Multi-versatile Personality Dr. Harka Gurung

 

By Triloksingh Thapa Magar

24 Sept, 2017.

Late Dr. Harka Bahadur Gurung (1939-2006) was well known as a scholar, eminent geographer, planner , anthropologist, educationist, author of several books,(15 books and 675 articles ) painting artist, politician, technocrat , social thinker, and the one of the founding members of the indigenous (Adivasi Janjati) movement of Nepal .The objective of movement to create awareness for the right of the son of soil.He died in a helicopter crash in Taplejung district on 23 Sept 2006 at the age 67. Today is his 11th death anniversary.

Late Dr. Harka Bahadur Gurung was born in Taranche village of Lamjung district in soldier cum priestly family. His grandfather was Pachue priest of the village who taught him basic lama religion in his childhood however the panoramic beauty of snow peak of Mansalu mountain near Marsyanghdi river may have encouraged him to become a renowned Geographer .

However, his social inclusion model is working well yet it needs much improvement After Dr Harka Bahdur Gurung the janjati movement has been facing the theoretical as well as strategic crisis. Thus, we remember him as a nationalist personality as an eminent teacher , academician, peoples planner , philosopher for indigenous community that’s all.

His formal primary education began in Dehradun India and High School in King George Military School in Punjab (1955). He did his Intermediate Art in Tri-chandra College Kathmandu (1957) and a first class first BA Hon degree in Patna University (1959) Bihar, where he published a poem in local magazine on Ganga river. In Patna, he was captain of hockey and football team of university as well as general secretary of Nepalese student union. He received PhD degree in 1965 from Edinburgh University of UK and worked as research fellow in University of London (1966-1968) in the school of oriental and African studies . He returned to his motherland though he knew there would be no opportunities . He served as lecturer in the central department of geography since 1966 to 68 in TU. He served as Vice-chairman in the national Planning Commission 1968-75, Minister of State 1975-77 and again 1977-78 in the same post. He was director of Asia Pacific Development Center 1993-98,and the last assignment was a consultant in New Era in 1980 to 2006.

If his migration model could have been implemented then Terai region would not suffer from the problems of new settlers. At present the new settlers have been controlling the economic political resources whereas the old settlers and indigenous people of Terai seem to have been left behind.

Few years back on the eve of commemoration of his death anniversary the political analyst Mr. CK Lal made some comments on the contributions of late Dr. Harka Bahadur Gurung as follows (a) Regional development model of Dr. Gurung totally failed due to its western concept ( b) Migration model could not work due to non – practical approach (c) Dr. Gurung was totally failed as a politician because he did not win the election (d) Dr. Gurung at beginning did not accept federal structure but his social inclusion policy was on the right direction.

However, the regional planning model of Dr. Gurung proved to be effective as it started to develop the economic growth centers in five regions and develop the – connectivity between south and north region. This is the reason that the government had extended the region from five to seven provinces. If his migration model could have been implemented then Terai region would not suffer from the problems of new settlers. At present the new settlers have been controlling the economic political resources whereas the old settlers and indigenous people of Terai seem to have been left behind. If the border management model proposed by Dr. Harka Bahadur Gurung had been accepted, there would be less problems for Nepalese and Indian police administration in controlling the extremists anti social elements and criminals who are time to time active along the border. Also if the government had accepted the work permit system proposed by Dr. Harka Bahadur Gurung, there would have been a system to record the migrant workers and several welfare activities or development plans can be developed for them migration. However, his social inclusion model is working well yet it needs much improvement After Dr Harka Bahdur Gurung the janjati movement has been facing the theoretical as well as strategic crisis. Thus, we remember him as a nationalist personality as an eminent teacher , academician, peoples planner , philosopher for indigenous community that’s all.

(Thama Magar was friend of Dr. Harka Gurung)

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