From own turf - 11
Connecting the Authors
Many stories to share
Rajiva Shanker Shresta
Our Key-note Speaker for the Book Launch Nepal, Prof. Hiranya Lal Shrestha, foreign-relations expert, two times MP and former Nepal Ambassador to Russia, had given us his seminal work Sixty Years of Dynamic Partnership published by Nepal-China Society when we had visited him at his residence the previous day. Another book he gave us was Parakhika Aankhama Hiranyalal Shresthaka Pustakharu / Spectrum of Hiranya Lal Shrestha’s Books: viewed by Experts. We could know from this book that he had so far written 19 books in Nepali, five in Nepal Bhasha and six in English mostly on foreign relations like Nepal and Her Neighbours and those with Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Pakistan, Malaysia and Canada. He had visited Bhutan and Sikkim in early 1970s.
A work that I was quite interested to know was being done by Devdass Manandhar about the directory of the Manandhar community for quite some time. Besides this, I also wanted to update the Thahiti, software to write mechanically Ranjana Lipi and Nepal Lipi by typing in Roman script. When we met at the Book Launch Nepal I mentioned about the difficulty faced with the software given last time that needed update perhaps, he asked me to drop in his place for the needful done. On reaching there I found him with Mangal Krishna Manandhar working on documents in five hardbound volumes with records received from various bodies under the Kendriya Manandhar Sangh / Central Manandhar Asoociation of Nepal. When I met Devdass some years back he was working on a Directory for the Manandhar running into some thirty thousand. I was, therefore, surprised to find a sleek handbook, Manandhar Duja Bahi, in its place that covered some 1900 households/families. They had brought out with almost all of them pooling in funds in this project where enlistment was done guthi-wise – each guthi included the list of heads of the family. There was a write-up from each guthi introducing themselves and their activities. Devdass had assured help also to the Newars in Sikkim, if they approached him with the details for compiling such a Directory. This is a subject often discussed in the Sikkim Newar Guthi fora and much awaited since its early days but yet to come out with such a data compiled. His other outstanding work was Unicode for Nepal Lipi that awaits final nod from the authority. He was in the US for this in 2014 and had interacted with the Newah Organization of America as well. Devotion and dedication to his pet project could be known that day - it was around noon when he was reminded over phone but after some time his wife herself was at the door to get Devdass have his bath and meal too. By the way, Manandhar, a chemical engineer academically, is also behind the newanewsonline.com that some of our readers might be interested to connect to.
Besides these books I had the opportunity to get current issues of the Madhupark and Sharada. The later reappeared after years it had ceased publishing following the demise of its founder/editor Subba Riddhi Bahadur Malla and his son/present publisher Shant Bahadur Malla had visited us some years ago to give the good news but could see it this time only. I could enjoy reading a story Samajko Anchalma by Purna Das re-produced under original historic pages of Sharada circa Jeth 1995BS. It is known for its pioneering service to the Nepali society as I was reading online mentioned also in the recent interview of Modnath Prashit, who had attended our function held in 2005 in honour of Durga Prasad Shrestha, editor-publisher of the Uday literary magazine published since 1937, the First recepient of the Jai Smarak Samman to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of the Rachna Books held in Kathmandu. Durga Prasad was one of the guests, who attended the Hari Prasad Gorkha Rai Centenary held in Guwahati last week and it was Kedar Gurung from Sikkim to be so there. It was one of the issues of Sharada at home that inspired me like many writers of repute before to write for the first time when a student in class nine for the Tashi Namgyal Academy Annual 1960.
Back home, it was Talk Sikkim to cover and mention the Book Preview held at the Rachna Books for The Newars World~Wide Connecting the Dots Sikkim under their Newsmakers page captioned All about the Newars. For readers who missed this (April 2016 Vol. 1 Issue 1 edited, printed and published by Mita Zulca) the lines are reproduced here - Preview for "The Newars World~Wide Connecting the Dots Sikkim" was held at Rachna Books in Gangtok. Written by Rajiva Shanker Shresta, the book was brought out to celebrate 150 Years of the Newars in Sikkim. The event was attended by a large number of prominent Newars from Gangtok and Rhenock. Inaugurated by the 'Newar icon of Sikkim' Keshab Chandra Pradhan, it had Chief Whip of SDF, Bikram Pradhan as the Guest of Honour. Mr. Shresta's last book in English, Sikkim : Three Decades towards Democracy was published in 2005. He also has a regular coloumn, Thinking Local, every Sunday in English daily Sikkim Express. The Book Preview event was a grand success for which the author and Karuna Guthi expressed their thanks to all who were present and those who supported their efforts throughout.
While in Nepal recently Dipak Shrestha from Darjeeling saw the book and on getting a copy had shared on Facebook his picture with the book and comment, Thank you so much. Interesting reading. Some of the pages are devoted to the Newars in Darjeeling as well. Under Tributes section of the book an atttempt has been made to record the outstanding contributions made by the two great personalities to the society in general but gone unsung in the history of the place. They are remembered in the chapters titled - 'Harkha Sunder Shrestha - Founder of the Guthi Darjeeling' and 'Moti Chand Pradhan and the Nepali Sahitya Sammelan, Darjeeling'. To dispel any misgivings that the book is simply about the memoirs related to our US sojourns or likewise, it includes articles useful to Life like 'Youth is but 40 years' and 'Knotty at 40 - Life with wife' and those dedicated to 'Namthang Kothi - Glorious Newar Heritage' and and historic White Memorial Hall. How could we go without that historic and heritage now fabled contributions of the institution in the Himalayan Kingdom of Sikkim gathering dust that this author had tried to dust, recollect and relive the glorious days in the article carried also by the Talk Sikkim (August 2010) - 'The Chandra Nursery Centenary (1910-2010)'. Sama Dangol from Wellington, New Zealand visiting home/Nepal was thrilled to grab a copy of the book to share it on the Viber with the group Tengal Chautari.
We are yet to share the video clippings showing the highlights of the Book Preview on YouTube but there in the function when the dignitaries, guests and eminent scholars found out of this author or Karuna Guthi in the past. Prof. (Dr.) Diwakar Pradhan from the Banaras Hindu University reviewing the book found 'The Newars World~Wide - Connecting the Dots : Sikkim' worthy enough to be classified as the Top Three Books along with Dr. Paras Mani Pradhanko Jiwan Yatra and our earlier publication Dhumil Prishthaharu as mine of information on the life and people in this part of the Himalayas.While the other two books are in Nepali, this being in English many would like to read and find out for themselves what is all about the Newars world that the book covers. I can only thank him profusely for his remarkable findings by sharing the line by Ralph Waldo Emerson ‘T’s the good reader that make the good book,’ indeed!
Disclaimer: This is author’s personal account of memories updated to cherish and treasure often on a detour here and there en route to share the joy of the journey called life. Some names, quotes, places and events mentioned are just to connect with and no malice whatsoever intended. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Newars World~Wide Connecting the Dots Sikkim is available at the Rachna Books.