Linux, Computer Literacy and the Rise of Nepal

All Nepali resources that are yet to discovered and materialized or talked about in general
Ganesha
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Linux, Computer Literacy and the Rise of Nepal

Postby Ganesha » Tue Sep 01, 2009 11:12 am

One of the cheapest and effective ways of making Nepal computer literate could be with the use of Linux. And I want to explore the possibilities here.

The first place to adopt Linux is in schools. A cheap computer, perhaps a second hand Pentium with Linux with email, a server, file server, print server, ability to write and read in Devanagari and a bunch of programming languages could be set up and computer time shared among students. (A set of dumb terminals could be hooked on to the main server to reduce costs and to increase computer availability.) I think this is one of the best ways to practically dream of a Nepali Dennis Ritchie, a Torvalds, Bjarne Stoustrap or a Tim Berners-Lee.

The second place would be the government. I don't know of a program to put licensed Windows in the Government of Nepal's offices, all around the country yet. Linux could be a boon with low hardware resources requirement, no licensing fees and a common open standard across all its offices. (I have always wanted at least a website of every government office in Nepal and an inbuilt server could just be the answer.)

We have a huge underemployed and unemployed youth in the country today. We could teach them linux by setting up small institutes (perhaps in libraries, Ward offices, "Aama Samuha" (meaning mother's group/alliance) buildings with again some old hardware and teach Linux. The volunteer teachers could be students devoting a certain number of hours teaching. Once the first batch learns, we could use them to train others. Money for the minimal infrastructure (computer hardware) could be arranged by "Aama Samuhas", asked for donation from major banks in the country or sought from international organizations.

The details however remain to be sorted out. We call upon the likes of FOSS Nepal, OLPC Nepal, Ubuntu Nepal, various other Nepali Technology Communities and Penguin aficionados around the world to help refine this idea. Clarity over set of software needed, course curriculum, costs involved, place to figure donations, a not-for-profit business plan etc. could be a start.
Last edited by Ganesha on Mon Sep 07, 2009 10:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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rrrryan
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Re: Linux, Computer Literacy and the Rise of Nepal

Postby rrrryan » Tue Sep 01, 2009 8:38 pm

An organization that I work with was tasked with developing a computer system for a local hospital. The system was built and put in place and the staff of the hospital proceeded to sabotage the equipment so thoroughly that the hospital finally gave up on the project. I will forgo from sharing my pessimistic opinions as to why they did this. However, I will point out that there was very little the hospital could do about it. In fact, terminating employment is nearly impossible. I will also point out that many of my pessimistic opinions about why this happened would only be more true in ministries and other political offices.

There are some powerful forces standing between those offices and technological integration. So, again, the foundation must be prepared before this house could be built. This Country as to stop tolerating criminal extortion in any form before it will enjoy many of the luxuries of developed nations.

kazi
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Re: Linux, Computer Literacy and the Rise of Nepal

Postby kazi » Wed Sep 02, 2009 11:59 am

The problem that rrryan pointed out makes the situation such a hopeless disaster. And yet there is so much truth in the matter. There really is not any single individual or group can do for the country. If there is any hope, the men and women must wake up and take charge of their country. Transparency and accountability is the first and foremost necessity. Its not the ability that handicaps Nepalis because many Nepalis are of high calibre. If a leader promises something, it must be delivered. Otherwise, somebody has to be accountable. Often times, its the leader who should be accountable, but more often than not it might also be some conspirators. But the bottom line is that somebody must be accountable. Another requirement is transparency. The age-old tradition of the divine King or the geriatric great grandfather will not work unless it makes sense. The so-called divine King was deposed because people no longer believed in divinity of humans. The geriatric leader KPB was punished because he spoke for the king. The geriatric leader GPK does not fight an election because he knows the new generation calls for a new breed of leaders. Even elected officials have to resign when they blunder in judgement. This is the new world of transparency and accountability. And (s)he who will not abide, will fall. This is how it is and this is how it should be. This is the path to a working democracy and we will suffer if need be, but we will make this democracy hope, even if this sounds like hope beyond hope.
--
"Mother and motherland are more precious than heaven." But that does not mean we must cling to our mothers. The least I can do for Nepal is to bring awareness among the Nepali people. And this Nepali forum is the platform for me.

rrrryan
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Re: Linux, Computer Literacy and the Rise of Nepal

Postby rrrryan » Wed Sep 02, 2009 9:05 pm

Well said Kazi. I disagree on two points, first I do not think it is hopeless even if I am often less than positive in my posts. Secondly, accountability only works when the correct person is being held accountable. Blocking a road and punishing your neighbors because a taxi driver that lives on the other side of the city ran over your friends is not accountability. It is terrorism and only contributes the the further failure of Nepal. Right now, in the streets, Nepalese people are blocking roads and crying out in support of corrupt liars, thugs, and thieves. The below explains how just one honest person, given the right circumstances, can change a Country...

-------------------
Concerning the Rise of Nepal:

Many of my bideshi friends and I have contemplated the situation and believe that a version of Singapore's history could happen here if all things were to come together. However, not everyone is a Lee Kuan Yew, in fact if he was not a person of deep and honest character Singapore would be much like Nepal today, if not worse. It is a matter of CHARACTER!

If you have a moment, please start by watching some student's proud presentation of their Country's history: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m99TX8xfT0E

Then visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_Kuan_Yew

Look for these points, especially the first one:

"Like many countries, Singapore was not immune to corruption. Lee was well aware how corruption had led to the downfall of the Nationalist Chinese government in mainland China. Fighting against the communists himself, he knew he had to 'clean house'. Lee introduced legislation giving the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) greater power to conduct arrests, search, call up witnesses, and investigate bank accounts and income-tax returns of suspected persons and their families. The CPIB was given the authority to investigate any officer or minister, and several ministers were later charged with corruption."

"following Switzerland's model."

"In 1967, the Economic Development Board was established to attract foreign investment, offering attractive tax incentives and providing access to the highly skilled, disciplined and relatively low-paid work force."

"All state schools now use English as the medium of instruction"

Nepal's version of the story above is waiting to be written. Please Nepal, the most beautiful Country in the world, please stop the cheating and lying. Be angry with liars and cheaters.

kazi
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Re: Linux, Computer Literacy and the Rise of Nepal

Postby kazi » Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:53 am

Thank you, rrryan. I'll have to take your word on hope. There is really not much I can add that our discussions have not already shown.

And it really strikes a chord in me that you should mention character. See, the funny thing is I was going to use that word and I did not because it is really a subjective notion. What is character for one is not the same for the other. But accountability is based on justice. The justice system is build on a foundation of facts, logic and rationale. To decide who is guilty is the job of the justice system. But to be able to punish or reward is having accountability. And this, I believe is a basic necessity for a nascent democracy like ours. As I already said, the other necessity is transparency.

Anyway, I am a *feeler* type of person and somehow I feel that we might have something in common. Only time and further discussions will tell.
--
"Mother and motherland are more precious than heaven." But that does not mean we must cling to our mothers. The least I can do for Nepal is to bring awareness among the Nepali people. And this Nepali forum is the platform for me.

rrrryan
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Re: Linux, Computer Literacy and the Rise of Nepal

Postby rrrryan » Thu Sep 10, 2009 12:24 am

well, I certainly do passionately want to see Nepal enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in the ways I had the privilege of growing up in the United States. While I believe character is subjective, I believe that there are universal principals that hold true for everyone.

Consider those words from my first sentence. These are what the founders of the US, and I still, believe are inalienable rights of all mankind. However, look very closely at what order they are presented:

1. Life
2. Liberty (personal freedom)
3. The pursuit of happiness.

So, keeping them in that order, I believe these things should be universal and not up for debate:

1. Life, above all other rights every human on this planet has a right to live. The only time any individual may take that right from any other individual is when that other individual has forfeit this right by not abiding by it, by threatening, or physically and maliciously damaging another's life. Rights #2 (Liberty), and #3 (Happiness) come only after #1 (Life) has been secured. No man should fear for his life while honoring the inalienable rights of others.

2. Liberty. Every human being has a right to live freely and enjoy the fruit of their own labors so long as they do not forfeit this right by not abiding by it for others. Especially if they violate any other human beings right #1 (Life).

3. The pursuit of happiness. After Life and Liberty have been firmly established and maintained any human being is free to pursue happiness in any form that does not violate right #1 (Life), and right #2 (Liberty) of any other human being. Furthermore, this pursuit of happiness must never come at the expense of someone else's right #3 (Happiness). In such cases look to which course most readily upholds rights #1 (Life) and #2 (Liberty) and choose the path in that manner.

Of course there will be gray areas, but Nepal (as do many Countries) currently has issues that are plainly not reasonable by universal human rights standards. For instance politicians, they often trade many citizen's right #2 (Liberty), for their own personal right #3 (Happiness). That is universally wrong. Terrorists in this Country will trade other Nepali's right #1 (Life) for their own right #3 (Happiness) while claiming it for the sake of right #2 (Liberty), which still cannot justify it. In fact, most terrorists are looking for their own version of this which includes a right #4 (Power, which is not a right), for many it would read: "The right to be served by others." Of course they would claim it to be similar to right #3 (Happiness) but it is a lie. This list of rights would undoubtedly create an environment of service to others, but voluntary service. Humans cannot steal right #2 (Liberty) for their own right #3 (Happiness). Especially when they steal #2 (Liberty) from many to satisfy the happiness of a few.

So, those who would deny these rights to others have forfeit them themselves. Therein is found the universal qualifier of character. We all know people of character. They stand out because they put everyone else before themselves. They always want to help. They want you to have all of your rights, #1, #2, and #3. They don't just say so, they do selfless things. Things that prove they neither crave money nor power. They do it forever too. Not just until they get money or power, but even after. That's universal Character. That is the kind of Character that the One who made everything else would be proud of from his creations. For me, well I learn this from Jesus as did the founders of the USA. One nation, under God. I sometimes fear I am witnessing the end of the values that made my Country great, but I have great hope that I may, in my lifetime, witness the beginnings of other Countries becoming great. Imagine a planet full of people who disagree on all kinds of other things but can agree on these inalienable rights!

kazi
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Re: Linux, Computer Literacy and the Rise of Nepal

Postby kazi » Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:05 am

@rrryan Well said.. and more so because of the veracity and the sanctity of your belief in these great words in the Declaration of Independence that have inspired countless millions, including me. I sincerely hope that these values will shine on my people and bring us from darkness to light. I was trained by Catholic missionaries and I have seen their devotion and passion towards Nepal and its people. I believe you when you speak of your passion for the betterment of Nepal. And I greatly appreciate and admire you for that.

May I just say that I like the last line of your last post:
****Imagine a planet full of people who disagree on all kinds
of other things but can agree on these inalienable rights! ****
--
"Mother and motherland are more precious than heaven." But that does not mean we must cling to our mothers. The least I can do for Nepal is to bring awareness among the Nepali people. And this Nepali forum is the platform for me.

rrrryan
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Re: Linux, Computer Literacy and the Rise of Nepal

Postby rrrryan » Sat Sep 12, 2009 8:27 pm

Thanks for that. I know many missionaries and some of them are fine examples of universal character. Some of them gave up riches and power to live here. I don't know if you realize how inhospitable things can be here for people who come to serve. Even now, visas are very difficult to obtain for foreigners who want to serve. The government has rules that seem to be designed for one purpose, the acquisition of money. Many of those fine examples I mentioned put a significant amount of their time and money into simply satisfying rules for their visas. I've known quite a few who couldn't keep up and were forced to leave.

So many of Nepal's "little kings" talk about how they don't need any help. They only seem to see rupees, nothing else. Property laws, foreign exchange rules, ... It seems like nearly all of Nepal's foreign policy proclaims: "we don't need your help." Most aid organizations are here without invitation and in spite of that ego demonstrated by Nepal's leadership. Even I spend most of the week merely satisfying my visa. I believe in a virtue called humility. The ability to ask for help. There is nothing wrong with it. In fact, with the mess-on-top-of-mess that politics has been perhaps the wisest would be he who asks for help. For some strange reason though, it's the people who insult the western nations that gain popularity. Those who proclaim: "we can do this all by ourselves". They get the votes, and then rob the people blind.

Kazi, all it would take is one wise man who would rather die than be corrupted by greed or power. If the nation were to notice one truly honest, humble, and wise man. To insist that he guide the formation of Nepal's own constitution and all of the checks and balances that would make things difficult for the corrupt. Then, perhaps, the Rise of Nepal.

kazi
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Re: Linux, Computer Literacy and the Rise of Nepal

Postby kazi » Thu Sep 17, 2009 10:07 am

And once again, I concede to your wise words @rrryan. However, I must admit that I think there are plenty of able, honest men and women in Nepal, who could and would gladly work for the bettermen of Nepal. But the question is once they get the taste of power and wealth, can they still keep true to their mission?

I sincerely believe in the goodness of men and women. But I am also aware of the ways they can change for the worse. I would not blame the individual. Its only human. I think, we, as a new democracy do not know how to handle it. Even as educated individuals, we struggle to understand the intricacies of making the democracy work. We can only emphathize with the less aware. My mission in life is to give people that awareness.. I want to give people the ability to make informed decision.. to let them know that democracy is about people, for the people, by the people. And despite all odds, despite all misgivings, despite all constraints, the people will wake up, rise as one and work for the benefit of Nepal, and for the whole human race.

Yes, Nepal needs help, not only finances and governance, but also in awareness about solidarity, democracy and choice. I can only hope that all nations will support our nascent democracy so that after alls said and done we, as Nepalis, can say, *Yes, We Can*.
--
"Mother and motherland are more precious than heaven." But that does not mean we must cling to our mothers. The least I can do for Nepal is to bring awareness among the Nepali people. And this Nepali forum is the platform for me.


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