Rajiv Raman

Namaste is the usual greeting in Nepal. The little schoolgirl lovingly demonstrates hows it done. Astam Village Primary School, Pokhara.

"Drugs such as cannabis and alcohol were traditionally used in Nepal for centuries. Use of these drugs as part of the cultural norms did not create major social problems during that period. However, the types of drug used have been shifted since the last few decades from cannabis to synthetic opiates and chemical substances." - Survey Report on Current Hard Drug Users, Ministry of Home Affairs Drug Control Programme Bijulibazar, Kathmandu. The survey also revealed that youth of 20-24 years accounted for the highest proportion of the current drug users in Nepal and Kathmandu valley topped the list on the highest number of drug users. Image from Thamel Road. Kathmandu. 

Nepal has one of the highest prevalence of child marriage in the world and the third highest child marriage prevalence in South Asia after Bangladesh and India. 5,000 – 15,000 women and girls are trafficked annually to India for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. Two studies ordered by the Supreme Court and conducted by the GoN in 2008 uncovered that there were nearly 1,200 massage parlors, dance bars, and cabin restaurants in Kathmandu alone; employing nearly 50,000 workers out of which 80% were women aged 12 to 30. Approximately 50% of them suffer from some form of exploitation, including 9,000-15,000 of them who are underage. Image from Astam Village Primary School. 

Ganga Maskey"Bardan" or Ganga Dai, as he is popularly known is a prominent Nepali folk writer/singer from Dharan. Though he comes from a small town nestled in the hills of Nepal, Ganga travels the length of Nepal singing in concerts and taking part in Literary Festivals. Acutely aware of the social challenges that his country is facing on a day to day basis, Ganga was seen running in the 230th Dharan Run, aiding in the collection of funds for the treatment of Cancer patient Muna Rai, whose family is too poor to afford her treatment.

Ram Adhikari chose to live the simple village life in the hills while his children and grand-children preferred the city life in Kathmandu valley. With three rice fields, a backyard vegetable garden, two buffalos and a dog, he and his wife remain occupied with a very pleasant and simple routine. He's done tilling the soil and sowing the seeds with the help of fellow village folk and appears to be pretty pleased with himself. Ram in the "Dhaka Topi" (a traditional Nepalese headgear) siting outside his house tending to the cattle as they graze.

Tashi Lama attained his monkhood from the Namdroling Monastery in Bylakuppe, India. Born in Thinni Gao (Jomsom), Nepal, his parents left him in the hands of the monks of the temple when he was just 7. Today he is 35 years old and makes a living selling Indian clothes in Nepal and visa-versa . I met him on the dinner table of a traditional Nepali Thakali kitchen in the village of Jomsom managing a candid shot of him as he waits to clear the bill for his food. Thakali kitchens almost always serve imported beers and spirits and charge locals half of what they charge foreigners. The Lama was in transit from Thinni Gaon to Kathmandu, where he intended to purchase a fresh consignment and then proceed across the border into India to sell it. Tashi intends to get married in another year or two and settle down into a more stable family life. I smiled and told him that its about time as Thirty Five seems to be the age for mid-life crisis for most men across the globe and it appeared as if Monks were no different..