Thursday, December 31, 2020

The Year 2020

The world shall remember the year 2020 as the year of Pandemic in the centuries to come. It made a bold time-marker in the history of civilization.

The escape of Coronavirus from a research laboratory in Wuhan Province of China was the subtle story when 2020 began. Within a few months into 2020, the highly contagious virus spread to all people-inhabited places, without an exception.

The disease also tested the effectiveness of the political system. Countries with the totalitarian type of government system were more effective in preventing and controlling the spread of the virus than the liberal democratic governments.

There was a rush in the study of biology and genetics of the virus to develop vaccines against it. By the end of the year, several biotech companies declared the invention of vaccines against Coronavirus. They brought the vaccines to use with little resistance from the people. All companies kept the test result and active-ingredient of the vaccine secret, even then the acceptance was high. It was because of the strategy adopted. The immunization started from the front-line workers and officers in high portfolios.

In February, I was in Jhapa to attend a program at Nepal-Bhutan Foundation. I also had worked on the conservation of historical documents.


Teknath Rizal, Dr. DNS Dhakal, Dr. Dinesh Bhattarai (former ambassador),  Balaram Paudyal, President of Bhutan Peoples’ Party (BPP), Shailendra Arora, etc.


 

In a team of Nepalese scientists, we met the Chief Minister and ministers and officers of Province 1. The CM welcomed us with Rudraksha mala. There was a plan to establish a multi-disciplinary research center in the province. Months later, I had had the privilege to meet the Chief Minister of Gandaki Province and had a discussion over lunch.


 


 





Communication gap

One of my students asked me to help undergrad students of IAAS, Lamjung with R. I went to Sunderbazar with my plan and preparation. It was a four-day plan. Late on the third day, I found that the participants had registered for the Data Analysis program. One the first day during the inauguration, people were talking of Data analysis and not R. 

However, I was glad that many students were experts in R.

 

Youth Activism



I took part in a series of discussions that led to the publication of a journal by Youth Advocacy Nepal. I have an article on ‘Green revolution’ in the journal.


The PDF of the journal is HERE

Research

I had opportunities to take part in social research, one for Gandaki Provincial Planning and Policy, and Two, for Good Neighbor International. In course of research I visited, Kaski, Tanahuan, Nawalparasai (East and west), and Lamjung. Sadly, no new district was added to my list of districts visited during the research. However, I had visited Palpa and Gulmi at the beginning of the year.

 


















I had the honor of being affiliated with Nepal Environment and Sustainable Agriculture Foundation, and MUNAA Market Limited.

Lockdown

Lockdown enforced to control the spread of coronavirus brought most activities to rest. Closure of schools and academic institutions kept the students at home. Examinations of all levels were postponed indefinitely.  People celebrated the festivals indoors, if at all.


All places of gathering like temples, cinema halls, restaurants, vehicles of mass transportation were closed. While other facilities opened gradually, cinema halls remained closed till the end of the year with no sign of reopening soon.

Online business

The online business became a prominent medium of exchange in markets. The online order followed by the home delivery system became common practices in capita and other major cities. Globally, online media like ZOOM, Google Meet, Believe flourished. The vaccine business soon followed it.

Academics

In 2020, I read about 25 books, 400+ articles, and 1000+ abstracts. I could publish 4 research articles in national journals and two articles got rejected.

Our team of IAAS people started an online discussion on Agriculture. It was conceptualized as a platform for college friends to meet and exchange updates and progress of life. However, the program became formal and academic to the extent that we had to abort the plan after 20 episodes.

I also had the privilege to teach technical writing courses to Master level students of Tribhuvan University.  I had the privilege to author academic articles and edit The Bhutan Watch Journal.

World War III

All the countries suffered from resource drain-out because of the pandemic. China became the only country that benefited from the spread of the Coronavirus. The Chinese government was fast and efficient to control, cure, and prevent the spread of Coronavirus. It could control the movement of the people, track the carrier people, and sanitize the entire area. Large Chinese companies took advantage of the crisis by selling sanitizer, masks, incubators, and PCR and diagnostic test kits. The resources drained out from other countries enriched China making it the richest country in the world. Critiques accuse China of intentional design and release of the virus. The preparedness to handle and take the opportunity of the situation added value to the suspicion. If true, it is the third world war with China as the winner. Even if it is false and the escape was accidental the mode of future wars will be more biological than physical or chemical.

We have to expect the number of human-designed catastrophes and outbreaks of diseases and pests. As skills become more sophisticated, inventions will be more selective, specific, and effective.

East meets west   

The 2020 Pandemic also mixed eastern and western cultures. The eastern values like Namaste, avoiding physical touch, regular washing, physical distancing, and western values such as individualism, independence in personal dealing were mixed up and became global.  There was a loss of value of life with funeral rituals. Both the eastern and the western values respect funeral rituals that bring relatives and friends of the dead to a fraternity. The Coronavirus fear jeopardized this fraternity.  Dead had no respect for the pandemic. Security personnel take away the dead bodies and disposed of them legally than religiously. In a long run, this practice will further break down family ties and intimacies.

As the year 2020 transits to 2021, the development of science and technology rise and respect for humanities fall. 

Friday, May 10, 2019

Govinda Rizal- A Brief Introduction

Govinda, a plant breeder, and a molecular biologist joined C4 rice project in 2010 as a postdoctoral research fellow. He led the mutant verification team from 2010 to 2012, and gene discovery team from 2013 to 2015 to hunt genes for C4 syndrome. Govinda has worked with soybean, sorghum, rice, wheat, maize, Setaria and has designed field experimental plans, supervised large scale cultivation of mutants and transgenic plants as well as performed high throughput phenotyping. Govinda's works on gene identification involved mutant characterization through detailed phenotyping and next-generation sequencing, and gene validation through a transgenic approach. He has fruitful collaboration with scientists from Australia, USA, UK, Korea, and China. Having worked in laboratory, greenhouse and field environments as a mutation breeder and next-generation sequencing practitioner, Govinda has gained extensive work experience in agronomy, plant breeding, molecular biology, plant physiology, and bioinformatics, various research skills and the ability to work with people of different cultural and academic diversity. Govinda is meticulous, attentive to detail, and an enthusiastic team player. He is diligent, quick to pick up new skills and comfortable to learn from others. He has good experience supervising and training staff members of different educational levels. Govinda also has provided thesis students with research guidance, supervision of data analysis and result interpretation.

Since the end of 2015, he has been working in different sectors in Nepal including but not limited to:
-Project evaluation, training, freelance consultant 
-Trainer, training on Citrus Cultivation and Management. Gamgadi, Mugu
-Research and Development, private sectors, Nepal
-Freelance consultant, private sector and INGOs, Nepal
-Periodic assessment of private and non-governmental projects
-Training and supervision on the cultivation of vegetables and cereals at farmers’ field
-Supervision of hybrid rice seed production in Nepal
-Trade of hybrid seeds, agro-chemicals, and equipment from international companies
-Supervision of M.Sc. and Ph.D. students’ thesis works
-External examiner at Tribhuvan University, Nepal

-Publication of books and articles in journals. 

Friday, February 15, 2019

BLACKLISTED IN BHUTAN- BOOK REVIEW

BLACKLISTED IN BHUTAN: Love Lost and Love Transformed in the Land of Gross National Happiness by Rieki Crins.



Rieki Crins reached Tsachaphu, then a rural village of hot spring in the Pochhu valley in Bhutan, for anthropology research for her Masters and later continued it for her Ph.D. She lands up in the village with a European mindset keeping and frequently comparing Bhutan to Medieval Europe. She has an abundant appreciation for the country and the villagers. Very soon her elite European mindset and behavior crush with the culture shock.
She reaches to a morning meal without washing her hands or face- the basic habit all Asian learn from the cradle.
She digs out the unique but prevalent features of rural health, hygiene, agriculture, culture, and hardship.
She has picked up the local language and excavated the culture to its depth and made the culture the subject of the book.
Throughout her writing, she appears an innocent and energetic researcher. Even after her Ph.D., she visits Bhutan twice a year as a tourist guide. She struggles to anchor in Bhutan with a hotel cum school. Her effort benefits many unemployed youths.
The twist comes when, without a yellow signal, her visa to Bhutan is denied without an explanation. Someone explained to her that the denial was because she was ‘Blacklisted.’ Thereafter, her writing flashback to the incidences of restriction and dictatorial rule in the silent country. She begins to see hypocrisy in the King's newfound ideology of Gross National Happiness.
She recalls some possible causes and speculates the reason to be one of her Facebook comments that possibly upset a member of the powerful royal family.
There is a big population, in and outside Bhutan, which is critical of the autocratic government. The title of the book ‘BLACKLISTED IN BHUTAN’ gets the early attention of such a group of people. 
She reached Bhutan in February 1990 when the government was iron-fisted handling a serious dissident movement. The book is free from the description of such political background.    
What she has explained but not concluded is her description of Wangmo’s and her partner- a Cello virtuoso- Maria’s anomalous behaviors in Bhutan. Her description matches TN Rizal’s description of Mind control in words and essence. Was she mind-controlled? Was her mind/intention read before taking an action on her? Reiki only can recall, re-evaluate and share it in detail in the future.   
She has also mentioned her engagement with Karen refugee/community in Burma and Thailand.
There are plenty of clues for the readers to speculate the reason for the denial of her visa to Bhutan.
On top of all the Book is a masterpiece on the culture of a Drukpa village. However, the bold title ‘BLACKLISTED’ shadows her content.

A one sitting book is full of carrying, entertaining and educating contents and is one of the must-read books for the students of culture and anthropology. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

BE THE SOLUTION TO THE SOIL POLLUTION

2018-December-05

Two-week long 10th Kapilvastu Mahotsav has brought together Agriculture and Tourism related stalls, markets, people and stakeholders to a common ground.

Some photos of the event.

















Tuesday, December 4, 2018

My Friend of the Day: Balaram Poudel

2nd May 2017


With Mr. Balaram Poudel, the President of Bhutan Peoples' Party.

My friend of the Day: Shanta Karki

7th July 2017



Dr. Shanta Karki


Then and Now






AN EXAMPLE OF A PROTECTED HORTICULTURE IN NEPAL.

2018-DECEMBER-03

Shanta and her team took me to Tandi, Chitwan to study the protected horticulture.  It was run by Brother Rajendrajung Rayamajhi, my senior at IAAS. After graduating from IAAS, he tried his luck in some organization and seed companies, where he gained skills, that turned out to be his assets later. For the last seven years, he has been involved in the protected farming.  When we reached his house, in Pithuwa, Chitwan, Brother RajendraJung, his wife and his mother were waiting for us with a complete lunch set for all. His father appeared briefly.

He had constructed large plastic and screen houses.  He had grown capsicum, pepper, tomatoes, potatoes, and cucumber. He also showed us his new experiment with waste decomposer bio-fertilizer.

I wish the technology is replicated to different parts of the country.


With Brother Rajendrajung Rayamajhi the pioneer of the protection horticulture in Nepal.
















SUCESSFUL FLORICULTURE ENTERPRENEUR

2018-DECEMBER- 03

AFTER VISITING BROTHER RAJENDRAJUNG RAYAMAJHI'S FARM WE WENT TO VISIT A SUCCESSFUL FLORICULTURE IN GUNJANAGAR. ABLOOM FLORA FARM CHITWAN.

The owner of the floriculture Mr. Prakash Panta took us around his farm. He had a large cultivation of roses, gladiolus, chrysanthemum. He also had a large farm of tomatoes in open.

We had a long conversation on the technicalities of the protection horticulture.

Some photos