THT 10 years ago: There’s nothing humans can’t do, says Uzbek cosmonaut

Kathmandu, April 4, 2007

For many, the mere idea of travelling in space is exciting and full of glamour, but for Vladimir Dzhanibekov, a renowned Uzbek cosmonaut, who voyaged to space for five times, the experience is quiet different.

“My expeditions to space taught me what hardships a man is capable of tolerating in life,” he said. Sharing his experiences today at the Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), Dzhanibekov said his 146-day stay in space made him realise that there is nothing a man cannot do.

Dzhanibekov, who is on a private visit to Nepal, had gone to the NAST to inquire about the state of science and technology in the country. “In space no scientific formulas and rules work, human physique has its own rule,” he said.

Even the batteries of watches and lights have shorter life span in space. “The battery that works for two years on earth doesn’t work for more than two months out there,” he said.

He recalled some of the horrors of his experience and said: “Just imagine how you would feel when there are no lights, no ventilation and dead silence around you” he said, laughing.

Talking about his most difficult and most memorable expedition in 1985, Dzhanibekov said he had a feeling of living in water.

Chepangs seek place in CA

The marginalised Chepang community today demanded that they be guaranteed social, cultural, economical and political participation in the new Nepal.

Addressing a round table conference organised here by the Nepal Chepang Association (NCA), representatives of the community demanded that Gorkha, Dhading, Makawanpur and Chitwan districts be declared an autonomous region where they could have free access to the natural resources, including jungles, water, land and mines.

“The government should grant the Chepangs the right to natural resources otherwise their identity may vanish,” Prithvi Subba Gurung, the Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation told the conference. “The political parties should assure the Chepangs’ representation in the Constituent Assembly (CA) polls,” Gurung said.

Member of Parliament NP Saud said the representation of Chepangs is a must for their recognition. “We should give importance to the ethnic groups’ identity,” he said. MP Rajendra Pandey said Chepangs should have more access to education, health, employment and politics.

Also the former Minister for Local Development, Pandey said, “Political parties should lay stress on the community’s education as there are many instances of people from the minorities and indigenous nationalities, like Speaker Subas Chandra Nembang, taking up respected positions.”