The one who never gives up
For many solving Mathematics problems is a nightmare. However, Prof Dr Bhadra Man Tuladhar, Advisor and Founder Member of Kathmandu University and President of Nepal Mathematical Society says, “Mathematics is never scary and it is a language of nature. Every natural phenomenon can be translated into mathematical module. Maths helps in one’s ability to solve problems and increase logical thinking.”
He further adds, “Maths is interesting, and fun. Maths should never be just about drilling, it’s about showing and making the students understand how Maths is useful in their daily life.” His love for Mathematics has helped him be who he
is today and it was the year 1966 when he left the prospect of being a Mechanical Engineer to become a Mathematician.
Path towards education
Born to Purna Man ‘Upasak’ and Hera Devi Tuladhar as their only child in the month of Bhadra, 2000 BS (1943) at Tebahal, Kathmandu, he got his name Bhadra Man Tuladhar. Though his father knew the benefits of education, Bhadra Man’s mischievous behaviour strayed him away from joining school in his early days. Prof Dr Tuladhar recalled, “Tundikhel was nearby. So, I ended up playing in Tundikhel rather than going to school.”
However, in 1951 when his grand aunt’s grandchild Shyam Bahadur KC was admitted at the St Xavier’s School, young Bhadra Man accompanied them for admission. Looking at the standard of the school he too dreamt of going to such a school. But his father could not afford to send him to that school.
“Since that day I wanted join a boarding school. My father often went to Swayambhu and there he came across Ananda Kuti Vihar. He thought it would be a good place for my education.” That is how Bhadra Man ended up in Vihar, which later became Ananda Kuti Vidyapeeth making Bhadra Man its first student.
During that time his father asked Nuchhe Bahadur Bajracharya, to assist Bhadra Man in his studies. Bajracharya had recently come to stay at Vihar after completing his education from Sri Lanka. This added to his credibility and Bhadra Man’s father made a judgement call. Bahracharya later became the principal of Vidyapeeth.
It was Bajracharya who made Bhadra Man realise the importance of education, which made him fathom the power of education and what one can achieve from it. He enjoyed the company of Bajracharya and dreamt of going to Sri
Lanka for his further studies like his idol. He was in the first batch of students to get School Leaving Certificate (SLC) in 1957. From there he joined ISc at Tri-Chandra College (TC), Ghantaghar.
Prof Dr Tuladhar’s grandfather used to assemble imported bicycle parts in Nepal. He also used to make herbal medicines at home. This influenced him “to take up Science stream after SLC”. He knew what he wanted to do, but it was not easy for him to complete ISc. He had to look after his sick mother, which made him drop his studies for a year. This nonetheless didn’t let Prof Dr Tuladhar lose interest in receiving higher education.
He would look after his mother day and night, but in the afternoon he would have some time to spare. Wanting to utilise this time, he volunteered to teach at Ananda Kuti Vidyapeeth. Later in 1961 he was appointed as a teacher in the school, which helped him become independent. This supported him pursue BSc at TC. In the morning he would attend college and in the afternoon he taught Science, Geography, and Maths subjects.
Finally in 1964 he completed his BSc. In the same year Russian delegation were to visit the school. So, monk Amritananad of Ananda Kuti Vihar asked him what to ask for the school from the delegation. “I advised him to request for equipment for science lab, which would help our school to stand out around the Valley. Later two trucks of
equipment were handed to the school by the delegation. Many equipment were new even to BSc passed students there so we decided to give some of the equipment to Public Science College, now Amrit Science Campus.”
With the arrival of new equipment and to utilise its full potential, in 1965 monk Amritananad requested Dr Parashar Narayan Suwal, Tribhuvan University’s (TU) first Registrar to become the principal of Ananda Kuti Science College. Here Prof Dr Tuladhar worked as an assistant and demonstrated experiments of physics and chemistry in the lab. And in 1966 he got conformation to study Mechanical Engineering at People’s Friendship University of Russia where Prof Dr Tuladhar’s decision to become an engineer changed.
“We had to study one year preparatory course before joining the major course in People’s Friendship University. I was fascinated by the new topics of Mathematics and then I decided to study Mathematics. Russian Mathematics was the best in the world and I wove a dream to complete my studies, return to Nepal and work as a Director of Polytechnic College where the vision was to change Ananda Kuti Science College to Polytechnic College.”
Dreaming big, in 1972 he completed MSc in Mathematics. He also completed his advance course from the same university in 1980 and completed his PhD in 1983 and specialised in Ordinary Differential Equations and Inverse problems of Newtonian Mechanics where he published his PhD research ‘An Introduction to Stability in Motion’ in the form of a book.
However, after returning to Nepal he was able to work at Ananda Kuti Science College for only a year. With such an ambition, why did this happen? According to the new education system of 1972 many colleges under TU were shut down and Ananda Kuti Science College was one of them.
Dream paves a way back
His dream never became a reality. But he carved another path for himself. He became Assistant Lecturer at Institute of Science and Technology, TU in Dharan in 1973.
His dedication cannot be compared to anything else as on the same day of students’ entrance exam, his wedding date coincided. What did he do? Well something that people perhaps can rarely attempt. He finished all the work in the college, went to Kathmandu from Dharan and got married to Bimala Tuladhar, who was a nurse. And after 10 days of marriage he returned to Dharan with his wife “where I didn’t have proper room for us. We slept on a sofa”.
Tough times don’t last forever and it proved right for him too. He became the Campus Chief of the college in 1976.
He continued to work as the Chief till 1985. He did not limit himself to teaching and took responsibility to improve the
college’s condition along with others. It took two years to build proper building for the college where he took the responsibility for planning and development of the college.
Accomplishing what he started he went to Russia for his PhD, completed it and returned to Nepal. His long lost dream of establishing a college never left him. So, with Dr Suresh Raj Sharma, Member Secretary of National Education Committee in 1983, he planned to establish a science college called Kathmandu Valley College. They took permission from TU to run the college at Pulchowk College, Institute of Engineering’s building in the morning.
With a lot of struggle Kathmandu Valley College was established as Kathmandu University (KU) in 1992 where Prof Dr Tuladhar became one of the founder members. At KU he worked in various designations — Controller of Examination, Registrar and Dean. Finally his dream did become a reality.
Prof Dr Tuladhar had a son Daniel Tuladhar with wife Bimala. However, Bimala died in 1996 due to cancer just after 14 months of his father’s death. Being optimistic, he believed in spending time doing creative work and figuring out how to make life easy. For him “where there is bigger crisis, a new solution will emerge in some way. We should have optimism and be positive. No matter what we should continue our work. Our life will be doomed when we don’t work. Life moves on only when we work”. And in 1997 he married Nirula Tamrakar which he believes was his faith.
There is lot to learn from such a personality and how to achieve success is one of them. “It takes patience, hard work, dedication, and optimism to get success in life. You should not be pessimist and stop working. You have to continue working even when you face failures and should not lose humility when you become successful.”
Living by his words, at the age of 72, he is active as a supervisor for the PhD students and is the Chair Person of Ananda Kuti Vidyapeeth and still aims to, “gain back the old pride of my school”.
• Mahendra Vidya Bhushan Medal ‘A’ in 1986 for academic achievement
• Supraval Gorkha Dakshin Bahu in 1994
• RONAST Science and Technology Talent Award in 2005 for institutional development of Mathematics curriculum and higher education in Nepali