Out of the limelightGovernment needs to assure the future generation of Nepalis that their efforts will not go unrecognised
Last year, a group of Nepali women accomplished what by all accounts amounts to one of the most hazardous, difficult and dare-devil adventures ever undertaken by any person. Their accomplishment was by far one of the most significant achievements by Nepali women. They undertook the mission to climb the highest mountains in all the seven continents of the world. And they accomplished the mission in a period that spanned six years from 2008 to 2014. The Nepali women’s team climbed Mount Sagarmatha on the May 23, 2008 and the team’s final triumph came on December 23, 2014 when the team members made it to the top of Vinson Massif in the Antartica. This is no mean achievement and there should be nothing but admiration and praise for the women who made Nepalis proud just as Pasang Lhamu Sherpa did when she became the first Nepali woman to reach the Sagarmatha summit in 1993. (She was the 17th woman in the world to do so.)
Aptly named the ‘Seven Summit Mission’, the team comprised of women from different ethnic groups from various parts of Nepal. Not all of the team members came from well to do families that could afford to finance an expensive aim such as climbing the Sagarmatha. Yet they projected themselves as Nepalis and achieved something never done before by any other women’s team anywhere in the world. Apart from the physical and other hazards that the team members had to face, it was not easy to finance the plan to climb the world’s highest peak. However, various sources including the government made this possible in May 2008. It was after the Sagarmatha climb that the idea of seven summits seemed to have emerged and the women heroically took up the challenge. The rest is history.
In the dark
The point is: have we as a country done enough for them and for others like them? The sad fact is that we have not been able to do anything more than heaping passing praises. The women climbers had the lofty ideals of empowering women as well as to tell the rest of the country’s women that they are second to none if they have the guts and determination and that caste, creed and ethnicity have no place when one functions as a team. Who spreads such a powerful message in this day and age? It is sad to note that the media seems to always be too preoccupied with the politics of the day than to spread the message of unity and share the lessons of the ‘Seven Summits Mission’. The way some of our media covered the return of the team after their Antarctica climb was not befitting of the achievements of these Nepali women. But the media alone is not to be blamed. We as a society must take responsibility too. This is even more important when it comes to the educated and so-called enlightened section of society. We seem to be miserly when it comes to giving credit to where it is due, but extraordinarily generous while heaping praises on the undeserving.
Recognise their efforts
Unfortunately, this is a widely prevalent trend in our society, in the media and the government. And its victims are not only those in adventure sports, open air and indoor sports but also in those working in the field of fine arts, performing arts, craftsmanship and other fields which are unique to this country. For instance, the craftsmanship in the Kathmandu Valley is slowly fading away. Yet no official attempts seem to have been made to further the skills of those who gave us priceless temples and wood carvings (some of which unfortunately have been reduced to dust by the recent earthquake). The responsibility of the government to help the aesthetic aspect of our life seems to have been forgotten. What has the government done to further the country’s literature, fine arts and performing arts? The same is the case with the country’s handicrafts. The government seems hell bent on using sports for political purposes. How many of those involved in these fields, including in adventure sports, have been recognised by the state by bestowing medals and honours on them? The government, society and the media need to give them their due so that the future generation of Nepalis will remain assured that their efforts too will not go unrecognised.