A gift for Nepal

Rita Dhital


Many Nepalis knew Karna Shakya only as a tourism entrepreneur until his book ‘Soch’, written by him for the first time in the Nepali language came into the market, though he has written and published quite a number of books, articles and writings in English earlier. ‘Soch’, with a record sales of more than 4,000 copies in less than six months, has become one of the largest selling and most talked about books in recent times. For the contribution he has made by writing such a thought provoking book that was able to attract hordes of young readers, Shakya was recently awarded the Uttam Shanti Puraskar-2061. The award consisted of cash worth Rs 25,000 and a citation. Born in a Newar family and brought up speaking the Newari language, Shakya did not know Nepali until age 11. When the thought of writing a book came to his mind, he started writing it in English. Forty pages into the book he started having second thoughts. “I questioned myself: ‘Why am I writing this for outsiders or for the small section of my society who read books written also in the English language when the subject is of significance to all Nepali readers?’,” shares Shakya.

Shakya’s book questions the negativity widespread in the daily conversations of people of all ages and professions. Is the situation of the country and society really as bad as considered by most, he asks. “We (Nepal) do not have terminal cancer, only a psychosomatic disorder but one that is pushing the country hard towards an unfortunate and uncalled for ‘anti-establishment syndrome’,” Shakya explains. Shakya also states that he has discovered many positive aspects and evidence of growth in the country which, he believes, should be emphasised to convert the prevalent pessimism into a constructive outlook towards life. He says: “There are, perhaps, more positive and inspiring stories to be revealed. There are many positive stories that inspire and motivate the young to redouble their efforts and show them the way forward. This book would help distinguish the many faces of truth, empowering us with a sense of judgement and increasing our power of positive thinking. When anxiety and scepticism reign, a disillusioned society needs to be revived with good morale, confidence

and trust. ‘Soch’ will definitely be able to provide this lost self-esteem, optimism, conviction and hope.” Some might believe that Shakya’s optimism stems from his lifelong affluence, but he clarifies, “Positivism is not a prerogative of the privileged. Negativity is harboured deep in cynical minds and not necessarily in hungry stomachs. Nepal is and will be what each of us decides to make of it.”