Hriti Foundation Organized the Karnali Utsav- A Marketplace of Ideas, Second Edition

Hriti Foundation organized the second edition of the Karnali Utsav- Kuda Karnalika 2077 on March 10, 11,12  and 13 in Birendranagar Surkhet, capital city of Karnali Province.  First edition of this policy dialogue was held in Birendranagar, Surkhet on March 3, 4 and 5, 2020. Karnali Utsav is a campaign to get to know and identify Karnali through various aspects. Festival explores the identity and potential of Karnali as well as contributes intellectually to the prosperity of the entire province.

Festival was inaugurated at 2 pm on March 10, 2021. The continuous dialogue and discussion in 14 consecutive sessions for the next three days has brought a kind of energy to Karnali. Throughout the festival, the country’s attention has been focused on Karnali. The second edition of this campaign to change the perception of Karnali, which has become synonymous with disease, hunger and grief, has been successfully completed. The event was attended by eminent personalities of the country, all those who understood and wanted to understand Karnali.


Opening ceremony

Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 2 p.m

When it comes to the second edition

Resham Bahadur Bista, Co-founder/Hriti Foundation

On the occasion, Resham Bahadur Bista, co-founder of Hriti Foundation and the organizing member of Karnali Utsav, spoke on the occasion. In his remarks, he informed about the topics covered in the second edition and the achievements of the first edition. Video 


Welcome Remarks

Renu Acharya, Deputy Chief, Bheriganga Municipality, Surkhet

At the inauguration ceremony, Deputy Chief of Bheriganga Municipality, Surkhet, Renu Acharya, welcomed the experts and participants who came to the Karnali Utsav. She thanked all those who have come from different parts of the country to know and recognize Karnali. Video


Yogi NarahariNath who recognize Karnali

Prof. Dr. Jagat Prasad Upadhyay,  Nepal Acadamy

Prof. Dr. Jagat Prasad Upadhyaya, member secretary of Nepal Academy stressed on the need to do everything possible to study the arts, literature and philosophy of Karnali. “Scholars including Satya Mohan Joshi had studied the originality of Karnali and its history in 2027 BS,” he said. Talking about Yogi Narharinath who has made Karnali famous in the country and abroad, he suggested that Yogi Narharinath’s contribution to Karnali should be appreciated. Saying that it was a matter of pride for the country that Yogi Narharinath was born in Karnali, he said that Yogi Narharinath had transcribed the ‘Dibya Upadesh’ of Prithibi Narayan Shah. “If Yogi Narharinath had not brought Prithibi Narayan Shah’s enlightenment as a book, a history would have been lost” he added. He said that Naraharinath had played a major role in introducing Karnali by publishing many books about the Karnali. Upadhyaya said that even though Yogi Narharinath was accused of being a royalist, he did not think so. ‘He sometimes advocated for the king. He may have done it in vain, but he was also alert, ‘he said,’ I don’t call him a monarchist, he is a pure saint.’ Video


The splendor of Birendranagar

Devkumar Subedi, Mayor, Birendranagar Municipality

Dev Kumar Subedi, Mayor of Birendranagar Municipality, Surkhet, said that Surkhet valley and Birendranagar Municipality want to establish themselves as educational, administrative and tourist municipalities. Stating that the hunger for development of Birendranagar is rampant, he appealed to all to do their best to eradicate it. Mayor Subedi reminded planner who planned the Birendrangar city as a sample city. Video


Best wishes Speech

Mahendra Bahadur Shahi, Chief Minister, Karnali Province Government

Hon. Mahendra Bahadur Shahi, Chief Minister of Karnali province government, claimed that Karnali province had succeeded in attracting the attention of the world. He said that Karnali is a province with a rich history. Many people around the world know a lot about Karnali. Many things are known. Karnali is not only a state but a history. ‘What is Karnali in itself? What is history It is important to know and understand that. We have crossed many centuries and now we have entered a new era, ‘said Chief Minister Shahi.’ What was our civilization and culture, social environment in this era? All these things are being forgotten by the new generation now.’ “It simply came to our notice then. We are forgetting our language and culture. For that, ideological debate is necessary’ he added. Video

Photo Exhibition
Bhaskar Basnet, Cycle Photographer

The exhibition was unveiled by Chief Minister Hon. Mahendra Bahadur Shahi and  Industry, Tourism, Forest and Environment Minister Hon. Nanda Singh Budha. Vaskar Basnet, a cyclist, took photographs of remote tourist destinations and livelihoods in Karnali and exhibited them at the Karnali Utsav.


Book Release: Karnali Peoples and Places
Comment on Book: Padamlal Devkota, Former Vice Chancellor, Midwestern University

‘Karnali Peoples and Places’, a photo book on the environment and life of the people of Karnali, was released by Karnali Chief Minister Mahendra Bahadur Shahi. Also commenting on the book, former Vice Chancellor of Midwestern University Prof. Dr. Padamlal Devkota said that the book was published at the appropriate time. Stating that the book covers six districts in Karnali, he mentioned that the book covers remote districts. He said that the book portrayed the reality of people’s life in Karnali.


Maruni Dance

Maruni dance was performed by local artists in the program.

Importance of  Debate in Policy Making
Dr. Sarbaraj Khadka, Vice Chairman, Karnali Province Planning Commission

Dr. Sarbaraj Khadka, Vice Chairman, Karnali Province Planning Commision, said that public debate would play a very important role in policy making. He said that public debate programs like Karnali Utsav would be very useful to bring the issues of the citizens with policy makers, adding that it would be an opportunity for the policy makers and stakeholders to solve the problems raised by the citizens. He argued that Karnali was lagging behind other regions because it was despised by those at the policy-making level. Vice-Chairman Khadka argued that public debate is an important element to address issues of common interest to stakeholders. In order to formulate an appropriate policy, a public debate is necessary by choosing the best option from among the various policy alternatives. Stating that such debates would provide information about the policy of the state by collecting the questions of the people, he argued that such public debates were the bridge between the government and the citizens.

Open Discussion and Role of Media
Kalendra Sejuwal, Central Member, Federation of Nepali Journalists

Central member of the Federation of Nepali Journalists Mr. Kalendra Sejuwal said that Karnali was full of adversity and added that journalism was also facing adversity in the state. He said that about 800 journalists are currently working in the state. He mentioned that Karnali’s journalism is being refined day by day as the Midwestern University is producing manpower in journalism. Mentioning that there is a challenge to the professional security of journalists in Karnali, he said that there is a problem of governments at different levels trying to bring policies to bind the journalism sector. He said that the socio-economic, political and other issues to be included in the Karnali Utsav would set the agenda for the prosperity of Nepal.

Finance and Discussion
Prakash Jwala, Minister, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Planning, Karnali Province Government

Minister for Economic Affairs and Planning of Karnali Province, Hon. Prakash Jwala expressed happiness over the organization of the second edition of the Karnali Utsav. He wished success to the celebration on behalf of the province government and the ministry. He said that it would be easy to draw a blueprint for the prosperity of Karnali by celebrating the various dimensions of Karnali. He mentioned that the debates of experts and intellectuals would help in the development of Karnali.


Debate for Private Sector
Siya Karki, Member, Chamber of Commerce and Industry Surkhet  Chapter

Siya Karki, a member of the Surkhet Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the Karnali Utsav would bring ease to economic prosperity. Stating that Karnali was once a trade gateway with China, she mentioned that various goods could be exported from Karnali. In her view, the overall development of Karnali has slowed down due to weak infrastructure development. She said that the private sector was not ready to invest in Karnali due to weak and inadequate infrastructure, so, government should make business freindly environement to get the prosperity of Karnali Province.


Academic Discussion Outside the university
Kamlesh DC, Acting Dean, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Midwestern University

Kamlesh DC, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Midwestern University, said that knowledge should be shared in public places and different group of people. He said that public debate programs like Karnali Utsav were important to spread the knowledge gained in the universities.


Day 1 

Day Theme : Hammo Mannabi (Our Society)


Session 1 

Bado, Thado and Otalo

Incredible social tolerance and cooperation could be observed in the society of Karnali. Here, the word bado means rural hamlet or village, thado means roof of the house and otalo means yard. Meaning that, the roof of one house is joint with roof of another house and a series of houses established. This also impacts the social value, tolerance and cooperation.


Hon. Deependra Rokaya, Member, Karnali Province Planning Commision

Dr. Tikaram Gautam, Sociologist

Gobinda Nepali, Writer


Deepa Dahala, Journalist


In this session, the issues of discrimination, social environment and harmony in the settlements in the Himalayan districts of Karnali and whether the settlements are united or not are discussed. Participants in the discussion lamented that the Karnali settlements did not get along with each other and social discrimination persisted. In the debate, it was mentioned that the persistence of such social discrimination is an obstacle to change. It was concluded that the culture of ‘Bado, Thado and Otalo’ has been playing an important role in the cultural and social life of Karnali and it has helped to unite the human mind. However, as gender and caste discrimination has persisted in Karnali since then, it has been pointed out that the government should focus on ending discrimination.



Session 2 

Chhau Ra Bhau 

Having the several beautiful and incredible aspect, Karnali have some terrible experience and tradition as well. Chhau meaning that the menstruation, the natural phenomenon for woman, but due to some sort of conservative thinking and tradition woman faces problem during their period commonly known as Chhaupadi Pratha. And, bhau means children. Malnutrition and child death rate is another major issue of the overall Karnali region. One survey of government of Nepal shows the highest child death rate among other province.


Hon. Binda Pande, MP, Federal Parliament of Nepal

Dr. Nawaraj KC, Pediatrician

Radha Paudel, Writer/Social Activist

Gomati B.K, Community Activist


Dibya Khadka

Participants in this discussion said that change should start with small behaviors to solve the problems of women and children. During the debate, Dr. Nawaraj KC, a pediatrician at Karnali Province Hospital, Surkhet, wrote a letter to a father in the name of a child and shared his experience of preventing his mother from becoming a victim of violence. Gamata BK shared her experiences from the time she started menstruating to the time of forced marriage and delivery. “After a long experience, the discrimination against women due to menstruation is a form of violence against women created by this society in the name of gods,” she urged 20 friends to join the campaign against the practice of menstruation. Gamata BK also expressed the feeling that the campaign against the practice of menstruation “Chhau” started from her home can now be easily understood in the society.  She also said that since she has not discriminated against his daughters in recent times, it is now considered as a normal natural process around the village. Similarly, children have also been affected due to menstruation, said Dr. Nawaraj KC, a pediatrician working at Karnali State Hospital. He said that social discrimination against women has a great impact on the children born to them and in order to produce healthy and intellectual manpower, first of all, attention should be paid to the care of mothers and unless the mother’s health is linked to the country’s economy, the country cannot move towards prosperity. The doctor also said that it is important to pay attention to this as the brain of the next generation will develop in the mother’s lap. Politician Binda Pandey said that even if women’s issues are written in the policy, there is a problem in implementing them in practice. Video


Session 3 

Aamnai Katha, Aamnai Banki (Our Story, Our Style)

Karnali Province is rich in terms of literature, art and culture. Nepali language and civilization originated in the Sinja valley of Jumla. Different location and community have their own stories and tradition. Having these unique How the Karnali express it’s story to others, how it represent itself? Interaction was based on these themes.


Buddisagar, Writer

Salara Gautam, Writer/ Traverler

Netra Raj Shahi, Deuda Singer

Hira Bijuli Nepali, Artist


Bhupendra Khadka, Writer

Hira Bijuli Nepali, famous theater artist of Nepal said, “Theater can be a mine of potential.” Theater activity in Karnali is low. The pace at which the theater should have moved forward has not been able to move forward due to social reasons. From the point of view of society, my brother at home used to tell me to sell goats, go to study for government job, or go abroad. But, I was blown away by the ‘ghost’ of the theater.’ According to Buddhisagar, Karnali’s literature has improved to some extent compared to the past. He said that it would not be enough to bring traders to Karnali to read someone’s articles and compositions in the past.  ‘There has been some improvement in the literary field compared to the past. There is light in this area now ‘, he said,’ Various programs and literature festivals are taking place, which should be given a ‘pearl’ at the end. ‘


Session 4 

Kahari Sukala Hola, Kaile Jala Kaith

In the history of Karnali, it suffers from several epidemic, disease and pandemics. Child death rate is comparatively high. Health facilities are poor even people of the remote Karnali should struggle for Sitamol. When these all the trouble will be gone? How the Karnali could be a healthy? These hard and painful issues were churned in this session.


Dr. Suresh Tiwari, Public Health Expert

Dr. Anup Subedi, Viralogist

Dr. Durga Thapa, Province Hospital, Surkhet


Madhav Chaulagain, Public Heath Expert

The session discussed the Corona epidemic, the lessons learned, the status of readiness, and its effects. Public Health Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Anup Subedi said that more infections have spread than expected. “More lives have been lost than we thought,” he said. Dr. Suresh Tiwari said that the health condition of Karnali was improving after federalism. Although the health condition is improving, the problem of lack of manpower has been facing for years, Dr Tiwari Said. Dr. Durga added that When there is a shortage of manpower, one person has to work continuously for a long time,” she said. “Only by ending this can all the citizens of Karnali live a healthy life.” Through this session, the public health experts discussed how to make Karnali free from diseases and how to fight against such epidemics in the coming days.


Session 5 

Hata Janya, Bhota Janya

People of the Karnali used to travel long by foot for the basic goods like salt, oil and etc specially to the Bhot, Tibet. Still people of Karnali struggle for employment and transportation.


Hon. Raj Bahadur Shahi, Speaker, Provincial Assembly of Karnali Province

Dhana Ram Budhathoki, Social Worker

Dr. Janak Rai, Anthropologist


Nagendra Upadhyay, Journalist

Hon. Raj Bahadur Shahi, the Speaker of Karnali Province, said that he came to this place after going through the bitter history of walking to the Black Hills for months. Anthropologist Dr. Janak Rai argued that investment should be based on human needs and geographical environment and that human coexistence could be maintained only through balanced development. Meanwhile, Dhanram Budhathoki, a social worker from Dolpa, said that the condition of the people of Dolpa and Humla in Karnali is still like going to the Hat and Bhot. Video