Jesse Watters and Bill O’Reilly: Scroll down to find the English text. We won’t laugh at your inability to read the Nepali text.
By शिरोमणी ढुङ्गाना/Siromani Dhungana
भाषा ज्ञानको अर्को नाम होईन । तर अपसोच नेपालमा विस्तारै भाषालाई नै ज्ञान र विद्याको अर्को नामको रुपमा लिन थालिएको छ । त्यो पनि अंग्रेजी भाषा । अंग्रेजी खर्रर्र बोल्न आउने जुनै पनि स्वाठ नेपाली समाजमा जान्ने व्यक्तिकोरुपमा स्थापित हुने र अंग्रेजी बोल्न नआउनेलाई पाखे वा ल्वादेकोरूपमा प्रस्तुत गरिने क्रम बढ्दो छ ।
भाषाको सामान्य उदेश्य सञ्चार स्थापित गर्नु हो । आलोचनात्मक सांस्कृतिक सिद्धान्तकारहरु भन्छन्ः कथित ठुलाबडाले सधैं संस्कृति निर्माण गर्छन र गरिबहरुको संस्कृतिलाई दमन गर्छन ।
यसको पछिल्लो सिकार भएका छन् एकजना सज्जन नेपाली – सुदर्शन सुवेदी । यूएनको महासभामा अतिथि भएर न्युयोर्क पुगेका सुवेदीलाई टहलीरहेका बेला अमेरिकी टीभी च्यानल फक्सको कार्यक्रम द ओरेल्लि फ्याक्टरका तर्फबाट जेस्सी वाटर्सले हठात र छिटोछिटो अमेरिकी अंग्रेजीमा केही प्रश्नहरु सोधे । सुवेदी अन्कनाए किनकी उनले भन्न खोजेका कुरा अंग्रेजीमा व्यक्त गर्न जानेनन् । तर भिडियोमा प्रष्ट देखिन्छ उनी जुन मुस्कानका साथ प्रस्तुत भए – त्यो उनको भद्रता थियो ।
जव भिडियो सार्वजानिक भयो, काठमाडौंका ‘ठुलाबडाहरुमा’ र देशको इज्जतको ठेक्कालिएर बसेका कुलीनहरूमा खैलाबैला मच्चियो । उनीहरुलाई देशको बेइज्जत भएको लाग्यो । मानौं अंग्रेजी बोल्न नजानेर वा अंग्रेजी नबुझेर सुवेदीले पाप गरे जस्तो देखियो ।
तर सम्बन्धित ‘ठुलाबडा’हरुले के बुझ्न जरुरी छ भने यो देशमा शिक्षा प्रणालीमा विभेद छ । गाउँका सरकारी विद्यालयहरुमा चार कक्षामा अंग्रेजीको पढाई शुरु हुन्छ– कम्तिमा सुदर्शनको पुस्ताले त्यही भोगेको हो । नेपाल सरकारले खटाएको कुनै शिक्षक जान्छ पढाउन । अक्सर विद्यार्थीको पढाईभन्दा जागिर प्यारो हुन्छ सम्बन्धित शिक्षकलाई । नियमित विदा बाहेक विभिन्न कार्यक्रम र राजनीतिक प्रभावले पनि पढाईमा रफ्तार उतिसारो हुँदैन । सरकारी विद्यालयका विद्यार्थी नेपाली भाषामा परिक्षा दिन्छन् । हामी सबैलाई थाहा छ, अंग्रेजी जीवनभर पास गर्न नसक्दा धेरै विद्यार्थी ‘फलामे गेट’ पार गर्न नसक्दा उतै गाउँमै रुमल्छिन् । त्यहि अंग्रेजी हो – जुन विषय पास गर्न नसक्दा धेरैले भीरबाट हामफालेर जीवन तिलाञ्जली दिएका होलान र भोलीपल्ट हामीले समाचार पढ्यौं होला ‘एसएलसी पास नहुँदा आत्महत्या ।’
म आज पनि ठोकुवाका साथ भन्न सक्छु, हाम्रा धेरैजसो सरकारी विद्यालयका अंग्रेजी शिक्षकले पढाएका/लेखेका एस्सेहरुका व्याकरणगत त्रृटी भेटिनु सामान्य कुरा हो । अंग्रेजीका अभ्यासहरु गराईदैन हाम्रो सरकारी विद्यालयमा अपितु सुत्रहरु घोकाईन्छ । म आफैं पनि राम इट राइस वा राम इट्स राईस कुन सहि हो भन्न सक्दैनथे । तर मलाई सिम्पल प्रिजेन्ट टेन्सको सुत्र कण्ठ थियोः सब्जेक्ट + भर्ब वान अर भर्व फाईभ + अब्जेक्ट । मैले स्कुले जीवनमा अंग्रेजीलाई यस्तै सुत्रहरुमा पढे । अभ्यासमार्फत अभ्यस्त हुने भन्दा सुत्र मार्फत घोक्ने नेपाली सरकारी विद्यालयहरुको बास्तविकता हो । सुदर्शनले त्यस्तै सरकारी स्कुलमा पढेका हुन् किनकी उनका बाबु न कुनै धनी सामन्त थिए न मन्त्री डाक्टर या अाईएनजीअोकर्मी ।
हो यो वास्ताविकतामा काठमाडौंका ठुलाबडालाई कुनै चासो छैन । धनी र गरिबबीचको खाडलको उनीहरुलाई अन्दाज छैन । तर उनीहरुलाई विदेशी एउटा टेलिभिजन च्यानलले अनाहकमा एउटा भद्र नेपालीको धज्जी उडाउँदा लज्जाबोध छ । ज-जसलाई लज्जाबोध भयो उनीहरुलाई मेरो प्रश्नः
जुन टेलिभिजन कार्यक्रममा सुवेदीको अन्तर्वार्ता गरियो त्यसमा जेस्सी वाटर्स अनि विल अोरेल्ली भद्र थिए कि सुवेदी ?
भाषा नजान्दैमा त्यसरी अरुलाई उडाउनेचाँही तपाईँहरुको नजरमा सभ्य हो ?
रुनु कि हास्नुको अवस्थामा पुगेका हाम्रा काठमाडौंका ठुलाबडाले यसतर्फ विचार गर्नुपर्छ कि पर्दैन ।
र अन्तमा, यो देश अंग्रेजी बोल्न नसक्नेहरुको रेमिटेन्सले चलेको छ । काठमाडौंका अंग्रेजी बोल्ने महोदयहरु, लाज लाग्छ भने त्यो रेमिटेन्सको पैसालाई राष्ट्रिय अर्थतन्त्रबाट निकालेर शभ्य देश खडा गर्न सक्ने सामर्थ्य तपाईँहरुमा छ ?
Laugh at your death: So according to Jesse Watters and Bill O’Reilly, anyone who doesn’t understand their accent and silly questions and can’t speak English is a subject of ridicule. For these people, it seems, anyone who walks around in New York must be fluent in English- if not, you laugh at the person.
Even if you assume that Watters and O’Reilly didn’t know that Sudarsan Subedi was a man who suffered from polio when he was four and didn’t get a chance to study in an English medium school, they should have known that English is a language that is spoken by only about 375 million people (out of about 7 billion) as their first language. “Estimates that include second language speakers vary greatly from 470 million to over a billion depending on how literacy or mastery is defined and measured,” according to this page.
I think the ‘crime’ of Sudarshan is not that he couldn’t/didn’t understand and speak English. His ‘crime’ perhaps is that his father wasn’t rich/powerful enough to send him to English medium schools in Nepal and abroad. Moreover, he is a disabled person who has done inspiring things in his life- so much so that he was invited at the UN General Assembly. But the real bhatmaras are those privileged and ‘able’ folks who make fun of him and blame him for not knowing English words for tarkari, daal and achar.
And those Nepali morons (the bhatmaras) who think Sudarshan brought disrepute to Nepal by not understanding an American’s (?) accent and by not speaking English, get vaccinated against polio because it’s you, not Sudarshan, who has been infected by polio.
Of course it’s good if you can converse in English which is a global language. But many Nepalis are not in a situation to learn it properly even if they want to. The schools where majority of Nepali kids study don’t have properly trained and skilled English language teachers. Sudarshan is one such Nepali. But Sudarshan proved that he is a man of wisdom by not punching silly Jessy Watters for laughing at his inability to understand English.
A question to Bill O’Reilly and Jessy Watters: how would you feel if you find yourself infested with a virus that makes you unable to laugh and someone laughs at you for your inability?
Read more about Sudarshan Subedi
In 2006, Nepali Times wrote: Sudarshan Subedi was eight when he developed a limp. His village in Parbat was a 10 day walk from the hospital in Kathmandu so he got no treatment. Today, at 33, polio has become a part of Sudarshan’s life.
Sudarshan’s father was determined that his son should recieve an education and rallied his fellow villagers into opening a local school. Even as a boy Sudarshan remembers being determined to overcome his physical disability, he used to play goalie in football matches and applied himself to his studies. After graduation, Sudarshan’s heart went out whenever he witnessed others like him being mistreated and he was determined to redress this injustice.
Sudarshan then set up the Disabled Human Rights Centre (DHRC) in 2000 through which he hoped to change the system.
Shudarson Subedi was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2005. Here’s what the AF’s website wrote about him:
Shudarson believes his own disability was caused by a case of polio he contracted as a child. Ridiculed by his schoolmates, he preferred to avoid social situations and instead concentrated full time on his education, attending a school begun by his father. Shudarson’s father was a village clergyman always concerned with social justice, and Shudarson has inherited this trait.
As an adult, Shudarson was inspired by the good work he saw done by local members of the Red Cross and Reuikai. Shudarson saw that, in isolated villages, disabled people such as he were rarely able to work at the same level as their able-bodied counterparts. Nevertheless, he was determined to try.
Although he had spent many years avoiding people out of embarrassment over his disability, he soon found that working for himself brought many benefits: he was earning money to help his low-income family, he was learning new skills, and he was coming to know and understand his own community, the same community from which he had previously tried to distance himself.
With the newfound knowledge that true freedom came from helping himself, he set out to help other disabled people to get on their own feet. While traveling to other remote locations around the country, he realized that not all disabled people were as easily able to engage in public life as he was: Even if they had the courage and nerve to stand up for themselves, they still faced constant discrimination from a population that regarded them as worthless.
Sudarson set himself to finding a way to change this attitude. Sudarson chose to study law, thinking that through the law he would better be able to advocate for disabled rights. His thesis for his law degree reflected his commitment to this issue: “Legal provision for disabled people.”
His thesis has since been published and distributed to libraries across the country as a reference for basic information on legal issues for the disabled. One of the very few physically challenged people in Nepal to graduate with a higher degree, Shudarson has demonstrated that disabled people need not depend on outside help but can in fact be the leaders for their own cause.