Captivating Karnali


Used to comfortable lives, we have complaints about little things that seem to hold paramount importance, however, when one is brought face to face with the stark realities of life in the rural areas, all our grumblings seem so inconsequential. You realise how lucky you are with actually no problems so to speak of.

With dreams of achieving everything that the city has to offer, villagers leave behind lives full of harship, ones that seem to exist only in books and stories that belonged to centuries back. But the truth is that everyday hundreds are struggling — young girls leave the pristine beauty of their lands and come here to hellholes like Thamel.

The Karnali Film Festival... Boundless Possibilities, was aptly titled. A total of five

documentaries was screened during the festival on July 24 at the Nepal Tourism Board. The documentaries captured the indescribable beauty of Karnali and also the dreadful conditions that people are

living in.

The first two documentaries though were made quite some time back were based on issues that needed to be brought to the forefront and needed to be addressed soon. The first documentary Karnali by Sushil Mainali depicted the sceneries around Karnali area along with the difficult conditions that persist in the area. The lack of food or clothing, discrimination against women, and the facts that though crores have been spent in the name of hospitals and airport, the people live in pathetic conditions.

Wounds of War by Mohan Mainali, Sushil Mainali and Pratik Bhandari delved into the lives of people who were affected by the conflict. Innocent people tortured by the Maoists and the army, displaced and living in despair.

The Gate Way — Simikot and Bikash Ko Sancho portrayed the scenic beauty around Karnali. The Gate Way by Gorakh Bista was a treat for the eyes. It basically brought forth the idea that Mansarovar can be reached through Simikot too, and it was not just the final destination that people would enjoy but the entire route if they

go through Karnali. The

journey through green

fields, dry lands and mountains was amazing, and left one spellbound.

Bikash ko Sancho showed the possibilities of turning the glorious Rara, as Sachit Kharkurel, who made the documentary said, “A piece of heaven on earth,” into a tourist attraction. How Karnali could develop by it, if proper food, lodging and transportation facilities are made available in that area.

Karnali Highway by Jyoti Devkota featured the truth that the glimmer of hope that had arisen among the villagers in Karnali had died down when the plans for road development in that area did not reach the necessary places. The way people crossed the river hanging by ropes showed the dismal state the place was in.

The documentaries, some which were made quite some time back, used the narrative style and some made by amateurs seemed to be lacking some qualities that documentaries these days have, but they were certainly successful in bringing out the hidden beauty and the miserable life to the world outside.

Questions were also taken after each documentary and in the end a discussion session on Karnali: Reality

and Possibility was also held to improve the condition of this place despite the problems present.

Though everyone might have been impressed by it all, the truth felt by a villager from Karnali that all this talk would only be limited to this one show as people had more important things to attend to in their mundane lives and Karnali would be forgotten like it has been for centuries, was but the sad truth.

It can only be hoped that this festival organised by National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and Karnali Journalists Association (KJA) and funded by USAID becomes a source to bring about some necessary changes in this place.