Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2016

Rabin Man Shakya
Advisor, Nepa Chhen

The great cultural holidays of Nepal - Bijaya Dasami and Tihar - are over. This year's Halloween and Thanksgiving Day are also over. Now,  on the occasion of Christmas and New Year 2016, I extend my best wishes to all my relatives and friends living in Nepal, the US and other countries.

Nepa Chhen is a local Nepalese community organization in Portland which is committed to enrich and enhance the Nepalese arts, culture and traditions. Nepa Chhen has been  organizing various programs in the past to celebrate Nepal Sambat, Mha Puja, Lhosar, Dashain etc. It is a matter of great satisfaction that Nepa Chhen is going to celebrate Happy New Year 2016 on Dec 31, 2015 at Nekusing Memorial Theater, Portland.

Nepal is a country that probably has more cultural and traditional festivals and holidays than any other countries in the world. Art, culture, rituals and traditions are the integral part of our national life in Nepal. They are like the mirrors which catch the glimpses of the whole nation.

In economic terms, Nepal may be a poverty-stricken country, but in the front of arts, culture and traditions, there are reasons for Nepal to be proud of her cultural heritage, ancient arts and architecture.

All the countries of the world have their own cultural holidays. Well, Christmas is the most important holiday in the Christian world. Even in the former Soviet Union, the people privately celebrated the Christmas because Christmas was prohibited in the former communist superpower in those days.

I knew and heard about the Christmas still when I was a high school kid in Kathmandu. But I must admit that I came to know about North American holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving Day only when I listened to the song "I just called to say I love you."  The album entitled "The Woman in Red"  by Academy Award winning singer Stevie Wonder was released in 1984. At that time, I was still in Minsk, the capital of Soviet Belarus and we used to listen to Steve's wonderful and melodious songs again and again on our turntable.

Here in the US, we celebrate Mohani Nakha, Swanti Nakha, Nepal Sambat new year and other holidays of Nepal. Similarly, we also celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas as well in our own way.

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday in the United States and in Canada. Thanksgiving is the second biggest traditional and cultural holiday of the Americans after the Christmas.  Thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday in November, but majority of Americans take a day of vacation on the following Friday to make a four-day weekend, during which they may travel long distances to visit their nearest and dearest. In fact, Thanksgiving dates back to 1621, the year after the Puritans arrived in Massachusetts, determined to practice their dissenting religion without interference and the indigenous Indians taught them how to grow corns and other harvests.

Thanksgiving dinner almost always includes some of the foods like: roast turkey, cranberry sauce, potatoes and pumpkin pie. Before the meal begins, families or friends usually pause to express gratitude for their blessings, including the joy of being united for the occasion.

Halloween is celebrated on October 31 of every year. American kids dress up in funny or scary costumes and go "trick or treating" knocking on doors in their neighborhood. The neighbours are expected to respond by giving away children small gifts of candy or money. Adults may also be attired in funny and dramatic costumes for Halloween parties.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Non-resident Citizenship: That's the Way the Cookie Crumbles

Dr Rabin Man Shakya
State Education Director, NRN-NCC-USA Oregon Chapter

It is true that Nepal is in the constitutional crisis today. Whatever  trouble and agony the Nepalese  people are bearing today is mainly because of the stupidity and stubbornness of the ruling parties as well as the Terai Madhesi parties.

But one of the remarkable aspects of the new constitution of Nepal is related to a provision that grants non-residential citizenship to the non-residential Nepalese living across the world.

The new constitution of Nepal has included a provision to grant citizenship without political rights to NRNs who hold citizenship of countries other than SAARC nations. As per the constitutional provision, NRNs holding such citizenship will be ensured economic, social and cultural rights in Nepal.
This means that the NRNs can purchase and sell properties or engage in business activities in Nepal. Article 19 of part 2 of the new Constitution of Nepal dealing with citizenship states that NRNs holding citizenship of foreign countries excluding SAARC nations can be granted non-resident citizenship that will make them eligible to exercise economic, social and cultural rights as per Nepal's law.

However, there should not be any confusion that non-resident citizenship guaranteed by the new constitution of Nepal is not a dual citizenship. It is just partial dual citizenship.

Anyway, the provision of non-resident citizenship in our new constitution is a fait accompli. That means for the time being, at least, there is no option for NRNs except to accept it because that is the practical and real situation that the NRNs can not change right away. But NRNA should always be effortful in pressing the government and the parliament for the full dual citizenship in future.

More than 70 nations across the world including India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan already have implemented the provision of dual citizenship with none or minimal exceptional prohibitions.

Just twenty years ago, we could not have thought about the non-residential
 Nepalese living across the world. Going to America, Canada, Britain Australia and so on  and settle down in those countries is something most Nepalese could not have imagined back then. I myself spent 10 years in the former Soviet Union doing my Masters and Ph D in Journalism. Back then, even going abroad for studying was considered a very big privilege.  Today going anywhere in the world is not a very big deal. I never imagined back then that I would end up settling in the US.

Globalization and global migration are taking place very rapidly. Millions of Nepalese have migrated to other countries in search of jobs and better opportunities owing to dismal economic scenario in Nepal.

In fact, as a result of globalization and global migration, it will be hard to find a country where a Nepali has not reached today.

Thousands of enterprising, educated and professional Nepalese have sought opportunities abroad. The new wave underscores the evolving nature of globalization. However, no matter, where they go or settle, a Nepali always remains a Nepali.

There is no doubt that NRNA should be  the common platform of the Nepalese people living abroad. It should champion the common cause  and interest of the Nepalese living abroad, not just the interest of the nouveau riche, entrepreneurs and technical experts.

Today,  Nepalese diaspora living abroad have some kind of impact and influence on the entire rural and urban lives of Nepal. In fact, non-resident Nepalese have become a house-hold word in Nepal.

There is no doubt that NRNA should not be a political platform and  NRNs should not be contracted by viruses of political maneuvers and bickering. But it goes without saying that there should always be cordial and harmonious relations between the state and the NRNA. At the same time, the state must play a pro-active role to facilitate and encourage the NRNs to create create jobs and augment the national economy.

It is to be noted that the seventh international convention of NRNA was held Oct 14-17, 2015 in Kathmandu in which 1127 NRN representatives from across 52 countries of the world had taken part.

*Also please read my article "NRNA and the issue of Dual Citizenship" published in the month of January, 2015.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Blockade: A Tug of War Between Govt and Madheshi Parties

Rabin Man Shakya
Former Lecturer of Journalism, Peoples Campus,  RR Campus.

Warning that millions of Nepalese children are at risk because of the blockade, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has cautioned that the blockade has led to severe shortages of fuel, medicine and essential goods.  UNICEF was quoted as saying in the media reports that " the ongoing blockade of Nepal's border with India, which has now stretched for months and created shortages of essential goods like fuel, food and medicines,  may soon put millions of infants at risk of disease or even death."

It is so nice and overwhelming to know that even an international organization like UNICEF has spoken out about the serious consequences of the blockade. The UNICEF went on to stress that "the lack of essential medicines and vaccines, as well as the onset of winter as Nepal continues to recover from last year's devastating earthquake, will adversely affect over three million children under the age of five."

Although the independent, common Nepalese people have been emphasizing on the need for building consensus among both the mainstream political parties and the Madhesi parties to give an outlet to the ongoing blockade impasse, the stalwarts of both the mainstream parties as well as the Madhesi parties are embroiled in a tug of war for fulfilling their vested interests.

As a result, the common Nepalese people are caught in the crossfire in the raging battle between the government and mainstream parties on the one hand and Madhesi parties supported by the South Block on the other hand. It is to be noted that the political elites of both the mainstream parties as well as the Madhesi parties have not been affected by the blockade.

Nevertheless, the issue of the blockade has created polarization and trivial politicization in the Nepalese political spectrum in which the political elites from both the mainstream parties as well as Madhesi parties  are divided in their views and attitude about the blockade. It is obvious that the government should not fight or confront or challenge the Madhesi parties, the government should be able to bring the agitating Madhesis to the negotiating table and be able to address their issues in a rational manner, otherwise the country may plunge into an abyss of unending trouble and violence.

Both sides (the govt and mainstream political parties as well as the Madhesi parties) are equally stubborn and adamant  about their vested interest. Until and unless both sides are willing to sacrifice something for the cause of the common people and come to a compromise, there is no solution to the ongoing impasse. The need of the hour is: both sides should be able to be flexible.

There have been many rounds of talks between the government and Madhesis in the past but there still is no signs of breakthrough very soon. The reluctance of the government, mainstream parties as well as that of the Madhesi parties to move ahead with some flexible and mutually-acceptable steps have raised genuine questions about their vested interest, about their unnecessary intransigence and stubbornness. This shows that neither the government and mainstream parties  nor the Madhesi parties do give a damn about the common Nepalese people.

The political, social and economic situation is very critical and vulnerable in Nepal. The gauntlet thrown to the Nepalese people by the Indian trade blockade is unprecedented.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Economic Blockade and Role of NRNA

Rabin Man Shakya
State Education Director, NRN-NCC-USA Oregon Chapter

I was pleasantly surprised and overwhelmed to see Diwakar Maharjan, president of NRNA-NCC-USA Oregon chapter on the Facebook wall calling on the Prime Minister of Nepal K. P. Oli together with Mr Rastra Rai of the UK's UUNTF. It was equally good to see Mr Maharjan's Nepalese Rebuild activities and taekwondo programs in Kathmandu on the Facebook pages.

There is no doubt that tremendous strides have recently been made by NRNA for the cause of earthquake victims. The outpouring of support for the Nepalese people facing the Indian blockade from NRNs from across the world has been tremendous too.

NRNs across the world have been lobbying and rallying against the Indian economic blockade. The lives of the Nepalese people have become miserable and vulnerable because of the blockade. The blockade imposed more than two months ago has become increasingly unbearable for the Nepalese people, and it is taking its toll on the Nepalese people.

According to the news reports, hundreds of NRNs have taken to the streets of the world capitals and other prominent cities to raise voice against the blockade of the Indian government, which has caused nation-wide crisis of essential goods, including life-saving medicines in Nepal.  Internationalization of the blockade issue by the NRNs is a significant step which must be whole-heartedly hailed as the right move.

According to another media report, NRNA recently handed over medicines worth Rs 3.8 millions to the government of Nepal. It is to be noted that the NRNA had pledged to provide medicines worth Rs 30 millions to mitigate nation-wide drug  crisis resulting from the trade blockade by India.

It goes without saying that the social and economic situation is very critical and vulnerable in Nepal, the gauntlet thrown down to the Nepalese people (first by the earthquake and then by the Indian blockade) is unprecedented.

The challenges facing the Nepalese people are indeed formidable since the Nepalese people are confronting the consequences of the earthquake as well as effects of the Indian trade blockade - it is just double whammy.

Therefore, it is evident that in the perspectives of contemporary Nepal, in its elaborate process of national development, at the time of national disaster like the earthquake and during the economic crisis arising from the blockade,   the scope and role of NRNA is getting to be vital.

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Annapurna Post's Bias Against Dr Tuladhar

Dr Rabin Man Shakya
Former Associate Editor, The Rising Nepal

In Nepal, there is no dearth of newspapers which try to damage the image and reputation of some people by publishing concocted, fabricated and misleading materials about them. The practice of irresponsible journalism and mud-slinging is not uncommon in Nepal especially in the weekly newspaper journalism and online news portals. But it is unbelievable when a responsible broadsheet daily newspaper also does that.

On Nov 20, 2015, the daily Nepali newspaper "The Annapurna Post" published a news story headlined: "What does Nepal want? : Rae" splashed across the front page, created sensation in the Nepalese news media, stirring a debate on the social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, where many criticized the Annapurna Post, for what they said,  publishing false allegation against Dr Padma Ratna Tuladhar and Tula Narayan Shah and unnecessarily sensationalizing the episode.

The news story was related to an interaction program hosted by the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu at Shangri-La Hotel. Political, social and medical elites of Nepal were invited to the program. The question headline of the news story was attributed to Indian ambassador to Nepal Mr Ranjit Rae.

The news story went on to falsely claim that Dr Padma Ratna Tuladhar had demanded a total blockade from India. In fact, an attempt on character assassination of  Dr Tuladhar and Mr Shah was carried out by the Annapurna Post.

Meanwhile, in separate statements, both Dr Tuladhar and Mr Shah had vehemently denied about their quotes in the story. The statement by Mr Shah was published in the Annapurna Post,  while one by Dr Tuladhar was not. It has raised questions about the equal treatment of the affected people by the Annapurna Post.  Dr Tuladhar had clarified in his statement that he did not make any comment or views at that program, much less about the blockade.

The correction of the Annapurna Post did not offer an unequivocal apology to Dr Tuladhar for the character assassination. The newspaper just posted a correction by saying that the allegation was mistakenly published in lieu of someone's accusation and obviously the source or the identity of "someone" was missing in the correction.

While hardly unusual in its journalistic activities, the Post's allegation against Dr Tuladhar, it is believed, is motivated by the vested interest of the South Block, since the newspaper is widely believed to be pro-southern neighbor. That probably is precisely the reason why the Post is so paranoid about Dr Tuladhar.

There is no doubt that the Annapurna Post has, kind of, lost the trust and credibility of the people of the Kathmandu valley with this kind of news, and it should refrain from publishing biased and untrue news stories to regain its credentials as an independent national daily.

By the way, it was in 1994 and I was still with The Rising Nepal. It was at that time that I had the honor of interviewing Dr Padma Ratna Tuladhar on behalf of The Rising Nepal. My interview or encounter with him was focused on literature and journalism, not on politics and human rights. In other words, I interviewed Dr Tuladhar as a member of the luminary club of Nepal. For taking the interview, I still remember I went to Dr Tuladhar's house which was located at Lazimpat in Kathmandu.

Dr Tuladhar was associated with the "Nepal Bhasa Patrika" (edited by late Phatte Bahadur Singh) for several years until the only daily newspaper in Nepal Bhasa ceased its publication in 1983. Dr Tuladhar had written a number of thought-provoking articles in the Nepal Bhasa Patrika under the pseudonym Paratu.

Dr Tuladhar is a politician, ethnic leader, journalist and human rights veteran. Apart from that, he is a very sober, responsible and erudite gentleman who, I believe, will never say stupid things as was falsely reported by the Annapurna Post.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Nepal Sambat New Year 1136 Celebrated in Portland

Dr Rabin Man Shakya
President, Newah American Buddhist Association

News of Mha Puja and Nepal Sambat New Year 1136 being celebrated in Nepal, the US and in other countries of the world have been pouring in in the digital journalism and social media sites. Various organizations like Nepa Chhen and Nritya Mandala Maha Vihar have been celebrating Mha Puja and Nepal Sambat for last few years in Portland.

Last year, about 100 people performed group Mha Puja rituals at a ceremony organized by Nepa Chhen.  This year's Nepal Sambat New Year 1136 was celebrated jointly by Nritya Mandala Maha Vihar and Nepa Chhen in Portland on Sunday, Nov 22, 2015.

At a program to celebrate Nepal Sambat New Year 1136 in Portland, a lecture on historical aspect of Nepal Sambat and its usage in current context was delivered by advisor of Nepa Chhen and vice president of World Newah Organization Mr Daya Shakya.

Mr Prajjwal Bajracharya of the Nritya Mandal Maha Vihar briefly threw light on the activities of the Mahavihar at the program which was attended by more than 50 Nepalese and American guests.

A documentary film "Revival of Nepal Bhasa" was also screened on the occasion to entertain the guests. A potluck dinner was served at the end of the program in which Chhoela Baji, Aalu Tama, Aalu Achar, Bhuti, Simpu Curry, Musya Palu, Pachhai Tarkari, Dhau etc were served. At the Nepal Sambat New Year program, all the Nepalese women were seen wearing traditional Haku Patasi sari.

Belated, but the Nepal Sambat New Year 1136 was observed here in Portland like in other major cities of the US was a testimony to the fact that Nepalese Portlanders are always aware about making it not just a national celebration of Nepal, but also an international event. It is the proof of keenness of Nepalese Portlanders to observe major festivals and national days of Nepal.

It is to be noted that Nepal Sambat - a national lunar calendar of Nepal - kicked off in 879 AD during the rule of King Raghav Dev to commemorate the reimbursement of all the debts of the Nepalese people by a Newar trader Shankhadhar Sakhwa who was declared a national hero of Nepal on Nov 18, 1999 by the then His Majesty's Government of Nepal.

Though Nepal Sambat was declared a national era of Nepal in 2008 AD by the government of Nepal, this Sambat has still not been given full recognition and not been used for all practical use and official purposes in Nepal. Thus, the Nepal Sambat New Year should be celebrated to remind the government of Nepal to respect and give due recognition to it.

Celebration of the Nepal Sambat in Nepal and in other countries of the world is a chance for the advocates of Nepal Sambat to raise voice for bringing Nepal Sambat into use as Nepal's official national calendar,  and  to remind the government of Nepal that Nepal Sambat be declared a public holiday, Nepal Sambat be printed in bank notes and coins.

Nepal Sambat was grossly neglected not only during the rule of Rana oligarchy but during the 30-years period of Panchayat regime too. Even today, Nepal Sambat has not been given full state level honour and recognition which it deserves. In such conditions, the advocates of Nepal Sambat should voice their opinion in rational and convincing manner, should try to build the broad public opinion for its cause. They should make optimum use of media, digital media as well as social media for making a convincing case for it.

Overall, there is a sense that despite all the gains (Nepal Sambat being declared national era, all of Nepal's languages being declared national languages, Sankhadhar Sakhwa being commemorated in stamps, road signs in Kathmandu being written in Nepal Bhasa, all major mainstream daily newspapers of Nepal mentioning Nepal Sambat date below the masthead) in recent decades, Nepal's political, social and economic trajectory is still highly uncertain.

That is why Nepal's prime minister K. P. Oli's speech at the Nepal Sambat New Year 1136 program organized  by the Nepal Sambat 1136 National Celebration Main Committee in Kathmandu was a populist rallying cry when he said Nepal Sambat has played an important role in terms of making the social life easier and simple. Let Oli's words not just be like shedding crocodiles tears. Let the government take some effective measures and steps to really honor the Nepal Sambat.

In fact, the discrepancy between the rhetoric and action is the main problem with our politicians. The Nepalese people are sick and tired of the rhetorical tautology of the Nepalese politicians. Nepalese politicians should stop paying lip service to the cause of Nepal Sambat.

Last but not least, Nepal Sambat National Celebration Main Committee should always be able to play a watchdog role and never be a lapdog at the hands of the government.

**Dr Shakya, a Portland based writer, is former assistant editor at the RSS, former associate editor at The Rising Nepal and former lecturer of journalism at the Peoples Campus. He is also advisor of Nepa Chhen, a Portland based non-profit and Education Director of NRN-NCC-USA Oregon Chapter.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Indian Blockade Hitting Hard on Nepalese People

Rabin Man Shakya
Former Associate Editor, The Rising Nepal
State Education Director, NRN-NCC-USA Oregon Chapter

With Kamal Thapa, one of  Nepal's  six new deputy prime ministers speaking at the United Nations in Geneva about the Indian blockade imposed on Nepal, it looks like Nepal has started to internationalize the issue. And  rightly so.

That the Indian blockade has hurt and suffocated millions of Nepalese is no secret. It has hit hard on the Nepalese people during the holiday season like Dashain and Tihar. The lives of the Nepalese people are becoming more and more miserable and vulnerable because of the blockade.

The impact of the blockade has especially underscored the vulnerability of children, hospital patients and senior citizens among others

Nevertheless, the role of the Indian media vis-a-vis Indian policy on Nepal has always been pro-establishment and intentionally biased.

The mainstream Indian media is still colluding with the South Block to spread the bizarre fiction that it is not India which has imposed the blockade, but the Madheshi parties' agitation that is responsible for situation.

However, some Nepalese political pundits believe that the Madheshi agitation was masterminded and orchestrated by the South Block. It goes without saying that Indian maneuverings are not something new in Nepal.

Anyway, press reports note that Nepal is facing a humanitarian crisis due to the blockade imposed by India. Necessary things like petrol, gas and medicines are becoming rare commodities.

As a result, India's acts against Nepal and its people have unleashed a strong backlash of anti-Indianism in Nepal, with a growing number of Nepalese social media users speaking  out against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi  in the social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Amidst the unfolding economic uncertainty and scarcity of basic and essential commodities due to the blockade, the India-bashing by Nepalese journalists and social media users is just natural and spontaneous.

Internationalization of this issue should be more effectively enforced by Nepal at different international and regional conferences and platforms.

It is a matter of satisfaction that non- resident  Nepalese (NRNs) in the USA, Japan and other countries have condemned the blockade imposed by India on Nepal by organizing protests and demonstrations.

Finally, one important fact to be noted: The inability of the mainstream political parties like the Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and UCPN-Maoists to skillfully negotiate with the Madheshi parties has also to be carefully and critically analyzed.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Are the NRNs of the US Sidelined in the Recent NRNA Vote?

Rabin Man Shakya
State Education Director, NRN-NCC-USA Oregon Chapter
Former Associate Editor, The Rising Nepal

The seventh international convention of the Non-resident Nepalese Association and election of the new leadership (Oct 14-17, 2015) in Kathmandu was observed with keen interest and curiosity not only in Nepal but across the countries in the world, thanks to digital journalism and social media sites like Facebook.

NRN from Australia Shesh Ghale was reelected the president of the NRNA-International Coordination Committee for two years for the second consecutive term.

It may be a coincidence but I happened to be at Odessa Polytechnic Institute (OPI) in Odessa, Ukraine at the Preparatory Department for learning the Russian language in 1979, and Mr Shesh Ghale was also a student learning Russian at the OPI in Odessa at that time. Ukraine then was one of the Soviet Socialist Republics under the former Soviet Union. True, I have not again met and seen Mr Ghale after the Russian language course in Odessa.

Anyway, I congratulate Mr Ghale for being reelected to the post of the president of NRNs' umbrella organization and extend best wishes to him in successfully executing his activities on reconstruction and rebuilding of earthquake-hit Nepal, and in navigating the NRNA in striving to contribute to the overall development of Nepal.

Meanwhile, the election of the umbrella body of NRNs was based on electronic voting for the first time.  1127 NRN representatives from across 52 countries from across the world had taken part in the NRNA vote.

Among the 100,000 NRN individual members in the world, 10,000 are only from the US making it the biggest and the most representative NRN-National Coordination Council body in the world. But the important portfolios of the NRNA president, two vice presidents, general secretary, treasurer and other posts have been won by NRNs from Australia, Japan, Germany, Russia and other countries.

The NRNA election news that has conspicuously sidelined NRNs from the US to some important portfolios has raised questions about whether the hopes and aspirations of 10,000 US individual NRN members have been crushed?

A section of the people within the NRN movement are reportedly inclined to create fissures through political polarization which will not do good to the spirit and goodwill of the NRNA. NRNA should not be a political platform and NRNs should not be contracted by viruses of political maneuvers and bickering.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Social Media and Socio-political Crisis in Nepal

Rabin Man Shakya
Former Lecturer of Journalism, People's Campus, RR Campus.

As far back as 1992, when I first stepped into the newsroom of The Rising Nepal and started working as the sub-editor, the scenario of print journalism was quite optimistic. The Rising Nepal was the only broadsheet English language daily newspaper of Nepal. Today Nepal can boast of, at least, four daily English broadsheet newspapers.

Today journalistic professionalism is more palpable in the Nepalese newspaper industry. But the journalists working for the newspapers and TV channels are not optimistic  about their jobs and the future.

Today more than ever, people across the world are more and more attracted to the digital and social media than the newspapers. Well, newspapers in the US and elsewhere  in the world are gasping for air, but still they are pretty much alive.

Digital journalism and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have become ubiquitous source of information and news. Digital journalism and social media  are breaking the news. The newspapers and even TV channels are lagging behind the digital and social media. Whenever  something happens, people immediately turn to the social media. Social media has become the integral part of the modern human civilization.

One of the reasons the digital and social media sites are becoming ubiquitous source of news and information is that they are not only breaking the news, they are constantly updating the news as well. And if there are some mistakes and errors, they can correct them instantly. If there are errors and mistakes in the stories of a newspaper, they will be corrected only in the next edition of the newspaper. The newspapers in the US especially The New York Times have corrections sections. But the newspapers in countries like India and Nepal do not bother much about the mistakes in the news stories.

Therefore, there were many cases when the Nepalese newspapers made mistakes, particularly on high profile news stories, the Nepalese readers and viewers had to take them to Facebook and Twitter to point them out.

Right now, we are not seeing a ton of original materials on social media because much of the news and views on these sites originate from mainstream media. But we are seeing much more discussions and debates about the burning issues.

It is in the social media sites like Facebook and Twitter where more and more Nepalese people are debating about the burning issues of Nepal's new constitution and about the socio-economic and political crisis in Nepal following India's blockade game.

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are exploding with comments, visuals and photos about the economic and political crisis in Nepal. We are seeing that social media platforms give the ethnic communities a chance to make their voices heard. The ongoing protests of the ethnic communities against the government is fueled by deep frustrations with the new constitution that it discriminates against the ethnic groups.

The frustrations that have remained suppressed within these communities since long had to explode and they have just burst out finally. There is no doubt the contents of the social media give a polarized view of the Nepalese political development. Wide spread disputes about the discrimination of ethnic communities have marred the post-constitution period and thrown the country into the turmoil.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Impunity and Role of Watchdog Journalism

Rabin Man Shakya
Former Associate Editor, The Rising Nepal

In the journalism world, call someone 'watchdog' and people and readers know exactly what you mean. Watchdog journalists are those honest and true species who try to uncover the misdeeds of the powerful politicians and powerful administrators. Watchdog journalists try to spill the beans about misdeeds of notorious tycoons and about their illicit connivance with the politicians. They try  to prevent the abuse of power, prevent the scope of impunity.

If royalty and its extended family were impune from any legal actions for their misdeeds during the Panchayat regime, today the powerful elites of the ruling class as well as the opposition are acting with impunity because of their power. It is here that the Nepalese watchdog journalists have to show their prowess  in exposing the misdeeds and criminal acts of the political elites.

Watchdog journalism is the writing and reporting that keeps politicians, power brokers, administrators and organizations with power accountable for their decisions and actions. Watchdog reporting helps to right the wrong.

Coverage of the Watergate scandal was one of the best examples of watchdog journalism leading to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. Revelation of Pentagon Papers by The New York Times in 1971 is another example of watchdog journalism. Similarly, president Joseph Estrada of the Philippines had to step down and be arrested because of the watchdog journalism.

Watchdog journalism is relevant especially in countries like Nepal where abuse of power, political corruption and embezzlement of billions of rupees are rampant in various ministries, departments, corporations and government undertakings, and majority of the perpetrators go scot-free.

There were cases when former powerful and notorious ministers like Jaya Prakash Gupta, Govind Bahadur Joshi, Khum Bahadur Khadka and Chiranjivi Wagle were convicted of corruption  charges and served prison terms respectively. but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Nepal, a democratic nation, is one of the countries in the world where powerful political elites still have been enjoying privilege of impunity from prosecution for years. Anybody got guts to touch Khadga Oli and Prachanda? Nope.

Well, the wrong-doings of various governments have been exposed by the Nepalese press time and again to some extents.  But it is also equally true that the Nepalese press could not play an effective role in exposing the Dhamija scandal, Lauda Air scandal and tens of other high-profile scams, they were just unable to publish in-depth and investigative news stories  with full proofs and evidence about those scandals.

There is no doubt that Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world. Nepal is becoming poorer and poorer because of the political corruption, skulduggery and embezzlement of billions of rupees by the politicians and top administrators. So the question arises where is Nepal's watchdog journalism and why is it silent?

Impunity is a big challenge not only for Nepal, it has affected press freedom and political systems globally. The media is the watchdog of the nation, if it is hindered, it can not carry out its responsibility towards the community and the nation. Free press has a significant role in rooting out the seeds of impunity.

At a time when Nepal is reeling from the blockade imposed by India, the Madheshi politicians are speaking out loudly that they were the ones creating the blockades. What the rotten bastards ? The present vulnerable and volatile scenario could be the part of a grand design of Madheshi politicos and the South Block to destabilize Nepal. It looks like a number of Madheshi politicians are maneuvering to curry favor from the South Block.

Therefore, it is the duty of the watchdog journalism to expose the misdeeds and criminal activities of the Madheshi leaders. It is the duty of the watchdog journalism to uncover sources of billions of rupees of the Madheshi politicians.

Monday, September 28, 2015

India's 'Undeclared' Economic Blockade and Media's Role

Rabin Man Shakya
Former Associate Editor, The Rising Nepal

At a time when India is trying to increase its clout by imposing 'undeclared' economic blockade on Nepal, this tiny Himalayan nation has started to give fitting replies to India. With the economy crumbling and with the shortages of essential commodities and fuel, anger and discontent of the Nepalese people at the Indian government is mounting. Anti-India protests and demonstrations are taking place in major cities of Nepal.

Meanwhile, effective from Monday, all the Hindi channels have been shut down by the Nepal Cable Operators Association amid the growing public discontent about Indian economic blockade.

Likewise, yesterday, security forces of Nepal did not allow entry to more than two dozens Indian journalists trying to enter Nepal through Jogbani, India for covering anti-India protests in Nepal. Correspondents of Zee TV, Aaj Tak, India TV, NDTV, ETV Bihar and the Hindustan Times newspaper were among those who were denied entry to Nepal.

Given the history of biased and one-sided pro-Indian coverage of the Hindi channels on Nepal's issues, the decision of the Nepalese authorities not to allow Indian  reporters was probably the best we could have hoped for, at least, at this moment.

If India keeps demonstrating its stubbornness and creating chaos and hindrances in Nepal, its 'international and democratic' image will certainly be diminished for violating the 'internationally accepted rights' of a land-locked country like Nepal. The need of the hour is: All the political parties should be united at this critical juncture and all the Nepalese people are ready to sacrifice anything for this cause.

Ever since the political crisis erupted in Nepal during pre- and post-constitutional period, the Indian government has become increasingly paranoid about what it views as its special  interest and influence in Nepal.

The historical obstacle is that Nepal is an India-locked country and historically Nepal has been dependent on India in political and economic matters.

We, the Nepalese  living in the USA are against the irresponsible acts of the  Modi  administration. Nepal and the Nepalese people already have suffered a lot and they can not afford to stay hostage to the Indian idiosyncrasies. The international community should come forward to pressurize India to lift the economic blockade.

No doubt, Nepal is facing one of the worst crisis in its history, and the situation may further deteriorate if any early solution is not sought.

In such a situation of economic and political turmoil, the role of media is particularly important in explaining and disseminating the actual and true facts about Indian intentions. There is no easy solution to this blockade.

But one of the solutions that the Nepalese media can offer for reducing over-dependence on India is by publishing and broadcasting more stories about self-dependence, not just hyping about the scarcity and hardships.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Pen Is Mightier Than the Sword

Rabin Man Shakya
Former Associate Editor, The Rising Nepal

Nepalese moms and dads living in the United States are luckier in the sense that they get to celebrate Fathers' Day and Mothers' Day two separate times a year: one according to the Nepalese culture and traditions and another one in the United States. I was overwhelmingly surprised when my daughter Palistha Shakya presented me a black tee-shirt on the occasion of the Fathers' Day in the US. The words "The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword" were printed on the tee-shirt.

There is no doubt that a pen is one of the strongest weapons in showing the world the devastating effects of violence and wars with use of swords, guns and missiles. The old adage "The pen is mightier than the sword" rings true because the power of a pen is enormously more influential than a sword. A number of examples have shown what sharp-edged and big swords, guns and missiles could not achieve was achieved by the help of  little pens.

Historical experience across the nations in the world demonstrate that many great writers, philosophers and journalists had inspired social and political changes.

It goes without saying that the power of pen is much  more effective than the power of hatred, war and fighting. Power of pen, however, should not be used to disseminate false information and messages. Today more than ever, the people who owns and  control information and mass media are more powerful than the ones who control the security and military forces. That is why a free and independent pen is crucial for a vibrant democracy. Information, messages and news have more influence on people and events than the use of force or violence.

But pens should not be made vulnerable to swords. This is outrageous and unacceptable. There were hundreds of cases when swords outmaneuvered the pens. And, yes, a sword of Damocles is hanging over the heads of those  scribes who have to work  in the authoritarian countries of Asia, Africa, Middle East and Latin America.

Yet the importance of the pen also illustrates the threats and attacks posed to the scribes and reporters, not to speak of assassination and assassination attempt of journalists. One thing is sure: Threats and attacks will not stop the journalists' pen.

More often than not, a number of Western journalists have also been abducted and mercilessly beheaded by the Islamofascists in recent times often contradicting the old axiom that the pen is mightier than the sword. The souls of the brutally assassinated journalists will rest in peace only when the perpetrators of the violence will be arrested and given due punishment.

The need of the hour is: the governments of the US, EU nations, Russia and China should make fighting the ISIS and al-Quida the centerpiece of their multi-lateral cooperation, because it is already palpable that the US alone can not win the war against terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism.

Well, the old saying about the significance of the pen was first used by novelist and playwright Edward  Bulwer - Lylton  in 1839 in his historical play "Cardinal Richelieu".

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Pacific Northwest Nepalese Community Magazine "Jamghat" Released

Rabin Man Shakya
Former Associate Editor, The Rising Nepal

A Nepalese picnic or banbhoj was organized at Lynndale Park, Lynnwood, Washington on Sunday Sept 06, 2015 by Nepal Seattle Society (NSS). The pacific northwest Nepalese  community picnic was, kind  of, a confluence of people flooding from US states of Oregon and Washington and from British Columbia, Canada.

Baji (beaten rice) and other curries were served for lunch whereas rice was served for dinner. However, chicken and bacon barbecue cooked right on the picnic spot were the food items most liked by picnickers.

I have heard tidbits of information about attempts by some people to discredit the organizing of regional picnics. Picnics are about fun, food, friendship, entertainment and is about interaction among people. There  should not be any room for politicization and trivialization about picnics. Petty partisan and parochial activities are outrageous and unacceptable.

During the picnic, "Jamghat", a pacific northwest Nepalese community  magazine was released by Nepal Seattle Society president Mohan Gurung along with the editorial committee members. The editorial members of Jamghat's current issue are: Bharat Banskota, Daya Shakya, Mankajee JeNa, Shyam Kandel and Subhash Ram Prajapati.  "Jamghat" which is a bilingual magazine in English and Nepali offers a wide spectrum in terms of community news, poems, articles and messages of the respective chairs of Oregon, Washington and BC.

Judging by the past two issues of the magazine, it looks like the pacific northwest Nepalese community publication champions the cause of enhancing and disseminating news about community activities, provide information about Nepal and print poems of community members.

An article entitled "A Tribute to Helen" by Daya Shakya was vivid accounts about late Helen Ward who struggled hard to survive the breast cancer but ultimately succumbed to it not long ago.

As an alumni of the Belorussian State University, Minsk, it was so good to know from the "Jamghat" magazine that Mitra Kunj, Vancouver BC chapter  was established there ten years ago.  It goes without saying that Mitra Kunj, an organization of Soviet-returned specialists and experts - which boasts of 6,000 members is the largest alumni organization in Nepal.

According to the Jamghat magazine (issue 2, 2015), "it's been over a decade, the Nepalese from Pacific Northwest are gathering together to develop the mutual relationship and to share the Nepalese sentiments through the community picnic."

Well, the fact that the pacific northwest picnic has continuously been organized for last 13 years is a testimony of friendship, harmony and fraternal ties among the Nepalese communities in the US states of Oregon and Washington and BC Canada. This kind of picnic is organized once a year by NAO, NSS and NCS BC respectively.

The picnic was followed by a cultural program, volley ball tournament and women and kids activities. The trophies were presented to the winners of the sports events as well as to the past and incumbent presidents of NSS, NAO and NCS BC.

It was at this picnic that I got to confront with one of my old friends in Minsk, Belarus - Anil Pradhan who is an alumni of Belorussian Polytechnic Institute. Anil is now the president of Nepal Cultural Society of BC, Canada. It's been almost three decades that I have not seen Anil.

There was an overwhelming impression that this kind of picnic was very crucial to enhance friendly ties and communication among members of Nepalese communities in Oregon, Washington and BC Canada.

Given the limited resources, time and weather factors, the regional picnic - which was first organized in Vancouver in 2002 - has been able to draw more and more community members from Oregon, Washington and BC Canada.

There is no doubt that that organizations like NSS, NAO and NCS BC as the prominent diaspora associations in the pacific northwest to cater to the local needs of the communities have tremendous tasks ahead.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Journalists' Killings and Issue of Gun Control

Rabin Man Shakya
Former Associate Editor, The Rising Nepal

The fact that  gun violence  is a common thing in the United States  and it is taking a heavy toll on the lives of the American people is evident from the headlines of the national and local newspapers of the US. The issue of gun violence has once again come to the fore recently when Alison Parker, 24, a TV reporter and Adam Ward, 27, a cameraman were fatally shot down by a former TV reporter who eventually killed himself too.

In a scathing editorial headlined "Killings of Journalists Bring Gun Violence to Dark New Level", The New York Times on Aug 26, 2015 said: "It is an increasingly horrific fact of life and death in the United States that easily available guns offer troubled Americans the power to act out their grievances in public."

The New York Times editorial went on to say:"This trend dramatized in recent years by macabre shootings in schools, churches, movie theaters and workplaces, was taken to a dark new level on Wednesday in southwestern Virginia by a disturbed former reporter who chose not only to murder two journalists as they reported live for a television station that had fired him, but also to record and broadcast the theme on social media."

Gun violence should not be tolerated, no matter where it comes from, and in no way may be justified. Gun violence has claimed thousands of lives in the United States every year.

According to a report,  11,208 people were killed in gun violence and 21,175 suicides were committed in the US caused by fire arms. There were 310 million different kinds of guns in America, not including weapons owned by US military, in 2009 according to the data released by the Congressional Research Service.

No doubt, gun violence racking the United States is entirely the fault of easy access and availability of firearms. No logic justifies fatal attacks on journalists, no words excuse killings of innocent reporters. The Congress leaders of the United States must speak out against the gun violence.

Thousands of outrageous acts of homicides and assassinations have been committed in the US. There is no easy solution to the issue of gun violence in the US. But there is a lot that can be done to control guns and crimes in the US. First and foremost, sweeping gun control laws must be introduced in the US to contain the problem of the increasing gun violence.

But past precedents have shown that American political heavyweights especially the Republican stalwarts  have been reluctant to work for gun control. As the NYT editorial honestly pointed out:"There are too many guns, and too little national will to do anything about them".

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Certificates of Election Awarded to Nonresident Nepali Association-NCC-USA Oregon Chapter Officials

By Rabin Man Shakya
Former Associate Editor, The Rising Nepal

Vice President of NRN-NCC-USA Mr. Dilli Bhattarai and Immediate Past President of NRN-NCC-USA Mr. Khagendra GC jointly gave away certificates of election to the newly elected office bearers of NRN-NCC-USA Oregon Branch amid a program here held Saturday at Neku Singh Memorial Theater in Portland, Oregon. On the occasion, NRN-ICC executive member Mr A.C. Sherpa wrapped the traditional Nepali Khata on the recipients of certificates of election and also dabbed Tika on their forehead.

Certificates of Election were issued by the National Election Commission, Non-resident Nepalese National Coordination Council of USA.

Recipients of certificate of election were NRN-NCC-USA Oregon Chapter  president Diwakar Maharjan, vice-president Daya Shakya, General Secretary Sunil Rajkarnikar and Treasurer Jitendra Bajracharya.

Likewise, on the occasion, Dr. Rabin Man Shakya, Dr. Manoj Kansakar, Sita Kumari Rai, Srijana Sthapit, Ramesh Bhandari, Pradeep Bajracharya and Surya Thapa Chhetri also received certificates of election for positions of different directors.

Speaking on the occasion, NRN-NCC-USA vice president Dilli Bhattarai said that with the help of the fellow Nepalese community members across the US, the NRN-NCC-USA would be able to navigate this august forum in striving to contribute to the overall development of Nepal.

Mr. Bhattarai also called on fellow Oregonian NRNs to mobilize resources and expertise for rebuilding the earthquake-hit-Nepal.

He urged the NRNs of Oregon and activists of Nepa Chhen to explore avenues for promoting rich arts and culture of Nepal.

Immediate Past President of NRN-NCC-USA Mr. Khagendra GC said that stereotypical opinion about NRNs among the people is changing, especially after the active cooperation and providing of relief materials by NRNs to the quake-hit people.

Mr. GC also threw light on Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to the Nepalese staying in the US.

It is to be noted that after the devastating earthquakes in Nepal, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on June 24, 2015 the designation of Nepal for TPS and that eligible Nepalese residing in the US can apply for taking the benefit. On the occasion, Mr. GC also answered the questions asked by participants at the program.

Speaking on the occasion, NRN-ICC executive member A.C. Sherpa said that time has come for the NRNs to come forward with some  more concrete actions to help rebuild the quake-hit nation.

The program, which was followed by a live cultural show and dinner, was conducted by chapter vice president Daya Shakya.

It was disclosed at the program that with more than 10,000 individual members, NRN-NCC-USA is the most representative NRN-NCC body in the world.

Meanwhile, a picnic was organized by Nepa Chhen at Blue Lake Park on Saturday afternoon. The picnic, which was attended by Nepalese living in Portland, Salem, Eugene and other cities of Oregon, was also addressed by NRN-NCC-USA vice president Mr. Dilli Bhattarai, Immediate Past President Mr. Khagendra GC and NRN-ICC member A.C. Sherpa.

On the occasion, Nepa Chhen president Rajesh Maharjan wrapped Khata on the NRN heavyweights.

Meanwhile, an interaction program was organized on Sunday morning by NRN-Oregon chapter. The interaction was attended by NRN-NCC-USA's vice president Dilli Bhattarai,  NRN-NCC-USA's Immediate Past President Khagendra GC, Dr. Rekha Hamal, IOFTC official Karen Blackledge, president of Nepalese Association of Oregon (NAO) Ganga Sharma, chapter president Diwakar Maharjan, chapter general secretary Sunil Rajkarnikar and other chapter members.

The interaction focused attention on the cooperation and coordination among the organizations like NRN-NCC-USA, its Oregon chapter, IOFTC, NAO and Nepa Chhen.

*Also please read:
NRNA and Issue of Dual Citizenship   Jan 25, 2015
NRN-NCC-USA Oregon Chapter and Local Diaspora   Aug 3, 2015
NRNA-USA Oregon Chapter's First General Meeting Kicks Off   June 21, 2015

Sunday, August 16, 2015

In Nepal, FM Radio Stations Still Rule the Airwaves

Rabin Man Shakya
Former Associate Editor, The Rising Nepal

Given the fact that Radio Colombo started regular broadcasting in 1925, All India Radio launched its broadcasting in 1930 and given the fact that even in conservative Afghanistan, Radio Kabul initiated broadcasting in 1925, radio broadcasting's late arrival in Nepal was somehow intriguing. Except for some other irregular broadcasting, Radio Nepal started its broadcasting service only in 1951. However, Nepal's late jumping on the radio broadcasting bandwagon can be attributed to the politics of isolationism of the Rana autocracy.

Radio Nepal's initial transmission lasted for 4 hours and 30 minutes, but today it is the powerhouse of radio broadcasting in Nepal. Radio Nepal over the last 65 years has mirrored the country's social and political turbulence. During the years of Panchayat regime (1960-1990), state controlled broadcasting behemoth deliberately spread messages of Panchayat regime's tenets, such as, stability, partylessness, class coordination, decentralization and supremacy of monarchy.

During the Panchayat regime,  Radio Nepal was effectively used as a powerful medium of state propaganda and publicity, although some of the radio programs gave the ordinary Nepalese radio listeners  a chance to make their voices heard.

Radio Nepal is the state owned radio broadcasting behemoth with maximum geographic and demographic reach. Radio Nepal is the only broadcasting juggernaut in Nepal which airs its transmission in short wave, medium wave and frequency modulation (FM) as well. The state controlled radio broadcasting monopoly ended only in 1997 with the launching of Radio Sagarmatha FM, the first independent community radio broadcasting station in South Asia.

By the time, my article "FM Rules the Airwaves" was published in The Rising Nepal on May 25, 1999, about a dozen FM radio stations were operating in Nepal, most of them in the Kathmandu valley.

FM radio stations have been mushrooming in Nepal since early 2000s. According to the data issued by the Ministry of Information and Communication of Nepal recently, the number of FM radio stations has reached 638 in Nepal. Among them, 547 FM radio stations are operating across Nepal while remaining 91 FMs  are not resuming their services due to various factors. Out of 547 FMs, more than 100 FMs are operating from the Kathmandu valley alone.

In a country plagued by constant load shedding of 12-13 hours a day, there is just no need for so many FM stations. Additionally, Nepal's FM radio stations and TV channels have been hit hard by a weak market of advertising.

The study conducted by the Broadcasting Audience Survey (BAS 2006-2007) found that radio is available and accessible in 82 per cent of Nepalese household while 59 per cent of Nepalese household has television, newspaper 13 per cent, magazines 5 per cent and Internet 1 percent.

In what could be a turning point in today's TV and Internet-dominated world, the percentage of the Nepalese people who said "radio is the most preferred source of information and entertainment is 64 per cent followed by television - 35 percent, newspapers 0.8 percent and Internet 0.1 percent.

The BAS study also compared the popularity of different radio bands and noted  that FM radio is the most preferred (84.7 percent) frequency band among the radio bands followed by medium wave  (44.6 percent) and short wave (16.5 percent).

The BAS study reveals some startling statistics and shows the pattern of radio listenership stating that housewives and shop owners are the most radio listening group in Nepal (32 percent each) while students  (13 percent) are found to be the next most listening group in the country.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Non-resident Nepali Association-NCC-USA Oregon Chapter and Local Nepalese Diaspora

Rabin Man Shakya
Former Associate Editor, The Rising Nepal

Although a group of eight Nepalese students including Dr Trailokya Nath Upreti, Krishna Raj Aryal, Bhuvan Lal Joshi and so on were the first Nepalese to embark on educational odyssey at the University of Oregon in Eugene in June, 1955, they all returned to Nepal in 1956 after doing their Master's Degree at the University. That was the time characterized by the Cold War between the USA and the USSR when both the superpowers tried to outdo each other in peddling  their influence in the Third World countries.

Anyway, the history of Nepalese immigrating to the United States is not very old, comparing to the people from other countries. According to Olivia Miller, "the first time that the Nepalese were classified as a separate group occurred in1975, when 56 Nepalese immigrated to the United States."

One of the first known Nepalese who settled in Oregon were late Helen Ward (Mali)  and her relatives. Mali family moved to Oregon from Nepal in 1979. The process of globalization and global migration have definitely a tremendous impact on the Nepalese people too. The number of Nepalese people who immigrated to the US started to increase after the US government launched the Diversity Visa lottery. Today there are more than 500 people of Nepalese origin in Oregon alone.

To meet the growing needs of the Nepalese diaspora in Oregon, various Nepalese community organizations have been established in the past. Prominent among them are the NAO and the Nepa Chhen. The Nepali Association of Oregon (NAO), for example, was launched in April 2001. NAO is the most representative body of the Nepalese diaspora in Oregon. Likewise, Nepa Chhen, a cultural center for Nepalese community in Oregon was set up in November 2012. It looks like the Nepa Chhen and the NAO have become the household names among the Nepalese community in Oregon.

Meanwhile, NRNA-NCC-USA Oregon Chapter was officially launched in June 2015 this year under the chairmanship of Mr Diwakar Maharjan. NRNA-Oregon Chapter aims to work as a broader platform to work for the betterment of Nepalese diaspora in Oregon. It is to be noted that NRNA-NCC-USA Oregon Chapter has helped the community members in acquiring the Machine Readable Passports (MRPs). Deputy chief of the mission at the Nepalese Embassy in the USA Mr Rishi Ram Ghimire and embassy staff Deepak Sharma were in Portland at the request of NRNA-Oregon Chapter to provide help to the Nepalese in Oregon in acquiring MRP passports. Work on helping community members to acquire MRPs is still going on and Oregon chapter's vice president Daya Shakya and general secretary Sunil Rajkarnikar are ready to provide any kind of help or information regarding MRPs.

NRNA-NCC-USA Oregon Chapter has invited Mr Khagendra GC, Mr Yagya Nepal and some other personalities to shed light on Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to the Nepalese staying in the US. It is to be noted that after the devastating earthquakes in Nepal,  the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on June 24, 2015 the designation of Nepal for Temporary Protected Status and that eligible Nepalese residing in the US can apply for taking the benefit. Mr GC and Mr Nepal are scheduled to speak about the TPS in detail at a picnic to be organized by Nepa Chhen and NRNA Oregon chapter at Blue Lake Park in Portland on August 22, 2015. Hopefully, the community members will be able to get more useful information about the TPS from Mr GC and Mr Nepal at the picnic.

Given the fact that NRNA-NCC-USA Oregon Chapter was established just a couple months ago, the Chapter is already able to win the hearts of the Nepalese Portlanders. Therefore, this kind of activities  carried  out by NRNA - Oregon Chapter for the benefit of the local diaspora are expected to be just another feather in the Chapter's cap. NRNA-NCC-USA Oregon Chapter is still in the nascent stage of its growth and it is hoped that the Chapter will be able to render necessary help to the members of the Nepalese diaspora in Oregon in the future too.

*Also please read:
NRNA and Issue of Dual Citizenship   Jan 25, 2015
Certificates of Election Awarded to NRN-NCC-USA Oregon Chapter Officials  Aug 23, 2015
NRNA-USA Oregon Chapter's First General Meeting Kicks Off   June 21, 2015

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Media's Role in Containing Animal Slaughtering at Temples

Rabin Man  Shakya
Former Associate Editor, The Rising Nepal

According to a news published in The New York Times dated July 29, 2015, "a temple in southern Nepal known for the mass slaughter of animals at a festival every five years has indefinitely banned animal sacrifices, India's Humane Society International said Tuesday."

Another news story in the British newspaper The Telegraph also dated July 29, 2015 says: "The bloody mass sacrifice of animals during a Nepalese temple festival has ended after a high-profile international campaign championed by Joanna Lumley, the British actress revered in the Himalayan nation."

The Gadhimai temple has now announced that it will end the 300-year-old practice - the biggest animal sacrifice in the world - after years of protests by campaigners, went on The Telegraph story.

The decision of the temple authorities has to be welcomed and appreciated wholeheartedly. Certainly, this news sends a pretty good message that animal slaughtering at the temples is barbaric, inhumane and regressive act which should be condemned all the time. As a matter of fact, Nepal has been drawing international headlines in the past for barbaric animal killings at the temples and other religious sites.

Killing the innocent animals in a barbaric style in front of the temples publicly (with children watching it)  to please the Gods is insane and ridiculous. Yes, there is no doubt that killing the animals right in front of the Hindu temples and statues of Hindu Gods is to involve the temples and Gods themselves with the responsibility of brutal killings of innocent animals. This evil practice prevalent in Nepal in thousands of temples raises the question: Will the Gods be really happy with the barbaric offerings of innocent animals.

It is to be noted that the practice of animal sacrifices during different other Hindu occasions and at thousands of other Hindu temples is still prevalent in Nepal, even after Nepal was proclaimed a secular state. Animal sacrifice is still a common practice during the festival of Bijaya Dasami.

Today, Nepal is still notorious in the world for animal slaughtering at the temples. Republican and democratic Nepal today faces a number of issues which are related to the abolition of many religious practices and rightly so. Animal slaughtering is a highly inhumane and barbaric practice which should be banned. It should be banned not only in Nepal, it should be banned in all the countries of the world. No nation in the civilized world should entertain it.

Mass media like the newspapers, radio and TV channels have tremendous role in educating the people against such evil practices. Supporters of the animal sacrifices, however, say that age-old traditions cannot be given up.

But it is true that animal slaughtering in the name of pleasing the Gods and in the name of preserving age-old practices is outrageous and unacceptable. The animal rights activists of Nepal have been outraged by the continuous animal slaughtering at other Hindu temples and during other Hindu religious occasions. The mass media should give adequate platform to the animal rights activists to disseminate their ideas and messages. The newspapers should publish more stories, articles and editorials that can raise awareness against killing of innocent animals at temples, while the radio and TV channels should air more programs to boost the confidence and morale of the animal rights activists.

There is no doubt that the newspapers, radio and TV networks are the strongest platforms in showing the people the horrifying impact of animal slaughtering at the temples. The mass media should be able to inculcate the message on the people that this is not good from humane perspective, this is not good from environmental perspective.

It is evident that in the perspective of contemporary Nepal, in its elaborate process of new civilization and secularism, the scope and role of the Nepalese mass media to speak out against the brutal animal slaughtering at temples is getting to be vital.

Bottomline: Animal slaughtering at Hindu temples in the name of religion should be totally stopped and banned. This is going to be an uphill battle of the animal rights activists against the Hindu conservatives. The saga continues as the battle rages between the animal rights activists and Hindu conservatives. Therefore, media activism is very important to raise the awareness against the barbaric animal slaughtering at temples and religious sites.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

"Pravda" Means the Truth

Rabin Man Shakya
Former Lecturer of Journalism, Peoples Campus, RR Campus.

Pravda means the truth and Izvestia means the news in Russian. Pravda and Izvestia were the top daily newspapers across the Soviet Union until its disintegration in 1992. But even during the period of the Soviet Union, I have heard the Russians say: In the Pravda ( The Truth), there is no news and in the Izvestia ( The News), there is no truth.

To a considerable extent, it was true. Pravda was full of information and stories about the activities of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, about its meetings, plenums and congress. The Pravda was notorious for printing the verbatim speeches of the general secretary of the central committee of the CPSU. Apart from that, the Pravda also used to publish well-written stories on culture, science, literature, economics, sports etc.

During my decade-long stay in the former Soviet Union (1979-1989), I had to read the newspapers Pravda, Izvestia and other Soviet newspapers in Russian, because there were no other options. Foreign newspapers and magazines were dubbed as bourgeois and hence strictly prohibited in the Soviet territory. Only the newspapers of the fraternal Communist Parties were allowed to be sold in the main cities of the Soviet Union.

Pravda's materials and stories were presented in such a way as to indoctrinate the party ideas and messages into the people effectively. Many a times, stories of heroic achievements of industrial and agricultural production made banner headlines. But the Pravda did not believe in the sensationalization of news, so it never printed celebrity, scandal and crime news.

The newspaper Pravda was the official mouthpiece of the CPSU from 1917 to 1992 until the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Pravda was the only newspaper in the history of print journalism in the world having the single issue circulation of 12 million copies everyday and was the largest circulation newspaper in the world until 1992. Pravda was printed and published daily from 42 cities of the former  Soviet Union simultaneously.

The reporters and correspondents of the Pravda were deployed all over the Soviet Union. And there were bureaus of the Pravda in more than 50 countries of the world, and the bureaus  were manned by the Soviet journalists.

The other important newspapers except Pravda and Izvestia during the Soviet period were : Komsomolskaya Pravda (Komsomol Truth), Trud (Labor),  Selskaya Zhizn (Rural Life), Literaturnaya Gazeta  (Literary Newspaper) and Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star) and so on.

After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the Pravda witnessed a lot of vicissitudes. Ownership of the Pravda was sold to a family of Greek entrepreneurs. The Pravda had a big fortune during the Soviet regime. Not any more. It used to be printed everyday and like I said at certain point its daily circulation exceeded 12 million copies. But today the Pravda's circulation is about 100,000 copies a day and is brought out only three times a week. Fortunately, the newspaper still comes out from the Pravda's same old office building at Pravda Street in Moscow.

The Pravda is still the mouthpiece of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. The Communist Party of the Russian Federation is one of the strong opposition parties in Russia today. But paradoxically the website Pravda. ru is  totally different from the original newspaper and is pro-Kremlin and pro-Putin.

Well, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) and the Soviet authorities very well knew the importance of newspapers and mass media. Newspapers, magazines and mass media were used as the effective means of propaganda and publicity during the Soviet period.

Nepal was not untouched by the propaganda wars of the Superpowers. Nepal was flooded with many Soviet newspapers and magazines  in Hindi and English at that time.  "Soviet Bhoomi"  (Soviet Land) was an illustrated news magazine published in Nepali from Kathmandu by the Information Department of the Soviet Embassy in Nepal. The price of the "Soviet Bhoomi" was cheap and affordable for the Nepalese people. The Americans, not to lag behind, also used to publish "Swatantra Vishwa" (Free World) from Kathmandu. Likewise, Radio Moscow used to broadcast news and other programs in Nepali on a daily basis until 1992.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Ward's Death Great Loss to Nepalese Community in Oregon

Rabin Man Shakya
Advisor,  Nepa Chhen

Death is an eternal truth. In Theravada Buddhism, there is a saying in Pali language "Anichavata Sankhara" which implies that life is uncertain but death is certain.

Helen Ward who was one of the early Nepalese immigrants to settle in Portland, Oregon and who worked as Early Intervention - Early Childhood Special Education Specialist at Willamette Education Services passed away on Monday, July 20, 2015 in Portland. The cause of her death was breast cancer.

Many Nepalese Portlanders say Helen was the quintessence of hospitality and friendship. They say that late Ward was a formidable combination of articulation and determination, yes determination to help and host the people.

Her tireless activities for the common good of the Nepalese community won her commendation from the community members.

Late Helen Ward with the activists of Nepa Chhen

It was at some programs organized by Nepa Chhen that I had the privilege to get acquainted with late Helen Ward.

Nepa Chhen, a Cultural Center for Nepalese community in Oregon will always be indebted to Helen didi for her moral and other support to the organization. At a picnic organized by Nepa Chhen on August 9, 2014 at Blue Lake Park in Portland, Helen didi had offered donations to Nepa Chhen by selling ear-rings which she made by herself.

Late Ward was devoted to friends and family. The fact that she was taking good care of her aging mother was a testimony to it.

Diwakar Maharjan,  president of NRNA - USA  Oregon Chapter said of her: "Before the establishment of organizations like NAO and Nepa Chhen, Helen didi acted like an institution to unite the Nepalese in Oregon. She was our respected community sister and good friend. Her demise is a great loss to the Nepalese community in Oregon."

Late Ward was born and raised in Kathmandu, Nepal in the Mali family. However, she studied Masters in Special Education at Portland State University.

Late Ward is survived by three sons, her mom and her sisters. Her funeral service was held at Riverview Abbey on July 20, 2015.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Mass Media Making Deep Inroads into Nepalese Life

Rabin Man Shakya
Former Associate Editor, The Rising Nepal

One of my little booklets titled "The  Press in Nepal: Problems and Political Orientation" consisting of 20 pages was published in 1987 in Kathmandu as part of one of the pre-requisite articles for my Ph D thesis in journalism.

On page 11 of that booklet it says: "In the system of mass media, Nepal can be ranked at the infant or initial stage of development comparing to that of advanced countries. This ranking comes as no wonder when one considers that in a country of 16 million population, the literacy rate is 29 percent and the average per capita annual income for Nepal has been estimated as US $140.00, being one of the lowest in the world. For a livelihood, 80 percent of the population still depends on primitive agricultural tools and equipment."

My booklet further went on to say: "Radio Nepal is the only radio broadcasting enterprise in the country. Nepal Television which was borne couple of years ago is serving the people of Kathmandu few hours daily with extreme difficulties. Not to talk of a TV set, to have an ordinary radio set is also considered to be a source of luxury and prestige in this country on the eve of the end of the twentieth century. The newspapers are mainly confined to Kathmandu and some other urban areas."

The government-owned Gorkhapatra and The Rising Nepal were the only broadsheet daily newspapers in Nepali and English. But a lot of water have flowed under the bridge of river Karnali and Nepal has seen a sea of change in the field of mass media. Media scenario of the nation started to change after the restoration of democracy in 1990.The vital statistics about Nepal have changed so far  accordingly. If Nepal's population has reached over 27 million people, its literacy rate now is 57.5 percent and per capita income of the Nepalese people currently is US $ 662.00.  And today the mass media as well as the social media are making deep inroads into the lives of the Nepalese people.

Today, there are over 400 FM radio stations all over Nepal and the number of TV stations has reached almost two dozens, many of them operating 24 hours. Even here in the US, the White Himal TV channel has been  in operation for last several years and airing programs 24 hours a day in Nepali language.

And there are more than 100 daily newspapers in Nepal today. The number of broadsheet daily newspapers is more than 12, four broadsheets are published in English. The new wave underscores the evolving nature of global communication technology.

In fact, it is not only about Nepal. Technology, globalization and Internet are fast changing the lifestyle and perspectives of the people across the world. The world has seen unprecedented revolution in the field of information and communication technology which has  brought about positive changes and progress in social as well as economic fields. As a result, the world today has turned into a real small global village.

However, over the last several years, the majority of the private sector television channels and FM stations have been embroiled in a financial limbo and as a result the journalists and reporters working for these TV stations and FMs have not been paid their salaries in time.

Therefore, one of the bigger issues causing tremendous concern for the journalists and reporters in Nepal is the lower wages and salaries.

Nevertheless, the important factor that stands in the way of enforcing the much-awaited new constitution is the great role of Nepalese mass media in Nepal's turbulent political landscape. It is to be noted that Nepal was plunged into political turmoil for about a decade, thanks to parochial and partisan attitudes of the Nepalese political stalwarts.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Nepal: A Censorship-free Country

Rabin Man Shakya
Former Lecturer of Journalism, Peoples Campus and RR Campus.

The number of countries which are notorious for using censorship to protect the  regime are on the decline. Today the list is not very long as in the eighties and  nineties: China, North Korea, Eritrea, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Belarus and some other countries in Africa, Middle East and Latin America. During the Panchayat regime of 30 years, censorship was used in Nepal excessively.

There were cases when the copies of Newsweek, Time magazine and some Indian newspapers were banned and confiscated at the Tribhuvan International Airport for materials related to the Royal family and regime during the Panchayat period in Nepal.

Well, freedom of press does not mean the freedom to print, publish and broadcast pornography and obscene materials. Therefore, some degrees of self-censorship are used  and must be used to prevent pornography and obscenity and that is okay.

But if newspapers and magazines are  banned, harassed and intimidated for publishing political materials against the government and the political parties, it is outrageous and unacceptable. So many Nepalese journalists were harassed and incarcerated during the Panchayat regime only because they used their pen against the government. Suppression of information, news and views as well as persecution and prosecution of journalists are  not acceptable in any way.

Today, Nepalese journalists are politically and legally free of censorship and Nepal is a censorship-free country. Democracy was restored in Nepal in 1990 and broadly speaking there was no obvious censorship in Nepal after 1990 except during former king Gyanendra's takeover in 2005 when even the army personnel were deployed in the news rooms of private sector broadsheet daily newspapers, FM radio stations and television channels.

I was with The Rising Nepal, a government-owned English language broadsheet daily newspaper for over a decade spanning from 1992-2005. I have heard about the grim stories about the top journalists of the Gorkhapatra Corporation being suspended and transferred to other sections for minor mistakes in news stories related to the royal family during the Panchayat period.

Fortunately, I was with the TRN after democracy was restored in 1990. Still the policy of the Gorkhapatra Corporation - which run the newspapers - required to use self-censorship to a considerable degree so much so that a very minor and insignificant piece of news related to the royal family has to be printed on the front page of the Gorkhapatra and The Rising Nepal even after the restoration of democracy in 1990.

I was in the former Soviet Union for over a decade from 1979 to 1989. The Soviet Union was notorious for censoring politically delicate news coverage and jamming the radio broadcasting of radio stations like the BBC and Voice of America. Free press did not exist in the Soviet Union. All the activities related to the mass media were directed and monitored by the CPSU (Communist Party of the Soviet Union). The foreign newspapers and magazines were strictly prohibited in the USSR. Only the newspapers and magazines of the fraternal Communist Parties were allowed. Therefore, the mouthpiece of US Communist Party "People's World" and British Communist Party newspaper "Morning Star" were available at the newspaper kiosks in major cities of the former Soviet Union.

There are a number of reasons for disintegration of countries like the USSR and Yugoslavia. Lack of reasonable democratic practices and absence of press freedom were among them. It is not as easy for the politicians to argue, as they did in the past, that the disintegration of the countries like the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia is the result of grand designs of outsiders. Actually, they were just frightened by the power of democracy and free press.

*Shakya is also State Education Director, NRNA - USA Oregon Chapter, Portland, USA.
**Please leave a comment below.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

"I Regret Not Being an Active Reporter"

Rabin Man Shakya
Former Associate Editor, The Rising Nepal

The stereotypical perception of a reporter comes from a person nosing around for news with his pen and notebook, and dangling around with his camera and smart phone. But it is also very true that we can not imagine the existence of newspapers without the reporters. The quintessence of a newspaper is a talented and qualified reporter. Today lots of powerful political stalwarts and powerful tycoons are also scared by  some formidable reporters of popular newspapers. I regret not being an active reporter during my entire experience in journalism. Although I was involved in the news desk during my journalistic tenure, I had opportunity to be friend and to interact with reporters not only from Nepal but from across the world.

Reporters are integral part of news outlets like newspapers, magazines, radio stations and television networks and news agencies. News and breaking news about important incidents, accidents, scandals and catastrophe  are the results of tireless works of reporters.

Judging by interaction and long friendship with the reporters, I can say life of a reporter is not only always hectic and  busy but vulnerable to threats and intimidations and yet it is full of adventures and challenges. You get to meet with so many political stalwarts, business tycoons and luminaries and celebrities.

To work as true reporters in authoritarian countries is really risky and challenging. It is in these repressive regimes that true and genuine reporters are treated like criminals for doing their job honestly. It is in these  authoritarian countries  that hundreds of reporters and journalists have been assassinated for what they wrote.

During my long stay in countries like the USA, the USSR and India, I have confronted with reporters from around the countries ruled by dictators and authoritarian rulers. They had expressed their opinion to me and the bottomline was: the authoritarian regimes are not happy with the modus operandi of the true reporters.

Today Nepal is a democratic country where reporters do not have to face big problems while doing their reporting assignments at least from the side of government, though time and again the Nepalese reporters have been harassed and intimidated by political stalwarts, business tycoons and criminal dons. But, at least, unlike during the Panchayat period, the Nepalese reporters and journalists are not persecuted and prosecuted - for what they write - by the government. But in many repressive and authoritarian countries, hundreds of reporters and journalists are being incarcerated  for what they wrote. In some countries of Asia, Africa, Middle East and Latin America, seeking out information the government does not want made public deprives the reporters of their basic journalistic freedom.

In countries like Nepal and India, reporters working for newspapers, radio stations and TV networks are under perennial pressure to bring in breaking news and scoops and there is carte blanche to do most bizarre things.

A scoop is a piece of  important or exciting news made public by a newspaper, news agency, radio station or TV channels before its rivals. Reporters across the world are nosing around for scoops and breaking news. Reporters like to nose out all the details of a sensational scandal. Reporters keep looking around places and asking questions in order to discover something interesting.

Well, reporting is a hard  and challenging job, but it is also where the joy lies in journalism. Digging into something newsworthy provides a rush, almost a high. But to discover something new by searching carefully and talking with people is another joy for reporters. Anybody who has worked as a reporter can tell you what it feels like to get a big scoop. I have seen the joy of reporters bringing in the breaking news and scoops in the news desk.

No doubt, news is a result of work of reporter. News must be newsworthy, accurate, impartial and balanced. For this,  opinion of all sides relating to the story must be included.Reporters must be careful careful while writing, gathering and selecting news stories. The primary essence is to identify the important underlying problems of the relevant issues.

*Shakya is also State Education Director, NRNA - USA Oregon Chapter, Portland, USA.
*I value your opinion. Please provide your feedback by posting a comment below.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

ABC of Reporting

Rabin Man Shakya
Former Lecturer of Journalism, Peoples Campus, RR Campus.

Despite the decline of the newspaper industry in developed countries like the US, the UK and Canada etc, the scope of print journalism is still on the rise in countries like India and Nepal. Despite low salaries and unfavourable working conditions, more and more people are still attracted to journalism in countries like Nepal and India.

The US is the country where great newspapers of the world: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post etc are published. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were the reporters of The Washington Post and their investigative coverage of the Watergate scandal prompted the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1973.

Today, the scope and integrity of journalism  is on the decline in countries like the US and the UK.  Financially, job of journalists and reporters is not lucrative and is one of the worst paid jobs in the US. According to a recent news story report, newspaper reporter, which displaced lumberjack as the worst job of 2015, has a negative growth outlook of $36,267. Broadcaster and photojournalist, with mid-level annual salaries of less than $ 30,000, also ranked at the bottom of the list.

The unwanted snooping and questionable reporting practices in the US and the UK in recent times have seriously become alarming setbacks for journalism in these  countries.

But still, many American and Western journalists are working at dangerous war and conflict zones, and so many American and Western journalists have been ruthlessly beheaded by the ISIS Islamofascists recently. Well, journalists gather news and information to keep the people informed about important incidents and accidents.

Actually, a selfless desire to dig information is the quintessence of the virtue of true journalism. More often than not, for this, journalists have even to sacrifice with their lives. In the last 15 years, more than 700 journalists have been assassinated, making journalism one of the most deadliest and vulnerable profession in the world.

Majority of journalists and reporters across the world believe the adage that we comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. But there is also no dearth of journalists and reporters who act as the lapdogs of the powerful politicians and business tycoons. There are also a lot of journalists across the world who go after the people they know will not bite back.

And again speaking of reporting,  "telling all sides of a news story" is the best mantra for a reporter. Likewise, a reporter should always focus on ABC: accuracy, balancedness and credibility of the news story.

As a news reporter, if you are not able to reach a person or an organization, you say that in your news story. And if a person denies allegations or accusations in a story, you include that too and it goes without saying that reporting all sides bolsters the credibility of the news story and enhances its newsworthiness. Lately, there have been lots of scandals related to the reporting practices due to the lack of covering all sides of the stories.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

NRNA-USA Oregon Chapter's First General Meeting Kicks Off

By Dr Rabin Man Shakya
Former Associate Editor, The Rising Nepal,
State Education Director, NRNA NCC USA, Oregon chapter.

                                          Office bearers of NRNA USA Oregon chapter outside
                                          of the Chapter's office.

                                          The newly inaugurated office of the NRNA USA Oregon
                                          Chapter's office.

The first general meeting of Non-resident Nepalese Association (NRNA) USA - Oregon Chapter kicked off on Friday, June 19, 2015 amid a gala function at the US West Coast Taekwondo Hollywood in Portland with national anthem of Nepal played by Kabitanjali Amatya.

Charge D' Affairs  of the Nepalese Embassy in the US Mr Rishi Ram Ghimire and representative of the Embassy Mr Deepak Sharma jointly inaugurated the opening ceremony of NRNA USA Oregon Chapter by lightening the traditional Nepalese twaadewaa.

Charge D' Affairs Mr Ghimire and embassy representative Mr Sharma were on the occasion wrapped with Khatas by the officials of the NRNA Oregon Chapter as well as by office bearers of Nepa Chhen, a cultural center for Nepalese community in Oregon.

The NRNA USA Oregon chapter's first general meeting was presided over by its chairman Diwakar Maharjan. In his welcome remarks, Mr Maharjan expressed the view that the NRNA Oregon Chapter would aim at keeping closer relationship among the diaspora in Oregon and said that our mantra is: Once a Nepali,  always a Nepali.

Speaking on the occasion, Charge D' Affairs Mr Ghimire expressed best wishes to the newly elected body of the NRNA USA Oregon Chapter. Mr Ghimire on the occasion gave away membership identification tags to the newly elected office bearers of the NRNA USA Oregon Chapter.

NRNA USA Oregon chapter general secretary Mr Sunil Rajkarnikar expressed gratitude to guests from the Embassy for coming to Oregon to open the ceremony and also for finding time to help the diaspora with the Machine Readable Passports (MRPs).

Mr Rajkarnikar said that the Chapter intends to work as a bridge between the diaspora of Oregon, NRNA-NCC-USA and the Nepalese Embassy in the US.

Also speaking on the occasion was president of Nepal Aadivasi Janjati Sangh, California Mr Dandi Sherpa who expressed the belief that the NRNA Oregon Chapter would be able to focus on the interests of the diaspora of Oregon.

An interaction program on MRPs was also organized on the occasion.

The NRNA USA Oregon Chapter's first general meeting was moderated by Chapter's vice president Daya Shakya and vote of thanks was given by Chapter's executive member Ramesh Bhandari at the program which was attended by about 100 general members of the NRNA Oregon Chapter.

                                          Individual members of NRNA USA Oregon chapter
                                           during the dinner.

Later, that evening, president of NRNA NCC USA Dr Keshav Poudel inaugurated the office of the NRNA Oregon Chapter by cutting the ribbon. Speaking on the occasion, NRNA NCC USA president Dr Poudel expressed his happiness to open the first office of the NRNA Oregon Chapter. Dr Poudel congratulated the office bearers of the NRNA Oregon Chapter and added that NRNA Oregon Chapter has made a history by opening the first official office of the NRNA state chapter even when it is still in the infantile stage.

NRNA USA chief Dr Poudel expressed the view that the NRNA Oregon Chapter would serve as a broader platform that accommodates interests of the Nepalese in Oregon.

Meanwhile, in what could be a landmark event in the chronicles of Nepalese diaspora in Oregon, the NRNA Oregon Chapter's executive committee was elected unanimously recently. Diwakar Maharjan, Daya Ratna Shakya, Sunil Rajkarnikar and Jitendra Bajracharya were elected president, vice president, general secretary and treasurer of the Chapter unopposed.

                                            Guests and officials of NRNA USA Oregon chapter
                                             on the podium.

Likewise, Dr Manoj Kansakar, Dr Rabin Man Shakya, Sita Kumari Rai, Shrijana Sthapit, Ramesh Bhandari, Pradeep Bajracharya and Surya Thapa Chhetri have been elected  unanimously executive members of the  NRNA USA Oregon Chapter.

The formation of the NRNA USA Oregon Chapter is, no doubt, a testimony of the growing NRNA awareness among the Nepalese diaspora in the north west US.  Hopefully, NRNA USA Oregon Chapter will successfully move to centerstage in the broader activities of the Nepalese diaspora in Oregon.

*I value your opinion. Please provide your feedback by posting a comment below.
**Please read my another blog headlined "NRNA and the issue of dual citizenship" in the month of January, 2015. Thank you.