WNO Halin Newah 2018
Window to the Newah World
Rajiva Shanker Shresta
30 July 2018
Nepal Bhasha Section
The Souvenir rightly opens with Swabhimanya Mye (Song of Self Respect) by Jankavi Durgalal Shrestha, who tells us to protect self-respect of our country though small but shines like a diamond the worldover. Let us be united whatever hardship to overcome altogether to survive and protect our self-respect passing over all the odds or ordeals we are to go through.
Following it is Indra Mali in Halimaye Sa:thwayeke Dhunkal Juima (Voice might have reached the world) to showcase the plight dating back two decades from April-November 1997 issue of the magazine Gagananchal by Prof. Kedarnath Singh in conversation with Mukesh Pachauri. In spite of our country being known the worldwide for its rich culture and literature, poetry is somewhat found neglected here. In the Western society the influence of consumerism has much affected the society where money rules supreme to erode the essence of the poetry. What could be the reason that depleted ours recently, he dismayed. Poetry is read mainly by the educated community. One cannot deny that the writings from Nepal Sambat 1125-26 by the Nepal Bhasha poets have done much to reach the message across. The voice raised then did much to prick the conscience of the middle class society to see come through prajatantra, loktantra and ganatantra – the different phases of democracy. The fire, spirit and courage seen then brought in the much needed - what could be termed as the turning point – to our language. Amidst this frustration, but to his delight was a message received the previous day that acknowledged having read his writings on 'Dhanman' along with a piece on the much loved occasion of the Newah – the World Poetry Day that fell on March 21 this year! “Haihai Newah Kavipin lamenting on how insensitive our Newah poets have become that they do not care in the name of road widening if the dozer razes our homes with gods and temples demolished, water-sources and sheds all destroyed - having already suffered a lot by the earthquake. Not concerned with the Newah being subjected to bare naked by constructing concrete Ring Road, pitch road and concrete buildings in the name of development – turning the Newah into a minority in the own homeland in the name of reconstruction - eating away our land from own hands of the Newah rubbing salt into the wounds inflected and not a voice in protest is heard of neither seen a poetry coming out nor fire burnt in protest whatsoever. No poet shed tears seeing the Newah sufferings nor even a poetry was heard recited – neither tearful poetry day was known held nor in the pain of the wound, no protest or revolt was ever seen. But Newah poets are rejoicing the Poetry Day laughing all the way inebriated - old poet, young poet, poetess, child poet all Newah poets singing the tune of youth in the best. Heartless the Newah poets have gone, emotionless as well. Jeer, the insensitiveness in the Newah poets, Jeer to insensitive Newah poets, Jeer to Newah Poets.” The message and poetry received on the internet reminded, Mali writes, whether we have realized the fate and sufferings of the people presently passing through. Have we understood present problems. We do not know and have no idea how free are we from Balgopal's poetry. A feeling of our consciousness being lost, timeframe being lapsed and creativity gone down. A lot comes out but creativity is not even seen. Could be fault of my eyes as well. Had we done so, our literature would have progressed. Otherwise, the message of being conscious would have not only heard but have reached through creative writings the world over, he concludes.
Next is the article Nepal Bhahsa-e 'ya, y, ye, va e'-ya Sarvekshan (A Survey on 'ya, y, ye or e' in Newah Language) by Omkareshwar Shrestha, which is the paper submitted in a seminar held last year on the occasion of 36 years of Nepal Bhasha being taught at M.A. Level in the Central Department of Nepal Bhasha. It stressed that simplification and standardization so suggested in writing the language would help ease typing and reading also to the Newah speaking and non-speaking people as well
Halimye Newa: va Newa: Bhaye (World Newah and Newah Language) by Kesharman Tamrakar show that the Newah people are no longer restricted to the valley alone but have settled down in various parts of the country as well as abroad. Earlier it used to be for education purpose but nowadays such immigration has resulted in a diaspora worldwide. In the United States of America organiztions like, Nepa: Pasa Pucha Amerikaye, Newah Organization of America with five different chapters in different states and Newa: American Dabu have been working to preserve and promote Newah language, tradition, festivals and culture in a big way for years together. They have an eye also on literature and litterateurs while even a novel was published from Chicago. With more Newah organizations established in places like Portland, Texas, Boston, New York, Denver, Florida and California, it is believed that the Newah traditions, festivals and culture would not be lost. Taking a cue from Mahakavi Siddhidas Mahaju's saying that Bhasha Mwa:sa Jati Mwai meaning 'we survive if our language survives', we should take care of our language as well. Our language is Nepal Bhasha but it is perplexing that instead Khye Bhasha / Nepali is spoken predominantly like a fashion nowadays and who is responsible for this, he bemused. Professor Dr. David Gellner of the Oxford University is of the opinion, if this trend is to continue thus, we would have to look searching for Newah language speaking people in next 50 years. If we work towards our language as well with all our efforts, our civilization would be better known the world over.
Newa: Samudaya – Chhagu Drishti (Newah Communtiy – A View) by Chandraman Bajracharya has summarised the evolution of the Newah civilization. In spite of some deteriorating condition that has crept in, he finds some positive aspects like sense of belonging to the homeland and proud of being a Newah from recent happenings in the country and abroad - people coming together forming various bodies unitedly. Our community though very strong has gone lame in spite of being rich in every field but in poor condition neglected due to lack of nothing but our own zeal and enthusiasm. If we do not look into the reasons for such a deplorable plight and try solve them, Newah community would never ever regain the healthy development it once had.
Newa: Sampada va Vangmaya : Shaikshik Adhyayan (Newah heritage and literature : Educational Study) by Dayaratna Shakya is a concept paper well explained with a chart on Newa: Mhasikaya Halanjwalan (Constituents of the Newah Identity) submitted in a literary seminar on the occasion of the first ever World Newah Conference held in London, England in 2011. We are familiar with the oft-repeated slogan Newa: chhagu Jaat jak makhu, Jati kha: meaning that the Newah is not only a community but a race, i.e., we have the Ethnic Identity. A need is, therefore, felt to conserve and promote not only the language, literature and art but also the Newah customs and traditions, festivals and traditional customs to pass on to the new generation. Related issues like, textbooks, technical resource, medium of instruction, Newah Studies department, financial resource have also been considered. After achieving the degree, possible avenues for employment and use of the resource thus generated have well been taken into account. It would also help Newah children abroad get introduced and sensitized to arouse the Newah sentiments in them thus encouraging them venture into the Newah literary world with the doors of opportunity open following the subject thus institutionalised. Along with the development of Nepal Bhasha, such a measure would also help throw light on our literature, heritage and culture as well. It being also the demand of the new century, the proposal needs thinking as to know the opinion from all corners to bring into effect.
Newa: Sanskriti Prakritiya Thaay (Newah Culture - Nature Dwelling) by Premshanti Tuladhar dwells upon to explain that the Newah are Nature-worshipper as they worship earth, planets, fire-god, moon and sun, water-source, river, pond and lake, wind-god besides promote conservation of plants, animals, environment, mines and minerals. We find many ancient literature and documents that mention of religious, social and legal aspects devoted towards the cause.
Vishnu Prasad Ranjit in his article Sukhya Lanpu (Way to Hppiness) quoting from Buddha's teachings has suggested in nutshell how to be happy in one's life. Everyone loves happiness that could be possible following his eight-fold path of right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right concentration and right mindfulness.
Newah Sabhyatayat Yugan Yugtak Nhyajyake (Taking Newah Civilization forward eternally) is the keynote address delivered by Prof. Maniklal Shrestha during the first ever World Newah Conference held at London in 2011. Considering the rich Newah tradition in political, social and cultural fields the Newah people could assume responsibility on behalf of the Nepalese populace to play a leading fulfilling role to build a new Nepal. For this, the Newah in Nepal and those outside should come together united under an umbrella organization and achieve promoting the brighter aspect of Newah language, literature and culture to help protect democratic rights of the Newah and those of the Nepalese people thereby contribute further to the world human civilization.
Mrigendraraj Subedi in his article Digu Pujaya va ugu Pujaya chhyligu muswan dhawaswan explains about an important aspect of the religious practice of Digu Puja. Pashulise Swapudugu Nepa: Ga:ya Jatra (Nepal Gai Jatra concerned with animals) by Rajanlal (Ras) Joshi has dealt with different types of Jatra related to various animals right from Pulu Kisi Jatra, Saya:, Salacha Jatra / Ghode Jatra, Mey Jatra, Chwale Jatra, Ghun Jatra, Narsingh Jatra and Deepankha Yatra. Bouddha Sahityaye Jatak va Avdan (Jatak in Buddhist Literature and Significance) by Rajendra Shakya covers how significant has been to the language, script, socia-economic and political life besides faith and religion then and now. In Abhilekhey Chyuta, Sharad Kasa: has brought to our notice many more ancient artifacts, objects, things and places in and around the valley that we should be aware of and needs to be taken care of by all concerned authorities, organizations and stakeholders before it is too late.
Halin Newa: Bhavishya va Halin Newa: Dabu – Jigu Mikhay (Future of the World Newah and World Newah Organization – In my eyes) by Shakya Suren covers in detail about the World Newah right from the historical background including aspect of Newah immigration since ancient, medieval to the modern era and psychological aspect of the diaspora and migrant life. Formation of the World Newah Organization (WNO) with aims and objectives, highlights of the London Declaration 2011 further strengthened by the Baltimore Declaration 2016. Challenges and opportunities before the WNO along with voices raised from different corners on issues that need attention are also covered. He has also listed actions that the diaspora could undertake to mitigate and help the Newah world over. Similarly, what the Newah in the ancestral homeland could do for them has been dealt with. He concludes his writing with a hope that it has clarified many issues people had in mind regarding the WNO and hope to get the concept put forward discussed and extend necessary help to achieve the goal.
Newa: Jatiya Amurt Sanskriti (Abstract Culture of the Newah Community) by Srijana Pradhan has given an elaborate account of the Newah culture that needs to be preserved and promoted. Under the Newah lifestyle, she has dealt with right from the language and written/unwritten literature, various religions, belief, faith and superstition, life rituals, death rituals, festivals and jatraparv, nature and environment conservation, music and dance to handicraft technology. Giving their present status, actions those could be taken for their conservation are also mentioned with a note in conclusion why it is important for the sake of our identity and that is the responsibilty of the nation as well.
We have another poem Maitri Bhav (Friendly Attitude) by Binod Sayami and a story by Shreelaxmi Shrestha Jyasa:ya Jhasulana throw light on Life at a workplace with agglomeration of different language speaking people internationally like those in the homeland that end the Nepal Bhasha section.