Category Archives: Nepal

Postcard from Nepal

When we woke  on 27 November, Kathmandu had changed overnight: every street light pole and advertising space featured the face of Prime Minister K P Oli. “A new era begins” proclaimed the posters promoting a new social security scheme. 

Social media was soon flooded with ironic memes about the new era. Critics attacked the publicity campaign’s huge expense and the showy display that took the focus away from the scheme itself.

Many journalists and political scientists are also concerned about this and other signs of megalomania. The communist government has recently passed laws that criminalise aspects of investigative journalism, photography and satire, and strengthen actions against slander and libel. The message is clear: the government will take no criticism.

The PM’s speech at the inauguration of the scheme was explicit about the intention to control. “For those who say they do not see the government’s presence, do you still not see it? If you don’t, you won’t have to wear spectacles to do so. In future you will be forced to see it, whether or not you want to!”

/Sewa Bhattarai.

The postcards by journalists in our network are published on the Blank Spot Project website.

I was surprised that grandma accepted cooking with eggs

Article published in Svenska Dagbladet, from the series Äta tillsammans (Eating Together)
16 July 2018
By Bhrikuti Rai

Nepal. Thirty year old marketing manager Yukti Pant lives in Kathmandu with her parents and grandmother. Traditionally the family are strict vegetarians, but Yukti got a taste for meat when she was visiting relatives, and often eats out with friends so that she can choose a meat dish.

-Grandma is so strict with her traditional customs. That she accepted egg to be cooked in her kitchen was really surprising, says Yukti.

Article published in Svenska Dagbladet, 16/7 2018. Full article (in Swedish) here: https://www.svd.se/att-farmor-skulle-acceptera-agg-var-ovantat

I encourage men to buy sanitary pads for their sisters

Article published in OmVärlden
November 22nd, 2016
By Bhrikuti Rai

Nepal. Sabin Singh tries to break old patriarchal patterns by talking to boys and men about menstruation. Women who menstruate are often seen as unclean, and in more traditional areas they can be forced to sleep in cow manure, he says.

“I was first introduced to ideas that question traditional gender roles in Nepal when I was a teenager. In an after school club in the neighbourhood, games were based on themes related to gender roles and the importance of gender equality. Since then, I’ve participated in several programs and projects that aim to encourage gender equality at home and at the workplace. Currently I’m working with the popular Nepalese radio show ‘Saathi Sanga Manka Kura’ (in English: ‘Chatting to my best friend’) which discusses topics about growing up and becoming an adult. Gender roles is a recurring theme.

-‘Period chats with men’ is the initiative that’s affected me the most. It was started by the youth led organisation Yuwalaya in Kathmandu. In most Nepalese families, women and young girls are kept from doing a variety of things when they are on their period because they’re seen as unclean. My family never acted like that. But I also never thought about that it could have anything to do with me as a man.  And I didn’t question the stereotype labelling men as stronger and women as weaker. But after learning about the physical and and emotional impact of menstruation, and about how the stigma surrounding it hinders girls and women, I realised how misleading the established gender stereotypes are.

-Now I’m trying to get other young men and boys to change their views about women. I encourage them to do the simple task of buying sanitary pads for their sisters, mothers and girlfriends as a way of reducing the stigma surrounding menstruation and also show that men view it as something natural”.

Article published in OmVärlden 22/11-16. Full article (in Swedish): http://www.omvarlden.se/Opinion/kronikor1/jag-uppmanar-man-att-kopa-bindor-till-sina-systrar/