Monday, November 6, 2006

Sikkimese Newars to study mother tongue in TU

Kathmandu, November 5:
While the charm of Newari language is on wane in Kathmandu, six Newars from Sikkim have arrived in the capital today to study their language.
Six Newar students from the Indian state of Sikkim are trying to join the Tribhuvan University to acquire degrees in Newari language, with a mission to take back academic and practical knowledge of their mother language to their hometown where people hardly understand use it.
Four aspirant Newari language students — two boys and two girls — are joining the Patan Multiple Campus to pursue Masters Degree, while two other girls have sought admission in Padma Kanya Collage in the Bachelors’ level.
“We are in search of our identity. We lately understood the value of our mother language and culture and now we want to study the language by enrolling in the university,” said Prajwala Pradhan, one among them, talking to The Himalayan Times.
With special programmes to promote local languages, the Sikkim government has made a provision to teach Newari language in some government schools and has allocated five seats for Newari teachers.
A resident from Milli of Southern Sikkim Prajwala Pradhan said she has chosen the study of Newari language as her career. Prajwala, Harimaya Pradhan, Chudamani Pradhan and Ashok Pradhan will study MA while Bina Pradhan and Babita Pradhan are studing BA.
Prof Prem Shanti Tuladhar, a Newari language professor in Padma Kanya Campus, said that thirst for cultural identity brought them here.
“It is their quest for identity which have driven them here. They have also found opportunity of winning a government job. That is why we say government policies matter,” she said.
Published: November 06, 2006 12:00 am On: Kathmandu

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Newar body stresses on ethnic autonomy

Kathmandu, May 11:
The demand for ethnic autonomy – once considered a “weird” agenda of the Maoists when they launched the ‘People’s War’,has now become a common demand of all indigenous and ethnic organisations. However, it is still unclear whether a Constituent Assembly (CA) can pave the way for such autonomy.
The political parties have agreed on restructuring the state through elections to a CA, but they are still tight-lipped on the issue of granting autonomy to the Janajatis.
The Maoist and other ethnic leaders fear that elections to a CA will in no way meet their demands.
“We will not give up our revolution if ethnic autonomy is not guaranteed,” said Prabesh Man Shrestha, the general-secretary of the Newar National Liberation Front, a Kathmandu-based ethnic wing of the Maoists.
THe told THT that the revolution would end only if the government announced ethnic autonomous regions clearly, as, according to him, the present centralised political system only allows a group of people to remain in power.
“The issue of constituent assembly itself is abstract, which is not enough to ensure that all the people will have the right to political participation in all spheres,” he said. According to him, not assuring ethnic autonomy would be labelled an anti-revolutionary step and would invite a bigger revolution.
Dr Om Gurung, the general-secretary of the Nepalese Federation of Indigenous People and Nationalities (NEFIN) – the federal body of all 59 ethnic communities – said the Janajatis are not happy with the commitment currently shown by the parties on the issue of Constituent Assembly .
“The decision to hold election to a constituent assembly is welcome, but we are not happy with this alone. We also do not expect them to take up our agenda easily as all the parties are led by upper-class Hindus who have been ruling for centuries,” he said.
“The state should be restructured as the old feudal system has not incorporated everyone’s voice. But restructuring could also mean regional autonomy, which is meaningless for us,” he said.
However, UML leader Shankar Pokhrel said restructuring of the state would automatically solve the problems of ethnic communities. “We are heading for a proportional election system. In this way we don’t even need to set up constituencies. All parties will provide their lists with representation of all sectors and it will come up with inclusive results,” he said.
Published: November 05, 2006 12:00 am On: Nepal

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