Friday, January 26, 2018

Tributes Paid to My Late Mother Man Shova Shakya, Condolences Extended in Nepal and the US

Rabin Man Shakya
President, Newah American Buddhist Association.

Anything can happen to anybody anytime. Human life is so unpredictable, fragile and vulnerable to illnesses, incidents and accidents. Life is uncertain but death is certain. Anichabata Sankhara.

One month ago, on Dec 26, 2017, my mother Man Shova Shakya passed away. She was 88. She died of heart failure at Norvic International Hospital in Kathmandu. Late Ms Shakya has been battling against diabetes  for last 30 years.

Born at Jhochhen Tole in Kathmandu in 1929, late Ms Shakya always worked very hard for the welfare of her children in the family. She was a gifted housewife as well.

She married late Pushpa Shakya in 1941 AD when her age age was only 12 and my dad was just a 13 year old kid. It is to be noted that child marriage was still a very common practice in Nepal at that time, a time when the Himalayan Kingdom was still in the grip of despotic Rana oligarchs.

Late Ms Shakya was a gentle and loving woman who was devoted to her family and worked hard to provide a comfortable home and opportunities for her children to succeed.

My mom was not well educated but I still remember it was her who taught me to learn and write Na Mo Ba Gi Sho Ra Ye  and Ka Kha Ga Gha on the slate board when I probably was just a 4 or 5 year-old kid.
All four of her children achieved advanced degrees  excelling in both the classroom and professional world, a testimony to her support as a good mother.

Her eldest daughter Dr Lata Bajracharya is a senior gynecologist  in Nepal and also  the president of Development Board of Paropakar Maternity and Women's Hospital whereas her eldest son Dr Rabin Man Shakya is the first journalism Ph D in Nepal.

Likewise, her younger son Ujjwal Man Shakya is one of the senior architects of Nepal and her younger daughter Sunita Shrestha is also an architect.

A lot of people including our relatives, friends and well-wishers had come to us to extend condolences at my brother's house at Baluwatar, Kathmandu.

A team of doctors from Nepalese Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists  (NESOG) visited us and extended a letter of condolence. Also, a team of doctors and other staffs from the Capital Hospital, Kathmandu paid last tributes to her on her photo.

Those who came to express condolences to the mourning family were Vikkhuni Dr Dhamma Vijaya Guruma (Buddhist nun), Tulasa Amatya, Director of Community Action Center and women rights activist Bharati Silwal.

Similarly, Amir Man Shakya, president of Shakya Foundation, Dil Ratna Shakya, president of Nepal-Russia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Swaraj Shakya, General Secretary of Nepal-Russia Friendship and Cultural Association and Shanta Ratna Shakya, chief advisor of Nepal Rastriya Gyanmala Samiti were among those paying final respects to the deceased soul on her photo.

Likewise, Professor Surendra Shakya, Associate Professors Dr Sushil B Bajracharya, Kamal Ratna Shakya and popular singer Prabesh Man Shakya were among the people paying last tributes to her photo during the 7-day mourning period.

Today more than ever, social media has become an important and powerful tool for the people to interact and communicate with each other all over the world. A number of people have also extended condolences to us on the social media sites like the Facebook.  Dr Bal Gopal Shrestha, (the Netherlands) ex-president of World Newah Organization (WNO), Daya Ratna Shakya, WNO vice president, Krishna Chakhun,  (the United Kingdom) WNO spokesperson have expressed "bicha hayeka" in the Facebook.

Likewise, Nahendra Pradhan, president of Mitra Kunja, Bharat Banskota, president of Nepali Association of Oregon (NAO) and Diwakar Maharjan, president of Non-resident Nepalese Association - NCC - USA, Oregon chapter have expressed sadness over the demise of our mother  in the social media sites. Many prominent engineers, doctors, journalists and intellectuals of Nepal have also extended condolences on the Facebook.

Similarly, many Nepalese living in Oregon and other parts of the US have also facebooked to express sorrows.

A religious ritual "Dubyankegu" and offering of "Nhayanma" to the deceased soul  was performed on the seventh day followed by another traditional ritual "Nimmo" performed by our respected Guruju and Gurumaju. Our cousin sisters Shil Shobha Shakya and Sun Keshari Shakya extended a lot of help to facilitate and perform those religious rituals. In fact, rituals like "Dubyankegu" and "Nimmo" are the traditional ways of paying tributes to the deceased soul.

As a matter of fact, within last three months, I have been to Kathmandu two times. First, I was there from Oct 10 to Nov 8, 2017 with my spouse Naveena Shakya. At that time, we were fortunate to see  our mother and have blessings from her. Secondly, I was again in Kathmandu from Dec 31, 2017 to Jan 12, 2018.

Meanwhile, a number of my American friends in Portland also have extended heart-felt condolences to our family. Among them, Glen A Fernley who is a musician/saxophonist for music band "Rebel" in Portland said to me:"I am sorry for your loss. May you and your family garner strength to overcome the unforeseen situation."

Likewise, Dr Daniel Chenowith (Ph D in Psychology) said to me:"Please accept my condolences on your mother's death."

Likewise, some of my Nepalese, Russian, Ethiopean  and Pakistani friends living  in Portland, USA have also extended condolences to our family.

The grieving family members in Nepal and in the US extend heart-felt gratitude to all the people who came to extend condolences to us and wished RIP to the deceased soul and also to all of them who have wished condolences to us in the Facebook.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Newah American Buddhist Association (NABA) formed

Rabin Man Shakya

With the objective of acting as a bilateral forum for promoting Newah arts, culture, traditions and festivals and promoting Buddhism related activities in Nepal as well as in the US, Newah American Buddhist Association (NABA) has been set up  recently in Kathmandu.

Maintaining friendship and cordial relations between Newah Buddhists of Nepal and of the US will be the prime concern of the Association.

NABA is to champion the cause of raising Buddhist awareness, disseminate principles of non-violence and peaceful coexistence.

NABA's establishment recently will be guided not only by the objectives of promoting Newah heritage but also by creating a forum that is dedicated to act as a bridge between Newah Buddhists of Nepal and the US.

Dr Rabin Man Shakya has been nominated as the president of the Newah American Buddhist Association while Mr Dil Ratna Shakya is the general secretary of NABA.

Likewise, Associate Professor Dr. Sushil Bajracharya, Mr. Swaraj Shakya, Mr. Siddhi Ratna Shakya and Naveena Shakya have been nominated as the members of the NABA.

It is to be noted that NABA offices are located both in Kathmandu, Nepal as well as in Portland, USA.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Shatabdi Purush Joshi and Others Felicitated in Kathmandu

Dr Rabin Man Shakya
President, Newah American Buddhist Association

At a program organized at Hotel Yellow Pagoda in Kathmandu by Mettagaar (House of Friendship - in Pali language) recently, three prominent Newah personalities were felicitated.

The Mettagaar program kicked off after illuminating twenty five traditional Bodhi Matas.

Those felicitated were Man of Century Satya Mohan Joshi, poetess Narayan Devi Shrestha and Ven Vichhu Kondanya Mahasthavir.

As a matter of fact, Shatabdi Purush Mr Joshi has been honored and felicitated many times and in many ways, but  Mettagaar felicitation was a unique and unprecedented  honor for the renowned scholar of Nepal Bhasa and Newah culture.

(Shatabdi Purush Satya Mohan Joshi with journalist Dr Rabin Man Shakya at the program.)

Mr Joshi was honored by wrapping a Khata, traditional Newah Lhasa Sahu red cap, Jama, Tash Ya Washa at the program.

On the occasion, Mr Shanta Ratna Shakya, convenor of Mettagaar also handed over Mettagaar Lifetime Achievement Award to Mr Joshi.

Likewise, Newah poetess Narayan Devi Shrestha was bestowed the title of "Paa Meela". It was the Immediate Past "Kumari" (Living Goddess) Matina Shakya who handed over the honor to poetess Shrestha.

Similarly, Ven Vichhu Kondanya Mahasthavir was decorated with the title of "Aggadhammadeshaka" at the same program.

Mayor of Kathmandu Bidya Sundar Shakya, Newah indigenous leader Malla K Sundar, former Newah ministers were among the distinguished guests at the program.

Speaking on the occasion, prominent Newah litterateur Bhusan Prasad Shrestha underlined the need for preservation of Newah culture and traditions.

Shatabdi Purush Mr Joshi threw light on the history of Newah culture and Buddhism and expressed the view that a number of Newah luminaries including Bhrikuti and Arniko had gone to Tibet centuries ago and had disseminated ideas of Newah culture and Buddhism.

On the occasion, Shatabdi Purush Mr Joshi felicitated different Newah personalities including journalist Dr Rabin Man Shakya, Associate Professor Dr Sushil Bajracharya and physicist Dr Mahendra Man Shakya by wrapping the Khatas on them.

Prominent Newah singer Bhriguram Shrestha, former colonel of Nepali Army and singer Purna Bahadur Shakya and Annapurna Gyanmala Bhajan Khala presented songs and bhajans at the program conducted by Ms Pratisara Sayami.

The news about Mettagaar felicitation of distinguished Newah personalities was covered by Bodhi TV, Nepal Bhasa Times and Jhigu Swaniga daily newspapers.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

First North American Regional 'World Newah Organization' Meet Held in Canada

Dr Rabin Man Shakya
Former Associate Editor, The Rising Nepal

One and half year after Second World Newah Convention was organized in Baltimore, USA in March, 2016 by the World Newah Organization (WNO), the First North American Regional Conference of the WNO jointly hosted by Canadian Newah Guthi (CNG) and Newah Cultural Society Alberta (NCSA) was successfully held in Mississauga, Canada.

The fact that more than 200 distinguished Newah guests from different parts of North America and Europe took part in the regional WNO meet in Mississauga  was a testimony that WNO is keeping the ball rolling for championing the cause of strengthening and uniting  the Newahs across the world.

The First North American Regional Conference of the WNO was jointly inaugurated on September 2, 2017 at the Preet Palace Banquet Hall, Mississauga by Ambassador of Nepal to Canada, His Excellency Kali Prasad Pokhrel, Member of Canadian Parliament Hon Ms. Sonia Sidhu, president of WNO Season Shrestha and Prof. Dr. Tom O'Neil by illuminating the traditional "Twadewa" (brass oil lamp). At the beginning of the program, the VIP guests were welcomed  by Pancha Kanya with Dhimaya Baja music.  

Delivering a keynote address, Ambassador of Nepal to Canada His Excellency Mr. Pokhrel highlighted the importance of Newah culture and heritage in shaping Nepalese identity and the contribution of Nepalese Canadians to preserve and promote Newah culture in Canada. 

Likewise, Hon Ms. Sonia Sidhu expressed the view that the North American Newah conference would definitely help unite Newah people living in North America to preserve, promote and practice Newah cultural heritage. 

Newah scholars, academicians and delegates from US, UK and Canada like: Dr. Maheswar Baidya, Prof. Dr. Tom O'Neil, Prof. Dr. Christof Emmrich, Pramesh Shrestha, Samyukta Shrestha presented their papers on promotion of Newah culture and heritage, multimedia, Nepalese immigrants scenario and so on, whereas host organizations representatives Bimal Shrestha and Dr. Hemanta Joshi threw light on the activities of their organizations to promote Newah culture in Canada. 

The three days long conference was focused on promotion and preservation of Newah culture and heritage. 

Delegates had the opportunity to interact with the paper presenters. 

Earlier, CNG president Prakash Lal Pradhan welcomed all conference delegates and special guests in the formal inaugural session. 

The conference, with the theme of "Uniting Newah people and practicing, preserving and promoting Newah cultural heritage" concluded with four points "Mississauga (Toronto) Declaration 2017" addressing promotion and preservation of Newah culture and heritage, strengthening partnership among North American Newah organizations and stand in solidarity with "Save the Newah Valley Campaign." 

The regional meeting was attended by WNO senior vice-president Daya Shakya, Newah Organization of America president Mrs. Babita Shrestha, Nepa Pasa Pucha Amerikaye president Mrs.  Saroj Prajapati and many more from US and Canada. 

A special conference souvenir publication "North American Newah" was also brought out and released on the occasion. It was also decided to organize the Second North American WNO Regional Conference in the US. 

According to the organizers of the conference, the main objective of the regional World Newah Organization meet is to unite Newah people living within the North American continent and abroad in order to promote and preserve Newah cultural heritage ( culture, traditions, language, arts, cuisine, attire etc) for current and future  Newah generations.

Newah people's demographic presence is already strong and effective in North America. The top priority of the WNO and other regional organizations like Newah American Dabu, Newah Organization of America, Nepa Pasa Pucha Amerikaye, Canadian Newah Guthi and Newah Cultural Society Alberta should be to focus on uniting Newahs across the globe by preserving and promoting Newah culture, heritage and Nepal Bhasa. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Kathmandu: One of the Worst 10 Polluted Cities of the World

Dr Rabin Man Shakya

Portland, where I have been living for several years  is not an ideal city as far as pollution is concerned, but still it is a great and green city and no comparison with Kathmandu, which is gaining notoriety as one of the 10 most polluted cities in the world.

 Very recently, my son Ranjan was in Kathmandu and Pokhara. Also, one of my American friends Chris Jentz, was in Nepal for a couple of weeks. Luckily, nothing happened to them and they got back to the U.S. without any health problems. But, when some Nepalese living in America go to Nepal, some of them catch diarrhea, stomach problems and other health issues because of deteriorating pollution and water. 

Chris was not very happy about the worsening environmental condition of Kathmandu. "Pollution is the number one problem in Kathmandu", Chris told me, adding that the city is very crowded and smoky. "The air that people of Kathmandu breathe and the water they drink are making them sick," said another Oregonian, who also was in Nepal recently. 

Here in America, Nepal evokes images of a pristine Himalayan country on top of the world. But that image is slowly fading away from the minds of the people because of facts and figures related to pollution in Kathmandu. Many Oregonians and Portlanders who I know have been to Nepal, while they like the natural beauty, Himalayas, arts, culture and architecture of the Kathmandu valley, they also complain that the main problem with Kathmandu is the dirt and the dust. During their stay in Kathmandu, they frequently complained of sore throats and itchy eyes within a few days of arrival in the temple city. 

Kathmandu is a major tourism, business and commercial center of Nepal, a major destination for passenger busses and freight trucks. Its hilly geography acts as a mixing bowl that traps the dangerous compounds emitted by construction, vehicles and industry. 

According to the latest report, Kathmandu is the seventh worst polluted city in the world, followed by Kabul, Accra (Ghana), Tetovo (Macedonia), Faridabad, Cairo, Dhaka, the other three worst hit polluted cities are Ulanbatour, Karachi, and Ghaziabad. 

Kathmandu's pollution index stands at 98.73%, whereas Kabul is at 102.61%, Cairo at 96.28% and Dhaka at 95.81%. 

Fine particles emitted by vehicles (especially diesel powered ones), dust and dirt from road construction, building of homes can penetrate deep into the lungs, according to doctors. 

The people of Kathmandu have been fighting an uphill battle against the deteriorating environment of Kathmandu, perhaps never to win. 

Lots of people, motorcycles, cars, trucks, busses, contribute to local air pollution. It is to be noted that the population of Nepal is about 2 million. Kathmandu is probably the only city in the world where the people walk on the streets together with cars, motorcycles, stray cows and dogs. In the past ten years, the number of vehicles on the streets has risen about three-fold. Like-wise, in the past two decades the number of vehicles on Kathmandu's streets has risen ten-fold, which is very alarming for a city having very narrow roads. 

The Kathmandu metropolitan area has air quality challenges, not just with well-known air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, but with a host of other less known air toxics too. It is to be noted that Kathmandu was in socio-economic and political turmoil for the last two decades as the metropolitan city did not have any elected mayor for the last twenty years. 

Needless to say that the future of Kathmandu depends on the clean air and better environmental conditions. Hopefully, the newly elected mayor and his team will work hard to make Kathmandu less polluted. 

The fight for Kathmandu's better environment, however,  must not be confined to the responsibility of the mayor and Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) alone, it is also the overall responsibility of the government and major political parties of Nepal to make Kathmandu better again by enforcing and enacting tough laws and rules  to make Kathmandu less polluted. Despite the fact that there  has been a lot of hue and cry about the pollution in Kathmandu, unless some tough and strict legal steps are not enforced, the problem of pollution will not be solved.

(All the photos used in this article are by Ranjan Man Shakya who was in Nepal not long ago.)

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Yet Another Epitome of Concocted News Story

Rabin Man Shakya

Journalists and mass media should always disseminate factual information for the protection and promotion of citizen's fundamental rights and the freedom of expression and opinion. Journalists and mass media should engage in objective, fair, decent and trustworthy journalism. Remaining firm to the principle of objectivity, journalists and mass media should disseminate factual news and balanced opinion.

These are just some of the excerpts from the Journalists Code of Conduct 2016 formulated by Nepal Press Council.

But as a matter of fact, code of conduct for journalists formulated by the Nepal Press Council has always been a showpiece only. Nepal's journalists have published biased, one-sided and concocted news stories numerous times. Many journalists in Nepal do not care about the ethical requirements while doing journalistic assignment.

Kantipur's journalist Ujir Magar  was colluding with the then banned Maoist Communist Party when he totally fabricated "a field reporting" about a jail break by the Maoist insurgents by digging the tunnel at a prison in Gorkha. Even though it was a field reporting, the journalist never went to Gorkha for collecting information about the jail break and made up all the story materials in Kathmandu.

The news story was published in the Kantipur as per a planned propaganda or strategy, Magar has conceded, according to media reports.

The jailbreak news story appeared in the Kantipur newspaper 16 years ago under the byline of Ujir Magar and dateline of Gorkha. This is simply bizarre,  simply unacceptable and outrageous.

Ujir Magar has conceded -- the jailbreak news in Gorkha was a fake and concocted story -- in a book "Ansha" which was released recently in Kathmandu amidst a function by former prime minister and Maoist leader Prachannda.

The jailbreak took place during the insurgency period. Well, that was the time when Nepal was descending into a maelstrom of political violence perpetrated by the government side as well as the Maoist insurgents. The question arises: Why did the Maoists use the newspaper and the reporter for publishing concocted story ?

It looks like there is the freedom  of spinning the yarns and concocting the stories, and the most interesting part is that neither the reporters nor the newspapers ever asked for apology or even a correction for committing journalistic misdemeanour.

Magar's conceding of concocted news story touched a raw nerve because it combined simmering concern over media ethics with wider fears of journalism's connection and affiliation with the Nepalese political parties.

Historical experience shows that the ethical errors were made by a startling array of Nepalese journalists on numerous occasions and no sorry, no apology, no correction. Why ?

The revelation of these kind of fake and concocted news stories has raised questions about the credibility of the Nepalese journalism. This is not the first example of concocted stories in the Kantipur. It is to be noted that fabricated and concocted news stories have been published in the Kantipur a number of times.