Raja gives me a copy of his Bungaa: Nhubakhan Muna (ISBN : 978-9937-2-1776-7 Pb 10+52pp Rs. - NS 1128 Herachini Poon Guthi) – a collection of his new short stories – in Newar language contrary to the trend now on the rise and of the general belief in our people that writing in Nepali only pays and selling books written thus help authors to build and own them a house. At a time when our media do not even share a space for mentioning such publication or on their reviews, there are still some dedicated souls who support such writings by bringing them out rather to enrich our Newar literature repository. Pushpa Chitrakar of Herachini Poon Guthi borne the responsibility to bring it out published thus serving the cause of our mother language as well. Prem Man Chitrakar with his bright and beautiful painting to decorate it on the cover page, Bungaa: or a Well signifies a part of our rich culture and heritage. We may, however, not find it serving much the purpose anymore. Bungaa: used to be the source providing its refreshing pure water so much vital to our life here endlessly. This reminds me of the Dupont-owned Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania USA celebrating the water with, besides musical fountains and others, an eye-hole pond overflowing thousand gallons per second ceaselessly. Grateful Raja wishes such an exemplary step should be inspiring enough to others too to come forward, emulate and contribute thus further to the noble cause.
I congratulate Sharad for his recent achievement in launching Learning writing Newar scripts from the web. Sharad obliges me with his latest Jiwanya Chakalay (ISBN : 978-9937-2-1757-6 Pb 18+82pp Rs.80/- NS 1130 Arthpithna Prakashan Pvt. Ltd.) with Manara Prajapati’s painting symbolical showing a man himself encircling working on the potter’s wheel. It is dedicated to all those who speak the Newa: Bhaye on this dayof NS 1131 Thilanthwa 10. In his “Sharad! Jin Chhant Gukathan Mulyankan Yaye? (Sharad! What way should I review you?) Raja Shakya writes about the views expressed by a critique that our stories have arrived at a point far beyond the Milestone or Link Mark set by stalwarts like Ratnadhwaj Joshi with his short story collection Bakhan Puch: (Stories Collection). A decade later, however, the same learned man comes to lament that these are still stagnant and not beyond from where it was there yesterday. He is under a wrong impression, Raja says. He would have to change his thinking to have altogether a different view perhaps - once he comes across to arrive here to find for himself like him, Sharad using newer technique every time he wrote. With days gone and our stalwarts like Chittadhar “Hriday”’s Khupu Bakhancha (Six Stories), Ratnadhwaj Joshi’s Bakhan Safu (Story Book) and Khadgaman Malla’s Nhu Bakhan Puch: (New Stories Collection) long forgotten, Sharad is the hope and reading his stories, one’s heart is simply overwhelmed in joy to read and enjoy!
I tell Sharad that he reminds me of his namesake, Sharad Chettri of Darjeeling - my friend since our Darjeeling Government College days (1962-1969), who has earned with his 26 books a sobriquet of Kathaka Kamdhenu (Mint/Mine of Stories) for himself besides Sahitya Akademi award for Nepali Stories and our Karuna Devi Smarak Samman while celebrating Silver Jubilee of Rachna books and publications in Gangtok in 2005.
Seeing me using an old NS1120 edition of NepalBhashaSewi wa Chwamipinigu Telephone Diary (Telephone Diary Nepal BhashaDevotees and Writers) compiled and published by Sugatratna Sindurakar, Sharad gives me the latest one brought out by Newa: Dey Daboo. I too have a copy of my Newar Haami Yastai Chhaun ( NHYC - ISBN: 978-81-89602-01-7 / 2010 10+140pp Rs. 100/- Karuna Devi Smarak Dharmarth Guthi) to present him. This book was released during the 9th Convention and General Meeting of the Newah Organization of America on May 25, 2010, where I had the rare honour to be invited as the Special Guest and to speak on the Newars in Sikkim while there in the US.
The Sikkim-based author, an ex-Bureaucrat, is currently in Kathmandu to be with his family, relatives and friends while in Nepal.
That was not all I had that day! Raja had something more in store and in the shape of the Bakhan Daboo – Nepal Bhasha Bakhan Vidhaya Lasata Pau - the bi-annual on Newar Stories the story-writers group Bakhan Daboo has to offer every Buddha Purnima and Nhu Dan Newar New Year since 2553rd Buddha Purnima in 2009 AD. With an Editorial Group comprising of Lakshmana Rajbanshi, Prof. Narmdeshwar Pradhan, Raja Shakya, Lochantara Tuladhar and Rina Tuladhar, the periodical is brought out under the supervision of Sharad Kasa:, Rajitbahadur Shrestha and Bimal Tamrakar. They have Advisers in Madhavlal Karmacharya, Phadindraratna Vajracharya, Prof. Premshanti Tuladhar and Yagyaratna Dhakhwa:. Of four issues, the second issue having all sold out, I have to be happy with three for Rs.300/- as a gesture of my support to their collective effort. To ensure and secure its publication continue in future too, they are in a fund-raising drive. Their Head Lakshmana Rajbanshi shares with me that with some fund now accumulated in their kitty, they see a bright and safe future to their efforts furthering. Otherwise, the group had to depend to see their Bakhan Daboo made possible to start with only through kind gesture in support by printing concerns like Modern Printing Press, Indreni Offset Press and Hisi Offset Press and other kind hearts like Prem Man Poon with his paintings for the cover page and some others donating the paper needed. He further shares that with people no more to fend and raise subjects like poetry and drama in the Newar language anymore, stories are their only hope that help us reflect and preserve our rich Newar custom and tradition, culture and heritage, etc.
Soon to join us that morning was Ganesh Ram Lachhi with five enthusiasts from the Mellidanra Newar Guthi in Sikkim, when Lakshmana Rajbanshi, a teacher with 46 years of experience and Siddharth Vansthali Vidyapeeth, explained convincingly various aspects of challenges before the Newar society. He gave the group a copy of his well-documented Newah Sanskriti Mhasika that has text both in Nepali and Newar, much convenient to those who are not easy in either of these languages. I share with Lachhi that this process was experimented first by me while bringing out first time ever the Newar edition of the Sikkim Herald for the Government of Sikkim as the ex officio Editor-in-Chief and Commissioner-cum-Secretary in the Department of Information and Public Relations in 1996. Nareshbir Shakya too is using this process successfully with his Layakoo that also carried my article Asa Safu Kuthi, the only archive some time ago. It has appeared in the Nepal Lipi Online Supplement NS 1131 of Nepal Study Center, Japan in the eve of Nhu Dan recently and is available on our www.karunaguthi.com for those who have not yet gone through and interestedto read it. I had a copy of NHYC for him, the person whom Laksmana Rajbanshi finds in him an Ambassador for Newar Culture to Sikkim for his untiring dedicated services since 1997. When asked to write a story for the Bakhan Daboo as its active member, Lachhi had a novel instead that is to be released soon here.
The other Bakhan Daboo personality to be with us that day was Prof. Narmadeshwar Pradhan, English is his subject but more to the Newar, he confides me. My family name found familiar/akin, I tell him Vijaya Shanker Shrestha is my cousin here. He is the eldest son of Deo Shanker Lal Shrestha. The octogenarian is married to Indira, a sister of late Juddha Bahadur Shrestha of Meera Home at Khichapokhri like the late litterateur Purna Das Shrestha. In whose house ASK was located till moving to its own building with Newa: architecture behind. Chwasa: Pasa, one of the oldest Newa: Literary Organizations of Newa writers started in May 1950 while in exile in Calcutta to enter Nepal the next year, is to construct their house there. For more, I presented him a copy of my NHYC with our family tree.
From the Editorial in its fourth and current Nhu Dan 1131 issue, what I could grossly understand is - what that moves forward is the symbol of continuity. It is progressive trend of the human being that creates History. To achieve something new determined, the role of Stories is crucial - like that of a new society out of a new scientific invention. To decorate with a new civilization, we need literature, art, music and dance. These later give shape to progressive culture of the mankind. History enwraps a new trend (?) and it is added thereto. Though History revolves round giving an impetus to Earth’s gravity, it cannot escape from its attraction towards the human society and continues to exit – without being taken away, withdrawn or lost. But unlike this, History does not keep rotating around its own axis. It also keeps changing.
History in itself is nothing. It is abstract. History is the event, accident, invention and the comet of destruction. Human thought is the truth (murt). Human thought is the creator of History. It gives birth to different aspects/fields of literature. Thoughts are endless. Limitless. Infinite. But whosoever keeps up with the level of thinking, thoughts pour in. Master of thoughts is the writer of stories. Stories are that aspect or field. These enliven, give a life to History. Because there lies the extreme and this is the charm of stories – Soft, Delicate and Lovely. From child to young hearts, old ones, everyone is charmed by stories.
It further says that stories are not the thanka painting of thoughts alone. It is right out of today’s new art, abstract art to post-modern society’s geometry as well. But if story writers overdo even without creating a History themselves, their stories could be the source of solid contribution to the History.
Snow without water and a History without a Story will be nowhere. Story will give life to worshiping material (g:jaa) to so-called God. Demons will be challenged simply to write without any fear. Even worshiping material thus used could be made a weapon to demolish the devil. Storyteller is the artistic creator and they can make devils fight each other to give a message that “Truth Triumphs” - Truth Prevails upon Everywhere! Stories are series of thoughts, a healthy creative conception. Stories give an identity to the storywriters. A writer even if he keeps himself hidden wrapped inside his story, the same story exposes him out too. The stories inside this issue of Bakhan Daboo would push forward the N S Nhu Dan 1131 or not, this honour of appraisal and evaluation, we hand over to you readers to decide. It ends with a remark of thanks.
Publisher’s note mentions that Bakhan Daboo is not only for the storywriters but the Life itself is in praise of stories. Stories were there yesterday. It is today as well. They will be there tomorrow too. Stories will be there in everyone’s heart. It is there. One has to open it. Show it off. Cordial relationship between Life and Stories would then only be visible and clear to us. Life has to come out with a beautiful story. Telling a story is to understand Life. It would be an attempt of the Bakhan Daboo to present a forum. It would be the achievement of Bakhan Daboo to bring the aspect/field of stories in contact with the general mass and nearer to the public.
A complete aspect of life and society should be shown and explained. It should not restrict itself encircled inside a limited boundary and of narrow-mindedness. It should come out of it. Bakhan Daboo will rise to the occasion. It will reach deep inside the society. For this purpose –
· Bakhan Daboo will go out of the Kathmandu Valley;
· After going inside, outside and outskirts of the Kathmandu Valley, it would go in for the inter-provincial inter-action;
· Presently, the role of Bakhan Daboo would be to get interaction between the story writers and street children;
· Storywriters would visit jail-inmates soon;
· Bakhan Daboo would visit Vriddhashram (Old Age Homes), Balgram (Children Village), Aama Milan Kendra (Meet Mother Centre), Drug Punarsthapan Kendra (Drug Rehabilitation Centre), Mansik Asptal (Mental Hospital), Shramik Kendra (Labour Centre) and so on and so forth, different places they would go. They go there to understand different and multiple aspects of our life and society. To show and reflect them all to us in stories written about.
The purpose of Bakhan Daboo isnot only literary. Bakhan Daboo is itself a movement. It could be a revolution. Through stories, Bakhan Daboo could help in human, social, communal, economic, educational, linguistic and political awareness and in the upliftment. They should themselves be aware to these and rise to the occasion to the fulfilment of this their responsibility. They should take stories to reach the general mass and the Bakhan Daboo should be able to help all concerned. Bakhan Daboo belongs to all – yours/mine/ours. The success of Bakhan Daboo is the success of our common effort. Its failure would be our collective loss. To make it successful and prosperous, give them your views and suggestions. Bakhan Daboo is just learning to walk and wish it could run fast soon. This is possible. It will take time. We should keep patience.
Bakhan Daboo rests on the shoulder of the young generation, how far the stories could reach. Seniors could only lend a helping hand. Active creation could only be possible through the youth. Bakhan Daboo, as such, has much expectation from them – the new generation. To convert the creativeness and the talent in them, there should be different programmes organised. These should be of help in exchange of ideas thus promoting the creativity in them. It would be an effort of Bakhan Daboo to encourage Newar story-writers, who write in Nepali language and literature to interact and ask them to write in our language as well. Not only they but even those who write in other languages should be invited to interact and exchange views.
The support and help from our well-wishers have been tremendous to bring out the Bakhan Daboo. This would be remembered always. It concludes with thanks to all those who contributed towards making it possible.
Bakhan Daboo has been to different places, Kupondole (Patan), Bhaktpur, Banepa, Pan(au)ti, Hetauda, Narayangadh, Butwal, Pokhra, besides some other places in the Valley. There has been good response and the writers have been well received wherever they visited. They have already covered many of the places as well as the aspects suggested and experience thus gained has given a tremendous boost to their efforts – so far, so good.
Encouraged they have plans to go next to Jhapa in the East later this month on invitation of the Newar fraternity there and beyond to cross the border to Sikkim soon. They may go to Darjeeling as well from there, if needed.
When celebrating 25 years of Rachna books and publications in 2005, we had organised story-writing competition in Nepali and in English and Newar languages as well. Someone had remarked, “Oh story, poetry or drama or even essay would have been better and the charm of story in our literature is in the wane!” It was not so as was proved when things gradually unfolded and over 300 stories in Nepali from far and wide, as far as Kathmandu and Biratnagar in Nepal across the border and Shillong in Meghalaya and Sonitpur in Assam in the North East Region poured in. Due to insufficient publicity, number of entries received in other two languages was not sufficient to merit a contest, hence abandoned.
Now this initiative of Bakhan Daboo convince us of our efforts there in Sikkim but unfortunately no takers to the efforts that materialized in the shape of Rachna Katha Anushthan 2005 that saw compilation of 25 award winning contemporary writings from the Sikkim-Himalayan Region. However, we feel rewarded when the news of those amateurs growing popular and some names recognised reach us.
We wish writers in our region could meet and interact with Bakhan Daboo, when they are there in Sikkim next February even if they do not get an opportunity to be in the neighbouring Darjeeling. I suggest Raja Shakya that reading out their stories in Newar language would serve no purpose in that part of our world, instead they should come with a selection of stories translated in Nepali and English. We the Newars have lost our tongue many years ago, while establishing our credentials since a century and half ago when Taksari Chandrabir Newar reached invited there first amidst wild protest besides the ferocious animals infested thick forests to clear and mines excavated to mint copper coins first time ever. This was possible, only when the warring factions reached an amicable settlement on being intervened by the British Raj on April 14, 1880 at Rhenock. This is The Chandra Nursery Centenary (1910-2010) Year of the business enterprise his sons Rai Saheb Ratna Bahadur Pradhan and Babu Durga Shamsher Pradhan started in memory of this gem of a person, without whose grit, determination and foresight we and the place would not have been what it is today. They earned a name for themselves, their family and the little Himalayan Kingdom to put the name Sikkim on the world map when they close rooted to the soil, raised plants themselves to export rather than to depend exploiting the Mother Nature that has enough for everyone’s need but not for everyone’s greed, as Mahatma Gandhi said.
We wish Bakhan Daboo every success in their endeavour. We welcome you and look forward to your arrival there too, soon!
The Sikkim-based author, an ex-Bureaucrat, is currently in Kathmandu to be with his family,relatives and friends while in Nepal.