Niranjan Kunwar

Kunwar writes about arts and education.


Latest from Niranjan Kunwar

Bearing witness

Can a pamphlet be a poem, a poem be the story of a murder, the murder be recalled as a ballad and the ballad then become an argument?” — Amar Kanwar.

Quality in education

Every citizen strives for a good education but the criteria are elusive. Residents of big cities do not think twice before enrolling children into a private school (easily equating high fees with high standards) but the majority of Nepalis in rural areas do not even have that choice.

A writer’s legacy

Uttam Kunwar collapsed inside his bathroom on May 26, 1982, precisely two weeks before I turned one. It was a sudden death, the result of a massive cardiac arrest. Uttam Kunwar was my Thulobuwa, my father’s older brother, and he was only 44 years old. There is a photo of him carrying me but I was too little to remember any of this. As far as I know, I never met him; our paths never crossed. Our existential spheres did not overlap.

Notes from the depths

To dive and discover the underneath. To see what hasn’t speared the surface. Chang was from mainland China, soft-spoken, sophisticated. Muy was a Hong Kong native;

Artists and their cities

The day after returning from Egypt, I listened to a curator speak about cities. The masterclass was part of Kathmandu Triennale, an international arts festival, scheduled to open in the spring.

Smoke and oil

Dusk was approaching as I headed towards Eba Bahi, along a busy street that shoots straight out of Mangal Bazaar towards Lagankhel.

A flower on a lake

I’ll be honest. When I first heard about the possibility of visiting Mugu, I was hesitant. It seemed so far away. And the trip wasn’t meant to be leisurely. It wasn’t going to be a week of just walking through the Western hills where I could pause and marvel at the changing landscape. We would be staying in Mugu’s headquarter, Gamgadi, at a lodge, with a team of a dozen. The trip would end with a visit to Rara Lake. But still. A week in Gamgadi seemed like a stretch.

Looking in, looking out

I was away from Nepal during the Aarohan Gurukul years. After returning, I learnt about Sunil Pokhrel’s theatre work, mainly through word of mouth. He set up the Gurukul School of Theatre in Purano Baneshwor in 2002, which became quite influential. Students received intensive residential training; they in turn participated in house-full productions. Due to various reasons, the physical space of Aarohan Gurukul was demolished after a nine-year run. I never got to see it. But some of Pokhrel’s students, I heard, clustered and founded their own theatre groups.

A crisis of care

Most schools do not have a culture of professional development that pushes teachers’ thinking and exposes them to new ideas

Reclaiming possibilities

Students are getting educated out of their creative capacities. School curricula have very little space where students can make meaningful connections with their personal lives. Creativity and learning are innate to humans. But if the process is not engaging, if the emphasis is skewed

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