Mahabir Pun Uses the Internet To Improve life In Remote Parts Of Nepal

In school time, learning computer was a far thing, till class 7, he hadn’t even seen the books. 45 years ago, the person who was born in Bhirpakha of Myagdi and life of children of aristocratic family in the Kathmandu Valley has got total 180 degree difference while comparing. But, the boy who didn’t even had slippers to wear and who hadn’t even seen the books, is today the hero of ICT Sector and now is getting salute from thousands of people from the world.

Until class 7, Mr. Pun who was reading in Myagdi’s Nagi Village, had to leave Pokhara because of not having the financial support, later on He started working in his relatives home and also started studying after work.

After studying in class 8 in Chitwan, we saw books and also started wearing slippers. After finishing school, he started teaching in a common school and during SLC exam, he was in the class as guard after that he left the job as he couldn’t tolerate scolding of the inspector. After that, his life took another turn. In 1889, he went to study Master’s in University of Nebraska in United States with the help of his brother. Then in 1992, he came back to adore his birthplace Nepal after getting a Master’s degree.

Mr. Pun who couldn’t stay as a job holder, took a step forward to teach villagers through computer study and make them literate. Yes, he was that kind of person, who brought light in people’s future

From a scattered lifestyle. From the place of, not even having a single book, flowing the internet medium, he showed them possibility of new way.  As the rate of his wonderful contribution got high, we was awarded with Myagasey (considered as Nobel Prize of Asia) in 2007.

To make reach of computer study and to provide internet facility in mountainous district of Western Nepal was not an easy thing. However, either by creating revolution of one dollar in America or walking through village by village for support, he did introduced the wireless support.  As a result of all these attempts, he was awarded as well. The university in which he studied, it also awarded him with Ma.Dr. (Honorary Degree, Doctor of Humane Letters) in 2007. His wireless project is now expanded in 20 districts. According to him, till his hands, legs and last breath works, he will work in ICT Sector. To support objectives of ICT projects, he established a restaurant, a month ago in Thamel, Kathmandu. Mahabir Center for Nepal Connection is not established for earing profits rather it was established to make connection with the people from the world and further expand the ICT operations.

When Mahabir Pun returned to his village after completing study in United States, he started connecting all the villages which were hampered by mountains with net of internet. That work was not quite easy. The internet companies which had handsome amount of money wasn’t being able to reach that village, but he, with the some financial help of his relatives in United States, he did it. To spread the light of computer education, he started Himanchal Education Foundation. In America, revolution of one dollar was also started but that revolution couldn’t make much change, he added. The village where just to send an e-mail only, people had to walk for 2 days, Mr. Pun started flowing the internet and website facility, by selling the Chyangras, goods through online news, and with this he tried to change the face of village. His this campaign started from Myagdi and expanded to other neighboring districts as well. With help of local people and his friends from United States, he became more courageous. Before receiving Myagasey Award neither we was recognized by people of Kathmandu nor the Medias of Nepal. After receiving awards, he became so famous that he was made the person who deserves salute from each and every people.

“The support of total 2 lakhs dollar, made his project expand in different 20 districts. He never asked for any supports, instead continued his work shedding sweats. It’s not that dozens of organizations were not searching for him in village, but he didn’t accept else terms and conditions, other than his campaign. He added, if someone is willing to assist him without any terms and conditions then only he will accept that support.”

During internal conflicts in country also, he didn’t stopped his movement. He went through various circumstances. The biggest obstacle was money, which use to challenge his wireless project. After receiving award, he was renowned by Kathmandu and Singhadurbar but no one showed the hand of help. Till now the biggest financial help he got was from Asia Pacific Tele-communications. With the amount equals to 2 lakh dollars, his project was expanded to other 20 districts. He never asked for help instead kept on shedding sweat for work.  Many organizations came to help him with terms and conditions but he refused to get assisted. Without any terms and condition, if someone wants to assist him, then that person is heartily welcome.

If everyone had worked on the path shown by Mahabir Pun then growing Digital Divided Gap wouldn’t have been lacked. This work cannot be done alone in a whole country, for this every people have to work in rural areas, he said. From east to west, he established dozens of Tele-medicine Centers to save immediate deaths of people. There are very few people who was supporting him continuously. 15 people are continuously volunteering Pun in this work. He added, as government could not work on behalf of ICT development and expansion, the work has become slower. Rather than just staying still, if government does the help they can provide, then it would have been a great thing, he thought.

“It’s not that there are no people who criticize and back-stabs him.  In social state, there is different story of his struggle for being today’s Mahabir Pun. He never listens to others’ criticisms, he just keep on doing his best to expand his work.”

According to him, the political situation is not interested in his project. He added that it is impossible to do anything politically. Mahabir Pun with thought of “Simple living, high thinking” is a very simple person. People who meet him for the first time, will not believe that, is he the person who is renown in the whole world? This kind of question may arise in heart of many people. He says- At the time of eating good food and wearing good clothes, I didn’t get a chance. I have never wore any clothes purchased by myself. There is no use of wearing suits and boots like walking in villages. If I was a person to work in office then I would have worn better clothes, but what’s need of that for living in a village?

Yes, because of this attitude only villagers have made Pun a respectable Mahabir. The work he did, received awards and his lifestyle has been a subject for elite classes’ people. Wearing half pant, trekking slippers, he has made the people of Singhadurbar listen to his story of expanded wireless connection, who wore coat and pant. Person without jealousy and snake without venom is of no use, if without keeping this thing in mind, his life would have been limited as a teacher only.

Mr. Pun who has become an inspirations to youth said that he will continue his project till his last breath. A normal person Mahabir Pun has changed the society through ICT. As, a result, he has got many international to national as well as rural awards. Mahabir pun whom can be visited only in the Kathmandu Model Hospital, can now be visited in his restaurant in Thamel. To get the ideas from various national and international people for expansion of ICT he has been there in Thamel. He has got many ideas, one of them is opening an innovation center for youths for work. He said that he will continue this work till his last breath. A common man has changed the society with ICT medium. We salute for this contribution and wish him for this other works in future.