Madhyapur Art Council housed in his Aakha Chhen at Thimi in Bhaktapur is the repository of Newar art, culture, architecture and tradition he has built up single handed over the years! It took us almost a afternoon to be acquainted with various sections he has devoted to collect, invest, arrange, display, preserve, protect, promote and introduce to visitors like us. He knows and values the importance of such objects that most of us would like to get rid of by throwing out when getting our new house constructed. But he asked from persons concerned such objects donated. Whenever he came across such objects being sold purchased and possessed them, if within his means. From ancient chests and artefacts to ceramics, terracotta, masks, musical instruments of all types, a library, so on and so forth – everything is there. Time and space here do not permit me to describe them all in details here, but I share what he had to say about these objects that saw in one of the newspaper cuttings that he carefully keeps compiled and preserved. Someone was so impressed by his collections that he offered to buy a few of them out and asked for the price. Ganesh Ram Lachhi simply grateful thanked the gentleman for his greatness but regretted to part with any of the objects in his museum as these are not only dear to him being devoted all his life dedicated to the Newar cause but that they are close to his heart like his children, if not more!
Associated with the Sikkim Newar Guthi ever since Ganesh Ram Lachhi visited first in 1997, he is there in Sikkim available even on call from person unknown but demand on phone some cultural troupe, some musical instruments, some dance costumes, ornaments, etc. worth in lakhs sometimes. The then Secretary Jaishree Pradhan had invited the Nepal Bhasha Manka: Khala: to celebrate 50 Years of India’s independence and as a part of year-long functions that the Department of Cultural Affairs and Heritage, Government of Sikkim as the nodal agency had organized. They had presented the cultural extravaganza of the Newar with lakhey, charya nritya, folk dances and songs for 2-days on 13 and 14 December. This State function was inaugurated by the then Governor of Sikkim, late Chaudhary Ranvir Singh and Chief Minister Pawan Chamling. People from all sections of the society from different / remote parts of Sikkim and neighbouring Darjeeling hills had braved the cold winter evenings to witness this rare opportunity of life time in the Community Hall, just in front of my house Rachna at Gangtok. Padma Ratna Tuladhar had led this 25-member cultural delegation comprising of stalwarts like Naresh Bir Shakya, Ram Krishna Duwal, Bhrigu Ram Joshi, Sharad Kasa: and all. Late D. N. Pradhan of Akhil Bharatiya Newar Sangathan of Darjeeling were amongst those invited. This writer had the opportunity to organize the concluding part of the year-long celebrations as I took over the charge of the Department next and the way it went till wee hours of the Independence Day that year in 1998 is a different story to tell. We still cherish the memory and persons interested can benefit from the pictures depicting the scenes of the Cultural Extravaganza from those days with the group photograph in the centre kept displayed on the Events page of this website of ours.
On finding his handloom workshop empty, Ganesh Ram Lachhi shared with me that the women folks who work there were on a trip to Udaipur to teach the art of Newar cooking and cuisines outside the valley.
Ganesh Ram Lachhi is also a writer and he writes plays, stories, songs, essays, who has his dramas staged when his son Subhash Ram wins many awards for his directorial ventures. On Gai Jatra, satirical plays penned by him are staged and funds raised from audience as Khyaal: Kar, Joke Tax that he spends more to pay back by inviting them to entertain next day with Kwati on Gunhu Punhi. EvenChief Guest for the day is also picked up from the chits with the names of with guests present. My write up on Gunhu Punhi (2005) as a symbol of unity in the Newar that NESOCA circulated wide is available in the Thinking local page of this website.
He is in almost all the leading Newah organizations in the capital in one capacity or the other and even as the Advisor in some. He is associated with the Bakhan Daboo and when asked to write a short story, he finished writing a novel instead.
Blessed with two sons and two daughters, he tells us about the pre-condition he had for his-would-be daughter-in-law for the elder Santosh, who is doing his PhD in China in-service for the Nepal Telecommunications and his wife also there for PhD. Younger son Subhash too is doing his PhD in Seattle USA. A proud father but simple heart, asks the bride-to-be nothing but simply three simple things to accept to be welcomed to his family – she will always respect her simple illiterate mother-in-law always, bear with the family many visitors to entertain frequently in the house and his two daughters should also be respected as they too have a role in making his sons study so well. Both daughters are married off – elder one in Patan and younger one teaches in a local school at Thimi.
I remember meeting young promising Subhash way back in 2005 in the function we had organized here in association with Ratna Pustak Bhandar at Kathmandu. It was to hand over the first Jai Smriti Samman Puraskar on the occasion of Silver Jubilee of our Rachna books and publications. Honoured for his Life Time Achievement, Durga Prasad Shrestha, editor of the Uday Nepali literary quarterly in its 73rd Year could not reach Gangtok. Subhash is really a chip of the old block. I am happy that his nepalmandal.com is being honoured with Shankhdhar Sirpa for NS 1131 along with NS 1130 awardee Sinha: Swan: Khala: for organizing motor cycle rally at different places on the occasion of Nhu Dan for many years now.
Over and above, Ganesh Ram Lachhi overburdens me with a dozen of publications, mostly for Madhyapur Art Council, which I cannot but accept for enriching my collection in our Jai Smriti Shodh Granthalaya - to know more, see these enlisted in the Library page this Update of our website again.
His wife Ratnakesari prepares delicious delicacy chatamari topped with egg and meat sprinkled generously and not satisfied with this alone, she brings us aila in its best to accompany it. How could I refuse it and their hospitality?
As we take leave, Ganesh Ram Lachhi hands me over an invitation card from Padma Ratna Tuladhar, Chief, Shankhdhar Sirpa Samiti, Nepal to attend the award giving ceremony in recognition of their contribution to the propagation of Nepal Samvat and culture bringing before the whole world. I feel honoured to be invited thus on the New Year Day, when we are to usher in the Decade of the Newah People (1131 – 1140 NS 2011 -2020 ) as proposed/declared by the World Newah Organization once again though it started from the Nhu Dan of N S 1131 as well.
He comes along to see us off. On the way, he shares with me that he is grateful for many people recognize him as the Undeclared Cultural Ambassador to Sikkim, I reply -me too an Unofficial Newar Ambassador from Sikkim – together we could do many things.
It leaves me perplexed on my way back, how we the Newars in Sikkim could not benefit of his knowledge, support and resourcefulness being available always to encash and translate into action and some result, when the former President of the Sikkim Newah Guthi was given not only all the support but even shared the venue and the rare honour along with the leading Newar dignitaries felicitated for their life time achievement. Otherwise, such an honour should be enough to make one motivated to try reach for the sky!