Do you really want to read old Nepali Textbooks? This question came second to me when I was desperately looking to read ‘Ghanashasyako Ukalo Kaatata’ by Dr. Taranath Sharma, past two decades after my mom had expected me to complete the basic school and study more of science at high school.
In these two decades, I have become someone who proceeded to transform as an environmental educator. Since then, much have been said and done in ‘Education for Sustainability’ – a global agenda patronising education as the best tool in achieving sustainable development. I hereby move straight into present my argument that using ‘stories’, ‘experiences’ and ‘literature’ based on certain geography would be ‘best utilised’ in the agenda of ‘education for sustainable development’.
‘Ghanaghasyako Ukalo Kaatata’ is an essay that presents a trip memoir of an educated person who departs from a school in Baitadi to Dadeldhura – a thrilling journey in one of the most remote areas of Nepal.
While reading this masterpiece again many years after my school days, something intrigued me. I realized that this essay provides opportunity for readers to study human geography of far-western hills of Nepal. Words like ‘Gaad’ (meaning river in Far Western Nepali dialect), ‘Patan’ etc. take the reader to imagine the landforms in front of the eyes. The hints of settlement patterns, weather events, the enormity of topographic hardships, the businesses that the people are engaged on are essential elements to the human geography at its best found in the literary forms.
The author poured his aesthetic imaginations and abstract thoughts that confront himself when he confronts the outdoor nature at its harshest. He loves ‘Ghanaghasya’ among many natural wonders of Nepal as he establishes that he is nature lover.
With faint memories of the good words from the essay, I had decided to search the Grade 9 textbook of my school days to see if its digitally archived. To my surprise, I found out that it was there. Cornell University eCommons has kept many such downloadable textbooks in digital repository.
I also decided to make a video reciting the literary, more accurately, down-to-earth essay with my thoughts regarding interdisciplinary learning, abstract thoughts, aesthetic imaginations and quality outdoor confrontation- all for EfS (Education for Sustainability).