Nepali Times
Under My Hat
No laughing matter


Just as we had suspected all along, the Nepal Tourism Boar has shown that it takes itself very seriously. A member has taken strong umbrage to a recent column in this space. Rarely do we get a glimpse of the inner workings of a private-public stakeholder, so in the national interest and to respect the public's right to know, we are reprinting herewith the said missive:

Letter to the Editor

It is always interesting to go through Nepali Times which covers the news in threadbare focussing on the contemporary issues of our nation. As a regular subscriber, most of our staff at Nepal Tourism Board go through this paper regularly. However the issue of 17-23 August 2001 on the "Under My Hat" column "The Valley of the Dogs" has some "derogatory" remarks about the Nepal Tourism Board's concerted, novel and serious campaign Festival of Life. It is an India focussed campaign launched with major support of the private-public stakeholder. We appreciate democracy and it provides all of us with the fundamental right of expression, but is it always healthy to be sarcastic and cynical even about genuine efforts?

Thanking you.

Aditya Baral

Manager PR and Publicity

Nepal Tourism Board

It is indeed with deep sorrow and heartfelt regret that this scribe has come to the realisation of the profound wrong that he has committed. He has inadvertently let down this great nation, and deliberately insulted the very individuals whose job it is to be our best friends. How, after all the trust that they have bestowed upon human beings since the dawn of civilisation, will he ever make up for the incalculable and irreversible shame he has brought down on the entire animal kingdom by being so callously cynical and sarcastic?

This week's column is an act of contrition to offer profuse apologies to all canines great and not-so-great who felt alluded to in the said column. There is nothing to do but beg for forgiveness in lieu of the affronts real or imagined that were knowingly or unknowingly perpetrated against dogdom. It must have been a momentary lapse of reason that made me pen such derogatory and demeaning remarks about man's best friends. After all, they are the guardians of our garbage dumps: those great scavengers of water buffalo femurs without whose hard work and sharp teeth femurs from the early Lichhavi Period would still be lying around on our street corners.

How thoughtless of me to make light of the infinite contribution made by the Valley's dogs to this nation's long-term development by steadfastly refusing to wag their tails at passers-by, snarling at strangers, and guarding our territorial imperatives by never shirking in their duties to conduct regular patrols to water the perimeter of our domain. What an affront it must have been to feed the hand that bites us, especially since their bite is much worse than their bark.

Jokes aside, this is no laughing matter. The sooner we take this country's problems dead seriously the better it will be for all and sundry, especially the concerned authorities. Only then can visitors from India who can't wait to visit Nepal's concerted, serious and novel Festival of Life be guaranteed that they don't have to read any threadbare and dog-eared columns about canines while they are here.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)