Dr. Hari Sharan Deuja, Engineer, Canada
Dr. Hari Sharan Deuja, Engineer, Currently in Canada
Dr. Hari Sharan Deuja, originally hails from Shreejanag Nagar, Katunje 1, Bhaktapur, Nepal, and is now residing in Canada. Although he is an Engineer by profession, yet he is among those few members of Nepali diaspora who have been continuosly observing the ongoing Nepali political affairs. He was once the Secretary of Nepal Cultural Society of BC, VP Western Canada, Nepalese Americas Council, Active participant of Annual fund raising event for a health camp in remote areas of Nepal organized under the umbrella of Medical Mercy Canada, Founding Secretary Nepal-Ukraine Society and founder of Non for Profit Society Clinic to Cure, BC, Canada.
He has pursued Masters in Science (with Honours) in Civil Engineering from Kharkov State Automobile and Highway Technical University, Kharkov, UA and PhD. in Engineering Sciences- Construction Materials and Products from the same university. He was awarded Mahendra Vidhya Bhusan and was the winner of the Ukrainian Republican Contest on “Student and Technological Progress”, Ministry of Education, Ukraine in 1988. Apart from several research works in engineering discipline, he also has published a number or articles on Nepal's socio-political affairs in several leading daily and weekly newspapers of Nepal.
Sujit Mainali for The Telegraph Weekly and its online edition
telegraphnepal.com approached and interviewed Dr. Deuja through mail on several facets of contemporary Nepali politics. Below the excerpts: Chief Editor.
TGQ1. You are making best use of your engineering knowledge to prosper the alien land instead what it should have been the otherwise. But the infrastructures of your motherland which were destroyed during a decade long civil war are yet not rebuilt. How do you feel when you think about it?
Dr. Deuja: This is the most hurting and emotional question I ever could expect but be asked to a person who at times thinks that he betrayed Mother Nepal, but not Mother giving birth to me and I will come back to this point later, ran away in the search of better life in an “alien land”! The word alien itself is hurting, but nobody forced me to do so and was my choice, but why? Is the question you will have to look after and I am bringing that to your attention later in this answer.
I returned back home after 15 years from another “alien land” after completing higher education, PhD in Engineering, and gained experience working with famous in Europe expert in the field of asphalt (bitumen) and asphalt concrete with a proud feeling that I could and would do something for Mother Nepal and Nepali at large. However, the reality was quite different than my thoughts to learn that Nepal Bitumen and Barrel Industry Ltd is a monopoly company of Panchkanya Group and the doors for me there were closed immaterial of how much I knew about bitumen, a most expensive ingredient for any road construction projects, having done research and more than 10 publications in the subject to build quality road through enhanced pavement performance using modified bitumen adding some additives which would ultimately make the bitumen cheaper in terms of quality and quantity used – alas!
I did make an impact on Nepal and lives of Nepali through different, but biggest ever completed till date, construction project in Nepal – Kaligandaki ‘A’ Hydro Power Project (KGA HEP) working as a Quality Control Engineer from the Contractor’s side, IMPREGILO Spa – Italy, fighting even with my own employer’s some of senior staffs regarding the quality of civil works and to receive, surprisingly, a Medal and Certificate of appreciation for successful completion of project’s civil works after the completion of project in my own house – yes, was my accomplishment as an engineer first ever engineering project in Nepal after High School and was a moment of my pride.
Now, let’s go back to why I left Nepal. After KGA HEP I got a chance to be involved with another big project and will the biggest completed project if the project has that fate? Melamchi Water Supply Project (MWSP), an incident in that project that changed my entire life and is: I have to leave the country when I realized that I can't work as an Engineer within corrupted system without being a part of it. The decision was made after few people wanted to beat during an inspection when a masonry wall built almost 36 hours before (setting time for any cement product is 24 hrs) fell down after my simple touch working as an Quality Control/Highway Engineer for Main Access Road (MAR) of MWSP. However, I've to acknowledge that the local insurgent Maoists saved me from being beaten saying "Sir is doing this for our benefit"! I was also summoned up to Police Office, but the officer said being polite - Sir, if you have any problem don't hesitate to tell us - there was no way to tell anything, if we wanted to do our job, because beyond less than couple of km from Melamchi Bazar they would not go to help anyone except in a big group! After that incident I became popular in locality, because used to drink with locals and chat with them. Lately I learned there were lot of Deujas in a place called Talamarang. Once, one elderly man approached me and said "Sir, that way you can't work here and I came to you because I am a Deuja too and know the local sub-contractors are angry with you"! That was the revelation of the fact for me and the moment of truth was there, I had to take a decision either be a part of corrupted system or leave the country. The second option prevailed and I applied for PR to Canada and after 3 years of that incident leaving an unsafe in terms of security UN job in Afghanistan came here to Canada.
The entire essence of your question is not about what I answered above, but is how I feel about using my knowledge and experience to prosper an “alien land”? I may not be able to exactly express how I feel, but sad and sorry for my Mother Land and the feeling of being second class person in a foreign land loosing identity, dignity, culture, tradition, and our core values!!! A lot of qualified experts (Doctors, Engineers etc) come to this “alien land” looking for a fortune to end up somewhere in a gas station, driving a taxi, or becoming an accountant leaving engineering field at all and taking a self-satisfaction by comforting themselves that they are doing this for their kids.
Couple of years ago, after the birth of our daughter, I started thinking of getting back to Nepal for few years first of all, to teach daughter Nepali tradition and values and secondly, get a chance to serve Mother Nepal for some time, but I had to face conflicting situation with my wife and hear my Mother say “If you want to live life of beggar then come, otherwise people are investing millions of rupees to live in Western countries (काम नपायर मागेर खाने भए आईजो, हैन भने मान्छेहरु लाखौं खर्च गरेर हिंडी रहका छन।)“ Now, I have a question: in what state of development process, both political and human, a country is going through for a Mother to say so to her son?
TGQ2: Thank you Dr. Deuja for your answer full of emotion. India’s ambassador to South Korea, Mr. Vishnu Prakash has said very recently in an interview with the Korea Times Daily that the majestic Nepal’s Mount Everest, Sagarmatha, falls within the Indian Territory. Why do you think the Indian officials often make such ridiculous comments against the heritage of Nepal? And why the Nepali leaders keep a silence as and when such erratic comments emerge from across the border? Has his erratic remarks sensitized your Nepali friends?
Dr. Deuja: Please make no doubt about the very existence of Indian Imperialism, it’s my personal opinion and you may not share that, in the region which they inherited form British Empire! Nepal and Nepali are lucky in that we are “yam between two boulders" and those are not my words but of the Founder of current united Nepal the Great King Prithvi Narayan Shah. I am happy of conflict between India and China, because that will prevent us from being another Sikkim in the region. Even here in Canada as soon as any Indian learns my name is Hari, means I must speak Hindi, I do and may even better in both writing and speaking than any Indian, but I refuse to speak saying “if you swear I will understand, but otherwise I have problem in speaking.” I hope with this notion all is said about how I feel?
The absurd of Mr. Vishnu Prakash, being a high profile diplomat within Foreign Ministry of India indicates the real intention of Indian Government at large which could not be said without the instructions from New Delhi and if not why Indian Government is silent on the topic till date? Here is what I tweeted that ad absurdum about his expression: “@AmbVPrakash Hey, Mr. high profile diplomat - how could dare you say Mt. Everest lies in Northern India and not mention Nepal?” That is how sensitized I was and similar feelings are of my closest friends I am associated with. I am proud to mention you that all Nepali outside Nepal feel that way, as they are more sensitive than Nepali in Nepal itself, to fill the void.
It’s pretty obvious that Indian officials makes such ‘ridiculous and erratic’ comments for Nepali ears, especially those posted in high ranks within the power hierarchy of Indian politics and diplomacy, to distract tourists from Nepal and attract them to India falsely diverting them with a lie blessed, silently, by Indian Government itself, which clearly indicates, at least for me, the hidden agenda behind it. Let’s just talk about building fake Kapilvastu 25 km near the real one is without the knowledge of Indian Government? Is that possible without Indian consent?
Nepali leaders (please note that I am not using capital letter to that word, because they don’t deserve that), if they are the Leaders as supposed to be, silent because they first need to secure their chairs then think about Nation and National heritage and prides. I am more than sure some of them have the blessing from the South and how could they dare making any comments on such a sensitive issue which might be pretty costly for them?
TGQ3. Chairman of newly formed Maoist party Mr. Mohan Baidya 'Kiran' while having lunch with the president has urged the latter to take initiative to call for the formation of a national consensus government and also requested the government to convene a round table conference for ending ongoing political stalemate. Do you think the suggestion of Mr. Baidya can help end the current political impasse? Your comments please.
Dr. Deuja: Honestly, being out of Nepal for quite a long time and my knowledge, based on News portals like Telegraphnepal or My Republica, is quite limited and to make any comments on this issue may be far from the reality; however, it is my belief that any consensus between the existing main stream parties is a win-win situation for the Nation given that the ‘ambitions’ of leaders does not ignore the consensus itself if reached.
Yes, without doubt if such a round table Conference could be held as proposed by Mr. Baidya with all sincerity of the leaders would be a turning point in Nepali political scenario, but I doubt about the honesty of those who will be the subject and objects of such a proposed Conference! We have witnessed a lot of time how the politicians magically forget their promises given during the election and that is happening not only in Nepal and includes even a country like Canada. Moreover, Nepal is in completely different situation where every single CA Member is above the law.
I am also of the opinion that Mr. Baidya’s claim through President of FRN to consider his fraction of Party to be the third largest Party is something to think about for the benefit of Nation as that fraction is with a ‘cloud’ over their head.
TGQ4. During the informal sharing with telegraphnepal.com, a section of political analysts of Nepal including some top hats of the party led by Mohan Baidya 'Kiran' say that the gradual ruination of Nepal's sovereignty began right after the 12 Points Delhi Agreements which was signed among the then Maoist rebel and the parliamentarian parties, November 22, 2005. Do you agree with this claim?
Dr. Deuja: Yes, absolutely! Let’s remember what was said on 22 November 2005, the joint CPN(M)-United People's Front conference in Delhi issued a 12-point resolution, stating that they "...completely agree that autocratic monarchy is the main hurdle" hindering the realization of "democracy, peace, prosperity, social advancement and a free and sovereign Nepal." In addition, "It is our clear view that without establishing absolute democracy by ending autocratic monarchy, there is no possibility of peace, progress, and prosperity in the country."
My question: where is that so called “...Peace, progress, and prosperity in the country.” Except, this so called leaders riding on poor people back in quality tailored suits with shining shoes, wide smile and olex.
That was “fiat accompli!” Shall we look into the 12 points it agreed and signed then?
Point number 4, “Making public its commitment in an institutionalized and clear manner towards the democratic norms and values, including competitive multiparty system of governance, civil liberties, fundamental rights, human rights and the concept of rule of law, the CPN (Maoist) has expressed its commitment to move forward its activities accordingly.” – was this even accomplished or a single Party respected and followed this point? No!
Point Number 7: “Making a self-assessment of the mistakes and weaknesses committed while staying in the Government and Parliament in the past, the Seven Political Parties had expressed their commitment to not repeat such mistakes and weaknesses in the future.” – does anyone even try to look on mirror their face with respect to this point and any Party at large? No!
Point number 10: “...raise a question mark over the patriotism of the political parties...” – did a single Party raised such a question except to who should sit in the certain chair of Ministry portfolio.
Point Number 12: “Regarding the inappropriate conduct that took place among the political parties in the past, a common commitment has been expressed to investigate the incidents on which objection was raised and take appropriate action if guilt is established in such cases, and make the same public.” – did that ever happen? So far in my limited knowledge about Nepal living abroad should say no again!
I urge readers to make their own judgment about what I’ve wrote and expressed and is everyone’s right to agree or disagree, because that is what I think about so called gradual ruination of Nepal's sovereignty began right after the 12 Points Delhi Agreements.
TGQ5: How your own Nepali compatriots think now of their own motherland? Are they in a concerned state or have left it to the mercy of the political leaders who have tentatively devastated this nation over these years? What say you of the current state of politics in Nepal? Can you push some concrete but logical proposals to correct the current political aberrations observed in the country’s politics?
Dr. Deuja: The pure Nepali problem is that every single Nepali is a political analyst and has their very logically justified opinions! Is that right? Then why a small country now renamed as a Federal Republic of Nepal is going through such turmoil? I might be wrong, but half of Canadians might not know who their PM is or which Party is in power, because they have their families to be worried about. Every single Nepali living outside Nepal is worried about Motherland, especially those who are already citizens of different countries; because their roots are there and if roots start ruining what happens to the mother tree? Their beloved ones are suffering, which in times makes them think their brothers and sisters deserved better life, because we as Nepali have proved world-wide that we are capable of doing anything when it comes to being outside of Nepal, but why that does not apply to Nepali in Nepal is a question we should begin thinking of.
In the meantime, after reading different news, blogs and articles I come to a conclusion as a Road Engineer that a vehicle of the model Federal Republic made in Nepal is going down in a road constructed with maximum specified inclination as per standard in full speed and the driver is untrained to handle the vehicle in such extreme conditions. We ought to stop with such an inexperienced driver when the vehicle is full of hungry passengers who want to be in their home as soon as possible and only could dream that home is full with their dreams to come true, at least for their children, but alas, the reality is far away!
My proposal might sound weird to some, but is a fact a country have faced and now is one of the developed country in the world and that is Chile. If we look closely at the Nepali Political scene, can easily see its political fluidity being at peak. The Nepalese Constituent Assembly body has died a natural death. Even though, some people disagree to this notion that the death was natural. The CA body which had already become a national burden was forced to embrace a death by the ones who championed the very advent of this order some years back. The people just observed its advent and now they were forced to see its death. The people had virtually no role in either of the events. The fact is that when the CA body has died thus the CA elected Prime Minister also ceases to exist and thus, Babu Ram can in no way remain in a position to announce the next CA polls in his present day defunct capacity. However, the President has made him already a caretaker one. Yet the very post of the CA elected Nepal President post too has gone to a pothole and is very logical, because unlike a pothole in road pavement, this pothole can't be patched that simply. The contention is that once the CA body elected Dr. Yadav as Nepal President and thus the body which elevated his ranks to the President remains itself not in place and, by extension, his current post too cannot acquire authority. However, the fact which could not be ignored is that since the country can’t remain in a state of political vacuum and thus some legitimacy must be awarded to the post of the Nepal Presidency and we don’t have Constitution to follow this prospect. This should thus mean that the authority of the President remains intact, which only could be a Doctrine of necessity and nothing more as with the sad demise of the CA body, questions could still be raised as regards the legality of both the posts, i.e. of the Nepal PM and the President. (Excerpts from the analysis of The Telegraph Weekly). In this situation, as an alternative, we can see only two institutions that could wield authority and jump into the political scene and they are the Nepal Army and the Supreme Court. Moreover, this reminds me of Chile of 1973-1990.
Chile was ruled by a military dictatorship headed by General Augusto Pinochet from 1973 when Salvador Allende was overthrown in a coup until 1990 when the transition to democracy began. Pinochet's 17-year regime was characterized by systematic suppression of political parties and the persecution of dissidents to an extent that was unprecedented in the history of Chile. The military government of Chile is considered an example of a state by scholars.
However, Pinochet's policies eventually led to substantial GDP growth, in contrast to the negative growth seen in the early years of his administration. The upper 20% of income earners ultimately benefited the most from such growth, receiving 85% of the increase. Subsequently, the foreign debt also grew substantially under Pinochet, rising 300% between 1974 and 1988. Chile is one of the most developed countries in South America. The economy of Chile is ranked as an upper-middle income economy by the World Bank and is one of South America's most stable and prosperous nations. In May 2010 Chile became the first South American country to join the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). (Wikipedia).
Thus, I should mention about a Chilean Model for Russia accepted by its President Vladimir Putin, through a vision of his economic adviser Andrei Illarionov. What Russia needed at the beginning of the twentieth century was not a Bolshevik Revolution but strengthening of economic policies. The tragedy of that great nation was that Lenin's dream of a Developed Socialist/Communist country was misled by the Leaders after him like Stalin, Khrusev, Breznev and Eltsin. Today, more than twenty years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia's new president/PM, Vladimir Putin, has the historic opportunity to start the freedom revolution that his country missed last century.
In April 2000, Jose Pinera, as an economist Liberal Chilean Minister under the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet had a chance to visit Moscow. In this regard, it is considered the most important advocate of privatization of public pension systems and has been dubbed the "Pied Piper of the pension reform" for his powers of persuasion in favor of funded pension. He traveled to Moscow at the invitation of Illarinov and tried to assess Russia's situation. As a member of the team of economists that entered the Pinochet government in Chile in the 1970s to produce a free-market economic revolution and a return to democratic rule, he was inevitably asked whether Russia "needed a Pinochet" and whether the country should introduce a "Chilean economic model." And his unequivocal answer was no to the first question and yes to the second.(Wikipedia)
The readers might already have popped up a question: Am I trying to say that Federal Republic of Nepal needs a Dictator? To some extent yes, because otherwise no Laws will be followed by those who writes them first of all, but that Dictatorship should be led by “Chilean Economic Model” – that’s what my strong belief for current chaotic Federal Republic of Nepal where Political Leader of Parties ride in a poor person’s back while wearing a Rolex watch and I am simply wondering why their face does not become red with the shame, may be because our leaders are of special Genetic with different color of blood?
However, when talking about Nepal’s any kind of development we can’t ignore the influences of our two neighbors – the rising stars in words political and economical development and that should be another big topic to talk about and could not be captured within this answer and needs quite wider platform. Exclusive for telegraphnepal.com