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Spice of Life

By P Kharel
Gender sensitive British
At long last, the British are beginning to show interest in being gender sensitive in their armed forces. They have just announced that Nepali women would be eligible for recruitment in the British army, starting from 2020. But there are many a step between partial sensitivity and full sensitivity.
Smacking of racist outlook, they recruited mostly applicants from certain ethnic backgrounds and ignored others as almost automatically “Unfit”. In fact, the policy dominates existing recruitment policy too.
After all, Ruyard Kipling was the one who went about writing that the British had the White Man’s burden of liberating the people carrying other skin-colours.
Predictable pattern
They thrust themselves in public institutions through their proximity to political centres instead of pure merit. Once their godfathers/godmothers are toppled from the seat of power, they run helter-skelter for crying hoarse when they are replaced by rivals who land in the jobs thus vacated through the very mechanism their immediate predecessors had grabbed. Merit has no meaning for the parties in power. The past three decades have amply shown again and again.
Bypassing retired secretaries, it may be noted, retired joint secretaries wangle government jobs as advisors to prime minister or ministers. Likewise, juniors at various institutes thus are capapulted to posts several rungs higher than the last job they held. Some of them return to the lower job when their bosses are no more in power.
Bhoto jatra
Recently, a tiny silk parchment written 2,300 years ago attracted media mileage, describing it is a Chinese equivalent of the Dead Sea scrolls. During World War II, an antiques dealer’s family sold the parchment to American spies. Eventually, however, the item was smuggled out of China until it landed in the United States.
This reminds one of what the late Bhola Rana, the American news agency UPI’s Kathmandu-based correspondent, narrating what his American colleagues told him. His tale was that the centuries old Bhoto [vest], inlaid with diamonds, continues to remain the centre of attention annually. It is displayed to the general public from four corners of a chariot and under the gaze of the head of state. The rumour is that a similar Bhoto displayed in a museum in the US is claimed to be the “original” one? Could this be true? For that matter, would the government of Nepal bother to verify and authenticate or would it prefer to dismiss it as a figment of imagination?
Spiritual tourism
Bharat Sharma, who is preparing for his doctorate in communication concluded that “Lord Pashupatinath’s temple” is the best managed Hindu site than anywhere else in India. And he should know that. For, he has spent some 15 years in spiritual tourism and been to Banaras and other parts of India for over 200 times apart from having guided spiritual tourists to Muktinath around 80 times.
“Given due planning and the right people in the right place, many other religious sites could function better than they are currently,” he adds.
Changes in Kantipur publications
Kantipur media group has reportedly bought off two magazines, TNM and Auto Life, which were already break-even ventures. The new man with Times of India managerial experience that the group has hired promises Kantipur’s boss Kailash Sirohiya to have his earnings doubled within three years. If that happens, it will be quite a profit leap to the group that has been registering the single-largest revenue collections among the Nepali news media. Good for him, though one is not whether it will mean much to the general staff members in the editorial departments and other units of the country’s largest media house.
Grapevine has it that the junior Sirohiya talks of preying on The Himalayan Times, a la Rupert Murdoch of sorts, but wants to close down Saptahik and Nepal weeklies while retaining Nari monthly. What bogs the junior about Saptahik, which still is making money even with reduced circulation figures, no one seems to know.
This scribes tentacles have it that all large newspapers originating in Kathmandu are losing their circulation steadily since last winter, with the lone exception of the Naya Patrika.
To publishers hesitating to appoint the chiefs of editorial department with proper designation “editor” or “chief editor” on time, the Department of Information has told them bluntly that they do not recognise “Group Editor” or such other terms except editor/chief editor. Delaying a proper reappointment letter or trying to make do with only a managing editor or such other title giving the impression of a relatively smaller role than an editor’s was a tactic publishers employed for keeping the editorial room’s working chief in his “place”. But then government regulations pour cold waters on their small-mindedness. Executive/managing editor will not do even if he figures in the print line.
Without Comment
Sangam Sangroula, in The Republica daily: “Prithvi Narayan Shah founded today’s modern Nepal. And King Mahendra consolidated its independence…People are still nostalgic about King Mahendra’s times. Rise of new system does not justify irrelevance of the old system if the new system cannot do more than or even as much as the old system.”

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