I learnt Vipassana meditation three years ago at Dhamma Terai, Birgunj. It was a wonderful experience. My experience featured in the podcast a week ago by Psychbigyaan team for a radio program. I highly recommend to learn this meditation technique to all. It is an invaluable learning.
Since 1950s, Nepal have gone through various revolutions and political changes at different points of time that had looked very promising, people hoped for positive changes in everyday lives of Nepali and betterment at all levels. Most recently, Nepal promulgated the new constitution after abolishing the monarchy over 8 years ago. It was welcomed as a historical milestone, the country moved from the political deadlock among monarchy, political parties and Maoists but wait, after all these years, what has happened to the lives of general Nepali who belong to middle-class and lower middle-class so far, the situation is getting tougher. The youth of Nepal is forced to migrate to gulf and other risk-prone countries for survival and to take care of their families. According to ILO, in fiscal year 2014, over 520,000 labour permits were issued to Nepalis for work abroad. High class people continue to hold back the power and dominate the politics. The country suffered devastating earthquakes last year, much of the rebuilding is yet to be started. There is a dissatisfaction among people over new constitution and the lack of right of women to pass on the citizenship to their children among many other issues. On June 14, the government issued online media directives which gives the power to government to crack down over dissenting voices. In democracy, voice is the most crucial aspect of political practice and public lives. Do we feel safe enough to go out and express ourselves at Basantapur Square without fear of police nearby located at Hanumandhoka? What if it reinforces fear to speak up? So, this brings up an important question: have we regressed back and moved even backwards than before? Are we once again heading back to times of dictatorship that our forefathers lived under??
I have found Iranian psychologist Fathali Moghaddam‘s theoretical concepts useful to understand our political situation from psychological perspective. He has tried to explain the rise and fall of dictatorships through his springboard model in which he says that the context that lead to the rise of the dictator is more important the personality of the leader. In traditional psychology, the personality of the dictating leader is studied to understand the dictatorship but he prioritizes context and collective over individual processes to understand dictatorship and democracy.
Where does Nepal like on the continuum between dictatorship and democracy???
Just as I am about to start a new day in my office, didi comes with a pack of sweets (laddu) and share it with me. It is a tradition in our office to distribute chocolates and sweets to colleagues when somebody comes from aboard or there is some good news. So, I ask her who is it from and what is the occasion? She says one of the colleague’s daughter has passed SLC with A+ grade and to share that good news he has sent us the sweets.
Yes, School Leaving Certificate examinations (SLC) results were finally out yesterday, hundred of thousands of students from all over the country, their parents and relatives were eagerly waiting for the results. Passing SLC is considered as crossing the iron gate and is seen as the most important examination in the school system. Students face a lot of pressure to do well, they spend a lot of anxious time anticipating the results, and when it is out- for those who do well, new freedom is found. The unfortunate ones who could not perform well due to various reasons are looked down upon as failures.
No matter what the results are, all students must receive proper attention and appreciation during this time, it is especially important for the ones who lagged behind in their performance. An encouraging pat is crucial for those who could not succeed. I hope we won’t have to hear news to students giving up on their lives just because they failed in this particular exam. Life gives many opportunities and lessons after failure.
With this, many young people’s further study is determined by the results esp, which faculty and subject they opt for. Parents and friends largely influence during the decision making process beyond SLC. However, it is too early to conclude on the academic success and aptitude of a student just based on SLC results. Just at the time of this writing, one of my school teachers posted this status in facebook:
The above status represent the concept of Book Smart vs. Street Smart. It is often true that the street smartstudents are ahead in other aspects of life than book smart students who do extremely well with the exams but who might not do well in the real life situations. However, it would be wrong idea to promote just one of them, in fact, combination of both book and street knowledge is desirable to become optimally functional.
For those of you who have passed SLC, my congratulations and I would like to encourage you to study Psychology if you are interested in psychological well-being, the invisible activities of the mind and their relationship with our behavior, here is a link for you:
Last week, a seminar on ‘Contemporary Research in Psychology in Nepal’ was organised by Nepalese Psychological Association (NPA) and Central Department of Psychology (TU) on 28 May 2016 (15 Jestha 2073, Saturday) at Padma Kanya Campus, Kathmandu.
The program started with formalities and speeches as usual. It was followed by paper presentations by 8 professionals and students who are engaged in research work. I was invited to present my paper on ‘Bibliography of Psychological Research in Nepal.’ See full schedule here: seminarNPA2016schedule
The first session was chaired by Prof. Dr. Santa Niraula, Head of Psychology Department, TU in which 4 papers were presented:
1) ‘Feasibility Study on Development of Children’s Emotional and behavioral problem checklist’ . By Suraj Shakya & Sunita Shrestha 2) ‘Ethnic Self-Labeling Among Nepalese Adolescents’ by Sandesh Dhakal 3) ‘Bibliography of Psychological Research in Nepal’ by Sujen Man Maharjan 4) ‘Survey on Psychological Well-being and perceived organizational support in the aftermath of Nepal Earthquake’ by Yubaraj Adhikari.
The session ended after the brief discussion on the papers and closing remarks by Dr. Niraula.
The second session was chaired by Prof Dr. Mita Rana, MPhil Clinical Psychology Department Head of TUTH in which 4 papers were presented:
1) ‘Prevalence of PTSD and its Influencing Factors Among the Government School Teachers After Nepal Earthquake 2015’ by Ganesh Amgain 2) ‘Possibility of Mental Illness in Adults Affected by Gorkha Earthquake in Tudikhel Camp- A Survey’ by Sujan Shrestha and Kripa Sigdel 3) ‘Home and Health Adjustment Among College Students with Their Locale of Five Development Region’ by Padam Raj Joshi 4) ‘Adolescents’ Concern non Problems with their Parents’ by Khem Raj Bhatta
The session ended after the brief discussion on the papers and closing remarks by Dr. Rana.
The program concluded with the closing speech by Dr. Nandita Sharma, Vice President of NPA.
The participation of the students was very enthusiastic. There were over 250 participants from different public and private colleges in Kathmandu, mostly students who are studying Psychology in Bachelor and Master levels. I remember this event had been organised after a long time, I wrote about similar event that took place five years back when I had presented my poster based on my MA thesis.
This program could have been better organized if the time had been properly set and logistics were in place properly. There were few shortcomings in the management but the program being organized deserves appreciation and I hope such events will be regularly organized, not after many years.
Distinguished guests of the program.
Over 250 Participants were present in the seminar.
The group picture of the paper presenters on bottom and professors & psychologists on the upper row.
Thanks to the organizers for the opportunity to present the paper and the participants for showing so much interest in my paper. For those of you who did not receive the tiny handout of my presentation, here is the information to access the file:
Maharjan, S. M. (2012). Bibliography of Psychological Research in Nepal. [PDF file] Retrieved from http://www.martinchautari.org.np/2012-08-27-08-45-41/bibilographies.html http://bit.ly/1TMOftz
This crash course series on psychology presented by Hank Green will be useful for the beginners in Psychology. There are 40 videos (mostly around 10 mins) in this collection that helps you to understand the fundamental concepts of how our mind works and malfunctions.