Friday, 12 April, 2024

Something That Blows The Mind

Prem Khatry


Imaging the judges sitting in funny chairs that revolve round and in the spirit of approval they show their face to the artist and the audience once the piece hits their mind. This happens in Indian Idol and other music/dance national competitions. And, when the show goes in full swing where often the little ones give the audience and the galaxy of judges and the candidates their best, there goes the applause – Once More, Once More or just 'mind blowing.' These are words of applause for the young performers who enter the fray eyeing on the big prize and win.
With the best performance on the stage, the judges truly feel the artist actually 'blew' their mind, meaning literally, the performance was something special that gave the judges energy and spirit to speak out loudly. The use of the term or terms have thus literal meaning not actual. In actual sense of the term, a person whose mind has blown can't function normally. It is the beauty of the language and language is human's one of the most interesting, intriguing and intuitive inventions.
The latest in Nepal-India relationship has blown mind of some people, not in Nepal, surely on the other side. Carefully listening to one speaker who claimed to read and thus understand the mind of the Nepalis, claims Nepal is all set to go for war, adding, Nepal has a bit more that 100 thousand soldiers in total. Yet he insists – Nepal will go for war. His assertion is like a scenario where the entire nation is on war therefore no nation can sit isolated, and at peace. The additional description of the situation is such that Nepal has no option than lining up the one hundred thousand boots in a line. He further announces – in a few years, the one lakh will find four more lakhs more in their duty line.
At a time when the estranged relation following the return of Indian PM Modi and the officially 'undeclared' but seriously heavy blockade on Nepal's import items including baby milk and other urgent items like the medical supplies. Nepalis have forgotten the pain at the scars and buried the evils emerged outside the border. Forgetting the experience was essential also to usher in in the age of development.
Nepalis would recollect some events only if there are moves to undermine Nepal's continuous effort to stay free from controversies and conflict generating issues and events. Such a situation has now been created around the historically known, identified and respected river Kali or popularly known as Mahakali, the Great Goddess. In history, this is a long river originating on the uppermost top at Limpiyadhura – powerful as the name goes and also as time comes challenging her origin and her power as Kali. In fact, an artificial and toy baby Kali is not acceptable for Nepal when the virtual Kali is lying for ages protecting Nepal's border.
It all happened when the government of India issued a new map of India showing the long and powerful Kali and hundreds of hectare of land on the northern and eastern side inside India. The 'lukewarm' and unsettled border issue suddenly heated up the elites and historians of Nepal. It didn’t take even a full day before the district administrators who served Darchula, in-charge who ran the census in 1962 (Bhairav Risal) and other experts as well as knowledgeable personalities started chains of interviews, writings and public speeches on the issue.
For some years now Nepal has been raising this issue in our bilateral talks and visits. Nepal's question has been: How come the existence of a long, big and powerful Mahakali separating the international border for centuries could be thwarted and a small 'baby kali' could be created at the much lower end of the landmass (east). A duplicate Kali was something like the short-lived new 'Kapilvastu' at Piprahawa or a new Lumbini in Orisha. Nepalis are now seeing bases in the similarities between these two claims. But it is not in the interest of any single Nepali to compare or contrast. Nepal would go for the reality that is well documented in the Sugauli Treaty, the historians say with full determination.
The person who claimed to have studied the mind of the Nepalis because of his long association with Nepal doesn’t say much about the mind of the other side. Nationwide protests apart, Nepal has not harbored and groomed a 'belligerent mood'. Let us hope she won't go that far. Nepal will behave and expect the other party behave with strong sense of credibility and trust. Shouting with raised punch is for youngsters who like to see things differently. For the rest of Nepal official version based on evidences is the way out to settle this highly sensitive issue amicably as we always do with our neighbors. Sooner or later, this will happen as India has already indicated to that effect.
Speaking of Mind and Mind Blowing similes there comes in mind a historic event featuring the Rt. Hon PM Modi as the guest speaker in the nation's parliament while on an official visit to Nepal three years ago. The Parliament (then) aka Constituent Assembly seemed to suffer from the birth of the new Constitution. The ailment had taken years and no solution was in sight. Addressing the lazy 601 bones, Modi said – you have the rishi mana, the mind of the Sages of the bygone ages. Please apply the divine mind you always possess and come out with the Constitution.
Finally, for a long time, the 'rishi mana' became the title of satires, poems, stories, and what not. Now the rishi mana concept has surfaced in the cold mountains around Limpiyadhura and scores of other border points where Nepal's sovereignty bleeds and nationalism awakens. The government and people of Nepal now feel how the unsettled border issues can be pinching and humiliating if they are not brought on the table on time. The mind blowing video on the media is exciting Nepalis for direct war with India. This was a message sponsored from some corner with a purpose – humiliate Nepalis further and assess their tolerance power. The power is here to stay and watch which way the air blows from the northwestern border.

(Former Dean of Humanities & Social Sciences, TU and Fulbright scholar from University of California, Khatry writes on cultural issues)