Showing posts with label Budhanilkantha School. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Budhanilkantha School. Show all posts

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.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

बुढ़ानीलकंठ स्कुल र दमजम

बुढ़ानीलकंठ स्कुल मधेसी का हकमा पनि नेपाल सेना जस्तो संस्था हो, बिलकुल समानुपातिक समावेशी छैन। जस्तो ratio २० वर्ष अगाडि थियो अहिले पनि त्यस्तै छ। समावेशी छ, समानुपातिक समावेशी छैन। कुनै क्लास मा एउटा दुइटा मधेसी हुनु टोकन मधेसी (token Madhesi) लाई मात्र ठाउँ बनाउनु हो। २० वर्ष मा जीरो प्रोग्रेस। Such token Madhesis end up paying a heavy emotional price.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Budhanilkantha School (2)

Budhanilkantha School Died For Me On The Kanchenjunga Balcony


In the Class 11 year, you got to organize a one day event for the workers at the school. The class gathered. There was a meeting. I was unanimously elected. Organizing that one day event was no rocket science. You delegate the workload and make it happen. It all happened pretty smoothly. I don't think anyone felt any kind of a Kanchenjunga-Nilgiri tension.

My O-Level year I took every possible subject. I actually managed to fail one: English Literature. There was zero emphasis on creativity. The entire emphasis seemed to be on turning you into a literature critic. This was also a year when I took many private flights of imagination in the domain of grand thoughts and knowledge. I wish I had taken notes as I went along.

The Pamphleteering

I think this happened sometime in my Class 13 year. I only learned about it after it had all happened. I was in the dark. But looked like most of my class, if not the entire class, had participated. They had published a pamphlet that made fun of or criticized or insinuated corruption on the part of most of the power holders in the school administration. If you did not get offended, it was actually quite entertaining. They had distributed all over the school overnight.

Like I said, I only learned about it after the fact. Obviously I had nothing to do with it. I would not have been part of it if I had known.

School Captain

When I got nominated, I got excited. That I will get nominated was a foregone conclusion. But within a few weeks I had been unceremoniously shunted aside. Sudarshan Risal played foul. Brian Garton played foul. The rumor that I did not want to do it is simply not true. The opposite was true. There was a part of me that wanted to do at the school level what I had done in Kanchenjunga a few years back. I had major plans. I asked for 12 prefects. The offer was for 8. I said there was too much work, I would like 12, please. It was not much of a negotiation. The fact I was even trying to negotiate I guess was offensive. And at some subconscious level I must have not liked the bad behavior on their part towards the end of my Class 10 year.

At one point I said to Garton, if I can get the committee to come on board with the 12 prefects idea, would you go for it? He said yes. So I visited everyone. Everyone said yes to me. 12 is fine.

I was never told I was no longer being considered. At one point they simply dropped me and moved on.

Wild Wild

You got your predicted grades based on the Final Exams before the actual A Level exams. They tended to be pretty accurate. Mine were BCC. Not stellar, but not EEE either. The day the actual exams were to start, that morning as I was on my way to the bathroom, Andrew Wild yelled at me so loud, he woke up people who were asleep one floor up. It was the most bizarre thing. That messed up my exams big time. My forecast grades were brought down one notch to CDD. I noted. My final official grades were EEE.

Three Strikes

What they did at the end of my Class 10 year threw me off course. Snatching away the school captaincy robbed me of my chance to reclaim lost territory. Wild's animal behavior was the nail in the coffin.

I guess word spread. Robert Shrubshall was now teaching in Bangladesh. He flew into Kathmandu. He got me and Wild to meet in Thamel. Wild said, "Don't you miss it when we used to rule over India!"

India is the new Britain

Budhanilkantha School Died For Me On The Kanchenjunga Balcony

English: Pumori House
English: Pumori House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One detail I note about Sanjay Dutt and Salman Khan's brushes with the law is both are half Muslim. To be Muslim in India is to be black in America. Every country seems to organize itself around The Other. Maybe in Nepal that has befallen upon the Madhesi. I identify with the blacks in America because I grew up Indian in Nepal.

I started my education at home in my homevillage. I did attend the local village school. Then I shifted to Janakpur where my father had set up shop after his training in Muzaffarpur; his shop years later became the largest radio and electronics shop in town. After trying a few schools, I became part of the first batch of the first English medium school in town. It was launched by a transplant from Kathmandu, a Hemraj Tamrakar. His brother/cousin would be Ratna Tamot, who headed the Nepali Department at Budhanilkantha School. Now deceased. By the time I ended up at Budhanilkantha School I had been part of so many schools. Maybe half a dozen. But my father did not learn about Budhanilkantha from Tamrakar. And years later when I went to see him, he bemoaned the fact that I had moved. He would have liked some good SLC results for his school, he said. 

The only reason I got into Budhanilkantha School is rather tangential. At this Janaki School there was this teacher Durga Chhetri. He was from Nagaland. The credit for my cursive handwriting goes to him. And there was this Mohan Sir. Both of them liked this Miss. But Miss liked Mohan Sir. One day Durga Sir misbehaved. He pushed Miss. Miss was crying. 

Later that day I went to the school's hostel to see Binesh Yadav. I was a day scholar. My house was very close to the school. But Binesh had nobody in town. His father, like my grandfather, were politicians. His father was a Wada Chairperson. My grandfather was the Pradhan Panch. Binesh was from an adjoining village. 

When I went to see Binesh, Mohan Sir saw me. He called me into his room. I must have looked empathetic to him. He told me how wrong it had been of Durga Sir to push Miss, and that I surely agreed with Mohan Sir's assessment. I don't remember saying anything. But he must have been impressed. He took it upon himself to go see my father to tell him that his son was too smart for this school and should be sent to a much better school, maybe some place like Darjeeling. 

Darjeeling was not on our map. People did not go to Darjeeling. It felt too distant. But my father came to know of entrance exams to some school in Kathmandu. He was aware of Sainik Schools in Bihar that also had entrance exams. 

I was not the top student in my class, although I managed to be among the top five. The top guy - "First Boy" - was a Sandip Giri. He has now launched the company Gham Power in Nepal. Before that he was in California. But I don't think I have had any contact with him after the primary school days. I sent him a message on Facebook a few months ago when my primary school best friend Rajesh Gupta (now in Augusta, Georgia, USA) told me about him. I never heard back. 

I was made to sit the entrance exams for Budhanilkantha School multiple times. The papers showed me a student at the primary school in my homevillage to enhance my chances. My father had a Honda motorbike then. He said later the credit goes to the bike. How else would we have gone to all these various exam centers?

Sandip's father was a "Hakim." His family lived in a government quarter. 

I took to Budhanilkantha School like duck to water. I was the top student in class from the get go and I stayed that way year after year. One year in Class 6, I had the highest marks in every single subject. There were very few people who did that. There was a Bishwa Limbu two years senior to me. He was like me. He was top of his class every year. Otherwise it was not true there was that one person in each class. But Bishwa had only one other thing. He would act in plays. Otherwise he did not have anything else. My other big thing was I would take leadership positions. And these were teacher appointed things. I was House Captain in Class 5, again in Class 10. In Class 11 I was unanimously elected by my classmates for the "BOSS" event. I was nominated to be School Captain, although they took it away from me within a month, and very unfairly so, but more on that later. 

I won a best actor award in middle school. I also became the school mental arithmetic champion in middle school. They put you on stage in front of the entire school and they would ask you math questions. You had to calculate in your head and blurt out the answers. It was quite a spectacle. In Class 10 I got a poem published in Nepal's top poetry magazine, Royal Nepal Academy's Kavita. I was what they called an all-rounder. I was not a star athlete, although it was not for lack of participating. I did manage to get on the teams. I remember doing Division A pentathlon in Class 10 and winning something. It will be my eternal regret I was not taught better soccer skills. 

Most important was being top in class academically. Because that is what most mattered to my father. Everything else was bonus. And teachers became happy when you did all that. And the only thing people in my homevillage cared about was that I went to school with the future king. Dipendra was three years Senior. Paras was a classmate. Nirajan was a few years junior. One day I was sick and all alone in the school's clinic. It was in the evening. And Nirajan showed up all by himself. He had not come to see me. He would not have known I was there. He said he just came to see if anyone was sick. 

I was a high energy person, I still am. I lived a full life. But once a year I would fall sick. It would come out of nowhere. It has continued to this day. Once a year I fall sick. I have to sleep and sleep and sleep and then in a few days I am back in business. A long time ago my greatgrandfather said it is good to fall sick one time a year. That is how the body cleanses itself. 

I "get" the Pahadi-Madhesi thing. I "get" the white-nonwhite thing. To some extent I "get" gender. As in, I "get" women's perspectives. But I don't "get" caste. And I sure don't "get" class. At some level I have always been a monk, you could say. After I got out of Budhanilkantha, I went to live in Sanepa, because that is where most people from my homevillage were. After crashing at this guy's place for a few days, I found myself a room. It was hard to find. It was tiny. I think it might have been windowless. A Bhagat from my homevillage remarked "Your family does not even keep its animals in a place like this!" Another guy whose house was adjacent to mine in the homevillage noted, "It is amazing how you can move from a place like Budhanilkantha School to this room and be equally happy!" Monk, I told you. Even today all I seem to care about is having internet access. I have to think of things like global poverty to want to become a successful tech entrepreneur. I can't think of my needs. My needs seem to be already met! They are modest needs!

My greatgrandfather had more land than anyone else in the village. No, he was not a zamindar. He was a self-made man. I would like to at some point have outdone him in wealth creation. I have not done that yet. I feel like I have not even started on the journey of wealth creation. But that's okay. Sam Walton was older than me when he launched Walmart. There are three people from my homevillage in America right now. Me, my sister in Boston, and the third guy just showed up a few months ago. His father had more cash than anyone else in the village, and his family had an elephant. You guessed it, a moneylender. The elephant was business for him. He would buy a baby elephant in Sonpur mela. In the village people did not mind if the elephant ate some of your green. When the elephant grew up, it was sold for a handy profit. This new guy who showed up, one of the first things he told me -- I had seen him when he was a kid, but the first time I ever talked to him was in America - was that I had not yet outdone my greatgrandfather in wealth creation. 

My greatgrandfather was a self-made man. It was a rags to riches story. Other Bhagats were still just getting by when I was growing up in a locally well to do family. But what that meant was we always had plenty to eat. It is not like we had a car or a television set or a phone. We had bullock carts. We had messengers. If a daughter of the family needed to be sent a message, a messenger would be sent to her village. 

Much later when I showed up at Berea College, one day this white guy friend of mine "accused" me of walking around campus "like you own this whole damn college!" I brushed him off. What do you mean, I said. Another student, this cute girl, surmised maybe I was a prince where I came from. I said, not true. But I do know a few princes, I said. That owning the college thing actually flustered me. I was like, how does someone walk if one DOES think like he owns the whole place!? Today I think maybe I picked up a few attitudes the first few years of my life growing up in the household of a guy who owned more land than anyone else in the village. Maybe when you go to school with all three princes in the country and if the princess at one point had a crush on a classmate of yours (Subir Kunwar in Colorado), all that rubs off on you a little bit. 

Budhanilkantha School changed my life. But it also hit me. It threw me off course. 

Class 10 being House Captain was the happiest year of my life to date. But starting from towards the final few months of that year and all through the final three years of school, I was terribly unhappy. I might even have been depressed. It was like towards the end of my Class 10 year someone stabbed me in my thigh and I was limping around for the rest of my time behind those walls. 

As House Captain I performed like no House Captain I had known of to date in that school's history to my knowledge. I did extremely well. One British teacher wrote, "You have raised morale here like I have never seen anywhere at any boarding school." 

We won all competitions, academic, sports and otherwise. Lojak was in Class 9. I guess it is okay to talk about it openly now after so much time has passed. He was the least well performing student in the entire House. The housemaster Narayan Prasad Sharma and I had a meeting about it. I took it upon myself to give total personal attention to Lojak. I think I managed to pull him up by 10-20 points. I don't remember exactly, but I managed to get him out of the danger zone. He was not expelled. 

NP went on to become Headmaster for two decades after the British left, looks like. He was a great Housemaster. The guy was high energy. One story I shared with many was, one day I showed up at his apartment/office to say we needed some paper for a wall magazine. Usually he would have some in the office. He would pick and give. But he found out he had run out. He said he could get some from the staff room. And the guy quite literally ran. Teachers are not supposed to run. They are supposed to walk with dignity. There was this Pant, Math teacher. He walked with the greatest dignity of all. 

It is not like the staff room was next door. It was a good run away. And NP did have a small belly. He was not fat. I would not say. But he did not have a flat stomach either. No six pack there. 

Being the top student year in year out at the top school in Nepal I used to fantasize about coming up with something unique, making some contribution in the field of thoughts. I would read about the major breakthroughs in human thoughts, and I wondered if I could do something along those lines. I was pretty well read in world history. I knew a ton about Gandhi, about Lincoln and slavery, about MLK. I knew. But all that I put in the distant past. The present was different. My British teachers were the ones who showed us the movie Gandhi. How bad could they be!

I almost never used the word Madhesi, to describe either myself or anyone else. Success is a privilege of its own kind. I was not privileged like Paras, sure. But I had a place in my class that Paras did not. And that was a privilege. 

Paras would buy expensive cigarettes and share with his friends on the soccer/football team. One day that was in the bathroom of my house. I was in Class 9. I walked by. He offered me, I said no thanks. We both exchanged mischievous smiles. But Balam dai, the star defender of the school soccer team, he was all too happy to puff it away. 

One day on a walk on the school grounds I spotted Dipendra with a friend of his. They were also sneak smoking. It was against the school rules. I think that is part of the reason why they did it in the first place. It was a way to show you could break the rules a little. He saw that I saw. "Bhanne hoina hai bhai!" He shouted from the distance. "Don't be telling the teachers now!"

I was a good guy. I was no smug. I was popular. My friends liked me. And I had lots of them. I was good at academics. But I was as good at the leadership thing. Subodh was from my homevillage and was a few years senior to me at BNKS. His father was an engineer and Subodh basically did not grow up in the village at all, although he visited here and then. Subodh later went to Oxford. And he was not the top student in his class. He told his father who told my father that I was a "neta." I was in Class 10.

People just assumed I would be Board First. And I would go to Harvard. There were five people from my class on the SLC Board. Dilip was one year junior to me. He succeeded me as House Captain of Kanchenjunga. He was top of his class. Unlike me he was a star athlete. But I would beat him every place else, like leadership and stage performances, and things like that. Dilip went to Harvard. 

I note these details from New York City. Much time has passed. And I don't really get worked up about it all. I remember being very happy my freshman year at Berea College. Although that was it. There also the final years were unhappy just like at Budhanilkantha School. And I decided two such institutions were enough. No further schools for me. At Berea also the racist motherfuckers came after me precisely because I had broken all school records by getting myself elected student body president as a freshaman. Six months after showing up, five months after having lost badly when running for Freshman Class President. 

When I was thinking about colleges in the West, I liked every prospectus I saw. And graduates of many of those schools end up in New York City in large numbers. So I guess I am where I wanted to be, in New York City. But when I visited Boston a few years back, and walked all over Harvard and MIT, I liked MIT much better. The buildings on the MIT campus just feel more open to cutting edge thinking. On the Harvard campus you feel too much the weight of history. And my favorite Harvard grads are all dropouts. 

Towards the end of my Class 10 year my innocence was lost. It all started on the soccer field. Kanchenjunga was playing Nilgiri. A small fight broke out towards the end. No big deal. This was a school where you could get expelled for smoking, you most certainly got expelled for getting into a fight. You got reprimanded for not wearing socks. Everybody wore socks. Everybody got a haircut. And I was a good student. Teachers liked me. I was not exactly someone struggling with the rules. They just made sense to me. Following was not a struggle. The studies were fun. The activities were fun. The friends were fun. The teachers were fun. Who had time to even think of breaking any rules? I did not. I was not rebellious, hardly. 

I heard a fight broke out. Well, there was a follow up. Some of those Nilgiri guys decided to show up at my House. I was upstairs. I heard. I rushed downstairs. And there was Andrew Wild, former Housemaster now at Gaurishankar, pushing back these few Nilgiri guys. I shouted at the guys. How dare you! Wild asked me to go back upstairs. I did. 

And that was that. 

Salim Khan, Housemaster of Pumori, called a meeting in our dayroom. He tried to convince us how fights are not good things. I remember being indignant. Nobody on my side had done anything wrong. I felt like he was lecturing the wrong group of people. 

But things died down. People moved on. Or so I thought. 

The school bus took to you to the city buspark. From there you took the night bus home to your hometown. It was time for the Dashain vacation. Dashain, Tihar. Chhath. I think I would miss Chhath each time by just a day or two. The school vacation would end maybe a day or two before Chhath and my relatives for the life of them could not understand why I could not stay just two more days. 

I knew being late was not an option, as did my father. And I had had a role in the current architecture of the school vacations. Used to be two vacations. Summer and Dashain. Then some of the "Friends Of Budhanilkantha School" -- an officially recognized group, mostly of Kathmandu parents many of whom also had kids in Darjeeling, they decided it was not a good idea that their kids in Darjeeling when they were home for their winter vacations found their siblings were attending school at BNKS. So they architected the vacations. Summer, short Dashain vacation and winter. What that meant was I was stuck at school for Diwali. That did not feel good. A lot of students were unhappy. But what to do? It was not in our realm to decide on such things. I ran a signature campaign across school and submitted it to the headmaster John Tyson, now deceased. The Dashain vacation was subsequently expanded to include Tihar to great relief to us "out of valley" students. 

I would get off the school bus, and head to New Road. I would go to the gundpak shop to get some gundpak for my father who had done a few years of high schooling in Kathmandu. He really liked gundpak. 

King Mahendra had a dentist, I am sure he had more than one. But there was this Basant Bahadur Shrestha. Mahendra ended up giving one third of the land in my homevillage to him. His family and my family became friends, although there was a lot of resistance in the village. Basant Bahadur said to my greatgrandfather, you must let one of your grandsons to come with me to Kathmandu. And so my father studied from Class 8 to Class 10 in Kathmandu. But he sat for his SLC exams from Balwa, near the homevillage. I guess he ended up not getting along with one of Basant Bahadur's sons. 

My father took me to see Basant Bahadur at his clinic when I got admitted to BNKS and again at his home after I got out of BNKS, this time with hopes he might be able to help his son go on some kind of a "plan!"

So I do my usual thing. I go to New Road. I get back to the buspark. It is about 10 minutes and the bus would leave. I get in the bus. It is a cabin seat. I take my seat. I feel this tap on my shoulder. I look around. I had my sweater stylishly resting on my shoulders. There are a few guys. They were asking me to step outside so we can talk. I did not recognize them. Had never seen them before. They were not hostile. One guy was talking, the others were looking. They might have been four. Why, I asked. After that went back and forth a few times, they must have realized I was not moving. Then the guy started talking hostile. He said something like, don't you be bothering our cousin/brother, something like that. I was perplexed. Whose brother? What cousin? There was no context. One of them jumped up and pulled my sweater. At that point I turned around and asked the driver to move the bus. It was five more minutes before departure time. He just looked the other way. The bus moved a few minutes later when it was time. 

I went home. I did not mention the incident to anyone. I was not disturbed or anything. One sweater gone, no big deal. 

When I got back to school six weeks later, I got to know what had happened. 

Jiwan Raj Wagle, the housemaster of Nilgiri, had been instigating his students. "Don't do anything inside the school compounds, but outside the school compounds is a different story!" Things like that. The guys who came to my bus had been cousins of Rajesh Shrestha. Jiwan Raj Wagle, father of Swarnim Wagle, now hobnobbing with Ram Sharan on the Planning Commission dismantled in India but going strong in Nepal, cousin/brother of Chiranjiwi Wagle, the Congressi. Jiwan Raj Wagle, teacher of Nepali at BNKS, ek number ko maranchyase guy. People would laugh when he got on the soccer field. But apparently this guy was talking gangsta. 

Gyaneshwar Mahato was from Siraha. He was my Sports Captain, along with Mohan Karki from Mugu, dear friend then and now, and I believe now head of the Physical Education Department at BNKS. Gyane was another token Madhesi in class. There was me, him and a Krishnanath, also from Janakpur. Of course I was not aware of that phrase token Madhesi back then, or even for years afterwards. 

They chased Gyaneshwar at the buspark. He apparently ran shouting "Guhar! Guhar!" There was Sunil, he was in Class 7, he was in my House. He was a Pahadi. They humiliated Sunil. They made him do "kan samatera uth bas." If there were other details, I don't know. Sunil lost his mind after that bout of humiliation. 

Some of the Nilgiri guys had masterminded this whole thing at the instigation of their housemaster. When I first learned of the whole thing, my first reaction was, how stupid of them! This was a school that would expel you for such a thing, no questions asked!

My Vice Captain (Kathmandu guy) had met up with some of the Nilgiri guys (Shishir and others) and convinced them the only thing that could now save them was if they wrote an apology letter. The apology letter was now proof they indeed had been behind the whole thing It was written admission. 

I had already mentally moved on. Who cares about a sweater! And the facts were at hand. It was now for the school authorities to do what they do, what I had seen them do over the years. I had mentally moved on towards the big exams, the SLC exams a few months away. I really was not too interested in the tantrums of a few average backbenchers. 

But it had been a few weeks, and no disciplinary action was taken. I thought these things sometimes take time. Besides, they already had the facts. I had moved on. 

And then Gyane got suspended! Gyaneshwar Mahato, the guy who had been chased at the buspark, got suspended. He was no longer Sports Captain! What! This was like the apple broke off the tree and flew into the sky instead of falling to the ground. The guys who had masterminded the chasing of Gyane had not been suspended, but Gyane had been suspended! 

Then I got suspended! Really!? 

I was coming downstairs. NP Sharma was coming upstairs. We happened to meet at the balcony. He talked to me about the meeting. He said everyone on the committee had wanted my immediate expulsion. Andrew Wild and NP Sharma opposed that. Then they said, let him finish his SLC exams, then expel him. That too was opposed. Finally they decided they were going to suspend me from my house captaincy. Really? It was not the substance of it. My term was all but over anyways. But why was the apple falling into the sky? 

On that balcony Budhanilkantha School died for me. My grades slided after that. And they nosedived after they took away the school captaincy away from me. There the villain was Sudarshan Risal, brother of the Congressi Basu Risal, one of the very top guys in that party. 

Today - even today - I want every motherfucker who sat on that committee to at least tell me as to what exactly it was that I was accused of! What was the reason for their extreme reaction!? The extreme sensitivity of heart and mind that had made my extreme success thus far possible, also took it full force. It was this non verbal, emotional hit. I did not have the vocabulary. It took me many long years to come up with the vocabulary to come to terms with the experience. But when you do finally come to terms with it, it is not rocket science. Ethnic prejudice is not rocket science. Racism is not rocket science. Brian Garton, motherfucker.

In 2007 I became Barack Obama's first full time volunteer in all of New York City. 

There are times when I have thought maybe NP should have spared me that conversation. But that would have not changed the large social reality out there that people like me faced, Madhesis in Nepal, nonwhites globally. 

I finished my A Levels with EEE, with the worst possible grades, barely passing. It was a long way from being the undisputed top student in class. The number two guy went to Harvard. 

After BNKS I wrote a book on national politics. Based on that book I got accepted into the University of Chicago which had the top Economics department in the world, my new area of interest (I might have met Obama there!) "based not on your numbers but your actions and words." I did have the highest SAT scores in class. But the transcript for the final three years was all over the place. 

Getting accepted by Chicago was a way to wipe out the interim bad years, but even that had to be messed up by another Bahun, a baby Bahun. Five got admitted, two scholships were awarded. Basant took it. Rabin Koirala declined and went to India for medicine. One other guy also did not go for it. Manav Bhattarai, Board First, had plans to go to India for medicine. But he took the Chicago offer, went, spent a few weeks, then came back and went to India for medicine. That slot could have been mine. But you can't trust the Bahuns to do right by you, can you?

How do I feel about it today? I have been fortunate in my life in many ways. And I am in NYC. I can build a major company if I can prove I have what it takes. There are opportunities. But ethnic prejudice was crime then, as it is now, racism was crime then, and it is now. And there are untold millions who still suffer. 

The Madhesi plight is no better. And BNKS has a very similar fabric still. I was a token Madhesi at BNKS. The tokenism continues. 

I learned this morning the Nepal Police made CK Raut do the "kan samatera uth bas" like they once made Sunil do it. Not much has changed. The fight goes on.

I am going to build a company whose market value is going to exceed the total endowment of Berea College. And with some of that money I am going to build in Janakpur a school that is bigger and better than Budhanilkantha. I could use some therapy.

Budhanilkantha School (2)
BNKS' Gift To Me
Family, Internet, New York City
उपेन्द्र महतोका हात पकड़नेमें ५-६ साल

Monday, October 13, 2014

बुढानीलकंठ स्कुलमा टोकन (token) मधेसी

English: Photograph of Janki Mandir of Janakpu...
English: Photograph of Janki Mandir of Janakpur Dham(Nepal). This photo was taken from the roof of Shah Glass house building by Abhishek Dutta ( I took this photograph during my Dashami trip to Janakpur (my birth place) on 14 October 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
बुढानीलकंठ स्कुलमा म टोकन (token) मधेसी थिएँ। म त्योभन्दा भव्य स्कुल जनकपुरमा बनाउँछु। तब आएगा संघीयताका मजा। I am going to build a company whose market value is going to exceed the total endowment of Berea College. And I am going to build a great school in my hometown of Janakpur.

टोकन मधेसी भनेको हुनु पर्ने "सौ में पचास" तर हुन्छ सौ में पाँच, अथवा दुई, अथवा तीन। म तीन मध्ये एक थिएँ।

त्यो ratio केही बदलिएको छैन।

उपेन्द्र महतोका हात पकड़नेमें ५-६ साल

Sunday, May 11, 2014

BNKS' Gift To Me

I have been talking to some high school friends across the pond recently. In less than a year Nepal will get its constitution and its federalism. After that 100% of the political focus has to shift to development and economic issues. After my work for Nepal's democracy and Madhesi movements to Obama 2008, I am squarely in the entrepreneurship boat by now.

I have come full circle in some ways. One word of appreciation I would like to express is that because of my BNKS experience I have not gone to rooms and halls and events in Manhattan ever and felt like, gosh, these people are too smart for me. That has been BNKS' number one gift to me.

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Friday, September 06, 2013

1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1997, 2007

English: Saraswoti temple at Budhanilkantha School
English: Saraswoti temple at Budhanilkantha School (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Budhanilkantha School was founded and cultivated as the national school of Nepal. I got in after sitting through nationwide exams and was the top student in my class year in year out until 1989. The people who ran the place - the Bahuns, the British - took it all away from me that year. I was made to waken up to the social gravity of racism and ethnic prejudice. One administrative decision by the people who ran the show at the school took it all away.

I was not just good academically. I also won a Best Actor award in middle school. I was the school's mental arithmetic champion one year. If there was one other thing besides academics I excelled at, it was leadership. There was this guy Bishwa Limbu two years senior to me who was also top of his class year in year out, otherwise in batches before and after there was no one such person like him and me. But Limbu did not shine out on other fronts, he was missing in action on leadership, completely. I was not a star in sports but I did win a Division A pentathlon in 1989. One of my lingering regrets is I wish I had been better trained at soccer skills.

1989 stood out. I gave the best year any boarding house had ever had in that school's history. We won every single championship, academic, sports and otherwise. Everyone's grades started going up. There was this one guy Lojok a year junior to me. I took him under my personal wings for being the lowest performing student in the entire house - Kanchenjunga - and he went up something like 20 points.

I was to see this drama all over again at college many years later in Kentucky. Precisely because I was doing so very well, the people who ran the place would come after me. The Bahuns had gotten to where they were by marginalizing people of my background in the Nepali context. The only reason the British were running the show was because they had pushed India behind. And my excelling reminded them of their unfair advantages over their lifetimes. And, by God, they were going to snuff me out.

When people two and three times your age while you are not yet an adult all gang up on you, when you are one person, and they are the dozen people running the entire institution, there is a rude awakening to the social gravity. I had not yet acquired the political consciousness as a Madhesi. I had read up plenty on Gandhi and MLK and Lincoln, but I thought racism was stuff of the history books. I was living in the present day, way past all that history. I was wrong.

It all started on the soccer field. Some Nilgiri guys started a fight. That was no news. Something like that happened sometimes after soccer matches. It spilled over. Then it kind of quietened down. I moved on. But apparently it was not over. Jiwan Wagle, the Nilgiri housemaster urged his students to "do what you need to do outside the school compounds." This most sickly of figures (maranchyanse madharchod), the guy looked like he had been bullied at high school, at college, and nobody gave a shit about him now - then - suddenly gave out a mafia siren call. Who would have thought?

Under any normal circumstances the guy should have been fired from his job immediately. But that is not what happened. One of his students who got excited was Rajesh Shrestha. That guy Shrestha, and Wagle's son would sometimes organize study sessions with me only a few years back, at Wagle's apartment of all places. I should not have done that. I regret. Wagle could not stand why his son was not doing as well as I, so the father in him lashed out. It was ethnic prejudice but it was also a jealousy thing. Excellence was to be snuffed out at a self proclaimed "center of excellence."

Some Nilgiri guys sent some of their non BNKS student cousins at the city bus park a few weeks later when it was time to go home for the Dashain vacation. A Class 7 Kanchenjunga guy Suneel got humiliated. The experience was bad enough for him, he lost his mind. They chased around my Sports Captain Gyaneshwar Mahato, a Siraha guy. I was sitting in the cabin of the night bus when they came for me. One of them tapped on my shoulder, the window was open. I had my sweater stylishly resting on my shoulders. Can you step outside for a minute, he said. I did not recognize the person. I had no idea what had happened to Suneel or Gyaneshwar. Why, I asked. He repeated himself. Then he got angry. Then he pulled away my sweater. By then I sensed something was wrong. I urged the bus driver to move the bus. The bus driver looked the other way. He moved the bus five minutes later when it was time to move the bus.

These guys were cousins of Rajesh Shrestha. If it was just my personal experience, 50% of the responsibility rested with Jiwan Raj Wagle, the Nilgiri housemaster, and 50% of the responsibility rested with his student, my Nilgiri classmate Rajesh Shrestha. I regret ever having gotten to know the two. I regret being "close" to both only a few years prior. These are/were snakes.

I had no context for the incident until I came back to school weeks later. The Nilgiri guys wrote an apology letter to the school. That was them admitting they had been behind the bus park incident. Students at the school had been expelled for smaller scuffles. This was ground for expulsion. Did not happen.

I had moved on though. I was actively thinking in terms of the year end exams. I was winding down my year as House Captain. I was not affected by the sweater incident at the bus park, at all. They feared me. Or they would have showed up themselves. They did not. I was too busy mentally about what was about to happen - exams - to do things like protest, or go visit the authorities about the incident. They had been informed. The ball was in their court. I trusted them to do what was routine and right.

And then the roof collapsed. They suspended me! They suspended Gyaneshwar. In retrospect I wish NP Sharma had not shared with me the gory details of what happened at the meeting. I might have skipped the trauma.

To this day I want every motherfucker who sat on that committee to inform me as to why exactly they suspended me. What was the allegation? What had I done?

Do what? Suspend me? Why? You got reprimanded for not wearing your socks. I always wore my socks. You got suspended for smoking. The thought did not cross my mind. You could get suspended for getting into fights. I was not the fighting kind. By that time of the year all I was focused on was studying for the exams.

The second part of the double whammy happened in 1991. They nominated me for School Captain for being too obvious the choice. And then they took away the nomination. No, I did not walk away. They took it away. I had needed the emotional boost of that school captaincy, to go on the upswing again. And they took it away. I said I wanted a team of 12 school prefects. They said eight. I thought we were talking, negotiating. From being top of the class in 1989, my grades nosedived. The 1991 incident was another blow.

They gave me a warning letter in 1992, an academic warming letter, just the week before I came up with the top SAT score in class.

My projected grades for the A Levels exams were BCC. The day before the exams started, Andrew Wild - the one voice who argued against my immediate expulsion in 1989 (expel me for what? motherfuckers) - shouted at me so loud (I was just stepping out of the bathroom, it was time to run for breakfast) people asleep one stairs up woke up. I was not late, people who were still asleep were. I graduated with EEE. Thank God for the book I wrote on national politics in the year after BNKS, I got myself accepted to the University of Chicago, the top Economics department in America. Five seats and two scholarships were extended. Basanta Shrestha went. Two guys bowed out. Rabin Koirala wanted to go to India to do MBBS. So now it was one scholarship and two students, me and Manav Bhattarai, the Board First dude from the batch after mine, an all academic no nothing else guy. That Bahun had already made up his mind to go to India for a MBBS like Rabin Koirala. Instead he took a detour. He went to Chicago and then flew back to India and wasted my scholarship in the process. I was accepted "not for your numbers, but your actions and words."

I get excited about MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). I don't get excited about BNKS. BNKS was a Bahun-British nexus that worked to destroy a Madhesi/Indian like me. They failed, but trying was a social crime. And there are about a dozen faces I never do want to see. Brian Garton is not innocent. Sudarshan Rijal is not innocent.

Sometime in 1993 Robert Shrubsall, by then working in Bangladesh, arranged a get together for me and Wild in Thamel. I guess word had spread.

"Don't you miss it when we used to rule India?" Wild asked Shrubsall.

People like Wagle and Vaidya were very comfortable with their use of the word "madisey." That is like saying nigger.

BNKS ended for me in 1989, towards the end of that year. Berea ended for me in 1997. I saw the devil himself. I saw institutional racism. I saw racist demonization. The whole system ran on it.

I was Barack Obama's first full time volunteer in all of New York City. The richest Briton is an Indian. When Upendra Yadav landed in Los Angeles in 2007, the first thing he said was "Where is Paramendra Bhagat?" They took him to his hotel. He again asked, "Where is Paramendra Bhagat?"

When they had the Bahun Madhav Nepal under house arrest early in 2006, when he managed to come online a month later, the first person he chatted with was me.

Until 1989 my ambition was to become a medical doctor. Then I slowly realized the germs I need to see I see with my open eyes. I don't need a microscope.

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Friday, July 22, 2011

At The Buspark (2)

At The Buspark (2), Kentucky Blues
At The Buspark

The legend has it I got beat up at the buspark and that is where it all started.

The truth is nobody laid hands on me. My classmates who plotted the whole thing were so scared of me they did not bother showing up themselves. They knew they had to come back to school once the vacation was over. Where were they gonna go?

Another meme has it that my grades nosedived because I started chasing girls. It was an all boys boarding school.

A third story line says I was not a math and science guy. I was an English Literature person. And so I did not do well for the A Levels Physics, Chemistry and Biology. The truth is that for the nationwide exam I sat for at the end of the year my score for science was the highest in class. I failed O Levels English Literature.

But let's start with the bare facts. I never hit anyone. No one at any point ever hit me. I never got into any fight. I never feared anyone while at school, before, during and after. I was always this natural leader type person with plenty of friends. Until people with a combined age of a few centuries ganged up on me.

Something big did happen at the buspark. My sports captain, someone who shared my ethnicity, was chased to be beat up. A student from my hostel a few years junior to me was humiliated at the buspark. The guy's reaction to the incident was that he lost his mind over the years.

Something very wrong happened at the buspark. Something much worse happened at the school before and after. And it was not from the students. It was from the motherfucking Pahadi Bahun teachers who ran the place.

It is important for me to bring this up. Students/classmates I had beat year after year for seven years to that point a few years later went to Harvard, Stanford and everything in between. My solace is that many of them ended up with brand names like Apple, Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, but not one ever thought in terms of creating one. It is called the road less taken. I have not created one either, but I have said I will. I got time. I am only now getting started. You could go work for Apple, or you could create an Apple.

Like I say, Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard, I never went to Harvard. That makes me one better than Bill Gates in the out of the box thinking department. A Nepali - not a grad of that high school - who is a Harvard MBA now living in Seattle recently reported to me that some of my friends describe me as "the smartest person ever to have attended Budhanilkantha School."

The housemaster of the red house - this motherfucking Bahun by the name of Jiwan Raj Wagle - was the original mastermind of the buspark incident. During the weeks prior he apparently told his students, "Do what you have to do outside of the school compound!"

And so some of his students volunteered to orchestrate the buspark incident. My vice captain, who was from Kathmandu valley, tricked the perpetrators into writing an apology letter to the school authorities not long after it happened. They promptly owned up to the whole thing.

So now the school authorities had everything they needed to take action.

Instead they suspended my sports captain. A few weeks later they suspended me. Then they suspended my vice captain.

I have immense hatred for the Bahuns like Jiwan Raj Wagle and Sudarshan Risal. What those motherfuckers started was a family feud. And they found a ready ally in the white male headmaster.

First they wanted to kick me out of school. Then they said let him finish the school year and then let's kick him out. Finally they suspended me from my office of House Captain.

It was the strangest experience. I had not participated in any fight. I had not hit anyone. No one had hit me. I had not organized any protest later. I had felt bad about the injustice later, but I had kept my feelings to myself. I was gearing up for the end of year exams instead. And they still did what they did.

What happened was the entire establishment, the Pahadi/Bahun establishment started seeing me as a future Prime Minister, and they decided it was best to nip the bud early. And so they came after me full force. Nepal has never had a Madhesi Prime Minister.

It was a nexus of the Pahadi Bahun and the White Male. One Britisher once called me "Napoleon" a year or two later. Apparently my year as House Captain had threatened the White Male order in the world. He also compared me to Maradona. Maradona was relentlessly fouled on the soccer field. He suggested it was like that.

"Don't you miss it when we used to rule India?" he asked another Britisher in my presence months after I was done with school. This was in Thamel, Kathmandu.

I only came to America after he left Nepal. He was the college counselor. Before the final exams for A Levels, there were the trial exams. It was grades from these that went to the US and UK colleges. When you scored a BCC, the school gave you ABB since it was thought you would improve two months later and people did. I scored CDD. Everyone else's grades got jacked up by one, this guy left my grades at CDD. The day before the finals began he yelled at me so hard he woke up people asleep one floor up. He spoiled my week. I graduated with EEE. After school I did political work and wrote a 100 page book and applied. I got myself admitted to the top Economics department in the world, "not for your numbers, but your actions and words." The school awarded five seats and three scholarships. One of the five declined because he wanted to go to India. One guy readily took the scholarship and went to Chicago. One Bahun took the offer, went to Chicago, and came right back to go to medical school in India. He invested in round trip airfare to spoil it for me. If the Pahadi Bahun White Male nexus had not spoilt it for me yet one more time I might have met Barack Obama at Chicago. And he might never have become president. (The First Time I Heard The Obama Name)

There was this guy Anil, classmate. If I were as good at soccer as he was, I thought, I would not spend as much time as he did at the Computer Center, I'd be out on the soccer field. I mean, this guy was our Bill Gates. He was the out of the box guy, passionate about computers and electronics. This white guy once yelled into his ears so bad Anil went to Japan for college, the rest of the crowd headed west.

That yelling was child abuse. Anil was not legally an adult yet.

It was like they stabbed a dagger into my thigh with the buspark incident and I reeled for the rest of my time there. I might have been depressed at some level. It is this experience from where I derive my intense political affinity for women. The illogic of the injustice made me feel very out of place in the logics of Physics, Chemistry and Biology. I went through the motions of my science classes like Galileo going through the motions of church services. He instead focused on the swinging pendulum. I saw water but did not have the vocabulary for it, so I did not know what it was that I was seeing. I took the emotional hits but it was long years before I had the words to articulate what might have happened.

I have thought in terms of political warfare. If I had the mind to do so well in academics and in group dynamics, the positive kind, maybe I can apply that same mind to political warfare and drive home the message to those Pahadis, those Bahuns. It is still not too late. This fight could go generations. I could fucking colonize their backyards.

This was also my introduction to the White Male. I was reintroduced to the White Male later in Kentucky.

One line of attack was that I was an out of the valley guy, I did not have connections in Kathmandu, and so the mishap fell in my lap. That was not the case. My vice captain was from the valley. There were as many connected Kathmandu valley people in my blue house as there were in the red house.

And a prince classmate threw his weight behind me. His father was brother to the king. The country was no democracy. In many ways his father was the most powerful man in the country. This prince got a body builder type to show up at school and go scare the people in the red house.

The white male headmaster suspended the prince. This prince, son to the most powerful man in the country, was not too connected to not be suspended, but the minions in the red house were too connected? That argument flies in the face of logic.

They came after me, they came individually after me. They formed an alliance of the Pahadi Bahun and the White Male because both felt their places in the world threatened by an under age guy who had just given them the best year any House Captain ever in school history.

And so I say nuke that high school. My idea of nuking would be to see a day when every page in every textbook is online, accessible to anyone and everyone. I think I already have seen that day. It is called the Wikipedia.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

High School, College, New York City

Whitaker as General Idi Amin in The Last King ...Image via Wikipedia

I feel like both a high school and a college dropout. Emotionally I dropped out of high school a few months before the SLC exams. I had a very happy first year at college. Then an experience in institutional racism caused me to emotionally drop out.

Larry Shinn and Gail Wolford - they actively participated in an institutional hate crime - are the two most disgusting human beings I have ever had to meet in person, and they had me in jail for six months with murderers and drug lords. And that makes Charlie Rangel the Idi Amin of New York City politics. I am going to take a leak on that motherfucker's grave some day, but I have vowed to never go anywhere within 10 miles of that guy, and so. Oh well. Sometimes you cut your losses and move.

June 3 Immigration Court Date
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