Monday, May 23, 2016

Nepalese Ethnic Fashion Show Organized in Portland

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

An ethnic fashion show depicting dresses of various ethnic communities of Nepal was organized here on Sunday, May 22, 2016 at Nekusing Memorial Theater, (US West Coast Taekwondo Hollywood) Portland by the Non-Resident Nepalese Association, National Coordination Council USA Oregon chapter.

It was an endeavor of the NRN-USA Oregon chapter to give Portlanders a glimpse of traditional ethnic attires of different Nepalese communities.

It was the first ever Nepalese ethnic fashion show in Portland participated by the Nepalese as well as Americans. Participants included Nepalese and Americans from age 10 to 60 years old. Sincere and collective efforts of NRN-USA Oregon chapter, fashion show coordinators, enthusiastic participants and volunteers are certainly very commendable and praiseworthy.

Quite fascinating and amazing were the American boys and girls wearing different attires of various ethnic communities of Nepal.

National anthems of Nepal and United States were played at the beginning of the ethnic fashion show.

On the occasion, coordinator of the ethnic fashion show Sita Rai wrapped Khada on chief guest Govind Giri Prerana, NRN-USA Oregon chapter president Diwakar Maharjan, president of Nepalese Association of Oregon Ganga Sharma and president of Nepaa Chhen Rajesh Maharjan.

Chief guest of the ethnic fashion show was Govinda Giri Prerana who expressed the view that there are many unique features in the dresses of multi-cultural and multi-ethnic nation like Nepal. Preservation of these traditional attires is very important, he said.

President of Nepalese Association of Oregon Ganga Sharma expressed the hope that the American guests would be able to get some glimpses of Nepal's culture at the fashion show. But she advised them to visit Nepal to see rich arts and cultural heritage with their own eyes.

Newar traditional dresses and Haku Patasi were displayed on the occasion by Jaya Shakya, Naveena Shakya, Palistha Shakya, Steve, Sagen, Prabin, Chris, Yougen and Dennis. Parsi, Gaa (shawl) and jewelry displayed by them are used by the Newar women in the  Kathmandu valley for attending traditional receptions like wedding feasts, chuda karma, junko bhoe (rice feeding ceremony) etc.

Haku Patasi, Chholo, Patuka, Mwa kashi, Jyaphu, Tapalan and Black Cap were displayed by Sagen, Prabin, Chris, Yougen, Steve and Dennis.

The traditional attires of the Newah people are some of the richest part of the heritage of the Nepalese culture. Tapalan, Haku Patasi, Sayan Kayeta, Parsi, Bhantalan and other ceremonial dresses are some of the distinct costumes of Newah people in the Kathmandu valley where traditional weaving was a part of Newah people's life in the past centuries.

Similarly, Bhojpuri dresses were exhibited on the occasion by Quincey and Pradeep while Dhimal outfits were presented by Selba and Benit.

Likewise, Sophie and Surjendra performed on the Gurung robes while Bella and Seth walked through with Tamang costumes. Brahmin dresses were displayed by Pabi and Ramesh. Similarly, Neli and Bikram walked through in Newar bridal dresses.

Sherpa apparels at the program were displayed by Pemba, Kilu, Prabha, Kebin and Nawang Sherpa whereas Magar dresses were shown by Minu Mali and Rai attires by Asmita and Pasang. The guests at the program were able to see Sherpa dresses like Bakkhu, Docha, Lukani, Pangen and Magar attires like Lungi, Mugiya, Cholo Makhamal, Ghalek etc.

The audience also got an opportunity to witness Bhojpuri clothes like Dhoti, Kamij, Kurta,Bhangua and Jhuluwa, Gunyu, Cholo; and Tamang dresses like Cholo Makhamal, Patuka, Ghalek, Tiki, Sir Bandi, Half Bakhu, Full Bakhu, Tamang Cap Woolen Jacket, Shirt Silik Bhutani.

Dhimal outfits like Tepana, Aaskot. Ganji, Lokhan, Bonas, Cholo, White Shawl were also displayed by the participants at the show. Gurung dresses like Bhagra, Bhoto, Kachhod, Estakot Black, Topi Black, Lungi, Patuka Blue, Cholo Makhamal, Ghalek, Naugedi Janter etc were also shown to the audience. Likewise, Rai attires, such as, Pharia, Cholo (Dhaka), Patuka Dori, Chandrama, Bulaki, Jantar, Daura Suruwal, Dhaka Topi, Estakot etc were also demonstrated by the fashion show participants. Brahmin dresses Daura Suruwal, Patuka, Topi, Sari, Cholo, Mujetro were also displayed.

The fashion show was followed by a program of songs and dances. The show was conducted by vice president of NRN-USA Oregon chapter Daya Shakya who expressed the view that Kathmandu has become a cultural melting pot of Nepal.

At the end of the program, certificates of participation were handed over to the participants of ethnic fashion show by chief guest Prerana. Certificates of appreciation were also given away to the volunteers.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Dharmaditya Journalism Award

Dr Rabin Man Shakya
President, Newah American Buddhist Association

Although there are journalism awards galore in Nepali language journalism,  "Dhuswan Bishwobhoomi Award" and "Dharmaditya Journalism Award"  are  the first and second  journalism awards in Nepal Bhasa journalism so far.  Dhuswan Bishwobhoomi Award  was given to late Nepal Bhasa journalist Elvis Joshi of the Sandhya Times daily newspaper. Well, there are quite a few other Nepal Bhasa awards too, but they are confined to Nepal Bhasa literature, arts and music.

Journalism awards work as a catalyst for journalists and reporters, inspire them to work with more vigor, more effectiveness and and with more zeal. For a long time, there has been a conspicuous absence of any journalism awards for Newah journalists.

"Dharmaditya Journalism Award" was founded couple months ago by Newah Journalists Forum, Lalitpur in memory of Dharmaditya Dharmacharya who was the first journalist of Nepal Bhasa. Commencement of these Awards definitely filled the void.

And it goes without saying that launching of journalism award by the Forum for the Newah journalists is a praiseworthy and commendable step. Sincere and dedicated efforts must be carried out so as to give continuity to these awards, because in Nepal a number of awards are announced but they   tended to fade away after couple of years.

At a time when a number of Nepalese literary and journalism awards were launched and named after deceased parents of the riche rich, the fact that this one is named after the first Newah journalist in itself adds a big significance of the award.

Not long ago, the first Dharmaditya Journalism Award was awarded to Nepal Bhasa journalist Suresh  Kiran Manandhar who is the chief editor of popular Nepal Bhasa daily newspaper "Sandhya Times".

This is a fitting acknowledgement of a journalist who for over last two decades has devoted himself as a true, sincere and dedicated Nepal Bhasa journalist.

Journalist Suresh Kiran who was born in 1967 is a graduate in journalism from the Ratna Rajya Laxmi Campus, Tribhuvan University.

Suresh Kiran who was also editor of Nepal Bhasa daily newspaper "Bishwabhumi" is also known as a poet and satirist.

Suresh Kiran is also a laureate of literary awards like Parijat Srijanshil Purashkar and Rastriya Pratibha Puraskar.

Likewise, journalist Suresh Kiran was also awarded with the Nationalities Indigenous National Journalism Prize - 2072 BS recently.

There is no doubt that Dharmaditya Patrakarita Shirapa is a glowing tribute to late Dharmaditya Dharmacharya who was the first journalist of Nepal Bhasa.

It is to be noted that "Buddha Dharma" was the first printed publication in Nepal Bhasa and it was brought out by Dharmaditya Dharmacharya which was nome de plume of Jagat Man Vaidya (1902-1963).

Due to lack of conducive political atmosphere to bring out publications in Nepal, the first Nepal Bhasa magazine was published in Kolkata, British India.

The first Nepal Bhasa magazine "Buddha Dharma" was morphed into "Buddha Dharma wa Nepal Bhasa " in 1927. The first Nepal Bhasa magazine devoted to the issues of Theravada Buddhism and problems facing Nepal Bhasa. It was an effective voice that was instrumental in inculcating values of language and giving a platform for struggle against repression of Theravada Buddhism.

* Dr Shakya is advisor, Nepa Chhen, Portland, USA
and also State Education Director, NRNA-NCC-USA, Oregon Chapter

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Finally, Minimum Salary for Working Journos in Nepal is Rs 19,500

Rabin Man Shakya

The recent decision of the government of Nepal fixing the minimum wages of the journalists working in the private media sector as Rs 19,500 and subsequent statements of the associations of the media owners denouncing the government decision have underscored the vulnerable and susceptible relationship 'on the issue of wages  of the journalists' between media owners vs government and media owners vs working journalists.

Working journalists of Nepal have been demanding for fixation of minimum salary in the print and electronic media in the private sector for years. It looked like the genuine voices of the working journalists have fallen in the deaf ears of the authorities. A number of task forces and committees were set up within past two decades for fixing the minimum wages for the working journalists. Even the umbrella organization of Nepalese journalists - Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ) -came under fire for its lackadaisical approach to the issue of minimum wages for the working journalists.

There is no doubt that the bold decision  of the government has come as a de facto victory for the working journalists of Nepal.

Meanwhile, the three associations of the media owners namely Nepal Media Society, Broadcasting Association of Nepal and Radio Broadcasters' Forum in a statement published recently have urged the government to rethink its decision on journalists' minimum wages.

The three associations of the media stalwarts said that the government decision would add a new constitutional crisis to the media sector, already rattled by the 2015 earthquake and economic blockade.

They also went on to say that the decision was taken unilaterally while discussions among stakeholders over the issue were yet to conclude.

It is true that Nepalese FMs and TV channels are facing a number of challenges that threaten the very survival of the media outlets (with the exception of NTV and few others) due to sharp decline in advertising revenue and increasing production costs.

Why do the journalists who are supposed to play watchdog roles end up in being the lapdogs of the politicians and tycoons? Why too many Nepalese Nepalese journalists  are playing sycophantic role in the Nepalese media industry? Apart from politicization and polarization of the media, the financial constraints are pushing  some journalists to become media lapdogs at the hands of political stalwarts and business tycoons.

Working as journalists and anchors in various Nepalese TV channels and FM radio stations sounds very great. But in reality it is nothing more than the superficial glamour and glitter of the tinsel town - that is Kathmandu. The Nepalese journalists continue to suffer because of underpayment and late payment of salaries. But it looks like the Nepalese journalists have been " sweetening the pill " by continuing to work for less money or even no money.

If one analyzes the problem in broader perspectives, it will be found that licenses and registration of newspapers, FMs and TV channels were issued haphazardly in Nepal without examining deeply into the actual financial status of the media organizations.

Here in the United States, the practice is totally different. For example, Portland is the biggest city in the state of Oregon, but there is only one regular daily newspaper "The Oregonian". It goes without without saying that journalists working in the newspapers, radio and TV channels in the US get very good salary.

However, the recent decision of the government to fix the minimum salary of working journalists is a right step in the right direction and the implementation of the decision should be made in an effective manner. Therefore, harsh penalties should be imposed on the media outlets which are found to be underpaying and not paying on time and which are found to be violating the recent government decision on minimum payment of wages to the working journalists.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

NRNA-USA Oregon Chapter to Organize Fashion Show

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

In a bid to further popularize the Nepalese traditional dresses and give a general introduction of the attires of various ethnic communities of Nepal to the people of Portland, Oregon, the Non-Resident Nepalese Association, National Coordination Council USA Oregon chapter is going to organize  a fashion show on Sunday,  May 22, 2016 at Nekusing Memorial Theater, Portland.

This is the first time that a traditional fashion show -Nepal Ethnic Cultural Fashion Show- depicting dresses of various ethnic communities of Nepal is being organized in Portland.

The participants are to display costumes of various ethnic groups such as the Sherpas, Magars, Gurungs, Tamangs, Rais, Newars, Brahmins, Chhetris, Dhimals, and Maithili and Bhojpuris.

There is no doubt the culture of any country is reflected in the way of living and lifestyle of people. Traditional attires and apparels are an important component of the lifestyle of different ethnic communities.

In Nepal, there are different ethnic groups and communities which have its own customs, culture, tradition, food, utensils, ornaments, musical instruments and dresses.

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

Living in the same society, different ethnic communities must strive to preserve and safeguard their own culture and traditional dresses.

The fact that NRNA-USA-Oregon Chapter is organizing the Nepalese traditional and ethnic fashion show in Portland is a praiseworthy step in itself, but it is advisable for this organization to organize some more shows or festivals relating to Nepalese cuisines, utensils, ornaments, musical instruments, etc in the future.

I am, myself, a representative from the Newah community. Not being a fashion expert nor a trend analyst, I would say that it does not take an expert to understand the role and importance of preserving the attires of different ethnic communities. Any endeavor toward preserving, disseminating and displaying the rich and traditional attires of the ethnic communities is a welcome and commendable act.

The traditional attires of the Newah people is one of the richest parts of the heritage of the Nepalese culture. Tapalan, Haku Patasi, Sayan Kayeta, Parsi, Bhantalan and other ceremonial dresses are some of the distinct attires of the Newah people in the Kathmandu Valley, where traditional weaving was a part of Newah people's life in the past centuries.

Meanwhile, General Secretary of NRNA NCC USA Oregon Chapter Sunil Rajkarnikar says, "We are expecting to include all ethnic groups from Himal, Pahad, and Tarai to represent each group with costumes for respect of diversity among us."

Ms. Sita Rai of the NRNA-USA Oregon Chapter and Ms. Bidhya Gurung are designated as  the coordinators of the fashion show.