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Ghalib remembered in Kathmandu Poetry event organised by Indian Embassy

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Kathmandu: Eminent Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib, on his 218th birth anniversary, was remembered on the 29th edition of poetry event “Poemandu” organised by the Indian embassy here in collaboration with the BP Koirala India-Nepal Foundation.

The event, held at the Nepal Bharat Library in the Nepal Airlines building on Sunday, started with paying tributes to Ghalib for his contribution to Urdu poetry, an embassy statement said on Monday.

Speaking about Ghalib’s works, Sanath Kumar Basti said Ghalib started composing poetry at the age of 11.

Before Ghalib, the ghazal was primarily an expression of anguished love, but he expressed philosophy, travails and mysteries of life and wrote ghazals on many other subjects, vastly expanding the scope of the ghazal, Basti said.

Manoj Neupane, Tripura Poudel, Abdul Momin, Momila Joshi, Gopal Ask, Imtiaz Wafa, Gyanuwakar Poudel, Krishna Jung Rana, and Shekhar Giri were among the eminent poets who recited their compositions and ghazals in Hindi and Nepali in this edition of ‘Poemandu’.

On the occasion, Abhay Kumar, secretary of the BP Koirala India-Nepal Foundation, shared his experiences about organising and participating in literary events in Kathmandu.

According to Kumar, Ghalib was not considered the best poet of his time, and, in fact, Zauq was the poet laureate of the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, but time has judged Ghalib to be the best.

He recited his own poem on Ghalib and Laxmi Prasad Devkota.

He also shared that he would soon be leaving Kathmandu for Brasilia where he has been posted as India’s deputy chief of mission. He said ‘Poemandu’ has brought the literary community of Nepal on a single platform and hoped that it would continue in the coming months.

On the occasion of Ghalib’s Jayanti, a book titled “Dhupchhaya”, written by Krishna Jung Ran, was also released. (IANS), (image courtesy:s2.dmcdn.net)

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Nepali Woman scales Mt Everest with the message to fight against human trafficking

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Kanchhi Maya Tamang, a trafficking survivor with a message against human trafficking

Kathmandu, 21 May, 2017:A Nepali woman has scaled up Mt Everest with the message to fight against human trafficking, becoming the first to climb the worlds highest peak for women empowerment and gender equality, according to UN Women Nepal.

Kanchhi Maya Tamang, a trafficking survivor, has also become the first woman from the Tamang community of Nepal to summit Mt Everest.

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Tamang was seen holding a poster stating “We are people, not property” in an undated photograph taken on the mountain. She is herself a trafficking survivor, reported Himalayan Times.

Associated with UN Women, Tamang, along with Pemba Dorje Sherpa climbed Mt Everest with a message to “Fight Against Human Trafficking”, said Gyanendra Shrestha, a liaison officer in the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation.

Tamang was accompanied by 19 other climbers from Japan, Australia and India. (IANS)

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Kopila Wosti: A Girls’ Dreams Shattered as Nepal Fails to Curb Child Marriage

A study by HRW organization showed that child marriage was prevalent throughout Nepal and practiced in Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim and Christian communities.

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A portrait of a girl who was married at age 16 is shown in a presentation by New York-based Human Rights Watch during the release of a report on child marriage in Nepal in Kathmandu, Nepal, Sept. 8, 2016. Image source: VOA
  • Child marriage is a serious problem in Nepal. There are laws against the practice of child marriage which make them illegal in the country but the government has not been successful in implementing such policies
  • One such case is of Kopila Wosti, who was married off by her father at the age of 14
  • She was denied a chance to get a education and choose her own partner
  • A researcher from, Human Rights Watch, conducted a study which revealed that poverty, illiteracy and society’s disapproval of unmarried women was the root cause of the practice of child marriage.

Kopila Wosti was a 14-year-old young bride, who her father married off to a 19-year-old stranger. A year later, she gave birth to a baby girl. By the time she was 20, she had three children.

“The first time I became pregnant, I was not even aware I was going to be a mother and did not know how to raise the child,” said Wosti, now 34, as she sat cross-legged on the floor of a shelter home in the Nepali capital, Kathmandu.

Separated from her husband for over a decade, Wosti blames the marriage for ruining her life — denying her the chance of going to school and of choosing a more suitable partner.

“There are women of my age who are yet to have children,” said the petite woman, dressed in a green shirt and trousers, with her long black hair tied up in a bun.

“I could have gone to school and had a better future, too. But all that is a dream now,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Law not enforced

Child marriage is illegal in Nepal, yet the impoverished Himalayan nation has failed to put in place policies to curb the practice, with almost 40 percent of girls married before age 18, a report by Human Rights Watch said Thursday.

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It found that poverty, compounded by illiteracy and society’s disapproval of unmarried women, compelled many parents to seek out husbands for their daughters.

Yet child marriage often results in a vicious cycle of malnutrition, poor health and ignorance, since a child bride is more likely to drop out of school and experience problems during pregnancy and childbirth.

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Her children are more likely to be underweight or die before age 5, said the report, which was based on over 100 interviews with children, former child brides, parents, and activists.

“Many children in Nepal, both girls, and boys, are seeing their futures stolen from them by child marriage,” said Heather Barr, women’s rights researcher at HRW.

“Nepal’s government promises to reform, but in towns and villages across the country, nothing has changed.”

Heather Barr, center, a researcher at the New York-based Human Rights Watch, speaks during the release of a report on child marriage in Nepal in Kathmandu, Nepal, Sept. 8, 2016. Image source: VOA
Heather Barr, center, a researcher at the New York-based Human Rights Watch, speaks during the release of a report on child marriage in Nepal in Kathmandu, Nepal, Sept. 8, 2016. Image source: VOA

Deep roots in society

The study showed child marriage was prevalent throughout Nepal and practiced in Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim and Christian communities.

Government officials said the deeply entrenched nature of child marriage, which the nation has vowed to end by 2030, made it hard to tackle.

“The government considers child marriage as an act of violence and is making efforts to end the scourge, which is deep rooted in the society,” Sushila Paudel, an official from Nepal’s women’s ministry, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

One-third of girls in the developing world are married before age 18, according to the International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW).

Child marriage is most prevalent in sub-Saharan African countries such as Niger and Chad, but because of population size, the largest number of child brides live in South Asia.

Marriage for food

Nepal, home to 28 million people, has the third-highest rate of child marriage in Asia after Bangladesh and India, with 37 percent of girls marrying before 18.

The country outlawed the practice five decades ago with a punishment of up to three years’ imprisonment and a fine of 10,000 rupees ($95). The age of marriage is set at 20 years old for both men and women.

But HRW said the law was seldom enforced, with complaints rarely investigated by police or prosecuted.

Police were not immediately available for comment. HRW said gender discrimination and poverty were key factors driving child marriage. Almost 25 percent of Nepalis live on a less than $1.25 a day.

“Some girls said they welcomed a child marriage because they hoped it might mean they had more to eat, a hope that was not always fulfilled,” the report said.

In many communities it is normal for girls to marry soon after puberty, as parents will avoid paying a higher dowry to the groom’s family if the bride is younger, it said. (VOA)

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Hollywood actor Michelle Yeoh: more an activist than actor

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Photo: www.cobaltss.net

Kathmandu: She’s a global face as a Hollywood actor, action heroine, and a humanitarian. For Malaysia-born Michelle Yeoh, famous for her role in Ang Lee’s Oscar-winning martial arts love story “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” every day is a gift and she looks forward to another good tomorrow.

She also acted in James Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies” in 1997.

Yeoh was in Nepal’s capital Kathmandu, accompanying fiance Jean Todt for the Federation Internationale De L’Automobile (FIA) Asia-Pacific Sports Regional Congress when the earthquake hit on April 25 last year.

The temblor killed over 8,000 people, injuring thousands and causing widespread destruction.

The actor has made helping rebuild lives in Nepal a priority.

“Raising awareness for Nepal was and still is an important role for me. What’s happening is very real and there is so much work to be done to help rebuild the lives of the Nepalese,” the 53-year-old Malaysian actor, who believes her best performance is yet to come, told reporters in an email interview.

Yeoh and Todt have raised money for post-earthquake reconstruction in Nepal.

“Yes, of course, I would always encourage Hollywood celebrities to join and support such a wonderful cause (Nepal disaster). It’s very important for us all to understand that we are interconnected and we need to hold hands together, especially when the going gets tough.”

A month after the natural disaster, the actor was in the Himalayan nation again, not as a tourist but as the brand ambassador of the ‘Live to Love’ foundation of globe-trotting Buddhist leader Gyalwang Drukpa, the spiritual head of the 1,000-year-old Drukpa Order based in India.

Quoting the spiritual leader, she said: “Without appreciation, our life is like plastic. Not only we have to remove the non-biodegradable rubbish from our external environment, we have to clear that from our mind too.”

“Every little positive step we make individually, collectively we can make a huge difference. For me, this is what ‘Live to Love’ is about,” Yeoh, who made her name as an action star in Hong Kong in 1990, added.

The actor, who stars as Burmese democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi in “The Lady” directed by Luc Besson, also wants to focus on climate change.

“Global warming is a big issue now, it’s threatening humanity. All this can be changed if we begin to have a little appreciation and a little more understanding about interconnectivity between nature and us.”

About her reel or real role that is more challenging, she said: “Both are as real as ever, but in terms of challenges, the real life is, of course, more challenging and continuously full of surprises.”

“In the movies, the emotions are as real as the circumstances. The difference is that in a film, we have the script all plotted out, so you know what to expect and you are also given time to rehearse.”

In real life, though, she says, the plot unfolds day by day. “No chance to rehearse. You feel that you need to proact or react, and are kept on the toes,” she added.

Her latest film “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny”, the sequel to the early successful film, has just hit the theatres.

Asked about her role in Aung San Suu Kyi’s biopic, she said: “Out of deep respect for Daw Suu (Suu Kyi) and the people of Burma, we did our utmost to stay true to her story,” although for better story-telling, “some liberties had been taken.”

The former Miss Malaysia has also been involved in the fight against AIDS for many years. (IANS)