An Updated Report Of A Nepali Reporter

Birthday Blog. A reporter on his job in a changing political scenario of the country.

By Dinesh Wagle

“Are you pessimistic?” was one of her many questions that particularly put me in defensive position. “No, I am not,” was my instant reply. “I am not pessimistic at all.” Then I started explaining to the Japanese TV network NHK’s reporter who had come to film my reporting and blogging activities for her audience why I am still optimistic about the future of Nepal. “But look at this headline, this sounds so pessimistic,” she said, in a conversation that took place a few weeks ago in Kathmandu, pointing out to a printed version of my last year’s birthday blog on her table titled “A Melancholy Report of a Reporter.”

Today, exactly after a year, it’s again my birthday. I do not celebrate birthdays though, when reminded by others like today, I keep doing the math. I was born on the day of Falgun 17, 2035 (March 1, 1979) and with the sunrise of today, I enter 28th year of my life. [I did nothing special. Updated myself on the ongoing court drama on Dan Brown and his meghaselling ‘The Da Vinci Code’ in the Internet for my article and watched George W Bush on TV landing in New Delhi. It is a coincide this year that both Falgun 17 and March 1 fall in the same day just like Magh 19 and Feb 1 did four weeks ago!]

I have no complain with my life. I have my family with me, and a job that also happens to be my hobby to feed myself. But then whenever I contemplate a little more into the situation of myself, my family, my neighborhood and the society at large, I always feel compelled to think that it could have been better. Then I try to think where went wrong and exactly when that went wrong. Then I turn political because I see everything heading toward the political end. Despite all those corruptions and irregularities, financial statistics, and economic indicators force me to conclude that, we were heading toward prosperity in those days of democracy.

Where we have arrived at? Look at today’s headline. Army wants to operate 10 FM stations. Remember the other day’s headline? Information Minister tells independent radio broadcasters that the government is unable to provide security to those stations that air news. The government that is unable to provide adequate security guarantee of investments in independent media sector is quietly providing tax-free environment for the army to operate propaganda machinery. Will a man like me who joined the profession hoping to do free and fair journalism be happy with these headlines?

Journalism is not just my profession but my hobby since my college days. So it is also an inseparable part of my life. That is why whenever I talk about my life, journalism comes. And I have no hesitation to say that journalism remains one of the most challenging and riskiest jobs in Nepal. After the restoration of democracy, this profession got appeal and glamor and attracted college-going youths like me. The image of ‘jhole journalist’ rapidly evaporated with the coming of professionally managed, colorful daily newspapers, 24-hour FM stations and TV channels with modern newsrooms. I have seen journalists of previous generation getting astonished with the development and changes that this profession has seen over the years. We have seen increased level of professionalism and expanded amount of investments in the industry. I have closely observed the change in attitude of my sources toward me and my profession over the years. Now they deal with me in a more respectable manner.

It is not only because I am a member of a new breed of journalists in the country that sees Rang De Basanti in Jay Nepal Cinema and takes part in serious political rallies with same enthusiaism and understanding and writes news in a high-tech newsrooms filled with computers connected to the internet 24-hours a day but also because the level of understand of society regarding journalism has tremendously increased and the reach and influence of media has phenomenally risen. That is why even the army wants to be in journalism, that is why even army feels the need of operating separate radio stations.

It might seems that the freedom level for media has risen today compared to the situation immediately after the Feb 1, 2005 royal takeover. But it is like what they say hidden prices in marketing. Nepali media can not freely report the ongoing conflict, it can not freely report what is exactly going inside the high walls of Narayanhitti Royal Palace and it regularly faces threats from ministers and officials nominated by the king’s government blatantly ignoring the provisions of the constitution. Minutes before I came in front of this computer, I was watching American journalist Karl Bernstein of the Watergate fame in BBC World’s Hard Talk program. He was talking about how news value in American journalism was under threat and how networks like FOX, that sometime create news, were getting popularity in the market. “As journalist, our job is to offer news we find truthful,” he said. And I try to bring his word in Nepali context. Professional media were offering the news they find truthful and they were becoming very successful in their mission. Suddenly a break came in the form of king’s intervention in 2002 that was most visible in February 2005.

But there is silver lining. People are starting to understand the difference between the bright days of freedom and the dark days of tyranny. And this gives me power to defend myself against the questions posed by the Japanese reporter. “To fight with tyranny and grow up with the news of guns have become part of our life,” I said. “I consider myself as a man with a certain responsibility toward the society. All indications suggest that we are heading toward final push. Once we go through that, bright days are waiting for us.” She appeared to be convinced by my answer.

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27 thoughts on “An Updated Report Of A Nepali Reporter”

  1. I was talking about a flower. I am very much sorry Dinesh I couldn’t pluck it and present you on your B’Day today though that was blooming in front of you. Anywayz, many many happy returns of the day (no those days that you mentioned in your story).

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  2. hello dinsh ji

    nice to go through urs blog. i like it. lets be ortimistic towards the future . i dont think we can think more that that for nepal these days. the things which we can do is just performing the duties as responsible youth or as a good citizen , best of luck to nepal

    and HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO U

    THAT ALL I CAN SAY FOR TODAY
    WHO KNOWS KAL HO NA HOO

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  3. Dinesh dai…Happy Birthday… Oh, ya…4th floor of the Kantipur building, business bureau section, the first computer on the right as you enter the periphery of the business bureau…there is a guy, looking funny, dummy, serious…inexplicable…that is Dinesh Wagle!!!!

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  4. Dear Wagle,

    I like and appreciate the way you are working!!
    And do you know why do I like your works??

    Coz I find it quite similar with the my own image- not the real one, but which I wanted to made!!
    Keep it up!

    And, keeping our differences- of ideas, views and so many other things aside……..I wish you a very happy birthday!!

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  5. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, mr wagle! Nice post! And being optimistic is a good thing..lets hope for the best for our country too! 🙂

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  6. Happy birthday Dinesh bhaï (yes, I’m buro mancche : 48…)

    Yes, great days are ahead for Nepal.
    It’s getting ripe.
    It took a little bit long, though.
    I remember April 9, 1990. I was sitting at night, drinking beer and chewing sukuti with friends. We didn’t sleep the night before and our voices were rauquous…
    -Hey Cyp’, we got it !!!
    -Mmmm…
    -Now we have it : DEMOCRACY !!!
    -Well, well, well… you know Mukti, Nepal is a bit like France in 1789… we never had democracy before and so are you… remember, three days ago only there was a blood bath in front of the palace. This was your Bastille Day.
    Then came The Terror. Then Napoleon, and so on ; it took more than a century for us to have a democracy. And still it is far from being perfect. It will take time, Mukti. But it will come.

    ***

    I hope you will not have to wait too long, chaps. But I don’t think so : things are going considerably faster nowadays.

    I hope it will be everybody’s birthday in Nepal this very year.

    ***

    Be brave Dinesh… but you are already.
    Hello to all my friends and free minds in the kingdom.
    Ooops.
    A bad old habit. I am sorry.
    Just like booze : hard to get rid away. But it feels so nice afterwards.

    From Puy-l’Eveque in southwestern France
    Cyprien Luraghi
    Free online writer
    AKA Pascal Dai

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  7. yo chandan..ur right..i remember when dinesh dai first started this blog with co-founder ujjwal acharya before feb-1 2005 and before this site was swarmed with both serious bloggers as well as wannabes, reading about his blog on “john grisham”…being an avid reader of john grisham myself…i could relate to his feelings in that blog..i still remember it..syracuse..investigative journalism..i think it was a short piece from “the last juror”…i dont pretend and say that i know dinesh dai very well..but the interactions i had with him during a brief stint with kathmandu post were quite intellectually simulating, not just blogging per se, but diverse topics…

    i try to read UWB regularly…dinesh dai and his team have done a commendable job, thumbs up to the whole team…
    and happy birthday dinesh dai…

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  8. Interesting- my best wishes for your continued success- Those who are able to make a living doing what they love are indeed fortunate. Some words of advice. First, all the American media operate on the basis of putting out a product which is commercially successsful, whether it is Karl Bernstein trying to sell his books and writings or Alan Combs on Fox ( A liberal) trying to gain popularity for the same reason. The competition is intense and it is common to see derogatory remarks made by competitors, so be somewhat skeptical about observations made by those who have an interest in promoting themselves.

    There are a lot of hard working, dedicated, honest and principled reporters who try very hard to present factual and informative news items- but seldom do they obtain the fame and notoriety of those who at times “bend the rules” for their own self interest. I live in the heart of the US and most people here are tolerant and fair-minded but skeptical of the government, and politics in general.

    Second, watch out for those who vie for power but merely want to replace one form of totalitarianism with another which may be worse for the general population. There are many examples in history- such as Hitler’s rise to power or the terrible conditions in China under Mao.

    If you ever have occasion to visit the US, I would like to extend a personal invitation to you to come to Omaha, Nebraska. I am sure that you would enjoy it… Good luck to you

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  9. Happy B’day Dines dai,

    U r doin great job…keep up….U r right we don’t need to be pessimist yet…There are always siver linings in dark cloud as well…..

    People like u r doin great effort to bring the truth…and its yeilding results toooo
    Cheers!!!! For New Nepal

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  10. Happy Birthday Dinesh ji. I am a regular visitor of your blog site, i just read all the blogs whenever i can but today i will write something because somehow i felt connected about ur thoughts of why we are where we are today.

    As you said even i ponder about what went wrong.I was in class 8 when jana aandolan of 2046 reached its pinnacle and we had democracy in our country.Then there was the first democratically elected government.The most prominent thing about it was Finance minister Mahesh Acharya was doing a great job.We had our stock exchange rocking, Artha Ko Artha started in NTV and there were good news all over.Then this “36 and 76 ko Khel” started and that government broke down.I think that was the turning point,the egoistic and rigid ways of GP in running the governemnt and the party led to the debacle of this country.

    And then the maoists started in 1996, i have always had reservations about them…

    1. It is an unprovoked war.Its not an ethnic,religious or secterian war.It is a war started by few ultra left people who wanted to get power and realised that they dont have the people’s verdict to do so.There was a good democratic system in place,social justice was starting to be delivered.People were experiencing developmental activities.Then why was that war necessary?And now after 10 years and 13000 lives how can Prachanda dare pitch himself as a saviour of democracy. We opened our market before india did,where are we today and where is india, I blame only two people for that GP and Prachanda. KG came much later in the picture and if our democracy had been stable even his father wouldnt have dared to touch the government.

    2.These days its in fashion to say maoist’s war was started by the great disparity that exists in our society and all that.The reality is that they didnt start the war for the people,they used that disparity to serve their purpose.They raised the question of disparity in the government school and the private school and took few corores from the PABSON and kept quiet!! Their aim is/was the money not the issue.Have they ever punished anyone for women traffiking,smuggling,selling our kids to the Indian circus,smuggling? They just take money from them and keep quiet. And i also feel if that war was not there in our country most of the disparity would have been resolved by now.

    3.They have killed many many promising nepalese may be because they dont want anyone else being loved by the people.What wrong had Pandit Narayan Pokhrel done? He has started a new tradition of charity in our religion.There are hospitals and schools built because of him.The worst thing is that they killed him and didnt even say that they killed him. I flet Bharat keshari killed him and i feel so sorry about it now.

    4.They have made villages inaccessible to people like us who want to go there and do some good to our fellow nepalis.I have visited several hospitals with rural outreach programmes which have been stalled. The worst being the model helping hand clinic which the maoists shut down.

    Maoists are the biggest challange facing our nation right now.KG is an obstacle in overcoming that challanage.Only someone as stupid as him can do what he did in feb.1st.The whole nation hated maoists for their deeds and this stupid guy comes forward with his more stupid deeds and becomes the new most hated guy and relieves the moists of their misdeeds and now maoists are acting as if they never commited any crime.

    I am right now in USA.I have a loving family back home.Like you said Dinesh ji,i had a loving gf,now she is my wife.I dreamt of going to the villages and serving my fellow nepalis after finishing my studies and becoming a doctor.My mother cried and made me resign from the job in nepal after one fellow government doctor was looted in his room by
    maoists (who actually claimed that they wont touch SWASTHYA CHETRA).

    I am registered in US to practice here but my heart is in my motherland. I hop through the sites, sometimes i watch photos of my motherland from Rajesh KC’s site,sometimes i read about my country’s profile in cia.gov or read about Nepal in Wikipedia or lonely planet or search Ram Bahadur Bomjan and read pages written about him.All the glitz and glamour of USA is nothing infront of the warmth of my nepali brothers and sisters.

    I wish one day (may it be very very soon) KG realises what a fool he has been and how educated and concious nepalese have been and steps down.And the parties (love them or hate them they represent the people) come to power,settle the maoist issue(which will be difficult and i presume and might take sometime,but then the People and whole world will be behind our government unlike now) and hold a general election.I am sure nepalis will send the moderates to the parliament as they have always done and after all that has happened our leaders will rule our country with Vision and dignity.Then i (like many many other docs/engineers etc) will return with our expertise and exposure and lend our helping hand to build a Nation of which all of us can be proud of.

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  11. Hello Wagle,

    You are getting older and you sure should celebrate it. I have observed something though, you like are publicity hungry. Even then, your contribution to democracy and dedication to journalism must be appreciated. Three cheers

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  12. Dinesh,

    Happy Birthday. We may not agree on many points but in some we do. Your blog site is, unlike your sister organisation (The Kantipur publication house) a stimulant in my veins. It’s only when you post rubbish from Kantipur my high is over instantly.

    Keep up the effort and I wish you many more Birthdays.

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  13. happy birthday wagle
    Live for many years, ur blogging site is cool but rather than blog site it seems like ur personal site, only accepting favourable blogs, but if you opened for all types of blogs and comments , ur life would be more successful

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  14. First, Happy Birthday Dinesh (belated).

    Second, Mero Nepal we dont need your services for tomorrow, you can find plenty of excuses to stay in the US (i.e. The King, the Maoists etc. etc.), however we need your services today if not yesterday.

    So no matter how heartfelt your cry for your country is, it can only be real if you and people who feel like you come home and work through the hard times as well as the future good times.

    After all it is as much your country as it is ours (i.e. local residents).

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  15. Hi D,

    I am here to do my residency and not here to work in a petrol pump (gas station) and i am coming back with expertise which will benifit everyone, may be you too.Though i would not have thought about coming to US for futher study if the situation in Nepal was good because most of the times our health concerns are different but since i am here i will superspecialize in an upcoming (new) field like immunology or intervention cardiology or something like that and come back to nepal to serve our country.

    As you know doctors really earn well and have a good life here.There are many doctors of nepali origin working here.And most of them had/have plans of returning to Nepal but once u are settled here its difficult to decide for sure. After trying so hard to get a residency and having a great prospect after clearing it, its a waste to comeback and be berojgar. I know few such people. One Dr. Narayan Basnet, nepal’s only superspecialist in PEDIATRIC CARDIOLOGY is volunteering in Kanti hospital, that is the situation. Only access to the areas outside ktm can solve the prolem which is not possible today, the valley is saturated with doctors right now.

    Suppose i come back right now being inspired by you, my level before completing this course is just MBBS. There are more than 500 docs like me berojgar in ktm (Do you know that?). Do you want me to add to the talley or study and comeback with specialization.

    Lastly forget this crap that i am trying to lenthen my stay in US citing some example. If it was the case i would be just doing my job and having fun and not waste my time in this blog. If i want to stay back after specialization life here will be great but thats not what i want. However rich and famous you are outside your country deep inside u will be unhappy if ur country’s condition is not good. Once i comeback at least i can do something, may be open a new centre or at least something for the people and i can live and die in peace.

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  16. Mero Nepal,

    I must have misunderstood. I thought you said you were registered to practice in the U.S.
    But later you say you are doing your residency, which is great.

    Since you showed an interest to come back my reply to you was such. These life choices are of a personal matter so it really does’nt matter if you’re a doctor doing your residency there or a petrol pump attendend, both are honest peoples work. Whether you come back or not is of no issue to me. It is an issue to you only and maybe your country. It is sad that you point out that all these junior Doc’s are stuck in Kathmandu. But I remember , even before the insurgency there were very few doctors who ventured out of the capital.

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  17. hi D,
    About that linsence to practice in US,once i pass the Step 3 exam,i am lisenced but if i want to be a specialitst i have to pass the specialist board exam after i complete my residency.You can do residency without passing it,but i have passed it and my visa status allows me to stay and work here.Where as if one has J1 visa,the person HAS TO return to the country of origin and work for 2 years before returning to US.Thats all i meant to say.As you said its upon once’s concience whether u chose the welfare of your people or a selfish lavish lifestyle.I will chose the former.

    I did not mean to degrade anyone who is working in a petrol pump or as a house maid but a specialist in Ktm cannot be excused to visit US on a visitor visa and hide here and work in petrol pump.All the nepalis actors,singers and actresses who hide here of course work in the petrol pump because most of them are owned by indians and they let nepalis without social security to work.This is a disgrace.The same people who have name,fame and more money back home are here just becasue they are fascinated by the name america.Take for example Karishma Manandhar,she is multimillioner.I know her husband’s family.Why does she have to hide and work here and how much money can u save doing it.If this behaviour of hiding continues every nepali will be harassed by the embassay in nepal and at the US ports.

    There are nepalis from well to do families.Staying as House maids,u know why? because after working for 12 years in someone’s house with minimum(mostly they get 500$) salary they will get green card.They have left their family,childern to get that green card in 12 years.How the hell can this be good and principled work.I can only say this is ‘KUBUDDHI’.And for those people with little or no education,green card will mean nothing but a piece of paper.

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  18. Happy Birthday,
    U r strong and positive, I know very well.
    Keep on smiling.
    It will make the people around u to smile and I love to see an everlasting smile on the special face among them.

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  19. Ur bolg site is the best known in Nepal but the reason as I see behind it is: 1. Ur good looks 2. Good PR 3. It probably being the first of kinds in Nepal. I’m sorry to say but it speaks vey less in terms of substance and rather looks like ur personal site (I agree to Ameet on this). And fabricating journalists and journalism is too biased on ur part. Every indivudual is conributing someway or the other to this nation… some are sung and some unsung heroes. Please be more sensible from now on. The cause of the site is definitely good but the matter u write… well! I expect a lot more intelligence.

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  20. I started reading the article thinking about ‘Pessimistic about Nepal’s future’ and then got caught up with this interesting conversation about ‘Educated people living in US returning back to Nepal’.

    Oh, I almost forgot to wish you “Happy Belated B’Day, Dinesh!”.

    I liked the optimism in the lines “All indications suggest that we are heading toward final push. Once we go through that, bright days are waiting for us.” I sincerely hope that this is the final push and we will get to see the bright days soon.

    That was an interesting conversation about ‘Living abroad, thinking about homeland’. All I have to say about the topic is that, I believe there are many Nepalese living abroad, who are expert in their respective fields, thinking about returning back to Nepal and using their expertise to do something productive in Nepal. I am sure the thought comes back to them every once in a while when they discover something or learn something new about their field. When they use a new technology, they think about what if this technology could be introduced in Nepal, and how backwards we are from the rest of the world in using these technologies. When they talk to some Indian or Chinese people they think about, how could Nepal get caught up in its rotten politics and never realize that two of its neighboring countries has advanced so much that they may become the super power of the world in the future. And I am sure that whoever has this thought also makes a determination to himself that one day, soon enough, he will return back to Nepal and make a difference in his field. One day, soon enough, when the political situation of Nepal becomes more stable and when it will be safe enough for my family and my children, I’ll leave behind the luxurious life I am living here and return back to my country and serve my homeland.

    The only problem is that, what if that ‘One Day ‘ comes years later and what if your ‘family and children’ become American by that time. I wonder how many people would still have that determination in their mind, by the time that ‘One Day’ comes. Ohh, I am sounding like a pessimist now. And I like to remain optimistic, especially when I’m talking about Nepal.

    And if the rotten politics of Nepal is the cause for all the bad things happening to Nepal then the last thought on my mind is that “I hate politics so much that I some time think about joining politics and bringing about some changes in it”.

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