Two years into my engineering studies and I still haven’t figured out what I want to become, or rather what I’m supposed to become in the coming years. What I’ve achieved academically is slightly misleading, and my knowledge on the topics taught during classes is as volatile as RAM! A good night’s sleep and everything is gone. Teachers, through their gritted teeth, like to remind us time and again that as a student of Pulchowk campus, there are certain standards to be met, and apparently, underachieving is not an option. And yet I live, and thankfully, so do others like me.
A few days back is when I heard it, this theme LOCUS 2013 revolves around. And with a shame, I recall the first thing that I did when I thought of ‘Engineering the Rural Development’ was to write it off. An IT event with a theme like that. What utter rubbish! How could Computer engineers, of all people, initiate the rural development? What about the geographical adversity that always seems to repel technology? And above all, what about the government, and other engineers more suited for the purpose? Then, I realized it was my ‘lesser’-self talking, the average student in me that thinks without thinking. When I really started contemplating though, I found the answers rather obvious.
Why computer engineers? Because we alone can do wonders with the least bit of infrastructures. We alone have the power in our own hands, within our own fingers. We can contrive ways to surpass adversity when simplistic physical solutions are not feasible. This is exactly what our country needs. With the government severely failing to play its part, the rural areas in Nepal can never prosper without individual effort and talent. And that we’ve got plenty. In the company of some remarkably intelligent friends, I have seen what an individual is capable of. If we aspire for the nation’s well-being, we must contribute in whatever way possible.
Those places we’ve established as cities are not exactly keeping in pace with the rest of the world either, but rural areas have to be the prime concern for now. The gap among the places is already substantial, suggesting that the development till now is not sustainable. Technology has to do whatever it can to bridge that gap, before it’s too late. The more technologically sound a place is, the more reach it has to other infrastructures, laying the foundation to further the development process.
The future, no doubt, is technology. We are lucky enough to be in the field where we can plan the country’s future. The present looks meek, but the future should not because the next generation will blame us of inaction, like we’re blaming the previous one. But what can we do, really? We can create software. One which can reduce illiteracy, teaching people to read and write. One which can reduce the distance among people, despite the geography. And we can remodel technology to benefit the rural areas specifically. An agricultural machine that every farmer can use without having to learn the technical details, for instance.
There are a million failure diaries written before a success story. Hopefully, we all are in the right direction, making the right mistakes, and igniting the right spark that propels us forward. This theme ‘Engineering the Rural Development’ is just a start, but I hope it gets the right attention, and inspire the right bunch of people to do something for the greater good!