Diwakar Pyakurel is a Kathmandu-based bilingual journalist. He writes features on society and culture, art and literature, and entrepreneurship, among others.

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Rescued ‘Nepali’ bear denied exit permit

Despite limited facilities in Nepal’s only zoo, authorities are refusing to send a rescued sloth bear to India, citing the ‘nationality’ of the bear   It all started with a front-page story in Kantipur, a popular Nepali daily. The piece followed the life of a bear tamer in Siraha, who made a living by making a little […]

Not holding a summit shouldn’t be sole base for judging SAARC performance: Outgoing secretary general

Until a few years ago, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) used to make frequent headlines in the Nepali newspapers as the member states including Nepal used to be busy in different activities of the regional body. However, the organisation is less heard in the press these days, apparently due to its failure […]

Aama movie review: Moving plot fails to quench Nepali film industry’s thirst for ‘newness’

Let’s begin it straightaway: Aama is a moving story acted out by proven artists. The movie tells a typical tale of the Nepali society. The plot is focused, restricted by the principles of necessity and probability. It must be a good watch for lovers of realism. But ironically, this specificity becomes problematic if you go […]

‘It’s time for Nepali tourism entrepreneurs to make a decision about the future of elephants’

When Visit Nepal Year 2020 Secretariat coordinator Suraj Vaidya posted a short video of elephants playing football around two weeks ago, the Nepali twitterati instantly protested, claiming it promoted animal cruelty. Around the same time, dozens of international animal rights activists submitted a memorandum to the government urging it to stop the potential abuse of […]

Selfie King movie review: Powerful ‘tragedy’ in mediocre making

Don’t ever think that a movie with a clown as the hero is always a comedy. This week’s Kollywood release ‘Selfie King’ is the exact opposite (though, surprisingly, the cinemas in Kathmandu are promoting it as a ‘comedy’). Selfie King, precisely, is a tragedy–about a comedian’s life. Presenting acclaimed Bipin Karki as the title character, […]

Dozens of Nepalis lose their lives to overseas waters every year. Why are they at a higher risk?

A local news portal in Sudurpaschim province of Nepal, Dinesh Khabar, reported on January 12 that a Nepali in Malaysia died after falling into a fishery. Just two days after that, a United States-based news portal run by Nepalis there reported the death of two Nepalis in Portugal while they were fishing in a sea. […]

Exam rigging exposes Nepal’s faulty education system

A nexus of corrupt school administrators, government officials, parents, and teachers has turned higher secondary level exams into a sham. Madhav Nepal has no doubt about what he saw over several mornings, in May 2018, on the playground of the Laxmi Secondary School in eastern Nepal’s Jhapa district. Over 800 students from neighbouring schools were […]

Kokroma: Blending the uniqueness of Nepali bhoto with European business tricks

Rewati Gurung was well-exposed to the western world during her formative years. She studied English literature in her master’s first and moved to development studies–both courses were dominated by theories and examples from America and Europe. Consequently, her brain was programmed to think that foreigners, whites in particular, were better than Nepalis. In 2015, Gurung […]

Sarauto movie review: Story speaks louder than action

What is a ‘sarauto’ anyway? Arguably, many Nepali cinemagoers of the young generation are not familiar with the term. Making a movie with such a difficult word in the title and featuring a non-star cast is really a risky affair. However, the producers dared to do it and the movie is already on the screen […]

Why everyone needs to worry about first case of malaria parasites in Nepali buffalos

Nepali zoologists have reported the first case of the malaria parasite in water buffalos in Nepal. The alarming discovery places thousands of farmers who rear buffalos and their cattle across the country at risk. Scientists, who uncovered the presence of the hitherto unnoticed parasites, say besides farmers, the non-farming urban group is also at risk, […]

This Nepali zoologist gave his name to a snake. Now he is concerned about people’s perception of the reptile

Like other children of his neighbourhood, Karan Bahadur Shah was afraid of snakes. At the age of 10, his family migrated to the plains of Kanchanpur from Dadeldhura, and the fear of snakes heightened because more snakebite cases were reported there. “The fear persisted till I was doing my master’s in zoology in the 20s,” […]

Explainer: What is the Kalapani controversy between Nepal and India all about?

The new political map of India issued by New Delhi last Saturday to demarcate the new union territory of Ladakh, has also made headlines in neighbouring Nepal. Following the publication of the map, the Nepali media reported that India has laid claim over Kalapani, which Kathmandu considers Nepali territory. This Saturday, Prime Minister KP Sharma […]

Ghamad Shere movie review: Interesting blend of political satire and ‘undesirable’ romance

When social media users jokingly connected an angry-faced image of Nepali Congress chief Sher Bahadur Deuba with ‘Ghamad Shere’ last week, the movie received some free promotion. Now, as the movie is already being screened, it is clear that the movie is not related to the former prime minister in any way. Yet, the movie […]

#OccupyTundikhel isn’t political, but ruling party is reluctant to support city’s cause

When Kathmandu’s former mayor Keshav Sthapit envisaged the Maitighar Mandala in Kathmandu, he thought it would symbolise the city’s traditional art and culture to showcase to the 2002 SAARC Summit delegates. The Mandala later morphed into a platform for citizens to raise their voices and concerns in a city where open space is scarce. “Now […]

Despite millions of rupees spent by NGOs, dozens drown in southern Nepal every year

Nepal’s Ministry of Home Affairs reported 73 deaths attributed to floods in the past year. While local government agencies lament over their helplessness to prevent the deaths, over 20 international nongovernment organisations and their local partners spend millions of rupees for the prevention of such disasters and provision of relief. However, the same cycle repeats […]

Poi Paryo Kale movie review: Though fictitious and exaggerated, this movie is fun watch

Looking at the title of this week’s Kollywood release, you might not want to go watch Poi Paryo Kale. Many people consider the term ‘Poi’ (which means ‘husband’) derogatory whereas the entire title suggests the movie is a cheap comedy that includes a lot of racism and skin-colour shaming as a medium of making the […]

Nepali kids with disabilities learn swimming as therapy and life-saving skill

With Nepali cities embracing western lifestyle, the number of swimming pools has mushroomed in urban Nepal. Stakeholders say it is crucial to teach swimming to the urban children, including those living with disabilities. Even with his parents, six-year-old Pritam Shrestha looks restless most of the time. This curious kid cannot move his hands and legs […]

Daycare saves children from drowning. Is Nepal ready to adopt this simple solution?

Durban (South Africa), October 10 On September 12 this year, the Rautahat District Police Office in southern Nepal reported that three children were found dead inside a pit in Ishanath municipality. Ten-year-old Kinjal Yadav, her six-year-old sister Gunjal and their neighbourhood friend seven-year-old Sarita Sah were fishing in the pit next to their family farm […]

Rato Tika Nidharma movie review: Forceful yoke of lame jokes and ‘progressive’ preaching

Ashok Sharma has failed again. After a remarkable career in the Nepali cinema industry and disappearing for a long time, the veteran actor-producer has been trying hard to make a comeback. While his Jai Bhole released around Dashain, last year, was accused of jeopardising the career of creative artist Khagendra Lamichhane, Sharma’s recent Rato Tika […]

How climate change is expanding hotspots of invasive plants in Nepal

When botanist Bharat Babu Shrestha visited Jalthal of Jhapa district three weeks ago, he was surprised. The Tribhuvan University associate professor found a new plant spreading across the village. In the past two decades of his career, Shrestha, who has concentrated on ‘alien’ plants in Nepal, has discovered new plants some of which have already […]

Kabaddi Kabaddi Kabaddi movie review: With a cliched story, can this well-acted comedy sustain the brand ?

Because Kabaddi is an established ‘brand’ in Nepali film industry and Dashain festival is just around the corner, the third work of the series, Kabaddi Kabaddi Kabaddi, is likely to attract an exciting footfall. Besides, the experienced actors have acted well to make the audience laugh, healthily, that is to say without producing an artless […]

Password movie review: Mediocre cinematography spoils the show

An ‘item dance’ by Bollywood star Sunny Leone is not the only thing that you should look for in this week’s release Password. This movie has an interesting story that unfolds a crime taking place outside Nepal. Further, it is completely shot in posh locations in London and gives a lot of screen to time […]

Double burden: How malnutrition plagues educated, rich Nepali families

Various studies have shown that children from well-off families are less likely to be malnourished than their counterparts from low-income families. However, recent studies suggest that this may not apply to some specific forms of malnutrition such as ‘double burden of malnutrition at the household level’. Researchers looking into the phenomenon, under which a mother […]

Should schools make health and environment education mandatory? New debate erupts

If the government plan is anything to go by, ninth and tenth-grade students of the schools across Nepal will have to study seven subjects only, one less than what the students have been studying for a past few decades, from the next year. This is not news. What is news is that the government has […]

Journal that ‘corrected’ Nepali history is on its deathbed

Nepal’s prominent historian Mahesh Raj Panta celebrated his 75th birthday last week. This happy-go-lucky scholar is not much concerned about the difficulties of old age. There is something more important that haunts him. Panta, a member of the Nepali history revisionist school, and an editor of its ‘quarterly’ journal Poornima, says the iconic publication awaits its […]

Xira movie review: Why is Namrataa Shrestha’s experiment appealing to feminists?

Namrataa Shrestha was right in a recent interview: her ‘life’ as an actress is not over yet. Watch her latest release Xira and you will learn how this popular (and controversial) lady can transform herself for different roles so that she can sustain herself in the industry. Further, this movie produced under the banner of […]

‘Nepal’s Taj Mahal’ was deserted for a century. Can it get its glory back?

If you have ever mugged up general knowledge question-answers for a quiz contest or a ‘Loksewa’ exam, you will know which historical monument is called Nepal’s ‘Taj Mahal’. While millions of Nepalis have heard about the Rani Mahal in Palpa, only a small section of the population has visited the place. Apparently, the century-old monument […]

Nepal’s ‘most quoted monkey expert’ says zoology should be connected to common people’s lives

After reports of a ‘mass suicide’ by monkeys in Chautara of Sindhupalchok district came out, zoologist Dr Mukesh Chalise’s phone was abuzz the entire week. Chalise, the most quoted ‘monkey expert’ in Nepali media, retired from the Central Department of Zoology of the Tribhuvan University last month. Onlinekhabar recently caught up with Chalise, whose PhD […]

Na Yeta Na Uta movie review: Hollow humour doesn’t sell

Scientist-turned-actor Sameer Mani Dixit will benefit more than anyone else from the recent release ‘Na Yeta Na Uta’. The biomedical researcher, who already wears numerous hats ranging from a TV host to that of a ‘weatherman for Twitterati’, he adds one more. He is as a lead actor of the movie, and he is proud […]

Besides Melamchi, Kathmandu needs robust groundwater recharge. These are critical places to improve the system

While Kathmanduites continue to believe that the Melamchi Water Supply Project will eventually quench their perpetual thirst, recent research shows that the ambitious megaproject will not be sufficient to meet the capital city’s demand. Pointing at the potential failure, these researchers further disappoint the public as they fail to give alternative solutions most of the […]

Nepal’s ophthalmic researchers pin hopes on handheld mobile devices to serve rural population

As a student of ophthalmology and later as a glaucoma expert, something always bugged Suman Thapa. A general consensus among ophthalmologists was that they should not test for ailments, with a low prevalence rate, that they couldn’t treat affordably; and glaucoma, the second biggest cause of blindness after cataract, was one of them. One and […]

Stunting in Nepal: Besides chauchau and chips, local crops may also be responsible

The nutrition status of Nepali children was in the limelight across the world last week as The Guardian carried a story about the excessive consumption of junk food by Nepali kids. The report highlighted high junk food leaves many Nepali children undernourished and stunted. The report calls for parents to encourage their kids to eat […]

Metta Hastakala: The challenging business of turning banners to bags

Rushka Sthapit worked for CWIN, a leading child rights NGO,  between 2012 and 2014 as an environmental officer. Besides her regular work, she also wanted to do something extra to prove herself as an ‘environmental officer’. She wanted to devise a unique project that could also contribute to the environment. “Therefore, my colleagues and I […]

Ghar movie review: This ‘horror movie’ also offers you humour, and it’s okay

Because a very few ‘horror’ movies have been made in the Nepali cinema industry, this week’s release Ghar essentially offers a different taste to the audience. It tells the story of a haunted house in the Nepali context. The story begins by projecting common aspirations of an ordinary Nepali family; and the horrors are gradually […]

Sano Mann movie review: An unappealing psychological hotchpotch

If only it were woven skillfully, Sano Mann(‘A Small Heart’), would register itself as an unprecedented psychological drama in the Nepali film industry. But it fails due to its lack of focus, overdramatisation and the use of cliched formula. The movie, which could potentially tell the story of psychological trauma healed through human relationships, ends up […]

Kathmandu is getting hotter every year; but districts nearby are heating up more quickly

As the summer reached its peak this year a few weeks ago, you perhaps felt that Kathmandu has become hotter than before. You might have spent many hours restlessly, praying for the monsoon to arrive soon so that you could get some relief from the heat. But, did you know that your feelings are backed […]

Tyre Treasures: This startup upcycles trash tyres to make furniture items

While the traditional formula of cutting down on the amount of waste has been restricted to 3 ‘R’s (reduce, reuse and recycle), Tyre Treasures, a two-year-old startup company run by two young women, goes one step ahead and exemplifies what ‘upcycling’ means in the Kathmandu context. Tyre Treasures is a company that produces indoor and […]

As long as caste system remains there, we cannot go beyond the medieval-era society: Suraj Yengde

With the controversy over a Public Service Commission notice calling applications for 9,000 plus vacancies at the local level, Nepali political leaders and commentators are once again debating the relevance of reservation allocated to various social groups. Along with that, many issues about rights of the disadvantaged groups have come to the fore again. Dalits, […]

Appa movie review: This Nepali-Indian flick tells a universal story in its own style

Appa gives the Nepali audience a unique flavour, thanks to its setting and the language. The movie is shot in Kalimpong, India, and its characters are Nepali-speaking Christians. When the scenes move between illuminated town hubs and foggy villages, the audience feels that they are travelling to Kalimpong and interacting with the Nepali people there. […]

How a transgender student is fighting for her right to education

For nearly two years, Rukshana Kapali, assigned ‘male’ at birth, has been stuck at an important crossroad of life. In front of her are a few options, but each of them is confusing and fraught with challenges. Nonetheless, Kapali who identifies as a woman now is clear that she cannot wait indefinitely, and the show […]

Prem Diwas movie review: Unique love story falls prey to directorial incompetence, and bad timing

Perhaps this was not the right time for Prem Diwas to hit the screens. First, this is not Valentine’s month. Second, enraged by the arrest of YouTuber Pranesh Gautam for his ‘review’ of a recent Nepali movie, many social media users have called for a boycott of Nepali movies. Key theatres in Kathmandu wore a […]

A lesson to neighbours: The fall and rise of vulture population in Nepal

In his youth, ornithologist Hem Sagar Baral couldn’t care less about vultures he would see around his village “because there were too many of them; they were like sparrows and crows.” But that changed soon as Baral observed something was amiss with the bird of prey. He realised that they were gradually disappearing. Later in […]

‘Startup enabler’ Khanal: Entrepreneurship is driven by interests, not scope

Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada announced in his budget speech for the next fiscal that new startups can get a tax exemption if they register themselves under the VAT regime within six months of the new fiscal. With the announcement, startup companies have come into the limelight yet again. The startup community in Nepal has […]

Jatrai Jatra movie review: Comic retelling of life’s complex philosophy

For the Nepali comedy lovers who were frustrated with recent Dal Bhat Tarkari, Jatrai Jatra is a relief. This week’s release makes sincere efforts to make the audience laugh with a smoothly narrated story presented in natural acting. Though it falters a bit in the second half due to overdramatisation, the movie is evidence that […]

Dal Bhat Tarkari movie review: This MaHa project is hollow

This is the first time I have been reluctant to write a review after watching a movie. I used to enjoy writing reviews of ‘distasteful’ dirty comedies like Garud Puran and Chauka Dau because I could mock the actors and slam the story with my words, and my readers would believe it. This week’s release […]

A Mero Hajur 3 movie review: Is it comic parody, love story, or religious preaching?

Given the nature of its story, A Mero Hajur 3 could have been a metafilm that could present to the audience the underbelly of the entertainment industry. However, it is so poorly developed that it ends up being a cheap and comic parody of a star’s power and limitations. Fascinating appearance Nevertheless, let’s begin the […]

Love Station movie review: The superman’s romantic drama

Rani calling Sagar a ‘superman’ might go unnoticed to many members of the audience, but the term, for a section of critical watchers, is the one that defines the movie. This week’s release, Love Station, is a superman’s story, where everything is possible for the powerful hero. This is more a drama, with some romantic […]

Bajra Brick: This startup is trying to make Nepal’s construction industry greener

Born and brought up in Chyamhasingh of Bhaktapur, Bikram Prajapati was irritated at the sight of brick kiln chimneys scattered around his house and black smoke that billowed from them. As a child, however, he did not know what to do about it; he felt helpless. As Prajapati was growing up, he learned that dust […]

Saili movie review: A romantic social drama about the cost of labour migration

Before you go to the theatre to watch this week’s release Saili, understand that the movie is not an extension to the popular song with the same title, though it borrows its title from the sentimental piece. Along with the title, the movie also borrows lead characters from the song. Yet, the film is a standalone […]

From NGO to enterprise: The paradigm shift of self-defence training in Nepal

It had been a few months since her uncle (her mother’s brother) harassed her. However, this teenage girl, studying at a secondary school in Lalitpur, could not report this issue to anyone. She thought no one would support her. When her school organised a ‘self-defence’ training in 2018, she learned why it was important to […]

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