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Editorial

Nepal deserves the best…let’s not see the world in East and West

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Every now and then, when we differ on values and ideas and concepts of how life should be, how society should be and how country should be, we start labelling each other as eastern and western, and I know where it is coming from, so I am writing you this opinion piece, not to change you but to make you think, make you understand to help you make an informed decision on concepts, ideas, philosophies, beliefs that you would be living by and nurturing your children and grand children by, because kids that are nurtured by informed elders will make a wonderful country and society, and I care about that because my children and grandchildren are going to be in the very same society and country. So, please read it with patience with bit of smile on your face.

“Our country is not west. Keep your western sh*ts away.”

If I could really take away “western sh*ts” to make you happy, I would be ending up taking away democracy, gender equality, human rights, property rights, constitution, concepts of power division, freedom of expression, science and disciplines, and many many more things that guide today’s business, politics, industries — almost everything — based on which all the great inventions have been made, been distributed, and consumed. What would you be left with?

Sorry, I didn’t mean to make you feel inferior but just give you a bit of reality bite.

See? That is why we should not make things about east and west. Because if you remove the label, it’s all about human things.

Let me take you to history. Somewhere, 300-400 years back, in another part of the world, which happened to be west of Earth, some humans were pissed off with church, their priests, bible, the so called culture and tradition, their kinds and their kins and clans. They deeply felt something not right with their world, so they started thinking, discussing, debating on how the world should be, how politics should be, how human lives should be. They would write essays on, books on. Those humans would be later known as philosophers and thinkers, based on whose thoughts and ideas, modern values and principles were set, politics were based, movements were anchored, that pave the path for science, industry, technologies turning the world into as we know.

What were we doing that time? I am talking about the so called Eastern world, or to be more precise, Indian subcontinents? British came much later if that’s what you want to blame to. Answer is, we were in our own religious interpretation of the world and instead of making it a discourse driven, we were imposing it through kings and his kins and clans- sometimes Muslim empires and sometimes Hindu empires. When humans from west were dumping their Bible and trying to search answers from multi-dimensional approach and spreading it through essays and books, humans from east were only busy proving if answer is in Geeta or Veda or Quran or other doctrines.

That’s how humans from west got ahead of rests. Then came the Prithvi Narayan Shah, then became Nepal. Sadly, source of knowledge for this newly born country was only from North. And we know what happened for next 200 years.

So here we are, the humans from Himalayas, fighting over east versus west, who historically neither had a role in making of western philosophies nor in making of eastern. For what??

I tell you for what, and where your hate towards west is coming from. There is again a history, but I will make it short. If you remember when you were a kid, you would hear something like “paschatya sangit” “paschatya sanskriti” in a hatred tone as if that is such a bad thing. Those running radio/TV were quite against them. Where was that hate coming from? Who was behind? I leave that up to you to your own rational thinking, that you are capable of. All I am trying to say is that this East Vs West thing in Nepal, which anyway had no contributions whatsoever on any front, been into this division long before you were born.

Now, here we are and the steering is in our hand. Our option is to either see the world as East and West like some people want us to or see the world as One Earth, humans as one race, and pick up good things from every corner possible. I understand your concern for cultural identity but hey it’s just an illusion. Our grand father thought lighting a ghee candle is culture, dad replaced it with wax candle and called it culture, and we replacing with electric bulb and calling it culture.

Anyway, in short, everything that we call east, west, Chinese, Indian, is nothing but a label we created just for our own ease of communication. Problem arises when we make it a matter of ego, dignity, pride, identity, and get more political that we only miss the broad options available otherwise.

We are in a way fortunate that we are the youngest country who is building its foundation in the era of Internet and social media that information is freely available on anything and everything.

Unlike old Nepal, this time, we are neither east nor west. We are a part of the world, who deserves the best and taking only what’s working. We don’t want to be the kind who goes around talking about benefits of cow pee but only visits Manipal Hospital. That happens when your ego is bigger than your rationalism.

Our children and grand children deserve better. It starts from us. Let’s cut the East/West crap.

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Editorial

India trip and realization

India has so much to teach for newly formed country like Nepal.  Life is too short to learn everything from own mistakes, so wiseness is to learn from others mistakes as well.

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Image: Unsplash

A month back I had been to India. It was not for the first time but this time I had gone after 2 years with better perspectives.  Not comparing as such or passing judgment, but throughout the journey and stay, a thought was building in me.

As soon as I reached Gorakhpur, I could see and feel the chaos and lack of civic sense among people. People were honking and rushing. I saw a half-naked woman eating from a trash. I saw poor and homeless people struggling to survive. I met people in despair with no faith in system. I spent a couple of days with family that would blindly believe in superstition and tradition. As I reached Bangalore, I could witness the rat race, the traffic, the robotic life. I stayed in one of the most expensive gated community and I could see the life of those security guards and maids and the gap between the class.

Throughout the journey and the stay, I was thinking of my country, my people, and this page and our social media as a whole. How we would make voice against anything wrongdoing, how we would collectively stand against them, voice our concerns and opinions; how whatsoever government would act on.

Yes, we are economically backward, and maybe in many other fronts, but there is something in us and that is unity, the empathy. Call us sheep or nationalist or emotional cry babies, or keyboard warriors, we somehow come together in many issues and concerns that we collectively distaste. Whether a person is tea seller or tarkariwala, we somehow embrace them as they are, as didi, dai, bhai or bahini. There is still some level of empathy, respects. No matter how much we hate our government, we have somewhere this confidence that when there is a real need, we can reach out to them, whether by gathering in Maitighar or by reaching out to local representatives and we still have the confidence that our voices get heard and addressed, somehow. There is no wall as such between ruling class and others.

I could not feel that as such in India, among Indians. It’s like as if they have given up and everyone is just focused on themselves and treat each other, see each other based on needs and class and their own socially and professionally constructed groups.

Life is too short to learn everything from own mistakes, so wiseness is to learn from others mistakes as well.

Yes, India is doing great in economic front, and maybe science and technology but when it comes to politics, when it comes to social unity, when it comes to shared values and respects, there is something missing in that country. And all that thoughts and feelings made me proud of my country and people much more, and actually made me much hopeful.

I don’t know what went wrong in that country that it has ended up in this state. It surely isn’t due to its size alone or population when country of bigger its size or population larger than it is doing better. But sure, something has gone wrong making it the way it is. And when I think of my country, my people, which is taking the leap of progress, marching towards modernization and prosperity, and seeing the unity and empathy and collective wisdom in building, my biggest fear is we ever turning anything like India.

I love India, and I always say this to anyone that for me Nepal is from Mt Everest to Kanyakumari and i love every human that lives within this demography but there is a political map up to where I can exercise my right, make a difference for now. That’s where I take a long breath. I have a country, a sovereign country, whose people have not yet given up, things are not as messed up, society is not yet as divided. This gives me a hope and an immense pleasure regardless of all the lacking and shortcomings.

Of course, India with so much diversity and rich cultural background, it is not that plain and simple to understand India and humans living there, but still to judge it by a traveler’s eye, it has so much to teach for newly formed country like Nepal.  Life is too short to learn everything from own mistakes, so wiseness is to learn from others mistakes as well.

So let’s take an oath in individual level that we will learn only good from others but we will not let mistakes of others, wrong practices of others get introduced in our land, among our people.

A determination we all shall live by.

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Editorial

Entrepreneurship, Money, and Common Nepalese

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“The fear of being different prevents most people from seeking new ways to solve their problems”

I don’t know from where to start because sometimes I really need to take a delicate approach when I have to explain something to some of my Nepalese fellas. You know they are just so sweet and innocent, the way they think and perceive is mostly emotional, and above all, with all that years of brainwashing on absurd ideas and concepts and political philosophies, it’s really hard to explain certain things to my people, especially when it comes to business and money and things like that. Anyway, let me try to explain this.

Someone posted this in a start-up group expressing dissatisfaction for our attempt of monetizing the context. I could hear similar allegation on the comment section of the post as well.

Let’s start from this.

What is money? It’s a medium of exchange. You want a shoes, shoemaker wants rice. Money works as a medium to exchange. Is there anything evil there? No.

That’s exchange of trade for need.

You want a gem, gem dealer wants ticket to Goa to chill. Money works as a medium to exchange. Is there anything evil there? No.

That’s exchange of trade for luxury.

You want to build a road in your village, you pay the dozer guy for the work and the money received will be used for his need or luxury by the dozer guy. Again, money is a medium of exchange here. Is there anything evil there? No.

That’s exchange of trade for societal cause.

Money is nothing but a medium of exchange and it’s the most popular medium of exchange because everyone accepts it. Money itself is neither evil nor divine. A money received by a prostitute may be donated to temple or in paying school fee for her children. Also, money received by the most reputed man in town may go to a thief to buy a knife.

Basically, money is nothing but a medium of exchange. However, some people in Nepal has considered money as something special, something rare, something big and something like …I don’t know what to say, a God, maybe? They have this idea that you should exchange only certain things for money and not for everything …definitely not for societal or political thing.

Like for example, if someone is making road for all, don’t ask for money..just work for free. If someone is trying to raise voice for all, don’t ask for money, do it for free.

Now, in reality, it does not work that way, because everything is exchange in this world and money is invented as a solution to ease the exchange.

Today, humans have everything from nano robot to rocket because of the concept of money. Money itself has no meaning. It’s we humans who have agreed to give a meaning to it to self-motivate and let the exchange to go beyond daily needs. As a result, we have this world full of devices and gadgets and technologies, books and toys and cutters.

That’s what money does.  It motivates people to think beyond and produce stuffs, which otherwise would not be produced.  It motivates people to be creative, innovative, so that they could make something that others would buy, and the money in return could be used to buy foods for home, or pay bills and fees for kids or go for a vacation with loved one.

Coming back to badge

If I have to distribute that badge for free, I need to get it printed for free, which means printer guy has to get his ink for free.  The chain goes on.   If not, someone has to fund the project and I distribute it for free.

This country is f* because of that very same idea of “better get funded than monetize, when it’s for societal or political cause.”

Dull boring posters everywhere, whenever it comes to political or societal activities.  Dull, boring people everywhere, when it comes to political or societal movements.  Because we think it’s so f*cking wrong to exchange anything for money when it comes to political or societal thing.  Guess what? Only dull and boring people with their talent-less works and activities.

So dear cute little innocent Nepalese fellas, there is nothing wrong in selling badges or t’s or even dance party tickets for social causes.  Yes, the other side will collect some money, so what??  What do you think the money will be used for? It will be reinvested on people and market to get more creative and innovative that would inspire many others, filling market with more talented and creative activists.

In the end, society gets social message in more creative, innovative and effective way.  Team gets better motivation and energy to carry on.  Market gets more money flowing in.  No one dies taking money.  It all will be in the economy.  But, new products, new scope is added on.

Take the money out of the equation and see what will be there.  No money in economy.  Boring and dull products distributed for free, thus no value, nothing.   No scope, no motivation.

Which one is better?

So, go sell something for Nirmala, for Kalapani, for climate change, for whatever you are deeply moved by.  There is a name for it, and it’s called social entrepreneurship.   That’s better because you don’t need to beg around for funding, and it’s sustainable way of carrying on.  It’s hard for socialist and communist to understand that.  You don’t be the kind.

Just remember this:  We collectively have been so poor for so long – from generations to generations – because we never understood the concept and idea behind money.  How will you make something, that you have not understood in first place?

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Editorial

We are poor because we hate money

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“If you hate rich people, if you hate money, if you hate how economy works, you are destined to die poor,” a wise man once told.  

During my recent Bangalore visit, I got to meet some start-up founders.
 
One of them was a lady probably in her mid-20s. Her company is into digital marketing. They call themselves branding experts and they claim themselves to be quite creative. Went through couple of videos made by them and also couple of their works. They also do social media marketing. I asked, “how much do you guys charge for handling a page?” She said “depends…starts from 2 lakhs.” She employees 15+ people.
 
Met another team who runs a research company. They charge anywhere between 5-25 lakhs for conducting a market research.
 
Likewise, had also met entrepreneurs, business enthusiasts, freelancers. They all have similar stories, similar spirits and passion and they all are hungry for money, bold enough for money.
 
Meeting those people, I didn’t find myself any less or inferior, nor I find my people less creative or less talented, but I noticed there is something in them that we don’t have and that is, guts to throw numbers, guts to dream numbers, guts to chase numbers. Personally, my heart would tremble to ask 6-digit fee for a consultancy or a month-long research and they ask the number for social media handling. By the time, they start their business, they are in few crore valuation. In a year or two, 10 cr company. In 5 years, 100 cr company. That’s the trend and target, they all are up to.
 
One the way back home, I was thinking, why do we fear so much to dream big numbers? why do we tremble? why are we so cheap? why do we settle with peanuts? and many similar questions.
I think I found the answer in those thinking. It has something to do with the society and culture I belong to, and what they say and how they say when it’s about money and numbers, especially big numbers…and I grew up thinking as if it’s a shame and insane to think big numbers, chase big numbers.  Somehow, I am psychologically programmed to fear the number beyond certain point.
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