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Feb 16, 2019

2018 Summary _ Baseline for 2028

Here, I would like to acknowledge that regular blogging/writing was inspired to me by Derek Ehrhardt (during his CDC assignment on polio surveillance review in Nepal) and Gates Notes. It is also noteworthy that passionplanner has helped me from the year 2016 to be focused and more organized in what you do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Thank you to all these great resources and individuals. 

2018 has been a great year for me in terms of reading and writing. However, it is necessary and realized consistently that I need to consolidate what I read and write in a more organized way such that  OPED or summary note or blog piece or journal articles are a tangible outcome. So, now onwards, it should be my effort to produce a product that will have an impact felt in our fraternity of health science. In my case, knowledge translation or production will be an academic activity in various health policy and system research (HPSR) forum. 

Just as a review of 2018, I would like to summarise key activities successfully carried out and those aspirational goals that I still need to accomplish (in coming years) in this blog post. First, I would like to summarise all those books that I read for a record that I build my future reading and writing guideline. I have broadly categorized the books that I read in the following headings: 

Book of wisdom: Somehow, I had to read this book - "Bhagwat Gita" and was planning to read for a long time. Finally, I finished reading this great book of wisdom. Here, I have to definitely acknowledge my maternal uncle Anil Gauchan (poet), who seriously advised me to read this great book at least once. Well now, I feel a sense of great accomplishment in reading this book but the truth I was unable to grasp the depth of its wisdom. So, I need to read this book again and indulge myself in conversation with subject matter intellect who have at least some understanding of this great book. 

Historical Political landscape: In this category, I was able to read 2 books. Somebody said, one who fails to read and learn from history will definitely fail the present and their future is shaky. In that line, I have always wanted to understand the present political order and so-called categorization of the rich world and the 3rd world or developed versus low-income countries and so on. On top of that in everyday conversation, be it political, economic or social, what we read and hear is that we are poor or you are a citizen of the poor country.  In a way, this may be partly true but the narrative is so powerful that somehow I feel this kind of social construct have weakened our intellect to a limit that our will to excel or be innovative have been weakened. One example, well we can't accomplish this huge project of hydropower or railways because we are poor and we do not have technical expertise and political will. This kind of stories is daily fed to our newspaper column or news headline or even in the academic article. Now it is high time, our intellectuals must challenge this kind of narrative and deconstruct and explain to our younger generation that they are able, intelligent and capable to do anything they think they can do. So how to bring ourselves out of this quicksand of feeble mindset? for that, we need to read, read and read and another would be to write, write and write. In this effort, I read the following books to understand what is the nature of global order and socio-political dynamic and do we have a role to play? Another read was a book on British colonialism of Indian subcontinent and its subjugation such that all the wealth from this continent was siphoned to fill their coffers in Britain. 

Political Order and Political Decay (Francis Fukuyama): This book tries to explain to us the evolution of global political power and its nexus through the time period starting from the industrial revolution to the globalization of democratic values (free and fair election, human rights). On the other hand, this book also tries to illuminate the changes in global order and its power dynamics. I found this book hard to understand and relate the global nature of globalization and fast pace of international politics in terms of its complexity from the point of economics, industry, information, market, and security. However, this book is definitely a thought-provoking reading material for the journey into understanding what goes on in the global arena of hardcore politics. Among all the chapters in this book, the one on the dimensions of the development is worth remembering and this is relevant in our local context of federalism in implementation with a leftist government in charge. The framework tries to look into the regime through economic, social and ideological dimensions such that we need to understand through rigorous scrutiny the interplay of its key components: economic growth, social mobilization, ideas/legitimacy and political development (the state, rule of law and democracy). For a better and wider understanding, I have realized that I need to read this book again. On top of this, I have added 2 books on a reading list (Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy by Barrington Moore and Great Transformation by Karl Polanyi)

An Era of Darkness (Shashi Tharoor): Reading through this book written by an Indian diplomat who held international as well as the national position of power with the depth of understanding of the history of this subcontinent, I truly felt the anger at such historical injustice inflicted on welcoming people through deception, lies, brute forces and coercion and extortion.  The lesson that we need to learn from this history is that we need to learn to take care of our home, otherwise somebody else will have a ready-made plan for you and it is already too late by the time you realize what has happened. Well, India is better off in terms of economy and one of the emerging global power players in terms of security, while Nepal needs to get disciplined in our internal affairs and lead our country into prosperity. In the 21st century, it is said that colonialism has taken a new form and that is through language and data and of course complete control of your thought process. Maybe that is what is happening now. Somebody brought the new idea or is already prevailing, I do not know, people are talking of "neoliberalism" taking hold of all institutions and development works in our backyards. Lastly, one indicator to remember which the writer project at every forum is "India's share of world GDP was 23 % before the British took control. When the British left it was just above 3 %". Interesting. 


The landscape of Economics and justice:

Justice (Shushila Karki): This book is written in an autobiography format and is a reminiscence of retired Chief Justice, Shushila Karki, who is known for her stand up against injustice and vigorous political pressure that fell during her tenure at the apex court. This book has educated the general public on the corruption of the highest scale, which is rampant post-2046 popular democratic movement. CJ Karki has illuminated with various anecdote and examples the corruption, coercion, and extortion that political leaders have inflicted on common people. The inference from this book is that our governance structure along with its all branches of government have been so much damaged that it is now a time to course correct and discipline it before it is too late. Otherwise, we are entering into the black hole of uncertainty leading us into the stage of "failed state". I say this is a must-read book by every Nepali youth get educated on which direction our country heading? Also, an important resource re: Special parliamentary hearing committee

Economy (Sujib Shakya): This is a good read to understand the landscape of economic growth or progress that is visible or hidden in Nepal. I found it encouraging to read a book written by a Nepalese author on the economic situation and its various parameters that affect the national economy as a whole. Somewhere, this book also sheds light on the influence of post-2046 political changes as well as global market force guided by "neoliberalism" and then popular catchphrase "globalization" in every sector in the socio-economic-political climate of the period.

With the above summary what I was able to read in the year 2018, I leave this post with further space further study and writing, others in the list of books that I read as follows:
  • Building Social Business (Muhammad Yunus)
  • Development as Freedom (Amartya Sen)
  • The Argumentative Indian (Amartya Sen)
  • The Idea of Justice (Amartya Sen)
  • Animal Farm (George Orwell)

Global health landscape:

  • Reimagining Global Health (Paul Farmer et al.)
  • Infections and Inequalities (Paul Farmer)
  • Aids and Accusations (Paul Farmer)

Anuj in Himalayas

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