I am writing this for myself to document everything that I have witnessed in last one week on KMAG regarding Rupa Sunar case and the way it unfolded, the way I felt, the narratives and discussions and everything that I may forget in future, just like how I forgot the death of seven dalit individuals and the narratives and discussions that surfaced around that time. I realized, when anything as such case happens, how we all get involved in throwing our opinions and how we move on to never remember anything, and thus we never learn. Thus, I want to document everything as it happened, as it escalated and as I felt, so that this article keeps the memory and my feeling intact. That is why the title is, Rupa Sunar case and a note to myself.
It was June 16, 2021. I had just reached to my office and as was scrolling my Newsfeed, I saw video of a lady talking about caste-based discrimination she went through. I shared the video on my timeline. Honestly speaking, until this point I had no interest to take the post to KMAG page, as this is the regular issue I get to witness in our country. People complain, react, share, comment, and move on. I don’t see anything happening further, so I don’t take such quick rant over my page for sake of sharing. Then my colleague told me, about the girl, which until then I didn’t even know anything about. I learned that she is a media person and that made me curious to go to her profile to learn more about her.
As I got to her wall, I saw a post where she said, “I am going to file a case against the house owner. I am not the kind who fears and tolerates discrimination.”
This post immediately impressed me. “Okay! there you go. We need more people like you in this country who does not just complain on social media but reach out for justice through due process.”
This post was the reason, I wrote this on KMAG:
The girl in the picture is Rupa Sunar, that you by now must have heard of, who had uploaded a video on her Facebook stating how she is denied a flat for her “caste,” as being Kami.
That indeed was a courageous thing to do, that many fear to, often keeping within themselves. Some do speak up like she did but it often gets limited to exposing the harsh reality with some added tones and words of anger and frustration, where more join to rant against society and established wrong practices but in the end, the talks and angers vape out with no meaningful impact other than maybe seeding the aspiration and values in new generation against the discrimination.
Nevertheless, this country is not as bad as it seems on ground when it comes to laws and constitution and the institutions that are built up on the idea of equality. Problem is, many people limit their suffering to only complaining without stepping out to fight for the justice.
However, the girl, Rupa Sunar, went beyond social media. She went to file a complaint against the woman (house owner) in police station and now going to drag the woman to the house of justice, where the woman has to learn that this country has come way forward than her time and there is no excuse and space in this society and country for the casteist mentality.
This is where the actually bravery is shown.
Many victims need to learn that it’s very important to reach out to authorities seeking for justice and not just keep it within self, because, first it will give a strong message to the perpetrator that this country does not function anymore per their age-old discriminatory practices. Secondly, it sets an example that if anyone chooses to live by those age-old discriminatory practices, they will have to face the consequences.
Since, most people never face the legal and social consequences for being complete turds in the name of “chaliayeko chalan…hamro sanskar,” the discriminatory practices still lurk around loud and proud.
Thank you girl for not settling only with social media post. More power to you.
Through the post, I wanted to encourage everyone to not just rant on social media but also take an action to punish the perpetrator, so that people fear to treat any discriminatorily based on caste or race.
What happened next
The post got huge positive response, everyone applauded her, stood by her, supporting her. Until then, everything was fine.
Then social media took a turn into a debate “if a house owner can decide whom to rent the place, even if that decision is made based on caste?” This is the typical pattern and direction that any race or caste issue take. The deep-rooted casteism gets backed by conservatives with strawman logic and argument, as part of their defense mechanism, like for last time, when the Dalit guy got killed, argument was “it’s obvious for parents to chase any douche coming to take their underage daughter.” Same thing happened in this case. I was observing that in different pages and groups and my newsfeeds.
KMAG’s nature is, it picks up the context and runs a discourse, provoke thoughts, forcing people to think from different aspects; challenging biased thinking and logic, and seeding the principles and introducing liberal values.
Part of the nature, I dropped this post:
Purpose of the post was to make these youth realize how they indirectly support casteism in practice by not standing against.
Till this point also, everything was good. Everyone was having fun, taking things positively and agreeing that change must start from self.
That evening, I even went LIVE, had quick chit-chat with page followers, so far so good.
Next day, June 17, 2021, I posted this
I was making this post in general that every fighter could relate.
Meanwhile, on social media, debate on “caste-based reservation” had begun. Sad of all, people justifying caste-based discrimination blaming the reservation system. In response, I wrote this:
Most people from privileged class don’t understand the concept of reservation because in their eyes all they could see is two humans trying for the post but one side is favored more than others. They don’t see a human is not made just only of flesh and bone. The day they realize that whoever they are, there is a part of history and culture and psychological blocks and social equity along with their certificates and skills, sum of which makes up a human, they will start accepting the fact that it’s unfair to make two humans compete against each other solely based on certificate and skill, when one side has heavy weight over history, culture, psychological blocks and social equity.
Now, things slowly started parting away from here. As one of the followers said:
To give a more broader perspective and give the self realization in the way our youth think, wrote this:
To most of the youth today, if you ask, “will you marry someone from different religion or so-called lower caste or widow?” most of them will have the typical answer “I will if I am in love with the person.”In surface, that sounds legit. But if you go deeper, you will find the reason is different. Naturally speaking, long before you develop a feeling for someone, there must be a desire and want to get the person. That desires and wants as manifest further, you develop the feeling for the person.Like for example, you saw a person and you liked the person instantly. That’s attraction, but it does not hold any desire or want right away. Next phase involves knowing the person. Most of the very same people who would say “I will marry if I am in love with the person,” will immediately give up the idea of wanting or desiring the person after knowing the caste or religion or widow status calculating the possible complication from family in future. Thus, from “attracted,” in most cases, it never moves to “falling” or “in love” because they don’t dare to take a chance at all.It’s same like khas people never developing the feeling for someone who shares the same last name.That complicated the issue is, blame it on family or society.Only progress we have made in compare to previous generation is that, we now say ” will marry if in love,” which the previous generation would right away say no. But that does not mean our generation have reached the desired state. Until we don’t reach to a social construct, where when someone likes a fellow human, s/he can let themselves to manifest the feeling without having a second thought or fear of family or society, we haven’t actually accomplished true liberty from old-age dogmas and concepts.
There was no reason to disagree here. It was received mostly in a positive note, except few disagreeing to the post.
After an hour, wrote this again, to state that, there is no as such “will change with time if we don’t change now.”
Most of our parents were quite liberal and progressive in their 20’s in compare to their parents. They too didn’t actually believe much on God and traditions. That’s how they picked modern attires, modern lifestyle for their time. The reason they chose to go for family planning limiting children to 2-3 were also their “modern thinking” then. Likewise, sending us to English school, instead of Sanskrit; never forcing us to do Puja or anything “Brahmanic act” were also the result of their progressive mindset. But as they reached to their 40s, they stopped to progress further in their perspective because as people grow old, they tend to be conservative because at some point everyone likes to settle and be rigid to. By the time they reach in their 50s, they would be in the junction of life where new world doesn’t make sense to them much and then some of them slowly crawl back to their parents time because that makes more sense to them. Thus, in the name of preserving culture and tradition, they pick up the age-old practices and values. Three steps forward, two steps backward. Actual progression being one step.Thus, some young people saying, “from our generation onward, things will be different” is coming from a naive way of thinking in 20s. This generation too will be conservative and rigid, going back to age-old traditions and practices in their 50s unless the traditions and practices are killed once and forever systematically otherwise it will be like India.70 years since the independence and the most progressive ideas in constitution yet still struggling to move an inch far from age-old race/religion/caste based practices because they somehow thought overtime people would change. It didn’t work and it will not work. One and only solution is kill it once and forever now or never. Otherwise, humans will be keep on circling vicious cycle of three steps forward, two steps backward.
Now, this is where the bumpy ride begins!! Few sentences there offended “conservatives” and “undecided,” ones. They don’t like when you touch their culture and tradition making it look inferior to any other things, definitely not inferior to modernization. Now, the page is under the radar of conservative moods.
Then what happened?
June 19, 2021. By this time, people had already learned who the house owner was. The lady was from Newa community. All this time, most people were thinking that it must be that “upper caste bahun versus lower caste kaami” thing. This twist gave laughs among some of the people from “bahun community,’ making fun of themselves saying “chori nadiyepani gaali khaane haami, kotha nadiyepani gaali khane haami.” Why do we always get the blame?
This was when I sensed this social media debates and narratives taking the ethnic color. The problem is about casteism and not community. Casteism exists in almost all communities and as long as we don’t fight on ethnic line to defend our ethnicity, and make it a common agenda, we are never going to end the casteism in this country. For that reason, I wrote this:
Whenever there is caste-based discrimination, first immediate picture comes in everyone’s mind is a “bahun” and “damai/kaami.”Likewise, when a talk on reservation comes, immediate picture comes in mind is that of “dalit.”In reality, caste-based discrimination is almost throughout the ethnicities. Similarly, in reservation system, “dalit” barely takes 5%.This explains how we collectively are out of touch with the reality and how much we as a society have failed to inform people on actual issue without holding black and white assumption. Even the so-called educated clusters are not able to break the black and white thinking and that’s because the whole media and societal narratives have always been bahun versus dalit. When was the last time, you read an article or social media contents talking about “Upadhya bahun” not willing to get in marital relationship with “Jaisi Bahun” or Shakya having problem with Manandhar? When was the last time have you read an article talking about different caste-based social hierarchy in practice even within the ethnic community? Did you know even within some of the dalit community, there is upper and lower caste? Probably never unless it involves bahun versus dalit story. It’s time to think beyond the media-fed idea of casteism and get more broader on the issue and be equally vocal throughout the cases and not just when it involves “dalit,” if you truly want to see the end to casteism and caste-based discrimination in this country.
This post didn’t attract hate or disagreement. Almost everyone was fine with it.
Then to give a broader perspective on how elitism comes into practice over time, I wrote this:
“If you don’t have master degree, you won’t be eligible to reach to top position, be it in government or private, irrespective of how smart or qualified you are, or how well learned self-educated person you are.”Many people don’t see anything wrong in that. Back then it was Vedic knowledge for recognized community, and now it’s academic knowledge from recognized institution. Fundamentally, it both means the same. People here need to be taught more about Elitism and how most of our societal segregation and privilege status for few ethnic groups and clusters were result of elitism and why we shouldn’t be making the same mistake creating an institution that breeds a ground for elitism – just in different form and name.
June 20th, by this time social media had gone too toxic. Case had already gotten an ethnic color. Conservatives were steel-hard to justify casteism. People started making fun of “kotha napayera muddha,” making troll of Rupa Sunar. See all that, I felt so sick and wrote an article published through this website, What do I think of Nepalese youth in general. The post did well.
June 20th, 9:00 PM, I posted this out of anger and frustration for people not understanding the actual issue and why it is wrong:
“When you are up for renting your house, you are up for a business. When you are into a business, you can’t have discriminatory policy against gay or race or caste or gender. Like a company cannot defn job or a taxi driver cannot deny service based on race or caste. If you don’t understand this little thing, you should be burning your certificate and go live in a cave. You don’t belong to a civilized world.“
By this time, social media was stormed by conservatives to attack anyone and any post that does not agree with their argument “it’s house owner’s right to decide whom to give.” This post got stormed as well with disagreed individuals.
Looking at people’s logic, I wanted them to think this way as well, so wrote on more post for the day as a goodnight post:
Just observe a road accident and how two quarrels at each other with their own logic defending their own act. Or just observe any fight at house or among peers. Most of those fights and arguments are louder on “logics.” But when the quarrel is taken to court or among wise people, the case is judged not based on subjective logic presented by the parties but based on principles and established laws, to decide which side is wrong. Our brain is capable to find an explanation to defend rape, murder, corruption, bullying or any inhuman act if it has to. It’s part of defense mechanism of a brain. Defense mechanism is so strong that it can entrap anyone to not see rationality and wrongs by principles and morales. Thus, don’t be so obsessed with your brain-generated logic. Such logic can be very blinding and self-serving without critical thinking.
June 21 and onward
Next morning I woke up. The issue was not settling, and I knew there is no way the age-old deep-rooted casteism would go just like that overnight, so as an immediate solution, I proposed this for people to think over.
While observing the whole saga, listening and reading different perspectives from all, I wanted to make it clear from my side and wanted to emphasize again and again that the real culprit in this country is not any specific caste or ethnicity but traditionalists/conservatives and the fight is all about them and to win over them, we should not be ganging up per caste or ethnicity. Progressives must come together forgetting the ethnic group or community they belong to and fight hard against them if they want to see this country moving forward towards modernization. As long as we don’t see ourselves beyond caste and ethnic line and see more from progressive versus conservative line, we are not going to find the solution in true sense. For that, I wrote this:
Have you noticed that most people voicing against casteism, talking about importance of reservation are also from Chettri/Bahun community? There are huge number of people whose last name belongs to Chettri/Bahun but stand firmly against Casteism. Likewise, huge number of people from “hills” who stand firm against regionalism. Huge number of people from “privileged” class who stand firm for marginalized community.So the actual fight in this country isn’t based on race or caste or region based communities anymore. It’s on conservatives/traditionalists versus progressives. So it will be very wrong to make the argument based on caste or region and generalizing per se. Make it about conservatives versus progressives. They are the new community who are going to define and draft this country’s norms and values and future.
Same day, I also published an article proposing what we in individual level can do to eradicate any form of discrimination.
In the evening, I published a satirical post to counter the argument trending in social media blaming quota system for the discrimination.
Back to back, I threw another satirical post:
No privileged men dare to talk against reservation for women because that sweet pie benefits their own wife or female family member nor they dare to talk against reservation for “adibasi/janajati” because the mongols and newa communities gonna scare sh%t out of them if they speak against.But when it comes to Dalit, oh dear! they can go on with their “logic.”Have you noticed that? It’s funny how their tones shift the pitch selectively.
Most of the followers understood the gist. Didn’t disagree much.
Then wrote back, in a soft note to make people realize that reservation does not protect discrimination and it’s an unnecessary fear and illogical argument.
With this post, I ended the day just to make sure they know our way of doing things and reason behind:
Next day, June 22nd, once I reached office, I wrote this to encourage people to empathize and understand any group’s voice instead of being too desperate to counter attack with your own opinion.
One of the important things I learned with time is, if all women come and say something not right with how they are treated, as a man just listen and try to understand rather than calling them “you are wrong, you are not understanding.” Likewise, if all madhesi or adibasi or janajati or Dalit come and tell you that they have been feeling something terrible and unfair, as a group member from different community, just listen instead of arguing back trying to prove them wrong.When everyone from the group collectively feel something, and propose a solution, just listen and try to understand instead of trying to prove them wrong. You are no way in the position to understand the problem of the group that you don’t belong to, to propose a solution, so give a serious thought over the proposed solution rather than trying to outsmart them with your own hypothesis or opinion that is out of touch with the reality.I wish I knew this in my early 20s itself.
By June 23rd, things had gotten really ugly, which I had already sensed but didn’t want to speak on yet. My Facebook newsfeeds were flooded by people from Newa community asking for “immediate release of the house-owner lady,” who had been in the custody for last 3 days for investigation over the charge made my Rupa Sunar.
The caste-based discrimination case taking the ethnic issue totally blew my mind. One after another, almost everyone belonging to Newa community, voicing strongly against Rupa Sunar, made me worried the way things turn in this country. The case is for investigation, which anyway will be investigated and we all will get to know. Until then, people were supposed to calm and let the police and judge do their work. After all, they are not there to punish innocent.
Meanwhile, people like us, all we were doing was running the discourse on casteism and reservation. As you can see above, other than that one time, we never uttered a word for Rupa Sunar, nor we had wrote a single post vilifying the house owner, Ms. Sarshwati Pradhan.
As we had enough, we wrote this:
Hears the news on caste-based allegation. Jumps out of closets and shout:”Say no to casteism.”After a while, checks the last name of the alleged person, and sees the person belongs to own community and then suddenly the u-turn with some bullcrap logic to defend.6 months later,”yo Nepal ma system kina basdaina??” “why no one go with system and principles??”Karma bro, Karma. You reap what you sow. It’s a vicious cycle. Change starts from self or keep circling the same craphole.
AGAIN TO GIVE A BROADER PERSPECTIVE ON, why we fail to build a system in this country.
The comment we got on the post:
This guy is falsely accusing us “defaming the accused,” when there was never a single post from us defaming the accused. The comment got 15 likes.
This people were going on blaming us “not hearing the other side of the story,” when throughout the time, we had not been involved at all passing our verdict over the case. We were only having talks on casteism and reservation and how denying anyone flat is an act of discrimination.
Check all the comments here:
DAMN!!! Out of no where, we became NEWA HATER!!
I felt so sick with how the whole things are being turned into. Until this time, I have been maintaining to not say anything neither about Rupa Sunar or about Ms. Pradhan, but these people just made me look like as if I have been all here to bash Ms. Pradhan.
Here, I felt the need of telling people how system should work and why they should not be emotional fool, because in that case, we will never attain the country run by system, so I wrote this:
I have always been a strong advocate of RULE OF LAW. I never consider alleged person as “criminal” and nor I call “fair trial” a torture. It’s must-to-follow process so that everyone can reach out to authority to sort out the conflict.
But the way things turned, made me really really sick. Some people even got to the level mocking KMAG without even understanding what is that “Tips for the Post” for. To learn about, you can check this post.
This Saurav guy was someone I knew in person. He unfriended me for his self-constructed reality of KMAG.
All this thing, made me kind of depressed, sad and pissed off, all at the same time. From last one week, all I was doing and trying to do was make people talk about casteism, discrimination in practice; talking about reservation and the importance. You can see, you don’t need to be a bad guy. A bunch of people charged with their own perception can storm to your zone and label you anything they want and make you a bad guy.
I was like, I can’t deal with this people. I deserve some peace, so I posted this:
This country is sh%t and it gonna take a lot time to finally call it a beautiful place of beautiful people with rational minds.For now, all I can do is, make sure I detach from people who directly and indirectly protect casteism, racism, sexism, homophobia, or any form of discrimination by calling it “individual’s right.” I make sure I don’t hire people who hold such kind of thoughts and beliefs. I make sure I don’t support and build any kind of professional or personal tie with such mindset. Zero tolerance towards any kind of discrimination should be my life moto and policy of any organization I lead or I get involved with.That’s the best thing I can do, and I believe everyone like me should be doing, to end the discrimination in this country because law and constitution alone cannot bring change if in individual level we don’t carry the same aspiration and commitment towards. To everyone who believe “a house owner can deny flat to anyone purely based on caste, race, faith or gender or sexuality,” can unlike this page. Won’t miss you. I make sure I never be friend with you or hire you or build a tie with you of any sort. We don’t belong to the same timeline of human civilization.
I didn’t even feel like going through the comments, coz I was done with all this. After the post, I lost around 100 followers. No regret.
As people were debating over if an alleged person should be put into custody for investigation or not, I thought they need this perspective, so I said:
The comment there as well all about Rupa Sunar and the lady.
and the news came, the woman was released with no charge being filed on the ground of “lack of sufficient evidence.” Heard, Education Minister Krishna Gopal Shrestha went to personally pick her up and apparently he played the role in settling the case. Whatever, I was already feeling done with this whole crap.
Passed the news with the caption:
Custody is not “jail.” Investigation doesn’t mean calling “guilty.” It is just a part of process to learn the matter. Rule of law is a beautiful concept. Complying with it isn’t a sign of weakness. Few things to learn from this whole saga:
1. You can be dragged to investigation if you are alleged to practice any form of discrimination and there is no discount calling it “my choice.”
2. Allegation doesn’t mean being guilty without proof and thus no need to lose your mind or panic.
3. Custody isn’t jail. It’s just a place to put alleged person to interrogate and investigate the matter.
4. Evidence is what matters the most in the end.5. Fair trial is the best way to deal with any matter.
I went off of Facebook for the day. The toxicity on Facebook was too much to handle. In the evening, Mero Addaa had conducted a “educational segment” to educate people on the issue. The comment box was stormed by the very same “educated youth” all set to prove everyone else wrong.
Evening, I thought of every individual, especially from Dalit community, who were thanking us for raising voice for them; I thought of every progressive who were fight nail and bite for these people trying to make people understand reservation system. I was feeling like a soldier who lost the battle and standing amidst humiliations. I didn’t feel like saying anything but this:
From June 16, to June 23rd, what I had witnessed in this country, the arguments, the counter arguments, the logics and defense and the way things turned from discrimination-based issue to ethnic, I for the first time gave up on this country and people. But I was trying to console myself with the conversation I had with Ujwal dai:
A conversation between a wise man and his disciple:
“Humans mostly learn through experience and not through lectures .”
“If so, what’s the point of discourse and dialogue; books and teaching?”
“The purpose of any talk is never to change others right away. It works as a seed, and sometimes as a reference to validate own thought.”
“Didn’t get you.”
“Okay think like this. Now you read an article on a divorced couple. You won’t be able to relate anything. But when you go through the same experience, then out of nowhere the things being said in article will come into your thought process in a subtle way. It’s like college course. While studying, you didn’t understand anything much but once in jobs, those knowledge came into life.”
“And validate thing?”
“Humans are constantly thinking and contemplating, figuring out what’s and how’s and why’s but they are often doubtful about their own self-discovered answers and when they hear or read something stating what exactly they been thinking, they feel validated and gain more confidence toward their discovered thoughts and answers. “
“Humans learn mostly through experience only but keep planting seeds in them … the seeds planted never go waste.”
Next morning I woke up, I didn’t feel like saying anything. I just posted a plain image for nothing or maybe just to tell, this is Nepal, this is exactly what Nepal is, even though we may see people in jeans and smartphones, riding through roads and by concrete buildings.
I took a break from work and had gone somewhere for a family function. Throughout, I was thinking so many things, started questioning the whole mission I am driven by, the KMAG, the youth that I would love and care and try my best to speak for. I started asking myself “WHY I AM DOING THIS??” Why should I talk about what women go through in this country?? Did any one of them come to defend me when people out there were bashing me and calling me stupid, ignorant, anti-newa and what not all?? Why should I talk about gay, should talk about underprivileged, or talk about Madhesi? Why should I even talk about any sociopolitical issue?? This country is not going to change over my words, nor they give a dime about my effort. In all this depressing thought and contemplation, I wrote this:
I am a man.I am straight. My last name makes me “upper caste.”My social and economic status make me “privileged one.” There is no reason for me to fight for women’s cause nor that of homosexuals or “underprivileged” or marginalized if I have to make it all about me. There is even no fun being the odd man out wasting time and energy over something that you can’t change anyway other than just offend your own privileged kind. Actually there is more advantage by going with the whim, going with the status quo; take no side, take no fight. Just chill and relax because you aren’t the one suffering anyway. Enjoy your privilege, rise and shine, please everyone, say what they want to hear, take no stand. Why bother for the change when you aren’t losing anything anyway?
I felt bad for people blaming me for nothing, when all I was doing was running discourse and setting narratives on casteism and every other form of discrimination in practice. More than that, I felt bad coz when was I getting hit, left and right, not a single person out there to tell, “hey! we have been witnessing and he never said anything like that.”
This is when I realized:
Worst feeling is not being attacked by opponents or people that you were fighting against. Worst feeling is when you don’t see any support and protection from people for whom you are fighting for.
For now, I am done with everything. If you have read from the beginning till the end, you also now know, how toxic social media is, and how you can be painted black just like that by bunch of emotional fools. All those people coming with heavy words to attack without even giving a second thought where it is coming from and why, should be ashamed of themselves. Hope they grow mature enough to not judge plainly on their own perception and interpretation because of “I felt so.” Passing a judgment over anyone or any work needs a thorough study of series of works from past and present from the person. If you can’t do that, you don’t deserve to be called an educated person.
Everyone has a breaking point. I am afraid this incident is my breaking point. I am no more proud of youth in this country. I am now more skeptical about different ethnic groups and their mindset. There is too much of stake to lose and it’s not worth it!
Thank you for reading. I didn’t write this hoping anyone would read. I wrote it for myself to remind myself of what had happened, and how I felt. This reminder is very important for me to set my priority right.
Just wanted to put together everything and show you what happens on social media. Hope this incident will be a very good learning for you as well.
Open letter to Kmag’ers
First of all, I am glad you are here, reading this. Though I may not know you in person, but for sure you are one of those admirers of KMAG, who never misses to read what we have to say. That definitely makes you the Kmag’ers.
KMAG, as you know, have been driven by a mission of creating an informed society, promoting culture of discourse and debates through critical thinking, and believes in collective learning through knowledge sharing in different forms. So far, we were doing it through microblogging and posters on our Facebook page. Thank you for loving our works regardless of differences and disagreements. It was a beautiful experience and exposure for us to establish ourselves and grow with you guys.
During this journey, what we have realized is, microblogging and posters can’t convey the actual message. Our readers deserve more elaborated article with less room for confusion and more clarity on source. However, the challenge is, many people on social media are so accustomed with headlines and status-format opinion, that they lose their interest over long articles. That was also the reason why we held onto microblogging for so long, despite we knew the flaws and limitations in such style. But now we have reached to the point that people better be left the way they are, then feed them incomplete messages and views. Since you are reading this, I assume you don’t belong to the category but still can’t help telling you something.
See, you may not have realized but you are actually the privileged ones, who can access internet, read English contents and understand them. In you, I see the hope. You are the kind who can become a wonderful parents with broad knowledge and understanding of the world; pose the ability to listen to all and contemplate them. But as they say “bhagya ma chha bhandai ma doko ma paani bharera hudaina,” nothing much can be done if, despite being the privileged one, you choose to skip any knowledge and information that does not come in status and microblogging. I see many such privileged ones choosing to not take advantage of their ability and privilege. This saddens me.
I don’t consider myself as Known-guy or an intellect, but whatever I have learned in life, I learned them through books and write-ups and not Facebook status or poster. Thanks to the time I came from that it didn’t have social media platforms to feed me quick contents or news in headline or short-clips on history and issues during my growing up. Those headlines and short-clips or microblogging don’t teach anything. They only give a gist. Sadly many from social media generation are making them as source of knowledge and information and building opinion based on their own interpretation of what they could understand and grasp from.
I just wish you don’t become the kind, and that is my real concern and why I am writing this to you. What I am trying to convey you through this write-up is that, please make a habit of reading articles and reporting, no matter how long they are. Instead of wasting time over scrolling through newsfeeds and walls hopping from one status to another, give a time to articles and stories which have so much to offer you in more elaborated forms and styles. More than videos, texts are more effective because we tend to understand and memorize words better. Think about all the YouTube videos that you have watched and think about all the articles that you have read. Which source of knowledge do you remember in detail?
I felt like saying this to you because I care about you. I really do. I have gone through your comments, gone through your walls, and I see that potential in you. Please don’t settle over short notes and clips, don’t settle over headline news; don’t limit to status and comments. Take yourself beyond that. Explore articles, explore detailed reporting, explore stories. Inside you, I see a wonderful parent, wonderful manager, wonderful spouse, wonderful citizen. Don’t let that wonderful person in you die just because you were too lazy to prefer only short notes and clips.
In Ujwal’s Gift to Erica, I found a reminder to myself.
The moment I got the news about Ujwal dai not being with us anymore, I went numb. I was feeling terribly heavy that I wanted to cry my heart out. I could think of no one but Aalok. I called him and we both cried over phone. That’s when I got to learn that he along with Ranju are doing the final rites of cremation. Apparently, Ujwal’s dad had told them, “you guys are his family, his children, and Ujwal would want to be this way, so do as you feel right.” They played the role of children, did the needful while bidding adieu.
Next day, I called Aalok and I was told that there was no “13-day kriya” as generally Hindus do. Nevertheless, people could visit the home and meet the family members and Erica Bhauju (wife of Ujwal dai). I wanted to meet Erica Bhauju. The last time when we met, we had spoken a lot on personal side of our lives. She was sharing how they met, how they got married, why they don’t stay with parents and staying separately in a rented house, and how with all that, life is still beautiful and balanced. I was quite fascinated by the way they been living their life with their terms.
That cheerful face of bhauju with Ujwal dai in boxer next to her and all the conversations were playing in a loop inside my head. I was feeling terrible for myself and for her, that I so badly wanted to meet her. So me with my wife went to meet her.
We entered the premises. Nearby entrance, there was a picture of Ujwal dai with candles and flowers. In an open space, Bhauju was sitting talking to visitors and in another corner, there was an old lady that I learned was Ujwal dai’s mom. There were smiles on those faces. As soon as I saw that, I felt relieved because amidst the sadness and the grief, there was no as such depressed vibe and desolation but acceptance of the reality with a smile.
Aalok pointing at me asked Erica Bhauju, "chinnu bhayo?" (do you know him?). She with a smile said "kina na chinnu" (of course, I do). Looking at my wife, she said "So, that's your wife...we had spoken a lot about you in our last meet."
We took a seat and started talking on how Ujwal might have caught the Covid. According to Erica Bhauju, they had left for Everest trek along with 6 others, and during the trekking, Ujwal dai had once got a high fever but next day he was fine and continued with the trek. Once got back, out of 8, 4 were tested positive and coincidently those 4 were the group that got split during the trekking, so she assumes Covid must have happened after the split. While having the talk, Ujwal dai’s mom was adding something into the conversation. From general societal point of view, her tone and state of mind was no where appeared to be that of a mother who just had lost her son. It clearly felt like we visited a house of a martyr whose wife and family members despite in grief finding a solace and pride for how their son lived his life per his term and went like a shinning star to never disappear.
As I was contemplating everything, Erica bhauju said this to me:
Even after leaving, Ujwal left me with a gift — the freedom of mourning the loss in my way and comfort — that I don’t have to be treated obsolete and useless as soon as the husband is dead like how many women from Nepal are made to feel. Ujwal always used to say this kriya thing is nothing but religious way of oppressing woman that if a wife dies, husband does not need to do anything but if husband dies, she has to go through the worst treatment in the name of rites and tradition. Ujwal freed me from going through that. I love him and I miss him and I don’t need to prove that by skipping salts, sleeping on floor, covering myself in white gowns in misery. I am still wearing “pote” and tika he gave me because it was given to me by Ujwal in our wedding and if I have to give away all the gifts that he gave me then I will probably have to give up all the memories and our love as well! What kind of tradition and concept it is that you need to throw away the very same thing that holds the memory with the person? At night, I can go back to my bed, eating what I feel like without torturing myself in the name of rites and tradition or culture. My in-laws and everyone in the family are supportive because they know this is exactly how Ujwal would want it. We don’t have a biological child but Ujwal always used to say whole Nepal is our children. I didn’t understand what he meant by that then, but now it perfectly makes sense to me. Look at Alok. He is no less than a son. Running for hospital, doing everything a son does, and then the final rites. Likewise, his idea of social equity now completely makes sense to me. He left by securing the greatest comfort and ease of living my life with unconditional love and support surrounding me, that I would probably not be getting if married to any other guy….
While saying all that, on her face, a sense of pride and immense respect was visible. I totally could understand what she was trying to say and what she must be feeling at this moment of grief and loss.
Before leaving from there, we met Ujwal dai’s dad. All he said was “ek joog ma ek choti janmincha Ujwal jasto manche….I am glad I am happened to be the father of such man.”
As we were riding back to home, my wife said “…this family has so much to show the world how mourning can be done, without being bind by rites and tradition as if without which there is no other way to bid adieu to your loved one.”
I felt like Ujwal dai one last time reminded me “keep marching towards accomplishing the rational and progressive society….people will thank us for transforming this society into the kind that they never thought could be possible.”
Keep reading, keep learning….
A Tale of A Third-World Human
Until April 26, a happy man living his life as he wants, doing what he loves doing, and with that, succeeds to get 2 millions social media followers….a story of Rahul Vohra, a 35-year-old actor and vlogger, whose life takes downward spiral in a week’s time to never go up. FOR NOTHING!!
After 4 days, May 8
His wife posts this on her Instagram.
Later on May 11th, she penned the note in Hindi to say, “Rahul left behind several unfulfilled dreams. He wanted to do good work, prove his worth in the industry but it is all unfulfilled now. The people who watched him suffer are responsible for his death. They continued giving us false updates. I’m not the only one who is going through this situation, there are thousands of Jyoti out there who have lost their Rahul due to poor healthcare system. Don’t know how such people can sleep peacefully leaving someone to die. #justiceforirahulvohra I want you all to fight against this Not for my Rahul, but for your Rahul, your Jyoti.”
This shocking death of a talented actor due to the incompetency of the system left everyone in shock, anger, sadness, that millions stood for “justice” on social media. It made a round of news and talks among media consumers.
Two weeks passed by since. Probably everyone has forgotten the incident by now. All the “stay strong, we are with you,” comments and messages are lying dead and cold in the posts. Opinions passed against the hospital and government are probably already being forgotten. Life most have moved on for everyone except his wife and loved ones.
This incident got me into thinking:
Question 1: When I cry for help on social media here in South Asia, does it really work other than bagging sympathies?
Question 2: When I die because of the bloody corrupted third-world system, how long will the anger and frustration last among the people?
Question 3: Does a death of an influencer actually change anything?
I like to think NOTHING!! I am just another dog born in a third-world country who happens to be well known by mass but end of the day, I am just another dog, destined to live and die like every other dogs. Only difference is, my death will be known by many.
Then I think of those countries, where at least you don’t die because of scarce, because of incompetency, because of corruption, because of ignorance. My options — either go migrate to those world or do something to turn this part of the world into “those world,” so that at least generations to come will not die like dogs from third world country.
There is nothing in between.
Rest in peace to all the beautiful souls from “Third World” who had to die because of the system.
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