In 2022, Narayn Mishra complete a book entitled "Nepal and Nepalese Society". While seeking publication, his friend, Mel Oakes, suggested putting the book online for others to see. Narayan agreed and here is the result of that collaboration. You will find here a link to the pdf version of the book. Below are included sections of the book that can introduce you to the author and the book.
Narayan Prasad Mishra was born in 1944 in Nepal, on Durbar Square in the city of Bhaktapur. He grew up in a traditional house a mere 17 feet away from the city’s historic palace of Malla kings, namely its beautiful Sundhara (‘Golden Step Well’) dating from the 12th to 18th century. He obtained his secondary schooling at Tri-Padma High School in Bhaktapur, and his college education at Trichandra College in Kathmandu, having to walk about five hours going and returning home, as there was no college in his own city mat the time. He started his working career at the age of 17. It was a life full of challenges and struggles. The opportunity arose for to him to study library science at the University of Delhi, and he became the first person from Nepal to receive a master's degree in the subject from India.
Together with Shanti Shrestha, the chief librarian of Tribhuvan University Central Library, he worked as a two-person team to turn the library into a modern model facility the nation could look upon with pride. The pair entered into an intercaste love marriage bond, and together wrote the first book on library science in the Nepali language. Narayan Mishra is also the author of Tribhuvan Bishwabidyalaya ra Sikchhya (“Tribhuvan University and Education”), the first book on the subject. His experience has been multifacetted, from a government clerical job to the top administrative position (prashasak) of Tribhuvan University. He was the chief of the Tribhuvan University Service Commission Office at the time of his retirement. A librarian, administrator, educationalist, story writer, and poet, he has seven books to his credit, including two books of poems. He is a man of principle devoted to the nation and its people, and has always held firmly to his belief in truth and the facts – has never learned to compromise when faced with untruth and dishonesty, no matter how complicated and agonizing the situation. His critical articles on the National Education Plan of 1971, the government, politics, corruption, and related topics, his poems and short stories (published both under his own name and pseudonyms), and other published books (including the present one) bear witness to this. In short, he is a reliable guide full of insights into what life in Nepal today is really like.
This book, simply titled Nepal and Nepalese Society, offers one person’s account of his native country and its people, as experienced first-hand over a period of eight decades. The topics covered include numerous aspects of life in Nepal: among others, its history, family life, traditions, superstitions, social systems, festivals, government and politics, education, Hinduism and other religions, love relationships and intercaste marriage. Foreign readers will have their eyes opened to fascinating areas of Nepalese culture that they have perhaps been unaware of. The individual narratives are both informative and moving.
Full of lively tales, the book grew out of the author's own struggles with mismanagement, nepotism, corruption, injustice, and gutter politics. It shows how what was meantto be democracy has, in the absence of a democratic culture and democratic principles, fallen prey to undemocratic forms of government. Some chapters, including “A Tale of a Missionary Doctor and an Abandoned Child,” “Poverty and Honesty in Nepal,” “Love Affairs in Nepalese Society,” and “Disfigured Democracy and Nepal,” are dramatic in their impact and, according to some commentators, worthy of cinematic treatment.
The author and his legendary wife’s tireless lifelong fight for a sound, well-governed library, university, and country is an unforgettable chapter of Nepal’s recent past. In praiseworthy fashion, the author played a central role in his wife's life as an adviser, helper, advocate, and best friend, and his writings about her service to the nation are historically important . The book presents valuable insights for anyone wishing to know how difficult things can be for those who go about life honestly and sincerely in Nepal, where democracy, political parties, and civil society take on a much different cast from what is typically seen in developed countries. It is the work of an intensely reflective open mind that, grounded in firmly held beliefs, has undoubtedly succeeded in painting a true if disturbing picture of present-day Nepal.
"Nepal is our birthplace; Tribhuvan University is our workplace. My late wife and I actively carried out our duties with honesty, dedication, and devotion, whether in the library or other sections and departments of the university. Still, along with some other colleagues, she and I had to retire from Tribhuvan University in 1992 (B. S. 2049) – nine and 14 years, respectively, before the legal retirement age – due to the politicized nature of the country’s public educational institutions. I was just 49 years at the time.
We all know that we cannot escape from governance, whether bad or good, just as we cannot escape from a land's climate or environment. We all are affected. We are each just one part of it. Corruption, irregularities, injustice, nepotism and other forms of favoritism, and the general mismanagement of our country unquestionablhy affected both my wife and me.
I cannot stay quiet, not raising my voice when I see wrong or injustice anywhere – at home, on the street, or in the office. As a conscientious, responsible citizen of my country, I show my concern, among other ways, through writings meant to better the nation and the people's welfare and to fight against wrongdoing and a broken system. Most Nepalese read and understand Nepali since it is the country’s national language. I therefore mainly used to write in Nepali. I have five published books (including poetry) and many articles to my name, mainly on Nepalese politics and education.
Since the sad demise in 2019 of my beloved wife Shanti Mishra – professor, librarian, writer in English, novelist (A Widow's Gift), translator of the Nepali novel Rupamati, and author of Voice of Truth: The Challenges and Struggles of a Nepalese Woman, I have for various reasons been living much of the time in the USA with my daughter. From June 2020 to Nov. 2022 in order to share what life has taught me with readers of English, I devoted myself to writing the articles in the following pages on history, culture, politics, corruption, education, the library profession, religion, and other facets of life in Nepal based on my own life experiences. These articles are all based on events, memories, and observations of more than eight decades. I tried my best not to hide or alter the truth. My hope is that these writings will help foreign readers better understand my country, its people, and their lives and culture.
As I wrote the articles at different times and on different topics, some of the same information has undoubtedly been repeated in the varying contexts, the same way we rehash points in our conversation over time. That is unavoidable, and I hope readers will understand. All the articles except one have appeared in People's Review, a weekly English newspaper published in Kathmandu. The date of publication (DOP) is given at the end of the article. I want to thank Mr. Pushpa Raj Pradhan, the Chief Editor of that paper, for his support, trust, and goodwill from the bottom of my heart. In this context, I would like to express my appreciation to my daughter Dr. Pragya Mishra, an internist and pediatrician at Eskenazi Hospital, Indianapolis, USA, for her love, care, and support, without which I would not have been able to write and bring out this book. At the same time, I would like to thank our friend and well-wisher Philip Pierce for his help whenever needed."
To my late beloved wife Shanti Mishra, a living example of the word “Love,” the source of my joy, the inspiration of my life and an ever-appreciative animator of my thoughts, writings, conduct, and sparks of wisdom.