It was during my visit in this connection to Kathmandu that my relative Sri Deepak Prasad Shrestha of Samachar Kendra of Hetauda had introduced me to Sri Durga Lal Shrestha, Honorary Member of Royal Nepal Academy. Instead, he said who could be a better authority than Sri Raja Shakya, General Secretary and Library-in-Charge of Asa Safukuthi and advised us to see him in his office located at Raktakali (Kulanbhulu). Thus I was introduced to Asa Safukuthi and the person dedicated to it ten years ago. It was through his support, suggestion and advice that our Newa: Varna, Lipi Ra Bhasha Parichaya*(An Introduction to Newa: Alphabets, Scripts and Language through Nepali) could see the light of the day and its Second Revised Edition was brought out in 2001 Basant Panchami Newa: Year 1121.Introduced in 1995, Asa Safu Kuthi is now not only a regular place for me to visit but a pilgrimage centre as well. It was during such a visit in August 2004 that I could know of the great task this archive had undertaken to computerize all the rare and precious manuscripts and documents numbering more than 7000 in its possession, some of which were more than a hundred years old. Thus they were preparing and equipping themselves for rendering the e-service in a modern way to catch up with time to the scholars dedicated to studies and research from within the country and outside as well.
A diamond could get its shine from a diamond only. Similarly, the great precious works of the learned get right assessment and evaluation in the shape of compilation he makes that is treasured not only for the present but for many future generations. Thus we find preserved and conserved a vast collection of rare manuscripts in the shape of Thyasafu, Puthisafu, Neelpatra, Tadpatra and all the published works of modern Newa: literature. It would not be an exaggeration to say that it was through the dedicated person in Sri Raja Shakya only that it could be possible to achieve this rare feat with such a responsibility.
Established in fond memory of his deceased father late Asamansingh Kasa on Friday 30 Analaga Nepal Samvat 1105 (1985AD) Sri Prembahadur Kasa had constituted a trust of the following dignitaries that virtually is a Who’s who of the concerned in the Newa: society:
1. Swayambhulal Shrestha, 2. Dr. Kamal Prakash Malla, 3. Hemraj Shakya, 4. Dhambajra Bajracharya, 5. Padmaratna Tuladhar, 6. Madhavlal Karmacharya, 7. Raja Shakya, 8. Kashinath Tamot, 9. Bhaktidas Shrestha, 10, Evon Alsap, 11. Satyamohan Joshi, 12. Piyushbahadur Amatya, 13. Kamalbahadur Kansakar, 14. Mayju Premlata Tuladhar, 15. Rajbahadur Kansakar and 16. Prembahadur Kansakar. Due to demise of Prembahadur Kansakar himself and Swayambhulal Shrestha, the vacancy thus fallen was filled up by inducting Dr. Janaklal Vaidya, Head of Chwasapasa as the General Secretary with the nomenclature as Asa Safukuthi Guthi (Asa Archives Trust). Sri Padmaratna Tuladhar is the Head, Dr. Kamal Prakash Malla Treasurer and Sri Raja Shakya is the General Secretary. Sri Evon Alsap of the USA has noted much besides 780 manuscripts. Similarly, Toyota Foundation has supported the cause for the conservation of Asian race, language, art and culture and it was through their generous grant that Asa Safukuthi could have its own building and other necessary establishments possible at Tengal-Raktakali (Kulunbhulu).
Sri Raja Shakya himself is a successful writer who has presented well in his stories the facts of life depicting its various aspects in his composition narrating the subject and its characters. His works◦ appearing in different papers and periodicals during Nepal Samvat 1097 to 1117 have been compiled and published as Kucha Kuchgu Kipadune (Nepal Samvat 1120 / 2000 AD) with Sri Indra Mali as its Editor besides the critical assessment by the eminent littérateurs like Sri Krishnachandrasingh Pradhan, Sri Madhavlal Karmacharya, Prof. Maniklal Shrestha and Dr. Kamal Prakash Malla. Besides Dr. Sundar Krishna Joshi, Professor and Head of the Nepal Bhasha Central Department has praised him and expressed his wishes to see more of such collection of his stories in future too.
Coming back to our main topic, the repository of our language, literature, religion and various rites and rituals, the building that houses this archives itself has now grown quite old and our cultural and national heritage in the shape of Thyasafu, Puthisafu, Neelpatra, Tadpatra and published works of modern Newa: literature kept and preserved here seem to be no longer safe and well secure here. So, the responsibility now lies on all of us to conserve and preserve this Archive by constructing a strong and secure building. It would be a great help if we all come forward and contribute our might for the building generously. Further details could be had of Asa Safukuthi Guthi, Raktakali (Kulunbhulu) Kathmandu, Nepal Phone 009 771 4263417 E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
With this appeal on behalf of Karuna Devi Smarak Dharmarth Guthi I conclude with the famous lines from Sir Winston Churchill, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
Nepali version of this article appeared in Wichar weekly Oct 1- 7, 2004(Editor Sri Subhas Deepak) of Gangtok while its Nepali along with Newa: version together appeared in Layakoo Nepalbhasa Fortnightly Dec16, 2004(Editor: Bhaju Naresh Bir Shakya) of Kathmandu, Nepal.
This article in English appeared in Now! Daily (Editor Mr. Pema Wangchuk) 06 May 2006.
Recently also it appeared along with its Newar version last month in Nepal-lipi-online New Year supplement 1131 http://nepal-lipicom.blogspot.com/
Though the new building of Asa Safukuthi is ready, there is still scope wide open for donors to come forward & help!
Good efforts to the great cause well-continue here with greater interest in the past for the sake of the present and the future.
Thomas J Watson