Editorial . March . 2013

Build it

Traditional wisdom says, “Build it and they shall come”. Nepal is now in a political transition that began with the signing of a peace deal. Before that, for 10 years, the country went through a bloody armed conflict that resulted in the official death toll of around 15000. Most of the real conflict was along Nepal’s remote mountain trails that linked far flung villages to district headquarters and nearest road heads. Now the idea is to develop these “bloody “trails into a tourist product - the guerilla trail. One thing we have no shortage of in this country is great money making ideas. What could be better than an armed conflict helping to generate wealth? For now, build it and they may come…
In the traditions of Nepal, clay products and ceramics hold a special place in the hearts and minds of people. It is clay craft. All of us get fascinated watching the turning wheel, the skilled hands and the coming into shape of a flower pot or water vessel, or an alcohol decanter. When one tries to do it, we then have great appreciation for the knowledge and skill that is involved. The products are beautiful and fragile and most people love them. In this issue of ECS we feature a prominent artist who creates amazing clay art and craft.
The destinations and travel infrastructure in west Nepal are getting better each day. There are amazing sights, sounds and activities in this part of Nepal that must be promoted. For one thing, they are not crowded like the other destinations, and for those who still seek Nepal the way it was, west Nepal is the place to be. We feature Humla here and we hope your travel plans take you westwards. The views, the food, people and their culture are all going to be new, making it a great experience. It is also time we spread our visitors across the country so that the benefits can also be distributed. Tourism can and will provide an incentive for conservation and help raise the quality of life in these parts if done well.
Everyone must have followed the news about the terrible air quality in Beijing in the past months and are deeply concerned about the quality of air and its impact on our health in Kathmandu. Economic growth that does not take into consideration the cost of clean air is going to be very costly in the near and long term. Some only complain, some think the solution is to widen the roads. There is another proactive group that feels bikes are the real solution. In historical cities, like Kathmandu, air and space are scarce and need to be conserved. Bikes could be the best for us both - the city and rider. We are all glad that bikes are on the rise and hopefully we shall soon have dedicated cycle lanes as well.
Whatever you plan on doing this month, we hope that you make some time and space for the Nepali way.