Connecting the Dots
Rajiva Shanker Shresta
It was one of my routine visit to the Asha Safukuthi while in Kathmandu last June when our friend Sarad Kasa: handed over an invitation card and asked me to be there on Saturday the 8th June 2013 (Nepal Samvat 1133 Bachhalaga: Amai / Bikram Samvat 2070 Jeth 25) at Kulan Bhulu Raktakali Kathmandu and the occasion was the Lukha-chayekagu or inauguration of the Chwasapasa by our living legend Satya Mohan Joshi, the tallest figure amongst us all. It was also him to have laid the foundation stone of this building dismantling the old one on the land that once belonged to the legendary story-writer late Purna Das Shrestha of Dhaanko Bala-fame on Saturday the 30th April 2011 (NS 1131 Chaulaga: 13 / B.S. 2068 Baishakh 17). Toyota Foundation of Japan have been supporting the efforts while of late it was the generous grant out of the Constituency Development Programme for the Kathmandu Development Committee by MP Buddha Sayami of the Nepal Rashtriya Party and a host of other donors as per list made available during the function. It was an opportunity to see some of our leading personalities like Durga Lal Shrestha, Padma Ratna Tuladhar, Prof. Narmadeshwar Pradhan, Bhushan Prasad Shrestha, Nareshbir Shakya, Suresh Manandhar and many others.
It was here that Shashikala Manandhar gave me a copy of the Chicago Newa to introduce me to the Newa American Dabu dedicated to the cause and preservation and promotion of the Newah culture, tradition, language and heritage far away from the motherland but kept close to their heart. It is for the love, devotion and dedication of our people scattered the world over that the Newah language, art, culture, tradition and heritage is in the safe hands (though threatened) of the organizations like World Newa Organization with Pasa Puchah Guthi UK, Guthi Australia, Newah Organization of America, Newa American Dabu and many others. Otherwise, our language would meet the same fate like here in Sikkim. Establishing our credentials in a foreign soil with hostile atmosphere, we have sacrificed our mother tongue to the altar of identity that we achieved all these years as the able, loyal and trustworthy race to the envy of the rest.
Ever since I visited there first looking for the then Library-in-Charge Raja Shakya in December 2000 being referred and directed to him as the more able and right person for the job by none other than the another gem of our world Janakavi Durga Lal Shrestha when approached along with our relative Dipak Prasad Shrestha of the Hetauda Wapau for advice on our premier work Newa: Varna, Lipi ra Bhasha Parichaya, Asha Safukuthi has been a sort of pilgrimage for the Asa: Archives have a vast treasure of rare ancient documents, manuscripts, etc. Next day on Sunday the 9th June 2013 we had honoured Raja Shakya with Jai Smarak Samman under the auspices of Karuna Devi Smarak Dharmarth Guthi for the support we received all these years. He had just retired from there voluntarily. As his health did not permit us for an elaborate function somewhere else nevertheless it did not lack anything less. We decided for a simple function with some of our friends from the Bakhan Dabu and Prem-Mohan Sirpa Samiti gathered at his residence in Tapinta on Pushpalal Amatya Road. It was but natural for us to invite the educationist and litterateur Laxman Rajbanshi to grace the occasion as our chief guest since he was in Sikkim during the Indrajatra celebrations 2011 with his Bakhan Daboo team that included besides Raja Shakya, Prof. Narmadeshwar Pradhan, Dr. Sarvottam Shrestha, Shashikala Manandhar, and many others. Our friends Maheswor Shrestha known since NESOCA days and Ganesh Ram Lachhi known for his long time association with cultural activities here in Sikkim were among others present.