For the first time perhaps in the history of
The BADI and the DALIT women were not only treated as guest of honor at the seminar but through their own expressions made at the inaugural session moved the attending participants including the Chief Guest, the Danish Ambassador to the
The seminar hall though was a jam packed one still remained spell bound and listened to the painful stories of the two “neglected” communities as narrated by Maya Singh Badi and Kamala Bishwakarma who instantly bagged praise for their forceful presentation of the plight of their respective communities.
It was a Telegraph Weekly media seminar held on 19 December last week in close cooperation with the German Foundation-the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.
The topic of the media seminar was “Media and Women in
Those who attended the seminar on that day were, among others,
The attending participants emphasized the need to empower women through enhancing their competence instead of allowing certain seats for them as reservation.
Intellectuals opined that the traditional mindset of the Nepali society should change towards the women who can now even excel their male counterparts if allowed to exhibit their latent potential and inner intellect.
Others suggested the women to search their own role in a bold manner instead of begging rights from the State that is primarily a male dominated one.
Yet some others maintained that Media and Women had tremendous role in the domain of peace building, however, the State and the Society has not yet recognized their role for such an effort.
Some intellectuals categorically stated that some media houses possessed biases against the women folks and demanded that such negative trend must not be allowed to continue.
Welcoming the galaxy of the intellectuals’ gathering, the chief editor of this weekly, N.P. Upadhyaya, said that though the Nepali society was harassing the Nepali women by dubbing them all as weaker sex to which, according to Upadhyaya, they were not.
He appealed the State to engage women folks in various sectors so that this section of the society could feel that they too were a part of the whole system of governance.
After the inaugural of the seminar, the Chief Guest, Ambassador Finn Thilsted, Royal Danish Embassy delivering his key-note address said that “there was the need for envisioning a new role for women in a new
“ Many Nepalese women have made great contributions to the Nepalese society and that their efforts are through women’s movement, local community engagement and non-governmental organizations dealing with health, agriculture, forestry, HIV/AIDS, trafficking and so many other equally important areas”, the Ambassador noted.
Talking about the media’s role, the Danish Ambassador opined that “the Nepalese media had an important role in transforming the Nepali society and that a democratic society needed a free and a critical press that gives voice to women and men on an equal basis.
The Danish envoy further advised the Nepali media to present the wishes of the people to the politicians and to document the actions of the politicians to the people.
“The media must be active in supporting the inclusion of the women in a new
He, however, alerted the media to remain conscious about letting the female voices heard.
Ms. Babita Basnet-the chairwomen of the Sancharika Samuha,
She also said that the State must award the women folks of their rights that are their due.
“A society wherein women are ignored can never prosper”, she added.
Ms. Sobha Gautam, a leading women Human Rights activist observed that unless the women that constitute almost half of the Nepali sky are accorded their due rights in the state affairs, the State can’t achieve development. Ms. Gautam demanded that the society must change as per the changing times and so should be its behaviour towards women.
“The society must change itself in looking at women”, Ms. Gautam underlined.
Sharing the same platform at the inaugural session of the seminar, Ms. Kamala Bishwakarma-a women activist from the Dalit community-expressed her displeasure and dissatisfaction over the nonchalance behaviour exhibited by the State towards her community. She opined that the dalits were an integral part of the Nepali society and thus their grievances must and ought to be considered and that too urgently.
“We demand justice from the State…..we will be forced to take our issues to the streets if the government dilly-dallied their demands that are genuine and rightful”, said kamala Bishwakarma.
Maya Singh BADI, with tears in her eyes narrated the plight of her community and appealed the State, the society and the NGO/INGOs to be sincere to their plights and act accordingly so that the BADI community too could live a dignified life in the same society where others are living too.
She, however, lambasted at the INGOs who in the name of the upliftment of the BADI society have gulped “dollars” from various international donor agencies.
“If one wanted to see the plight of this community, go to the banks of the Seti river in the west and feel for yourselves the real picture of the BADIs on how they are forced to live a miserable life there”, Maya declared.
Maya further said that the BADIs have been time and again cheated by the society, the state and others as if the community were not a part of the same soil.
She argued that it was time that the Badi community too be listened by the State or else the entire community can bring about a hurricane which would surely compel the society and the state to look upon seriously their genuine grievances.
Offering vote of thanks, Mr. Dev Raj Dahal-the Nepal Chief of the FES which is also the co-organizer of the seminar said that “the new conflict dynamics opened at societal level requires multi-track approaches including enhanced role of those excluded members of society including women in peace building”.
He observed that such approaches also entail undistorted communication about hostility-fuelling sources— faith, reason, greed and needs deficits, removal of misconception and beginning of trust-building policies and institutions.
“The UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on “Women, Peace and Security” provides multi-track engagements of women in sustainable peace building. It supports local women’s struggle and indigenous processes based on equitable distribution of social, economic and political power between men and women”, Dahal continued.
As regards the role of the media in peace building, he said that “Conflict sensitive media rooted in public political culture can alone enable the decision-makers to understand the increasing complexity of the conflict, suggest the optimal choices to solve it and support the pursuit of peace, a peace that is tied with democratic order based on mutually agreed rules for the socialization of all actors in their dealings with each other”.
Dr. Mina Vaidya presented a working paper at the first session of the seminar proceedings. The session was chaired by Ambassador Keshav Raj Jha.
Similarly, the second session saw the paper presentation by Dr. Surendra K.C. This session was chaired by Prof. Dr. Sushil Raj Pandey.
The attending participants practically “grilled” both the paper presenters with volley of questions.
Thus the seminar was a grand success.
Dr. Vaidya’s paper is on the website as well-ed.