“Don’t think that this king is doing good,” writer and engineer Hutaram Baidya, 85, said. “He is just roaming around the country receiving flowers and garlands and telling people ‘I understand, I understand’.”
Old Man and The Bagan Beliya Flower Tree: Hutaram Baidya is a 85-year-old man whose latest book on Nepali politics was published on Sunday, Falgun 7, the Democracy Day. The book, titled “Falgun Saat Ko Samjhana” is the collection of 13 articles that the he penned and published in the last 14 years. Pic by Wagle
By Dinesh Wagle
“This is my first book that deals with socio-economic aspect of Nepal,” Hutaram Baidya started talking about “Falgun Saat Ko Samjhana” published by Kamal Mani Dixit. Dixit wanted to present Baidya, his teacher, with Guru Dakchhina. Baidya’s previous books are on technology and agriculture. “This one is about the importance of democracy for poor people.” He explained that the democracy that the political leadership talked about was different from the democracy that the poor people aspire for. “For poor people democracy is all about feeding themselves with two meals a day,” Baidya said. “For them democracy is about fulfilling their basic needs. But for those who talk about democracy in urban area are talking about rights and power. They are talking about power democracy not the economic democracy.”
He said that the main thrust of the articles in the book is to use democracy in the interests of poor people. “Leadership never talk about working together with people,” he said.
Huta Ram is fond of flowers. He posed for this photograph after I requested him to do so. He was quite happy and enthusiastic to pose and smile for the camera. He likes to introduce himself as an old man who is young at heart. He loves spending time with young folks sharing his experiences, transferring technical know-how to them, learning about new things from them and occasionally cracking jokes!
While he vented his anger against the democratic leaders, he didn’t support the king. “Don’t think that this king is doing any good,” he said. “He is just roaming around the country receiving flowers and garlands and telling people ‘I understand, I understand’. Have you seen him visiting any projects and asking for the progress report? Has he gone to the field with engineers and overseers? He promised to be active but has not been active in such issues. He could have done so many things by using his influential position. He has done nothing that suits his position as the king of a country.”
So what is the solution, Hutaram ji? “Increase peoples’ participation in the decision making process,” he said. “Empower the poor people. Work with them, not for them.”
The Man with Devices: “It’s been difficult for me to hear properly today,” responded Huta Ram Baidya after my third attempt to ask him about his latest book. He threw a smile at me while plugging out the hearing aid device attached to his left ear. “The battery is down.” He said that the device helps him to listen in a calm room. He wears specs with +15 powers on both eyes. “I don’t have the eyeball,” he said. “These thick lenses within the chasma work as eyeball.” He occasionally watches scientific shows and news on TV and scans newspapers.
1. Here is the Kantipur article based on Hutaram interview that has a piece of joke cracked by the old man.