अष्ट्रेलिया, श्रावण ३० - अष्ट्रेलियाको मेलबर्नमा रहेको विश्वविद्यालयमा पत्रकारिता विषय अध्ययन गरिरहेका नेपाली युवा शिव न्यौपाने बृहत अंग्रेजी शब्दकोष (डिक्सनरी) प्रकाशनमा जुटेका छन् । विद्यार्थी भिषामै अध्ययनरत उनले प्रकाशन गर्ने डिक्सनरीमा करिब ७० हजार शब्दहरु समेटिनेछ ।
स्याङ्जाको फलाङ गाउँमा २८ बर्षअघि जन्मिएका उनले प्रकाशन गर्ने डिक्सनरीको नाम पनि 'फलाङ अंग्रेजी डिक्सनरी' राखेका छन् । ५० हजार मुख्य शब्दहरु र अन्य थप २० हजार शब्दहरु समेटिने उक्त डिक्सनरीको आधाभन्दा बढी कार्य सकिइसकेको र सन २०१४ को अन्त्यसम्ममा प्रकाशन गरिने तयारी रहेको छ । अंग्रेजी भाषामा राम्रो दख्खल राख्ने उनले सन २०१० को सुरुवातदेखि यो कार्यको थालनी गरेको बताए । डिक्सनरी प्रकाशनको क्रममा पुरानादेखि नयाँ पुस्तकहरुका साथै प्राप्त सबै प्रकारका अंग्रेजी भाषा सम्बन्धि लेख रचनाहरु र सबै प्रकारका शब्दहरुको संकलन गरेका उनले घरमै सानो लाइब्रेरी स्थापना गरिसकेका छन् ।
नेपालको ह्वाइट हाउस कलेजबाट पत्रकारितामा प्लस टू सकेर सन २००७ मा अष्ट्रेलिया थप अध्ययनका लागि आएका उनी यहाँ पनि अंग्रेजी भाषाका पत्रपत्रिकाहरुमा लेख रचना प्रकाशित गर्दै आएका छन् । यसका साथै नेपालीहरुले गरेको संघर्ष, उनीहरुको सपना र नेपालको अवस्थालाई चित्रण गरेर उनले 'इन द लाष्ट परस्युट अफ युटोपियन लाईफ इन अष्ट्रेलिया' नामको पुस्तक अंग्रेजी भाषामा प्रकाशित गरिसकेका छन् ।
'अंग्रेजी भाषा जान्नु र बुझ्नु मात्र ठुलो कुरा होइन्, यसलाई उपयोग गरेर केही योगदान गरौं भन्ने सोचेर मैले डिक्सनरी प्रकाशनको काम थालेको हो,' न्यौपानेले ईकान्तिपुरसँग भने । कुनै नेपालीले बृहत रुपमा प्रकाशन गर्न लागेको अंग्रेजी भाषाको डिक्सनरी यो नै पहिलो हुने उनको दाबी छ ।
उनको यो प्रयासलाई अष्ट्रेलियामा सकारात्मक रुपमा हेरिएको छ भने नेपालबाट आरके शर्माले सहयोग गरिरहेका छन् । साथै उनले तयार गरेको डिक्सनेरी प्रकाशनको जिम्मा जय कालिका पब्लिकेशनले लिएको छ । 'मैले यो कामको लागि करिब ३ बर्ष बिताइसकेको छु भने अब डेढ बर्षभित्रमा यो तयार भएर बजारमा आउनेछ,' न्यौपानेले थपे, 'मेरो यो कामलाई अष्ट्रेलियाबाट मात्र हैन नेपालबाट समेत सहयोग र हौसला पाएको छु ।'
आजसम्म प्रकाशन भएका अधिकांश ठूला डिक्सनरीहरु स्थानका नामबाट प्रकाशित भएका र आफ्नो डिक्सनरी पनि आफू जन्मेको स्थानको नामबाट प्रकाशन गर्न लागेको उनले जानकारी दिए ।
In one of his recent writings, Baburam Bhattarai started with a Sanskrit slogan, fully aware that many people would not understand it. Does that matter? Not really, he knows that the majority of readers will take his translation of the slogan as fact. Whether it is correct or not is not important. The use of it, however, not only establishes him as a learned scholar but simultaneously makes the rest of us ignorant fools. Hence, more interpretations are thrown our way. So Marxism is not class emancipation but ethnic emancipation. Yes, it is. The doctor sahib just told us. Killing people is liberation against historical oppression. We witnessed it in the last decade. And yes, sacrifice of party position means getting more power.
I do not mean to belittle Bhattarai but want to use him as an example to discuss how our society is plagued by a divide between the educated and the illiterate, our unquenchable thirst ‘to be educated’ without analysing what exactly is learnt and our constant need to be guided by these scholars while we disdain our own values. The majority of people hence wait for their voices to be represented by these learned people. In my recent work, I noticed the confidence with which school goers responded to my questions versus non-school goers. The latter explained themselves as ‘blind’, ‘like animals’ and ‘what do we know?’ Ironically, their responses were more eloquent than the previous group. However, a lack of school credentials, and increasingly English, are as good as being ‘blind’.
On the other hand, we patronise those political leaders who do not have formal education (common phrases like she has not even passed class five or it is so embarrassing to hear him speak English). How else do we explain Bhattarai’s popularity after the war when urban elites happily blamed Maoist rag-tags (i.e. not as educated) for all the atrocities while portraying the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) graduate as a PhD holder, SLC topper and as a learned man who will lead Nepal into the light. Prachanda had been the wartime leader but hey, previous to that he was only a teacher, that too in Gorkha. Not good enough for the ‘educated’ lot of Kathmandu. This is intentionally entrenched so that a small select group of people can continue to control a larger mass without engaging in rational discussions. In many cases, there is no guarantee that this small scholarly group knows what they are talking about. Let me explain.
Hindu knowledge, once a guarded territory of a few male priests, was sacred and in Sanskrit. This made it difficult for common people to know what was actually being learnt and from the altar of an enlightened world, the few could look down and order the ignorant lot without being questioned. Not much has changed even after education spread to the masses.
Baburam Bhattarai’s rise in politics has much to do with this perception of him being a ‘learned’ man. This reverence largely stems from the degrees he has earned, rather than wisdom per se. His wisdom is difficult to ascertain because his writings are abstract. Neither have many of us have read his PhD thesis or his books, which I find far too incomprehensible, even though I don’t consider myself stupid. Even CK Lal has noted the difficulty of deciphering Bhattarai’s writings. But it is precisely such writing and rhetoric that succeed in creating a feeling of intellectual inferiority among others, so successful that even the opposition parties once wanted Bhattarai to be prime minister. Although Bhattarai’s popularity has nosedived recently, many accept that he is the most knowledgeable politician, not because they understand him but rather, because they don’t. When Bhattarai defended Dekendra Thapa’s accused murderers, a question people had was “how can such a learned man do so?” Interestingly, this group forgot that Bhattarai is the Maoist ideologue based on whose scholarly arguments many people like Thapa were killed in the first place.
But we still desire a doctorsahib not only in a hospital but also in politics so that they can operate on us and make us ‘well’ and represent the pakhes in a ‘civil’ manner. If the illiterates are simply objects to be diagnosed by scholars and they themselves think they are as good as blind, where does that leave our democratic process where everyone’s voice should count as we have a large illiterate population? No wonder scholars dress up people’s misery in contradictory theoretical concepts that the oppressed would not have expressed in the first place.
If these scholars were half correct it may be OK, but they are not. What do you make of a socialist movement that in reality is a capitalist revolution, even as the proponents continue to preach the ills of capitalism? I have, however, come to terms with such contradictions. After being enraged with Bhattarai for betraying socialist ideals, I have concluded that it is not his fault. He probably never understood it owing to the rote learning education system he grew up in. Bloom argued long ago that education involves not only remembering (rote learning) but also understanding and analysis; the latter are not strong points of our education system.
It appears nothing is as important as education. Recently a mother committed suicide leaving a note to her young son that read “babu study well and become a thulo manchhe”. Babu on the other hand may have preferred to have mother’s love.
I do value education immensely and am pursuing a PhD myself. But knowledge neither gives you autocratic power to hold everyone else’s knowledge in disdain nor a clean chit to do as you wish. You don’t need to go to school to have your voice respected.
It is time to de-school ourselves and our learned leaders. We could start
from Bhattarai. It is particularly immoral for Bhattarai to use his educational
credentials when he himself forced many children out of school, some as child soldiers, calling it a useless bourgeois system.
Khadka is a PhD candidate at Monash University, Australia