I attended the 3rd International Nepali Women’s Literature Conference held today organized by International Nepali Literary Society, Sikkim Chapter. It was heartening to see the programme being attended by a large number of literateurs, writers, scholars from India and abroad as well as students and people from all works of life.
The following are some of the highlights of my address:-
1. As time has its own importance, likewise our literature must be in tune with the present, reflecting the importance and requirement of the modern world. Authors and writers have to think and work in accordance with the changing time and keep themselves abreast of the ever-changing world of science and technology. It is indeed high time that we delve upon the needs of our society and endeavour towards making our contribution through our literary works. We are already lagging behind about 2000 years in education, literature and development when compared to the other developed nations of the world. We have to accept this fact and move ahead to make up for the lost time.
2. Right from the time of human civilization , the world has been dominated by men. Women have always taken the backseat and have been treated as second class citizens. Even in the western world, the condition of women was no better, with women getting voting right as late as the 20th century. When we talk of developed and civilized world, the immediate reference that comes to our is of ancient Greece, which is believed to have a rich legacy of civilization, philosophy, democracy etc. However, even such a great civilization did not propound women’s rights and women empowerment. Even today, in many parts of the world and in India, our women folk are yet to get their rightful dues. They are still not given equal status with their male counterparts. Many age-old customs and traditions which act as a hindrance to upliftment of women are still prevalent.
3. In Sikkim, we have ensured that women get their natural rights and are treated with dignity and respect. Our Government has guaranteed equality in terms of employment, reservation, property rights etc. Our women folk should be happy that we have taken steps to safeguard their rights and interest without them having to ask for it.
4. It is time that the Nepali community come out of the ‘hang over’ of being brave Gorkha and make our mark globally. Literature can play a big role in this regard. Writers can come up with works that can help in uniting the people and wiping out evils that divide us, such as casteism, communalism etc. The modern world is becoming increasingly materialistic, where the price of material good is increasing and the value of human life diminishing. Man has made considerable progress in accumulating material and wealth, with increase in the comfort of life. But no progress has been made as far as increasing the amount of happiness in our life is concerned. So, literature can be used as a tool to spread the message of love and compassion. People should not only be producers of commodities but also producers of knowledge. We all should strive for intellectual development for the benefit of mankind and for the world to sustain in the days to come.