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“Believing is Seeing!”

Reading Time: 3 minutes

It’s that time of the year again in Nepal, the time when The Hidden Treasure picks (on April 11 this year) the most beautiful woman in the country: Miss Nepal! 😀 😀

Back in June 2017, I tweeted two charts showing the breakdown of the beauty pageant contestants, winners and their judges by ethnicity using information available on the Miss Nepal web site and Wikipedia.

A Twitter user had an amusing response to it. He tweeted, “Let’s not fight for reservation in beauty pageant. Shall we? Wonder why they exist in the first place?”

Not understanding what he was getting at — how and why he connected the pie charts to reservation (affirmative action) — I tweeted saying I had “no clue” what he was taking about. (Incidentally, I am aware of the fact that I can’t hide his Twitter handle in the tweet embeds while I have redacted them in the images shared.)

But then, instead of a straight forward response to my question, he tweeted, “You should have some clue at least since you put the graph in the first place” indicating, at least to me, that he had no clue that I had no clue what he was getting at.

In response, I reiterated that I really didn’t “have a clue.”

To which another user chimed in saying, “It’d be really funny if someone fought for reservation in a BP. I don’t think the OP posted the charts for that tho, worth discussing why.”

@kdulal didn’t even acknowledge @risalrupak’s tweet!

Anyway, I took the conversation private, Direct Messaging him with a few questions, which led to more exchanges.

After a few more exchanges following that he did concede, “I do not understand your point for why you divided according to caste in the first place.” Sadly though, at no point did he display any understanding of his mistake in the assumptions he made about my “intention” behind creating the chart or about “what the charts showed.”

A day after the exchanges ended, he messaged an apology, which was commendable since I have discovered Nepali men (no different from many other men around the world) struggle to admit their mistake and apologize! He also appears to view the charts differently (see highlighted bit).

Of course, I wasn’t hurt! More than anything, I was really surprised that someone who completed his further studies in Canada and lives in that country struggled so much to see the charts I produced for what they were: just presentation of information available in the public domain in a different format!

I have, however, received, also on social media, similarly surprising reactions from mostly Nepali men (again!) to a chart I produced showing the breakdown by ethnicity of a number of bodies in the country.



Facebook Comments (see farther below for other comments)


2 comments to “Believing is Seeing!”

  • Dear Dorje,

    I go through your blog and website sometimes and I saw this. I do not want to go through all the details and logics and so on of why I wrongly speculated the reasons for you for publishing those charts. And I do not want to discuss the issue now because firstly my life does not revolve around social justice (except sometimes on social media), and secondly I do not believe the interaction I had with you at that time was the sort of interaction I would like to have especially with a famous person. Although I make mistake sometimes, as time goes by, I have learned how to use social media. The reason I am writing this is that I would have really appreciated if you have asked my permission before publishing especially the private conversations that we had on twitter messenging and at-least discuss the issue with me before publishing. Off course I do understand that your life may revolve around clickbait and people may not even know who “kdulal” is after reading this……..

    Two things I would just like you to know: firstly while I was having that interaction with you I was having a kind of crisis in my life and that may have affected what I wrote. My relationship with my professor at my university was not going well and I was in a situation that I had to drop out from my PhD program. As I remember it was a stressful time. And I was interacting with you on a mobile phone (which is different than when you write on a computer which I am doing now). And I do realize that it is no reason to write some hurtful things to you that I did at that time.

    Second I do not know where but I think you have shown your frustration somewhere about why it is so hard to make changes in Nepal. I do not want to be too pedantic but I would really like to quote Alice Dreger here. The quote is “Change does not happen via protests, slogans or blogs. It happens over coffee and beer with the enemy”.


    • Dear Ketan,

      I am sorry to hear that you were going through a rough period when we were having that exchange. I am also sorry to hear that you had to drop out of your PhD program. I sincerely hope that things in your life have improved since then.

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