Older people across the world joined together to #EXPOSEAgeism marking International Day of Older Persons (IDOP), 2019. Likewise, NEPAN in joint collaboration with Ageing Nepal and National Senior Citizen Federation marked IDOP by carrying out different activities in Nepal. Community meetings were conducted to aware older people about ageism and its consequences. Pamphlets and posters were developed and distributed to make public aware. As same, Radio programmes were conducted and press release was done.

Mr. Chet Nath Kanel (Immediate Past President) and Ms. Usha Aryal Dahal (Executive Director) of NEPAN participated in the International Older Persons Day Celebration programme organized by Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens and National Senior Citizen Federation at President’s Office, Shital Niwas and Mr. Aashish Pathak (Programme and Information Officer) of NEPAN participated in the International Older Persons Day Celebration programme organized by Jorpati Senior Citizens Society in a joint collaboration with Ageing Nepal, Lions Club International, District 325A1, Nepal and Gokarneshwor Municipality.

Similarly, NEPAN has prepared a YouTube Video entitled ‘Standing Up Against Ageism- Nepalese Older Persons’ and a Case Interview of Mr. Tirtha Bahadur Shrestha (82 years), Ecologist. You can watch video by directly going through the following link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPJSGDzGI_o

Also, you can read case interview of Mr. Shrestha below.

I am living with my wife in Sanepa in Nepal’s capital Kathmandu. I am retired but not tired and had an exciting career in ecology and biodiversity. I have devoted my entire life to the conservation of biological diversity and ecosystems in the eastern Himalaya. I have served as the team leader for the creation of Makalu-Barun National Park and have helped to classify major forests in the country throughout my career. As the author of Nepal’s Country Report on Biodiversity, I have conducted the classification of rare and endangered taxa across the country. Not only that, I have authored more than 20 books, and hundreds of articles, containing new discoveries, concepts and ideas.

How are you spending
your days at the age of 82?

Simply, it’s a retired life of mine. I have been doing what I am
interested in doing and attending different events and programmes. However, the
perspective of retired life has been different from past to present context. A
very famous saying ‘Jaba pugyo sathhi
hath maa latthi
’ was what people used to think of, but now, with the
development of Information Communication and Technology (ICT), the age for the
need of stick is 80. ICT have added age to our life and we need to cope up with
that which is indeed a very difficult. So, I have been involving physically,
mentally and socially to add life in this age.

Have you ever
experienced discrimination because of your age?

I think older people are more loved and respected these days.
There are reservation on different services as well. The focus on aging and
older people has increased a lot. However, I have once felt being discriminated
because of my age when I was travelling on a local vehicle ‘Tempo’. A young
girl came in and said to move aside to give her some space to sit. I shifted little
on the side up to the possibilities but the word she used for me was ‘Kasto budorahechha’ which sounds so rude to me. And, when I was about to
get off from the Tempo, I said, Girl, you please never be an old. Be this young

How are you managing
to write articles so frequently for different papers?

There are no any excuses that, I don’t have time for writing. I
have no work to do and have so much of free time. Thus, I have been utilizing
this leisure time of mine in writing for different papers which is the subject of
my interest as well.

How can older people
be proactive to engage themselves in different activities?

Well, I believe that I am the wick of  Diyo
and I need someone to light me so that I can bring more brightness. Thus, how
people react with your work does really matter. People often says that
Childhood passes by playing, Youthhoods passes by smiling and old age passes by
regret. But, what I say is, no one should regret of their old age and their
past. They should reminisces what they did on their lives and should continue
doing what is left to do and what interest them.

What needs to be done by
family, society and a nation to improve the situation of older people further?  

There are many areas
and issues of older people that need to be improved. The most important thing
for older people is dignified life of them. Hence, they should be respected
never discriminated. Similarly, Government should neither cut pension nor keep
tax on it.

Do you have a message
for other older people around the world?  

Don’t feel worthless citizen just because of your age. Be
confident on your ability to contribute more and more like any other
citizen. Keep fighting with the time but never regret.

And finally, how the
journey to age equality be successful?

Journey to age equality means marching together. Thus, in order
to be successful, there should not be any intergenerational gap while marching

Dr. Tirtha Bahadur Shrestha, 82 years


Interview taken by: Aashish Pathak, Programme & Information Officer, Nepal Participatory Action Network (NEPAN)