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Monday, 27 November 2017

Janakpur-Jayanagar railway service to resume soon

Posted by Anup Baral | November 27, 2017 :
Although Janakpur to Jaynagar railway primarily transports people, it was not always so. The rail line was constructed in the 1930s during Rana period by Juddha Shamsher Rana “to facilitate the logging operations on his extensive forest holdings north of Janakpur”. Ranas lived in Kathmandu but claimed vast tracts of land in Tarai. “During the period when the Rana prime ministers held sway in Kathmandu, tarai lands were liberally distributed to family members and loyal retainers. The income from these lands accumulated into fortunes for these land-grant holders.” The history of land ownership helps one understand the current political, economic, and social conditions in Nepal. In particular, it helps to understand why native residents like Tharus and other tribal people (Janajatis) are landless while the Pahadis, especially those who were close to Ranas own vast tracts of land in Tarai without ever setting foot there. Terai was once a densely forested region inhabited by tribal people. According to Gaige, “Forty percent of the entire tarai was forested in 1967”. This percentage was much higher in the 1930s before Ranas cleared forests for logging operations and revenue extraction. Tarai has since been cleared of its forests and have been turned into cultivated fields, except in Bardiya and Chitwan National Parks. The Sen Kings of Palpa and Makawanpur “looked upon the dense, malarial tarai forests as a defense against invasion from India, and therefore, did not encourage settlement”. Tarai’s malarial forests may have seemed like a nuisance but according to Gaige, they were “as responsible for decimating Captain Kinloch’s expeditionary force in 1767 as were the long, curved kukris (knives) of the hill warriors”. Mosquitoes were just as effective as Gorkhali mercenaries in the war against the colonial British. After Nepal lost the war with the British and signed a peace treaty, Ranas no longer needed Tarai’s forests as a natural defense. They formulated policies to clear the forests, encourage settlement, and extract revenue which was their endgoal. The timing was also conducive. After the end of World War I, “India’s industrial economy was expanding rapidly, it was possible for these people [Ranas] to exploit their forest reserves with great profit”.

Traveling gives us the opportunity to disconnect from our regular life. You get to forget your problems/issues for a few weeks, it can also help you figure things out that you would not have understood without the distance traveling can give you. We all have crazy schedules, work and a family to take care of, going away alone or with some friends can give you distance and perhaps even make you realize how important these people are for you. Like the saying says: we never know what we have until we lose it.

Another great benefit is the relaxation you get to do. It’s nice to live life to its fullest and enjoy a stress free time with yourself. Going on vacation lets us recharge our “batteries” by disconnecting us from our regular life. When we come back we feel invigorated and we are happy to be back in our day to day routine. It’s a very good stress remover that has a lot more to give than most people are willing to accept.

Traveling increases our knowledge and widens our perspective. To view new customs, different ways of living is fantastic for the mind. It gives us a new perspective about life and especially our life, it can help us change some of our habits or even create new ones. When I travel I usually make it a point to try new food, some cultures don’t have fries in their diet and they are all skinny, others use spices to give taste and not oils or fats. Discovering different values and ways to get by in life is really interesting. You also need to visit exotic new places and discover what this wonderful world has to offer.