Thursday, July 24, 2008

Presidential Election and Oath Taking Drama in Nepal

If anybody correctly predicted the presidential election outcome of Nepal, please let me know the name and I will take a big bow. Not only the outcome is completely unforeseen and to the extent irrational but also the political drama that went along with it.

Nepali diaspora is abuzz with how both president and vice president are Madheshis. It's also abuzz with vice president wearing Dhoti/Kurta and swearing in Hindi. Let me first talk about both of them being Madheshis.

A day before the last day of nomination, I, like most of Nepalis did not even know about Parmanand Jha. All of sudden he was a VP candidate with a fair shot. There came three Rams, all Madheshi, as presidential candidates when it was supposed to be Nepal, Koirala and Prachand. To me, Rams and Jhas are nothing but the result of egotistical clash of these political chieftains. Prachanda does not want to see Koirala as pres, Koirala does not want to see Prachand as pres, Nepal can not agree with Maoist on all terms. So they are like, "Look, we are not going anywhere, let's make best out of it. We lost big time in Terai during election so why not nominate Madheshi as our party candidate. This will let parties from Terai (MJF and TMDP), vote in our candidate's favor. This will not only show that we care about their cause but will also split votes among different parties in next election as a result MJF and TMDP will not be as big as they are now." If I am mistaken on my analysis, give me any other valid reason why the big three parties each would nominate Madheshi as their presidential candidate? After all these are the same people and parties which failed to recognize the very agreement on Madheshi's demand they had made in February this year. I am a Madheshi so why am I cribbing about it? Should not I be rejoicing the fact the first Pres and VP are both Madheshis? Unfortunately, I am not very happy about it for a President should be Pro-Nepali not Pro-Madheshi or Pro-Pahadi, he should be respected by all sect of people and the foremost, he should have a vision and wisdom to unite people. I would have liked to see a name which Nepali people relate to as being a Nepali rather than a Madheshi or Pahadi.

The next big event was VP Jha taking his oath in Hindi. I am a Jha so I would rather he take his oath in Maithili which is native tongue of most of Jhas but I would have liked him to take his oath in Nepali, the official national language. Any other language, be it Hindi or Maithili or English, it's all the same for speaking in Hindi does not make anybody pro Indian as speaking in English does not make anybody pro-American or pro-British. To make a fuss about Hindi is making more mockery of oath taking ceremony which could not have been more farcical. Is not there usually a protocol that need to be followed for these events? What does current Nepali constitution say about it? If constitution and protocol don't allow anybody to take oath in Hindi then Mr. Jha needs to take oath again otherwise people need to stop making big deal of this. I agree it's more of a symbolic thing but one should judge him and the Pres not by the language they use to take oath but by their deeds to make Nepal a healthy and prosperous republic country, by their contribution towards creating a constitution which we all Nepali deserve.

I think it's a mockery of CA election that the party which bagged the highest number of votes does not have it's candidate as Pres or VP. I hope it does not get worse. I hope that next government is headed by Maoists. I hope that Dr. Ram Baran Yadav and Parmanand Jha understand the role of Pres and VP respectively. I hope that CA members understand that their role is to help write a constitution, not to be part of power sharing game. I hope that Nepal gets a constitution which treat all Nepali equally and all Nepali have equal opportunities regardless of their ethnicity. I know that my hopes are wishes of all of you and may your wishes come true.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

How to configure dual boot with Fedora 9 and Windows XP?

There are already tons of articles, howtos on this topic but one more does not hurt. My situation was kind of different as well.

One of my colleague left the company and I inherited his Lenovo T60 x86_64 laptop. The machine had Fedora 8 installed in it and I needed to setup dual boot with Windows XP and Fedora 9. Of course the easiest would have been to upgrade to FC9, partition the disk with gparted and install Windows XP on new partition. But nothing in life is this easy so why this should be. I had a previous experience of installing dual boot on Dell desktop way back in 2000 with Windows ME and Red Hat version 6 IIRC. But back then I had bought additional hard drive, one for each OS. Anyway, following is what I ended up doing in this case.

For some reason gparted could not partition my hard drive (dev/hds). It kept failing and error was not very descriptive. Most of these articles suggested that it's much easier to install Fedora on machine with Windows than other way around. With Microsoft, you should expect this anyway. When I tried to boot from CD with Windows XP, it did not boot. I think XP was confused with linux partition and it did not know how to proceed. This meant that I had to reformat the whole hard drive. Since I did not care about data that were already there, I could freely reformat it. The easiest way to reformat in Fedora is to sudo as root and do :

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hds bs=521 count=1

This command deletes partition table and XP installation CD wont see any Linux distro in harddisk. If you restart, your BIOS should not see any OS.

I restarted with XP installation CD on it, XP formated the whole disk with NTFS and installed itself. Now comes the fun part of installing Fedora 9. I prefer Fedora Live CD than full CD ISO or DVD ISO. I rebooted with FC9 live cd, connected to wireless network in case I needed to download something explicitly and selected the option "Install to hard drive". After hitting next button couple of times, it gives you an option to how to install to hard drive. I chose 3rd option which allows to partition hard drive. I shrinked existing partition to 50G so that meant 50G will go to XP and the rest to FC9. Follow next couple of times, Fedora does its things and installs itself.

When I restarted, the first screen says Fedora, hit enter and then GRUB bootloader screens shows up. It gave me two options. One said Fedora and other said "Other" which is Windows. I think you can rename "Other" to Windows so that it's clear but I did not care. Selecting "Other" takes you to the familiar XP startup process.

Overall my experience was not very painful.