August 15, 2010


[Today’s problems of development and solutions can’t be found mentioned in Professor Sharma’s Diary once the university’s curriculum was developed and implemented. An outdated syllabus, more than a century old, can not address today’s problem and offer solution to them. It is  not worth imparting such knowledge through development education. It will hinder future generation of students’ rights to appear in the true examination of development too.  But who cares? Politicians? Planners? Development Experts? University professors  or the fortune tellers? ]

Attorney L . B. Thapa

Today in Nepal, a story is retold over and over again this way that some ‘champion pundits of development’ offered training to their students somewhere in a ‘School of Development’ in 'Syangtang Valley' for some nine or ten months. As the time for examination came up and such examinations were taken, the pundits found some students could  not pass and then issued certificates to them as failed because the latter acquired knowledge 'dangerously little'  from the ‘Diary of Professor Sharma’ not from what they were really offered in the school.

The diary was outstanding when it was written but the knowledge, they acquired from it, was not enough to obtain pass mark in the aggregate. So the result came out as failed. The students were nervous – not knowing what to do next.  Prof. Sharma had prepared the diary over a century ago and which never had a chance for itself to get rewritten or revised because the professor was already no more. No one could venture to revise it. Now, a lifelong protracted process remains for those failed ones who, never pass and are entitled to take examination over and over again – the examination of development for Nepal.  The test is going on and on. They have become failed champions in all respects. Unfortunately, these ‘failed champions’ are at the helm today and trying something new that would best suit the country. We, the people in general are patiently hoping and awaiting for  one.

Certainly if we looked and talked from another perspective, these ‘champion pundits’  had never issued certificates of incompetence and failure  to their students. But a question pops up - why couldn’t have those teachers and gurus prevented the most renowned ‘third-graders’, ‘backbenchers’, ‘blabbers’, ‘disobedient’, ‘eccentric’ etc. students in the class room to become one of the most competent ones in the their contemporary societies. Few of them happened to be Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Mahatma Gandhi, and in Nepal’s context - Laxmi Prasad Devkota and many others who proved themselves as the jewels of the human history. In Nepal, a great joke is prevalent that there are ‘paper gurus of development’ out there to prescribe remedy for ailing Nepal towards development and prosperity,  and who have acquired same type of  knowledge from the Diary of Professor Sharma  discussed above. An outdated and useless education.

Those above mentioned extraordinary peoples never believed in theories and principles in the prescribed textbooks. They studied hard in their own way and became extraordinary persons who offered entirely different thoughts about the contemporary societies and the world itself. They didn’t have to acquire knowledge from any thing like Prof. Sharma’s diary.  A great paradox was with the contemporary society that they were never accepted for their thoughts and beliefs they obtained from empirical studies. In one sense, they were  not believed to be as the first-graders in the prevalent system of schooling i.e. the diary-education system like Professor Sharma.  It is therefore very hard to believe why such unsuccessful students of development are there to prescribe a model for Nepal’s development, and why not  those who have empirical understanding of a real Nepal ? In such situation mainstreaming every one for  national development is not that simple and easy. It is a hard nut to chew. It seems the dead Prof. Sharma lives in Nepal today with his students who have received education and skill undenyingly from his little diary. It seems those ‘unsuccessful students’ are appearing in the examination of development in Nepal. Taking tests again and again and who are told to be ‘experienced development strategists’.

Neither common definition  nor common understanding of development exists in the globe. It depends on time, context and space as it is very relative. The case for Nepal is unique and wonderful. It hasn’t worked as it was perceived by many pundits of development. So, it is different in Nepal. But there should be a common definition for  people of the world. The definition for human being is always universal. Interestingly, every political party or government defines people on its own depending on its history and culture. Such history and culture become the basis for a socio-political system in a country. Today, political ideology differentiates people from each other. Nepal has such a varied group of people who are asserting their rights based on their politically defined individual identities. Amazingly, how could it be possible to offer a different  definition for the people  based on the party ideology?

Now,  imagine that there is a ‘School of Government’ also at Naya Baneshowr in Kathmandu since 2008 and; there are 601 students being taught how to write a constitution to govern people in the 21st century. It is well understood that you are there to write a constitution. At least people understand it. They hoped you would bring on a new constitution in 2 years’ time. You should ask yourself why people have sent  you to the Constituent Assembly in Baneshowr ?  But  a very sad thing about it is that no constitution could come out on time. As you are the people representative for writing  a constitution, you should therefore know why you have not been able to write one. What is the hidden cause that has prevented you from promulgating a new constitution on time, you know it in plain. Have you ever asked it yourself, why you failed to bring on one ? The reason why you can’t is not behind you. It is somewhere, your top leaders also do not know because there is again the Diary of Prof . Sharma everywhere on the table.

When it comes to electing the chief executive of the country,  even having your full vote, you can’t produce one in the fourth round. We have doubt in our minds you would  be able  to produce one in the fifth round slated for 18th of this month ? Hasn’t it been a terrible show of democracy you are showing to the world from Naya Baneshowr ? Neither you can vote and nor can they quit the race and;  an immovable group that does not cast decisive vote – the country is in limbo. The non-voting group keeps parroting for national consensus. National consensus is nice slogan but it makes me sick and tired, feel giddy when they can’t make it, they can't have it. Should you be unable to produce a winner in the fifth round to run the government, then you should ask yourself what practical purpose are you there for ? People know you all that very few of you have became ‘champions’ out of 601 students to amend the Interim Constitution repeatedly, as you wished, to fulfill your own interest  and misuse national resources in the name of development.  Very few of you as the ‘passed students’ are also out there to deconstruct Nepal. Are you honest to the people that you have passed your exams without cheating like the country’s only glorious Trihuvan University students? It is not possible for you on these circumstances to pass the ‘exams of development’ if you are studying the Diary of Professor Sharma. When authority is guaranteed to achieve substandard results from irresponsible university professors, employees, students, guardians; it becomes a serious concern for all of us to do something for the good of the country.

Today’s problems of development and solutions can’t be found mentioned in Professor Sharma’s Diary once the university’s curriculum was developed and implemented. An outdated syllabus, more than a century old, can not address today’s problem and offer solution to them. It is  not worth imparting such knowledge through development education. It will hinder future generation of students’ rights to appear in the true examination of development too.  But who cares? Politicians? Planners? Development Experts? University professors or the   fortune tellers?

We need  to create an atmosphere wherein every one feels safe and secured by all means  - not being disturbed or not disturbing others’ peace while reading, understanding, realizing  the core meaning, value and benefits of development to the community at large for a common cause not only local but the entire globe’s through their intuition evolved from value based education. This way one can contribute to a  development which would be  synonymous to peace and prosperity.

In conclusion, I would like to urge the responsible leaders of the country to not welcome Emile Durkheim  type of people to  Nepal in the name of finding solutions to the cause of suicide of development students. It is better not to expect always that students take the exams of development but what would rather be better is  that we impart them practical knowledge. The current situation of the nation is alarming. And the university syllabus requires a through  revision so that we meet the requirement of fundamentals of 'development education'. We are in a dire need of revision of university syllabuses. We need a syllabus through which participatory, right based,  bottom up and top down mixed-bag approach for sustainable development could be taught in the schools of development. 

If not, the  access to the national resources will remain opened strictly for few social elites  and an all-round development of the country will be found  in government 'planning files' only.

* The Author is a Development Research Fellow and associated with Center for Constitutional Dialogue, in Kathmandu, Nepal.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Mukund Apte <>
Date: Mon, Aug 16, 2010 at 7:40 AM
To: The Himalayan Voice <>
Cc: chanakya pandit <>
Dear sir,
As you rightly say today's problems of development and solutions could not be found in earlier syllabi of the University. Whatever education was planned then, may not give us knowledge or solutions, (ney, even the problems in current development). But we have first to know both, what is Education and what is Knowledge, isn't it? The meanings that you may get about these words from Dictioaries or WIKIPEDIA will be as per Western concepts. Can they be effective or useful for applying in case of Nepal, Bhaarat or any of the Asian countries? Our cultural references being different we have to get the meanings useful and effective for us, isn't it? We have to get the meaning of these terms in our ancient literature. And it is available there.
षष्ठ: अनुवाक: of शिक्षावल्ली in तैत्तिरीय उपनिषद् tells us that 'Soul of Education is : राज-योग. Is राज-योग included in our (current) Education System? No. Then the Education that we are giving to our students is not education but only its CADAVAR, i.e. body without soul. Even to call Education to what we teach in school/colleges we have to include the (theory may not be but) practice surely of राज-योग in the curricula. 
This education now will develop the students. Nepal or Bhaarat for that matter cannot be called developed unless the citizens therein are developed by this Education.My article 'Nation & Development' is attached alongwith for your reading and pondering over. I shall be grateful to know your comments on the same.
What is now Knowledge? भगवद्गीता tells us the qualities of a person fit to be called 'Knowledgeable or द्न्यानी in श्लोक ७ to १०. of chapter II.-
            अमनित्वमदम्भित्वमाहिम्सा   क्षम्तिरार्जनम l
            आचार्योपासनं शौचं स्थैर्यमात्मविनिग्रह: ll7ll  
            इन्द्रियार्थेशु वैराग्यमनहंकार  एव  च l
            जन्मम्रुत्युजराव्याधिदु:ख्दोशनुदर्शनम ll8ll 
            असक्तिरनभिश्वंग: पुन्नदार्ग्रुहदिशु l
            नित्यं  च समचित्तत्व  मिष्टानिष्टोपपत्तिषु ll9ll
            मयि चानन्ययोगेन  भक्तिरव्यभिचारिणी  l           
            विविक्तदेशसेवित्वमरतिर्जन्संसदि  ll10ll  
These are the characteristics of a person who can be called 'knowledgeable' or पंडित. What is 'knowledge'  or द्न्यान and what is 'ignorance' or अद्न्यान has been clarified in श्लोक 11--
            अध्यात्मद्न्याननित्यत्वं  तत्वद्न्यानार्थदर्शनम l 
             एतज्द्न्यानमिति    प्रोक्तमद्न्यानं   यदतोsन्यथा ll11ll   
As we also know that knowledge is also TRUTH or सत्य, and पंडित call it by various names. So knowledge is considered as the experience of individual about the information available with him. The books, the elders or knowledgeable persons can only give you information that they may be having about something. The individuals have to get अनुभव about the information or माहिती. Whatever their experience tells them, is their knowledge. Knowledge has to be searched and found out by individual himself. That is why it may have various names. (विप्रा बहुधा वदन्ति l).
In short currently whatever is being taught in school/colleges all over is not Education but only 'a dead body without soul'.Whatever information one gets from anywhere is required by an individual to get knowledge from his own exoperience of that information.
With regards to all,
Prof. Mukund Apte
Mumbai, India