Kathmandu; Dhumbarahi – Shree Gorakhnath Marg, House no. 187. There was a signboard of Pashupati Energy Company Limited on the roof. Another was stuck to the side- “Maya Khola Hydropower”. The inner room of the second floor was open. Bijayman Sherchan welcomed us coming outside. We entered inside with the bunches of flowers of his gratitude.
He left his revolving chair and came along to stay with us and started gossiping – “I’m like this. There’s a bit of leisure today.” Alike if there has hidden experiences & intellect inside snowy hair, dim face & wrinkled skin. How much water flowing from the mountain might have irrigated this nature? His experience canal has also irrigated enough in some parts of the nation. The white hair over his head proved itself that infinite bricks have been added on the country’s financial development.
Tukche village, Mustang, has always been covering with the shadow of the Dhaulagiri. Deep down while the fresh air swimming in the water of Kaligandaki was blowing during Asoj (2002 B.S. Asoj 3), Bijay was born. His childhood passed away playing snow & hide-and-seek under the apple trees. Primary education was completed from the local school nearby. Many things have taught by nature itself to Bijay.
He returns to the flashback as – “My sister used to study at Kalimpong. Father took me to the same place. But while staying hostel there in Kalimpong, I cried a lot and father came to take me.” And again he passed some of his times playing under the apple tree, carving the future on the whiteboard of snow.
His father Shankarman Sherchan was a Tibetan Merchant. In the course of trade, he used to cross the country border and reaches many places so far. Trade had not only to ride the cart of life but had also contributed to import the continually scattering knowledge, technology & skills of the global market. That’s why, Shankarman, 7 decades ago, felt that education is the only lamp that lightens life. And then he leads his son to Kathmandu seeing him unable to adjust at Kalimpong.
There’s a popular tradition in Thakalu Society – ‘Kumar Yatra’. It is claimed to be the border between the end of childhood and the start of adolescence. Bijay also entered in ‘Kumar Yatra’. Then at the tender age of just 8, his father made him walk to Kathmandu. At the very innocent age of playing under apple tree & over the mother’s lap, Bijay walked out for the study in the King’s City of that time.
Shankarman brought his son to Kathmandu. He admitted him to St. Xavier’s School at Godawari and returned back managing all the lodging, fooding at the hostel of the same school. Flat nose, round face & flat body of Bijay couldn’t adjust in the school environment. His physical appearance carved in the Himalayan climate got the nickname ‘Bhote’. He was hurt. Perhaps, he might not have hurt when his father had left him at Kalimpong before.
He wasn’t very good at study. He had even failed at the village. But now, he needed to erase the tag of ‘Bhote’. Later he never has to be second in the class. Sometimes, he also used to think that the matter named fail to stare at him. But that day never returned in his life. Slowly, classmates became his friends. Probably he becomes like a hero of cinema to the school like a hero Dev Anand from the Hindi Cinema. He passed his Senior Cabrige (Secondary Level) from the same school on 1961 A.D.
Time flowed continuously like the river and in the same flow, Kathmandu kept inclining. Bijay also couldn’t stop the time. That’s why he kept revolving with the needles of the clock; being clockhouse. After completing the secondary level, he joined Public Science College (Amrit Science College of now) for higher studies. Like as in school, there appeared none to beat him at college. Holding the Unicorn of study, he continued running. He passed ISc with excellent marks on 1964 AD.
His hunger of study had not been silent. Bijay never wanted to attain knowledge merely. He wanted to drink knowledge so that it would be spread all over to every nerved and curve within him. On the same sequence, he got a scholarship to study in Russia. Holding the plan of future and a box of dreams he flew to Russia. there were 15 boys like him together to catch the lamp of knowledge shining in the far horizon. While stepping the plane, he thought – “I’ll be back to my country to work.”
At the moment of the flight to Russia, the teachers of the St. Xavier’s School tried to stop him. At that time, there were a majority of people following the Catholic religion in the school. Many of them advised him not to go to a communist state of Russia being a student from Catholic school. But, Bijaya didn’t stop. He hadn’t forgotten those lattices of the old memories. If he had accepted catholic’s advice, he might not have achieved this height.
Russia- a country of the communist. His group read the Russian language for the first six months to adjust with the language and culture of the country. And, only after that, the formal study took the speed. There was no problem in lodging, fooding and enjoying. They kept flying like the kites on the sky. He studied there from ‘Moscow Automobile and Highway Institute’ up to MSc in Mechanical Engineering.
He passed his six years in Russia. It’s not like that he never had thought about staying there in a modern lifestyle. But, he had already made his decision. He returned to his own country to give the meaning to his goal in 1970 A.D. being more shaped with his higher study.
In 1970 A.D. in National Trading from Nepal, there was a necessity of a technologist. And, his first job was there as Mechanical engineering. He worked there for 3 years. Then as a second job, he contributed being an aviation manager in Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) for four years. Even the oil reserving tanks being used since the decades are designed by Bijay.
He used to check the quantity stopping the trucks running in the middle of the street. He always remained honest to his duty. He used to have the only principle- “We mustn’t cheat our nation.” Even these days, also he runs his business chanting the same principle as a sacred holy script. His way of working was not adjusted by the corporation and its high-level authorities. After working for four years he left from there. Approximately, after working for 7 years in these two companies, he never returned to the government job.
He has a very interesting habit. He never stayed enjoying the same field and same work. He kept on planning and thinking new. And he struggled with his full effort and dedication to implement those plans. In between these four years (1978A.D.-1982A.D.), he got involved in a counselling company named CMAT and continued his journey of research, investigation and exploration.
At that time SWISS was constructing Lamosangu (Jiri Road). He also gets involved in Green Street Construction Campaign and worked in Araniko Highway too with the SWISS. He reached up to Bhutan spreading the same campaign. He has also made a significant contribution in constructing the wide highway (Lateral Road) in Bhutan. Holding a new task after working on a certain task for certain time-period, is the nature of Bijay.
Bijay is an Engineer. And an engineer is always inspired to invent and investigate something new. An engineer remains anytime hungry for new research and new exploration. Same hunger was in Bijay too. To do something for the society and the country. To satisfy the hunger of invention, in 1978 A.D. he established ‘Nepal Electric Vehicle Industries’. In the country continuously being polluted by petrol and diesel, it was Bijay who made a great contribution to the nation by inventing his ‘Clean Tempo’. He satisfied his hunger of invention and also the hunger of keeping country’s environment clean and fresh by inventing the electrical vehicle running without petrol and diesel for the very first time in Nepal.
His plan was to conduct an electrical vehicle all over the valley. Today, there are 700 Clean Tempos running in the city. In what quantity do the electrical cars run these days? That’s really uncountable! And, this is all his contribution. Bijay himself uses the electrical car. He struggled day and night to minimize the carbon’s level to build a fresh, clean city. But, his plan couldn’t adjust for so long. The imported vehicles like microbus, cars and others in the name of modern/urban vehicles, didn’t let to increase the counts of Clean Tempo and Electric Vehicles in the city. But also, it has been gradually increasing from the last period of time. The year before, India seized the petroleum products at the border which also postponed the petroleum vehicles. But, even at such a critical condition of the country, Clean Tempo kept on transporting the public to their destinations.
Bijay promoted Clean Tempo and Electric Vehicle (EV) for two years. Thereafter, he moved forward for the development of the hydropower. Salleri Chyalsa Small Hydropower Plant of 430 KW in Solukhumbu is the first project he built. The last decade, he continuously worked in hydropower development and constructed 5/5 MW projects at Daram and Malung river. From his investment and leadership, Tungun-Thaasne Khaani River has successfully generated 6.3MW of electricity. Currently, Maya Khola Project of 14.9MW is under construction.
What will be your next project? “Maya Khola is my last project” he replied soon after asked. He added, “After this, I will return to my village. My village Tukche, which has been waiting for me. Shadow of Dhaulagiri and my childhood are always fresh in my mind. I want to make the tourist’s excellent destination by the development of organic farming in that place.”
Vijaya remembers – “I worked in life but didn’t struggle.” He never remembers the struggling moment of his life even pondering the whole night. He wants to return back to Mustang to make a public chautari accompanying with Prabha Sherchan. In Thakali society, there’s a tradition of marrying maternal sister (daughter of maternal uncle). Conjugal journey with her had already crossed 40 springs. And, this couple now wants to have a beautiful walk together in the hills of Tukuche.
Surprising! Time is becoming an adult. Youths are flowing to the cities holding the hand of time. They are flying to bigger cities and abroad. there days villagers are migrating to cities leaving the hills empty. But, Bijay is returning to the village. The body is ageing but with an adult heart with work instinct, he is targeting the mountains to make the soil of his birthplace fertile. if the youth of these days migrating to the cities could understand the things, then we might not have to wait so long to light the candle of development in the country.
Translated by Sriju Saral