for it carries a history of half a century. It has no lights no windscreen, no headlights, no rare or tail lights, almost nothing except the four scrap wheels tied with what looks like an olden box. Despite the condition of the bus, the driver is amazingly violent.


At another stoppage, the mother is again annoyed by the driver as he smokes carelessly like his old engine. He would gush out a white cloud to the indigenous ladies, Bathiniyas. The sexy aborigines anyhow manage to sit at the front seats by mercy of the driver. They laugh, blush and simply complain in their demureness. The driver puffs more to tease them.


Ultimately, it is Rajapur. This is the first base camp to Roughness. Rajapur is rough, clamoring in confusion; almost all vendors have their "loudspeakers" on featuring different native songs.


The street traffic is mostly dominated by bullocks, carts and buffalo. And the journey to ultimate roughness begins only when you hire a buffalo, which are reined in by lashing a rope through their nostrils. The buffalo will take you into wilderness through the paddy fields into the villages.

(Sigdel, a Nepalese journalist, is Asia Pacific Leadership Program Fellow at the East West Center.)

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