Thursday, October 1, 2009

My Diary during UEP : Feildwork (11th Sept - 9th Oct)

1st day : Friday, 11 September 2009
Landed in Kathmandu : In the morning 5:30am, the Lufthansa jet landed at Delhi airport. On the exit door the airport personnel took us to the transit lounge and made us wait for some 6 hrs saying that he was coming back soon with boarding pass for next flight. The waiting hour was not that unexpected as it was as per schedule but the not getting the expected response from the personnel and not having any information, pushed us to panic. But seeing the other passengers for the same flight also in same state made us bit satiated. At last hour, when the gentleman with boarding pass appeared, the panic situation ended. Prof. Hans seemed happier than any other.At 12:55, the Jet airlines took off for Kathmandu. Leaving the land of India made me feel that now I am in Nepal. At 2:30pm, we landed at Tribhuvan International Airport, I knew no bound of bliss putting step at the destination. I saw this bliss in everybody's face. For me, it was even more that I was having a grand family reunion. I could hardly adapt myself in the temperature of Kathmandu, as I had almost got accustomed to the cooler temperature of Norway. I was sweating as heavily as some 40 days before.

2nd day : Saturday, 12 September 2009
The day is relaxing day. Other freinds attended a seminar at Institute of Engineering.

3rd day : Sunday, 13 September 2009
Community visit : Choyelibi, Vikramshila Mahavihar, Dhwaka Bahal : In the morning, 10:00am, everybody was getting ready for the first trip to places in Kathmandu. Prof. Hans took us to the nearby community named 'choyelibi' in Thamel just next to the crossroad at the entry to Thamel. It was amazing that just after the first layer of the busy commercial/tourist service activities, there was a traditional farmer's neighborhood with intact traditional built form. Entering through a narrow Galli (alley) it opened up to a wider courtyard and walking through another narrow Galli under the private house, it again opened up to a wide courtyard. Here, I almost forget the noisy busy tourist's street Thamel and felt as if I were in a traditional Kathmandu. Elderly people were basking the sun in the courtyard and young people were in rush. Most of the houses were intact in traditional form, but disturbingly some buildings were soaring which was discordant to the whole setup. Prof. Hans started to explain about the peculiar ownership system of the courtyard. The courtyard is in private ownership as such, the plot just in front of the house is in ownership of the house, but with no any visible physical demarcation. The tradition was apparent that they leave some land for open space and use for the rice dry while the construction of house. This sort of ownership of the courtyard is subjected to the danger of loss of such space as people hold rights to build on that courtyard anytime.We talked with the people basking and walking in the courtyard follows the story as such - Mr. …….. Maharjan when I asked him the name and caste, he introduced himself as 'Jyapu' with pride. That seemed they are still easier with the term 'Jyapu' rather than their official surename 'Maharjan'. The word 'maharjan' was introduced later some 50 years ago. "We've some 3-4 ropani of land in Samakhusi area and we are still farming. The production of rice from that farm is sufficient for 2 people for 6 months. My sons are doing job besides farming. How can it be possible just be survived with farming." This portrays the urban farmer of the Kathmandu.We passed through some four interconnecting courtyards. In one of them we saw some bunch of garlic hanged on struts aside the window which indicated that it is a farmer's house. In one of the courtyard, some half of the area was used by a carpenter.

After visiting this place, we headed to Bhagawan Bahal, It was a magnificent traditional Buddhist monastery with a courtyard inside surrounded by two storied monastery and a tiered style temple just in front of main entrance door. The temple housed the shrine of Buddha and rest of the building around the courtyard was with open free rooms without partitions. It is the typical plan form of Bahil typology of Buddhist monastery (Contrary to Bahal). In the courtyard there were many votive caityas, some of them were of Lichhavi style. The external wall of the temple was nailed with many copper and bronze utensils which were offered by devotees. The Vikramashila Mahavihar (Sanskrit name), Thaň Bahil has long and prosperous history since long time back, more than one millennium. It used to have connections with the famous Nalanda University and Vikramshila university. Records state that great Buddhist masters such as Arya Asanga, Dipankar Shree Gyan has stayed here. This fact is also supported by the sacred prajňa-paramita scripture written in gold and silver ink still in possession of the Sangha of this monastery and it is exhibited once every year for public. Peculiar fact about this monastery is that the caretakers and priests of the monastery are of pradhan caste, whereas, in all other monasteries, it is run by shakyas or bajracharyas. One of the caretakers, Mr. Madhu Man Pradhan, also the headmaster in a school informed us that the monastery was much bigger in past. Even, the land for Amrit Science Campus at lainchaur was donated by this monastery and it's property extends up to Mana Maiju.Afterward, we came out to a backyard of the monastery. Mr Madhu Man Pradhan has been running a orphan school on the site. We observed the school and had some inquiries about the school. 'this is a lower secondary school, with the classes from 1st grade to seventh grade. Some 300 students study here.

Afterwards, resting for a while at Utse Hotel, we headed toward Newroad. On the way we observed Dhwakha baha and some more courtyards. The Dhwakha bahal is quite large rectangular courtyard which is not so much of kind of traditional Bahal form. Kids were playing with Gatti game (pebbles). Marte found interesting with this game and started playing with the young girls sitting down on the floor. Her play was so spectacular that even commuters stopped for a while to watch. Passing through the crowded /live busy market place of Ason we came out to the Rameshwor's Sweet and Chat, a south Indian restaurant. After long walk in hot sunny streets, hungry people got this oasis to kill their hunger. Dosa, Uttapam, Lassi, Coffee were the some the items in menu we ordered. After enjoying the south Indian food, the program for the day ended.

4th day : Monday, 14th September 2009
Visit to Patan, a craftmen's city : I waited for the friends in Patan Durban Square at 10 am sharp. Haruka, Beibei and Pema appeared in taxi. Later after more than 20 mins, Melissa, Marte, Gulliam appeared in another taxi. We entered to the Patan Museum. The medieval Malla period palace was renovated and converted to the museum accessible to all. It was a opportunity to experience the historical place environment in addition to look into precious collections on art, culture, and religion of Kathmandu valley. The museum displays housed in the two floors of palace which surrounded the Keshabnarayan Chowk. The entry to the museum was through a single flight staircase with unique railing whose design was borrowed from traditions of Himalayas. We started our tour from second floor which started with Buddhist art and tradition. Displays followed by different iconographic images ranging from avalokitesvara, Buddha image, taras to wrathfull deities, dakinis. One of the significant was stepwise display of procedure of the hollow metal casting technique and repouisse technique. In the next section, it was well illustrated with hindu iconographic images, stone sculptures, paubha paintings and antiquities. The renovation of this palace building had to face many criticism for using some innovations in column posts and some of the face treatments.

After the museum visit, we went to roof top of Third World Restaurant and had lunch. Then, we headed towards the 'House' which was a courtyard house of royal sweet makers. The courtyard has a 3 m deep recess underground with altar. This was the worshipping place discovered lately and the depth signify the layer of debris piled up. The bottom of the recess used to be the original ground at sometime. The backyard garden adjoining to the courtyard has been preserved in original form. Afterwards, we visited another courtyard of farmer community just nearby south of the palace. They used to be royal gardeners. It was a very small courtyard and surrounded by old houses. Then we climbed up to the deck from where we enjoyed the magnificent view of palace and temple silhouette. Next place was I baha bahi which was an ancient Buddhist monastery which was reconstructed by Japanese support - Nippon Institute of Technology. It was a conservation through complete reconstruction which could not establishe good reputation because of …………(Prof. hans have to fill this gap) and the ownership of the monastery building also became controversial afterwards. Afterwards we walk along chakrabahil and entered to another monastery Jyabahabahi (Jestha Varna Mahavihar in Sanskrit) which was in ruined state. One of the wings has fallen down and other wings are also not in good condition, however the typological character was apparent in the existing structures. On the way of Thaina, we entered into another courtyard which looked like a monastery with shrine in one wing and open dalan in other wings. But, in fact it is not a monastery proper but a Kacha baha (branch monastery). When the families of the monastery expands and has to settle down outside they construct housing replicating their root monastery. They have regular Puja but the shrine is not used for ordination ceremony, all households have to go to the root monastery for the ordination. They are owed to be participated every rituals and functions of the root monastery. The root monastery of this kacha baha is Rudravarna Mahavihar (Ukubaha), which was our next destination. Rudravarna Mahavihar was one of the well preserved monasteries in Lalitpur. In the courtyard of Ukubaha, there were metal statue of Rana Primeminister and many other iconographic sculptures.

The tour followed to another courtyard with a magnificent temple in the center, Mahabouddha. The temple was constructed by Abhaya Raj Shakya in resemblance of Bodhgaya temple after his return from the pilgrimage. The temple is constructed in molded terracotta with some three thousand Buddha image and is popular as 9999 buddha temple signifying existence of countless buddhas. In the main sanctuary, Prof Hans, Marte, Haruka, Pema offered the incense butter lamp. This place was today's last spot of tour.

5th day : Tuesday, 15th September 2009
Community visit : Kankeswori - As slated previously, we headed towards Kankeshwori from Utse Hotel at 11:00am passing through shree gha (a wide courtyard consisting a big stupa at the center and theravadin and Mahayanist monastery and old monastery shrine along the periphery of the courtyard), bangemudha (where at one spot innumerable coins were nailed on a wood piece. It is believed that doing so, the ailments of teeth and ear would be cured), kilagal. At kilagal, we missed Prof. Hans, Marte, Shreesti and Gulliaum. They were at the back and took another way. Later I was able to contact Shreesti and she said to meet at Kankeshwori directly. On the way, we passed by a Manandhar Community (oil makers) where we observed the traditional mustard oil mill. As we entered to that area a pleasant smell of mustard oil invited us to look over.As we reached nearer to the bank of Bishnumati River, the stink of buffalo dung was suggesting us that we are reaching to the fringe area of old city of traditional butcher community. Finally, when we reached to kankeshwori the lost group was already there.

Then, Prof. Hans took us to the old butcher's neighborhood nearby the Kankeshwori temple. He explained that there were not much change from that what they've mapped this area some 20 years ago. And Hans was so happy knowing that the families got the ownership certificate just some 2 years back. Despite of being the original inhabitants, they were suffered from not having legal status for long time. In this fringe area the courtyard housing was not so prevalent. It was amazing to see some large chunk of land were still there despite a heavy pressure of land demand. But the neighboring house owner informed us that the land has been already sold to outsider, so it cannot be expected that I would be remained in the same state for long. From this place we walk along the street toward the center and entered to the next neighborhood, another layer of stratification, Santu Galli, a farmer's community. Here Hans showed us a community library occupying traditional Pati which was established in the support of Danish project (through which Prof Hans was also connected with this community some 20 years ago) after reconstruction. From this place we walked through a narrow galli which open up to a courtyard and again galli alternatively follows to four such set. It was amazing that the densified traditional settlement has been able themselves to manage their housing with proper lighting and ventilation.

After this visit we straightly went to Rameshwor's Sweet and Fast food at Newroad. After having lunch we all went to search mero mobile sim card shop, but we couldn't get the card because of insufficient documentation.Some friends went for shopping whereas some of us came to Utse hotel, I took my motorbike and went to Department of Urban Development and Building Construction office (DUDBC) for getting printouts of the base map.

6th day : Wednesday 16th September 2009

Community visit : Sawal Bahal- Tripureshwor by taxi

  • Got tickets for film festival

  • Walked to the sawal bahal
  • Sawal bahal inara samuha - portays the response to the acute water supply problem
  • Lower caste community - pode - dyola.
  • Most of the houses are rented by the Indians and people from terai who works as rag pickers.
  • Big space for sorting out the scavenged materials.
  • Story of the dhyola lady
  • Connection with kankeshori temple
  • Sabal bahal dhyola primary school
  • Teku bakery - had lunch
  • Roof top restaurant at Thamel Till 6pm

    7th day : Thursday 17th September 2009

    Meeting at sabal dhyola primary school:At 4:00pm Kumari Cinema to watch movie in South Asian Film Festival 09'.

    8th day : Friday 18th September 2009
    2nd day of South Asian Film Festival 09'.(I'm going to post some review in next posting )

    9th day : Saturday 19th September 2009
    3rd day of South Asian Film Festival 09'.

    10th day : Sunday 20th September 2009
    4th day of South Asian Film Festival 09'.

    11th day : Monday 21th September 2009
    Stroll around Sabal Bahal : In the morning, we met at hotel. Hans handed over the detailed program of the week. Today’s program was forming task groups. I was kept in Map group accompanied by Haruka and Melissa. Guillaume, Marte and Lui Bei Bei took the responsibility of School group and rest took questionnaire group.We all went to sabal bahal with any specific objective, just to stroll around looking at the maps. So we did the same forming two groups and split to two directions. Haruka, Antarin, Marte and pema was in my group and we started our tour along westward street passing through Go pha marga, Maka marga, nayepacha marga. At Naye pacha marga friends bought samosa and onion pakoda and pan. Then we walk back same street up nayapachha then turned to the butcher’s neighborhood. We met the other group that Inar samuha place. There Kailash dyola, chairperson of the samuha helped us showing the place to nritya nath/chamunda temple and their aju dyo temple. Also we came to know that the large chunk of land of aju dyo guthi has been turned to private property and sold to many time to people outside community. He said due to some bad omen nobody has succeeded to construct any structures on the site.At bakery café we had lunch and made some discussion doing SWOT analysis of the place.

    12th day : Tuesday 22th September 2009
    Homework on questionnaire : For the first hour, all worked at Utse hotel in the corresponding groups. I went to Survey office at Charkhal Adda with Shreesti to get cadastral map. At the first, we went to counters for map, they ask us the sheet no. and ward no. We didn’t have any such information and there were no body helping us to find out. All were busy in their work. I thought of last try to ask help with the office chief. Went straight up to his room and introduce myself as staff of DUDBC. He responded very well as friend and promised to help. After a while he himself went down stairs and took out the maps I needed. Then we make ammonia print of two sheets. I never imagined that somebody will come up helping this way, thank to Mr. Kamal Ghimire. We came back to hotel and had some discussions on questionnaire and gave info about school I’ve noted down in previous meeting. After a while I came home.

    13th day : Wednesday 23th September 2009
    Pretest Survey : In the morning we headed to sabal bahal for pretest survey. We split into four groups and started interviewing. Our target was to finish 5 questionnaires. Melissa and Bei Bei was in my group. Melissa wrote down in the form whatever I translated the info. Doing this pretest survey we realized something to be changed in questionnaire and something to be added. Beside those five survey revealed different stories of poor dyola, a well off dyola family and very poor Indian in migrants. We assembled at Bakery café again for lunch and discussion. I took pendrive from Melissa to get print out and copy of the revised questionnaire. I went straight to Mandala photocopy and try to open the pendrive. The pendrive didn’t have any file of questionnaire. If I couldn’t get print out, tomorrows program will not be possible. So I came back home and in the eve I start retyping. Besides I completed filling up the feedback form given by Hans.

    14th day : Thursday 24th September 2009

    Survey in full pace : In the morning I went to the Sunil to hand over my laptop as my laptop was not booting since some days. Then I went to Mandala photocopy, where I printed the questionnaire and made 50 copies of each, then rushed to sabal bahal. Till 10:30 all arrived and we started the survey. But this time we were in different groups. Antarin and Haruka was in my group today. We surveyed 10 households today. Many of the house owners were not present at home, so we need to revise our time schedule to interview.

    15th day : Friday 25th September 2009
    more surveys : Met at hotel and discussed on findings till date and at late noon went to sabal bahal and continued household survey. This time, Marte was in my group. We completed some 6 questionnaires.

    16th day : Saturday 26th September 2009
    Celebrated dashain festival : The day
    maha astami,
    Thapan. All the friends were invited to my house. After having samay baji and bhoye, went to Hiranyavarna Mahavihar, Golden Temple. Ilan Nani, Nag Bahal, Dhakhwa Chuka, Aki baha, nyakhachuka, tapahiti and Alok hiti.
    I was eager to show my place with
    traditional townscape, especially my house and surroundings characterized by an old worn house with brick in mud mortar in between the fabric of various elements such as hiti, pond, stupa, monastery and anitiquities. My happiness knew no bound that friends liked the newari food and enjoyed my place.

    17th day : Sunday 27th September 2009
    Trip to Swoyambhu Caitya
    , (also popular as monkey temple) walked down from the stupa, had lunch at Domino Café. Vijeshwori, Indrayani came to UTSE hotel. After having tea went to Pilgrim books.

    18th day : Monday 28th September 2009
    Celebrated Mohani Festival :
    whole day busy in festival functions. Played Dha (an traditional musical instrument)

    19th day : Tuesday 29th September 2009
    Role play as Journalist :
    We met at hotel and we planned to have a role play to be journalist writing an article on the burning issues by each. We figure out different 11 issues.
    Haruka – Water supply
    Bei Bei – livelihood
    Marte – Education
    Gulliuam – Built form and settlement plattern
    Melissa – Open space
    Gyanendra – Solid waste
    Shreesti – Local governance
    Ramita – Community based organizatons
    Manjula – Social Transformation
    Antarin – Migrants
    Hans – Social Inclusion

    At 4 pm - lecture by Dr. Jigbar Joshi. Success and failure of planning and plans in Nepal

    20th day : Wednesday 30th September 2009
    More investigation for issues based writing :
    Went to sawal bahal in the morning and interviews several people concentrating on the topic issues on which we are going to write. I interviewed Pravin Dyola and then Krisna Man Dangol and investigated about the open land between Dangol community and Dyola Community.

    21st day : Thursday 1st October 2009
    Madhab Mathema's lecture :
    Till 1:00 pm I worked on article then I set out for meeting at UTSE Hotel. At sharp 3 pm Mr Madhab Mathema and Pramod Shrestha arrived and after short introduction of the lecturer and students the lecture session started.

    Mr Mathema, 64 years old, but energetic man was our today’s guest who has spent more than 40 years of his life working in human settlement and planning sector through different responsible posts in offices ranging from government to United Nation – Habitat.
    He started with his humble word, “I’m not a person to give lecture on the subject, but I’m a worker, so I can just share my life time experiences.’
    Really he started his story from the college days when he did Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Calcutta in 1965. Then he got into the department of Housing, building Construction and Physical Planning (former name of DUDBC). After 5 years of Government Service, he got opportunity to study MSC in City and regional Planning at Ohio State University, USA under Fulbright Scholarships.

    During his tenure at Department, he worked as project manager in Construction of houses for ministers, construction of Tribhuvan University and Tribhuvan International Airport at a same time. He mentioned about his enjoyed hardship of supervising and visiting construction sites by bicycle.

    The person of inspiration for him was Harka Gurung who died in Helicopter accident in 2006. Harka Gurung was a geographer who has made great contribution for regional strategic planning of Nepal in 1974. In that regional strategy, the country was divided into 4 development regions (later it became 5), the line of division was stretched from north to south such that each region have Himalayan region, H
    ill region and Terai region. This was a first attempt of regional planning moving towards the decentralized strategies where regional center would be given power and rights. It has proposed and emphasized the north - south highways with intention to link all three varied geographical regions from Himalaya to Terai.

    He was appointed to prepare physical Development Plan for Surkhet Valley. He was given only time of two month, among which one month was spent just acquiring maps. He told the interesting story that he didn’t get map from the military and government and had to buy it from the street shops of Calcutta. But finally he succeeded making plan and presented to the late King Birendra, who admired that plan and endorsed. During this tenure he had to make brainstorming on functional aspects of the place to choose regional centers. At that time he has estimated the urbanization pressure on Kathmandu under the two bases. One is rural migration due to rural economy was getting depressed and that lead people to move to urban area for their survival, so cities need to be prepared for receiving those
    migrants. Next is, in the path of development when rural economy would be developed, that would lead to increase in productivity and consequently would lead to job scarcity, that will lead to migration pressure to Kathmandu and other cites. He spent 12 years in Surkhet as city planner.
    His life time experience made to say boldly that city can’t be developed by only government funds.

    Decentralization concept inherent to the regional development strategies became a threat for a group of people who are taking benefit from the primacy of Kathmandu.
    He recalled his deeds of acquiring land while he was chief planner at Surkhet. After vast acquisition of land, some 600 families get displaced that consequently caused social disintegration. It hurt him a lot as he was his hand to draw that plan that put people in trouble and concluded that acquiring land can’t be a good tool for development. To avoid land acquisition, he started Guided land development (GLD) in which he have nice time to work with people. In this method people prepare the plan for their settlement themselves. If you taught people ordinary people can become a planner and they do more realistic.

    In 1988, a great earthquake stroke and 21 districts were affected badly. That time he was appointed as program manager for reconstruction project. It was not a joke to work in 21 districts and that is without resource, both human and financial. There were not much technical staffs in government service and also most of them were not willing to go out in remote place. Then he recruited some 600 sub overseers and 500 teachers for the job. He trained them for 15 days and sent to the sites. Since it is not possible to supervise them, he had to delegate full power to them. They collected the entire inventory very efficiently. For review they had to come to the district headquarters every month and present their report to the district engineer.
    At that time, World Bank became ready to provide housing loan to the household. The loan was in replenishment model that after he spends the money the World Bank replenishes it later. It is his success that 80% of the 65000 victims got loan in 2 years.

    In 1991 he was appointed as the member of Landless Commission. They had to spend much time in defining the landless. He said, ‘land is the source of identity and access to the society.
    In 1992, he took voluntary retirement from government service and joined United Nations where he worked till 2006 for 14 years. Here his responsibilities were basically creating human settlement activities in number of countries. He had much involved in Tsunami disaster management and rural resettlement.

    In his sermon, he emphasized the word ‘empowerment’ – ‘individual does the better job if he is empowered.’ He defined empowerment as – ‘Empowerment is a state of mind of individual when one feels oneself the ability to deal the situation.’ He criticized the use and concept of word ‘participation’ which was the fashion in 1980s. ‘Though the process of empowerment is very complicated and tough, the achievement will be only counted to what extend your effort has contributed in empowerment.’ Defining Development, he pronounce three terms. First one is, development is the management of change. Secondly, development must be endorsed by the people; it must be a political satisfaction. And thirdly, it is establishing institutions. Institution doesn’t mean only an office or organization, but need to have four qualities. He disclosed later that he defined the concept of institution as per Webster dictionary as follows: 1) a legal standing (endorsement), 2) organization, 3) Practicing, 4) Precedents.

    From his life time experiences, he had gained a clear understanding of community. ‘Community is a group of people with shared aspirations. When community becomes an institution, this is an empowerment of community then it will walk through the path of development. This is the system of human settlements. Development acts done being ignorant of this lead to chaos and people will be suffered. He stated the formula of community developments as – ‘1) empowerment 2) building institution, 3) creating linkages between communities, 4) creating and providing services. Among these services plays a major role in development of communities. Services could be of government, semi-government or private which attracts more services. This is called ‘complimentarity’ which lead the services to agglomerate into a fabric. There might be the hierarchies of services according to the potentiality of the place. The lower services in hierarchy are more frequent than others. This applies for any rural community development too.

    Unless the rural prosperity is assured, urban prosperity can not be sustainable. There is always a symbiotic relationship between rural and urban. In developing countries, government budget plays an important role in development, so any government programs must act as an agent of empowerment of people rather than just doing spoon feeding. Investment strategy must be decentralized which help building accountability. Accountability can’t be defined by law but by motivation.

    National politics never understands the local problem so grassroots’ empowerment is a key word of development. People are the thing which remains for long otherwise government is always ephemeral. But Empowerment is hard thing to buy so need to fight for it by themselves.
    1997 crisis stroke Thailand in great deal because 60% of GDP was relied on Bangkok. When Bangkok economy failed, all the people around city had to suffer from food crisis.
    Globalizaton might be a innovative way but it is not a thing to be embraced blindly.
    Development is not a creating wealth but it is sustainability.
    Madhab Mathema
    Email :
    Tel : 5590412

    22nd day : Friday 2nd October 2009
    Visit to Bhaktapur City and Changunarayan:
    Early morning at 8 am we left for Bhaktapur trip. Bhaktapur is the third biggest cities within Kathmandu valley which some 13 km away from the Kathmandu. We entered to the city from western entrance. This entrance was nearby Indrayani temple which symbolizes the extent of the city traditionally. We entered to the first square with temples in the right side and palace building in the left side. After looking at the 55 window temple prof. hans focus us in chyasin mandapa. Chaysin Mandapa is a pavilion with octagonal roof which was reconstructed later by the German project which was collapsed in 1934 earthquake and remained being not built since then. It was reconstructed with more innovations in structural elements such as it’s floor was supported with metal members and many other additional details in metal. Then our focus turned to a magnificent temple of Pasupati. It was one of the oldest temple in the area. The intricate details of wood work, grandeur of the door and window and erotic images on the struts were the elements of attraction. From this place, we moved to Taumadhi square, where a gigantic temple the Nyatapola was situated. This piece of architecture is peak of technological and architectural development of Nepalese Temple architecture. In terms of proportions, intricacy in craft, grandeur, and all terms it surpass every structure built in that period (early 18th century AD). In the time 1934 earthquake, many of the structures fell down including palaces and small temples but this grand temple didn’t get damaged besides falling down some roof tiles.

    From this place we moved to another square: Dattatraya Square. It is a huge square where the temple of Dattatraya was situated and is surrounded by number of Math (priest house). It also indicate that the dominance of hindu influence in royalty unlike in Patan and Kathmandu durbar square. Here we entered to a cosy restaurant ‘ peacock restaurant’ which was one of the rehabilitated math named Jangam Math. Thought the restaurant was bit expensive, it was nice experience the space.

    The next destination was Changunarayan temple. We drove some 15 minutes to reach the magnificent temple precinct with huge courtyard and temple in the middle. The temple is of Licchavi foundation and constructed by King Manadeva. Spending some hours here we drove down to the Hotel. From this place, five of our friends went to the hiking all way along nagarkot, chisapani and sundarijal.

    23rd day : Saturday 3rd October 2009
    Boudhanath Stupa:
    Today was off with no academic program but still we met at Boudhanath Stupa, one of the UNESCO world heritage site. We met there in the evening expecting that there would be incense light all around the Stupa as today was full moon day. As just opposite our expectation there was no such lighting, in addition the place was darker because of load shedding. However, the place was live and holy. Stream of people were circumambulating the Stupa. We also dissolved in the stream and humming ‘om mani padme hum’. After completing one round we met Hans, Antarin and Bei Bei. Hans and we kindle some incense light (ghyo-dewa) and made another round with the stream of devotees. That time I rotated the ‘mane’ and hummed– ‘om mane padme hum’ visualizing the profound meaning of it.
    Hum – a pond, an enclosed stagnant pond which is turbid because it is not stagnant and enclosed. That pond which hold its one ecosystem, where bigger fish devour smaller fish, all the living beings are running after their food or running against the fear. This pond symbolizes ‘the sentient world’ – the Samsara
    Padma – A lotus, which blossomed over the water on the top of its stalk, symbolizes the purity. It sprouted in that turbid water but rose so high above it that it doesn’t take a drop of water (turbidity) from where it rose.
    Mani – A bright jewel at the center of the Padma (Lotus) which is as precious as it is not easy to buy but have to have tremendous struggle to obtain it.
    Om – A light which radiate all around to get rid of darkness. It’s the essence, it’s the center.
    After that, we went to the ‘Fire and Ice’ at thamel to have Italian Pizza. I got astonished seeing crowd there. The place was houseful and we had to stay in queue. Our table booking was in fifth number the queue. We had to wait for some 20 minutes. After long waiting, the pizza we had was wonderful.

    Another special of today is MOON CAKE. It was Chinese tradition that every full moon of that month is celebrated as auspicious having special moon cake. Thanks Bei Bei for arranging moon cake. Even my family got chance to taste moon cake.

    24th day : Sunday 4th October 2009
    Today is also off day from academic schedule. I and Shreeti went to Jet airways to confirm tickets. Then, I went with Bei Bei to find air tickets. Bei Bei treated me with a fantastic Chinese food as lunch.

    Then at 1:00 pm, I went to Sawal Bahal with Antarin expecting to finish some interviews. The person whom I’ve to have interview about solid waste management was not at home. Then, we went to a rag collection center within the sabal bahal. I couldn’t meet the owner of that enterprise. Tommorrow, I’ll have to interview these two people, otherwise my article on solid waste management will remain incomplete. Rest of the day, I tried to go through compendiums. Compendiums are nice but hard to chew.

    25th day : Monday 5th October 2009
    26th day : Tuesday 6th October 2009
    27th day : Wednesday 7th October 2009
    29th day : Thursday 8th October 2009

    30th day : Friday 9th October 2009

    Drawing competition & Community Meeting : Today, we went back to Sawal Bahal School with some activities. Firstly, it was the drawing competition and then community meeting. When I reached at 11am, Guilliam, Melissa and Bei Bei was just arriving and when we went upstairs, Marte and Shreesti were already there. At 11:40 the competition started. There were 17 students in younger group and 13 students in elder group. The competition was held in two sessions. In first session, the theme was ‘Likes – around your community, school etc’ and in the second session – ‘Dislikes’. Each session were given 30 mins to complete. I was in younger group. Bei Bei was photographer. Melissa and Haruka were also in my group. Rest of friends was in the elder’s group. Kids started drawing and most of them submitted it before the time. Different psychologies of kids were apparent when we made them to explain what they drew. Some says, she made the picture of house and flower because she likes it, whereas another boy draw something because he was told by teacher to draw this.

    During the short break time while Melissa, Antarin and Bei Bei was judging the best three drawing, I taught them some nursery rhymes. “Row Row Row your boat Gently down the Stream, Merily Merily Merily Merily, Life is just a dream’ and ‘Ding Dong Bell, Pussy in the well’, were two rhymes pupils sang with full enthusiasm. Later, after Hans’s arrival, prize distribution program was done.

    At 3:15 the community meeting started. Some 20 people participated in the meeting. Hans started the meeting with welcome note and opened the floor for discussion. The meeting was basically concentrated in improving the school and acquiring the guthi land for play ground.
    On improving School :
  • Voices from community :
  • The community have problem of education. Most of the people from the communities are not studying to higher level. Most of them drop out in early age.
    The school must have attraction factor so that people can choose the school as their first choice. Games and sports could be one and the quality of education must have to be improved.
  • People don’t like the nearer school because kids runaway from the school. So people from Dyola community choose their school out the community. ‘najik ko deuta hela, Tadha ko deuta ma Mela’ – (lit. the temple that is nearer is not much of the importance whereas the temple that is farther is of great importance.)
  • The quality of education in school is not good. Cleanliness, dress up and discipline of the students reflects that it is not a better school than other private schools. To sustain this school, it must compete with the other school in education quality and student’s performance.
  • Pravin dyola’s comment :
  • He condemn that Government themselves consider the public school as of second standard. That’s why they left the condition of the school in the way it is.
  • He put contempt towards community that when the school started and has no problem all people took advantage of it but when it is in problem nobody cares to sustain it.
  • Instead of helping to the school, the guthi has been using the ground floor as their store. The store must be shifted to another place and should let the school to use the ground floor for pre-school or day care.
  • On this comment, an old person from community strongly opposed that they won’t leave the space in any cost because the school was built on the guthi land and while it was constructed, there was the agreement to let the guthi to use the ground floor. And in that ground floor room, there is shrine of the community deity which they worship in many rituals.
  • The students who have left and gone to other private school is impossible to get back in the public School but if improve the quality of school and start pre-school and day care facilities, new generations from Dyola community could enter.
  • A person from community club said that rather than taking the ground floor, better to add two floors on the top of the same building. Or one floor is added on the top of club building, the club agrees to provide that space for school.
  • Prof. Hans’s remark: to add floor would be risky from earthquake safety point of view. And also we are not so rich that we have enough money for construction work. But we could do furnishing of the existing space for the day care and pre-school purpose.
  • We also organized informal literacy program several times but the community people didn’t care and didn’t helped and it got failed. We got the program from KMC (Kathmandu Municipality Corporation) to open Dyola women’s School (meant for informal literacy which give 6 years education and give equivalence to the formal standard)
    School and education must be the first priority because any physical prosperity is unsustainable unless there is proper education.
  • Leasing the land could be a possible solution for lacking play ground facility but it would be temporary solution.
  • Another Dyola’s comment: The school is no more of use of community. There are no students from Dyola family. The school is serving only the Indian people (migrant). But the school is built on the guthi land. Therefore, it is worth to close down and the building to be used by guthi itself.
  • On land nearby the school :
  • It was a community’s public land. A person from the same community privatized it through undue procedures. That could be a place of play ground for children. Mr. Prakash Dyola comment on this issue about possibility of taking back of that land. He set forth an example of Land of Yangal hiti. The land of 1.5 ropani (8200 Sqft.) was taken way be Rana’s and later it privatized. Later community people investigated on that undue procedure and later their claim was accepted and the land was restored to the community back.
  • Prof. Hans put forward some proposals :
  • There is no water supply system in the school building so the condition of toilets is very bad. If we could provide over head tank of there building and enable the water supply system to flush the toilets.
  • If the land can be leased for some years. We could develop it as a play ground. This would be a temporary solution.
  • If there is any possibility to restore the land to community ownership, we could hire a lawyer and file writ. At least for one year we can support the fee of lawyer but that would be a long term plan. We also need a short term plan.
  • Concluding consensus :
  • The community meeting appointed two person, Prakash Dyola and ……….. Dyola to go to Land office to check the possibility of restoring land to the guthi ownership.
  • More proposals were listed down such as :
  • Leasing the land and develop it as playground.
  • Furnishing the rooms of the club building for the day care and pre-school facility.
  • Install water supply system in the school intending to have hygienic sanitary conditions of toilets.
  • In the next meeting after Tihar Festival, a concrete decision of a project would be finalized.

37th day : Friday 16th October 2009
After regular meeting at Utse Hotel, I went to get back my driving license that was taken away by a Traffic police yesterday for disobeying the one-way route at Thamel. I had hard time to find the traffic police office which was in a narrow street in a room. The room was cluttered with two bunk beds and then office table. He fined me Rs 200.00 and handed the license to me.
I came back to home and engaged in some household stuffs till 3:15 and rushed to Ajima Motorcycle workshop. My motorbike was kept for servicing so I had to go by old torn bicycle.
I reached sawal Bahal at sharp 4:00. Bei Bei was just arriving by taxi and we went together. Manjula was already there when we reached. We waited for Marte and Guilliam for a while, by the time most of the participants congregated. After coming Marte and Guilliam at 4:30pm we started the meeting.

A meeting with Women group :
The participants were some 30 people from dyola as well as migrant families. I introduced the purpose and motive of the meeting as well as our study in that area. then we asked them to express their needs and problems one by one. This way the meeting couldn't go ahead that this open question made them in puzzle and they asked to discuss topic wise. Then I explain about some finding from the study and some projects we formulated and discussed in previous community meeting. We put several topics to discuss in which they responded as follows:

About Dyola Yuoth Club (DYC)

  • DYC was established in 1985 and have organized different activities before. They used to have gym facilities. Recently they have constructed a club building on the public land. The land was gone to the ownership of a Bank nearby which they protested and finally succeeded to get back.
  • Currently, the club is not active. Women responded that they don't know anything about the club who is running and what it is for.
  • So this unconcern of these women towards the Club cast doubt that if the day care center project could be run under this club. In previous discussions, It was envisaged that day care center would be established under DYC.

On Sawal Bahal Dyola Primary School (SBDP School):

  • The situation of SBDP School must be improved to serve the community. The school was established by this community and now no Dyola children are studying at the school. For the improvement, this school need better teachers and need more facilities for the students.

On acquiring land for children's play ground:

  • They agreed that would be very good if the land could be acquired and develop facilities for children.

Some more subjects they put forward:

  • Day care center :
  • Most of the dyola households have working women and they have problem of keeping there children while they are at work. So they need Day care center.
  • We asked how this could be run. If they got support, they'll just get support for starting but not to run.
  • They responded that they'll form a women group and arrange with that group. If they got support for establishing providing equipments and furnishing then the rest can be managed by the fees.
  • There are some built structures on the open land which could be used as daycare facilities, but people believes that that place is haunting site so people might not admit their children in that day care center because of fear.
  • The club building would be a better place if the club agrees to provide the space for it.
  • Pre-school or Day care center?
  • We put our concern about sustaining the existing school and asked if the day care center could be associated with school and also run as pre-school such that the children from the school would be future students of the school. This will increase the students from the dyola families.
  • They are much concerned about the day care center which they are ready run by themselves. They are not sure if the can work in association with the school. But they didn't deny that school could be improved through this program.
  • Tutorial Class :
  • One of the participants strongly raised her concern about Tutorial Class. Most the parents of current students are illiterate or have very less education. So they are not able to assist their children in studying at home. Most of the students do not do their homework and not serious about the studies because there is no encouragement and have hardship in doing homework. This is also a reason that they drop school in early age and go to work. So, if by any means, they could arrange tutorial class within the community it would be very nice.
  • Many other participants spoke out in favor.
  • Elderly School :
  • One of the participants mentioned to run informal literacy program, which she requested all participants to start and make it success this time. Because, such programs has been unsuccessful in previous efforts.
  • Many voices came up against it. People don't have time and interest in taking informal education so the program will not be successful.
  • Skill development Trainings :
  • The newer generation needs to have some skill development trainings. Sewing and Fabric painting could be some options.
  • We put forward that several such training has already been run in the community and they could not succeed. Why again this effort is feasible here. –
  • In response to this question, a lady said ' in previous training the teachers were from the same community and they are not good. So people dropped the course in the middle and became unsuccessful. If good teacher could be invited from outside, it would be successful.
  • Forming a Women's Group :
  • One of our questions was that if they have formed any women's group within the community previously. They have no any such group. They are participating in the saving scheme of Lumanti (an NGO), but they consider it is of outside and not serving much than to have saving and credit facilities.
  • We put forward why they are not participating in the KMC (Kathamndu Metropolitan City Corporation) program which are especially focused to the women's group in the neighborhood.
  • They said that they are not aware of it. In the discussion, they strongly felt they need a women group to organize different programs for themselves. It will open the door to access in different programs of KMC and other support agency. I put forward an example of 'Ma Puca' (lit. Mother's group) which was formed within my neighborhood. It was promoted by LSMC (Lalitpur Sub-Metropolitan City Corporation) and provide regular programs and management assistance to it. They are established and saving group and congregate every month to have meeting and make saving. This has created a sort of Social capital in community. They organize different programs other than saving program.
  • Conclusion :
    The meeting went on till 6:00 pm. They agreed among themselves that they'll meet after Tihar festival again and will discuss more on these issues. Especially, the consensus was seen on forming a women's group, to run day care center and to run tutorial classes.

Party at Han's and Pramila's Studio : At 7:00 pm, I went to Han's house. All people had been already reached. From the gate and all along the way to house, oil lamps were lighting as if the Tihar festival has come in this house a day before that all use to have. And the sculptures made by Pramila didi where composed in between plants of garden were very magnificent. The house was not too big and very cozy. We had fun and very delicious food at the party.

38th-43rd day :17th- 22nd October 2009
Tihar Festival - Laxmi Puja, Mha Puja, New year Celebratoin of Nepal Era, Kija Puja, Nakhatya.

44th day : Friday 23th October 2009
Went to receive professors and students from Tibet University. Had Italian Pizza at 'Fire and Ice'.
45th day : Saturday 24th October 2009
Visit to Swoyambhu and Patan Durbar Square
46th day : Sunday 25th October 2009
47th day : Monday 26th October 2009
International Conference on Traditional Settlements and Housing in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), China ad Nepal at Godawari Resort organized by THUNDER Project. (Trans-Himalaya University Network for Education and Research)

Rapporteur on a paper
'Material Authenticity in Tradition of Conservation in Nepal' - Sudarshan Raj Tiwari
This was the first paper presented for the session one entitled 'On history, conservation and cultural continuity' chaired by Prof. Jibraj Pokhrel. The paper presents a critical view on material authenticity which has been deployed by UNESCO norms against Nepalese indigenous practice. He argues that there is profound practice of conservation in Nepalese tradition since ages. So there is its own notion of material authenticity which has to be respected rather than discard them on the basis of only exotic norms.

He entered to his position through introducing the nature of construction in traditional structures. Traditional Nepalese building structures were built of semi-perishable materials like wood, mud and bricks. In addition, these structures are exposed to monsoon climate and subject to periodic mild or strong strokes of earthquakes. Again the traditional rituals of worshipping causes frequent fire hazards. Many inscriptions and manuscript from as old as 5th century reveals that the Nepalese builder consider conservation practice along the building any architectural structure. These structures get renewed or rebuild in every 200 years. In the course of recovery replacement of the damaged structural member and also some innovation and evolution in design is apparent. And all these practices were carried out by family tradition of craftsmanship. Hence, concept of authenticity developed in west where permanent material is used for construction contradicts with the one of east. Also the structures are still the part of living tradition and are still in use by people for the purpose it was meant to. So, weathering and continuous repair and reconstruction is the part of tradition observing by the people.

Looking at the historical chronology, Kirats (before 1st century AD) practiced with brick and wood. Lichhavis (1st to 9th century AD) came up with stone but still not in huge temples. Mallas (9th to 18th century AD) went back to the brick and wood. The structure made out of imperishable material are being taken care through since ages.

Early inscriptions reveals that Kirats has guild of 18 crafts (Astadasa Prakirtin) which evolved later as 64 crafts. Within these craft traditions they develop tamralepa (smooth copper polish on stone surface) which has enable the lichhavi stone structure to live as shining as it was built till these days. Similaryly, in Malla period building have mikhaphusi (lit. eye brow) on the top of window which seems aesthetical element but is a protection protrusion to drip the rain water which save the wooden window from weathering from rain.

The construction of a structure is accompanied by establishing a trust called guthi. Guthi is formed with a institution of guthiyars (members) equipped with land endowments and income from this is used for continuity of cleaning, performing rituals, repairing, renovating and reconstructing. It also evidently portrayed the civic engagement in conservation of the structures. The inscription dated back from 491 CE explains the grant of land for conservation of a temple; similarly many other evidences such as donation by a person, tax by government etc are available. Here conservation can be defined differently as 'perpetuity of action' rather than merely preserving structures with old material.

In Nepalese tradition, every structure have birthday called varsa vardhan. In this day the guthiyars come together and perform their annual ritual and have feast. In the course of this practice they clean, repair and renew the structure. Also they review endowment status.

The Lichhavi inscription record mentions a word 'pratisamskara' which implies additions and improvements whereas 'sthapana' is the word used for construction. Mallas used word 'jirnoddhar' for repair. Also, another word 'Kalakramena bhagna' implies 'natural deterioration due to passage of time' reveals why these renovation works were done. An 11th century inscription tells about the repair work done being based upon the present knowledge of that time. One another inscription by Amsuburma tells the objective of the repair work such as it was done for the longer life of the structure into furture (dirghatara paschatkala).

Prof. Tiwari also presented some characteristics of conservation practice in Nepal. 1934AD earthquake pulled down the 55 windowed palace. The local resource and local craftsmen reconstructed it with much alteration, like the projection of the 55 window and roof overhangs were decreased. In this reconstruction work, reuse of material and effort of simplification is apparent as a part of conservation. Because of constraint of limited resource for replacing everything by new material they had to trim the the joists and rafters which caused decrease in projection of windows and roof. They replaced some of the columns and the older one was found stored in some other place. When compared the original one with the replaced one, the motifs were different and simpler.

Later in recent conservation project of this Palace, in which Prof. Tiwari himself is actively involved, the projection of roof and windows were increased as per the original one. The columns were replaced by columns with original motifs where there is enough resource to afford it. Similarly, a image on the top member of main door was found worn out and nobody could identify what it is. Lastly, one of the craftsmen suggested an image and missing image was restored according to his knowledge.

Prof. Tiwari suggested that western knowledge and local craftsmen knowledge must be combined to form norms for material authenticity in the place. The traditional practice of the conservation has lot many things to learn to revisit the current international norms. UNESCO has to incorporate the local traditional practices with its norms rather than sticking to the western romanticism.

48th day : Tuesday 27th October 2009
2nd days of conference
49th day : Wednesday 28th October 2009
3rd day of conference
50th day : Thursday 29th October 2009
Workshop Day – 1 : "Risk, Vulnerability and Livelihoods – an introduction to participatory development in practice." - Nabeel Hamdi
51st day : Friday 30th October 2009
Workshop Day - 2 : "Risk, Vulnerability and Livelihoods – an introduction to participatory development in practice." - Nabeel Hamdi

1 comment:

  1. very informative and adventurous at the same time.. We need to have more foreign field trips to Nepal.. so many things to discover and conserve!