Stories From Sarlahi

At a Mushahar community kindergarten in Mushahari area Babarganj-4, from six thirty in the morning to nine, children crowded a floor closed by walls but without door or roof, studying what a tenth grader tutor taught. Their zeal to study dominated th

Feb. 2, 2017, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol.10, No 12, February 3,2017, (Magh 21,2073)

The stories of existence and place have boggled the best of minds. Did I 'will' to come into this world? Do I have any contribution to my coming into this world? As I walked the dusty lanes of Hirapur, a village of Sarlahi, I asked this question to myself. I don't have the answer to this question now. Maybe in my lifetime, I will have the answer, or maybe not.

The next question I asked myself was: 'Why was I in Hirapur?'

I have always been fascinated by the neon lights, clean pitched roads, skyscrapers, modern transportation system and a variety of cuisines that the cities offer. I failed to understand what was I doing in those mud houses, dusty roads, huge fields and, to everyone's disgust, the open defecation areas. Upon further contemplation, my urge was to eat healthy food, meet relatives, observe simple life without access to the modern amenities. People actually can do without everything that the modern world has invented. People haven't stopped living and loving because they don't have access to modern technologies.

Hirapur is roughly seven hours from Kathmandu. That too with the present poor road conditions of Nepal. A few direct and shorter routes, with well-maintained roads, will cut the length, time and cost of travel. This time around I noticed there was electricity. Though the power supply was not continuous. I was impressed with the connectivity of roads to different villages. The black topping still needs to be done. The students are present in the primary schools despite no proper infrastructure provided to them.

At a Mushahar community kindergarten in Mushahari area Babarganj-4, from six thirty in the morning to nine, children crowded a floor closed by walls but without door or roof, studying what a tenth grader tutor taught. Their zeal to study dominated the ambience. There was no cold for them even when the elders had gathered around the fireplace.

What connection I have to Kathmandu where I am born? Why does Hirapur still attract me despite the fact that it is just a village of a least developed country? I did follow my grandmother to this village when I was a kid to spend winters during our school vacation. We have some land in Diyar, a few kilometers away from Hirapur. But I am no more a kid. Yet I decided to go this time. I spent almost four days there. I must confess I had a good time. The winter isn't harsh there. But is it just a place to escape from harsh winters of Kathmandu? Or is it Karma coming back to me?

The question why I was in Hirapur still crosses my mind. In fact so many questions cross my mind with relation to place and my existence. Why not any other place? The relation a person has with his/her birth place is as important as why we are born. Was it just an accident that I was born in Nepal? Does everything that we gain in this world is what we are? Is that our total earning? Is there something beyond this life? Does everything end with death? Or there is something we take beyond this life? What is the 'right thing to do?' What is the right way to live? What is the measuring yard stick of good conduct and bad? Being able to answer these questions will also make me act to contribute to societies and to places like Hirapur.

Hirapur might not be a touristic place but the questions being there surfaced in my mind are worth contemplation. Such questions would cross my mind only because I have some past relation to the place. A place is not just a place. It has history. It has relations with persons living there. It brings memories. It pricks conscience. It makes us think of the origin of where we came from. Sometimes it makes us think of the origin of life. It makes us think what our ancestors liked. What were our ancestors' needs? How they survived? How we were born? The place tells us the stories about relationships with people. The struggle.

Hirapur, in Sarlahi, like many villages in Nepal needs private individual's and government's attention. Its people need care and nurturing. It needs schools and colleges. People need to be imparted education. It needs sustainable development. It already has pristine environment. All we need to do is not spoil it.

Hirapur, Diyar, Mushahari are less heard villages in Sarlahi. Sarlahi is a bordering district of Mahottari, Rautahat and Sindhuli. It also borders in the south with Bihar, India. With the present constitutional demarcation Sarlahi is a district of Province 2. Farming is the primary mode of earning for the people living there. Some 769,729 people live in Sarlahi, according to National Population and Housing Census 2011.

Abhisek Adhikari

Abhisek Adhikari

Adhikari is a constitutional lawyer.

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