Wednesday, November 25, 2015

आखिर मान्छे न हो,

आखिर मान्छे न हो,
बाँच्न नसके पछी सहारा लिने नै भो,
बचोस् कसरी _
दिन ? दिनै सकस छ,
रात ? रातै सकस ।
घाम उदाउछ तर अध्यारो निस्पट,
जुन त झाकल् झुकल्नै हो .
आशाहरु निमोठीएपछी,
निरशाहरु सँग प्रेम कती टिक्छ र  ?
एउटा तर्क, तर्क हुन सक्छ,
जिउने आधार बन्न सक्दैन ।
सँगर्श गर्न सक्छ,
बिना आधार सँगर्शमा परास्त हुन्छ,
बगिरहने लेउ होस् वा उडिरहने हावा,
झुन्दिरहेको यो धर्ती,
बस्तुगत वा बिषयगत,
आधारमै अडेको हुन्छ ।
जब्बर्जस्ती लेखेका कानुन्हरु,
जिउने आधार हुन सक्दैनन
बल हुनेले मान्नु नपर्ने,
नोर्दोस र निर्धाहरुको बली ।
जबर्जस्ती गाडीएक खम्बाहरू,
राजनीति गर्ने हुन,
जिबन दिने हुर्मत नै कहाँ राखछन् र ?
प्रेम नभ्एको,
विश्वाश न्भएको
जिबन लिएर गूड्न भन्दा,
हेपिएको हेर्न,
चेपिएको दुख्न भन्दा,
तेही खम्बाहरुमा तिनै दस्ताबेज
झोसेर तिम्रै सहारा लिनमन छ ।
मलाई कातर् नभनिदेउ ।

Monday, November 23, 2015

Menstrual Restrictions: Nutritional Concern of Women and Girls

Flashback of Wartime in Nepal

I love Lamra village of Jumla in many ways. I have Miteri-mutual love and respect regardless caste, class, gender, region etc. family here since 2002 where as I had special attachment with this village since 2001. In 2001, I was walking through the Hanku village towards Khalanga, headquarter of the Jumla district, as done supervisory role of national polio program. I started from Katikswami, just across the Tila river. Today, Lamra is only 8 km far from the head quarter but those days the life was totally different so Maoist Insurgent dared to organize their program at Durga high school, Lamra. There was nothing such as phone, electricity, road or anything. I was walking on foot trail; I didn't hear or see anything regards to the noise or program or anything. Suddenly, two combatants with AK 47 approached to me and caught me right away and brought inside the school. I saw that the school was encircled by layers of the combatants. Inside, there were about 300 people gathered and the formal program was in progress. They brought to us (I have friend from hospital as accompany) just in front of the row of guests in row. Here, I didn't like to talk everything in details, I just like to say, I survived.  It was so awful moment because I was new in Jumla so far. Since that day, I have somehow attachment with this school and village.
September 2015
I was conducting a series of trainings for village leaders; men and women who are working as faith healers, Female Community Health Volunteers and so on. I strongly believed that the transformation should come from bottom so I have been engaging with village leaders since long.
The way I have been living in village, many people often don’t believe or imagine. They are merely illiterate though passionate and commitment towards change. They took risks and challenges at their personal lives, at community and society at large. Usually, I spent a week in a village so villagers would build trust and confidence on me, my work or campaign.  I was at Pancheswor Cooperative in mid-September 2015 as a follow up of my training program.
A Female Community Health Volunteer denied to eat breakfast in a group. I simply remained quiet and observed the comments of her friends. She was saying that she had tooth ache so she could not eat food along with us. I validate the information on why she hadn’t had the breakfast. It was because there might women participants who have period and the hotel who was preparing the food, might not practicing restrictions while they have period or many women who have period came and eat inside the hotel. The entire logic of not eating is contaminated by women who have period a form or the other who are considered as untouchable or pollutant.
I was really sad, because she has been working as health volunteer since last 17 years and she is not changed yet, how can we imagine from others. More importantly, Lamra is like urban city except two dalit (so called untouchable caste) communities. I questioned myself on impact against my tireless efforts. I really didn’t like to continue my training discussion but no way. I did.
When everyone was going towards hotel where our lunch supposed to prepare. The hotel owner also from Terai and had inter-caste marriage and has two young daughters.  I was following same health volunteers and also declared that I didn’t eat anything too.  Few participants were surprised me and requested to eat. But denied till the health volunteer came to ask me to eat. While she asked, I said why didn’t you eat? I did not like because I was failed, my followers are just talkers not doers. I was here for actions, I am doing all my voluntary work for the sake of women and girls in Jumla and you people were cheating me. I really don’t like to continue this training.
Finally, that lady came and asked me, I was just worried about my toothache. I explained why her teeth ache and why Jumla people lose their teeth when they are quite young. I explained that our oral cavity was dirty as our anal cavity even right after the tooth brush. Then, we have long discussion about caste and menstruation by giving various examples of hotels, pilots, nurses, doctors etc. About an hour discussion, she said, let’s go for eat. We joined the group and ate together.
Next day, I escaped the breakfast in group because it was so hot and spicy. I have allergy with both, I get sick right away including very bad diarrhoea.  But I was peeping to the kitchen where a young girl was baking bread (handmade) from millet flour. I approached towards her kitchen, asked few questions about her study and family and asked for bread to eat.  She allowed me. We built friendship and I invited her to join training if she would free.  The following day, she was in class for training. The breakfast was boiled egg which I couldn’t eat since I am vegetarian. So I went her kitchen again where her mother was preparing food. She gave me bread very easily, allowed me to sit in kitchen next to her and also gave me curry to eat along with bread. Unfortunately, the curry was from egg-plant which I am allergic with this since childhood. She was saying, it wasn’t but I recognized by smell and seeds, so I was eating bread alone. Eating bread alone is really tough job due to very rough surface.  It is very hard to swallow if we eat without anything. I was eating because it is hot so I was swallowing and trying to eat in small pieces. I was about to finish, her mother asked, did you eat yogurt? Yes, of course, I love the Jumla’s yogurt but I pretended and said, had you have? If yes, I would.
But she remained silence for a while, I stopped to eat the bread. After a while, she asked me, had you have period? I know about it though I was shocked because she sent her son to Kathmandu to study, she also travelled here and there, using radio, television, mobile and she saw everything what come to Jumla at the name of development or change.
I said boldly, yes I had, today was the second day. Indeed, I hadn’t had period. I had period when I was in Dillichaur, the eastern side of training.  She replied, humm, I couldn’t offer you at all? My cow would get sick. I even didn’t give my small daughter who had have period last week. I said, ask your daughter, she was in training, what we were doing and what it is all about restrictions. It is a form of violence of human right. I couldn’t leave this kitchen without having yogurt and bread.  I called her daughter and ask to explain about it. She explained well and I also added in very gentle and sometimes funny manner. Finally, I got yogurt but I promised and requested to call me if her family members or cows get sick. I promised to come anytime with medicine or doctors as per conditions.
She didn’t call me at all but I was thinking about her and her family. Psychologically, they might get sick, they might have dispute at home, might got daughter scolded by everyone etc. I regretted that I forget to note their contact number. About a week later, I invited to join the assembly of same cooperative at same place. I was so exhausted and no energy though I accepted because I wanted to meet this family.
I went there, I met entire family. I asked about anything wrong. There was nothing. Daughter was saying and teasing her mother, her cow and husband got sick.  

The deprivation of milk and milk products, meat and meat products, vegetables, fruits, rice etc. is really very bad for health. Women and girls need more nutritious food, love and affection during period. Women and girls have already suffered from chronic malnutrition since childhood. Could we meet all development goals 2030 if we don’t cross such deeply rooted taboos and rituals at the name of purity or religion or culture or custom? Shouldn’t we shift our attentions towards this issue?

Appeal to NRNA, Nov 12, 2015

Dear NRN community across globe,
Greetings !
Thank you very much for your tireless support to your home country. It is highly appreciated.
Here, I am appealing to all NRN members to think more critically and constructively while giving back to your home country.
I do agree and respect, it is very diverse group by caste, interest, ideology, gender, expertise, experience and all.
Charity is important but not way for transformation and sustainable development.
Nepal is still in crisis for strategic leaders for economical and political transformation. Emotionally, anyone can donate some money and can give very sugarcoated lectures but doesn't produce positive RESULTs for sustainable development.
I am sure, many of you down your face in front of others due to Nepal's poor identity in many ways. Here in Nepal, I noticed many of us are living in 3000 BC 's time as mentioned in Stonehenge, London. This is our reality. We have to accept and combat too.
In this connection, I do wounder why such organized,professional NRN institution is not learning from its long experience of giving back and global discourse.
Regards to current ‪#‎indiasblockade‬, I saw three things broadly;
1. Internationalize the humanitarian crisis in Nepal
2. Invest for economic independence: start small, medium and big plans/projects where Nepal can rise by our self
Furthermore, please focus energy to small and medium level enterprises through seed money, fellowship, training, researches, mentoring and big investment on tourism, power and transport.
3. Pressurize government and political leaders to remain accountable towards nation and people.
If I understood correctly, we are Nepali before having a representative of a political party, caste, region, religion and all. No matter how much you rich or expert, you are Nepali.
Sorry if I hurt to any of you and tagging you all.
In Love, Peace and solidarity,
Radha Paudel,
PS: I have spoken March 9, 2015 with NRN UK at London for same, Action Works Nepal shared same idea in Australia in 2012 for same.
Nrna SpokespersonNrn NccNRN's President - Shesh GhaleLcc Nrw Nrn GermanyNRN NetherlandsNRNA NigeriaNRN USANRNA CENTRAL,NRN UK 2013 - Yogen ChhetriNrn AustriaNRN IrelandNRN एन आर एन,
एनआरएनएद्धारा मानविय सहयोग गर्ने घोषणा The Nepal Today prawas Edit काठमाडौं, कात्तिक २४ गैरआवासीय नेपाली संघ(एनआरएनए) ले भारतीय नाकाबन्दीका कारण नेपालका…

Menstrual Seclusion: Women for 8 years, Men for 2 years

It was mid-October 2015, the weather is getting cooler especially in the morning in Jumla, a mountainous district in North-West of Nepal. It was about to 5 AM. I was following the noise though pretending that I had have deep sleep at my bed of home stay in Kartikswami village.
A five years girl, named Shishika (name changed) was calling from outside.
Shishika: Bajyeai, dhoka khola na ( Grandmom,  please open the door). Open the door.
Due to cold, she was trying to hide within the arms of grandma. I continuously was following their conversation.
Grand mom:       why did you scream? Where were your parents?
Shishika:              Mom had bahir sarin (menstruation); she went to chhuikotha (separate room in ground floor) along with brother. Dad went to the next house.
Shishika has three months brother. Her mom is government employee as a health worker in the village and her dad is working in renounced NGO which is working for women empowerment.
I got the sense of conversation. Her mom went to separate room which is always dirty, dark, limited raged clothes and in ground floor. They haven’t had the cows and of course cowshed. Most of the villagers have cattle and shed for them where women and girls are sleeping during their period called Chhaupadi in Nepal where women and girls segregated at least five days during period and 11 days during childbirth.  They are living in literally in cowshed along with cattle whatever they have. Usually, they use raged clothes above the pine leaves and sleep. Pine leaves piercing here and there, there are various forms of insects, fleas, bedbugs (I myself slept in a cowshed to test the hardship). There was bad smell of dungs, urine and decay of pine leaves or other types of hay which is stored for long winter. During winter, in many places, the temperature abruptly went down up to -30 degree Celsius. In this case, they use firewood for making warm. Many women and girls were died due to suffocation from the collection of Carbon monoxide at their unventilated room. Many were died because of cold. Many were died because of snake’s or wild animal bites. Many women and girls subjected to rape, sexual abuse, exploitation and stigma and discrimination is very common.
By keeping all facts in my mind, I became restlessness; it was cold though I went down to see that woman. She was lying down with three months boy, he is so sweet and smiley. I played with him for a while and asked to his mom (everyone called her Love).
Radha:                  What did you teach to villagers on Chaupadi, care of babies and mothers etc.
Love:                     I taught them that it is harmful practice and have to abolish.
Radha:                  Really ? I didn’t believe? [ bit anger tone]
Love:                     Yes, I do [laughter..].
Radha:                  If so why did you here with such small boy, dirty and cold room?
Love:                     My sister didn’t follow last month (she also health worker) and she got sick so I didn’t like to get sick as she.
I pretended that I was so furious with her. I simply said that you all are criminal. You were cheating innocent people. You hadn’t have right to tell if you wouldn’t follow. I also criticized their education; meanwhile, I cooled down and started to teach as I am doing in village to village and everywhere on menstrual restriction.
Radha:                  Do you aware of how many days do you stay in this room in a year?
Love:                     [silence ……………and smiled…….]
Radha:                  You sleep here for five days in a month, means 12 times in a year so total 60 days or 2 months in a year.
When did you menstruate at first?
Love:                     At 12 years old.
Radha:                  Do you ever think that how many years do you sleep in your reproductive life ?
Love:                     I never ever think in such deeper level, sorry…..!                             
Radha:                  Two months a year for 36 years (estimated menopause age 48 years), means 72 months in total means 6 years in reproductive age.
Love:                     Oh my god !, I never thought in such way.
Radha:                  Unfortunately, you have more days.
Love:                     How come? It’s not true? You were exaggerating at all? You wanted to make scared me.
Radha:                  No, not at all. This is true. Let me explain. Where did your daughter sleep when you have period after she born?
Love:                     Is that really questioned? She had to feed breast milk. So she slept with me as like my son now. [She tightly hold her son and seemed more emotional].
Radha:                  It’s ok, don’t worry at all. I just like to know the facts. If so, as likely your daughter, you slept with your mom since infancy. Haven’t you add more years then?
She had beaten her tongue and flushed her face and nodding her head for yes.
Radha:                  You had fed breast milk for 2- 3 years and had continued to sleep with mother as company till you get marriage or away from your home, right? In such condition, at least 12 years means total 24 months or 2 years. Thus, you should add 2 years in your earlier 6 years. Now, the total years of segregation is 8 years.
Have you ever think, how much loss in your health, economic life, political life and all because of all.
Love:                     Very honestly, I don’t know at all, Phupu..(Aunt). I am following all because of tradition and pleasing to my parents and personally, I also scared to abolish the restrictions. I have strong believe on god.
Radha:                  Since you are health worker from city, you should aware. There are many immediate affects from Chhaupadi as follows;
1.       Devastating situations: many women and girls are died, subjected to rape, sexual violence, harassment, stigma because of living in segregation. It is serious form of human right violence.
2.       Urinary and Reproductive Health Illness (URHI): though there are other contributing factors for URTI, the Chhaupadi is one of the key cause. Because they profoundly exposed with dirty clothes, dung, dusts and so on since childhood. Consequently, many women and girls are suffering from chronic URHI including infertility, uterus prolapse.
3.       Mental and psychological trauma: since childhood, they have deep trauma from it. Girls considered themselves as cattle. If we think bit optimistic way, they considered themselves as low status than their brothers and fathers. That kind of learning, humiliation is permanently constructed. Many girls like to commit suicide even after 4-5 years of period (AWON, 2013). They thought that they born as girl as a consequence of sin of earlier life. Meantime, boys also considered that super power or higher position than boys.
4.       Deprivation in political participation: because of period, many women absent from group meetings due to unable to putting thumb stamp in attendance register, many women don’t join the cultural gathering due to scared of touching. Many girls remain absent in school due to many reasons; sacred to touch books, men members and temple at school. They also sacred because of leaking of blood due to no toilet, water and sanitary towels.
 As a result of immediate affects, there are many long term negative impacts as follows;
1.       Peace building: women and girls are living in internal and external conflicts. They regret for being born as girl or female. In addition, women and girls are living in deprivation from basic needs such as warm, food, love, respect, dignity etc. In this connection, peace is fully torched at individual and family levels.
2.       Empowerment: women are deprived from various forms of opportunities since childhood which has huge cost in political participation, economic empowerment and overall empowerment.
3.       Development: once there is no participation of caliber or empowered women, there is no sustained peace. Once there is no peace and women, how can we imagine for sustainable development.

I would say, unfortunately, boys also slept in cowshed though biologically they never ever have period.
She just nodding her head and continuously looking down.
Radha:                  see, your son never has period but since 3 months he is sleeping in separate room.  Later, sons are sleeping with their mom unless until they felt secure with their mom. As your nephew, usually they sleep up to 10-11 years or before teenage. It means they also segregated about 2 years in their life due to period.
The half of the sky has been experience of period as piece and parcel of nature and divine for social legacy. No one can deny this natural character or no one can steal from women. Unfortunately, it was misinterpreted by our ancestors and it is continuously practiced across the globe where Nepalese are living. 
The bottom-line principle of Chhaupadi is restriction. There are three forms of restrictions in practice; entering, touching and eating. The women and girls don’t allow to enter in to the house because of blood (a form of impurity) so they segregated in various forms of cowshed since history where no knowledge, skills, technology and all. It is easily can imagined that the blood could give smell and attracts flies and blood became contaminated. The menstrual blood pure as other blood (in normal situation) but get contaminated right after expulsion from vagina. Unfortunately, ancestors unaware about all and might be said that the god would angry if women wouldn’t leave the house.
Now, the time change and change many things in our surroundings. It has being taught in high school but the practice is still following everywhere such as USA, UK. The health teacher, personnel, social activists, scholars are practicing at the name of culture, religion, pleasing their parents or faith healers or in- laws but it is very impulsive practice indeed.
At that house, the grandma and granddad are the health worker and teacher respectively. I don’t see the accountability at all. I often used this family for my home stay as principle and practice of Miteri mutual love and respect, while travelling to Jumla headquarter. I didn’t tell them that I have period though the toilet is not appropriate to maintain my cleanliness, privacy and confidentiality. There is no bathroom and no place of waste disposal. However, I managed to hide.

I don’t have regret and won’t be regret throughout my life that my friend and I were eating at their third story kitchen with our period but a three-month boy was following Chhaupadi for the sake of god. Personally, I believe in nature, to me nature is god. God made women in a way who can continue the society, so there is no point to stay in segregation at all.

Friday, October 30, 2015

किताबका मिठा कुरा,

किताबका मिठा कुरा, तिमी अड्की अडकी भन्छौ,
मानिस् हरु तिमीलाई विद्वान भन्छन, गला जोड्छन ।
म खरर बोल्छु, हतार हुन्छ, शब्दहरु खान्छु,
जिबन बोल्छु, अनुभुती बोल्छु, सत्य बोल्छु सबैलाई तितो लाग्छ ।
तिम्रो तलब मेरा निम्ती, तिम्रो सुख सुबिध मेरा कारण,
तिमीले लेखे पनि, खाए पनि, बोइङ उडे पनि मेरा लागि ।
म केबल देखाउनका लागि, म केबल तिमीलाई जिताउनका लागि ।
म नाँगै छु, तिम्रो फ्रेम भित्र पर्दैन, तिम्रो हाकिम् भुज्दैन,
म अदालत र वकिल धाउछु, तिम्रा कानुनलाई प्रमाण छैन ।
म मान्छु, तिमी बेस्त छौ, जिम जान भ्याएकै  छैनऊ ।
कनिकुथी अर्काले हानिदिएको फोन गर्छु, तिमी उठाउनौ ।
फेस्बुकमा सबैले भेट्छन रे, मै सित हराउछौ सधैं ।
मेरा अधिकार मलाई था छैन तर तिमी बोलेर थाक्दैनौ रे ।
जे गर गर , मलाई नछोइ गरे के हुँदैन त्यो ?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Appeal for Dialogue, Peace and welcome to constituion

तराइमा बलेको आगो र बर्बर बन्दै गएको सस्कारले एती बेचैनी बनाएको छ कि त्यो शब्दमा उद्द्रित गर्न सक्दिन। बिर्सिन खोजेर गाउ गाउ त डुले तर मैले शान्ति पाईन ।
समाज गतिशिल छ, जतिसुकै गरीब र सानो भएनी कुनै पनि देस एक्लो र सानो छैन तेसैगरी कुनै देस ठुलो र धनी छैन, हामीले कसरी हेरेउ हाम्रो भित्रको म र त को बिस्लेशन्ले मुख्य भूमिका खेल्दछ ।
लोक्तान्त्रिक समाज एसरी नै चल्छ जहाँ कसैका सबै सरोकार पुरा होवोइनन।
लोग्ने र श्वासनी, अर्थात एउटै बा आमाले जन्माएका छोराछोरि अर्थात जुम्ल्यहा बच्चामा त सबै एकै हुन सक्दैन ।
हामी बर्तमानमा बाच्नु पर्छ, देस केन्द्रबिन्दुमा राखेर हाम्रा माग राख्नु पर्छ । आमा नै मरिन भने आमालाई खाइ नखाइ बनाइदिएको हिराको गहना को के मतलब छ र, जसरी नि पहिले त आमालाई बचाउनु पर्नेमा दुई मत नहुनु पर्छ ।
आमालाई आइ सि यू मा राखेर कुनै पनि सन्तानले मलाई कल्ले के भन्यो, के गर्‍यो भनेर भन्नेहरुसँग झगडा गर्दै हिड्यो, आमाको मतलब गरिएन भने आइ सि यू मा आमा कतिदिन बाँच्न सक्लिन र ?
आमासँग रिसाएर आमाको कुरा अरुहरु सँग काट्दै, उनिहरुले छनिक रुपमा दिएको सहयोग समर्थन्ले के आमालाई आइ सि यू बाट सन्चो बनाएर बाहिर निकाल्न सकिएला ? के आमाको  गुन, रिन तिरिएला र ? सकिदैन। कदापी सम्भब् पनि छैन।
भन्नेहरुले जे पनि भन्छन, सुन्नेहरुले जे पनि सुन्न सक्छन, सबै देखेका, सुनेका कुरा सत्य हुन्नन, सबै भोगेका कुरा सबैलाई योग्य नलाग्न सक्छन।
अरुको पछी नलागी  आफ्नै हैसियतामा मरिमेटे अबस्य सम्भब् छ एकदिन ।
मैले महिलाको अधिकारमा जान्ने बुज्ने बेलादेखी नै लागे जतिखेर म आफ्नो घर, आमा बा मात्र जान्दथे र अहैले सम्म पनि मेरा माग पुरा भएका छैनन तर म आतिएको छैन, रिसाएर केही सार्वजनिक अहित गर्दै हिंडेको छैन।
हिरासतमा बस्ने देखी प्राय सबै खालको बिरोधको अनुभब  छ, पहुच नभएका कारण बाहिर आएनन वा सुनुवाई भएनन ।
तर बिग्रेको के छ र आधार बनेको छ, म एही देशको नागरिक हो, शान्ति पूर्वक मेरा अधिकार माग्न लोकतन्त्रले  अधिकार दिएकै छ्।
मन मिल्ने साथीहरु सँग बहस चल्दैछ, फेरी बार्तामा बसेर आफ्ना  अधिकार स्थापित गर्न सकिन्छ भन्नेमा बिस्वस्त छु र झन्डै ८ बर्षपछी  संबिधान आएकोमा खुशी पनि छु।
दिदी बहिनी, दाजु भाई, बाउ आमा घरभित्रैका परिवारसँग विश्वाश नगरेर कतिन्जेल स्वाभिमान टिकाउन सकिन्छ र .
भन्ने कुरा धेरै छन, अहिले एती नै, मेरो विचारमा सहमत् हुन पर्छ भन्ने छैन तर यो सत्य हो बार्ता बाहेक अर्को बिक्ल्प छैन .
चिनी, ग्यास त हिजो नभएर नि भाथ्यो, दुई चार दिन नभएर नि चल्छ , घर भित्र र बाहिर बैकल्पिकबाटा खोज्न सकिन्छ
तर गुमाएको मान्छे, सम्पत्ति, सस्कार फिर्ता हुन सक्दैनन .
मैले के गरे हुन्छ म गर्न तयार छु , म नेपाली हो , मलाई पहिले नेपाल चाहिन्छ चाहे नखाएर, बलात्‍कृत भएर वा कुनै बिसम परिस्थितीमा बाँच्न नै किन नपरोस .

I love my Country, My Love, My Pride,     

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Protest: Gender Responsive Constitution

Police Interfere while women activist were trying to enter in to the restricted area at Baneshor, August 18, 2015.The mass rally was started from Babarmahal and concluded at the new Baneswor with corner assembly.

August 18, 2015 during the corner assembly, Dipti Gurung a victim, Her daughter Nikita and Radha Paudel were trying to cross the restricted areas and has dispute with security
August 18, 2015 Police not allow to enter in to restricted area 
August 18, 2015 Dipti,Nikita, Meera Dhungana and Radha Paudel were negotiating with police