I had something more important to accomplish the New Year Day – keep the word to the organizers who had been kind enough to accommodate me in on the forum rubbing shoulders with the Newah celebrities of the stature like that of Padma Ratna Tuladhar of the Nepal Bhasha Manka: Khala: chairing the Shankhdhar Sirpa function with his senior Laxman Rajbanshi, the Patron of the Newa: Deya Daboo and Chief of the Bakhan Daboo, were the members of the committee of the Shankhdhar Sirpa Samiti to speak Dr. Pushparaj Rajkarnikar, Chhatra Bahadur Kayastha and Nepal Samvat expert Jagdish Chandra Regmi while Tejeshwarbabu Gwang: absented. Tuladhar is kind enough to formally release the book and announce the launch of our new website www. newarsinsikkim.org excuse himself after delivering his address when he makes a brief account of the Newars coming together first with the Chwasa Pasa in Calcutta and thereafter. He also dwells on how this Shankhdhar Sirpa was conceptualized in a Gangtok hotel on Ganesh Ram Lachhi’s suggestion way back in 1997.They were with their Nepal Bhasha Mankah Khala people invited to Sikkim to present Newah Cultural Show on December 13 and 14 in the Community Hall as a part of the year-long celebrations of the 50 Years of India’s Independence. Just before the function, Tuladhar was mentioning about this visit and I told him that was still fresh in the minds of the people there and more so with both our websites make it immemorial carrying the pictures of the great occasion together. Some memories never fade but always fresh to cherish even years after!
Copies were ready as it got bound to finish burning mid night oil tells me Usha Shrestha, when I wish her Happy New Year next morning. Rajesh Sthapit, of Layout Graphic Studio with pre-press help, was right to suggest me the Commoner Press nearby. After the demise of her father who edited and published The Commoner for 40 long years, she has been running it as the printing unit for last seven years with her sister and Rajesh now joining after his studies completed in Australia. We feel proud thus associated to the concern which is a history of sort in the capital.
Laxman Rajbanshi accounts how Padma Ratna Tuladhar played key role in taking the Newars so far thus far though he were amongst five to start the Nepal Bhasha Mankah Khala in August 1979. It was an attempt of the Nepal Bhasha Mankah Khala to form and provide a national forum for the Newah people and on the second day of their First General Meeting held in Kathmandu that the formation of the Newa: Dey Daboo was announced on the 2nd September 1995. He also narrates how things were not in our favour till the announcement of Shankhdhar Sakhwa as the National Vibhuti (Hero) and the Nepal Samvat as the National Calendar. Now the time has come to promote and preserve. The research done for his paper The Newars – the Indegenous Population of the Kathmandu Valley in the Modern State of Nepal done by Dr. Bal Gopal Shrestha in 1998 gives a beautiful account that now needs to be updated for the benefit of the catch up with the progress thereafter.
Before the function starts, Ganesh Ram Lachhi, Chhyanje, the General Secretary of the Committee Shankhdhar Sirpa Samiti distributes the souvenir, Thukathan Palistha Jul, himself welcoming the guests comfortable in their seats.
At the end of the function which was held in the hall of the Shree Ganesh Madhyamik Vidyalaya, Nagdesh, Thimi, all the speakers were felicitated with a lumanti chin - Sukunda as memento. Finding everything with the name Ganesh, I enquire Ganesh ram Lachhi, if this too belong to him, no! I too was fortunate to be honoured thus as I shared the weal and woes of the Sikkim Newars, who have been contributing ever since they reached Sikkim some 150 years or so. Some have reached back to Nepal, most prominently Rai Saheb Hari Prasad Pradhan as the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the living legend Ambica Shrestha of Hotel Dwarika. Uday Sunder Shrestha for his local SPACES design magazine finds too mentioned here.
Samaybaji or Tuchchi accompanied by aila made the refreshment before the invitees depart. Here I am introduced to Bijay Ratna Tuladhar, director of Veer Ganesh Man young by Laxman Rajbanshi. I enquire him– a film journalist, movie critique - which of Sunita Rajbhandari Shrestha’s Maya and Bhintuna is better, the latter. I tell him she wants their showing in Gangtok which I am thinking. I inform Laxman Rajbanshi of donation offered for their Bakhan Daboo by Suhitra Bahadur Shrestha of San Antonio Texas USA in response to my story in karunguthi.com. He tells me about the group’s visit now fixed for Jhapa next week from Paush 24-27. They reach by travelling together in their own microbus – a 17 seater.
I also happen to meet Prakashdhar Sharma – do not go by the surname Sharma as the Newar too has this to confuse you perhaps and he is the second person I met – chairman of Shahid Smarak Samiti, besides being a Life Member in many of the bodies concerning he Newars from music, dance, Nepal Scout, Nepal Red Cross, heritage Nepal Sampada Sangh, Vedic Pratishthan, Nepal Bhasha Mankah Khala and Newa: Mahaguthi of Lalitpur, a pleasant personality dressed like his other biker-friends from Sinha Swah Khala as he hand me his card seeing myself busy.
I am introduced to Asmit Malla, son of Malla K Sunder of Newa: Dey Daboo. He was on Skype for the WNO II Teleconferencing, when our website www.karunaguthi.com was launched last year. Ganesh Ram Lachhi wants me to be available for his interview for their Madhyapur magazine. Asmit is seen often for Newa Nepa.np.com and Nepal Mandal.com as well, where I find today’s proceedings reported and posted as I open the webpage back home. Sooner, the better and I wrote Daya my report to wait for more later.
Ganesh Ram Lachhi see me off accompanied by relatives Samir and Dipak Prasad Shrestha, a former Shankhdhar Sirpa NS 1120 awardee for his Hetauda Pau and his friend Sunil Kumar Shrestha, Chairman of the People’s Group, on the wheel and driver’s seat. He shares with me his recent enterprises of sending students to Japan and in tourism, while his sister Padma Shree, Doll Artist/Portrait Artist, more occupied with her Lifesaving And Lifegiving Society (LALS) to help away from drugs. She hopes to see me when in Gangtok with Bakhan Daboo friends and her Newah Dolls Show next February.
Sunil drops us off at places wherever convenient as the camera in his vehicle is needed urgently for some other coverage that evening. Till then… we depart!