During the times of any struggle or hardship, there are two types of people. The first kind are the kind of people who choose to sit back and complain and they choose to adapt or escape.
And then there are the second kind of people. These people do not believe in passively complaining about a situation. Instead they see a responsibility in themselves to bring about the desired change.
Among such few activists in Nepal is Mahabir Pun – a man who has been working tirelessly for decades to develop Nepal and to help his fellow citizens.
His work inspires us, his passion motivates us and his dream of a better nation has the potential to unite us.
Born, in Nangi village of Myagdi, Mahabir Pun is known for his extensive work dedicated towards the development of science and technology in not only his own village but also in other rural areas of Nepal.
Although Mr. Pun is 63 years old right now, his energy, determination and passion to make a difference has definitely challenged his age. Keeping his selfless and giving nature in mind, we wondered if it would be possible to interview him to gain a deeper understanding of what it is that fuels him. To our great delight, he humbly accepted our request and we feel privileged to bring you his thoughts in this EXPERT’s TAKE.
There are many creative and talented people in Nepal who have not been able to put their ideas into actions due to financial difficulties. This organization helps such innovators foster and develop their ideas by providing them with full fledged moral and economic support.
To provide such a service, this organization needs money and right now I am working towards raising such funds.
My idea to achieve this is building a hydropower plant of 10 megawatts and using the money generated from this plant to sustain the Rastriya Aviskar Kendra.
If we don’t do this and establish an independent source of income, then it will make us dependent upon donors or government in the long run which wouldn’t be an ideal situation.
Some people tell me that this is a very ambitious project. They often ask me ” Yo hunasakcha ra?”
We can definitely make this happen.
When I first had the vision of Rastriya Aviskar Kendra, I imagined that it would be much easier to achieve if we had a onetime support from the government while building the hydropower plant. However, I knew that even if this support was lacking, we could still make it happen.
Let's go back to the time when you returned back from abroad to your village, What were your thoughts back then? How it all started?
After returning home, I had no idea what to do. I had no plans or prospects of a future. My only thought was to explore Nepal for a year or two.
However, one thing I was sure of was that I did not want a job because I did not want to lose my whole life to a jaagir. Nepal ma gayera jaagir chai khane nai haina vanne chai thiyo.
I started exploring villages and saw the need for education, communication, economic development etc. So I slowly started working towards addressing these needs, one by one.
All of my ideas did not come to me initially, but rather developed as I started working.
Most people plan a lot before starting something. They chart every single detail and secure money and only then do they start working.
But, that’s not my style because this approach takes a lot of time.
I don’t make plans and I don’t search for financial support beforehand. If there is a need, then, I do not wait. I immediately start working towards fulfilling it. When you start like this, i.e. without any plans, idea or money, then problems will definitely arise.
There will definitely be challenges and obstacles along the way. But, things have a way of eventually working out. Things fall into place and new ideas come to you as you gain more experience and perspective in any field.
So, this is how I tackle any problem.
Kaam suru gari halepachi idea ra paisa saisa khojni ho. Kaam gardai jada kheri challenges sahit idea afai aaucha.
In this manner, as I was generating the idea for Rastriya Aviskar Kendra, people used to ask me where the money was and where the river, to generate electricity from, was.
My answer has always been: “The money is somewhere out there. And we have lots of rivers in Nepal.”
So my approach has always been – Let’s start the work first, then we can figure out the details as we move along.
Do you get frustrated or discouraged sometime and feel like giving up?
Frustration vanda ni alikati jhok chai chalcha. Rish pani uthcha.
I don’t get frustrated but sometimes I do get angry.
bela belak ekdum jhok chalcha.
I get angry sometimes because we are trying to do things that is the government’s responsibility in the first place. But even then, when we ask for a little support and help from them we do not get it.
Development in Science and Technology is very important. Every developed country understands this and invests a small portion of their GDP in these sectors. However, our government does not do this. They act like they understand the importance of this. But looking at their inactivity, they either do not understand or they understand but do not care.
And, seeing this, gets me very angry.
When you are frustrated, your moral goes down. When you are angry your moral goes up.
My goal is to make Nepal more economically sustainable and developed. But this is like starting from scratch.
And when you are trying to start from zero, there are bound to be many obstacles along every step of the way. If I run away after facing such obstacles, then there is no point in having such big dreams in the first place.
Personally, I feel like I don’t even have the privilege of and time for being frustrated because there is so much to be done.
Another reason why I keep trying is because I believe people will eventually listen. This is what I believe and this is why I keep fighting.
Why do you want to develop Nepal?
When I was traveling around the world, I saw the lifestyle of developed nations and wanted the same for the citizens of Nepal. This is my first reason.
Another reason was the suffering I saw among the poorest of people in Nepal.
Thousands of Nepalese are struggling to meet their basic needs and often choose to go abroad in hopes of a better life. However, foreign labor destinations are rarely as good as they are made out to be and Nepalese struggle a lot even in such foreign places.
However, if our country was developed, and able to provide opportunities to its youths, then people would not have to forego their basic human rights in Nepal or any foreign destination.
We human being are very greedy.
But all development happens because of the greed of people. Therefore, it can be said that greed is not only personal but also for the society.
I am also greedy in my own way. My greed is lies in developing my country.
It’s human nature to have the ‘ma, mero, malai’ thinking. However, I don’t think we need to feel ashamed while admitting this. We only just need to work to replace the ‘me, mine’ feeling with the ‘we’ mentality, because without the people around us, we are nothing.
People choose to go abroad…raharle haina badhyata le.
People leave behind their families and homes and go abroad to work in uncertain conditions not because they want to but because they don’t have any prospects in Nepal.
It is not their fault, but rather the fault of the government who has not been able to provide its people a decent chance at living. .
Manche le kasari kaam garchau vanera sodhchan. Ma jabarjasti kaam garchu…murkhaai garera kaam garchu. Ma aeuta testo murkha manche ho.
I often get asked about how I work. I think I work forcefully, and I may work stupidly but I work with passion.
Looking back, did you do any mistakes or the regrets you have?
As I have I told you, I am stupid and jiddhi and I work without any precise plans. While working like that you do make a lot of mistakes.
I have made lots of mistakes while working because I have had to do things by myself which I had never done before. For example, while working to establish wireless networks to remote places, I had to work forcefully and without experience.
I faced a lot of difficulties due to the civil war, the lack of government support and the lack of viable technology.
We had to experiment many times and we made lots of mistakes before we finally had success.
Now, we are working in the same way to create the Rastriya Aawiskar Kendra to give youths a chance at their dreams.
We have no precise plans for this. But I know we will learn along the way and that we will find a way to make it work.
One suggestion that I always give to the young generation is, to not be afraid of making any mistakes. Mistakes are a wonderful way of learning what not to do in the future. Another word of advise is to not wait to develop expertise, learn along the way.
What would you do if you were 25 years and what suggestion would you give to 25 years?
Right now, the only reason that I have limited my dream to the Rastriya Aawiskar Kendra is because I know that I don’t have much time left to see such bigger dreams through.
Once upon a time I was 25 years old. At that age, people are very energetic and ready to take on the challenges that real life brings them. If it was possible to go back in time, I would dream of and work towards ideas that are bigger than the Rastriya Aawiskar Kendra.
I believe that it will take about 30-40 years to turn Nepal into a developed country. So if I was 25 again I would aim towards a bigger vision of getting my country to that point.
For young people, my suggestion is to not be afraid of hard work and making mistakes. Create a vision you really want and don’t limit yourself to what you think you can achieve.
Dream Big. Very Big! And work towards it tirelessly.
When you have the passion and the mindset, your ideas and activities will set themselves accordingly.
If your vision is small, you will be lazy. You won’t have enough energy to make any meaningful impact.
So, for example, have a vision of scaling Mount Everest. With hard work and commitment you will get there. If not at the top then at least to the base camp, which will be an achievement in itself.
Base camp sammai puge pani kamse kam tuppa ta pugyo vision nai sano banaye pachi ta teti vaye ni pugidaina.
You have had a lot of obstacles along the way. How did you overcome these obstacles and what is your suggestion to overcome such obstacles?
To overcome obstacles, jiddhi garnuparcha. Jabarjasti garnuparcha. Explore new ideas and don’t give up.
ONE LINER WITH MAHABIR PUN
LIFE: You get it only once.
LOVE:Jasle sansar dhaneko cha
HAPPINESS: Happiness is an opportunity.
MONEY: It’s a need.
ACTOR: This is very difficult for me. I have not watched any movies for decades.
BOOK: ‘Around the world in 80 days’ is a very inspiring book for me because it teaches us how to be stubborn and never give up.
POLITICS: Is needed for the development of a country.
LEADER: Important for human development.
ENTREPRNEURSHIP: Human beings are greedy and entrepreneurship is a way to fulfill that greed.
NATIONALISM: Important but you should not be blinded by it.