Wednesday, March 30, 2016

World Newah Organization's Int'l Convention Wraps Up with Baltimore Declaration

Dr Rabin Man Shakya
Former Associate Editor, The Rising Nepal
Former Lecturer of Journalism, Peoples' Campus.

When about 350 prominent Newah personalities from 10 different countries of the world turned out at the Second World Newah Convention in Baltimore, USA from March 25-27, 2016, it is a testimony of the fact that global Newah movement is steadily gaining momentum.

The World Newah Organization (WNO) convention was participated by different personalities of the US from 10 different states while other prominent participants included from Nepal, India, Britain,  the Netherlands, Canada, Kazakhstan, Portugal and Switzerland etc.

Nepal has sent a 30-member  strong team to take part at the WNO convention. The 30 member Newah delegation from Nepal included Rajaram Shrestha, spokesperson of Rastriya Prajatantra Party and Pushkar Mathema, chairman of the Nepal chapter of the WNO.

Meanwhile, the three-day international convention of the  WNO - which was jointly inaugurated by Nepalese Ambassador to the US Dr Arjun Kumar Karki and indigenous leader Malla K. Sundar at Hotel Sheraton, Baltimore - wrapped up recently with the adoption of seven-point Baltimore Declaration.

According to Article 1, Sub-article 3 of the Section 169 and sub-section 28 of the Geneva Convention of the United Nations Organization, the world body has called upon all the governments of the world for the constitutional provisions for the indigenous communities. The new democratic and republican constitution of Nepal has not incorporated anything about the indigenous communities of Nepal.  The World Newah Organization has brought out the Baltimore Declaration consisting of seven important points, including exerting pressure on Nepal government to enforce the provisions of indigenous communities as per the Geneva Convention.

On the occasion, Krishna Chakhun from Kazakhstan read out the seven-point Baltimore Declaration on behalf of the organizers.

Hopefully, this jamboree of the global Newahs in Baltimore will be a big milestone in the chronicles of global Newah movement.

It is to be noted that my friends Daya Shakya and Diwakar Maharjan have participated at the international Newah conference on behalf of Portland, Oregon while my friend (still from Minsk, the USSR days) Krishna Chakhun has taken part from Kazakhstan and my colleague from the Gorkhapatra Corporation Pushkar Mathema has joined in at the global Newah meeting from Nepal.

Meanwhile, the global Newah conference has declared the new executive committee of the WNO according to which Season Shrestha from Baltimore, USA is the new president, Daya Shakya from Oregon, USA is first vice president and Dr Narayan Rajbhandari from North Carolina, USA and Swayambhu Dhar Tuladhar are the vice presidents. Likewise, Subhash Prajapati from Seattle is the general secretary and Krishna Chakhun from Kazakhstan and Rajani Shrestha from San Francisco are public relation officers.

The WNO which has moved to centerstage in global Nepal Bhasa movement should make uniting Newars across the globe, to preserve and promote Nepal Bhasa, Newah culture and identity the centerpiece  of its agenda. WNO's presence is already strong and effective in the global Newah movement. The top priority of the WNO should be to bring in all the Newars and all the Newah organizations into one big umbrella organization irrespective of political creed and beliefs. As of now, there are more than 30 Newah organizations of the Newah communities in about 20 countries of the world.

WNO is an international platform of the Newah people scattered across the world to champion the cause of strengthening and consolidating Newah indigenous movement and Newah culture and identity.  That's fine, but the WNO should not be preoccupied with its indigenous agenda alone because it may create controversy in the scenario of Newah people's broader political spectrum. The WNO should rise above the petty political interests and should get down to the comprehensive process of unifying the Newah people of every hue. With its first convention in London and second one in Baltimore, the WNO has become an important stakeholder and partner - for Nepal Bhasa's development, for enhancing Newah people's rich culture and traditions - in international level.

Nevertheless, with Malla K Sundar, an indigenous leader inaugurating the WNO convention in Baltimore and Rajendra Shrestha, co-chairman of Federal Socialist Forum - Nepal delivering a keynote speech on the occasion, some sections of the Newah movement have accused the WNO -- of becoming a political wing of the Janjati parties of Nepal -- in the social media sites.

There is no doubt that the WNO must work as an international Newah platform that takes care of all the Newah people regardless of political inclination. The WNO should not be used as a tool for "grand design" by political parties and should not be contracted by viruses of political maneuvers and bickering. The WNO should leave no stone unturned  to prove this to the entire Newah population across the world.

The challenges facing the World Newah Organization are indeed formidable since the global organization has to work for the broader interests of Newars living in Nepal as well as of the Newars living across the world.

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