Page last updated at 2014-11-19 19:56:47 RSS
Lost Time
One year of CA II
November 19 marked a year since the election of the second Constituent Assembly. And what a disappointing year it has been! Perhaps no other failure is as emblematic of the sheer irresponsibility of the political class as their inability to give full shape to the CA. One year down the line, five of the 26 members who were to be nominated to the sovereign body are still missing. This kind of blatant dereliction of duty of political parties is indefensible. Thanks to their inaction, there are now likely to be question marks over the validity of the decisions reached by the incomplete CA. The supreme law-making body of the land, in other words, will itself be breaking the law. Not that there have been many notable achievements in the second CA. Far from it. The peace and constitutional process are more or less stuck where they were a year ago. It is hard to be optimistic after such an inauspicious start.
Building Codes
Gail Marzetti
The Kathmandu Valley is in the midst of an impressive construction boom. More than 6,000 new buildings are constructed each year, making Kathmandu one of the fastest urbanizing cities in South Asia. The size of these buildings is also changing. One recent study has said that by 2020 buildings of 20 stories in Kathmandu will be commonplace.

This boom is changing the face of the capital and its environs. It brings many opportunities but also carries sizeable risks. Much of the construction is unregulated and haphazard and those urban plans that do exist are unable to keep pace with the reality of growth. Kathmandu is already deemed by experts to be the world’s most at-risk city to an earthquake. As many of the buildings we see going up around us are not designed to be safe for earthquakes, this risk is increasing by the day before our eyes.
Nepal-US Student Flow
Many Nepali students go to the US for higher studies every year. Nepal is the sixteenth leading place of origin for students coming to the United States for higher education. Last year Nepali students in US colleges and universities contributed $301 million to US economy. In contrast, the number of US students coming to Nepal is very low. Here is the detailed graphic representation.
Promoting The Local
Shyam Sharma
Around fifteen years ago, “pharsi” started becoming “farsi” in the mouths of many Nepalis, particularly in the cities. Replacing the Nepali “ph” with the English “f” may sound more “modern,” but it is not only linguistically absurd, it can also be a symptom of an insidious social problem that I want to discuss in this article.

The process of borrowing, mixing, and developing new sounds, words, meanings, and perspectives are natural to any language (though it is sped up by globalization more than ever before). However, the attempts to “leave behind” what is natural and integral to a local language—and by implication, to thought processes, art forms, and knowledge-making—can also be counterproductive. Such attempts can signal a lack of confidence in the foundations of local languages, cultures, and epistemologies—and thereby a failure to productively exploit the resources provided by these systems. Languages and communication can be gradually impoverished, art forms stymied, and knowledge-making stuck between disappeared richness of the local and half-explored potentials of the non-local.
Deadly Serious
Mental health problems
Sadly, it takes the tragic death of a celebrity to bring to light pervasive mental health problems in Nepali society. It is hard to say what made Alok Nembang, the celebrated director of hit films like Sano Sansar and Kohi Mero, take his own life around a week ago. But something was clearly wrong. “I would rather live for a day,” he reportedly wrote in his suicide note, “rather than die every day.” Nembang, his friends and coworkers say, had worn a ‘troubled look’ for the last few months. But a habitual loner, seldom did he speak to others about his personal problems. Perhaps Nembang realized that even if he tried to explain himself, not many would understand him. Now that he is gone, we will never know for sure. But Nembang’s untimely death must prompt some serious soul searching and the search for answers must continue. Over 200,000 Nepalis are believed to be suffering from some mental problem at present; according to the World Health Organization, one in every four people has mental health issues in the course of their lives. That is not all. Serious mental illness reduces life expectancy by 10-20 years, another recent Oxford University study found. Yet the Nepali state’s response to this growing health menace has been underwhelming.
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