The true measure of a society, it is said, is how it treats its elderly. Compared to the West where nuclear families have long been the norm, Eastern societies have traditionally placed greater importance on taking care of their elderly. Most Nepalis lived in joint families even a couple of decades ago. As the heads of household, the elderly were seen as a source of wisdom, and three or more generations, young and old, lived under the same roof. But globalization has broken old boundaries, fracturing families, irrevocably changing social norms and values. The urban-centric growth has spawned a culture of nuclear family, in the process redefining the very idea of a ‘Nepali family’. The average household size in Nepal, as per the 2011 census, has decreased from 5.44 in 2001 to 4.88 in 2011. This trend is expected to pick up in the next decade. As young people are ‘moving out’ to pursue their careers or to enjoy the perks of smaller households, the elderly feel increasingly isolated, shunned by their children and neglected by the society which seems to have little to offer them.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Nepal was successful in renewing the feeling of friendship and goodwill in the Nepali people. I believe this historic visit can be the beginning of a new chapter in India-Nepal relations. Modi became very popular in Nepal after his address to the Constituent Assembly that was broadcast live by many TV channels. He gave a realistic overview of the extensive India-Nepal relations defined by commonalities in geography, history, culture, religion, philosophical heritage and languages of the two countries. He opened his speech with a few sentences in Nepali, which touched the heart of all Nepalis who heard him that day. Both the content and the language of his speech enthralled the Nepali audience.
People of Nepal carried a suspicion that India was trying to give impression to the world that the Buddha was born in India. They thus applauded Modi for saying unequivocally at the very beginning of his speech that it was Nepal which gave birth to the Buddha. That removed with a single stroke a sense of indignation among Nepali people. He referred to the Buddha many times, highlighting how by abandoning the path of Yuddha Nepal was walking on the path of peace paved by its own most illustrious son, the Buddha. He said Nepal’s success in writing a new constitution inclusive of all Nepali people’s aspirations will send a message that prosperity is possible only through peaceful means, not through violence.
Can you stay a while without using Facebook? I am pretty sure many Facebook users today cannot stay without it for more than a week. Those of us addicted to using social media like Facebook and Twitter cannot remain calm without updating our statuses and checking news feed on a regular basis.
In its short span of existence, Facebook has undoubtedly been the most preferred and social networking site across the globe. Especially, young population shares larger portion of the user community. Facebook is one of those online sites through which everyone is digitally occupying their space in order to create online presence for digital citizenship.
Credit must be given where it’s due. We have in the past been extremely critical of this government’s lack of initiative in consumer safety, most notably of its tardiness in stopping the poisoning of our fruits and vegetables. In the absence of ‘relevant laws’ the government chose to do nothing, even weeks after dangerous pesticide residue levels were detected in foodstuff tested at the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Wholesale Market. There has been some progress since. In more recent tests of farm produce available in Kathmandu markets, the pesticide levels in most samples were significantly lower than the levels found earlier. The required laws have been passed and the frequency of spot-testing increased. There has also been an effort to reach out to farmers to make them aware that the pesticides they are using are harmful for their own health. The result of this earnest effort is starting to show. What we would like to see now is immediate import of more spectrophotometers, the devices used to detect pesticide level in vegetables, to cover all major vegetable markets in the country.
In 2010, Nepal, together with 12 other Tiger range States—Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Russia, Thailand, and Vietnam—made commitment in the Global Tiger Summit in St Petersburg to secure “Tx2”, a doubling of wild tiger populations by the next ‘Year of the Tiger’ in 2022. Nepal was a key player in the St Petersburg Declaration on Tiger Conservation signed by government heads of the 13 Tiger Range Countries. With this global commitment, Nepal aims to double the country’s tiger number from 121 to 250 individuals by 2022. This is one of the most important and ambitious commitments made by the government in the field of biodiversity conservation.
To meet Nepal’s commitments, the government has initiated a multipronged strategy. The government has put the Global Tiger Recovery Program (GTRP) 2010-2022 in action by implementing the National Tiger Recovery Program. Tiger habitat was expanded by declaring a new protected area, Banke National Park in 2010 which connects to another important tiger habitat, Bardia National Park, thereby providing new habitat and safe corridor for tigers. In order to strengthen coordination and collaboration at the highest political and bureaucratic levels, the National Tiger Conservation Committee (NTCC) was formed under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister. Similarly, Wildlife Crime Control Coordination Committee (WCCCC) under the leadership of Minister of Forests and Soil Conservation, and Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) under the leadership of Director General of Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation were constituted with the aim to curb wildlife crime in the country.