Friday, August 02, 2019

SEBS In Turmoil

कुनै पनि भुतपुर्व विद्यार्थी संगठन को सदस्यता स्वतः हुन्छ। तर संगठन को कमिटी आदिमा सक्रिय हुने कुरामा म शुरू देखि नै छैन। सेब्स सानो पोखरी। सागर त नेपालको लोकतान्त्रिक क्रान्ति र मधेसी क्रान्ति थिए। मैले तिनमा समय मनग्गे दिएँ। तर हालसाल सेब्स भित्र गर्मागर्मी छ। त्यस बारे मैले हालै पोस्ट गरेको थिएँ। सेब्स नेपाल को फेसबुक पेज मा र सेब्स अमेरिका को फेसबुक पेज मा। त्यसको पुर्ण पाठ

Paramendra Kumar Bhagat shared a link.
July 25 at 10:49 AM

Hello SEBS. What's going on?

Let me first say, I speak with very little information. All I know is what I have read in a few snippets here and there in the two Facebook groups, SEBS and SEBS-NA. I have no direct information, I have not done a voice chat with anyone. I am not pesonally, directly involved with any matter I bring up.

It is obvious both SEBS and BNKS are in an unprecedented crisis. एक्कासि के भइ दियो यस्तो? क्या हो रहा है? There is talk BNKS might lose a chunk of its land. And that SEBS in Nepal might lose its legal status. The two might even be related. And there is the subplot of the selection of the new principal. Again, I am not privy to details.

BNKS has been a pilot project so far. It should next get more ambitious and talk to the foundations of the world to create an endowment so as to make admissions truly need blind each year. And it should open up its classrooms to the entire nation through use of digital technology. The national school was founded to serve the nation. Such ambitious expansion plans will negate any overtures to take over land.

As to SEBS and SEBS NA, we are all adults here. Let there be open debate and discussion. Voice chat is free these days. You can use Messenger, Viber, Whatsapp, and 10 other apps to talk. There can be no issue that a few conference calls should not be able to resolve.

There are open allegations of foul play in the principal selection process and the earthquake related fundraising and disbursement of funds. I have seen a few newspaper articles. But the golden rule there is, don't believe everything you read. Still, the concerned parties ought to put out clarifying statements.

There is talk of the land mafia in Nepal. A NCP officer now owns a plot of land that used to be part of the PM's residence in Baluwatar. So brazen! This is like Dhirendra sending a crane to Bhaktapur a few years before the Panchayat collapsed.

If this whole thing is a well thought out attack, it reminds me of when CK Raut ( got arrested the first time. That fast forwarded his political arrival. SEBS is being pulled into the national limelight. There is no escaping the fight. The era of armchair intellectualism might be over. BNKS has to fight to keep its land. SEBS has to fight to keep itself standing.

I hope the issues are resolved and the officeholders wage a coordinated messaging campaign and fight the necessary court battles to come out strong, clean and standing.

(cross posted at Sebs NA)

हालै केही मधेसी मुल का भुतपुर्व विद्यार्थी हरुले मलाई सम्पर्क गरेका छन। मधेसी भएकै कारणले तिनलाई दुर्व्यवहार गरिएको भए त्यो मैले सुन्नु पर्ने हुन्छ। Institutional prejudice can not be tolerated. भन्दैमा मारामार गर भन्ने होइन। पहिलो र सबैभन्दा महत्वपुर्ण अस्त्र त हो आध्यात्मिक। माफ़ गर। तर अन्याय लुकाउ भन्ने पनि होइन। आफ्नो कुरा स्पष्ट सँग राख। न्याय खोज। संघर्ष गर।


I am 266B, a member of the 11th batch of Budhanilkantha School, called the national school of Nepal. That was the 2046 B.S SLC batch. I was the top student in class from arrival to my Class 10 year, nonstop. In Class 6 I even got the highest marks in every single subject. The number two guy from that time period went to Harvard, to Goldman Sachs, to the World Bank. I held leadership positions along the way. I was House Captain of Makalu in Class 5. I was House Captain of Kanchenjunga in Class 10. Three years before me that had been Badal Pradhan of Jhapa, who recently contested to be School Principal. He had been excellent as House Captain. He would have made an excellent Principal. I won a best actor award in middle school. Also in middle school, I won the schoolwide mental arithmetic championship. During my Class 10 year I won some kind of award for the Division A pentathlon. I was no star athlete, but I participated and won a few things. My Class 10 year as House Captain was exemplary that surpassed anything any House Captain had done to that date in school history.

Towards the end of my Class 10 year I was knee-capped by the people who ran the place, right down from the British Principal all the way to the entire Bahun establishment. Which was enormously confounding to someone of my age. The very people who I looked up to. The very people who held so much power in how things were run. Right after I had served so actively for a year as House Captain. My favorite story from that year was when I tutored someone in the house from a 40% grade scenario to almost 70%. I prevented him from getting kicked out for academic reasons.

But we also literally won every single sports and academic tournament. One British teacher wrote, "I have never seen morale raised to this level in any boarding house at any school, ever."

I learned my true identity in 2016. My story needed to be precisely the way it has unfolded. My achievements, my institutional knee-capping, and the dramatic downward trajectory to my achievements (I ended my A-Levels with three Es, although still the highest SAT score in class). I spent a year after graduation writing a book on Nepali politics based on which the University of Chicago did accept me, "based not on your numbers, but your words." But Manav Bhattarai, 300B, made a deliberate decision to waste that scholarship. I guess he was as much a member of the Bahun establishment as anyone.

I have needed to make my achievements early on precisely to exhibit that ethnic prejudice is harmful, casteism is harmful. Do not argue it does not exist. Do not argue it is not harmful. God himself showed up on earth in human form and experienced it to put those arguments to rest.

Those at the giving end of ethnic prejudice and casteism should confess. Those at the receiving end should forgive.

I went through another set of experiences to do the same for racism. Don't say it does not exist. Don't say it is not harmful.

God explicitly asks in the Geeta that you treat people from all castes equally. Sita Maiya had to go for a second vanavas so as to show what it means to listen even to a Dhobi, even when he is wrong. That was a hard thing for Lord Rama to do. He did it.

August 23, 2019

Some issues have been raised privately and in a few forums.

(1) No, I was not beat up at the bus park. But something gross happened. This is a reference to the end of 1989, towards the end of my Class 10 year. The first incident was towards the end of a soccer match between Kanchenjunga-Nilgiri on a Saturday. There was a minor scuffle. Nilgiri lost and was not happy about it. But then some of them came to the house a little later. I personally saw them collectively pushing Andrew Wild, former housemaster of Kanchenjunga, and him pushing back. This guy Samtenla was in the lead. Things quietened down over the weeks. Or so I thought. When I went to the bus park for the Dashain vacation trip home to Janakpur, I quickly went to New Road to get some gundpak, as I used to doing. I came back, sat on my seat in the cabin. A small group of three or four young people from the outside asked that I step outside. I did not know them. I refused. Then they became rude. One of them pulled my sweater. A few minutes later the bus left since it was time to move. That is all that happened to me. When I came back to school after the vacation was over a few weeks later I learned they had chased my Sports Captain (Gyaneshwar) at that same bus park. They had also humiliated Suneel (who was a few years junior). The public humiliation was a big enough shock to his young mind that he went on to lose his mind. My Vice Captain (Diwaskar) tricked the Nilgiri perpetrators to write and sign an apology letter, addressed to the school authorities. The letter proved they were involved. The letter went to the school authorities. Nothing was done. No action was taken. To my utter surprise, a few weeks later, the British Principal and the entire Bahun establishment got together and decided to kick M-E out of school. That decision was vetoed by Andrew Wild. Then they decided they will kick me out after the SLC exams. That also was vetoed. Finally, they decided to suspend me from my position as House Captain. I was never told why. I still don't know why. I was never told what I did wrong. To me it felt like the apple fell from the tree and flew towards the sky. This was gross injustice. Then they suspended also Gyaneshwar, and then Diwaskar.

(2) Jiwan Wagle, housemaster of Nilgiri, did tell his students, "Whatever you have to do, do it outside the school gates!"

(3) Another "myth" that needs to be busted is that I did not want to be School Captain. I was offered the position. I desperately wanted it. And I was very excited about it. I so wanted to do the work I said I wanted 12 instead of 8 prefects on my team. While I was negotiating on that, they took my spot away. Sudarshan Rijal (it is always a Bahun, if you notice) played a key role. But Brian Garton is central. He can't escape responsibility. The mental slavery of the Bahuns was as evident as their ethnic prejudice and casteism.

(3) During my A1 year I learned of an incident after the fact. Apparently everyone in my batch had been involved. But I had been kept in the dark. They published and distributed a pamphlet. I had nothing to do with it. I only learned about it after the fact.

(4) Before the A Level exams, the school, based on the final exams gave you forecast grades. If you got BCC, it was assumed you will likely get ABB during the actual exams. Often that is what ended up happening. My forecast grades were BCC. That is what was sent to colleges I applied to. That is how it worked for everybody. My actual grades a few months later were EEE. Not ABB. How come! The morning of the first A-Level exam, Andrew Wild shouted at me so loud, people one floor up who were still asleep woke up. It was not because I was going to be late for breakfast. I think it is possible Andrew Wild blamed me for the whole pamphlet incident.

(5) Late in 1993 I had to face the fact that I was not accepted by any college. But I had been working on a book on Nepali politics all along. I applied again with the 300B batch. I got accepted to the University of Chicago, along with four others, "based not on your numbers, but your actions and words." Five seats, but only two scholarships. Rabin Koirala from my batch went to India to do his MBBS. Basant took the seat and went to attend U of Chicago. Manav Bhattarai, on the other hand, deliberately wasted the scholarship. He took the trouble to fly to Chicago. Then he quit after a few months and went to India to do his MBBS. My book had managed to neutralize the EEE at A-Levels. I did have the highest SAT score in my class.

(6) Robert Shrubshall, formerly Head of the English Department at BNKS, who by now was working in Bangladesh, (now he is in Thailand) came over to Kathmandu and arranged a breakfast meeting between me, him and Andrew Wild in Thamel. Wild concluded that meeting by saying to Robert, "Don't you miss it when we used to rule over India!" (Trivia: that book that I sent to Chicago was typed on Andrew's typewriter.)

(7) Hemant Bohra (900b, Himtel) saw me on school grounds and asked me to come with him. He took me to Andrew Wild's place. Wild became unhappy. He tried to insinuate, "Look, I got you into Harvard!"

(8) After Andrew moved to some other job in some other country, perhaps Africa, I came to Berea College in Kentucky. I had a very happy freshman year.

(9) Last year I was at Krishna Chhetri's house in the Bay Area. 400B, a housemate in Gaurishankar. Immediate past president of SEBS North America. My batchmate Kiran Kattel, the first SEBSer to enter Apple ("Founding Father!") and someone who came to see me off at the Kathmandu airport when I first flew to the US for college in Fall 1996, mentioned "Manoj." Manoj was a classmate in Kanchenjunga. He had a health issue. As long as he took his medicine he was fine. If he missed out on the medicine, he would start acting up. Decades later the hint to me was, Manoj perhaps misbehaved with Brian Garton. And that explains Brian Garton's ire! Are you f______g kidding me? In what court of justice am I supposed to be responsible for what Manoj does or did!?

Racism. Ethnic prejudice. Casteism.

(10) Recently a Madhesi SEBSer about 10 years junior to me, who I don't personally know, wrote to me privately online to tell me that there had been a "socially boycott Paramendra Bhagat" campaign run by some SEBSers in DC. I told him I am completely unaware of it. That might have been a reaction to my full-time work towards the Madhesi movement in 2006, 2007. Years before that I was shown some emails from Kiran Sitoula (who I know very well ..... I know all members of his family ... his father was once stationed in Jaleshwar, and I visited his home ... I have visited his home in DC ... around 2001 .... he has played an important role in the founding and functioning of SEBS NA, although there is this disease, prevalent in many Nepali organizations, where the founders never really hand over to any new elected leadership ... you can see that with the NRNs ..... ) ..... So, I was showed this email where he is espousing some remarks about me that could be considered expressions of ethnic prejudice. I did not like it. I made a comment in response which can be called physicalism. Equally wrong. But to make the point that ethnic prejudice is not fine. ... But we met in person at the ANA Convention in New Jersey in 2004 ... We had a normal conversation. I have not met him since. We are in different cities. I have not met Manoj Acharya and Kamal Rana Bhat either. There is no bad blood.

Note: The Bahuns are a chosen people just like the Jews. God would choose a people not to play favors but so as to create a four-dimensional PowerPoint presentation for the rest of humanity to say, look, if you love God, you can also have the goodies. But the Bahuns are not supposed to misuse their enhanced powers. They are not to mistreat others, or to inflict injustice. Casteism God disapproves of.

Khan Academy 9/24/2019

सन २०१५ को भुकम्प का लागि सेबस नार्थ अमेरिका ले पैसा उठायो। १०-१५ हजार उठला भनेर सोचेको ४ लाख बढ़ी उठ्यो। सेबस नार्थ अमेरिका अमेरिका मा दर्ता भएको नॉन प्रॉफिट संगठन भएकोले उसले प्रत्येक वर्ष यहाँ को टैक्स विभाग IRS लाई हिसाबकिताब छर्लङ्ग दिनैपर्छ। कानुन छ। You can't avoid death and taxes भन्ने उखान।

कसैले प्रश्न उठाएर बल्ल हतार हतार हिसाबकिताब देखाएको भन्ने हुँदैन। र जुन किसिमको सामुहिक नेतृत्व छ, "पैसा खाने" भन्ने पनि हुँदैन। यहाँ त FBI आउँछ।

भने पछि जुन हिसाबकिताबमा सेबस नार्थ अमेरिका २०१५ मैं दुरुस्त थियो त्यही हिसाबकिताबमा सेबस नेपाल ले गड़बड़ गरेको हुने संभावना थिएन र छैन।

तर प्रश्न उठाउन पाइन्छ। लोकतान्त्रिक संस्कार को कुरा हो। प्रश्न उठायो भनेर चित्त दुखाइ पनि गर्नु हुँदैन। तर प्रश्न उठाए पछि जवाफ सुन्न पनि सक्नुपर्छ। लोकतान्त्रिक संस्कार भन्दा पनि माथि सेबस को आतंरिक संस्कृति को कुरा छ। सबै हिसाबकिताब दुरुस्त रहेको अवस्था मा त्यो हेरेर ल अब चाहिं चित्त बुझ्यो भनेर सीडीओ ऑफिस मा दिएको उजुरी फिर्ता लिन पनि सक्नुपर्छ। होइन भने नियत ख़राब हो कि भनेर शंका गर्ने ठाउँ रहन्छ।

हेडमास्टर सेलेक्शन प्रक्रिया बारे पनि प्रश्न गर्न पाइन्छ। लोकतान्त्रिक संस्कार को कुरा हो। समिति ले नंबर एक कैंडिडेट बादल प्रधान निर्धारित गरेको तर बादल प्रधान एक वर्ष अमेरिका जाने देखेर नम्बर दुई कैंडिडेट लाई हेडमास्टर बनाएको देखिन्छ। बादल प्रधान अहिले एक वर्ष का लागि अमेरिका मा छन पनि। पाँच वर्ष पछि त्यही प्रक्रिया दोहोरिएला। बादल प्रधान ले फेरि अप्लाई गर्ने नगर्ने बादल प्रधान को कुरा हो।

सेबस स्कुल कै कुनै बिभाग ले चलाउने कि भनी विचार प्रस्तुत भएको छ। त्यो पनि लोकतान्त्रिक संस्कार को कुरा हो। छलफल हुनुपर्छ। तर पहिला त सीडीओ ऑफिस को उजुरी फिर्ता लेउ। अमेरिका को IRS ले दुरुस्त मानेको हिसाबकिताब माथि प्रश्न उठाउने ठाउँ देखिँदैन।

त्यो उजुरी फिर्ता लिए पछि यस विषयमा छलफल गर्न मिल्छ। सेबस संस्था डिजॉल्व गरेर स्कुल को कुनै बिभागले चलाउने कुरा सेबस ले मात्र निर्णय गर्न सक्छ। तर निर्णय जे सुकै भए पनि सेबस मा सहभागिता बढाउनुपर्छ। All former students are automatic voting members entitled to being witnesses to transparent bookkeeping and transparent decision making in the organization. And there ought to be online voting during elections because SEBS has a global presence.

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