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Spice of Life

By P. Kharel

Cane them
As has been the case for at least a decade, textbooks for school children are unlikely to be made available for at least a couple of months, when the new academic session starts next spring. Back in February 1975 on the occasion of his coronation, King Birendra had announced that primary education would be free throughout the nation. The announcement was hailed nationwide as a “coronation gift”. In subsequent years, the upper slab for free education was gradually raised, and with it free textbook provisions also came into effect at similar pace.
But the Janak Sikshya Samagri began to lag behind target in supplying textbooks on time. By the time the textbooks reached nationwide, academic session would have progressed by three or even more months. It is a mystery as to why the materials cannot be printed in advance in coordination with the authorities concerned to avoid delay in supply and, at the same time, to ensure that the need demanded by any change in syllabus gets appropriately addressed.
The delay in supply affecting the future pillars of Nepal has compelled guardians to despair acutely and proclaim the lapse as “a Loktanrtik gift”. So be it, seems to be the indifference shown by the authorities concerned under “history’s most powerful elected government” which rode to poll victory a year ago on the crest of “Prosperous Nepal, happy Nepalese” slogan! And the authorities can’t even provide books to children who otherwise would have less than positive impression of state officials and governance.

They Too
Hollywood action star Steven Seagal is saved from prosecution under the “time’s out” legal provision. The latest is that a woman who accused him of sexually assaulting her when she was 17 in 2002 could not be addressed because of the technical time lag defined by the Unites States law. The woman is one of the several women who made allegations that are yet to yield concrete evidence. Let us see what happens in the ensuing days for the 66-year-old actor who had visited the republic of Nepal some seven years ago under a conversion scheme heavily funded by a religious consortium.
In that connection, Oli’s highly conspicuous trip to Costa Rica, made after his address to the UN General Assembly last autumn, makes things all the more intriguing, especially after the controversial Unification Church activity in Kathmandu. Many believe Seagal to be a hired ambassador for Christian groups involved in aggressive conversion campaign.
Prashant Jha, married to a major industrial house in India and who has been living there shortly after marriage, some weeks had to step down as a senior editor at The Hindustan Times, when evidence was produced to prove his harassment of a fellow editorial college who had left the organisation. The JNU chap used to scribe for a number of newspapers and even wrote a book his close friends hailed as a profound work of Nepal’s socio-political analysis.

Jinxed tourneys
Gone are the days when South Asian sporting world used to admire Nepal as a deadline practitioner that lived up to discipline and pledges, apart from striving for the best out of its modest resources. The 13th South Asian Games is already behind schedule by almost a year, and yet no one knows when, if at all, it will be hosted in Nepal. Youth and Sports Minuster Sunar and Nepal Olympic Committee President Jeevan Ram Shrestha are locked in differences of approach and hence the uncertainty.
One only needs to recall that the regional meet was primarily Nepal’s brain-child, when Sharad Chandra Shaha and his team were at the helm of National Sports Council and Nepal Olympic Committee. The inaugural Games should have been hosted by Bangladesh in keeping with the envisaged rotational system based on alphabetical order. However, both Bangladesh, the next in line Bhutan and India thereafter made excuses not to play host. So they all proposed that Nepal organised the meet, especially considering that this country had first floated the idea of such a sporting spectacle. Thirty years, sporting are presenting themselves as a pathetic lot that stand incompetent and disoriented.
As if that was not enough, the eighth National Games, too, is getting rescheduled for the third time. Its latest schedule was supposed to see the meet being held in February. This is most unlikely going to happen, according to sources close to National Sports Council member-secretary Keshav Bista.
Meanwhile, carrying the largest prize money among local tournaments, Farwestern Sports Club’s president Suresh Hamal on December 29 announced that reigning champion would not be invited to defend its title in the third Khaptad Gold Cup this year because of the rank indiscipline it displayed during tournament last year. The winner will take 2.1 million and runner-up 1 million.
Three players of the nation’s top ranking team had resorted to rowdyism and were shown red cards. Did the Nepal Army take any disciplinarian action against the trio or investigate it in the first place? Irate crowds were reported to have thrashed some of the Army players.

Without comment
CP Gajurel, of Nepal Communist Party (Revolutionary Maoist), in Pahilo Post online news: “The nation is in need of another People’s Movement because this government is sinking the country…The existing Constitution should be scrapped and People’s Republican constitution brought in.”

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