Doctrine divides, Action unites


  May 2014


Manbir Stops Playing Cards and Gambling

Santosh Kumar Yadav

The group Samaj Sewa organized a campaign and rally in Manikapur
to encourage people of this Nepalese community to stop playing
cards and gambling. (Photo by Santosh Kumar Yadav)

Samaj Sewa honors Manbir BK, center, for his decision to no longer
play cards, a choice that influenced other family members and his
friends. (Photo by Santosh Kumar Yadav)

Manbir BK is a lohar who makes iron ornaments, such as axes, hammers, sharp knives, etc. He is a 65-year-old father with 18 family members, including four sons, a daughter-in-law and grandson and granddaughter. Some years ago he become a flood victim that affected all of the land he was cultivating. The whole family was dependent on farming. After some years, his two young sons joined the Nepalese army, which decreased his economic problems. One son also went to Saudi Arabia to work. His wife gave birth to their small son; and after a year, she took her last breath. Now his small son is 12 years old and is studying in grade five.

Since 2052 BS (1995), Manbir has been playing cards. There is not a single day that he does not take cards in his hand and play. Many times he wants to give up; but because of his friends, he cannot be far from playing. Among his card-playing friends is the teacher Lal Badahur, an office helper in the local school, Man Bahadur and others. His habit has also influenced his sons and grandson. They also play cards.

The main committee of Samaj Sewa in Manikapur organized the Campaign to Stop Playing Cards and Gambling. Many people participated in the rally and took action to stop these activities. Although Manbir didn’t join the rally, it really influenced him as he promised not to play cards again in his life.

“It takes me and my family towards the wrong direction,” he says, “affecting our dignity, making us less mannered in society. The future becomes dark so I won’t play cards again. This is a bad habit.”

After his promise and his new behavior, everyone is impressed with Manbir and these changes. Now Manbir is living a happy life, a card-less life. Because of his decision, Manbir’s son, who always played cards when he visited during his vacations, has now stopped playing as well, and Lal Badahur, Man Bahadur and Manbir’s other card-playing friends also have stopped playing cards too due to this campaign and Manbir’s reaction.

Because of Manbir’s choice to stop playing cards, Samaj Sewa has honored him. Thus, change begins with one person, and slowly it can change society. Manbir BK is one example of this transformation.

* Santosh Kumar Yadav is the executive manager of Triveni Bikas Samaj (TBS), a community-based network organization in Banke, Nepal, that seeks to empower marginalized communities to attain control over their lives. He took part in the 2013–2014 School of Peace (SOP) that Interfaith Cooperation Forum (ICF) held in Sri Lanka.


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