With technological and skills-oriented changes in the medical profession, graduating doctors today have little in the way of interpersonal skills or multidisciplinary perspectives regarding the human condition. With this in mind, the purpose of this project was to bring a variety of speakers—writers, artists, film makers, musicians, and historians—to St. John’s Medical College as a way of inculcating humane values, enhancing the sensitivity of medical students, and developing a vibrant regional network of multi-talented, multi-disciplinary, and multi-faceted doctors and other professionals who feel strongly about the need for collaboration between the humanities and medical fields. Speakers discussed a variety of issues, including medical histories of interconnectedness and cultural exchange along the former Silk Routes. Through engaging budding doctors and encouraging creative thinking, the project enriched the contemporary medical profession in India.
The northern Himalayan districts of Bajhang and Darchula in far western Nepal bordering Tibet still have rich oral traditions that tell fascinating tales about human life and death, happiness and sadness, love and hate, along with rich details about societal customs, rituals, economies, cross border relations, and the hazards accrued by the difficult topography of the region. Like many oral stories today, threatened by the erosion of traditional cultural practices and languages, these stories are on the verge of disappearance and with the changing landscape of Nepal and the rise in the tendency of linguistic code switching, there is a strong possibility that younger generations will discontinue such oral traditions. The goal of this project, therefore, was to record these folk narratives, engaging local youth in such endeavors in order to bridge the generational divides, and subsequently the publication of an archive, which helped to ensure the continuation of such longstanding traditions and stories.