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The Journal of Newar Studies - Number 5, NS 1125 / 2004-2005 Shakya, Daya R 2005

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 >Vd   ^200-4/OS
S   :20G-1/e:2 Newah Vijnana
(The Journal of Newar Studies)
ISSN 1536-8661
1125 Number-5 2004-05
Publisher
International Nepal Bhasha
Seva Samiti (INBSS)
Center For Nepalese Language
& Culture
Portland, Oregon USA
Editor
Daya R. Shakya
Assistant Editor
Sudip R. Shakya
Advisor
Prof. Todd Lewis
(CnXV\>VOJ
VA'A'/v <
! 6,\\<C\-0) ■
Designer
Digital Babu
2189 W. 15th Ct.
Eugene, OR 97402
Mailing Address
Newah Vijnana
)7l9NE47,hAve.
Portland, OR 97213
Cover: Siddhilaxmi at Patan Museum
Editorial
One can see that Newah Vijnana has evolved with time. It has seen
much metamorphosis since its first issue back in 1997 not only in the
issues themselves but also the entire Newah community. The Newah
community has been impacted by the demise of many great Newah
scholars and personals. We would like to extend our condolences to
Bhikshu Sudarshan. Iswarananda Shrethacharya, Revati Ramanananda.
Sahu Jyana Jyoti Kansakar, Prof. Bernhard Kolver and Bert van den
Hoek. We are very grateful for their contributions to the Newah
community.
Another type of metamorphoses is seen in the creation of a
worldwide community with the advent boom of the internet. Due to
accesses of international exchanges of information in sophisticated
way through the internet, the popularity of Newah Vijnana is growing
rapidly. Recently, last summer, a Nepal Bhasa web magazine,
www.newapost.com.npz was launched by dedicated Newah people
whose voluntary work has lead to uploading of information pertaining
to the Newah Vijaana journal. We highly recommend you to please
visit the website and click on the Newah Vijnana section to obtain
information on previous issues of this journal. Of the many other
websites that promotes the Newah heritage, www.jwajwalapa.com
deserves a mention. The website contains a group mailing and
subscribers get a chance to participate in various topics on regular
basis allowing them to update and promote the Newah world. For
further details of the available vvebsiles information about Newah
heritage is given in the page 30.
One can feel the impact of the rapidly-spreading regarding the
recognition of Newah heritage and values. Scholars worldwide have
discontinued the use of the word Newari since a paper was submitted
on naming of Newah language. Similarly, our voice against the Nepal
Sambat as Newari Sambat or Newar NewYear has also been taken into
consideration by Newah community around the world as well as by
world scholars. It is believed that Nepal Sambat does not pertain to a
specific ethnic group, but it is a calendar of Nepal and must be
followed by entire Nepalese people. Within these 25 years of Bhintuna
movement, the Nepal Sambat celebration has seen a global
recognition. We have received news of Nepal Sambat being celebrated
in faraway places such as London. The Netherlands, Hong Kong,
Japan, Washington DC, California, Texas and Oregon. The founder of
this Sambat, Shankhadhar Sakhwa, was honored for the establishment
of such amazing era. ' „■
Lastly, we would like to extend our apologies for the much delay
between current issue and past issue and thanks every one of their
patience and constant support. Our thanks also go to Suva Shakya,
Umesh Shrestha for typing the Devnagari materials. We invite
everyone to keep submitting their papers on Newah heritage so that
Newah Vijnana can continue to grow. The valuable comments,
suggestions and submission on relevant topics are the glue that extends
the life span of this journal. Like a metamorphosis of seasons, we are
hoping that the Newah community will continue to evolve for the
better. Thank you for your support Typical Newah Bhoye (Feast)
Photo Courtesy of Raja and Suriita Shresflia, Portland Oregon ontents
Newah Vijnana
AD 2004-05
Number 5
NS 112S
BS 2061/62
English
The Challenges of Multilinguafism in Nepal Tej Ratna Kansakar 01
The Karmacharyas of Bhaktapur Leiko Coyle 12
The Ritual Composition of Sankhu .The Socio-Religious Anthropology of a Newar
Town in Nepal Bal Gopal Shrestha 22
Commercial Recordings of Traditional Newar Music:
A Review Article Brent Bianchi 25
Newah Jhii Newah hey Jui Daya R. Shakya 31
In Memoriam Bert van den Hoek Bal Gopal Shrestha and 34
Han F. Vermeulen
Newah Language Workshop: Newah Bhaye Jydsah.. Tribhuvan R. Tuladhar 40
Cultural, Spiritual, and Nutritional Value of
Samaybaji(A Newah Cuisine) Nirmala Rajbhandari 44
Obituary A 49
Conference, Convention, Seminar, and Lecture Programs. 50
Dissertation and Thesis Abstracts 60
Nepali
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Members and Subscribers' Directory 79 (Newah Vijnana)
A Journal Of Newar Studies
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Swayantbhu Ntihachaitia
Number - 2
NS 1119
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(Newah Vijnana)
The Journal Of Nevvar Studies
Sacred Kmtdtmt DiMnr
Number 4
NS 1121
BS 205KW
for subscription please contact the editor;
Drasha@aol.com The Challenges
Multilingualism in Nepal
Tej R. Kansakar
Tribhuvan University
tejk@mail.com.np
Introduction
This paper seeks to provide an overview of the
complex linguistic and ethnic diversity of Nepal and the
various problems that arise from this situation. Ii wilt
focus on three aspects of multilingualism in Nepal,
namely the distribution of dominant and minority
languages, language contact and language use. and
language endangerment due to rapid decline and
extinction of languages spoken by minority groups.
The paper will illustrate these problems with data on
the demography of speakers. lexical borrowings and
language functions in a multilingual setting.
1. Aspects of Multilingualism in Nepal
1.1 Linguistic Diversity
Like many mountainous countries. Nepal is a
country of great linguistic and cultural diversity. The
extent of this diversity can be seen in the large number
of languages spoken by over 60 ethnic groups. There
are no reliable sources on jusl how many languages and
dialects are in active use in the country, while the
estimates of linguists and scholars, both native and
foreign, have ranged from 56 to 130 languages: see
Malla (1989): 56 languages; Toba (1992): 70 languages; B.Grimes (1991) : 104 languages; Noonan (2000) :
130 languages, The official report of the Central
Bureau of Statistics(CBS), His Majesty's Government
1991 had recorded 32 languages and the 'Other'
category of unnamed languages which alone consists of
half a million speakers. The most recent census data of
2001 records a dramatic increase in the number of
languages from 32 to 93, and these languages are the
representatives of four great language families, namely
Tibeto-Burman, Indo-Aryan. Austro-Asiatic and
Dravidian. together with two controversial language
isolates: Badi and Kusunda The CBS enumerations,
however, may not be reliable as language groups are
generalized as a single language, e.g. the Rai/Kiranii
languages of which Hanson (1991) cites 47 distinct
language names. See Table 1 on Languages of Nepal
where I list over 100 languages and dialects. The one
important aspect of the demography of language users
is that the Sino-Tibetan family has a large number of
languages but few speakers, while the Indo-Aryan is
characterized by few languages with a large number of
native speakers.
Many Nepalese languages are also poorly
documented and linguistic descriptions in the form of
grammars, dictionaries and written texts are available
only on a few languages thai have written scripts. It is
quite possible that surveys in other parts of (he country
may provide information on hitherto unknown
languages and dialects. Although Nepal is a small
country of less than 142 thousand square kilometers,
there is thus immense scope for research on linguTstic,
social, cultural and ethnic diversity prevailing in the
country.
1.2 Language contact and Bilingualism
When people speaking different languages come
into contact, their languages converge and influence
each other. Such convergences take place through
increasing migrations and development of basic
infrastructure in communication systems such as roads,
air services, and electronic media which serve to bring
people together. The growth of social, cultural and
commercial contacts in turn have encouraged linguistic
influences on, for example, Newar from Indo-Aryan (I-
A) and other Tibeto-Burman (T-B) languages of Nepal.
Mutual influences of this kind lead to lexical and
structural borrowings and promote bilingualism or
multilingualism within changing social relationships.
For example, it is very rare to find mono-lingua! Newar
speakers today. Borrowings itself may take various
forms, as can be seen in Table 2a and 2b where we
notice various forms of loan words, such as   (i) direct
Newah Vijnana-5
Kansakar, Tej R./ The Challenges of Multilinguism.. .1 borrowings with some modification in pronunciation
(e.g. lampha for 'lamp', pharam for 'form'); (ii) changes
in the morphological structure of words (e.g. grahdk >
gahav, 'client, customer", jyoti > jati > ja: 'light' );
(iii) compound words or inflected forms of nouns and
verbs that are partly native and partly borrowed (e.g.
syd-pdri 'meat puree', momo-cd 'a small variety of
momo'i pdthya-saphu: 'textbook') ; Classical Newar :
raksd-rape 'to protect, preserve', danda-rape 'to
punish".
In Nepal where there is opposition between
dominant vs. minority languages, it is important to
recognize ihe increasing language shift from indigenous
/ ancestral languages to the official language Nepali.
The use of Nepali for educational, commercial and
professional purposes, creative writings, print and
electronic media has promoted rapid spread of
bilingualism. This has also coincided with the
declining trend in the number of speakers of minority
languages who constitute about 49% of the total
population in Nepal. The present tendency to disfavor
the use of the minority language has produced a
growing number of unstable bilinguals whose
competence in Ihe two languages is clearly unequal.
Table 3a below is extracted from the Census Report of
1991 which for the first time provided data on ethnic
groups and molher-tongue speakers separately. This
(able records an alarming decline in the number of
active speakers. Of particular concern are languages
like Majhi (decline by 79.4 %). Magar (67^8 %),
Danuwar (53.2 %), Gurung (49.2 %), Darai (39.3 %),
Newar (33.7 '7c), Chepang (31.5 %). This report,
however, left several endangered languages such as
Hayu, Dura, Kusunda, Rautya, and Dumi unspecified
by name or number of remaining speakers. These
figures can be compared with the 2001 Census Report
which shows a dramatic increase in the number of
languages spoken in the country from 36 to 93, thanks
to the assistance of the linguists and language scholars
of Tribhuvan University in the enumeration and
classification of the country's languages and dialects.
The 2001 statistics however continue to record a
declining trend in the number of speakers of many
minority languages which indicate obvious signs of
language decay and language loss, as can be seen in
fable 3b. These composite figures point lo a
disproportionate rise in bilingualism in many parts of
ihe country among several ethnic minorities.
According to the Census Report of 1991, Nepali is used
as a second language by over 18 % (3,347.261) of the
total population as compared to 13.3 % reported in the
1952/54 Census Report. The 2001 Census Report
estimates that 0.12 % of the population speaks Newar
as a second language, while Nepali claimed 86.6 % of
all with second language. The percentage of bilinguals
in the other languages is much lower.
1.3 Language Policy and Language Development
In my earlier papers on the language situation and
language planning in Nepal (Kansakar 1996 a,b) 1
referred to the absence of any documented language
policy and the government's failure to implement any
consistent program for the preservation and
development of the country's languages. The only
government-sponsored initiative concerning the
languages of Nepal was the formation of a Nalional
Languages Policy Recommendation Commission,
which compiled vital information and data on the
language situation in Nepal, and made a number of
significant recommendations for the preservation and
development of the country's minority languages in
particular. Among the 58 recommendations made
under various headings, the following can be identified
as the crucial ones:
1. To conduct a comprehensive linguistic survey of
Nepal in order to identify and determine the
actual number of languages spoken in the
country.
2. To promote the languages of the country
through codification and linguistic
descriptions, and to develop the uses of these
languages in education, administration and as
vehicles of mass communica- tion. This task
will include the development of scripts for the
languages that have no written traditions.
3. To identify the endangered languages and take
steps on a priority basis to document, preserve
and develop languages that are on the verge of
extinction.
4. To promote monolingual or hilingual education
in the mother tongue and/or Nepali on the basis
of the ethnic composition of students in particular
areas. This implies that all children have the right
to receive primary education either in the mother
tongue, mother tongue with Nepali, or Nepali
alone.
5. His Majesty's Government to approve and
support those primary schools in the mother
tongue which have been established by the
local people.
6. To establish a separate administrative unit
under the CTSDC of the Ministry of Education
to develop curriculum, implement and promote
mother tongue education.
The Commission submitted its Report to the then
Minister of Education. Culture and Social Welfare of
the Congress Government on 31 Chaitra 2050 B.S.
(1993). The responsibilities expected of the government
bad been clearly spelled out in the Report but it failed
Newah  Vijnana-5
Kansakar, Tej R./ The Challenges of Multilinguism ..2 to implement any of the recommendations. The various
Constitutions in the past had designated Nepali as a
national language in view of its status as a lingua franca
among diverse linguistic communities and its role in the
national life of the country. While no one has disputed
the status of Nepali as an official national language, it
was abundantly clear that the policy of His Majesty's
Government was to promote only the use of Nepali in
education, administration, publication, and the media.
Only two Nepalese languages, Maithili and Newar,
were introduced as optional/elective subjects in the
school and higher education curricula. This dominant
language policy of the government has been questioned
and resisted in recent years. The national referendum in
1979 raised the demand for assigning functional roles to
various native languages so thai each ethnic group
could preserve and strengthen their linguistic and
cultural identity. Following the restoration of
democracy in 1990, Ihe new Constitution recognized all
indigenous languages of Nepal as "national languages"
and guaranteed each community the right to preserve
and promote its language, script and culture. The
Constitution also asserts the fundamental right of each
community to operate schools up to the primary level in
its own mother tongue for imparting education to its
children. Although some language groups such as
Tibetan, Newar, Magar and Limbu have developed
primary level materials in the mother tongue, this is a
remote possibility for most minority languages which
lack functional script or written literature. In the
absence of official commitment and coordination from
the government, programs of literacy in the mother
tongue cannot be implemented for most national
languages. The prevailing low rate of literacy
especially among the minority groups remains a major
challenge to Nepal's development efforts and the
growth of its socio-political infrastructure.
2, Language functions and
Language Use
A large number of unwritten languages in Nepal
are poorly developed in form and usage. Most of these
languages have no literature or descriptive materials
like grammars, dictionaries and teaching materials.
There is therefore a very urgent need to develop the
functional uses of minority languages (or language
varieties) in written and spoken discourse, including
literacy programs and mass media (radio/TV or
publications) to upgrade the status of a language, both
socially and politically. In the multilingual situations
that prevail in many parts of the country, diaglossia or
the varieties of the same language in the form of social
or regional dialects is a common phenomenon. In each
of these dialect clusters, the variety that is used by a
large proportion of speakers for socio-cultural and
professional purposes is often recognized as the
standard language. A language also becomes
standardized through extensions of use in written
literature, education (literacy, school, and higher
education), linguistic descriptions (dictionaries,
grammars), print and electronic media.
One important aspect of language contact is the
specialization of function of one language or the other.
Which language is appropriate or desirable in which
situations may reveal interesting details about the
sociology of each language for a particular speaker or
group of speakers, fable 4 is a summary of (he uses of
various languages by an average educated Newar
person in Nepal:
(1) Everyone at home speaks only Newar; e.g. in
gathering of family members and relatives on
occasions such as festivals, life cycle rituals such
as annaprasana, bratabandha, budhaa janko, etc.
(2) Use of Newar at home only with peers (husband-
wife), but Nepali or English with children.
(3) Some Newar but more Nepali on social
occasions such as marriage or birthday parties
where the guests include many non-Newars.
(4) In academic or professional life. Newar is hardly
used as a medium of discourse. Nepali and
English are used predominantly in meetings,
seminars, conferences, lectures and speeches. In
school education, Nepali is Ihe primary medium
of instruction in the classroom and as a
communicative medium outside the class. At the
hisher education levels, however, there is more
use of English than Nepali.
(5) Nepali is used exclusively in government offices,
Nepalese Banks, NGO offices, corporations,
libraries and private agencies.
(6) In market places one can hear more Nepali than
Newar. and increasingly Hindi due lo influx of
Hindi-speaking traders and workmen from
southern Nepal and India.
(7) Newar speakers today are exposed to a good deal
of print and electronic media where Nepali and
English dominate over Newar and Hindi.
(8) Newar is still used widely as a written language
in creative literature and personal
correspondence, but official reports and letters to
non-Newar are mainly in Nepali or English.
(9) The Newars use Sanskrit to say their prayers, and
they listen to the Vajracarya priest recite the
Buddhist sutras in Sanskrit without
understanding their meaning.
Points of interest in Table 4:
Newah Vijhana-5
Kansakar, Tej R./ The Challenges of Multilinguism ..3 1. An educated Newar speaks Nepali as much as or
more than his mother-tongue.
2. S/he uses more English than either Newar or
Nepali in academic or technical professions.
3. S/he has more options for use of Nepali than
Newar, i.e. there are far more language functions
for his communicative needs in Nepali.
4. When there are options for Newar or English.
English takes priority in many social situations.
5. S/he has increasing exposure to Hindi due to
political discourse, Hindi films and newscasts,
trade and commerce with India, the influx of
Indian tourists and Hindi-speaking traders and
laborers especially in the Kathmandu Valley.
As a result, there are many Nepalese, including
Newars. who speak Hindi fluently today.
6. The use of Sanskrit is confined to recitation of
sacred texts by a Vajracarya priest during
religious rituals and daily prayers. The Newars
of the younger generation do not say their daily
prayers in Sanskrit any more.
It is thus clear from the above observations that
today's Newar speakers are in general fairly versatile in
the use of various national and foreign languages which
defines the range of language functions they control and
the extent or frequency of their contact with other
languages. This, however, is only a test case involving
the Newar community of Kathmandu Valley, and there
will obviously be a good deal of variations and different
sets of priorities in the functional uses of various
languages.
3.    Language Endangerment
3. / Causes and Processes of language Decline
As noted in 1.2 above, a large number of minority
languages in Nepal have recorded declining active
speakers. The present estimate is that no more than
three dozen of the languages in Table 1 are spoken by
more than 5,000 people. There are several factors
which may account for this situation among many
language communities:
(a) The adults fluent in Nepali increase intra-elhnic
communication in this official language. As
younger people do not learn Iheir ancestral
language, inter-communication in the language
also shows a corresponding decline.
(b) Proficiency in Nepali is essential for educational
development, official work and job prospects.
(c) Most linguistic communities are small in size.
There is extensive bilingualism, poverty and lack
of government support for minority languages.
The   prospects   for   survival   of  most   national
languages therefore are very bleak. The statistics
given in Tables 3a and 3b indicate the decline in
the percentage of ethnic populations who
continue to speak their ancestral language.
These statistics are in many ways alarming due
to their rapid decline and the severely
endangered status of several of these languages.
(d) There is large-scale migration of young people-
leaving their villages for cities to find work.
(e) An increasing number of marriages take place
outside their ethnic or caste affiliations.
(f) The connection between language and ethnicity
is not as strong as in many parts of the world.
One remains a Majhi. Gurung or Hayu even
when one ceases to speak one's ancestral
language. Traditional marriage patterns and the
morc-or-less officially sanctioned caste system
support this situation.
All these factors have obviously contributed to the
rapid degeneration and possible extinction of many
minority languages in the foreseeable future. For
example, the 2001 Census Report records some 24
languages which have less than 500 speakers. These
include some of the languages which have been
enumerated for the first time, namely Rautc (518
speakers), Baram / Brahmu (342), Kusunda (87), Koche
(54). Kagate (10). Kuki (9). Chintang (8). Lhomi (4).
etc. The one classic case is that of Kusunda which has
become a symbol of language endangerment in Nepal.
This controversial language isolate was believed by
many to have been extinct or survived by only two
speakers living a nomadic life in the Mid-Western
forest areas of Rapti. The 2001 Census Report then
came up with a surprising discovery of 164 Kusunda
people with 87 active speakers. If these indeed are
authentic figures, the language and its speakers deserve
lo be investigated thoroughly under a separate research
project.
3.2 Implications of language loss / extinction
(a) As referred to above, a vast majority of Nepalese
languages are threatened and most of these
languages are neither described nor documented.
Foriabout 65 of the languages in Table I there are*
simple word lists, and only a few have
dictionaries and grammatical descriptions of any
sort. The remaining languages have no
documentation whatsoever. Hale et.al (1992).
Robins & Uhlenbeck (1991), Noonan (1999)
have highlighted the need for awareness and
research on endangered languages before ihey
become extinct.
Newah  Vijhana-5
Kansakar, Tej R./ The Challenges of Multilinguism ...4 (b) Language death leads to a loss of cultural and
intellectual diversity in today's increasingly
mono-cultural world. There is thus an inevitable
loss of culturally-based knowledge (such as
creation myths, medicinal lore, arts and crafts
etc).
Monosyllabic vs polysyllabic morphemes:
Newar case morphemes: ji T, ji-T 'by me" ji-ke
'with me',ji-ta 'for me, jigu 'mine'.
Presence    vs    absence    of    complex    verb
agreement:
(c) Language endangerment / extinction also leads
to loss of" information about the nature of
language and cognition which are essential for
advancement of linguistic theory and typological
studies.
(d) There is, for instance, considerable debate
among Sino-Tibetan scholars concerning the
sub-grouping of languages within the family.
The resolution of these debates will depend on
the presence of solid descriptive materials. For
example, do we reconstruct verb agreement
morphology for Proto Tibeto-Burman or tone for
Proto Sino-Tibetan? Such questions cannot be
answered without good descriptive materials.
(e) Nepal is situated at the geographical
convergence of a number of important language
families representing different typologies or
clusters of linguistic features. Matisoff (1973)
designated the Himalayan region as Indo-spheric
(Indie) and Sino-spheric (Sinitic), but the case
for Nepal is a bit more complicated as it
incorporates Auslro-Asiatic / Munda and
Dravidian (Ur-Himalayan) families as well.
(0 This situation res'ults in great typological
diversity for so small an area (142 thousand sq.
kilometers). A few of the more prominent
isoglosses (the distribution of certain linguistic
features in a given geographical area), which run
throughout the length and breadth of the country,
are as follows:
Phonological
1. Presence vs absence of retroflex consonants:
T. TH, D, DH vs t. th. d, dh
2. Presence vs. absence of tone systems:
Lexical tone in Thakali :
yana = to count; yana = to sneeze
3. Presence vs absence of distinctive murmur/
brealhiness:
b d g 1 m        n
bh       dh       gh       Ih        mh      nh
4. Two-way vs three-way glottal timing contrasts:
voicing, aspiration / breathiness. glottal stop
Morphological
Limbu:
Non-Preterit
Preterit
Is.
-?cn
-angnen
Idi
-si
-etchi
Ide
-sige
-etchige
Ip,
-0
-e
Ipe
-ige
-m?na
Newar;
wan-
'lo go'
NPst
Pst
Conj
wane
wan-ii
Disj
wan-i
wan-a
Analytic vs. inflectional reflexive:
Newar:
Norn
lha:   'oneself
Ag-I-Ab
tha:-ma-a
Com
tha:-ya-ke
Dat
tha:-ya-ta
Gen
lha:-va
Presence vs. absence of conjunct / disjunct systems:
Tibetan, Newar vs Rai / Kiranti
Mixed prefixing / suffixing systems vs wholly
or predominantly suffixing systems:
Limbu :   2s ke-verb-0 vs     Central Himakvyan
2dke-verb-si
2p   ken-verb-sin
langs:
Newar, Chepajpg.
Magar, Raute.
Rajhi
Syntactic
Converbial constructions vs verb serialization:
Nepali:      ga-era lyau-nu 'go and bring'
gari-di-nu 'do-give-inf
Newar:      wan-a: ka-ya ha-ti    'go-takc-bring'
Use of nominafizalions vs participles or relative
clauses for clausal modification of nouns:
Nepali:      ga-ye ko barsa 'the year that is past"
Newar:       wa-a saphu: bil-a     'He gave a book'
saphu: byu;-mha      'The one who
gave the book."
Consistently ergative syntax vs aspeclually split
ergative syntax vs accusative syntax:
Newar:       khicaa sit-a 'The dog died."
wa-a khica syat-a     'S/he killed the dog."
Presence     vs     absence    of    'dative     subject'
constructions:
Newar:     wa yata dheba mal-a
'S/he needs money.*
Newah  Vijnana-5
Kansakar, Tej R./ The Challenges of Multilinguism ..J5 wa-ya-ta kha thu-ya wal-a
\S\he came to understand the matter,
ji-ta tyanul-a
"I am tired.'
5. Presence vs absence of honorific verb and noun
stems:
Newar:      cha   wa 'You come!'
(Non-honorific)
chi   jhasa 'Please come!'
(Honorific)
cha:-pt7   chas-pola bijya-hu
(High   Honorific)
6. Presence vs absence of numeral classifiers;
Newar:      cha-gu saphu: 'one object book '
cha-mha manu:        'one animate
person'
cha-kha che 'one structure
house'
ni-ju-lakA 'two pairs of shoes'
sva-pa de:ma 'three plates'
pye-pu cvasa 'four pens'
nya-phva svA 'five flowers'
4. Conclusion
The language situation in this country being a very
complex one requires the government to formulate a
consistent language policy and planning based on all
available linguistic data and information. It will also be
necessary for a government / non-government agency
or the University to conduct specific field research on
the following areas:
(a) What is the official policy on Nepali and the
other national languages of Nepal? What is the
status of a foreign language such as English? We
need reliable information to these questions.
(b) We also need statistical data on the use of
languages in education, administration, press and
publications (including curriculum and
educational materials, books and journalistic
writings), internal and external trade and
commerce, and research. In other words, which
languages are being used for these purposes, to
what extent are they used, and where are they
used?
(c) It might also be very revealing to conduct area-
wise surveys of the intelligibility ratings between
different languages and dialects to discover the
nature of bilingualism in each area in terms of
mutual comprehension and extent of use, and
what advantages or disadvantages are perceived
by a bilingual person.
(d) It is widely recognized that the study of how
languages change can provide valuable insights
into social and cultural changes. Similarly, the
study of the impact of language on social.
political and educational fields can also provide
essential input to language policy and its
implementation. The Report of the National
Languages Policy Recommendation
Commission, referred to above, is a good
beginning to prepare groundwork for
sociolinguislic research which can be of
immense benefit to government planners,
education officers and administrators who need
to formulate various policies on management of
human resources.
References
Grimes. Barbara   (Ed.). 1991.   The Elhnologue : The Languages of
the World. Arlington, Te*as :
Summer Institute of Linguistics
Hale. Austin    et.al.  1992.    "Sociolinguislic Survey of Nepal  :  A
Proposal". Tribhuvan University :
Research  Centre for Nepal and  Asian  Sludies /  Summer  Inslilute
of Linguistics
Hansson. Gerd.  1991.    The Rai  of Eastern  Nepal  ;  Ethnic and
Linguistic Grouping. Findings of Ihe
Linguistic Survey of Nepal.   Edited & an Introduction by   Wemer
Winter.    Kathmandu  : Linguistic Survey of Nepal / CNAS.
Tribhuvan University.
Kansakar. Tej R. 1993. "The Tibeto-Burman languages of Nepal : A
Genera! Survey"
Contributions to Nepalese Studies 20:2.  163-173.
Kansakar. Tej R    1996a,    "Multilingualism and    ihe     language
Situation I n Nepal" Linguistics of
ihe    Tibeto-Burman    Area  19:2.  17-30.    University of California.
Berkeley.
Kansakar. Tej R. 1996b-  "Language Planning and  Modernization in
Nepal". Nepalese Linguistics m
Vol. 13. 1-13.
Kansakar, Tej R.  1998. "The Sociology of the Newar language".
Newaah Vijnaana : The Journal
of Newar Studies No.2. Nepal  Sambat   1119 (1998/1999).   17-27.
Portland : Oregon. USA.
Malla. Kamal P. 1969.  "Language and Society in Nepal", in: Kamal
P. Malla (Ed.) Nepal
Perspective    on    Continuity and Change.    445-466.  Kathmandu  :
CNAS. T.U.
Matisoff. James A. 1973.   The Grammar of Lahu.   Berkeley & Los
Angeles : University of California Press.
Noonan.    Michael.    1999.       "Nar-Phu".    In:    The    Sino-Tibetan
Languages, edited by Randy LiiPolla and Graham Thurgood.
Richmond. UK : Cur/on Press
Population Census  1991: National Report.    Kathmandu :    Central
Bureau of Statistics.
Population Census 2001: National Report.    Kathmandu  :    Central
Bureau of Statistics.
Robins.   Robert   H.   &   Eugenius   M.   Uhlenbeck   (Eds).    1991.
Endangered Languages Oxford / Los
Angeles : Berg.
Toba. Sucyoshi. 1992. Language Issues in Nepal Kathmandu
Saindan Books & Stationers.
Newah  Vijnana-5
Kansakar, Tej R./ The Challenges of Multilinguism...6 Appendices
Table 1: iMttguages of Nepal
Tibeto-Burman
Barhamu / Baram
Bhramu
Bhujel / Gharti
Byangsi
Chepang
Darmiya / Darimiya
Dhimal
Dura
Ghale
Jirel
Kaike
Kham
Kiranti
Athpare/Athpariya
Bahing ? Rumdali
Bantawa
Belhare/Belhariya
Camling/Rodong
Chatthare Limbu
Chitang
Chourase/Umbule
Chulung
Cukwa
Dumi
Dungmali
Haya/Wayu/Wayo
Jrung
Khaling
Kodova
Koi/Koyu
Kulung
Limbu
Lingkhim
Lohorong
Lurnba-Yakkha
Mewahang
Mugali
N ace ring
Phangduali
Puma
Sam/Saam
Sunuwar
Thulung
Tilung
Waling
Yakkha
Yamphe
Yamphu
Lepcha/Rong
Magar
Meche/Bodo
Newar 'dialects'
Bhaktapur
Citlang
Dolakha
Kathmadu-Patan
Pahari
Phri
Raji
Rangkas
Raute
Tamangj'c
Chanlyal
Gurung
Managba
Nar-phu
Tamang
Thakali
Tibetan 'dialects
Dangar
Dolpa/Dolpo
Glo Skad/Lhoba/Loba
Helambu Sherpa/Yolmo
Humla
Bhotia/Dangali/ Ph oke
Kag/Baragaunle
Kagale/Syuwa
Lhasa Tibetan/Zang
Lhoml
Mugal [Mugali]
Sherpa
Tichurong
Zhar
Indo-European
Abadhi/Awadht/Baiswari
Kojalt
Bengali
Bhojpuri
Bote/Kushar
Danuwar
Darai
Gangai
Hindi
Kumhale/Kumal
Maithili
Majhi
Marwan
Nepali/Gorkhali/Khas Kura
Rajnbansi/Tajpuri/Koce
Tharu
Urdu
Austro-Asiatic [Munda]   -
Santhali/Sattar/Hor
Mundari
Kharia
Koruwa
Dravidian
Kurux//Dhangar/Jhangar
Isolates
Badif?]
Kusunda
Table 2a:  Lexical borrowings in Newar from various source languages (Kansakar N.S. 1119/ 1998-1999: 24 25)
Source language Newar forms Gloss
Nepali:
numerals
days of the week
date, month, year
weights & measures
mec, pap, asa, jagir
ghu:s. bhrastacar
rajduit, bhag, annya
phasad, apadh
mantri. sAsad
anubhav, casma
ghadi, kaeci
ek, dui, tin etc
vrihaspatibar / bihibar   ;.
Phalgun sath gate 2058
pau, dharni   < Sanskrit
mec, pap, asa, jagir
ghu:s, bhrastacar
rajduit, bhag, annya
phasad, apat
mantri, sAsad
anubhab, casma
ghadi, kaeci
one, two three, etc
Thursday, elc
7th Phalgun
Vikram Sambat 2058
1 pau = 200 grams;
1 dharni = 2 kilos, 400 grams
chair, sin, hope, job
bribery, corruption
ambassador, share, unjust
difficulty, crisis
minister, parliament
experience, spectacles
watch, scissors
Newah  Vijnana-5
Kansakar, Tej R./ The Challenges of Multilinguism ...7 nvaksan, gaph-saph
nvaksan, gaph-saph
damage / loss, gossip
khali, khvasnu
khali, khvasae yaye
empty, to dismiss from ;
Sanskrit:
grahak
gaha:
customer, client
acarya
aca-ju
priest
palistha
paltha
consecrate
svarga
sarga:
sky, heaven
pathyakram
pathyakram
curriculum
pathya-puslak
pathya-Saphu:
text-book
pa:th, dharmasala
pa:tha, dharmasala
lesson, charity house
Stri-purusa
ni-mha tipu:
husband & wife, couple
lya:g
tya:ga
renunciation
pascima
pachima
west
yekanta
yekanta
solitary, alone
suwa:la
suwa:
blessing, praise
ghritam
ghya:
clarified butter
mahisa
mye:
buffalo
gosthi
guthi
group
hansa
hay
duck, goose
svasa
sasa:
breath
markala
maka:
monkey
dhupa
dhu
incense
deva
dya:
devine being, deity
Prakrit   <      Sanskrit
jyoti        >
jati
ja:   (-la)
light
sora       >
sola
sa:   (-la)
sound, voice
agama   ■>
agam
aga: (-ma)
sacred shrine
kona      >
kuna
ku:   (-na)
corner
jora         >
jor
jva: (-la)
pair
karkataka >
kakali
ka:li
crab
Hindi
Persian
rojgar
laskara
saman
maida
rikape
stpaht
haftah
ta-.kat
lajaga:
lascar
saman
maida
rikapi
sipami
hapta
taigal
sipai
job, employment
crowd, gathering
goods, merchandise
fine wheat flour
small plate
soldier
week
energy, strength, power
Tibetan
sya
phi:
Cyafi
momo
la
mar-sya
sya-pari
phT:
saecya
momo-ca
meat
raw meat
meat-puree
buck-wheat noodles
ball / brick tea
steamed meat-ball & flour
Newah Vijnana-5
Kansakar, Tej R./ The Challenges of Multilinguism..S English
file
phail
class
kilas
form
pharam
school
iskul
(amp
lampha
stove
istobh
suitcase
sutkes
toilet
tvaitet
rubber
rabar
box
bakas
driver
daibar
tractor
tyaktar
motor
matar
underwear
andarwel
football
phutba:l
waistcoat
iskot
brush
burus
foreign
phoran
general
jarnel
gram, kilogram
gram, kilogram
colonel
karnel
inch, foot, metre
inci, phut, mitar
bicycle
baiskal
film
philim
computer
kamputar
video, antenna
bhidiwa:, antena
radio
rediwa
glass, x-ray, injection
gilas, yeksrae, injeksan
thermometer
digri
Table 2b: Lexical borrowings in Newar from various source languages
It is obvious that the loans from English consist of words for which there are no equivalents in the
Newar language since the majority of these words are of modern usage. However, Nepali continues
to be the primary source language for borrowings in Newar, and the majority of these have native
equivalents. This process has unfortunately replaced many Newar words, as can be seen in the
examples given below:
Nepali
Newar equivalents
Gloss
kitab
saphu:
kalam
cvasa
khushi
layta
cithi
pau
candrama
timila
prasna
nhyasa:
javaph
lisa:
jahan / srimati
kala:
jiu
mha
jhola
rnhica
parivar
ja:
prakasak
pikaka
patrika
cvasu muna
bicar
dhapu
pramana
dasu
bibhinna
thithi
sampadak
munaka
sapha-sughar
sucu-picu
sthapna
palistha
samparka
svapu
akhbar
bukha pau
ascarya
aju caye
The borrowings in the opposite
direction, howev<
Source language :
Newar
Nepali
jyabha:
jyabal
j-yasa (sala)
jyasal
book
pen
joy, happiness
letter
moon
question
answer
wife
body
bag
family
publisher
journal \ magazine
idea, thought, opinion
proof, evidence
different, various
editor
neat and clean
establish
contact, connection
newspaper
to be surprised
Gloss
tool
work place
Newah  Vijnana-5
Kansakar, Tej Ft./ The Challenges of Multil inguism ,.S jyami
]yami
work person
kapa:      <
Sanskril
kapal
forehead
dega: (gala)
degal
temple
bi-nhA-bi
bina:bi    move aside!
kwati
kwAti
meat and bean soup
suku:
sukul
straw mat
cakusi
caksi
sweet citrus fruit
lapte
lapes
large green leaf used p
jhyalinca
jhyalinca
dragon-fly
khya:      <
Hindi
khyali
fun and laughter
kharaca <
Hindi
kharayo
rabbit
bagica    <
Hindi <
Persian   bagaica
garden
Compound forms
Nepali
Borrowed forms
Newar
Gloss
nimtyau-nu
nimta yaye
bvon-e
to invite
kamau-nu
kamay yaye
dheba mun-e
to earn
mat-nu
mate-juye
thva kaye
to intoxicate
hep-nu
hepay yaye
hibay cabay
to humiliate
bhasan gar-nu
bhasan yaye
nvacu biye
to give a speech
Table 3a: Decline in active speakers of various Nepalese languages, Census Report 1991
Languages
Caste/Ethnic group
Speakers
Decline
Percentage
t.     Majhi
55,050
11,322
-43,728
79.4
2.     Magar
1,339,308
430,264
-909,044
67.8
3.     Danuwar
50,754
23,721
-27,033
53.2
4.     Gurung
449,189
227,918
-221,271
49.2
5.     Darai
10,759
6,520
-4,239
39.3
6.     Newari
1,041,090
690,007
-351,083
33.7
7.     Chepang
36,656
25,097
-11,559
31.5
8.    Tharu
1,194,224
993,388
-200,836
16.8
9.     Rai/Kirat
525,551
439,312
-86,239
16.4
10.   Limbu
297,186
254,088
-43,098
14.5
11.   Tamang
1,018,252
904,456
-113,796
11.1
Table 3b: Decline in active speakers of various Nepalese languages, Census Report 2001
Languages
Caste/Ethnic group
Speakers
Decline
Percentage
1.     Majhi
72,614
(0.32)
21,841
(0.10)
-50,773
69.9
2.     Magar
1,622,421
(7.14)
770,116
(3.39)
-852,305
52.5
3.     Danuwar
53,229
(0.23)
31,849
(0.14)
-21,380
40.1
4.    Gurung
543,571
(2.39)
338,925
(1.49)
-204,646
37.6
5.     Darai
14,859
(0.07)
10,210
(0.04)
-4,649
31.2
6.     Newar
1,245.232
(5.48)
825,458
(3.63)
-419,774
33.7
7.     Chepang
52,237
(0.23)
36,807
(0.16)
-15430
29.5
8.    Tharu
1,622,421
(6.75)
1,331,546
(5.86)
-290,875
17.9
9.     Rai
635,151
(2.79)
10.   Limbu
359,379
(1.58)
333,633
(1-47)
-25,746
7.1
11.   Tamang
1,282,304
(5-64)
1,179,145
(5.19)
-83,159
6.5
12.   Hayu
1,821
(0.01)
1,743
(0.01)
-78
4.2
Newah  Vijnana-5
Kansakar, Tej R./ The Challenges of Multilinguism.."! O Fable 4:    The uses of various languages by an average educated Newar person. The numerals 1-4 indicate
the order of priority   in language use, i.e. 1 is the first choice with the highest priority and 4 is the
fourth choice with the lowest priority. (Kansakar NS 1119 / 1998-99 : 26)
Newar
Nepali
English
Hindi
Sanskrit
1 .Conversation with:
a. peers
1
b.  children
1
2
c colleaques & friends
1
2
d.  Indians & foreigners
2
1
2. Social occasions:
a. festivals & bratabandha
1
b. birthdays, marriages
2
1
3. Academic/ professional:
a.   meetings (Departmental)
1
2
b. seminars (National)
1
2
c. conferences (International)
1
d. lectures, speeches
2
1
4. Official/ semi-official:
a.   govt, offices, banks etc
1
b.   foreiqn agencies
1
c.   hospitals
1
2
5. Shopping
2
1
3
6. Print & Electronic media
3
1
2
4
7. Written language :
a.   creative literature
1
2
b.   reports
1
2
c.   personal letters te :
Newars
1
2
Non-Newars
1
2
8.   Prayers & religious rituals
1
CARAVAN
to
LHASA
;::  I.-i^i-jail TiScI •
Just published...
For centuries, merchants of Kathmandu have
traveled to Lhasa to conduct trade. Their epic journeys
over the Himalaya and across the Tibetan Plateau
by mule caravan have become the stuff of folklore.
Their contributions to the sacred art of Nepal and Tibet
have been enshrined in Himalayan cultural history.
However, the full story of the Lhasa Newars is still not
well known. Caravan to Lhasa is an enthralling
account of trie life and times of these adventurer
merchants.
Title: Caravan to Lhasa
Author: Kama! Tuladhar
Publisher: Tuladhar Family, Kathmandu, Nepal, 2004
Pages: 136+4; Illustrations: 10; ISBN: 999338785-1
Price in Nepal: Rs. 150
Available at: Himalayan Book Centre, Bag Bazaar,
Kathmandu
Newah  VijfiSna-5
Kansakar, Tej R./ The Challenges of Multi linguism..1 1 hie Karmacharyas
of Bhaktapur
and       Tantric
Tradition in Nepal
Leiko Coyle
Nityananda Institute
Portland, Oregon. USA
I: Introduction to the Karmacharyas
The ancient city of Bhaktapur, located eight miles
east of Kathmandu, holds great importance in the
history of Nepal and its people. Home to the Newars,
the indigenous people of the valley. Bhaktapur fostered
some of Nepal's most significant cultural and religious
traditions. For centuries, Bhaktapur served as the
Nepalese capital and the seat of the royal palace. Under
the rule of the Malla kings from the 12th to the 16th
century, Bhaktapur and the Newars
developed a flourishing social,
political and cultural system that
influenced Nepal and its people for
centuries thereafter. One of the
main features of the Malla reign
was the ascendance of a caste of
royal tantric priests called
Karmacharyas.
The Newars created the royal
city of Bhaktapur based on the
model of a tantric mandala. Much
like a cosmic map of the region, the
mandala represents a type of idyllic
blueprint for the city. Robert I.
Levy, author of Mesocosm:
Hinduism and ihe Organization of
a Traditional Newar City in Nepal
and an expert in the field of
Nepalese history, describes the
notion of a mandala as "a pervasive
South Asian representation of a
contained area within which "ritual'
held and concentrated" (Levy, 1990:153). At a time
when the kings ruled with a religious mandate,
Bhaktapur symbolized the ultimate fusion of secular
power and spiritual devotion.
To ensure  the protection  and  prosperity of the
kingdom, the ruling kings in Bhaktapur employed the
The Goddess Siddhilaksmi
boundary  and   its
power and order is
Karmacharyas to perform elaborate devotional rituals to
the local deities. Since people believed that the land
and its inhabitants rested in the hands of the gods, ritual
worship of these deities was essential for the livelihood
of the kingdom. For centuries, the kings held the
Karmacharyas in high esteem for their power and
knowledge of esoteric goddess-based rituals. Their
practices and ritual tradition had an important social,
political and cultural impact on the development of
Nepal as a result of their association with the royal
temples. However, with the fall of the
Malla dynasty in the 18th century, the
Karmacharyas lost their position in the
royal court and with it their status in
society.
Today, most Nepalese people have
almost entirely forgotten the influence
of the Karmacharyas. Despite the
Karmacharya's pivotal role in the
development of Nepalese culture, little
documentation survives of the history
of the group and the impact of their
practices. Under the rule of the
Gorkhas from the eighteenth century,
Ihe kings tried to promote national
identity based on a new concept unity.
The Newars were the main target of this
subjugation. The     Karmacharyas.
emblems of Newar culture,  lost  their
standing in the new social system.
In an effort to shed light on the
ancient tradition of karmacharya tantric practice,
Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu is leading a
research project to study the Karmacharyas and
document their impact on Nepalese social
development.'
The ethnographic-based portion of the study will
follow a survey of written materials. This includes field
observation, interaction and interviews with local
Newah  Vijnana-5
Coyle, Leiko/ The Karmacharyas.. .1 2 Karmacharyas living in Bhaktapur. Through extensive
observation and participation in ceremonial events,
committee members conduct an analysis of ritual
practices, with the aid of photographic and video
documentation. Lastly, the researchers produce a report
of findings based on the assembled data. The outline
for a list of chapters is as follows:
• Historical Background
• Origin and Development of
• Shaivism and Shaktism
• Emergence and Classification of
• the Karmacharyas
• Relation with Shakti Goddess Cult
• Karmacharyas and Tantrism
• Secular Role of Karmacharyas
• Conclusion
The Research
1 first heard about Ihe
karmacharya research
project in 2001 during a
five-month stay in Nepal,
where I had been studying
ancient Buddhist and
Hindu religious practices
around the region. Shortly
thereafter, the University
invited me to participate in
the project as an
apprentice researcher. As
an undergraduate student
of anthropology, my
research qualifications were rudimentary. However,
having spent two of the last four years in Kathmandu
studying the customs and social behavior of ihe
Nepalese people, I had already developed a sense of
and deep appreciation for Nepalese culture. While my
knowledge about the Karmacharyas was lacking, my
experiences of daily life in Nepal and interest in the
religious traditions at the core of that life gave me a
solid ground on which to build. Despite having little
training in ethnographic fieldwork, I had substantial
experience living in Nepal. This project provided an
opportunity to focus my experiences and put them in an
anthropological     framework. "The    committee    of
researchers generously allowed me to put my
experience to work by taking part in such a rare and
worthy project.
As a member of ihe research team. I resided from
March-June 2002 in the Kathmandu Valley doing
fieldwork on Karmacharyas living in Bhaktapur. In
preparation for the project, I read numerous texts on
Nepal and its religious traditions, including Robert 1.
Levy's Mesocosm, the preeminent work on Hinduism
among the Newars. I attended committee meetings and
was present at two karmacharya ritual ceremonies. 1
explored Bhaktapur visiting important karmacharya
temples, which I photographed when appropriate. I
interviewed different members of the committee.
Throughout, 1 kept a journal of my experiences,
observations and information relevant to the project.
Due to finances and schooling commitments 1
remained in Kathmandu for only four out of the
seventeen months of research (I hope to return
sometime before the end of the project). As a result,
my findings are somewhat inconclusive in relation to
the ultimate goal of the research project. There are still
many unanswered questions and mysteries surrounding
the Karmacharyas. However, it is my intention in this
paper  to  provide   some   important   insights   into   the
Karmacharyas and
their tradition by
reflecting on my
personal experiences
among them.
My status as a
foreign woman had
both advantages and
disadvantages to my
work as a researcher.
As the only female in
an all-male
committee. my
presence was
somewhat awkward
and obvious. In a
group of older mostly
Asian males, my
comments and questions were often received with
mixed reactions. Even in the 21st century, most
Nepalese men view woman as subordinate. Because
opinionated and curious women are not commonplace
in Nepal, it often seemed inappropriate to speak out,
even with a question. However, this factor also worked
in my favor by allowing me to focus on the research
process within the cultural context of its constituents.
As an outsider. I was able to observe the process of
conducting a research project and the dynamics of
committee members with some degree of detachment.
While my peripheral position did not involve any direct
participation in the committee's decision making
process, it did allow me to see from a female western
viewpoint, the limitations and biases that arise in an all-
male Asian system and how they might influence the
outcome of the project.
Generally, Nepalese tend to avoid direct
confrontation. Similarly, in Nepalese culture one
avoids directness when communicating. Silence in the
company of others is more common than a constant
Detail of Facade of Bhairava Temple, Bhaktapur
Newah  Vijhana-5
Coyle,  Leiko/ The  Karmacharyas .. .1 3 How of conversation. Unlike the West, where
directness and confrontation are customary, Nepalese
tend to agree with others, despite one's true feelings. As
a result, I observed numerous occasions where
committee members would agree to one thing and then
do something entirely different, or claim to have done
something which they never did. More often than not,
this type of behavior leads to unnecessary
misunderstandings and delays in the expedition of
tasks. For an American, this can be quite exasperating.
Nonetheless, it allowed me to understand the cultural
context in which the committee functions and the exlent
to which that context impacts the overall perspective of
the research.
Two personal reasons
motivated me to take part in
this project. Firstly, I have a
deep love of and
appreciation for Nepal and
its people. With constant
pressure from the Indians in
the South and ihe Chinese to
the North, the Nepalese have
maintained a distinct culture
rich in spirituality and
unique in character. It is a
land where Hinduism and
Buddhism exist side by side,
in many cases overlapping
and flowing into one
another. The terrain, with
Ihe majestic Himalayan
range encompassing a valley
of terraced rice fields and
pastures stretching as far as
Ihe eye can see provide an
awe-inspiring sight. Due
largely to the ancient
religious traditions that
continue to function at the
core of the Nepalese social
system,   Nepal   maintains  a
living connection to the past, despite its industrial
developments of recent years. Daily worship still occurs
at temples built centuries ago and worship and prayer
continue to be defining features of Nepalese life.
The karmacharya tradition, one of the earliest and
most influential religious traditions of Nepal have
developed into a part of the fabric of modern day
Nepalese faith. As a result, it is important to bring
recognition and honor to the Karmacharyas and their
tradition as a fundamental root of Nepalese culture.
This paper attempts to bring a different perspective to
the research process. Although this work mainly
focuses on the history and tradition of the
Karmacharyas, I hope to provide a sense of the overall
Stone Temple of Goddess Siddhilaksmi,
Bhaktapur
process through which I came to know about the
Karmacharyas and their practices. Professor Douglas
Raybeck describes ethnography as "a process of
becoming familiar with the uneven cultural terrain that
lies below the seeming placidity of the surface''
(2(XM):17). As a student of anthropology, I strive
constantly to be aware of and reflect on my own
perspectives, biases and ideals which impact my
observations and shape the data I collect. The
following pages illustrate my personal experience with
the Karmacharyas as well as the context in which those
experiences took place. Although incomplete, my
findings lie on a foundation upon which I hope to build
a deeper understanding of the Karmacharyas and of
Nepalese culture in the future. In this
way, I hope to share something of the
beauty and uniqueness of Nepal with
the rest of the world.
II:   Historical Background of
Bhaktapur, the Newars, & the
Karmacharyas
The country of Nepal situated
between India to the south and
China's Tibet to the north, is a unique
and important ancient site in the
history of the Asian continent. With
drastic geographic diversity. Nepal is
home to low-lying jungles, vast plains
and enormous mountainous ranges.
Among these regions, Kathmandu
Valley holds the highest"
concentration of people, including the
indigenous population of Newars.
The Newars are the original
inhabitants of the Kathmandu Valley
and the founders of what is known
today as Nepali culture. From around
the 1st or 2nd century A.D. a political
system was introduced into Nepal by
a North Indian king and his ruling court, the Licchavis.
While Sanskrit was the language of the Indian rulers, it
was limited primarily to ceremonial and traditional
arenas. Among locals Nepa! Bhasha, the language of
the New&rs, was most commonly used in everyday life.
While Sanskrit and Indian mores were applied at a
court level, Newar culture nourished among the people
of the valley.
During this period and for the next several decades,
Newar culture in Kathmandu valley prospered. Ihe
rich valley soil and complex system of irrigation called
"terracing" allowed for efficient and successful
farming. Nepal's geographic location provided a
substantial trade market to emerge through the
transportation and taxing of goods between India and
Newah  Vijnana-5
Coyle,  Leiko/ The  Karmacharyas .. .1 4 Tibet. Profitable trade and abundant agriculture
produced considerable wealth for the valley. As a
result, Newars began to develop a more elaborate and
organized society. Eventually, three primary centers of
cultural and political activity emerged: Bhaktapur,
Patan, and Kathmandu. The three cities became
political dominions, each with its own territory, king,
royal court, particular traditions, and dialect.
In the 9th century, the Licchavi dynasty fell,
resulting in nearly 4 decades of political upheaval.
Although historical documentation from this period is
scarces, what little exists suggests numerous battles and
political chaos. A powerful Muslim invasion in 1349
wrecked havoc on the valley. However, after this
invasion there emerged a new Hindu dynasty under the
Mallas which ruled Nepal until the early 1800s. In
1382, Jayasthiti Malla took power as the supreme ruler
of Nepal. Historians credit Malla with bringing peace
and stability to the chaotic valley: "He curbed the
activities of feudal lords, brought the component units
of the kingdom into submission, and with a strong
hand, restored order" (Levy 1990:42). liven today.
Nepalese remember Jayasthiti as one of the great
leaders in the country's history.
Jayasthiti Malla established Bhaktapur as the
capital city of Nepal, which quickly grew into the
"metropolis of the Malla dynasty and the nerve-center
of its culture and civilization". (Levy 1990:40) Malla
instituted laws regarding property and housing, as well
as caste regulations, which largely radiated out from
Bhaktapur to the rest of the valley. Most importantly,
Malla promoted Hinduism in all aspects of his rule. He
erected numerous Hindu temples the most important of
which, the Taleju temple, remains today. This shrine to
ihe goddess Taleju, the tantric manifestation of Durga,
is considered the home of the lineage goddess of the
Malla kings. As a Tantric goddess, Taleju is classified
as a dangerous goddess who exists independent of other
deities, namely the supreme Hindu god Siva. In most
tantric traditions, deities are believed to possess both
wrathful and benevolent qualities. Levy writes that
Taleju represents "a version of the fully manifest
warrior goddess" (1990:250). As a warrior, Taleju
encompasses the fierce attributes necessary to protect
the kingdom and its citizens.
The Mallas believed that in her most powerful and
secret form as Siddhilakshmi, the goddess transmitted
her power directly to the king. Therefore, only the king
and a small number of initiated priests are allowed to
see her private form. Outsiders and local people were
made to worship various lesser forms of the goddess,
represented by abstract images such as a yantra, a
design depicting her attributes, or a metal pouring
vessel called a Kalash.
Private worship of the goddess was the means by
which the king ensured the strength and longevity of his
reign. Further, "it was apparently the right of each
successor Malla king to receive from his predecessor
the esoteric mantra (sacred word) for the control of the
Taleju" (Slusser 1982:319). To carry out esoteric
goddess worship, the king employed or enlisted
Karmacharyas or Tantric priests, to perform ritual
ceremonies or pujas to evoke the grace of the goddess
in order to ensure the protection and prosperity of the
kingdom. Although the king was considered a direct
descendent of the goddess and garnered the most
respect, the Karmacharyas, the king's gurus, were very
highly regarded as they were believed to have direct
contact with the goddess. During the Malla reign, the
Karmacharyas were instrumental in carrying out the
esoteric innermost rituals for the King in the Taleju
temple.
Even today, under a new kingdom, the goddess
Taleju remains synonymous with royal power and
Nepal's past glory. She is a "powerful symbolic
representation of traditional Newar political forms and
forces, one that persists alongside of the new symbols
and realities of modern politics". (Levy 1990:234)
Doctor Purushottam Shrestha, an expert in the field
of Newar studies and a native of Bhaktapur, explained
to me in an interview that during the Malla kingdom,
three principal priests conducted Taleju ritual
ceremonies: a Karmacharya performed rituals, a
Brahman recited Vedic chants, and a Joshi advised the
king on astrological subjects (Shrestha 2002).
Together, the three priests acted as ritual liaisons
between the king and the goddess.
As priests to the royal court and guardians of the
temple goddess, the Karmacharyas and their tradition
were highly revered. However, unlike the Brahmans or
Joshis who acted more as consultants, the
Karmacharyas actually performed the rituals. They
were also distinguished from their religious peers, in
that their practices did not derive from Vedism. 'Ihe
karmacharya rituals originated in Tantrism and were
known only by initiated members. In ihis way, the
Karmacharyas were a unique and crucial component in
the kingdom. The kings relied on the Karmacharyas to
perform rituals unknown to any other group or
tradition. Unlike Brahman rituals based on the Indian
Vedas. karmacharya rituals were strongly rooted in
Newar culture. During the Malla dynasty, this Newar
identity symbolized the Karmacharya lies with the land
and the original people of Nepal. In later periods, these
ties to Newar culture caused the downfall of
karmacharya status as royal priests and as esteemed
members of society. With the degeneration of Newar
culture following the fall of the Malla dynasty in the
18th century, the Karmacharyas found themselves
under a new kingdom that rejected their tradition and
denounced their Newar heritage.
Newah  Vijnana-5
Coyte,   Leiko/ The  Karmach aryas .. .1 5 By the latter part of the 18th century, a series of
brutal   attacks   lead   by   Prthvinarayana   Saha   from
Western Nepal resulted in the fall of the Malla dynasty.
Under a new line of Gorkhali kings, Nepal underwent a
drastic transformation in which an effort to promote a
Nepalese     national     identity
stunted     the     expansion     of
Newar culture.    A movement
to     "promote     Nepali     and
suppress Newari"
(Gellner/Quigley, 1999:11)
took hold and Newars lost their
position among the royal court
and society as a whole. As
Newars, the Karmacharyas,
once the highest ranked priests
in the valley, fell to a status
below most other religious
groups. While they continued
to perform pujas for local
clients   and   for   the   city   of
Bhaktapur, they lost access to Surendravir
the royal court. Over time, the
karmacharya   tantric   practices
and the tradition from which they originated have lost
importance in the larger social system of Nepalese
culture. As a result, ancient ritual texts are decaying
from accumulated mold and dust. Few people demand
karmacharya rituals and many Karmacharyas have
pursued other occupations to provide for their families.
What was once a vital and fundamental part of the lives
of the people of Nepal now faces extinction.
The Karmacharyas who remain in Bhaktapur today
provide the only living link to ancient rituals of the
Newars. For that reason, an effort to preserve
karmacharya texts is paramount. Thru access to
remaining ritual texts, the Karmacharyas can continue
to practice the rituals of their ancestors, ensuring the
longevity of their tradition for generations to come.
Ultimately, the preservation of texts is key to restoring
the honor and recognition they deserve for their
contributions to the development of Nepalese culture.
Ill: Surendravir and the Karmacharyas in
modern day Bhaktapur:
The primary difference between Karmacharyas of
today versus those of the Malla period is that the king
no longer employs them. In modern day Nepal local
people, rather than royals, hire Karmacharyas to
perform pujas for a variety of reasons, including rites of
passages, astrological maladies, protection from illness
and disease, and other life events. The pujas can last
anywhere from a few hours to a number of days if
necessary. Karmacharyas charge a fee for each puja,
usually about $20 US, which by Nepalese standards is
Karmacharya
considered a substantial sum. However, because the
demand for karmacharya pujas is not great, the high fee
merely compensates for the irregular and infrequent
demand. Surendravir Karmachar-ya is one of the few
remaining    tantric    priests    presently    residing    in
Bhaktapur. Although he
descends from a long
lineage of Karmacharyas
and is trained in their
tradition, he maintains a
regular day job,
performing pujas only as a
part time occupation.
Suriendirbir works as the
deputy campus director
for the Bhaktapur campus
of Tribhuvan University.
He lives in Bhaktapur with
his wife and three young
children. His
administrative job
provides enough income
to send his children to
school and to live a
relatively prosperous life in Bhaktapur. As a priest
alone, he would not be able to support a family of four.
Through interactions with Surendravir
Karmacharya and his family, I gained a sense of
karmacharya life in modern day Nepal. Surendravir
and his family descend directly from the karmacharya
priests of the Malla dynasty. From the 13th to the 18th
century, his ancestors acted as the primary priests to the
Malla kings. As royal court priests, they had direct*
influence on the development of ritual and religion in
the kingdom. This royal association greatly elevated
the status of Karmacharyas at that time. This historical
signifi- cance does not carry much weight in the
modern "non-Newar" social system, which regards all
Karmacharyas as below other non-Newar groups.
However, their link to Malla royalty grants Surendravir
family a slightly higher status than other Karmacharyas
within the Newar community. As a result, the city of
Bhaktapur employs Surendravir and his brother to
perform certain pujas during festivals and on other
auspicious dates. However, because of their tie to
Newar culture, and its negative connotations in today^s
society, they maintain a much lower social status than
other non-Newar priests. Without royal clients, the
Karmacharyas have become a marginalized part of
society and are overlooked as group, viewed more as
religious vendors than high level tantric specialists.
Originally, Bhaktapur had six agam houses, or
groupings of distinct karmacharya lineages. Today,
only four agam houses remain and of those four,
Surendravir's family holds the highest ranked group
because of its past ties to royalty.   The Karmacharyas
Newah  Vijnana-5
Coyle,   Leiko/ The  Karmacharyas ...1 6 consider Surendravir, as the younger brother of the
head karmacharya in Bhaktapur, a high-ranking priest
among the community, second only to his brother. The
brothers share a sense of duty to their families and
loyalty to their tradition. They cooperate closely,
sharing a home and family temple. While a hierarchical
system based on seniority exists among the
Karmacharyas, competition among the group appears
rare, since as a marginalized community, they share a
common identity and allegiance with one another.
However, as the younger brother, Surendravir must
defer to his brother as a senior member. Because the
karmacharya tradition is based on initiation, the
younger or newer initiates must always yield to those
who are older and more knowledgeable. Surendravir's
agam house has not held a new initiation for thirteen
years. Possibly the next generation of
Karmacharyas is still too young for
initiation, or perhaps they are old
enough but not interested in carrying
on the tradition of their elders.
In the karmacharya tradition
women, like men, can become priests.
However, unlike male priests who
usually marry, the tradition forbids
female priests to marry, as the role of
a wife, which is seen as subservient,
is contrary to the revered role of a
priestess. In     this     sense,     by
renouncing her identity as a wife, the
priestess takes on the status of a male
member. This double standard
reflects the Nepalese belief that a
woman's identity is determined by
her role as a wife and mother.
Another role for women in the
karmacharya tradition is through
marriage to a priest. As the wife of a
karmacharya, a woman gains
initiation into the group where she
serves as a ritual assistant to her
husband. I observed this role in
action during both pujas I attended, in
which Surendravir's wife assisted throughout the entire
ceremony. Her duties included collecting all the ritual
objects and necessities for the puja, such as ghee,
grains, firewood, flowers, incense, and preparing the
food for the feast afterwards. While Surendravir recited
prayers from the ritual texts and made the primary
offerings during the puja. she made sure the fire
remained ignited and all the offerings were ready and
accessible to her husband. Her role, while secondary to
her husband's, is essential to the puja. Like most
women in Nepal, the Newar females are responsible for
the majority of the housework and child rearing.
Therefore,      the      karmacharya      wife's      religious
responsibilities   are   an   extension   of  her  household
duties.
Children of Karmacharyas are present at most
ritual activities. The three children of Surendravir and
his wife were present at both pujas I observed. Mostly,
they ignored the rituals and played games with each
other nearby. It wasn't until the end of the puja, when
the food was being served, that the children joined the
group to eat. As young children, their disinterest in the
puja seemed acceptable. However, I imagine that as
they grow older, they will be expected to participate
with more earnestness. The dilemma of passing down
the karmacharya tradition to future generations is
difficult to resolve. While on the one hand, most
Karmacharyas feel it is important that their children
learn the rituals and history of their ancestors, they also
see how little modern day society
values their tradition. As a
result, religious training has
taken a back seat to academic
and vocational schooling in most
karmacharya families. Modern
day children lend to ignore
religion as a possible vocation
and focus more on schooling to
prepare for a future in the
standard job market. With such a
low status in the overall social
system due to their Newar
heritage, karmacharya children
focus on earning power, ralher
than tradition. As a result, the
karmacharya tradition is in^great
jeopardy of being lost. Future
generations will have to conform
to social values that deny Newar
culture and its religious origins.
Tripura Vidyapith Agam House,
Bhaktapur. This temple is the
traditional and exclusive site of tantric
worship for Surendravir Karmacharya
and his ancestors.
IV: Ritual Analysis
One of the primary
challenges of this study is to find
a way to illustrate and document
ihe practices and beliefs of the Karmacharyas without
exploiting the sacred and private aspects of their
tradition. Because the Karmacharyas hold, their
practices sacred and private, it is uncommon for an
outsider, especially a non-Newar to participate in a
puja. While locals can hire Karmacharyas to perform
pujas for specific events, ihey rarely observe the
personal, sanctified rituals performed within the
karmacharya temples which are reserved for initiates
only. It is unlikely that any Westerner has ever before
seen these esoteric rituals. As a result, I was greatly
honored to be invited by Surendravir Karmacharya to
observe two ritual pujas during ihe spring of 2002. The
Newah  Vijnana-5
Coyle,   Leiko/ The  Karmacharyas .. .1 7 reasons I was included among Ihe group of 8
participants is largely due to my role as a researcher and
through my friendship with Purushottam, one of two
Newars on the research committee and a close friend of
Surendravir and his brother, the head karmacharya in .
Because the Karmacharyas agreed to participate in
the Tribhuvan University research project, they were
willing to open up to outsiders for its sake. How to
open their rituals to outsiders without compromising
their traditional beliefs of secrecy and exclusion
however, presented a difficult challenge. As a result,
the pujas I attended look
place at non-karmacharya
temples, so as not to disturb
the integrity of those sacred
spaces. In    all    other
fashions,    the    ceremonies
followed traditional
authentic ritual procedure.
The karmacharya
tradition is rooted in
Shaivism (based on a belief
in the Hindu God Shiva), but
as tantrics. Karmacharyas
worship goddesses who
protect the valley. In Nepal,
two distinguishable groups
of deities exist: vedic and tantric. Vedic gods are
mostly male and are attended to by Brahman priests for
Vedic rituals which forbid the offering of blood or
alcohol. In tantrism, the primary deities are largely
female goddesses who unlike Vedic gods, receive blood
and alcohol offerings. These goddesses are considered
dangerous and fierce emanations of the god Shiva. In
this sense "Shiva is conceived as generating a powerful
form of the goddess, who then, in turn, generates or is
transformed into subsidiary forms". (Levy, 1990:225)
Nava-Durga, or the Nine Durgas is the principal
goddess in the karmacharya pantheon. Of these nine
manifestations of the goddess Durga, there are 8
Ashtamatrikas, or eight mothers and the goddess
Tripurasundari. The Karmacharyas worship at least
two forms of each goddess, a public form and a private,
esoteric, form. The goddess Taleju, the primary public
form of Nava-Durga. is one of the most important
deities in the Karmacharya pantheon. She is worshiped
privately among initiates as Siddhilakshmi. There are
separate and unique rituals associated with each
goddess. It is believed that separate public and private
forms of goddesses emerged in order to prevent local
people from worshiping the same deity as the king. By
worshiping a private form of a goddess, the king
maintained a more powerful and direct link to the deity.
The king would essentially claim direct "access" to the
heavens through the worship of the most powerful and
esoteric form of the goddess. The Karmacharyas acted
The ritual representation of the Goddess Siddhilaksmi
during a tantric puja
as the king's link lo the goddesses by performing the
rituals used to invoke their presence and power. As a
result, the king's access to the heavens was ensured.
The Puja
While attending a karmacharya puja, I had the
sense of being transported hundreds of years into the
past. Sitting by firelight listening to Newar chants, it is
easy to conjure the Nepal of old. Surendrabir recites
from old decaying texts passed down to him by his
ancestors. Because
today's Karmacharyas
perform the same secret
rituals done in ancient
times, the stages and
logistics of the puja itself
have remained largely
unchanged over the time.
Today, Karmacharyas
perform most pujas for
local patrons who cannot
afford the more
extravagant pujas of their
royal Malla ancestors.
However in terms of basic
ritual and text recitation,
the Karmacharyas claim to practice much like they did
hundreds of years ago. This is one of the reasons why
the karmacharya tradition is such an important link to
the past. While Nepal and its people have undergone
many significant transfer mations over the generations, ihe practices of the Karmacharyas appear lo have
persisted in almost original form. It is that integrity
which is to be honored and preserved in these ever
changing times.
From my observations of two karmacharya pujas, I
recognized five primary stages in the puja: preparing
the sacred spaces, installing the deity, offering to the
deities, invoking the deity through fire, and receiving
prasad. Each stage is performed with the intention of
calling upon the deity for help. While modern day
Karmacharyas still perform a number of annual pujas to
protect the city of Bhaktapur, locals can also hire a
Karmacharya to perform a puja for protection from
maladies $>r to bring about prosperity. In both cases, the-
stages of the puja are the same and are as follows:
Preparation
The first stage is perhaps the most important, as no
other part of the ceremony can occur without the initial
preparation rituals. The preparations are done by both
the priest and his wife or assistant and can take over
two hours to complete. During neither puja did I
observe    the    preparation    stage,    as    Surendravir
Newah  Vijnana-5
Coyle,   Leiko/ The  Karmacha ryas .. .1 8 Karmacharya opted to do this in private with his wife.
As a result, I base my account of this initial stage of the
puja on questions I asked about the nature of the
preparations. Surendravir explained that there are two
distinct areas prepared for worship. The first is an east
facing central fire pit which represents ihe retinue of
deities belonging to Siddlulakshmi. The second is a
north facing shrine which represents the seat of the
goddess Siddhilakshmi. Firewood is collected and
arranged in a small pyre inside the east-facing pit.
Thirteen different offerings representing each of the
thirteen consorts associated with the goddess
Siddhilakshmi are placed on banana leaves and
arranged around ihe pit. The offerings, which consist
of different grains, beans, fruits, and fried bread, are
thrown into the fire pit during ihe fire ritual portion of
the puja.
Next, a three-dimensional cone shaped mound of
rice representing the goddess is placed to the north of
the fire pit and adorned with three eyes, flowers, mufti-
colored dyes and a canopy of red cloth. The rice cone
is set atop a stand which contains the secret mandaia of
Siddhilakshmi. Smaller rice cones surround the main
object symbolizing her retinue. Small metal vessels
placed around the goddess image serve as butter lamps.
A dish ofaeld, or homemade alcohol is also placed near
the central cone, as are numerous flowers and fruit.
According lo an interview with Swami Chetanananda,
an expert in lantrism, the three-dimensional cone shape
represents the goddess as the unity of all 3 dimensions
of reality. "The use of rice is evidence of Vedic
influence, which asserts that everything is food, deities
and offerings alike" (Chetanananda 2002). Throughout
the preparations Surendravir recites mantras and
prayers as each object is placed and arranged. For each
individual prayer, Surendravir throws rice to consecrate
the action.
Installation
Following the preparation of the area for worships,
three other committee members, a small group of
guests, and I took scats in a circle around the fire pit.
Before beginning the installation stage of the puja,
Surendravir performed a short purification ritual on
himself and everyone at the puja. He did this through
mantra recitation and by performing certain mudras
(hand movement representing certain characteristics
and qualities of rilual observance.) Following this
purification, the ritual instalement of the goddess into
the cone image began. Seated with his back to the fire
pit, facing north, Surendravir began to recite installation
prayers from his text while throwing rice on the
adorned cone image of the goddess. While chanting, he
also performed an elaborate series of mudras and
movements that accompany those particular prayers.
Offering
Once Surendravir finished installing the goddess
into the representational cone, he moved to the fire pit
where he sat facing east. While he recited from his
text, his wife ignited the wood inside the pit and the
offering portion of the puja ensued. With the flames
fully ignited, Surendravir began throwing offerings into
the fire pit in an ordered sequence. These offerings
include the grains associated with each of
SiddhiJakshmi's 13 retinue of Bhairavas and Rudras.
The offerings are made to the retinue of deities as the
initial stage of requesting their benevolence and aid.
Surendravir's wife continuously poured ghee on the fire
throughout the puja which keeps the wood abla/e.
Fire Ritual
Once each of the thirteen uncooked grains had
been offered, the invocation of the goddess and her
retinue took place. Jn this stage Surendravir recited a
series of prayers marked by throwing rice into the pit.
The Karmacharyas believe that it is the retinue of
consorts who grant blessings on behalf of the goddess.
The fire pit represents the power of (he goddess and her
retinue. Therefore, certain prayers and mantras are
recited over the fire pit summoning their presence and
requesting their help.
Prasad
Once all the offerings were made and the deities
invoked, Surendravir returned to the north-facing- seat
in front of the rice cone image of the goddess and
thanked her for her presence and blessings. After wards
he looked for signs the goddess has accepted the
offerings and granted her blessings. One indication of
the goddess' satisfaction is if a small clay cup which
has remained upside down over a butter lamp during
the puja, has formed a thick black film over it. If so.
the goddess is pleased and the puja was a success. If
not, the puja may have to be repeated or done
differently. Next, Surendravir took the red material that
had been placed over the form of the goddess, tore it
into strips and proceeded to tie the cloth around the
nick of each person at ihe puja as a symboJ of the
goddess" blessings and protection. Each person then
received a tika, a dab of red powder placed on the
forehead as a symbol of the goddess' blessing, as well
as a flower and piece of fruit from the installation area
as prasad, or as a gift from the goddess. Finally,
Surendravir's wife prepared plates of food for each
person. The food included uncooked hammered rice, a
vegetable dish, cooked meat, fried soybeans, a bard-
boiled egg and some fried sweet bread.   Lastly, aeld, a
Newah  Vijnana-5
Coyle,  Leiko/ The  Karmacharyas.. .1 9 type of alcohol made from barley, was poured into
small salli. clay cups and served to each person. The
pouring of the aela is a traditional conclusion to most
pujas. Everyone was encouraged to drink numerous
cups of the alcohol, which with an alcohol content of
hundred percent, causes rapid intoxication. In this type
of tantric ceremony, the consumption of alcohol is an
appropriate conclusion to the event.
V:  Critique of
Methodology
My experience working with
the Karmacharyas in this
unconventional context was
extremely challenging. As a
foreign woman, I was as outside
their inner circle as one could be.
However, as a young female, I
was also viewed as less
authoritative and intimidating than
the other male researchers, which
allowed me to be more invisible
and observant. Though I did not
have many opportunities to talk
openly with the Karmacharyas,
witnessing their rituals first hand
was incredibly informative.
Attending two of their pujas and
having the opportunity to ask
technical questions regarding the
rituals was an extraordinary honor
and a giant step toward gaining-
access to the group.
There is still a great deal I
understand about the Karmacharyas
see with my own eyes the ancient practices that are the
core of their tradition. In the short time that 1 spent
with the Karmacharyas and under such limited
circumstances, the largest being my inability to speak
the native language, my experiences far exceed my
expectations. Given the chance to do ethnographic
research on the karmacharyas again. I would opt for a
more lengthy stay and I would want to be able to
converse in their native language, Nepal Bhasha or at
least in Nepali. The language barrier, more than
anything else, was the most significant obstacle. I think
without being able to speak the language, it is
impossible to truly understand the nuances and details
of any culture.
VI: Conclusion (The Dilemma of Studying
a Closed Religion)
Inscription on the Tripura Vidyapith
Agam House, Bhaktapur. The
inscription lists major renovations to
the temple since its construction in the
13lh century
do  not  know  or
but J was able to
The other major obstacles in conducting research
on a group such as the Karmacharyas, is the issue of
secrecy. As with all tantric esoteric practices, initiation
is a fundamental part of preserving the integrity and
purity of the tradition by limiting ritual practice to
members only. According to Levy, tantric initiations
"entail the transmission of some esoteric knowledge by
the guru, or his equivalent, and a solemn and sacred
pledge of secrecy by the initiate" (Levy 1990: 314).
During initiation, the student
receives private teachings of ritual
practice and worship for a
particular lineage, which he/she is
expected to protect. The process of
initiations, "initiate and make
sacred the teaching relation
between guru and initiate,
introduce the appropriate mantras
and procedures or worship to the
deity who will give effectiveness to
ihe studies, and may introduce
technical instructions or esoteric
knowledge" (Levy 1990:315).
Therefore, secrecy within each
tradition is essential to the
longevity and integrity of the
lineage.
This secretive methodology
and exclusion becomes even more
extreme when the group becomes
marginalized or threatened by
society, as with the Karmacharyas.
Following the overthrow of the
Malla Kingdom by the Gorkhas in
the latter part of the eighteenth century and the ensuing
suppression of Newar culture, the Karmacharyas were
forced to retreat even further into secrecy, guarding
their practices and beliefs more than ever before.
In the past century the traditions and rituals of the
karmacharyas have rarely been seen by outsiders.
Access to karmacharya temples is restricted to initiates
and their families. This is, in part, why there is no
existing literature on karmacharya rituals and customs.
Thus, gaining access to, studying and documenting this
tradition is an extremely difficult task. Firstly, the
tradition i£ at its core a secret tradition. Secondly, the.
Karmacharyas are a historically marginalized and
exploited people, who have been forced to practice in
private.
This research project is a conscious effort to walk
the fine line between honoring and exposing a group
such as the karmacharyas. The dilemma of studying a
closed group is that it is impossible to at once pay
tribute to and document the history of a group without
also compromising their privacy on some level.    For
Newah Vijftana-5
Coyle,  Leiko/ The  Karmacha ryas .. 20 Ibis study, the head Karmacharya of Bhaktapur agreed
(hat the benefits of bringing recognition and support to
their tradition outweighed the consequences of
exposing some of their secrets. Coupled with an
impending sense that the tradition might not endure the
changes and pressures of modern society, the
Karmacharyas approved the study of their customs in
an effort to preserve their history and pay homage to
their ancestors. It is certain, however, that many
aspects of the tradition will never be revealed to
outsiders. The Karmacharyas have the ability to control
to some degree, and limit what information they will
reveal. In such a study, it is never possible to fully
penetrate the depths of the culture without full initiation
into the group. Whether or not full initiation of an
outsider is possible remains to be seen. Until then, the
Karmacharyas will continue to try to preserve their
tradition without compromising its core values.
Hopefully, this research project will help to further in
that endeavor.
Note
ID). Tirtha P. Mishra, the Executive Director of
Tribhuvan University, assembled a committee of researchers
to conduct u seventeen-month survey of the Kurmticha-iyas,
their practices and history. The project examines the
influence of karmacharya tantric ritual on the secular and
local systems of the Nepalese. The research will develop a
deeper understanding of the rich und sophisticated Newar
culture by examining the Karmacharyas and their practices.
The research committee consists of specialists in the field
of Asian studies, including Professor Tirtha Prasad Mishra.
Executive Director for the Center for Nepal and Asian
studies; Swami Chetanananda, Director of Socio-religious
1'radilions of Nepal and the Nityananda Institute; Professor
Sanderson of Oxford University; Professor T.B. Shrestha of
the Center for Nepal and Asian Studies; and Doctor
Purushottam Shreslha, a historian specializing in Bhaktapur
and Newar culture. Suriendirbir Karmacha- rvu, a practicing
karmacharya and brother to the head priest in Bhaktapur, is
the primary contact person in the karmacharya community
and acts as the liaison between the Karmacharyas and the
research committee. He is essential lo the project because of
his personal association with the Karmacharyas and his
knOwledge of Ian!rism.
Together, the research team has launched a seventeen-
month investigation into the history and culture of the
Karmacharyas which began in September of 2001 with a
sun-ey of source materials, including books, articles,
inscriptions, chronicles and manuscripts in related topics, as
well as relevant unpublished works from the National
Archives and numerous libraries. Dr. Shrestha is leading an
ongoing effort to collect, catalogue, copy and translate any
existing karmacharya ritual lexis.
References
Comai off,  Jean.   1985. Body of Power Spirit of Resistance:  The
Culture and History of a South African People. London: The
University of Chicago Press.
Clifford, James and Marcus. George E..  1986. The  Poeiies  and
Politics of Ethnography. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University
of California Press.
Chhetri, Ram B.  and Gurung, Om P.,  1999.  Anthropology and
Sociology    of   Nepal:    Cultures.    Societies,    Ecology    and
Development, Kathmandu, Modem Printing Press.
Crane. Julia G. and Angrosino. Michael V.. Field 1992. Projects in
Anthropology:    A    Student    Handbook.    Prospect    Heights.
Waveland Press Inc..
Dyezkowski, Mark S G., 2001. The Cult of the Goddess Kubjika: A
Preliminary Comparative Textual and Anthropological Survey
of a Secret Newar Goddess, Kathmandu. Publications of the
Nepal Research Center.
DeVita. Philip R., 20OO.S(umbling Toward Truth: Anthropologists at
work, Prospect Heights: Waveland Press Inc.
Gamburd,    Michele   Ruth,    20O0.Tbe    Kitchen   Spoon's    Handle:
Transnationalism and Sri l^nka's Migrant Housemaids. Ithaca.
Cornell University.
Gellner.   David  N.   and   Declan  Quigley  (eds).   1992.   Contested
Hierarchies. London: Clarendon Press 1995.
Levy. Robert  I.. Mesocosm: Hinduism and the Organization o! a
Traditional Newar City in Nepal. Delhi, Shri Jainendra Press.
Roy. Beth. 1994. SomeTrouble with Cows: Making Sense of Social
Conflict. Berkely and Los Angeles. University of California
Press. *
Dr,   Shrestha.   Purushottam   Lochan  and   Dr.   Vaidya.   TR.   2001
Bhaktapur Rajdarbar, Kathmandu, Tribuvan University.
Spradley. James and McCurdy. David W.. 2000. Conformity and
Conflict:  Readings  in  Cultural  Anthropology.   10th  Edition.
Needham Heights, Allyn & Bacon.
Slusser, Mary Shepard. 1982. Nepal Mandala: A Cultural Study of
the Kathmandu Valley. Princeton. Princeton University Press.
Turner.  Victor.  1974.  Dramas,  Fields, and  Metaphors:  Symbolic
Action in Human Society. London: Cornell University Press.
Interviews:
Shiesthra. Purushottam Lochan. Kathmandu interviews:   Mav 15 and
20. 2002
Chetanananda, Swami. Kathmandu interviews: Mav-June 2002
4 ^1.
>vr
S'£=
w
Newah   Vijhana-5
Coyle,   Leiko/ The  Karmacharyas .. 21 A Summary of Dissertation
The Ritual Composition
of Sankhu
The Socio-Religious Anthropology of a Newar Town in Nepal
Bal Gopal Shrestha
Research School CNWS, University of Leiden
The Netherlands
This book presents a detailed view of Newar
society and culture, its socio-economic, socio-religious
and ritual aspects, concentrating on a single Newar
town. Sankhu is a small but ancient town in the
Kathmandu Valley populated by Newars, the original
inhabitants of the Valley. The foundation of Sankhu is
attributed to the goddess Vajrayogini. Through its
special relationship with this goddess, Sankhu forms a
ritual unity, which transcends its socio-economic,
administrative and political divisions.
Ihe present study shows that Sankhu is a ritual
universe in its own right, having ceremonial rather than
socio-economically defined features, interacting with its
surroundings, the Kathmandu Valley. Although Sankhu
is an urban-oriented society, the beliefs and practices of
both the Hindu and Buddhist religion are so strong that
castes (jdt) and socio-religious associations (guthi) will
continue to be of socio-religious importance, despite
worsening economic and political circumstances in
Nepal as a whole.
This study of Sankhu's ritual composition deals
with the relation between Hinduism and Buddhism,
with the interrelations between the town's 22 castes, and
above all with the numerous socio-religious
associations (guthi) that uphold its ritual life. The social
life of the Newars in Sankhu is highly organized. Many
socio-religious associations (guthi) remain active in
carrying out complex rituals. These guthi have their
roots in antiquit
These conclusions have been reached by means of
(a) intensive fieldwork and participant observation of
fasts, feasts, festivals, processions of the gods and
goddesses of the town of Sankhu, as well as by (b) in-
depth interviews with ritual specialists, (c) an analysis
of published and unpublished ritual texts, inscriptions.
colophons, (d) an extensive sociographic survey, and
(e) the use of video recordings.
The main subjects treated in this monograph are
Newar society and culture (Chapter 2), the mythical,
historical and topographical features of the town of
Sankhu (Chapter 3), its socio-economic aspects
(Chapter 4). its castes (jdt) and caste-bound associations
(siguthi) (Chapter 5), the socio-religious associations
(guthi) that are active in the town's ritual life (Chapter
(V), and the festivals celebrated in Sankhu (Chapter 7).
The festival and fasts of Madhavanarayana (Chapter 8)
and the festival and procession of the goddess
Vajrayogini (Chapter 10) have received special
attention because they are unique to Sankhu. The major
focus of this study is on Vajrayogini, the rituals
performed at her temple (Chapter 9), and her festival
(Chapter 10) and dances (Chapter 11), because she has
an overall importance for the cultural identity of the
town.
This study consists of twelve chapters. The first
chapter provides a general introduction to the book.
Chapter 2 presents a general view of the Newars, the
single nationality (janajdti) inhabiting the town of
Sankhu, and their identity in modern-day Nepal. In
Chapter 3i various published and unpublished versions
of the legend of Manishailamahavadana (MM) have
been treated. It is the only legend that provides mythical
details of the coming into being of the goddess
Vajrayogini and the town of Sankhu. The MM also tells
that va|ikhadeva was installed as the first king of the
town in accordance with Ihe goddess Vajrayogini's
wishes. There is an attempt to relate the mythical story
with the history of the town and of king Sangkhadeva,
because the myth of the MM presents Sankhu as an
ancient kingdom of sangkhadeva. The  inscription of
Newah  Vijnana-5
Shrestha,  Bal  Gopal/ The  Ritual. .22 king Vamana Deva (dated 538 AD) found in the
Dugahiti quarter in Sankhu is Ihe only evidence to
prove the antiquity of the town, and this gives grounds
to assert the existence of the town of Sankhu during the
reign of this king in the sixth century. No excavations
of historical sites in Sankhu or in the Vajrayogini
sanctuary have taken place. These would make it
possible to provide more authentic historicity for the
town. All inscriptions found in the town have been
treated in this monograph for the first time. Mostly
these are from the Malla period (12th-18th century), but
there are several inscriptions dating from the Shah
period (1769 till today). Mostly religious people
installed these inscriptions when building temples, rest
places and water sprouts in the town.
In Chapter 3 a description of the town's
topography, pantheon, settlement, houses, art and
architecture is provided. Two major earthquakes, in
1834 and 1934, destroyed most buildings. Most of the
public buildings such as temples and rest places have
been reconstructed, in many cases in their original
form. Replacing traditional buildings with modern
architecture has become popular since the latter half of
the twentieth century. Only recently interest in
traditional architecture has reappeared. In 1996 a local
NCO (Friends of Sankhu) began the restoration of the
Mahadeva temple and its surrounding monuments, the
lemple of Vajrayogini, Ihe Saravata Satah resthouse and
the Datta Phalca rest place.
In Chapter 4 an account is given of the socioeconomic status of Sankhu, based on a household
survey conducted in 1997. Quantitative data gathered
from this survey reveal ihe social conditions of the
town as well as its s'ocio-economic and political
characteristics. The data contain information about the
distribution of property, types of land, irrigation
systems, occupations, and so on. The data surveyed
make it clear that although people in Sankhu are united
for the purpose of performing religious ritual traditions,
they are politically divided into many fractions. At
present three national parties, namely the National
Democratic Parly, the Nepal Communist Party United
Marxist Leninist (UML) and the Nepali Congress Party.
have strong footholds in the town. Despite political
differences, followers of these parties have formed one
voice in demanding that the town be turned into a
municipality instead of keeping it divided into three
different Village Development Committees (VDCs).
This year (2002), the Nepalese Government has
announced its intention to turn Sankhu into a
municipality, Sankharapur Nagarpalika.
One of the most interesting aspects of Newar
society is Hindu-Buddhist unity. Chapter 5 discusses
why Hindu and Buddhist divisions among the lay
Newars are indiscernible. Nowadays, the majority of
people  in Sankhu refer to themselves as Hindu. An
analysis of data on the employment of priests for their
domestic rituals makes clear that most people in Sankhu
employ both Hindu and Buddhist priests according to
the needs of a ceremony.
In 1997 Sankhu had 5,340 inhabitants, but no
fewer than 22 Newar castes. The largest among them
are the shrestha, who are ranked below the Brahmin but
higher than all other castes. They occupy the largest
portion of agricultural land, trade, business and the
service sector. They also support most ritual activities
performed in Sankhu. Traditional hierarchies of castes
lost their importance after the implementation of the
1964 new legal code in Nepal, but people in Sankhu
have still maintained them without much change in
practice. Slguthi, or the caste-bound funeral
associations, are still fundamental in Newar social life
and are an important reason behind the prevailing caste
divisions.
Chapter 6 gives a detailed account of all socio-
religious associations (guthi) responsible for carrying
out various feasts and festivals in Sankhu. The structure
and functions of more than eighty such guthi active in
the town are discussed and a list of guthi that have
disappeared is given. Most of the active and inactive
guthi traced in Sankhu arc related to the cult of the
goddess Vajrayogini, because she is the most important
goddess of the town and is venerated by both the Hindu
and Buddhist population of Nepal and beyond. Other
guthi listed in this chapter play different roles during
various festivals, rituals, feasts and processions of other
gods and goddesses that are carried out in the town.
The socio-ritual guthi have endowments of land
cultivated either by tenants or by one of its members as
their source of income. The J 964 Land Reform
Programme of Nepal curtailed the income of most guthi
lo a large extent. The decline of sources of income of
the guthi has compelled many of them to reduce their
ritual duties and in several instances has forced their
members to abandon the guthi. Whether all these guthi
will survive in ihe long run is doubtful.
In Sankhu, all major and minor Newar feasts and
festivals are celebrated (Chapter 7). In view of the
many feasts, festivals, fasts and processions of gods and
goddesses celebrated in the town, Sankhu can be
considered one of the most ritually organized
settlements in the Valley. The festival and fasts of
Madhavanarayana and the festival and procession of
Vajrayogini are both very important and can be
considered as typical of Sankhu. Each of these festivals
has a long history, going back four or more centuries. In
the course of time some of these festivals have gained
popularity, while others have lost prestige. A recent
example is the loss of one of the processions of Kawa
as well as of the dances of lldleyo Ldkhe Pydkhd.
Most festivals celebrated in Sankhu aie related to
the   agricultural   cycle.   Considering   the   festival   of
Newah Vijnana-5
Shrestha,  Bal  Gopal/ The   Ritual..23 Gathamuga' as the beginning of the ritual year and
Sithinakha' as its end is one of the most common ways
of defining the yearly ritual cycle among the Newars.
However, this monograph has followed the Amantaka
calendar, which takes the change of the lunar month
Nepal Sainvat as the beginning of the ritual cycle.
A detailed account of the month-long
Madhavanarayana fast (vrata), Sankhu's second most
important festival, is presented in Chapter 8. Although
people have now begun to mix up both the
Madhavanarayana and Svasthani traditions, this study
shows that each has a different background. The
festival of Madhavanarayana is becoming increasingly
important for the cultural identity of Sankhu. Modern
media such as television, radio and newspapers, and
modern transportation facilities have played an
important role in increasing the number of participants
and pilgrims visiting the site of the vrata.
Vajrayogini is one of the most important goddesses
in Nepal and for the people of Sankhu she is the most
important one. In Chapter 9 the goddess Vajrayogini,
her sanctuary and her cult are discussed. An attempt has
been made to reconstruct the history of the goddess and
her sanctuary from published sources, unpublished
chronicles and inscriptions found in the sanctuary of
Vajrayogini and in Sankhu itself. Chapter 9 also
sketches the religious and ritual significance of the
sanctuary by describing its physical appearance and
rituals performed at the sanctuary. Special important
ritual activities, such as the twelve yearly repainting of
the fixed statue of the goddess Vajrayogini, and the
incidental renovation of her processional statue are
performed at the sanctuary.
A common feature of all Newar cities, towns and
villages is that each has its specific festival and
procession (jatra) of their most important deity. In the
case of Sankhu, the festival and procession of the
goddess Vajrayogini is the most important one for its
inhabitants (Chapter 10). The ritual features of the
festival are discussed and interpreted. This chapter
presents a detailed discussion of rituals involved in her
festival, including the duties of those actors who play
important roles during the rituals.
Apart from feasts, festivals, fasts and pilgrimages,
other religiously important features of Newar society
are the masked dances of various deities. Unlike the
Devi dances in other places, the Sankhu Devi dances
are considered to be the manifestation of the goddess
Vajrayogini, the chief deity of the town (Chapter 11),
which makes them special.
The final chapter (Chapter 12) provides a
conclusion to the book in which the central theme of the
book (Sankhu as a Ritual Universe) is discussed, as
well as the topical issue of continuity and change in the
town of Sankhu.
Leiden, 26 September 2002 / Yamlaga Pancamt
I 122 Nepal Samvat
Notes
The research for this proefschrift has been made possible
by the Research School CNWS, University of Leiden, the
Paculty of Arts, University of Leiden, the International
Institute for Asian Studies (HAS), Udden. the. J. Gonda
Poundalion at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and
Sciences IKNAW), Amsterdam, and the Netherlands
Poundalion for Scientific Research tNWO), The Hague, The*
Netherlands.
/. '*
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Newah  Vijnana-5
Shrestha,  Bal  Gopal/ The   Ritual..24 Commercial Recordings of
Traditional Newar Music:
A Review Article
Brent Bianchi
NC Center for South Asian Studies
Duke University, USA
Despite the remarkable diversity to be found
among the traditional music__ of the Newars, publicly
available recordings remain rather limited. There is
certainly a burgeoning industry of popular Newar music
recordings, but the lack of recordings of older styles can
probably be partially attributed to the fact that most
Kathmandu valley Newars have much traditional music
virtually at their doorsteps (though seemingly to a lesser
extent with each passing year), whereas most outsiders,
for whatever reason, seem to have taken relatively little
interest in (or are simply not aware of) Newar music.
One will occasionally find the rickety cassette or two
among the Kathmandu valley's music shops, but this is
usually a hit and miss affair.
The intention of this article is to look at some
commercially available recordings of traditional Newar
music and to examine what they have presented as well
as. just as importantly, how the music is contextualized
and explained in the form of liner notes. There are, to
the best of my knowledge, currently only three compact
discs in print which focus on Newar music. CDs rather
than cassettes will be discussed simply due to the
relatively unstable status of cassette issues. 2The three
CDs being reviewed here, on the other hand, are all
published by bigger labels and will hopefully be
available for some years to come. Due to what is still a
relative lack of published information about Newar
music, it seemed thai this review article would also
present a good opportunity to discuss features of Newar
music that are difficult to find information about.
Musique de fete chez les Newar / Festival Music of
ihe Newar. Recording made in 1952by~ Marguerite
Lobsiger Dellenbach and in 1973 by Laurent Aubert.
Accompanying notes by Laurent Aubert. Donneloye,
Suisse: VDE-Gallo, 1994.
The first of these items is not new - it was
published in 1994 - though in the United States it was
unavailable for several years , a status which seems to
have changed relatively recently. The recordings on the
CD (with one exception, to be discussed) and the liner
notes are written by an ethnomusicologist, Laurent
Aubert. The CD includes some excellent material,
though as Aubert spent apparently only two or three
months in the Kathmandu valley - a short time to study
the music of such a complex society - some weaknesses
are apparent. It might also be pointed out that Aubert is
not a South Asia specialist, but rather has written about
quite a wide range of musical traditions.
The CD booklet is divided into three sections. The
first "Newar Society and Religion", is generally helpful
in broad outline, but is marred by a number of
misconceptions, and this sections' focus on an imagined
'flexibility' of the Newar caste system contains a
number of statements and conclusions that very few
anthropologists who have worked with Newars would
be likely to accept. The next two sections, "Newar
Musicians" and "The Recordings" are considerably
better (though these include some errors as well). The
main strength of the former section is its description of
musical instruments (rather than the musicians per se),
while the main strength of the tatter section is the
descriptions of the relations of the pieces of music to
the seasons and the months of the year. The recordings
on the CD are, in fact, arranged so as to roughly depict
in miniature the annual cycle, by including one or two
songs associated with a given month, in sequential
order. The manner in which this is done is not entirely
systematic (for instance, some of the twelve
'bahramase' songs specific to each of the twelve
months are present, while others are absent altogether
and 'something else is substituted for that month
instead), but the thematic arrangement makes for a
helpful framework. Of course, given that the
recordings took place over three months, a number of
ihem were recorded 'out of season'. And as the notes
discuss, good field recordings of Newar music can be
quite difficult to make due to the festive atmosphere in
which Newar music often takes place. As such, with
one exception, the recordings are of indoor
performances    arranged    specifically    for    recording
Newah Vijhana-5
Bianchi,   Brent/  Commercial   Reco rcf i n g .. 25 purposes. Similarly, it should be noted that all the
recordings on the other two CDs being reviewed here
are studio recordings.
The majority of the pieces on this CD are
performed by the Newar castes of Jyapus and Jogis.
However, quite ;i bit of space is also devoted to songs
sung by Gaines, a Parbatiya caste. Although the Gaine
are not Newar, Gaines who lives in Newar-speaking
settlements often plays and sings some Newar songs
(and in some cases may actually have a fairly large
repertoire of them). They accompany themselves on
the small bowed stringed instrument sarangi, well
known throughout Nepal (but not to be confused with
Indian namesakes, the most well known of which is
considerably larger and includes about thirty more
strings!). The presence of some Gaine pieces side by
side with analogous Jyapu pieces makes for an
interesting comparison and contrast. _- It is also
conceivable that the way the Gaines present these songs
on the sarangi could - though to a limited extent - give
some idea of what Newar music on ihe now extinct
bowed instrument piwamed may have sounded !ike..L
The majority of the Jyapu items were recorded at
Guitu twah (tol) in Lalitpur. They offer a good
introduction some of Ihe 'typical' music-making of the
Jyapus. primarily flute ensembles and the devotional
style dapha, a form of group singing with percussion
accompaniment. There are. however, also a few pieces
that, to the best of my knowledge, represent fairly
unusual practices. One of these is a bdnsuri khalah
(bamboo flute ensemble) accompanied by dhimay
drumming. Ii is far more common that dhimay
drumming features percussion only and no melodic
component. j6. In fact the dhimay's lack of association
with melodies is actually suggested by some Newars as
evidence for the drum's great antiquity. Another
unusual item on the CD is a dapha song which features
both singing and bansuri playing - in the vast majority
of occasions, the melody of such songs is rendered
either by flutes or voices, but not both simultaneously.
Another item from the dapha genre is a single
recording made in 1952, ^ of particular note in that this
was made only one year after Nepal opened up to the
outside world after nearly a century of isolation
imposed by the Rana prime ministers. It is a solo on
the dapha khin drum, a musical invocation of the type
known as 'dyah Ihayegu' which invokes Nasa Dyah*
and other gods. It would be quite interesting to know
whether this composition is still in current practice, and
if so, how it is being performed today (regrettably, the
crucial piece of information in this connection - what
residential quarter or twah the musicians belonged to -
is not provided). It is a fascinating recording (despite
the poor quality), so I provide some additional details
here.
The poor quality of the recording makes it initially
quite difficult to make out the pattern played on the tah
cymbals among the other cymbals that are played in
accompaniment, but a closer listen shows that the
majority of the piece is in jati tal (a seven beat rhythm
divided 3+2+2), a common rhythmic cycle for the genre
as a whole, but in current practice not particularly
common for dyah Ihdyegu-s. Beginning at a slow pace,
the main body of the composition is a particular theme
which, after every second repetition, is followed by a
cadential phrase which draws upon material from the
main theme. This process repeated continuously with
the tempo building up gradually over nearly seven
minutes. Upon reaching a relatively fast speed, there is
a process of increased contraction of some its phrases,
involving a particular type of permutation. 9 During this
process, the rhythmic cycle switches to coTS/, and once
a particular point of contraction is reached entirely new
material is played. At that juncture, the sound of two
pwangds (natural trumpets) comes in and the piece
eventually closes with a dramatic finish, sounding a few
times like it may burst apart at the seams before doing
so.
The CD also includes on field recording, a 'baha
puja', or ritual worship performed in a Buddhist
monastic complex. This enables to the listener to hear
processional music performed on the way to the baha
complex performed by one group of musicians, with
additional music performed inside the bahal itself by
different groups, and provides an interesting
perspective on the musical diversity that can be
associated with a particular ceremony. And, while the
vast majority of the recording is entirely 'traditional', a,
short dapha khin solo in the middle provides interesting
documentation of musical change: it has far more in
common with today's flashy tabla drumming than it
docs with the dapha khin's traditional compositions.^
Unfortunately, however, the liner notes describing the
bahali puja feature a number of incorrect attributions,
such as a mistaken reference to a high caste Buddhist
pancatala ensemble as being a Jyapu ensemble.
J } "Sound  of Festivals from_ Kathmandtt   Valley"
recording    arranged   by   Suresh    Raj    Bajracharya.
Kathmandu: Dexo Music Center, 2001.
Among the CDs reviewed here, this one covers the
widest geographical range - it features recordings frorn
all three' capitol cities of the former Malla kingdoms,
roughly in equal proportion. As the title implies,
almost all of the pieces on the CD pertain to particular
festivals or other ceremonial occasions. .^ Suresh
Bajracharya, himself a highly talented musician, knows
a number of the leading Newar musicians in the valley
and recorded several of them in making this album.
The liner notes of this CD, while certainly helpful,
do not seem to have 'elhriomusicological' aspirations in
the way that the other two CDs do.   Apart from quite
Newah  Vijnana-5
Bianchi,   Brent/ Commercial   Recording.,26 short explanatory notes for each song (which often
mention the festivals they are associated with and
relevant details), the notes do not provide an overview
about Newars and their music, and in fact they do not
explicitly state that all the pieces on the recording were
performed by Newars (this is only mentioned, for
unknown reasons, in connection with the piece
Basanta', the ninth track). That does not at ail diminish
the fact (hat this is an excellent and highly
professionally produced collection of music, though
those who purchase this CD without some prior
knowledge of Newar music may be puzzled by what
they hear.
In order lo provide additional details of the CD's
contents, I will provide a brief description for one each
of the pieces featured from Kathmandu, Lalitpur. and
Bhaktapur (the CD itself has a total of 14 tracks). It
should be noled that all the pieces are instrumental.
despite the importance of vocal music during many
festivals.
One piece from Kathmandu is a gwdrd dedicated to
the god Nasa Dyah in his form as Nrtya Nath, lord of
dance. Apprentices of the dapha khin drum throughout
Kathmandu learn this as their first composition after the
obligatory main dyah Ihdyegu has been learned. There
is a text to the song, but here it is rendered
instrumentally by an ensemble of bansuri flutes, the
highly resonant double-sided barrel shaped drum diipha
khin. and small hand cymbals. '.'The liner notes do not
mention the structure of the piece, but like most
gwdmsy' this one is comprised of different rhythmic
cycles that follow each other in sequence, in a kind of
process which would seem to be quite rare in South
Asia as a whole, though there is textual evidence that in
the past this would have been more common in some
South Asian classical forms. Those who are not trained
to listen for such things would generally have no idea
that different rhythmic cycles are following one after
another in this recording (the melodic transitions often
seem to have a certain 'seamless' quality to them), but a
good way to orient oneself lo this process is to listen
closely to the sound of Ihe small tdh hand cymbals. ]J
One of the pieces from Lalitpur is an ensemble of
dliah drums, playing for the occasion of Buddha
Jayanti. An observer of dhdh groups in procession,
during the month of Gunla for instance, can note that
the vast majority of them are accompanied by
musicians playing trumpet and clarinet for melodic
content, but this recording actually features the oboe-
type instrument mwahali instead- an instrument that is.
by most accounts, approaching extinction fairly
quickly. Given the relative rarity of this practice, it is
probably safe to assume that the producer of the CD
wished to provide listeners wilh a more 'authentic' or
'traditional' experience than some might perceive in the
more   common    contemporary   practice.    For   those
interested in comparison, a dhah ensemble from
Kathmandu with clarinet and trumpet can be heard at
length on the two volume cassette 'Gunla bdjd'.
Representing Bhaktapur, among other pieces, is
music from the Mdhdkali pyakhan, which portrays the
victory of the goddess Mdhdkali and her attendants over
the demons Shumbha and Nishumbha. It features the
drum pact'/na-very similar to the dapha khin, discussed
above, and in some key respects identical with the
North Indian drum known as pakhawaj, _^_but with its
own playing style which is distinct from both of these
drums. The melody is provided by the wind instrument
mwahali. discussed above. Ii also features the medium
si/.ed hand cymbals chusyah, which outside Bhaktapur
would generally not be played along with pacimd (and
even in Bhaktapur itself, this practice is not particularly
common). "The lively pacimd drumming features a
basic example of a kind of 'polyrhythm' that would be
known in North India as layalatrl, but this rhythmic
technique is for all attempts and purposes quite rare in
Newar music. The liner notes mention tittle about the
dance apart from the fact thai it takes place during Indra
latra. but a useful description of a troupe from
Bhaktapur has been provided by Okuyama (1983),
including details about the music.
Auspicious Drumming Traditions of Bhaktapur,.
Recorded by Gert-Matlhias Wegner. Kathmandu: Pro
Viva Musica and Kathmandu University Department of
Musk, 2001.
Dr. Wegner is director of Kathmandu University's
Department of Music, located in Bhaktapur, and has
lived in Bhaktapur for much of the past twenty years or
so. Having earlier published some materials onjhe
genres of ncjvabaja (1997) and dhimay (1986) this CD
marks part of his long term efforts at documenting and
preserving Newar music in genera) as well as those two
genres in particular. The majority of the material on
this CD is from the former genre, followed by nearly 15
minutes of the latter. One might not agree with all the
working assumptions and conclusions in Wegncr's
previously published items on Newar music, but the
text of the CD booklet is certainly an excellent
introduction to music making in Bhaktapur. acquainting
the listener with relevant aspects of the religious and
social life of Bhaktapur. The booklet also features
excellent photographs of the musicians and their
instruments.
Nava bdjd is a set of nine drums, always played in
a particular sequence, with an essentially fixed
repertoire and exact prescriptions about what the
accompanying instruments for each of the nine drums
will be. There are three 'rounds' of drumming
sequences on the nine drums, and this CD presents the
first. These 'rounds' are ceremonially framed by dapha
songs - in fact, as the booklet describes, nava dapha
Newah   Vijnana-5
Bianchi,   Brent/ Commercial  Recording..27 groups are really expanded dapha groups - though
dapha songs arc absent on this CD. ^,
The drummer featured most often in the nava
dapha section is Hari Govinda Ranjitkar, one of the few-
people in Bhaktapur who still knows the eutire
repertoire for all nine drums, and a most enthusiastic
practitioner of the musical traditions he has inherited.
As the booklet notes, the nava bdjd genre marks an
attempt by an 18th century king to "combine all
possible sources of musical sound", and one will
definitely hear a wide range of musical ideas and
sounds on this recording. Most of the drums are double
sided drums, though there is a one headed drum (the
kvancakhin) and well as a three headed one (known in
Bhaktapur as pasta), in addition to a pair of small keltic
drums (naggara), the only drum which is played only
with a pair of sticks (other drums are played with both
bare hands, or with a slick in one of the hands). There
is also a wide range of tempos as well as metrical
patterns. The final nava bdjd track marks what is
probahly a relatively uncommon practice, that of two
drums sharing the same piece (the two drummers
alternate back and forth). It might also be pointed that,
although the drumming performances are generally
described as a drumming solos", the sound of wind
instruments such as mwahali and pwangd and (for the
one of the drums) flutes, is much more to the
foreground than some listeners might expect from this
designation. The melodies played on the mwahalis (the
most commonly hcaid melody instrument) are often
relatively repetitive, pointing clearly lo their
accompaniment function, though these melodies can be
fairly ornate - as the booklet suggests, the extent to
which the playing is embellished suggests a "continuum
rather than a precise melody".
Following the nava dapha performances, is a
recording of the large double-headed cylindrical drum
dhimay, associated particularly with the farming castes.
Dhimay is not one of the nava bdjd drums, but it is the
most commonly heard processional drum of Bhaktapur,
and the recording rounds out the CD nicely. As the CD
notes explain "The main function of this music
besides connecting the musicians with the source of
inspiration - is, to create a joyous atmosphere where
people are inspired to jump in front of the drums and
dance. Large quantities of rice-beer tend to be
consumed      during     such      occasions." Social
considerations aside, the dhimay is a drum that can be
quite difficult lo make good recordings of for acoustical
reasons as well, and ihe one here is the best commercial
recording thai I have heard. The other two CDs
reviewed here also feature dhimay recordings, and in
fact very similar versions of a few of the compositions
on the Bhaktapur recording can be heard on the Lalitpur
recording on the "Sound of Festivals from Kathmandu
Valley" CD.   Given the huge differences that can be
found in the repertoires for some of the Newar drums in
the Kathmandu valley, the relative uniformity of the
dhimay drumming is fairly remarkahle, particularly
given that the dhimay is commonly regarded as being
much older in Newar society than many of the drums
which show far greater divergence. _^- Whatever the
historical and social reasons for those similarities may
be, ihis recording captures the vibrancy of the genre
excellently.
Notes
As has often been pointed out, the distinction between
categories such as 'traditional' und 'modern' is often not
nearly as clear as common usage would have us believe. This
notion can quite valuably be applied to the study of Newar
culture (tf. Ellingson 1991), but a discussion of these points is
beyond the scope of the present article. The genres
represented on the compact discs reviewed have roots in the
Malla period and in some cases perhaps earlier. This review-
article does not look at modem interpretations of old songs,
whether performed on classical instruments such as sarod
and labia or the latest 'Rajarnati Remix' dance hit, though a
study of modern interpretations would certainly be an
interesting project.
The cassettes are also less significant for our purposes
here in that they generally lack liner notes.
For the totally inane reason that the American wine
company Julio and Gallo threatened to sue the CD company
for distributing CD in the U.S. due to the "similarity" in
names of the companies!
In foci, the two different versions of Basanta on this CD
were among the dozen songs examined by Grand in (1997) in
his thought provoking article, on Basanta melodies in Nepal.
This instrument declined to the point of extinctionm
perhaps 70 to 100 years ago. Today it is extremely difficult to
find reliable information as lo how and when it was played,
what types of songs were played on it, who played them, etc.
In the newspaper Nepali Times (Sherpa:2002) , it was
reported dial this instrument had been 'revived'. However,
the 'revived' instrument was constructed from looking at a
temple sculpture rather than copying a suiviving piwamca
(which apparently exist in a few collections, such that of the
Royal Nepal Academy, and a museum in France). The esraj
player Sanlosh Shrestha suggested lo me that, having seen
one of the old instruments, he did not think the new version
was a very accurate representation (personal communication,
November 2002). Currently workshops are taught at the
Nepal Lok Baja Sangrahalaya (Nepal Folk Instrument
Museum^ using the revived instrument, though the instructor
is a sarangi player, so what is being taught is adapted from
sarangi rather than a survival of ihe piwanca's technique,
presumably lost. Nevertheless, the interest in the revival of
the instrument is certainly of much interest in its own right,
and il will be interesting to see what additional developments
may take place in this regard.
6 As the liner notes explain, this song 'Buddha Bhagavan
men ', was recorded during the month of Pus, a month when
drums with the type of 'tuning paste' known as khau are
forbidden lo be played. Therefore, during this time a song
that might normally be accompanied by a drum with 'khau'
Newah  Vijnana-5
Bianchi,   Brent/ Commercial  Recording .. 28 must be accompanied by a substitute. The dhimay does not
have khau, but the choice lo use dhimay as a 'substitute
drum' in these kinds of instances is to the best of my
knowledge not at all common, and in general it is very rare to
hear dhimay played in an ensemble with melody instruments.
This observation is confirmed, at least for Bhaktapur, b\
Wegner's (I9S6: 44-49) survey of dhimay groups in that
particular city. His entry for each of the 23 groups existing al
that time includes a full list of all accompanying instruments
used, and only 2 of these groups make use of bansuri. It is not
clear from his description how often they actually use
bansuri.
The appendix of Aubert 1988 features a helpful list of
all the music that was recorded during that expedition, "the
first Genevese scientific mission in Nepal". The CD booklet
also features two photos of musicians taken during that
expedition, noteworthy in part for depicting styles of clothing
not often seen today. As the photos were taken only about a
year after 'democracy' had arrived in Nepal, it was still
common for members of ihe same caste in ihe same locality to
wear matching uniforms.
See F.llingson (1991) for details on Nasa Dyah.
There are intriguing parallels (as well as some
important differences) between details of the way this is done
on the khin. and the main features of a kind of composition on
the pakhawaj known as 'parag', in current practice
associated particularly wuh the Nalhdwtira style of pakhawaj
playing of Rajasthan, India.
10 The main features thai quickly mark it as veiy different
from ordinary dapha khin drumming include the use of fast
strings of 'closed' (i.e. non resonant) drum sounds, frequent
use of 'lihai' cadences (essentially absent in traditional khin
drumming), and what is presumably an adaptation oj
kehcirwa iheka' variations from labia. It is also telling that
this short solo is not accompanied by hand cymbals
" About the only exception is an instrumental rendition
of the popular folksong Rajamali, basically a 'secular' piece,
liven in this case, the accompanying drum damaru has strong
religious associations, such as an intimate connection with
the god Shiva. On the other hand, the Newar adaptation of
this drum for specifically musical purposes, the jor damaru'
is used quite flexibly by the Newars. It differs from the
ordinary damaru that is common throughout South Asia, in
some key respects that I have outlined elsewhere (Bianchi
2002).  I hope to publish a more detailed study in the future.
' The same gwura can be heard, as performed by a dhali
ensemble rather than a dapha ensemble, on volume two of the
'Gunla baja ' cassette mentioned above.
' The subject of the musical form 'gwara' is one that
could benefit greatly from additional research, but some
important materials have been published. A collection of
Lalitpur gwara compositions was transcribed into a local
form of notation by Shakya (1108 N.S). Ellingson has (1996:
458-461) discussed the structure of a particular gwara and
has offered a possible explanation as to how the structures of
gwaras may be ref\ecliveof_parlicular religious ideas.
After a short 'introduction ' in 7 beat jati tul, the gwara
is comprised of two cycles of palima laf (a cycle of 6 beats),
four cycles of co lal (a cycle of 4 beats), two cycles of astra
lal (cm additive cycle often beats), and two cycles of jati lal (a
cycle of 7 beats). In this recording, as is most often the case,
there is a pause when the end of the last cycle in the sequence
(i.e. ihiil of jati lal) is reached, before repeating the cycle and
going lo the first beat of the first tal (co lal). Less commonly
(for instance, when the accompanying drum is jor damaru),
there is no pause and repetitions of ihe sequence are entirely
continuous. For comparative purposes, this gwara can be
heard petfonned by quite a different kind of ensemble on ihe
two volume cassette 'Gunla Baja', issued in Kathmandu
(there is no publication data on the cassette inlay).
15 The pacima and pakhnaj generally look exactly ihe
same, and both go by ihe additional (older) name mndanga in
their respective locales. However, there are important tonal
differences between sound the right hand side of the pacima
and that of the pakhawaj. The main one, bearing in mind that
the situation is complicated considerably by a number of
overtones, is that the tonal relationship between the partially
dampened ringing sound ('ta' or 'naj and the fully open
sound of the drumhead differs. In the pakhawaj, ihe latter is
about a lone higher than the former, whereas in the pacima
(as well us the dapha khin) there is a difference of about a
semitone. This (not to mention the large differences in
repertoires) gives the Newar drumming a quite different
flavor, despite oilier aspects of the construction of the drum
being much the same.
The most obvious explanation for this, apart from the
obvious limits of time on a CD, is that the performers are the
group Master Drummers of Bhaktapur', rather than a nava
dapha group as would traditionally come into lo existence
under the traditional rubric of residential quarter, caste, and
other factors. For those interested in comparison, a cassette
released some years earlier by a different label "Traditional
Tunes of Bhaklapur" comprises mainly navabaja material
performed by a different group.
If one postulates thai dhimay predates the division of
ihe Kathmandu valley into three separate kingdoms, and that
many of the other drumming traditions date from a period
when these three kingdoms were in competition with each
other, provides a partial explanation. One migltr have
expected ihe dhimay drumming styles to diverge significantly
during ihe centuries after this division, but what seems most
likely is that the compositions continued to be passed down in
a very conservative way. Alternate explanations, such as that
she dhimay drumming simply became codified a! a relatively
late date, do not seem very likely.
References
Aubert. Laurent (1988): "Les musiciens dans la societe nevvar:
Contribution a l'elhnographie de la Vallee de Kathmandou"
Bulletin dD Musee d'VLthnographie. Vol. XXX. p 31-67.
Bianchi, Brent (21X12): "The Dabadaba of Lalitpur and Kathmandu"
Dabu: 12. p. 66-68.
Ellingson. Ter (1991): "Nasa:Dya:. Newar God of Music* A Photo
Kssay". Selected Reports in Ethnomusicology. 8. pp. 221-272.
Ellingson. Ter (1996): "The Mathematics of Newar Buddhist
Music", in Siegfried Lienhard (ed). Cliange and Continuity :
studies in the Nepalese Culture of the Kathmandu Valley.
Alessandria : Edtzioni dell'Orso.
Grandin. Ingemar. (1997): "Raga Basanta". in Franck Bernede (ed.).
Himalayan Music: Stale of the Art. published as special issue of
European Bulletin ofllimalayan Research. 12-13. p. 57-80
Okuyama, Keiko (1983): "Aspects of Mahakali Pyakhan" in Dance
and Music in South Asian Drama: Chhau, Mahakali Pyakhan.
and Yakshaeana. Tokyo: Academic Music.
Newah Vijhana-5
Bianchi,  Brent/ Commercial   Record i ng .. 29 Shakya,  Dharma Ralna  Trishuli'(ed.) (1107 N.S., e.g.  1986-87).
Jhigu Baja Jhigu Sanskrti: Dapha Bhajanya Gwara Sangraha.
Yala: Hiranya Vama MahaviharTaremam Sangha.
v Sherpa, Phudorji Lama (2002).   in Search of Lost Music". Nepali
Times (114), Oct. 54-10,2002.
Wegner,   Gert-Matthias   (1986):   The   Dhimaybaja   of   Bhaktapur.
~ Wiesbaden, BRD : F. Steiner.
Wegner, Gert-Matthias (1987) "Navadapha of Bhaktapur- Repertoire
and Performance of the Ten Drums', in Niels Gutschow and
Axel Michaels (eds.) Heritage of the Kathmandu Valley. Sankt
Augustin: VGH Wissenschaftsverlag. p. 469-488.
NC center for South Asian Sludies
Intl. and Area Studies
Po Box 90195. Perkins Library
Duke University Durham NC 27708-019
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wnww.npna-us.org
Information on Festivals celebrated by the Newars
http://www.jwajalapa.com/festi vals.html
Bisket Jatra and Bikram Samvat ( Nepali Article)
http://www.jwajalapa.com/articles/bisketbikra.html
Tongue Boring Festival of Thimi(An English Article)
http://www.jwajalapa.com/articles/tongue him!
Lingo Jatra. the pole festival ( Nepali Article)
http://www.jwajaIapa.coin/articles/lingo.html
Pulukisi Jatra ( Nepali Article)
http://www.jwajalapa.com/arlieles/pulukisi.htnil
Guru Punhi ( Nepalbhasa Article)
http://www.jwajalapa.com/articles/gurupunhi.html
Biskah Jatra. the bisket festival ( Nepali Article)
http://www.jwajalapa.com/articles/biskah.html
Tongue Boring Festival ( Nepalbhasa Article)
http://www.jwajalapa.com/articles/mey.hlml
www.neDalllDlgntlil.Drg
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wrwnw.liwalalana.coin
Newah Vijnana-5
Bianchi,  Brent/ Commercial   Recording .. 30 N
N
h Jhii
h hey Jui
Daya R. Shakya
Center for Nepalese Language and Culture
Portland, Oregon
"Newah Jhii Newah hey Jui". means "We the
Newars must live like Newars". What does this mean to
the Newah people living in the United States in this day
and age? In order to maintain our Newah identily, one
should aspire to follow the traditional Newah lifestyle
as well as to leach it to our children. Only then the
impact of this slogan can be truly felt.
In these modern times of the 21st century we are
very much attracted to the Western way of life. The
task to honor the Newah culture in the United States
thus can become difficult. This paper tries to show how
a person can find his/her Newah identily and how (he
Newah Organization of America (NOA) can help
facilitate our endeavor. At this time, one may wonder
whether we really have the time to delve into such a
seemingly unnecessary topic. They may ponder why
they would even consider maintaining the Newah
lifestyle at all. What is the true meaning of this slogan?
When participating in such a discussion, won't other
ethnic groups consider them cxclusionists?
It would be worth reflecting upon how the slogan
"Newah Jhii Newah hey Jui" actually came about in
Newah society. To do so. one must review a bit of
Nepali history. Nepali people experienced a drastic
change after the failure of the 1950s democratic
transformation and the subsequent establishment of the
Panchayat System. During this system, not much
attention had been paitl for recognition of ethnic
diversity in Nepal. As a result, Newah language
programs were abolished from Radio Nepal. In the field
of education, the study of Newah language was
considered an optional subject. Eventually it was
eliminated in primary and middle schools and was
made it available for study only at four high schools in
Kathmandu, whereas in colleges, the Masters and PhD
programs were added.
In addition, the Lok Sevd Ayog (Public Service
Commission) of the HMG disallowed credits for classes
taken   in   the   Newah   language   major.   They   were
however certifying large number of boarding schools
where Nepali children were taught primarily English.
Because of these events, Newah language was slowly
marginalized in the minds of the Newah people. Parents
began to feel embarrassed when they heard their
children speaking Newah language, and so adopted the
Khas language (known as Nepali) as the primary
language at home.
After the restoration of democracy in 1990 the
local authorities including the municipalities of
Kathmandu. Lalitpur, Bhaktapur. and Kirtipur
unanimously adopted the Newah language for official
usage along with Nepali. However, this act was
declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. This
unfortunate historical event struck the hearts of the
Newah people. A language recognized as one of the
national languages of Nepal by the constitution ts not
allowed to use for practical purpose. Newah people
consider it a grave dishonor to a national language.
Newah is not an imported language in Nepal. Not
appreciating this fact we have instead adopted Nepali as
our primary means of communication and have taught
our children Nepali as their mother tongue, despite the
existence of our own language. From this point of view,
therefore, Newah children are really not aware of their
own identity. We should teach them that the Newah
people are the original inhabitants of Nepal Mandal
(currently known as Kathmandu Valley) and their
culture is a major aspect of Nepalese culture as a whole.
Children today have no awareness of Newah literature.
Newah localities, such as chuka, Baha Nani, etc., are
unknown lo them. In this situation, the slogan "Newah
Jhii Newah hey Jui" can help us acknowledge our
identity as Newah, especially for those who consider
themselves Newah by their last names only.
Let us not dwell upon how many of them can read
and write the Newah language. I am certain not many
of them still speak their own language at home. In this
situation,   speaking   and   preserving   the   identity   of
Newah  Vijnana-5
Shakya,   Daya/ Newah  Jhi..31 Narayan ghat, in the west side. Banepa Panauti.
Dolakha. Okhaldhunga, Dharan, Biratnagar, Dhankuta.
Chainpur, Bhojpur, Khandabari and Dingla in the east,
In India, we also see Newah people speaking their own
language in Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Sikkim etc. The
population of Newah people in the USA is increasing
every year. Some of them are still speaking our
language at home, while others have already given up.
It is my great aspiration that the Newah people living in
the USA should also give their language a chance to
survive by using it at home and with each other.
Speaking in Nepal Bhasa does not cause them
degradation as is believed by so many people in Nepal.
If the Newah people were to begin to use own language
and follow their own customs and traditions in
recognition of the need to preserve their heritage, it can
have groundbreaking effects. This is actually not a very
difficult task, and can have a tremendously positive
impact on their children. Even if you feel awkward
speaking Nepal Bhasa, or your sentences are broken,
you can begin speaking with children simply by using
the names of certain objects. This method helps build
some vocabulary, as well as supporting the meaning of
the slogan "Newah Jhi Newah Hey Jui." This states that
they are the Newah people. Their culture is the Newah
culture, and their language is the Newah language. As
we all know, there is no place like home, and no other
term than Newah to call them. Finally I would like to
request you to remember the slogan Newah Jhii Newah
Hey Jui (We the Newars must live like Newars) to
bring awareness of own identity among the Newah
community. Subhdye\ (Thank you)
ufsmznar
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Historical
Documents
Newspapers
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Holidays
MJsS
Festivals
Focri & BBayeraqss
Appraite- Ornaments
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Birth 3. Df-sih
Adversaries
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Bites, .ft RittslB
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Cerainany
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Pots & Pans Stags
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OEcnrBttves
Utedk
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Cymbles
Newah  Vijnana-5
Shakya,   Daya/ Newah Jhi..33 In Memoriam
Bert van den Hoek
(1951-2001)
Bal Gopal Shrestha
Han F. Vermeulen
University of Leiden
Bert (Albertus Wilhelmus) van den Hoek was a
brilliant anthropologist and indologist from the
Netherlands, who had been working on India and Nepal
for more than thirty years when he died on December I,
2001, on his way to a conference in India at age 50. He
left behind numerous scholarly works, three films, and
the memory of a gentle, warm and dedicated man.
Bert was born on September 2, 1951, in Apeldoorn
as the first son of his parents. He attended high school
at Utrecht, completing the Stedelijk Gymnasium in
1969. In the same year he attended courses in cultural
anthropology and philosophy at the University of
Amsterdam. He then switched to Leiden where he
studied cultural anthropology at the University of
Leiden for his BA and MA degrees from 1970 to 1976.
He, together with Jan Brouwer, traveled to India for the
first time in the summer of 1970. During this period,
Bert followed courses in linguistics and anthropology
of Indonesia with Professor P.L. de Josselin de Jong
and in anthropology and sociology of South Asia with
Professor J.C. Heesterman, which included studies of
Tamil. Sanskrit and philosophy. Together with Sjoerd
Zancn. he carried out fieldwork for his MA thesis in
Lebanon (1974). They traveled extensively through the
Middle-East. Turkey, Syria. Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan,
Pakistan and India (1973-74) and Bert first visited
Nepal in 1975. In 1977 he was a post-graduate student
of Professor Louis Dumont at the Ecole des Hautes
Ftudes en Sciences Sociales, Centre d'Etudes de Tlnde
et de l'Asie du Sud, in Paris. During this period, he
worked out the research he had undertaken in the spring
of 1977 with Sjoerd Zanen in Madurai, South India.
"The Goddess of the Northern Gate: Cellattamman as
the 'Divine Warrior' of Madurai" (1979) was one of his
earliest papers based on his research in South Asia. For
a short period (January-March 1978), he worked in
South Sudan in a mission for the Foreign Ministry of
the Netherlands with Sjoerd Zanen and Philip Leek
Deng, which resulted in several publications on Dinka
religion and culture (1978, 1985, and 1987).
From September I, 1978, until January I. 1981, he
was a Ph.D. student at the University of Leiden under
the supervision of P.E. de Josselin de Jong and J.C.
Heesterman carrying out research on "The Religious,
Social and Political Significance of the Goddess Kali
(Devi Durga) in Hindu-Buddhist Society."' For this
purpose, he conducted fieldwork in Kathmandu, Nepal,
together with Sjoerd Zanen in 1979; in 1979-1982 he
was assisted by Bal Gopal Shrestha and Tirtha Narayan
Mali.
Having returned to Leiden in May 1982. he
regularly participated in seminars of the CASA
(Cognitive Anthropology and Structural Anthropology)
research group al Leiden and of the ERASME research"
group at Paris. From April until July 1985 he was
assigned by LIDFSCO to prepare the working
document for the International Symposium on the
Cultural Dimension of Development, sponsored by
UNESCO. In addition, he published several articles on
the same subject (1985, 1986, 1988). arguing its
importance for the implementation of anthropological
ideas in the development process.
In 1988, he went back to the University of Leiden
lo expand his language skills and enrolled in the study
of Sanskrit and cultural history of South Asia at the
Department of Languages and Cultures of South and
Central Asia, where he obtained a BA degree in 1989.
During this period, together with Bal Gopal Shrestha,
he carried out research on the "Sacrifice of Serpents
and the Festival of Indrayani in Northern Kathmandu"
and on "Fire Sacrifice in Nepal: the Agnimatha in
Patan." For this purpose he was in Nepal during two
periods of three months of fieldwork in 1988 and 1989.
His knowledge of Sanskrit and Vedic literature is very
evident in the published papers from this research.
From 1989 to 1992 he served as the head of the
Documentation Centre of Soulh Asia at the University
Newah  Vijnana-5
Shrestha Bal Gopal & Vermeulen, Hans F./ In Memoriam..34 of Leiden. During this period he managed to add a
wealth of literature on South Asian to the library of the
Kern Institute at Leiden. He was also editor of the
South Asia Newsletter, published by the Universities of
Amsterdam and Leiden in 1989-92. He organized the
Dutch Asia Conference (KOTA) with Dr. Jos D.M.
Ptatenkamp at Leiden in 1989 and at Amsterdam in
1990. He was also a member of the organizing
committee of the I lth Conference on Modern South
Asian Studies, held in Amsterdam in 1990.
Resigning his post as head of the Documentation
Centre of South Asia in 1992, he took up a position as
research assistant (AiO) to write a Ph.D. thesis on "The
Ritual Structure of Kathmandu, Nepal." For this
purpose he was in Kathmandu to carry out fieldwork
with Bal Gopal Shrestha from June 15, 1992, to July
14, 1994. During this period, he took lessons in Newar
language with Suvarna Man Tuladhar. In November
1992, Dr. Dirk J. Nijland of Leiden University joined
them to shoot an ethnographic video-film on their
earlier research "Sacrifice of Serpents."' During this
period, Bert participated in a number of conferences
and wrote several research papers such as "The Death
of the Divine Dancers: The Conclusion of Bhadrakali"
(1992), "Guardians of the Royal Goddess: Daitya and
Kumar as the Protectors of Taleju Bhavani of
Kathmandu" (1992), "Kathmandu as a Sacrificial
Arena"' (1993) and "Caste and Gender in the Perfect
Buddhist Gift: The Samyak Mahadan in Kathmandu,
Nepal" (1994). His genius is to be seen in all these
writings, which provide penetrating insights into Newar
cultural and ritual life,
In July 1994, Bert was back in Leiden to write up
his Ph.D. thesis at the Centre of Non-Western Studies
(CNWS) under the supervision of Professor
Heesterman. He was one of the most talented students
of Heesterman and took his comments and criticisms
seriously. Accordingly, he tried to revise all chapters in
accordance with his guru's suggestions, and, more often
than not, he was a perfectionist. He finished a draft
version of the text, but was compelled to leave his
office at the CNWS in December 1996, before being
able to finalize it. This situation was aggravated by
personal problems, including financial constraints and
an addiction lo alcohol that never stopped haunting
him.
Nevertheless, he remained active academically and
in 1997 completed the editing of the documentary film
Sacrifice of Serpents, together with Dirk Nijland and
Bal Gopal Shreslha. The film deals with the annual
Newar festival of Indrayani in the northern part of
Kathmandu city and was first screened at the opening
of the festival of South Asian documentaries "Film
South Asia 1997" in Kathmandu, October 26-28. 1997.
Ii was selected for the seventh Bilan du Film
Ethnographique   in   Paris,   23-28   March    1998.   the
Ethnographic Film Festival 'Beeld voor Beeld 1998' in
Amsterdam, 4-7 June 1998. and the Film Festival of the
Society for Visual Anthropology during the Annua!
Meeting of the American Anthropological Association
(AAA) in Philadelphia, 2-4 December 1998. On the
latter occasion, the AAA honored the film with an
"Award of Commendation"' for making:
"A thorough documentation of a multi-day festival
which is slow paced with spare narration and 'time to
see'. A depth of Vedic scholarship and many years of
fieldwork by the anthropologist are combined with
Nepalese team assistants who were community
members to make an informed film record of the
event."
Earlier in 1998, in the wake of the annual meeting
of Asian Scholars in Washington, Bert and Bal Gopal
had been invited to show the film at Cornell, Princeton,
and Harvard Universities as well as in Washington in a
meeting of the Newar community in the USA. The
audience in Nepal and in all other countries where Ihe
film was shown appreciated it for presenting an inside
view of the rituals performed during the Indrayani
festival.
Many scholars in Nepal greatly appreciated Bert
lor his scholarly talents. Professor Tirtha Prasad
Mishra, director of the Centre for Nepal and Asian
Studies (CNAS) at Tribhuvan University in
Kathmandu, to which Bert was affiliated until his death,
stated a few weeks before he died that Bert was one of
ihe most talented foreign scholars working on Nepal.
Professor Kamal Prakash Malla, a prominent Nepalese
scholar from Tribhuvan University, had Ihe following
lo say on Bert's sudden departure: m
"His death is, indeed, a great loss to the world of
Indian Studies in general and Nepal Studies in
particular. His work and keen insight into the culture of
the Kathmandu Valley, particularly its festivals and
ritual structure, have always been deep and penetrating,
often ending in brilliant conclusions, synthesizing
Indology with anthropological perspectives. Personally,
it is a great loss to me and my colleagues in the
academic community in Nepal, committed to the cause
of the promotion of Newar studies.""
Although Bert's chief interest in Nepa! was the
study of rituals and religious festivals he was also
interested in Nepalese politics, ethnicity. _ and the
situation of human rights. He published several articles
on Nepalese politics, language issues and social
problems in Nepal Nieuws, a bulletin published in the
Netherlands by a group of activists, of which he was
one of the editors in the 1990s.
In addition lo his academic interest in Nepal, Bert
was active in social work and in heritage conservation.
His idea was that scholars working on Nepal should not
only work in their own interests but must also
reciprocate   by   supporting   Nepalese   traditions   and
Newah  Vijnana-5
Shrestha Bal Gopal & Vermeulen, Hans F./ In Memoriam..35 cultures. His involvement in fundraising for the
restoration of temples and monuments in Nepal was
proof of this. For this reason Bert will be remembered
especially in Sankhu, a small town near Kathmandu,
where a number of religious monuments are being
renovated with his active support.
He was a member of several organizations in the
Netherlands working in Nepal and India, such as
Vcreniging Nepal Samaj Nederland (NSN), Vereniging
Nederland Nepal (VNN)), International Council for
Friends of Nepal (ICFON), and Vereniging Nederland
India. He was active in establishing a relation based on
equality between Nepal and the Netherlands. He was of
the view that Nepal has rich traditions of culture, arts
and architecture, which fully deserve the attention of
countries like the Netherlands. For this purpose he
wished to establish a cultural agreement between the
Netherlands and Nepal at the governmental level. In
1992 -1994, when he was in Nepal, he met Ishor Baral,
then vice-chancellor of the Royal Nepal Academy, and
drafted a memorandum for the agreement that was not
followed up for financial reasons. Bert not only wanted
Nepal to be studied by foreign scholars, but also wanted
Nepalese scholars to be given chances to study the
cultural traditions of Western societies. This led to the
appointment of Bal Gopal Shrestha as a Ph.D. student
at ihe CNWS, University of Leiden in September 1996.
That same year, Bert drafted a Memorandum of
Understanding for co-operation between the University
of Leiden and Tribhuvan University. The director of the
Research School CNWS, Professor D.H.A Kolff,
played a key role in getting this memorandum signed in
January 1997. Bert continued to work on restoration
projects in Sankhu, and in July 2000 established a
foundation for cultural and scientific exchange between
Nepal and the Netherlands (Stichting Culturele en
Wctenschappelijke Samenwerking Nepal-Nederland).
Its immediate aim was to build a Nepalese style pagoda
temple of Ganesh in Leiden; its long-term aim was to
spread Nepalese art and culture in the Netherlands and
contribute to the preservation of cultural heritage and
infrastructure in Kathmandu Valley.
Intending to finalize his dissertation and add to his
research data he went to Nepal in August 2000, only to
return to the Netherlands for a month towards the end
of May in 2001. He again returned to Nepal on July 13,
2001, to continue his research on rituals in Kathmandu.
He was very concerned about the political
developments in Nepal, including the "palace
massacres" of June I, 2001 and the government
struggle against the Maoist movement. Ironically, his
departure for India, to participate in an international
seminar in Pune, coincided with the declaration of the
state of emergency in Nepal on 26 November. In Pune
he was expected to present a paper titled "Lingua
Franca in Nepal:   The Pre-Nationalist, the Nationalist
and the Ethnic Discourse" in an international seminar
on 'Language, Modes of Interpretation and the
Concepts of Tradition and Modernity", on 28 November
2001. Unfortunately, he never reached the conference
venue, but on his way to Pune was hit by a motor trailer
in Mumbai (Bombay) on the early morning of 27
November. He was admitted to the King Edward
Memorial Hospital where he died without regaining
consciousness on 1 December, at Full Moon (Sakimila
punhi).
This was the tragic end of a brilliant man. He has
left behind three films and a corpus of published and
unpublished papers, including his incomplete Ph.D.
dissertation, which he retitled Caturmasa: the
Celebration of Death in Kathmandu.
Bert took a lively interest in the cultural tradition of
the Newar of Kathmandu Valley. Newars combine
Hindu and Buddhist beliefs and practices, which
fascinated him. Shortly before the fatal accident, Bert
stopped in Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha in
southern Nepal, for a few days. There he was initiated
by His Holiness 17th Gyalwa Karmapa on 22
November, one week before he died. Respecting his last
initiation during Bert's cremation at Rijswijk, the
Netherlands, on 14 December 2001, Kalsang Norbu
Gurung, a Tibetan-Nepali monk, was invited lo carry
out a brief recitation of Buddhist texts and to pray for
the eternal peace to Bert's departed soul. At the same
occasion, Bal Gopal Shrestha and his family performed
a puja or farewell worship to pay respect to Bert van
den Hock and his long association with Newar rituals
and traditions, which he admired so much and which he
knew much better than most Newars today. <•
Bert van den Hoek made his contributions to South
Asian studies by combining his thorough fieldwork-
based anthropological research with his profound
knowledge of Sanskrit and Vedic literature. This
sometimes confused contemporaries as to whether they
should consider him an anthropologist or an Indologist.
In real life, actually, he was both.
With his departure, a great light has gone out.
Publications A.W. van den Hoek
1974 A.W. van den Hoek & Sj. Zanen, De bron des
;.gouds. De sociaal-culturele ontsluiling van een
Libanees bergdorp  (Nahr-ed-Dahab).   Report
on a field study in Libanon, 137 pp. ill.
1975 Theater en spel als antropologische modellen.
Essai, 13 pp.
1976a Tamilnadu als dcel van hcl Indische
studieveld. Scriptie voor het bijvak Zuid-Azie
(small thesis, University of Leiden).
1976b Huwclijks-alliantie op Sumatra, bezien in het
licht van het Pandji-thema. Scriptie voor het
Newah  Vijnana-5
Shrestha Bal Gopal & Vermeulen, Hans F./ In Memoriam..36 bijvak       Zuid-Oost-Azie       (small       thesis.
University of Leiden).
1976c Sjoerd Zanen en Bert van den Hoek, Netwerk
en structuur. Theoretische studie van sociale
verandering in een Libanees bergdorp. Leiden:
Instituut voor Cullurele Antropologie en 1989
Sociologie der Niet-Westerse Volken (ICA-
Publicaties 14). 47 pp. ill. December 1975.
197fid    Een   kanttekening   bij   de   methode   van   het
structuralisme. Antro 6(5): 7-12. 1990a
1978 Bert van den Hoek, Sjoerd Zanen & Philip
Leek Deng, Social-anthropological Aspects of
the  Jonglei   Development  Projects  in   South
Sudan   (field work  report).   Leiden:   Instituut        1990b
voor Culturele Antropologie en Sociologie der
Niet-Westerse   Volken.  May   1978.   107   pp.
maps, ill.  Reissued with a new introduction
1985c.
1979 "The    Goddess    of    the    Northern    Gate:
Cellattamman   as   the   'Divine   Warrior'   of
Madurai."    In:    Marc   Gaborieau    &    Alice        1990c
Thorner   (eds.)   Asie   du   Sud:   traditions   el
changements.   Paris:   CNRS,   pp.    119-129.
Paper   presented   at   the   Xth   International        I990d
Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological
Sciences,   Post-Plenary  .Session   on   Religion
and Society, Madras, 19-21 December, 1978. 1990c
1985a    The   Cultural   Dimension   of*   Development.
State-of-the-Art   document   presented   at   Ihe        I990f
UNESCO     Symposium     on     the     Cultural
Dimension   of   Development   at   the   Peace        1991a
Palace, The Hague. September 1985.
1985b    "De culturele dimensic van ontwikkeling: een
sleutelbegrip  in' UNESCO's  toekornstbeeld."        199lb
IMWOO-Bulletin 13(3): 12-14.
1985c     Bert van den Hoek, Sjoerd Zanen & Philip        1991c
Leek Deng, Social-anthropological Aspects of
the  Jonglei   Development  Projects  in  South        199Id
Sudan.    Leiden:    Instituut    voor    Culturele
Antropologie en Sociologie der Niet-Westerse        199Ie
Volken (ICA-Publicaties 67). Reprinted from
1978 with a new introduction.
1986 "The   Cultural   Dimension   of   the   Jonglei
Development  Projects."  In:  G.C.   Uhlenbeck        199If
(ed.) The Cultural Dimension of Development.
The Hague: Netherlands National Commission
for UNESCO, pp. 77-87. "'
1987 Sjoerd M. Zanen and A.W.  van den Hoek,
"Dinka Dualism and the Nilotic Hierarchy of
Values."   In:   Rob  de   Ridder  and   Jan   A.J.
Karremans   (eds.)  The   Leiden   Tradition   in        1991g
Structural Anthropology. Essays in Honour of
P.F.. de Josselin de Jong. Leiden: E.J. Brill, pp.
170-196.
1988 Cultural Diversity and the Ideology of
Development.     Unesco's     Role      in      the
International      Debate      on      the      Cultural
Dimension of Development. Leiden:  Faculty
of   Social    Sciences.    Leiden    Institute    of
Development     Sludies     and      Consultancy
Services (LIDESCO R-88/10). ix + 68 pp.
Purity and Progress: Hindu Ritual and Western
Planning. Paper presented at the lXth KOTA
conference, held in Leiden, 29-30 June 1989.
Published in a Dutch version 1990
"Hindu   ritueel   en   Westerse   planning.   Fen
Nepalees      offerfestival      in      vergclijkend
perspectief."   Antropologische   Verkcnningen
9(3): J6-31.
"Does Divinity Protect the King? Ritual and
Politics in Nepal." Contributions to Nepalese
Studies (CNAS, Tribhuvan University) 17(2):
147-155. Paper presented at the Xth KOTA
conference, on 'Ritueel  & Politick in  Azie'.
held at CASA, Amsterdam, 14-15 June 1990
French translation 1993b.
"CNAS and CEDA: Two Centres of Asian
Studies in Nepal." South Asia Newsletter No.
5: 22-24.
"Report on the  lllh Conference on Modern
South Asian Studies." CNWS Newsletter No.
3: 10-11.
"De afkondiging van de Nepalese grondwel
1990." Nepal Nieuws No. 3: 2-7.
"Eindelijk    een    nieuwe    grondwet."    Nepal
Nieuws No. 4: 2-8.
"Report    on    Ihe    VHIth     World     Sanskrit
Conference." South Asia Newsletter No. 7: 41-
42.
"Nepalese    verkiezingen    brengen    politicke
duidelijkheid." Nepal Nieuws No. 2: 2-9.
"Hongerstaking sterft een zachte dood." Nepal
Nieuws No. 3: 2-5.
"Een kijkje in hel parlement." Nepal Nieuws
No. 3: 6-8.
Dc rituele structuur van de stad Kathmandu.
Nepal.   Research   proposal   submitted   to   the
Centre of Non-Wcslern Sludies. University of
Leiden. Dated Kathmandu. I October.
Vikasa   va  Samskriti   Raksya  Nitam   Napam
Juima.   [Development and  the  Protection  of
Culture must be carried out simultaneously.J
Interview by Bal Gopal Shrestha, conducted in
English    and    translated     into     Nepalbhasa
(Newari),   published   in   I nap,   a  Nepalbhasa
Weekly. 9(44). 20 November, pp. 3 and 7.
Life and Death at Svanti - The Turn of the
Ritual   Year   in   Nepal.   Unpublished   paper
presented  at CASA-ERASME  seminar   The
Cycle of Life and Death',  held  in  Paris.  9
December. 7 pp. Planned as chapter 7 of the
dissertation.
Newah  Vijnana-5
Shrestha Bal Gopal & Vermeulen, Hans F./ In Memoriam. .37 1992a (with Bal Gopal Shrestha) "The Sacrifice of
Serpents. Exchange and Non-Exchange in the
sarpabali of Indrayani, Kathmandu." Bulletin
de I'Ecole franchise d'Extreme Orient
(BEFEO. n.s.) 79(1): 57-75. Paper presented at
the 11th European Conference on Modern
South Asian Studies, Amsterdam, July 1990
and at the Vlllth World Sanskrit Conference.
Vienna, 27August-2 September 1990.
1992b A.W. van den Hoek, D.H.A. Kolff and M.S.
Oort (eds.) Ritual, State and History in South
Asia. Essays in Honour of J.C. Heesterman.
Leiden/New York/Koln: E.J. Brill 1992.
(Memoirs of the Kern Institute 5). xi + 843 pp.
ill.
1992c "Fire Sacrifice in Nepal." In: A.W. van den
Hoek, D.H.A. Kolff and M.S. Oort (eds.)
Ritual, State and History in South Asia. Essays
in Honour of J.C. Heesterman. Leiden/New
York/Koln: E.J. Brill, pp. 532-555 + 7 ill.
Paper presented at the Vlllth World Sanskrit
Conference, Vienna. 27 August-2 September
1990.
I992d (with Bal Gopal Shrestha) "Guardians of the
Royal Goddess: Daitya and Kumar as the
Protectors of 'Taleju Bhavani of Kathmandu."
Contributions to Nepalese Studies (CNAS,
Tribhuvan University) 19(2): 191-222.
1992e "Locale verkiezingcn locaal beschouwd."
Nepal Nieuws No. 3: 4-10.
19921" "Nepali. Sanskrit en de etnische talen." Nepal
Nieuws No. 3: 11-18.
1993a "Kathmandu as a Sacrificial Arena." In: Peter
J.M. Nas (ed.) Urban Symbolism. Leiden/New
York/Koln: E.J. Brill, pp. 360-377.
1993b "Les Divinites protegent elles le roi? Rituel et
politique au Nepal." L'Ethnographie 89(1): 19-
28. Translation from the English (1990) by
Xavier Blaiscl. N.B. The title has been
rendered incorrectly, distorting the argument
significantly, according to ihe author.
1993c "The Sanskrit Language: An Outsider's
View". Independent Weekly, p. 2.
1994 "The Death of ihe Divine Dancers: The
Conclusion of the Bhadrakali pyakham in
Kathmandu." In: Michael Allen (ed.) The
Anthropology of Nepal. Peoples, Problems
and Processes. Kathmandu: Mandala
Bookpoinl, pp. 374-404. Paper presented at the
conference jointly sponsored by the Centre for
Nepal and Asian Studies, Tribhuvan
University and the Department of
Anthropology, University of Sydney, held in
Kathmandu, 7-14 September 1992.
1995a (with Bal Gopal Shrestha) "Education in the
Mother Tongue.  The Case of Nepa!  Bhasa
(Newari)." Contributions to Nepalese Studies
22(1): 73-86. Paper presented during the 14th
Annual Conference of the Linguistic Society
of Nepal, Tribhuvan University at Kirtipur,
Kathmandu, 26-27 November 1993.
1995b Presentation of fragments of the Agnimatha
film, during the conference 'Film and Ritual'
organized by the Centre National de la
Recherche Scientifique at Nanterre University,
Paris, 26-28 October. Showing video material
about the Darsapurnamasa ritual in the
Agnimatha in Patan, which takes place every
fortnight to guarantee the continuation of the
cycle of the moon.
1996a "Caste and Gender in the Perfect Buddhist
Gift: The Samyak Mahadana in Kathmandu,
Nepal." Contributions to Nepalese Studies
(CNAS, Tribhuvan University) 23(1): 195
211. Paper presented during the 13th European
Conference on Modern South Asian Studies,
held in Toulouse, 31 August-3 September.
Reprinted in 1999.
1996b The Festival of Indra in Kathmandu: An
Archaic Survival or an 18th Century
Construction? Unpublished paper presented at
the 14th European Conference on Modern
South Asian Studies, held in Copenhagen,
Denmark, 21-24 August. 7 pp.
1996c Newar Culture and Gorkha Power: The Royal
Rituals of Kathmandu. Unpublished paper
presented at the International Conference on
'Asian Minority Cultures in Transition:
Diversity Identities, and Encounters', held at
Miinster. 12-15 December, organised by
J.D.M. Platenkamp.
1997<av> (Film, with Dirk J. Nijland and Bal
Gopal Shrestha) Sacrifice of Serpents: The
Festival of Indrayani, Kalhmandu, Nepal
1992/94. An Ethnographic Videofilm. Leiden:
Institute of Cultural and Social Studies (108
min., English version, Pal SVHS/Betacam SP).
1997 Simplification and Mystification: The Cultural
Context of the Development of Nepal Bhasa.
Paper presented during the 18th Annual
Meeting of the Linguistic Society of Nepal,
Tribhuvan University at Kirtipur, Kathmandu,
26-27 November, 7 pp. Published in the
Annual Journal of the Linguistic Society of"
Nepal.
1997 Ethnicity and Pre-ethnicity in Nepal: The Case
of Indrayatra in Kathmandu. Unpublished
paper presented at a special meeting of the
Nepal Bhasa Academy in Hotel Vajra.
Kathmandu. 23 December. (Broad press
coverage in the vernacular press, including a
Newah   Vijnana-5
Shrestha Bal Gopal & Vermeulen, Hans T.I In Memoriam..38 first-page headline in the national newspaper
Gorkhapatra)
1998      (with Erik de Maaker, Dirk Nijland and Bal
Gopal Shrestha) "Film South Asia 1997." HAS
Newsletter No. 16, p. 16.
1998 "Sacrifice of Serpents: the Festival of
Indrayani." Presentation of documentary film
with a lecture at Cornell University, Ithaca, 30
March; Department of Anthropology of
Princeton University. NJ, 7 April; Department
of Anthropology and Department of Sanskrit
of Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 16-17
April; Ethnographic Filmfeslival 'Beeld voor
Beeld 1998' in Amsterdam, 4-7 June;
International Convention of Asian Scholars
(ICAS-I), panel 'Film South Asia',
Noordwijkerhout, the Netherlands, 25-28 June;
Filmfestival of the Society for Visual
Anthropology, Annual Meeting of" the
American Anthropological Association,
Philadelphia, 2-4 December 1998.
1999 "Caste and Gender in the Perfect Buddhist
Gift: The Samyak Mahadan in Kathmandu,
"Nepal." In: Harald Tambs-Lyche (ed.) The
Feminine Sacred in South Asia. Delhi:
Manohar, pp. 46-62. Originally published in
1996.
2000 "Gathammugah: de uitdrijving van de geesten
in Kathmandu." In: Samachar, ICFON
Newsletter, 9(3), May. Also on the
International Council for Friends of Nepal,
The Netherlands (ICFON) homepage
http://home.wxs.nl/~mitraOOO/gathammugah-
ICFON-NEPAL-Netherlands.htm.
2001a    Kathmandu as a Sacrificial Arena. A Study of
Ritual Competition and Cooperation in
Kathmandu City. Research proposal submitted
to the Centre for Nepal and Asian Studies,
Tribhuvan University at Kirtipur, Kathmandu,
Nepal, for the period 15 July 2001-15 July
2002.
2001c Sadness and Suspicion: A Tribute to the late
King Birendra (Amsterdam 10 June 2001).
Sent to Kanak Dixit, editor of Himal South-
Asia, after 20 June. Typescript, 3 pp.
200 Id Alcoholism and Recovery. Kathmandu.
Chetrapati, 18 August, 3, 3 pp.
200le Lingua Franca in Nepal: The Pre-Nationalist,
the Nationalist and the Ethnic Discourse.
Abstract of a paper prepared for the Seminar
on 'Language, Modes of Interpretation and the
Concepts of Tradition and Modernity', in Pune.
India, 27-29 November, 2 pp.
In preparation
n.d. (with Dirk J. Nijland and Bal Gopal Shrestha)
"Sacrifice of Serpents: Ethnographic Images
and Anthropological Interpretation".
Forthcoming in: M. Postma (ed.) Proceedings
of the International Conference Evaluating
Visual Ethnography: Research, Analysis,
Representation, and Culture. In Honour of Dr.
Dirk J Nijland. held in Leiden, 21-24
September 1999. Typescript, 27 pp. Dated
November 2000.
n.d. Caturmasa: The Celebrations of Death in
Kathmandu City. (Ph.D. thesis. University of
Leiden, incomplete). Kathmandu as a
Sacrifical Arena (Monograph, volume II).
n.d.<av> (Film, with Dirk J. Nijland & Bal Gopal
Shrestha) Agnimatha, the Fire Temple in
Patan.
n.d.<av> (Film, with Dirk J. Nijland & Rajendra
Shrestha) Pacali Bhairava, the Festival of
Liquor and Death.
Reprinted from the
"European Bulletin of Himalayan Research'"
(2001)    Vol:20,    Number:     I,Pages:     151-
163
Newah Vijnana-5
Shrestha Bal Gopal & Vermeulen, Hans F./ In Memoriam..39 Newah Language Workshop
Newah Bhaye Jyasah
Tribhuvan R. Tuladhar
Newah Organization of America, USA
Introduction:
One of the sessions in the second convention of
Newah organization of America (NOA) was started as
language workshop or Newah Bhaye Jyasah. It was
intended to make it as interactive as possible among the
attendants. The session talked about a state of Newah
language in general and then asked to fill a short survey
that would help to understand where the Newah people
are in terms of Newah community in the US. With the
help of Hariman Shrestha and Daya Shakya a short
class or workshop of the Newah Language was
conducted and discussed on the state of Newah
language and how/our heads /we can put |together to
tackle this problem. /
The Dilemma:
At that moment I had a problem, and I called it a
dilemma. The fact was that in order to talk about
Newah language I had to use the English language. This
was a dilemma that we face very often and quiet
difficult to balance. Isn't it a misfortune that in order to
talk about own language Newah people have to do it in
English? In fact, it was started in English and ended in
Newah language.
The State of the Language:
Frankly speaking, the Newah language is in a very
precarious state. The language spoken by Newah people
is in much worse shape than it was twenty years ago,
and with passage of every day, week and month, it
seems to get worse and worse. This trend is causing
much alarm to them. Newah language is on the
downward turn and some of the numbers from the 1991
Census proves that they will go thru these numbers
shortly.
More and more Newah people and especially the
younger generation tend to speak less and less of the
Newah language. We know that some of the reasons are
obvious but some of them we still do not know. The
present situation is not a unique to Newah speaking
populace only, but also it is true for other language
speaking people in Nepal and of course around the
world too.
The time has come to Newah community to think
much harder and deeper and spent some real "sleepless
nights" to gel to the bottom of it.
Language and culture are inseparable. If language
dies the rest of culture and history becomes mute and
die away too. It is naive to think that by not speaking
the language Newah people can still keep their Cultural
Heritage live and strong and claim themselves as
Newah. In fact, language is the mainstay of any viable
culture. It is the mouthpiece, the voice, the loud-speaker
of the culture, ft is the expression of their mind, thought
and emotions. It is only thru language they can tell
others of their Culture and history. This is also true ol»
all other languages and dialects in Nepal. Nepali
language itself is not immune to this. There are
languages like English that dominate the world and
Nepalese people in America speak more English than
Nepali. Language is said to be the window into own
mind, as eyes are said to be windows to the world.
Mother tongue or language is very important for any
culture and history to survive and specially like the
Newah people who are very history bound, the effort to
keep language and culture alive cannot be calculated in
economic benefits alone there is much more at stake
than just economics.
Some Hard Facts:
To be truthful, the Newah language life span has
become very short. If the present trend continues the
life span of the language will be something between 40-
75 years. This is just a parametric calculation. Lots of
circumstances will play into it and they do not know
how things will turn up. Many factors depend on
themselves alone. Here is some facts:
Newah  Vijnana-5
Tuladhar,  Tribhuvan/ Newah  Language .. .-40 According to the WorldWatch Institute, a private
organization that monitors global trends says half of
world's 6,800 languages could die by 2100. One reason
is that half of all languages are spoken by fewer than
2,500 people each.
Age
fti-oup
Pnpul.
No
Speak
Read*
Write
Understand
tip to 20
333 K
10%
0%
509^
21-45
333 K
50%
25%
90%
45 & up
343 K
90%
50%
100%
Languages need at least 100.000 speakers to pass
from generation lo generation, says UNESCO, the
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization. War and genocide, fatal natural disasters,
the adoption of more dominant languages, and
government bans on language also contribute to their
demise.
It is reminded here again that this critical mass
number 100.000, minimum number of speakers
required to pass language from one generation to
another.
"The 1991 Census of the Kingdom of Nepal put the
total Newah population in the country at 1,041,090 or
4.63 '7c of the total population of Nepal. There are
825458 Newah people or 3.66 % of the population that
speak their mother tongue. Deductively, there are about
215,632 who do not consider Newah as their mother
tongue i.e. more than 20 percent who have given up
Newah as their mother language.
The Here are some other numbers are as follows:
language
Number
Percentage
Nepali
11053255
48.98
Maithali
2797582
12.4
Bhojpuri
1712536
7.59
Tharu
1331546
5.9
Tamang
1179145
5.22
Newar
825458
3.66
Magar
770116
3.41
Here is the dynamics of people speaking Newah
language over the decade:
their numbers. But anyway, here is some rough and
hypothetical calculation and assumptions I have made.
Newars are little more over a million.
Hypothetically, If the population is broken into three
age groups a half of the Newah people do not speak
Newah language even at present.
From the above calculation there arc only
509,000 Newah who can speak the language and many
of them cannot read and write. This is simple
arithmetic.
Even if considering the life expectancy of 70 for
Newah people, in the next 25 years the group of 45 and
over will die and the numbers of people speaking the
language will diminish clearly by 345,000. So 164, 00
people will be speaking the language. The number is
pretty low. Isn't that scary? It is getting very close to
the Critical Mass number of 100,000 minimum required
lo keep any language ative.
If the present younger generation, which does not
speak the language, is allowed to remain as it is, then in
the next 10-15 years the Newah speaking populace will
dwindle to less than 100,000, which brings to the
critical number of 100,000 speakers. Hypothetically, in
the worst case scenario Newah language has a life span
of 40 or more years to reach the critical mass of
100,000 speaker, a language in the endangered list and
where after it won't take much more time to be extinct
if nothing is done to change this. At the turn of the
century the 22nd Century, of course when currently
alive Newah people are dead, Newah language will be
in the column of EXTINCT LANGUAGES of the
world according to World Watch Institute and will be in
the history books of the world as such. Imagine the
Newah children will not be speaking Newah language
anymore and won't know that their parents were of
Newah culture.
Even in the best case scenario the prospect is still
precarious and this trend has to be reversed. The Newah
community needs to think about this quiet seriously and
ponder over this reality. It's imperative that they should
all come together to change this trend to rejuvenate this
process back to health.
An Initiative Step of NOA
1961 4.01% of the population
1971 3.94% of the population
1981 2.99% of the population
1991 3.73% of the population
This shows the trend is in downward. And of
course they do have to verify even the numbers adopted
in the national census. But for now that is the basis.
Since 1991 to 2003 some 12 years have passed and the
trend seems to have accelerated. They need to update
Based on many of these concerns and assumptions
NOA has taken the initiative to undertake the formation
of Newah Language Class. NOA formally adopted the
proposal made at the First convention May 25th 2002 to
establish a Nepal Bhasa Language Class for the first
time in the Washington DC, US to teach and learn
Nepal Bhasa (Newah Bhaye). This important decision
will go a long way to keep language and cultural
identily alive. It is nearly a year, and it has not been
able to take it off the ground. The support and
enthusiasm as well as volunteerism and activism are
Newah  Vijnana-5
Tuladhar,  Tribhuvan/ Newah   Langu age .. .41 required. Mr. Deepak Shrestha and Sunil Shrestha have
already agreed to offer NOA fully equipped classrooms
at Global Computer Training Center in Springfield and
NOA thank him for this great gesture. Mr. Daya
Shakya, Hariman Shrestha, Tribhuvan Tuladhar and
others arc putting heads together to come up with an
interesting and fun-fi!Jed viable curriculum and
program to teach this difficult language. But if NOA
does not get people wishing to learn the language this
program is not even good as the paper it is written on.
To understand the wishes and desire of the community
a set of questions in the Survey form was distributed to
fill them up to understand where the Newah people are
with respect to the language initiative.
The Goal:
The goal and purpose of (his program and measure
of its success is very simple: it is just "One Newah
person, one Newah word, at a time." If one can make
you speak a new Newah word a day, it means the
success has already begun. This is the bottom line.
Development in the Grass-root Level:
Even though there seem to be a constant output of
literary works like stories, poems article and other
writing from well known authors and writers, what I do
not see is the attempt to stop this downward trend of the
language. More and more people of the younger
generation are speaking less and less of own language.
I ask myself what is the use of all literary works by
renowned authors and writers when there will be no one
to read or understand them. It has to be started from the
very beginning and learn how to speak, listen and
understand elementary Newah language. It is important
thai each of them must know how to speak, read and
write the Newah language. They need to make sure that
mothers of young children know Newah language. This
is where the new generation will get the first Newah
word from the mouth of their mother. Without the
parent knowing the language the children will never
learn the language. In a household where the parents do
not speak the language the children will never speak it
cither. This is where Newah people can start.
Newah as a Second and First language
In the realm of the nations Newah can only achieve
the status of second language or even third language. A
Newah person must have a confidence in his
vocabulary. Isn't it good to learn one more languages
like French. German, Russian, Chinese, Newah
language? But in the boundaries of our homes Newah
lansuase has to be our first language.
Finally:
Soon after, the NOA tried to design a very good
and interesting language program. They would like to
see the rest of the community pitch in with positive
ideas and initiatives and make this program fun and
interesting rather than a mundane learning process of
un-interesting lingo. There are many innovative ways to
do it and it was confident that it would be able to come
up with a good program that is fun, enjoyable and at the
same time educational.
At the end of the session survey forms were
distributed to collect the suggestion, and volunteers
were selected. From this group of volunteers and
collected survey forms. The NOA took an initiative step
to implement the class in the Washington DC.
In Context of Teaching Newah Language
to Children
As mentioned above, the Newah language speakers
are in rapid decline and the future is not going to be
good if the trend continues. There is enough evidence to
suggest that if the trend continues, the language will not
survive beyond the third quarter of this century.
However, small steps need to be taken al every level to
reverse this trend. In-fact, it would not be out of place
to undertake a national and international effort to bring
about the required changes so as to nurse the language
back to strength and popularity. NOA has worked hard
towards fulfilling the important goal.
A year ago, a local survey was conducted asking
various aspect of our culture and many questions were
about native language. The survey clearly suggested
that majority of the community members supported the
idea of the having a language class amidst them, but at
the same time, there were skeptics who questioned the
need, usefulness and economic benefit of such an
endeavor to individuals of the community. On the
reality side too, there were many of them who would
not speak the native language at home for various
reasons of their own. It is rather paradoxical to know
that they themselves would not want to speak and learn
(heir own native language, and will not try to find use
of the Iarfguage in daily fives, either in form of daily-
conversation, writing stories, songs, and poems, than
who else will!
Nevertheless, the Newah class was formally
launched and NOA Language Center (NLC) was born..
Classes were devised, and in anticipation of sufficient
participation from the community, it befell on only few
concerned families to go ahead with the program. The
class was officially inaugurated by NOA president Mr.
Beda Pradhan on September 7lh 2003.
Newah Vijnana-5
Tuladhar,  Tribhuvan/  Newah   Language .. 42 Taking Kids to Task
The call went out to all, youth and adult members
of" the community, but not many showed interest or
enthusiasm at that time. The only way this program
could be launched is by taking own kids lo task. To
begin with the kids was just perfect. The new minds
and subtle fingers soon went to work and every three
weeks the classes started to happen. No one of them
was sure how long this could go on, but the kids
surprised them all and they stood their ground and
forged head on to learn a completely new and difficult
language. The mothers of the kids became "Gummas"
teachers and the kids became the first group of students
that started to learn their native Newah language in
America.
NOA had an on-going class comprising of six
young kids of ages 6 to 12 from three families. Their
participation is very regular and well attended, and the
students are learning quiet well, and have made some
good amount of achievement in this short span of time.
Even though it may look as a family affair and the
classes are being held each time at each family's home,
it is perhaps the best environment where Ihe kids feel
happy, friendly and secure to be able to learn a
completely new language. The progress of the kids in
learning a new language is very encouraging and even
though their "Gummas" are their own parents, they
respect them and learn from them as if they were formal
teachers. The essences and importance of cultural
heritage is slowly being passed on to a new generation.
A typical day at the Newah class is quiet simple.
The class is of 1-1/2 or 2 hours duration and broken up
into two parts. The first part went into reading and
writing of alphabet, vowels and numbers while after ihe
break when the kids feel a bit tired the time is spent on
learning verbal skills of saying aloud Newah words like
body parts, things, places, and learn some verbs and
pronouns. Lately, for the NOA Convention the kids
were learning a Newah song, which they had sung
together. It was a great experience for alt as parents
they find new words being learnt and spoken by a set of
a new generation of the Newah-Americans. The kids
were being added lo those who know, speak and write
Newah language when so many of them were lost as
non-speakers.
More Language They Learn the Better
For first time learners, the Newah language should
be taken as learning any other language, like French,
German or Spanish.. The only difference in this
particular case happens to be thai it is their native
language or mother tongue. Newah language should be
made a second language in their community and homes,
while, English will remain to be the first language. It is
always good to know more than one language in
lifetime. The more different languages one learn, the
better his or her understanding of people around the
world. Research has shown that bi-lingual and multilingual individuals have better aptitude for deductive
and analytical frame of mind and are good in
mathematics and science.
Teaching Kids and Learning from Them in
Return
During the last 6 months of classes NOA did not
hear the kids complain even once. No one said that the
studying and even writing of the Newah language was
boring, difficult, and they did not say that they did not
want lo learn anymore. On the contrary, when (he-
classes were held every three weeks the kids were
anxious lo know when was the next Newah class. It
seems that three weeks interval was a long wait for
them. The kids showed maximum co-operation,
enthusiasm and understanding of what this whole
activity was all about. This is some lesson the grown up
can learn from the kids. The parents have learnt a lot
from the kids. All the kids interacted with each other
very well despite of some age difference. At break time
between session and after end of class they would play
together for hours and parent had to get them to go
home eventually. The feeling I got from the way the
kids held on to the classes was that they felt proud of
what they were doing and understood how this could
help them find their identity and place in the such a
sentiment. It was apparent that through the classes
conducted, they found society, even though they could
not express the cultural heritage and linkage of their
parents to themselves.
Another interesting aspect was the numerous
instances a parent would hear kids ask, "When is ihe
next Newah class? Is it this Sunday?"' Once, one of
them were late and was heard saying "we were late
last time, we should go now. we do not want to be late
again". Many times they asked if they could have more
frequent classes.
Well, this w-as quiet an experience, and as they
know, the Newah class has begun and will have a life of
its own. Going by the attitude of the young students it
give NOA confidence that teaching and learning own
native language is a viable endeavor and a fruitful one.
I do not know how economically beneficial it maybe, as
one asked, but, I can say now that the life of our Culture
and language has been extended for a couple more
years. With the help of new generation one can make
contribution and advancement to the heritage he/she has
been horn into.
Newah Vijhana-5
Tuladhar,   Tribhuvan/  Newah   La nguage .. .43 Cultural, Spiritual and Nutritional Value of
Samaybaji
Nirmala Rajbhandari
North Carolina, USA
Introduction
Foods and festivals are important aspects of Newah
culture that has the ability to strengthen an entire
network of social and cultural relationship in the Newah
community. 'This article discusses the features and
values of ingredients used for preparation of
'Samaybaji'. a cuisine of Newah people. It also shed
light on socio-cultural. spiritual and nutritional values
of 'Samaybaji' as well the method of preparation along
with recipes.
Many festivals celebrated by Newah people are
named after certain types of food served on the
occasion, for instances the festival of Yomaripunhi,
Sakiniandpttnhi, and Ghyachaku Sannhu etc. The
primary food used during these occasions are 'Yomari',
the conical shaped steamed dumplings filled with
sesame seed and sweet sauce, steamed yam and sweet
potatoes, molasses, ghee and sesame balls respectively.
All these festival names are self explanatory for what to
expect on a particular day. To understand the
samaybaji meal, it is necessary to know the variety of
meals in Newah cultural cuisine. There are several
types of Newah meals that can be categorized as
follows:
and convenience of preparation, the samaybaji cuisine
is taking place as popular meal among the Newah
community in homeland as well as in the foreign
countries. It is an important meal that shows various
aspects of cultural and spiritual domain of Newah
people. It is also considered as an ancient and classical
type of food consumed by them. Besides, the samaybaji
meal also shows a strong component of natural dietary
requirements to stay healthy irrespective of age and sex.
Samaybaji. a kind of Newah cuisine that represents
the nine ingredients such as, beaten rice, puffed rice,
meat, fish, egg, lentil cake, ginger, roasted black
soybean, and a side dish of green vegetable, is offered
in a ceremony of fire sacrifice (David N. Gellner,
1992). Other Hindus often say the constituent of
samaybaji is a substitute for animal sacrifice. The five
elements represent beaten rice, black soybean, fresh"
ginger, meat and liquor.
Generally, (he samaybaji is served in a leaf plate
lapte' or bowl 'bohid', especially stitched together
using leaves of Sal tree (Sorea robusta). There is a
popular Newah folk song about colorful combination of
items used for samaybaji on green leaf plate and beauty
of a lovely Newah girl who serves it. The first few
lines of the song go as follow:
1. "Bhaye" is considered as ceremonial feast
containing wide variety of dishes
2. "Samaybaji" as sacramental food containing of
steamed and flattened rice known as baji
(or chiuraa in Nepali) with other side dishes.
3. "Jyona" and "Byeli"1 as daily meals:
lunch and dinner containing cooked rice,
lentil, vegetable and pickled sauces or salad.
Among several varieties of Newah rnea!, samaybaji
is symbolized as a popular, important and spiritually
accepted meal to be offered to various divine beings.
Because of its taste, nutritional value, social bonding
" Wangu lapte tuyu baji, hdkumusyd kya majd
Pdlu chhuydla dyone laya boyatala jhan banla.
Lcili du mhutusi mikhaya ajan chavapa
Jhee.mayaju wovachona his'm bhayabika "
An existence of this folk song shows vitality of an
old tradition of the samaybaji meal in Newah
community. In the United States of America, most
gatherings of Newah people samaybaji meal is served
to keep the tradition alive.
There is another legendary story behind the
samaybaji. ft goes back to history of fetching the well-
known deity, Rato Matshendrnath or Karunamaya, to
Patan from the Kamaru Kamaktshya in Assam, India.
Newah  Vijnana-5
Rajbhandari,   Nirmala/ Cultural,   Spi ritual.. .44 Social and Cultural Aspects of Samaybaji:
Samaybaji is deeply rooted into ritual and religion
of Newah people. The significant meaning of its
adoption in Newah culture seems emerged when Rato
Matshendrndth was brought to Kathmandu valley lo
relieve the drought. The tantric priest Bandhudatta
Acharya demonstrated a powerful tantric ritual using
the puja basket consisting of Madhya mansa with
samaybaji and than (soft liquor). The tantric priest
gave away a handful of samaybaji lo the demons and
devils, and satisfied their instinct of hunger. 'The priest
did not encounter any problem in bringing the Rata
Matshendrndth to the Nepal valley. Since then a
tradition to worship deities with samaybaji was adopted
lo receive blessing in one's life.
In addition, the festival of Indrajatra can be taken
as another example of using samaybaji meal. Indrajatra
is one of the biggest festivals celebrated in Newah
culture. During this festival the Akash Bhairav located
in Indra Chowk, Kathmandu is worshiped by displaying
huge quantities of offering of samaybaji right in front
of its image. A huge pile of samaybaji is very nicely
displayed and decorated with various dishes of food
items and garnishes. The visiting devotees get a
handful of it as the prasad from the deity.
On that night, children visit door to door in the
neighborhood asking for a treal of samaybaji with
pieces of meat. 'The popular rhythm of asking
samayabaji in Newah language is "La chhaku wayaka
samaybaji, wala wala pulu kisi". ft is of course similar
tradition to "Trick or Treat"' during the Halloween night
in the USA. Similar usage of samaybaji can be found in
Dashain, Saraswati puja, and Guthi gatherings. *
Spiritual Aspect of Samaybaji:
The ritualistic tradition or "puja" observed in
Newah culture is mainly categories into two. The first
category is 'Nitya-puja' the daily rituals and the other is
'Lasta-puja' the occasional rituals. The Lasta-pujd is
performed during festivals like Indra jatra,
Matshendranath jatra, Mohani (Dashain), Swonti
(Tihar), Sitthi nakha, yamari ptthni, etc. and some
personal occasions like janmanhi 'birthday", macha
janko 'rice feeding ceremony'. kayata puja
(bratabandha), 'initiation', ihi, bahra and so on.
Significantly, the spiritual value of samaybaji is
noticeable on all the occasion of Lastdpujds. Generally,
the Newah people worship two types of deities
categorized into dmaya food receiver and non-dmava
food receiver. Simply the amaya food includes meat,
fish, egg, legumes, garlic, onion and liquor. Samaybaji
is offered to those deities who take dmaya food items.
In Newah tradition, the tantrism is deeply established in
spiritual domain. The tantric deities such as   Kumari,
Ajima, Barahi. Bhadrakdli, Bhairav, Swetkdli,
Mahakali, Sankatd, Bhagabati, Ganesh Kumar,
Bhimsen, Guheswari, Bhavani, Jogini, Lukumahadev,
Kali and all pitha devatds etc. take the dmaya meal.
The samaybaji meal is not offered to non dmaya deities
that includes Rama, Krishna, Vishnu, Narayan,
Hanuman, Buddha, Lokcswar and to all types of
Buddhist Chaityas (stupas). Obviously, when a tantric
ritual is performed the dmaya food becomes necessary.
One of the dmaya foods can be identified as the
samaybaji meal.
Nutritional Aspect of Samaybaji:
The other important aspect is the discussion of
nutritional value of food items used in preparation of
the samaybaji meal. Generally, the samaybaji contains
Baji (beaten rice), Chhuyala (roasted or steamed meat
dish), and Sanyo (dry fish, Musya (soyabeans). Lava
(garlic) and Palu (fresh ginger) The list of food items
listed by Amatya (1995) is very common in Newah
community in Lalitpur. Nepal. Every food item
consumed by Newah people contains some sort of
chemicals that include carbohydrate, fat. mineral.
vitamin, and enzyme. These elements are very essential
for function of different parts of body as discussed
below.
Carbohydrate: Carbohydrate is body fuel and it gives
energy to maintain (he daily work. Even at rest, body
needs energy for growth, repair, and maintenance. For
these all activities, energy comes from consuming
carbohydrate. „
Protein: Protein is essential constituents of all human
cells, controlling vital process such as metabolism and
providing structural basis of body tissues, muscle and
skin. It enables body to grow and repair itself and also
plays a role in protecting the body against infection.
Vitamins: Vitamins arc substances that humans need to
keeps their body functioning. Vitamins regulate
biochemical process such as growth, metabolism
cellular reproduction, digestion and the oxidation of
blood.
Minerals: Minerals are vital for developing and
maintaining body function. They are essential
components of critical enzymes that help the body to
break down food.
Fats: Fats are excellent source of energy. They
facilitate the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and
certain fatty acids, are essential for good health. To
make sure that the diet is healthful, one need to know
which type of fats and oils are good for health and
Newah   Vijnana-5
Rajbhandari,   Nirmala/ Cultural,  Spi ritual.. .45 which are harmful. Wide range of food contains fats.
Al most all food contains more than one type of fat,
Saturated fats are bad whereas unsaturated fats like
monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are good.
Listed below are food items used in samaybaji. All
these food items belong to one of the essential food
group mentioned above.
Baji/Syabaji (Chiiira/Golphuki, flatten/puffed rice):
The baji being flattened rice provides carbohydrate
whose energy properties fuel the body and brain. It also
has vitamin B, calcium, iron, sodium and some fiber.
Chhoela (Sekuwa or Usineko masu, roasted meat):
Chhoeld like any other meat are good source of protein
which provides amino acids necessary for the growth,
development and maintenance of the body. It also
contains valuable quantities of" the B vitamins,
especially vitamin B12, which is not found in plant
food.  It also contains vitamin A and vitamin D.
Nya   (Sidra   Machha,   Sardin/Anchovies):   This   is
another good source of protein. It has high omega-3
fatty acids, which appears to reduce blood clotting to
prevent strokes and heart attacks.   This also helps to
reduce cancer possibility.
Khen (Anda, Egg): Eggs are natural source of
goodness because it contains so many nutrients. Egg is
an excellent source of high quality protein. It contains
all nine essential amino acids, and makes a complete
protein including significant numbers of vitamins and
minerals.
Won. (Baia, Lentil Cake): Lentil ranks as a highly
nutritious food group and they provide plenty of fiber.
Not only fiber but lentil also supplies useful complex
carbohydrates, vitamins, iron and minerals.
Musya (Bhatmas, Soybean): Musya supply complete
protein with all eight essential amino acids. It also
contains phyto-cstrogens, which help to reduce
menopause symptom and may also help breast cancer
and osteoporosis. It is a good source of fiber, which
help to eliminate cholesterol from body. Furthermore,
its vitamins include vitamin B3, B6 and vitamin E. ft
also has potassium, magnesium, iron, copper, and
phosphorous.
Labha (Lasun, Garlic): Garlic appears to be a miracle
food. Allicin content in garlic has antibiotic effect,
reduce unhealthy fats and cholesterol. It also contains
antioxidants that reduces hlood clotting and also has
some chemical which help against cancer.
Palu (Aduwa, Ginger): Ginger has natural antiinflammatory properties. It also is a great natural
preservatives, bactericide. It has a chemical called
papain, which acts as meat tenderizer. Ginger also
stimulates circulation and keeps body warm.
Alu (Potato): Alu has plenty of energy-providing
carbohydrate. When cooked potatoes are left unpeeled,
it conserves most of vitamin B and C that it contains
and the boiled potato used in samaybaji helps retain its
valuable vitamin. Moreover, potatoes also supply
potassium and magnesium which help to control high
blood pressure.
Bhuti (Bodi, Black eye pea): This is rich in fiber
which helps to eliminate cholesterol from the body and
is good source of foliate, potassium, low in sodium to
reduce blood pressure, and also low in fat. Beans also
have protease inhibitor, which suppress cancerous cell.
Tukancha (Sag, Mustard green): For health
enthusiast tukancha is low in calories, and not only is it
fat free but also it is cholesterol free. It is very rich in
vitamins and minerals. It is a very good source of
riboflavin, potassium, calcium and iron
Methods of preparation and the recipe for
Samaybaji:
Most of recipes are made for 500 gm of food item,
which is little bit over one pound (440 gm =1 pound).
Any kind of cooking oil can be used for recipe. To
have really a Newah flavor, use mustered oil. To
maintain the good flavor of Newah cuisine, it is
advisable to use fresh garlic and ginger all the time, but
powdered garlic and ginger are also acceptable.
Tsp=leaspoon. Tbsp=tablespoon. Gm= gram
1. Chuyala (Poleko masu, Roasted meat):
Ingredients:
500 gm of chicken or pork 3
1 tbsp ginger, minced
2 tbsp garlic, minced
Vi red chili powder or according to taste
2 green chilies sliced
5 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tbsp mustard oil
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
Salt to taste
Procedure: Boil meat with little water as possible.
Cook the meat until it is brownish on the bottom. Upon
cooling, cut into small pieces. Marinate meat with
ginger in a bowl and cover for 5 minutes.   Ginger will
Newah  Vijnana-5
Rajbhandari,   Nirmala/ Cultural,   Spi ritual.. .46 help to tender the meat. Add garlic, chili, and salt, in
the meat and mix well. In a small pan, heat oil. Add
fenugreek seeds in heated oil, when fenugreek seeds
turn golden brown black add sliced green chili pepper
and sliced garlic and turmeric, and immediately pour
into the meat. Mix well. You might like to add some
water to make choeld juicy.   Serve cold.
Note: Any meat can be used, follow the same cooking
method. Mustard oil can be replaced with any kind of
cooking oil.
2. (San)-nya (Sidra Macha, dry Anchovies):
Ingredients:
100 gm sardine
Dab of oil
Pinch of chili powder.
Procedure: Roast dry anchovies until golden brow.
Add little bit of chili powder and oil. Mix well and
serve cold.
3. Khen (Anda Tareko, Fried hard boil eggs):
Ingredients:
12 Eggs
Cumin powder
Pinch of turmeric powder
I tbsp mustard oil
Salt to taste
Procedure: Boil eggs until well done. Then peel them
and cut into halves. In a small pan, heat little oil. Add
turmeric powder, salt and eggs. Cook eggs in medium
until golden brown turn on one side, then turn them
upside down and do the same thing. Add cumin power
at the end mix and serve. It can he served hot or cold,
but with samaybaji always served cold.
Note: Eggs can pop when pressure builds (inside egg)
by temperature. Be careful
4. Wo (Bara. Beans Cake):
Ingredients
1. 500 gm split pulse, soak over night in water
I tsp of garlic crushed
1 tsp of ginger crushed
Pinch of asfoetida powder (hing)
XA cup mustard oil
Salt to taste
Procedure: Grind the soaked pulse into fine pieces
using grinder, Add garlic, ginger, salt, and asafoetida
into pulse batter, mix well. In a thick 12"' pan, heat
little oil in medium/low heat; add a tablespoon of the
batter in 4 or 5 places, then spread the batter to make a
circle like a small pancake. Cook until golden brown.
Turn upside down with the help of a spatula. Cook this
side also until golden brown. Remove from the pan.
Cool on paper tow'el. After cooling you can put in a
plate. Repeat until all batter is gone.
5.Musya Wala (Bhatmas Sandheko, Soyabeans):
Ingredients
500 gm soybean, dry
Dab of oil
1/8 tsp cumin powder
Pinch of chili powder
Salt according to taste
Procedure: Roast soybean in a thick pan dry until it
splits. Add little bit of chili powder, salt, cumin powder
and oil. Mix well and serve cold.
6. Lava (Lasun Bhuteko, fried garlic):
Ingredients
100 gm of whole garlic
1/8 tsp cumin powder
Salt to taste m
Oil
Procedure: Slice the garlic clove into half. Remove
scales. Heat little oil in the pan; add sliced garlic, salt,
cumin, and turmeric. Cook only for 2 minutes or until
the hot test of garlic goes away. Add cumin powder
mix well and serve.
7. Palu (Aduwa Bhuteko, Fresh Ginger)
Ingredients
100 gm of whole ginger
Salt according to taste
Oil
Procedure: Peel skin off of ginger, wash and slice into
small about a Vi inch long. Heat little oil in a pan. add
ginger, salt, cumin and cook for 1-2 minutes. Serve
cold.
8. Alu Achar (Potato Salad):
Newah  Vijnana-5
Rajbhandari,   Nirmala/ Cultural,  Spi ritual.. .47 Ingredients
10-12 medium size potato
Va cup sesame seed, roasted, crushed
2-3 green chilies (according to test)
14 tsp turmeric
2-4 tbsp lemon juice
1-2 ibspoil
Coriander leaves
1 tsp chili powder
Salt to taste
Procedure: Boil and peel potatoes. Cut them into
small pieces. Add sesame seed, chili powder, green
chilies, turmeric, lemon juice, salt, and mustard oil.
Mix well. You might need to add some water to make
nice texture. Garnish with coriander and serve cold.
9. Bhuti wala (Bodi Sandheko, Black eye beans):
Ingredients
500 gm black eye pea soaked in water over night.
14 red chili powder or according to taste
'/i tsp crushed garlic
'/2 tsp crushed ginger
Pinch of turmeric powder
Salt to taste
Procedure: Boil black eye pea with little water until
fully cooked. Upon cooling, add chili powder, salt.
garlic, and ginger on to black eye pea. In a small pan,
heat little oil. Add turmeric powder in heated oil then
immediately pour into pea. Serve cold.
wala      (Toriko     sag,     Mustard
10. Tukancha
Green):
Ingredients
500  gm  mustard  green,  washed,  cut   into  small
piece
14 red chili powder or according to taste
5 garlic cloves, sliced
Salt according to taste
Whole dried red chili
Oil
Asafctida (hing)
Procedure: In a pan, boil mustard green with high
flame for 5 minutes or until wilt. It is not necessary to
add water. All green leafy vegetable comes with lots of
water. In between 5 minutes, turn green upside down.
Do not over cook. Upon cooling, add chili powder, salt
on to green mustard.   In a small pan, heat some oil.
Add asafoetida, sliced whole chili pepper and garlic,
immediately pour into mustard. Mix well. Also,
mustard green can be replaced by any green, leafy
vegetable. Follow above procedure to make the dish.
Conclusion:
Newah people's life is inseparable from use of
samaybaji. For any kind of social, cultural and spiritual
activities, samaybaji plays an important role. Also the
nine food items that signify the meaning of samaybaji
came to be a complete balanced diet. It contained all
food groups like carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, and
minerals. It is amazing that how the Newah people at
that time were so wise to combine different food group,
and the way of cooking to match with present scientific
knowledge on nutritional value and health awareness. I
definitely think that our forefathers were not far behind
than present nutritionist. None of the food in samaybaji
is fried or over cooked, just perfect to maintain all
vitamins and mineral nutrients. From the recipe, you
know thai almost all the foods are boiled and grilled,
then seasoned with some spices and oil. All spices also
contained essential elements for good health example
capsicum from chilies, allicin from garlic, bactericide
effect from turmeric and many more. I became
particularly intrigued by the contents and its nutritional
value, which I tried to briefly explain above with best
of knowledge and experience.
Notes:
The tenns Jyond and Byeli represent first and last meal
of the day and the Newah people simply use jati nayegu
"eating rice" for consuming lunch or dinner. Thai is why ihev
say Jaanaye dhunala as greetings when they meet some one in
ihe late morning or evening.
'The further explanation and discussion on the meaning
of such activities are beyond the scope of this paper.
The Chicken and Pork are not used for ritualistic
purpose whereas buffalo meal is acceptable.
References:
Amalya. Devendra. 1995. Samay Bajec, Dabu. Vol  3.1. pp. 1-3.
The Anne Collins Diet. 2000-2002.
Gellner, David N.. 1992.   Monk, Householder, and Tantric priest.
Newar Buddhism    and its hierarchy of ritual in The Diamond
Way Part III. ihe hierarchy of symbols,
tndiacliet l-'ood A/, www.indiadiet.com.
Her Lodtn, 1985.   Food. Ritual and Society: A case study of social
structure and food   Symbolism among Newars.
Newah Vijnana-5
Rajbhandari,   Nirmala/ Cultural,  Spiritual.. 48 Obituary
Bhikkhu Sudarsan Mahasthavir
By: Rajani Maharjan
On July 2nd 2002, the "Sandhya Times" Nepal
Bhasha daily newspaper published a sad and heart
breaking news on demise of a Nepal Bhasha literary
figure Ven. Bhikshu Sudarshan Mahasthavira. He is
popularly known as Sudarshan Bhante and his family
name was Lumbini Raj Shakya.
Sudarshan Bhante took ordination in Theravada
Buddhism on July 1st, 1938 and thereafter he was
named Shramanera Surdarshan. This is an irreparable
loss for Newar community as well as for the Nepal
Bhasha literature, in the Theravada Buddhist tradition
of Nepal and in the field of Buddhist research studies at
the Tribhuvan Univesity. He resumed teaching career
from a primary school in Palpa, I'ansen in 1950 and
later joined the Ananda Kuti Bidhyapith Boarding
School. Kathmandu in 1955. Since it was founded by
Ven. Amrirtananda Mahastha vira. he continued this
teaching until 1971 then he became the School
Superintendent until 1975. After finishing his post
graduate degree in Nepal Studies al the Tribhuvan
University he took a position of teaching at the
Department of Nepalese history, culture and
Archeology. By the time of he was expired Bhante
Sudarshan was recognised as a reader in the department
of Post Graduate Degree in Buddhist Studies (PGDBS)
in Tribhuvan University. He was 62 years old.
Another aspect of his life long contribution is his
dedication of building up the Nepal Bhasha Literature.
He has been recognized as the well known drama and
non-fiction writer. His literary works so far published
are as follows:
Juju Java prakash (drama)
Nepalave Rahul (NonfinctionH 1085)
Ambapaali (drama )
Ixiekuli sidhharlhat2509)
Pratishodha
swanya punhi(25I0)
Supriva
Dhthengu mangala
Aasankd
Ashdda punhif ?)
Vijaya
Sidharlha vdbuddhatwo prdptif'.')
Raslrapdla
Ma bau ya sewa(1087)
Bimbasdiil089)
Daboo(l087)
Palachdra wa Siddhartha
Chailya poojd(251Q)
Singha Sartlui balm wa kabir Kumar(1088)
Biswaye Buddha Dharma part -1(1088)
Biswaye Budha Dharma part -2(1089)
Buddha kdlin Jambu dwipya chagu parichaya(25l2)
Pali Tripitaka parichaya
Maha Buddha Chagu Panchayat 1101)
Buddha Dharma yd Mool Sidhdnla
I.umankae Baha pint 1090)
Buddha Dharma Sambaddhi gram ha suchi
As a Buddhist monk, he traveled many countries to
participate in the Buddhism related conference
representing Nepalese Buddhists circle. To name a few
he has participated in the World Buddhist Conference
in 1956 in Calcutta, India. In 1963 he has also attended
the 11th Asian Buddhist Conference in China.
Similarly. Bhikku Sudarshan has visited Hong Kong.
Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, South
Korea, USA, Israel and so on in connection with
participation and presentation of his speeches and
papers in seminars and conferences. In addition, he was
honored with a membership to the Supreme Tathagata
Fellowship Committee and led a delegation to China on
behalf of Tibet Dharmodaya Sabha the leading
Nepalese Buddhist Association. He was not only an
activist and strong supporter of Buddhist tradition but
also a well known, dedicated, recognized activist for
promotion of Nepal Bhasa, the language of Newah
people. He worked as the editor for Dharmodaya
monthly in 1953-54 and also edited Lumbini and Nepal
Bhasha Patrikaa. He also worked as a vice chancellor of
Nepal Basha Academy, By the time he passed away he
had written a couple of dozen of books relating to
Nepal Bhasa and Buddhist literature. He was honored
with Title of Ndtak Samrat (An Emperor of Nepal
Bhasha Drama) and honored with awards 'Shrestha
Sirpah' and "Mahendra Vidhya Bhushan" His drama
books were prescribed in the Higher Studies of Nepal
Bhasha Literature. In the final stage of his life he has
founded the Sri Kirti Vihar in Kirtipur and became
chairman and vice chairman in many of the schools and
Buddhists institutions.
Newah  Vijnana-5
Obituary.   .49 Conferences, Conventions,
Seminar, Exhibitions,
and Lecture Programs
Conventions and
Annual Meetings
The first convention of Newah
Organization of America (NOA) and
seminar on "Newah Jhii Newah hey jui"
May 26th 2002 Washington DC USA.
Newah Organization of America concluded its first
Convention for the year 2002 in Washington
Metropolitan Area. The convention was inaugurated by
the Royal Nepalese Embassy Councilor Mr. Dinesh
Bhattarai by lighting of the traditional twadewa lamp,
Mr. Beda Pradhan welcomed the participants and
thanked them for their support and encouragement. Mr.
Tribhuvan Tuladhar. coordinator of the Adhoc
committee, presented the Organization's report. Mr.
Balaram Joshi presented the financial statement. Mr.
Hariman Shrestha thanked ail participants, individuals,
organizations who made this convention possible. The
full day's event was highlighted by the celebration of
"Buddha Jayanti"' also known as "Swaanya Puhni" and
Bhikkhu Sugandha spoke on the teaching of Lord
Buddha for Peace, compassion and non-violence. He
said that the world and the UN specifically have taken
up the teaching of Lord Buddha as their guidance for
Peace and non-violence to resolve world issues at these
difficult times. He said that the teaching is more
relevant today than ever before. Councilor Mr. Dinesh
Bhattarai also said that Buddha's teaching should be
followed to resolve many issues in peaceful and nonviolent way, with special reference to the Maoist
insurgency in Nepal. He also reiterated the
accomplishment of NOA in this short period of time as
a strong and promising institution.
"Newah Jhii Newah Hey Jui" was the theme in the
paper presentation by scholars Dr. Balgopal Shrestha,
presenter from the Netherlands spoke about "Newah
Swanti" and Dr. Anil Shakya {Bhikkhu Sugandha) from
UK spoke about "Newah Identity. "
Mr. Tribhuvan Tuladhar highlighted the Nepal
Bhasa Academy Cultural Center in Kirtipur, and
conveyed the message from Chancellor Mr. Satya
Mohan Joshi to the Newah community to help NBA,
Nepal Bhasa Academy, by contributing at least one
dollar per person per month here in USA.
"Multi-Culturism and Cultural Harmony in Nepal"'
Representatives from Nepalese Organizations in
Washington Metropolitan area spoke on "Multi-
culturism and Cultural harmony in Nepal".
The Scholars Dr. Balgopal Shrestha, Dr. Chitra
Tiwari, Dr. Balaram Aryal President of Nepalese
Human rights Organization in America spoke on the
topic of "Recognition of Ethnic diversity in the
Development of Nepal" Mr. Balaram Joshi also
expressed his views on the subject. Dr. Chitra Tiwari, a
freelance political analyst, and contributor to
Washington Post, pointed out thai the movement like
the maoist insurgency and others in the future could,,
happen if proper recognition of ihe Ethnic diversity
does not take place in Nepal. The convention was
widely attended by the cross section of the Newah
community in America. The program was anchored by
mc duo Mr. Hariman Shrestha and Mrs. Babita
Shrestha.
Finally, the 11 member Adhoc committee
established in Feb 2001 concluded its assignment of
formulating the Organization and giving it a
comprehensive Constitution. The new Executive body
was elected and the chairman of the Election committee
Mr. Ishwar Rajbhandari announced the new Executive
Body of Newah Organization of America (NOA) as
follows:'
The First Executive Committee: (2002 - 2005)
1. President (Naayah)
Mr. Beda Pradhan
2. First Vice President (Nhaapaninha nwoko)
Mr. Ganesh Kayastha
3. Second Vice President (NimV.'AV^.-i^vokQ)
Mr. Daya Shakya
Newah  Vijhana-5
Conference,  Convention .. SO 4. General Secretary   (Muu chhyanje)
Mr. Tribhuvan Tuladhar
5. Secretary (Chyaanje)
Mr. Ratna Kazee Shakya
6. Treasurer (Daan Bharin )
Mr. Balaram Josi
Members (dujah)
7. Mr. Hariman Shrestha
8. Mr. Deepak Tuladhar
9. Mr. Krishna C. Shrestha
As per Constitution of NOA. the other four
members (dujah) of the Fxecutive committee
nominated by the President from the four regions of US
are as follows:
10. Mrs. Babita Shrestha East
11. Mrs. Vijaya Shrestha Mid West
12. Mr. Saubhagya Shreslha South
13. Mr. Ishwari Maskey West
Nepa Pasa Puchah America (NPPA)
Organizes 11th Annual Bhintuna
Celebration
"Newah  Culture  - The  Proud  Heritage  of Nepal"  -
November 30. 2002
Preserving and Promoting Newar Identity in Diaspora
- Dr. Tulsi Maharjan
World Newar Federation and Its Concept- Mr. Achyut
Shrestha
Newah Culture in the Context of Diverse Ethnic Culture
of Nepal - Dr. Chitra Tiwari
Newah Cultural Heritage - A Proud Way of Introducing
Nepal - Dr. Devendra Amatya
Rhythmic Structures in Newar Drumming - Mr. Brent
Bianchi
Women of Newah Heritage - Mrs. Dipa Hada Ruslum
Role  of Audiovisuals  in  the Dissemination  of Newa
Cultural Values - Dr. Manoranjan Dhaubhadel
Newah Proverbs and Their Cultural Meanings -  Dr.
Narayan Rajbhandari
Moderator: Dr. Manoranjan Dhaubhadel
Newah Organization of America (NOA)
Organizes: "Nepal Sambat Day"
Newah Organization of America celebrated the
Nepal Sambat 1123, New Year, on the 10th Nov. 2002
at a simple but joyous event attended by the cross-
section of the Nepali community here in Washington
Metropolitan Area.
Welcoming the audience Mr. Beda Pradhan, the
president of NOA emphasized that Nepal Sambat
though started by a person from the Nepal Valley,
Shankhadhar Shakhwaa, is the Sambal of" Nepal, a
national Sambat, which was changed relatively recently
during the time of Chandra Sumshere. It is an
indigenous Era, and would be appropriate lo recognize
it as the national Calendar by the people and the
government of Nepal.
Speaking at the occasion Royal Nepalese
Ambassador Mr. Jai Pralap Rana said that, he does have
a special relation with the organization and highly
commends the works done by ihe organization in this
short period of times for the community and the culture
of Nepal in general.
Mr. Hariman Shrestha explained to the audience
the meaning and significance of Nepal Sambal in a
comprehensive way and what it means to the history of
Nepal.
Mr. Balaram Joshi reiterated the importance and
surmised at the need of Nepal Sambat to be given its
lull recognition.
Mr. Tribhuvan Tuladhar related that sometimes
Nepal Sambat is misunderstood as Newari Sambat,
which is incorrect. Started 1123 year ago during the
reign of King Raghava dev, it is the Irue Sambat of
Nepal.
Also, at this auspicious occasion, the campaign
"One dollar per month, per Newah person" for the
Nepal Bhasa Academy Cultural Center in Nepal was
formally launched. Mr. Tribhuvan R. Tuladhar called
for pledges from the audience and the first many dollars
contributions for the Cultural Center was reegved.
NOA will continue to ask for contribution from each
members of the Newah community to contribute
generously for this good cause. Whatever contribution
received from the community will be handed over to
Nepal Bhasa Academy.
Mr. Ganesh Kayatha. the first vice president
thanked the audience for coming to join together in this
important event, and heartily thanked the contributors
and volunteers for making it a grand success.
The event concluded with a traditional Samee
Bajee session and lots of good wishes and sentiments
amongst the parlicipants in celebration of the New Year
1123 N.S.
The Second Convention of the Newah
Organization of America (NOA)
NOA concluded the Second Convention on May
25. 2(X)3. It was attended by cross section of the Newah
community here in the US. Guests and participants
from Nepal and from different parts of the US attended
this convention held in Metropolitan Washington.
Newah  Vijnana-5
Conference,  Convention .. 51 The event was kicked-off by Mr. Praveen Shrestha,
the Master of the Ceremony, of the event calling upon
Mr. Rudra Nepal, Counselor of the Royal Nepalese
Embassy to inaugurate the Convention by lighting the
traditional "Twarebha". Welcoming all the participants
the President of NOA Mr. Beda Pradhan highlighted
the goals of the organization and the work it has done in
the short period of its existence. He thanked all those
who helped the organization develop rapidly in the last
year and said that NOA is moving in the right direction.
He indicated that many important works are underway
to serve the Newah community here in the US and also
in Nepal.
In the general meeting session, General Secretary
Mr. Tribhuvan R. Tuladhar presented the First Annual
Report and highlighted the achievements and programs
undertaken by NOA in its first year of operation. He
mentioned events like the Nepal Sambal Day, The
Campaign of " One dollar per month per person" to
help Nepal Bhasa Academy Cultural Center in Nepal,
and the need to start Newah Classes to reverse the trend
of dwindling populace speaking their native mother
tongue.
Mr. Balaram Joshi presented the First Financial
report and also the budget for the year 2(X)4. He said the
revenue for the first year of the organization was
encouraging and said that the next budget target would
be met.
Leaders of prominent Nepalese Organizations
spoke at the event Mr. Rajendra OH from America
Nepal society. Mr. Krishna Niraula from America
Nepal Association and Mr. Balaram Aryal representing
Nepal Human Right Organization wished NOA all the
success in it important work for the years to come,
Mr. Rudra Nepal, the Counselor of the Nepalese
Embassy spoke at the occasion and conveyed good
wishes and encouragement for the Organization to keep
serving the community and Nepal in general.
Mr. Ganesh Kayestha, the first Vice President of
NOA thanked all the participants and those who had
helped selflessly to make this Organization what it is
today.
In the session of Newah Language Workshop
"Newah Bhaya Jyashaa" Mr. Tribhuvan Tuladhar
talked aboul the diminishing numbers of Newah
speakers and said that if the present trend is let to
continue then by the turn of the century Newah
language will be extinct. He indicated that the "Critical
Mass" of 100,000 speakers could be reached in about
40 years where after the demise of the language
becomes assured. He emphasized the initiative of NOA
lo undertake Newah Language Class in the US to
familiarize the new Newah generation with the sounds
and salient features of Newah language. This will go a
long way to reverse the trend away from extinction. A
survev of the audience regarding the language issue was
conducted and it would be expanded to get a bigger
picture. The result of this survey will be published
soon.
Mr. Hariman Shresih.i spoke on this occasion and
said that without language the culture will die and
people must realize that learning the Newah language is
not as difficult as one would fear. He also talked aboul
the need to establish " NEWAH DHUKU" to collect
arid assemble disappearing items of art and craft in one
place for display, so that the rest of the community will
learn from these interesting items ihe culture and life of
ihe Newah community.
Other session was on "Culture and trade".
Moderating the session Mr. Rajendra Shreslha called
upon the participant of the session to highlight the role
and contribution of the Newah community in trade and
business and the economic development of Nepal.
Speaking at the occasion Mr. Sujeev Shakya. Vice-
President for Business Development for the Soaltee
group of companies in Kathmandu reiterated that
Newah community had been in the forefront of trading
activities for number of centuries. He talked about how
traders of the community traveled across to Lhasa.
Tibet, endangering their lives to do business in the far
away land and ultimately influencing the lives and
Culture of that land. He is coining a new term
"Newahnomics" and it meaning.
Dr. D. Walker, Director of Small Business
Administration from Montgomery County related to ihe
curious audience how one can start a small business in
the local county and how the local State Government
provide support and information to open up a business.
Ms.    Jennifer    Carter    front Sangha"    expressed,
interesting views on fair trade and Culture around the
world and expressed her genuine liking of the art and
craft from Nepal which she said is quiet popular with
her customers.
Hans Sawyer expressed his feeling how Nepal
could become the real Shangri-La of the world if few
important changes were made to achieve this.
Number of companies doing business in
Washington metropolitan area put up stalls to display
items of handicraft marketed in the US. Mandala from
Baltimore was represented by Mr. Season Shreslha.
Himalayan House was represented Mr. Abhi Joshi.
Interesting Newah film "Pakhaa" was screened at
the event and audience was quiet captivated by the
simplicity of presentation of very complex issue of the
plight of untouchable in the Newah community.
Dances by a young group of local artists stole the
hearts and mind of the audience. One Newah song was
also sung al the program. A band of young and
upcoming musicians played modern Nepali songs to the
liking of the excited audience.
It all concluded with "The Taste of Newah
Cuisine"  dinner and prizes being  distributed  for (he
Newah  Vijnana-5
Conference,  Convention .. 52 lottery winners. More than 200 people participated in
Ihe event and it felt like that each one of them enjoyed
the time spent at the convention.
Newah Dey Daboo: The Third Convention
of Newars in Nepal
The third convention Of Newah Dey Daboo or the
National convention of Newars was inaugurated by the
chief guest Ven. Buddhist Nun Dhammavati in
Kathmandu, Nepal on Oct 20 and 21, 2002. It was
resumed by paying a tribute to a!l the dedicated Newah
people who have tost their lives in service to
development of Newah Ethnicity and Nepal Bhasha
Literature. The program was highlighted by Chancellor
of Nepal Bhasa Academy (NBA) and said that there arc-
lots of things need to be done to uplift Newah people in
the country and aboard. Similarly the convention
honored the founding former President and a Newah
scholar Mr. Bhakati Das Shrestha by offering the
traditional Betaali (the Turbin) and credentials. On ihe
occasion the Secretary of Dey Dabu Mr. Nareshvir
Shakya read out the message of goo"d wishes sent by
various political parties and social organizations from
the country and around the world. In addition, ihe
chairperson of the Mid-western region Mr. Padma
Ratna Tuladhar released the CD version of bibliography
on Newah newspapers and journals.
The two days convention was well attended by a
large number of" Newah personals around the nation.
The chair persons from various regions presented the
report on activities in their respective regions. The
following resolution have been passed by the iwo day
convention including election of new working
committee headed by Malla K. Sunder: The other
members of new committee are Pabilra Bajracharya,
General Secretary Pralap Man Shakya, Secretary Binod
Man Rajbandari, Treasurer Dr. Pushpa Raji Rajkarnikar
Member and a member representing women's group is
undecided. Advisory board includes Satya Mohan
Joshi, Dr. Kamal Prakash Malla. Luxmidas Manandhar,
Sudarshan Bahadur Shreslha, and Padma Ratna
'Tuladhar, The regional Vice presidents are Naresha
Tamrakar, Eastern, Govinda Man Shrestha. Middle-
region, Rudra Kumar Pradhan. western, Madan Bhakata
Shrestha, Far western. The Past president of the Dey
Daboo Mr. Bhakti Das Shrestha and Luxman Rajbansi
were recognized as the patrons of" the organization.
Since its inception, Ihe following are the
accomplishments of Newah Dey Daboo that was
highlighted in the convention:
• Regional Newah convention in five regions
• In request of Sikkim Newah community the
Dey Daboo has sent experts to teach Newah
language  and   scripts,   traditional   dance   and
music.
• With recommendation of Dey Daboo.
scholarships were given to disadvantageous
Newah students for higher studies.
• In collaboration with Newah communities, the
Dey Daboo has played a successful role in
bringing awareness in enumerating the actual
number of Newah people and speakers of
Nepal Bhasha in the census of 2001.
• Put a pressure to HMG's education ministry to
include Nepal Bhasa in a language group
instead of current grouping in optional subjects
in High School Curriculum.
• Newah Dey Daboo played an important role in
making Newah people become recognized as
the JANA JAATI of Nepal by the HMG
cabinet of ministers.
'The Newah Dey Daboo is an umbrella organization
of 1 13 sister organizations working for Newah causes.
in the country and aboard. Its Mission Statement is as
follows:
To enhance the importance of Newah history,
culture, language. literature, art. and music to Newah
people in the country and aboard and make it easy to
understand the the true meaning of being "Newar" and
ethnic right and preserve it for the new generations of
Newars
Bharatiya Newah Sangatha, (All India
Newar organization): Convention of Newah
people in India
The two days convention of Bharataiya Newah
Sangathan. (All India Newar organization) was held in
Bagrakot, Doors in Jalpaigadhi district of West Bengal
in December 2002. 'The convention was attended by
about two hundreds Newah represnetatives from
Sikkim. Assam, Meghalaya and various parts of west
Bengal including Darjeeling and Kalimpong. It was
inaugurated by Nepal Bhasha Manka Khalah president
Mr. Padma Ratna 'Tuladhar and resumed by paying
homage to the late T.M. Pradhan and recognizing the
former Newah MPs Badri Narayan Pradhan and Ganga
Ram Joshi. On the occasion, in leu of bringing the
awareness of preserving the Newah culture among the
Newah community of India, the "Janmadekhi Sii Jya
Samma" book was also released. The Bharatiya Newar
Sangathan was established in 1993 in view of bringing
awareness on Newah culture and tradition. It has
established regional committees in various districts.
Layalama
Poetry Reading Program
Newah Vijnana-5
Conference,  Convention.. 53 Nepal Bhasha Poets in search of peace
and against the war
(Courtesy of Layalama online 3-8-03)
A very successful poetry reading in public was
held under the chairmanship of Nepal Bhasa poets,
tihaju Durga Lal Shrestha and Bhaju Purna Vaidya, on
March 5th 2003 at Pratibhd Samaj, Satoaki Building,
Lalitpur (between Katmandu and Lalitpur,). The live
poetry reading event coincided with the International
day of poets protesting against the war.
Poems from the Nepal contingent of poems by 27
poets were read at the gathering of more than 100 poets,
writers and readers.
Poets read their own poems submitted to the Poets
Against the War and included in anthology of 12,000
poets presented to the U.S. Congress Washington on the
same day -. Madhav Mool (Song of Peace), Pushpa
Ratna Tuladhar (The Peace Digger), Nabin Chitrakar
(The Veiled Soil). Taba Maru (Can't create the poem)
and Bhagat Das Shrestha (For Human and Humanity's
sake).
Other renowned Nepal Bhasa poets, Durga Lal
Shrestha. Purna Baidya, Buddha Sayami, Pratisara
Sayami, Suresh Kiran Manandhar, Malla K. Sundar.
Shakya Surcn, Rajani Mila, Iswori Maiya Shreslha,
Sudan Khusa, Narad Bajracharya, Sri Ram Shrestha,
Pushpa Rajkarnikar. Mohan Kayastha, Basanta
Maharjan and other poets also reads their poems against
the war.
Presidents of the literary organizations, Nepalbhasa
Parishad. Newa Dey Daboo, Nepalbhasa Writers'
Forum, are also present in this event.
Amir Ratna Tamrakar, secretary of Nepalbhasa
Writers' Forum welcomed the distinguished poets and
guest and Bhubaneswor Joshi, vice-president of Nepal
Bhasa Writer's Forum, expressed thanks for
participating in Poetry Reading event on International
Day of Poetry Against the War.
Lecture and Talk
Programs
Surya and Candra Mandalas in the Art of
Nepal
Location:      Royal     Nepal     Academy,      Kamaladi,
Kathmandu, Nepal
Dr. Gerd Mevissen, Berlin
The South Asia Institute of Heidelberg University
and the Royal Nepal Academy
Wednesday, March 5, 2003,
The talk discussed the mandala-representations of
(I) the sun-god Surya, (2) the moon-god Candra, and
(3) the Buddha. As the presiding deity, they are
encircled by the remaining eight or the complete group
of nine, planetary gods as well as by other astral deities
(constellations, zodiacal signs, solar and lunar deities).
By examining stone sculptures, metal images and cloth
paintings, many from private collections, it will be
shown that this artistic tradition started in the 14th
century and continues up to modern times. Special
attention will be paid to the structure of the images and
the arrangement and sequential order of the astral
deities. The religious context, in which the images were
created, i.e. Hindu or Buddhist, will also be evaluated.
Finally, some enigmatic images will be presented, in
which the preaching Buddha, riding on Candra's chariot
drawn by seven geese, is encircled by astral deities.
This type of mandalas remains hitherto unexplained.
"Towards an Iconology of Newar Buddhism"
Dina Bangdel, Ohio State University
January 16, 2003
The talk was focused on the visual language of
Newar Buddhist monasteries - (he iconographic
program - and the ways in which it relates to core
Buddhist ideologies as well as local cosmogonic
symbols.
Workshops on
Themes in Nevvar
Culture, History, and
Identity
location: SO AS Vernon Square Campus
Organizer: David N Gellner
Sponsored by Pasa Puchah Guthi (UK)
Festivals and Religion
Will Tuladhar Douglas
'Pharping, "Newar", and Vajrayana'
Mark Pickett
'The Pengu Duh and the Chariot Festival of
Bungadyah (Lalitpur/Patan)'
Household Life and Escape from It
Suchita Tuladhar
'Changing Aspects of Uday Marriage'
Sarah LeVine
7 Wanted to be Free.'": Theravada Buddhist
Nuns in Nepal'
Caste and Identity
Balgopal Shrestha
'Castes among the Newars: ihe Debate
Newah  Vijhana-5
Conference,  Convention.
54 between Rosser and Quigley on the Status of
Shresthas'
Rhoderick Chalmers
'Language, Power, Identity: Some Aspects
of the Development of Nepaliness and
Newarness in India'
Newar Musical Traditions
Richard Widdess
'Historical Strands in Newar Music'
Exhibitions
The Circle of Bliss:
Art
Buddhist Meditational
Location: LACMA (10/05/03-01/0404)
Columbus Museum of Art (2/6/04-5/9/04)
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art
(LACMA) www.lacma.org presents a major exhibition
of approximately 160 Tibetan, Nepalese, Mongolian,
Indian, and Chinese paintings, manuscripts, sculptures,
textiles, and ritual implements that illuminate the ideals
and teachings of the Chakrasamvara Tantra and other
key Himalayan Buddhist tantras. The Circle of Bliss:
Buddhist Meditational Art. on view October 5, 2003.
through January 4, 2004, presents works of art from
both public and private collections and showcases many
masterpieces from LACMA's permanent collection. In
addition. LACMA has commissioned the first ever on-
site creation of a Chakrasamvara particle sand mandala
in the United Slates.
'The exhibition includes works from approximately
40 international museums and private collections from
Nepal, North America, Furope. and Great Britain.
Many of the works are exhibited publicly for the first
lime. His Majesty's Government of Nepal has lent 13 of
the most important treasures in the national collections
of Nepal, none of which have been on view outside of
Nepal in the past 40 years and many of which have
never been exhibited in the United States.
For all its esoteric mystery, striking beauty,
powerful and sometimes fierce imagery, and seemingly
overwhelming complexity, Himalayan Buddhist
meditational art has a single function: the processes
through which a faithful observer can obtain
enlightenment and ultimately reach perfection. Artists
throughout Asia have created extraordinary art forms to
convey the progression through specific meditations
that can assist the practitioner in the pursuit of
enlightenment.
The exhibition explores the notion of human
perfection, the methodology needed to achieve it, and
the visual imagery used in leading practitioners to the
state   of attainment.     The   Circle   of Bliss  presents
Himalayan paintings (thangkas). illuminated
manuscripts, metal, stone, wood, and terra cotta
sculptures, often embellished with gemstones: applique
and embroidered silk textiles; and diverse ritual
implements in a variety of media and styles. Each work
has been carefully selected for its aesthetic qualities and
for the importance of its role in communicating the
ideals of Himalayan Buddhist tantras. The Circle of
Bliss delineates the significance of cultural, geographic.
and ethnographic contexts across Asia in the
development of practices of Chakrasamvara and other
tantras. (Source: I.A 'Times Dec 2, 2003)
Traditional Newah Buddhist Ritual in
California
Newah Organization of America (NOA) thanks to
Ohio Sale University scholars Dina Bandel and John
Huntington, for successful exhibition on Historical
artifacts of Newah people at the Los Angeles County
Museum (LCMA) in the theme of "Circle of Bliss
Buddhist Meditational Art" from October 5. 2003.
through January 4. 2004. On this occasion, a group of
Newah Buddhist priests (Gunijus), led by Pundit Badri
Ratna Bajracharya and Naresh Man Bajrachrya. was
invited from Nepal. As noted by the late King
Birendra, Pundit Badri Ratna is known as "Living
Treasure of Nepal'. During their stay in Los Angeles
they drew a Dharma Dhatu Sand Mandala at the
premises of the Museum and performed the Saptabidha
itottra Puja. a ritual of seven layer offerings and prayed
for world peace and happiness. On this occasion many
devotees visited from different parts of the country
including California, Texas, Arizona and Oregon. They
also got the initiation Dikshya from Pandit Badri Ratna
including Nepalis and Americans. 'The three days event
was high lighted by Prof. Bandel and Prof. Huntington
by explaining the theme of the exhibition, and meaning,
purpose and significance of Pooja that is still practiced
as unique feature of Newah Buddhism. It has been
believed that such type of Newah Buddhist ritual and
the Vajrayana Buddhist dances were also performed by
the visiting priests first time in the US. The New'ah
community of US commends Prof. Bandel and Prof
Huntington's dedication in promotion of the Newah
cjultural heritage in the US. For further details on the
exhibition "The Circle of Bliss' accompanied by a
groundbreaking, fully illustrated catalogue is available.
The 600-page catalogue includes 160 full-color images
of works of art from the exhibition. To order the
catalogue, check the website www.amazon.com. The
exhibition was moved to Columbus Museum of Art in
Columbus, Ohio from Feb 6 tO May 9th 2004
(Reprinted from NOA newsletter 'Laskus' 2004)
Newah Vijhana-5
Conference,  Convention.
55 Special Events
NOA Language Center
Sept 9. 2003
In an initiative to maintain and promote
Newah language amongst the Newah community in
America, Newah Organization of America (NOA)
launched the Newah Language Class Program in an
event of September 7, 2003, here in the Washington
Metropolitan Area.
Attended by dedicated members of (he Newah
community the teaching program of the NOA Language
Center was inaugurated by the president of NOA Mr,
Beda Pradhan. An hour long Newah class was held for
the first time and the class had sessions for the
Beginners and for the Intermediate. Some eight young
boys and girls from the age of 5 to 12 participated in the
classroom activities by learning the Devanagri alphabet,
coloring them as well as pronouncing them for the first
time in their lives; learning the words and sounds of
their native language.
Teacher volunteers Saroj Shrestha, Rashmi
Tuladhar and Pramila Rajbhandari conducted the hour
long class. At the intermediate level teenagers across
the table were heard asking various questions in Newah
language and answering them in turn with the teacher
looking on. They took home homework from their
teachers. NOA will conduct these classes once every
month in the Washington Metropolitan area.
NOA is committed to provide the environment,
opportunity and teaching help- for members of the
Newah community here to take part in this important
endeavor. Parents have the responsibility to bring their
children to the classes, and other individuals to join in
the classes to learn and improve their language
capability. Those who missed out on this opportunity
should make good in the next class room session.
The inauguration program itself was conducted
fully in the Newah language. It is the first time a Newah
organization in America was successful in conducting
the whole Program in Newah language. All speakers
spoke in Newah language. This is a great step forward
for the community where English and Nepali languages
dominate every aspect of the day.
Mr Hariman Shrestha, Mr. Dibya Hada and the
president of NOA Mr. Beda Pradhan spoke at the
occasion in Newah language reiterating that there is no
alternative to learning our native languages in a
classroom environment and the launching and initiating
the class is a very timely and needed element of a
community trying to preserve and promote their culture,
language and arts. Ganesh Kayastha thanked all those
who helped to make this program a reality and all those
who took the time to come here at this important event.
Over coffee break attendees' conversations on
topics like politics, language, history, and even jobs
related and small talks were heard to be spoken in the
Newah language. This clearly demonstrates that Newah
language is a viable, working, and practical language
for all kind of use here in the US and in Nepal.
In the other event of the day Mr. Hariman Shrestha
recited some of his new poems and latter in the musical
session along with the audience a famous and popular
song "Rajamati Kumati" was sung with 9 years old
Bivek Tuladhar leading the way on keyboard with
singers like Rashmi Tuladhar and Saroj Shrestha
accompanied by Tribhuvan Tuladhar on the guitar.
An emerging band played on various songs in
Nepali to end the day in a very enjoyable manner.
MC for the event Tribhuvan Tuladhar thanked
every participant for their much needed support and
help in all forms and sizes. Donations were received
from various dedicated persons.
Finally, stay tuned for the latest information on the
upcoming classes this coming month for more details.
For enrolling your children in the class please
contact us at contact@newah.org or call 703-713-0107.
The Third convention of the Newah
Organization of America
May 30th 2004
NOA concluded the Third Convention on May 30.
2004. It was attended by cross section of the Newah
community here in the US. Guests and participants
from Nepal and from different parts of the US attended*
this convention held in Metropolitan Washington.
The event was kickcd-off by Mr. Babita Shrestha,
the Master of the Ceremony, calling upon Mr. Rudra
Nepal. Counselor of the Royal Nepalese Embassy to
inaugurate the Convention by lighting the traditional
"Twarebha"
Welcoming all the participants the President of
NOA Mr. Beda Pradhan highlighted the goals of the
organization and the work it has done in the short
period of its existence. He said that the work
accomplished in the last year was noteworthy with
programs like the Newah Class and the Business forum
moving Sahead. He indicated that many important works
are underway to serve the Newah community here in
the US and also in Nepal.
In the general meeting session, General Secretary
Mr. Tribhuvan R. Tuladhar presented the Second
Annual Report and said that the programs like Newah
language classes are underway with classes held every
third week with 6 student and 3 volunteer teachers
conducting them. The organization hopes that more and
more people of various ages will join in to learn, and to
Newah  Vijnana-5
Conference,  Convention...
5G reverse the trend of dwindling populace speaking their
native mother tongue.
The NOA Business Forum is being constituted and
will work towards enhancing the business activities of
the community. This is an important aspect of the
Newah community since business and Newah are
synonym to each other
Nepal Sambat Day is an important event for the
community and will be celebrated this year too. The
Campaign foT " One dollar per month per person" to
help Nepal Bhasa Academy Cultural Center in Nepal, is
moving too slow, he said, and needs to be speeded up
with help from all the members of the community.
New proposals for Newah Dhukuu and NOA
Library are on the table and will be moved forward in
the next coming years.
Mr. Balaram Joshi presented the financial report
and also the budget for the year 2005. He said the
revenue for the first year of the organization was
encouraging and said more new life-members needs to
be induced into the organization. The tax-exempt status
of the organisation he said was important and the
organization hopes that he pre-tax donation will
increase this year.
Representing Nepa Pasa Pucha, the vice President,
Surendra Pradhan, delivered ihe message and
announced that the Nhu dan-Mha Puja celebration will
be held in November.
Leaders of prominent Nepalese Organiza- lions
spoke at the event Mr. Rajendra Oli from America
Nepal society, wished NOA all the success in it
important work. He opined that the two Newah
organizations here in the US could conduct an
International Event on culture and history and other
Nepalese organization would also join in.
Mr. Rudra Nepal, the Counselor of the Nepalese
Embassy and chief guest spoke at the occasion and
conveyed good wishes and encouragement for the
Organization to keep serving the community and Nepal
and was happy that NOA could become such an
important organization in so short period of time.
Mr. Ganesh Kayeslha, the first Vice President of
NOA thanked all the participants and those who had
helped selflessly lo make this Organization what it is
today.
In the session of Culture and Language, Mr. Beda
Pradhan. spoke about the influence of religion in the
newah society. Dr. Navin Rai a specialist in indigenous
people from the World Bank spoke about (he Newah
Ethnic history and Janjati issues and said Newah
community is more of a nation.
Mr. Tribhuvan Tuladhar spoke about the possibility
of the Newah language to disappear if the present trend
in newah language is not reversed. He emphasized the
initiative of NOA to undertake Newah Language Class
in the US to familiarize the new Newah generation with
the sounds and salient features of Newah language.
This will go a long way to reverse the present trend,
somewhat, at least in the US.
Other session was on "NOA Business Forum". In
the session Rajendra Shrestha laid out his thoughts
about how this forum could be constituted and
developed. Mr. Deepak Shrestha, CEO of number of
companies here in the US, related to the audience, how
one could become a successful entrepreneur here in the
US.
Mr. Dharma B. Shakya proposed that a non-profit
Trade Promotion Center could be established here in
the United States too.
Later in the Cultural Program a jam-packed hall
enjoyed dances and songs from young talents.
The NOA Newah Language Students, each spoke
to the audience in Newah language and sang a Newah
song "Rajamati-Kumati." to the amazement of the
audience. The youngest participant was just 4 years old.
The program continued with more songs, band
musicians played modern Nepali songs to the liking of
the excited audience. Then NOA recognized the
volunteers for their dedication, support and good work
by handing each with Certificates of Appreciation.
It all concluded with "The Taste of Newah cuisine"
dinner and prizes being distributed for the lottery
winners. More than 200 people participated in the event
and it felt like thai each one of them enjoyed the time
spent at the convention.
Newah Community in Dallas, Texas
By Pramod Kaji Baniya
Mha Puja and Nepal Sambat 1124 Nhu dan
Celebration
Feeling homesick for not being able lo celebrate
Mha Puja and Nhuu Daatt during the time of Tihar,
fellow Nepali Daajubhai and DeedeebahmiHaru. then
come on down to Dallas, Texas, where you can get
together with the local Nepali community to participate
in a modern version of Mha Puja and Nhuu Daan
celebration and enjoy a traditional Newah Jhow Bhoe
(Dinner feast while sitting on the floor) with more than
20 authentic Newah cuisine. If you are lucky enough,
you might get to see some cultural performances by the
local artists too.
The function was held last year on October 24th
2003 here in the heart of Dallas by a newly formed
Newah Cultural Association of Texas (NCAT). A
similar but smaller Newah Food Festival was organized
about a year ago on the occasion of Dashain Festival by
the same group of" people. The success of that first Food
Festival and also recommendation, love and support ol
the community led to the formation of Newah Cultural
Newah Vijhana-5
Conference,   Convention.
57 Association of Texas (NCAT). The association was
officially established on this Nhuu Daan (New Year)
day and hence became possible, this Grand Mha Puja
and Nhuu Daan celebration.
The celebration started with the inauguration of
Newah Cultural Association of Nepal (NCAT) by the
President of NCAT Mr. Deepankar Ratna Bajracharya
(youngest son of Nepal's Buddhist priest Pundit Rev.
Badri Ratna Bajracharya (aka Badri Guruju)) by
lighting the auspicious Panas with a Sukunda. The
function was hosted by Ms. Archana Karniacharya. Mr.
Bajracharya then gave a short inauguration speech
where he highlighted the need of such an association to
preserve our national cultural heritage in the US and
pass it on to the new generation. He also pointed out the
support and relationship of NCAT with Newah
Organization of America (NOA), Nepa Pasa Pucha
Amerikaye (NPPA), Nepa Khala and other Nepalese
Associations in America. Mr. Bajracharya then
introduced the committee members. They are as
follows:
Vice President:
Vice President:
Secretary:
Treasurer:
Advisor:
Advisor:
Advisor:
Advisor:
Web designer:
Kiran Ranjit
Pramod Kaji Baniya
Ujwol Karmacharya
Dipendra Hada
Baikuntha Thapa
Dhiren Gurung
Sarendra Nakarmi
Sanjaya Rajbhandary
Ujjwa! Kajee
After the inauguration ceremony, the first round of
people was directed lo sit down on the Sukuls (mattress
on the floor lo sit) in ihe beautifully decorated feast
area. First of all, the President com Guruju Mr.
Bajracharya came to the line offering Tika to
everybody. Then Sagun was given of hard-boiled,
sauteed egg, fried fish and of course, Ada (alcohol)
served from Antee (traditional Newah pitcher to serve
spirit.) How can a Mha Puja be complete without the
Kokha and Jajanka (sacred strings)? Yeah, we had
them too, the real thing, especially ordered all the way
from Nepal just for the occasion. Sagun and Aila were
served by Newah Lyasayla (young women) in
traditional sari dress.
Right after the puja ceremony, the feast began with
the incoming of the army of servers serving the
authentic Newah cuisines one after another. Everything
from Chhoela, Pancha Kwaah, Tahkhah, Sanyaakhuna,
Fasi Kwaah to Musya Palu and Latin Achar, just to
name a few - were served with the taste just like at
home, if not better. The festival was well organized and
went along very smoothly with the repeated servings of
some of the main items such as Daayekaagu laa,
Tahkhah etc. People didn't seem to mind to sit on the
floor with their legs crossed for 30 or 45 minutes to
taste those delicious foods. It was totally worth it.As the
first round of feast was over; Ihe stage was warming up
for the cultural show. First came the Jyapu-Jyapuni
dance which was performed by the couple Mr. Amit
Shrestha and Ms. Merina Shrestha on the famous
Newah song called "Rajamati Waa, Matina Yaaye
Waa. " After that, a beautiful solo song was sung on the
track by an artist from Nepal, Mr. Prakash Bajracharya.
The song goes like "Hisi Dumha Mayeju, Guli
Baanlaagu..."
The next item was from Dallas* own Mr. Yarnan
Shrestha, who with his own style and a bare guitar sang
few Newah oldies with funny stories on the side. After
that came the performance of NCAT Vice President
Mr. Pramod Kaji Baniya with the loveliest evergreen
Newah song "Rajmati Kumati, Jeke Wohscta Peeratee,
" which energized the whole audience. The song was
performed with the help of Dallas' new Band
Diabolique. After Mr. Baniya, the band played one of
their songs. Last but not least were the young duo of
Mr. Anshu Shrestha and Mr. Amar Jung, who rocked
the audience with few hit Nepali pop numbers and they
ended the show with our traditional "Deusi Re." The
whole audience were clapping and participating with
them singing Deusi all together.
While all these were happening on the stage, feast
was being served just as the first round - for three more
rounds. So the servers were busy serving, people was
busy having feasted while enjoying the cultural show al
the same time; some were socializing with friends and
family at the back side of the hall while wailing for
their turn to sit for the feast: some were jusl hanging out*-
after ihe feast. There were even a bunch of festivalers
playing Langoor Burjaa on one corner, which is not
very proud thing to say - there was money
involved. But what would be a great Tihar festival with
out a little bit of gambling, right? Anyway, it was very
friendly and homely environment.
After all. the festival ended in a peaceful way with
350 or more participation and people left the festival
with over-joyed taste buds, full stomachs, and the
memory of such an extra ordinary experience for years
to remember. But come this Mha Puja. we will repeal
the extravaganza all over again, the whole nine yards or
even ten-.this time. (Reprinted from Laskus 2004)
Nepal Bhasa body marks Silver jubilee
A seminar was organised today on the role ol
different community organisations in the development
of the literature of Nepal Bhasa and cultural rights of
the Newars. It was organised by Nepal Bhasha Mankaa
Khalaa (NBMK) Yala to mark its silver jubilee.
Chancellor of Nepal Bhasha Academy, Satya
Mohan, said governmentsuppression had given rise to
Newah  Vijnana-5
Conference,   Convention
>8 the movement for the rights of mother language. "There
are various instances in which the governmentdeprived
us of our rights to use our mother language in public
and the literary field. This has resulted in the ongoing
movement for the rights of autonomy of nationalities,"
he said.
Chairman of NBMK, Padma Ratna Tuladhar, said
the organisation should be taken as the movement,
rather than just a body. "NBMK was set up as an
umbrella organisation to coordinate working style and
aims of different institutions."
He added the style and target of community
movement should be changed according to the
changing political scenario.
A working paper by Chhatra Bahadur Kayastha
and Dr Pushpa Raj Rajkarnikar elaborated on the
different historical cases in which the governme- nt had
imposed different rules barring the Newars of
Kathmandu Valley from using their language for
official purposes. The paper also shows mainly in the
capital city, to protest the government's suppressive
moves.
Also available in:
http://www.thehiinalayantimes.com/hjllstory.asp
(Source: Himalayan News Service Lalitpur, July
30:)
Announcements
The 9th Himalayan Languages Symposium
The 9th HLS event was hosted by the Central
Institute of Indian Languages Government of India,
Manasagangotri, MYSORE-570 006, India. From
December 16-19,2003
For more information please check the website
www.ciil.org Contact persons: Professor Udaya
Narayana Singh (Director) Professor J.C. Sharma
(Chairman)
Restoring Nepal Bhasha in the Catalog of
Library of Congress,
Washington DC.
On June 9th 2004, the Chairperson of the ISO 639-
2 Maintenance Agency and Senior Networking and
Standards Specialist at the Library of Congress,
Washington DC, Rebecca S. Guenther has confirmed
by writing a letter to Mr. Kamal Tuladhar that the
Library of congress has created a log on name with
Nepal Bhasha for all the titles relating to the language
of Newars. Eventually, the word Newari will be
abolished from the catalog. Newah Vijnaana owes a big
thank to Kamal Tuladhar and Allen Bailochan Tuladhar
in support of changing the name campaign started by
the editor in 1997. Allen was very instrumental in
brining an attention of changing the name in
international agencies that still retain Newari in various
ways. It is imperative that Newars draw your attention
to change the name of their language into Nepal Bhasha
instead of Newari.
NEPAL STUDY
PROGRAM
Nepalese Language and Culture Classes
for Beginner, Travelers and Researchers
(VIA Internet or in a Classroom)
Instructor:
Daya R. Shakya
US West Coast
Nepalese Learning Center
3717 NE Broadway
Portland OR, 97232
/ 1    Phone: (503) 284-7843
/piiect Line: (503) 282-0447
jT\       Fax: (503) 774-7554
1 \email: drasha@aol.com
Newah  Vijnana-5
Conference,  Convention.
59 Dissertations and
Thesis Abstracts
"Manifesting the Mandala: A Core
Iconographic Program of Newar Buddhist
Monasteries of Nepal" 1999
Dina Bangdel
Ohio State University
This study examines the core iconographic
elements of the Buddhist Monasteries in Nepal and
their relationship to the religion and ritual practices of
the Newar Buddhists. Based on original field research I
conducted in the Katmandu valley, I have identified
three major iconographic themes were widespread and
prevalent. These were the Svayambhu Mahacaitya, the
Dharmadhatu Mandala, and the Cakrasamvara
Mandala, which are manifest in the monasteries as three
mandatory architectural elements: the principal deity of
the monastery; and, the secret esoteric shrine lo the
Tantric deity.The study analyses their symbolic
meaning and explores how these iconographic
components serve as visual metaphors to express the
fundamental constructs of Newar Buddhism.
The findings of this study suggest that the core
iconographic program is unique to Newar Buddhist
context and reflects the essential ideological
frameworks of the religion. Specifically, the three core
components are conceived of as a hierarchic
progression, articulating the Newar Buddhist
soteriological methodology of encompassing the " three
ways" (shravakayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana) of
Buddhism By examining the constructions of sacred
space, the essential iconological constructs of Newar
Buddhist art and religious practices are contextualized
and defined through these visual symbols.
The analysis also explores the yoginis in the Newar
Buddhist context and situates the goddess tradition
within the larger tantric Buddhist methodological
framework. A key premise of the study is lo be
understand the Buddhist yogini not only as a unifying
theme to decipher the iconology of the core components
of the religion, but more importantly, the study
proposes to establish the yogini tradition as the
ontolosiical source of the Newar Buddhism.
Practice of Everyday Religion in
Bhaktapur, Nepal (2002)
Gregory Price Grieve
University of Chicago
The subject of this dissertation is everyday
religious practices in Bhaktapur (Khwopa), Nepal.
Proceeding from the notion that religion occupies a
distinctive place in the social construction of reality,
this study analyzes how Newars in Bhaktapur use
Hinduism's and Buddhism's pragmatic, world-building,
material elements to construct their daily lives. As an
interpretive tool, the dissertation co-joins Pau! Mus's
notion of sacred space to Michel De Certeau's theory of
the commonplace in order to develop the notion of
everyday mesocosms—prosaic "recipes" for making
ceremonially organized social space.
The dissertation consists of two parts. The first
part, made up of chapters two and three, orients the
reader by sketching Bhaktapur's history and geography.
The second section—chapters four through seven-
analyzes everyday religion. Using the god Bhairava as
a touchstone, chapter four examines the central object
of worship, god-images (loha[n]dya). Chapter five
concentrates on ceremony (puja) to trace the
relationship between person and deity. It argues that
ceremonies are systems of ritual logic by which a
mutually beneficial relationship is created with a god.
Chapter six demonstrates that what makes gods
venerated is "religious power" (shakti). Using the
example of the "uncanny" (Jhilnjjaafn] mifajjaa/nj)
religious feeling generated by tantric performances, it
maintains) that religious power is an emotional
discourse which can be understood as a type of social
sublime. Chapter seven concentrates on a "forged" goat
sacrifice that was performed during Bhaktapur's 1995
Cow festival. It argues that such festivals ought to be
understood as religious social fields within which
various groups attempt to generate a lived world most
in conformity with their interests. The dissertation's
three major insights are: (l) religious practices require a
material element; (2) Hinduism and Buddhism employ
generative     world-building    loeics;    and    (3)    that
Newah Vijnana-5
Dissertation  and Thesis..BO Bhaktapur's everyday religious practices have been one
of the main strategies by which modernity has been
mediated, implemented, and localized. This study will
provide new perspectives on Hinduism and Buddhism,
the anthropology of religion, the history of religions, as
well as cultural studies.
Advisors: Frank E. Reynolds, Professor of the History
of Religions and Buddhist Studies, Wendy Doniger,
Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the
History of Religions
Post Graduate Diploma Thesis
"Buddhist   Literature   in    Nepal    Bhasa"
(197pages)
Ven. Bodhijnana
Tribhuvan University
One can find a large number of Buddhist texts in
Nepal Bhasa which were produced in due course of
time. But is it difficult to obtain any catalog of those
publications so far. In order to fulfill the need an
attempt has been made here.
This thesis deals with different aspects of literature
based on Buddhism with special emphasis on revival
and development of Buddhist literature in Nepal Bhasa.
The published books on Theravada and Mahayana
Buddhism (from 1909 to 2001) in Nepal Bhasa are
listed. The content of the thesis includes the Buddhist
publications (Books and periodicals) in Nepal Bhasa
primarily the author and, title series, secondly, title and
author, thirdly, chronological order of books and
periodicals and finally a comparative list of books
published in different years from 1909 to 2001. Some
major findings of this research indicates that a total of
840 books were published on Topics related to
Theravada Buddhism and 495 books were in Mahayan
Buddhism totaling 1335 books during the period. The
first three books related to Theravada and Mahayana
Buddhism published in the year 1909 was:
1. "Prajnaparamita Devi-yaagu Strotra" Hymns on
Prajnaparamita Devi
2. "Samyukta Nikaya"- Theravada book containing
1192 pages
3. "Gandavyuhanama Mahayana Sutra" Mahayana
Book containing 1117 pages
The Ritual Composition of Sankhu
The   Socio-Religious   Anthropology  of  a
Newar Town in Nepal
Bal Gopal Shrestha
Research School CNWS,
University of Leiden
The Netherlands.
The dissertation includes xxvi + 450 pages, 27
tables and charts, 16 maps, 49 B & W photos, Glossary
and printed in September, 2002
ISBN: 90-9016170-8
(See the summary of dissertation (in) page 23) b^- J
Newah  Vijnana-5
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Newah  Vijnana-5
Shrestha,  Om  Krishna/Ranjan   Lipi..B2 S IT7T% TTR 7TRT 7TFT T^RTT faiWl 7TR 7 STHT TTT
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Third Newah Convention Issue
Volume 3 Number 4
Taclihalalho 11. 1124
May 30"' 2004
I
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Newah Dhalah
m
V
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StatriCCt
Newah Organl jitlon of Arneri cs
Newah Vijnana-5
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78 Members
&Si
Di
Subscribers'
rectory
Amatya, Devendra M.
3309 Boulder Ct.
Raleigh, NC 27607, USA
Hydraulic Science/ Engineering
Newah Culture
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384 Miraieste dr # 464
San Pedro, CA 90732
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Asha Archives
Gha 3-563 Kulambhulu
Kathmandu -3 NEPAL
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3173 Kinsrow Avenue #214
Eugene OR 97401, USA
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4720 Old Ravine Court
Columbus, OH 43220 USA
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23 N Knox St.
Durham NC 27705 USA
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P.O. Box 873,
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Kathmandu, NEPAL
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Tribhuvan University
Kirtipur, Kathmandu, NEPAL
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15 Clive Hills Road
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Delancey, Scott
Department of Linguistics,
University of Oregon,
Eugene, OR 97403
detencey@darkwing.uoregon.edu
Tibeto-Burman Linguistics
Driem, George Van
Himalayan Languages Project
Leiden University
The Netherlands
Tibeto-Burman Linguistics
Gellner, David N.
Department Of Human Sciences
Brunei University, UX Bridge,
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Genetti, Carol
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Santa
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Santa Barbara CA 93106 USA
Himalayan Linguistics, Newar
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2231 Halter Lane
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225 Florence street
Greensboro, NC 27401 USA
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Hada, Dibya
100 Watkins Pond Blvd. #305.
Rockville, MD 20850 USA
Hargreaves, David
Department of English
Western Oregon University
Monmouth OR 97361 USA
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Department Of Sanskrit
Harvard University
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H.M. Jackson School of Int'l
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Comparative religion, Newar
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Columbus, Ohio 43202
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10020 SE 203 rd St.
Kent WA 98031
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1270 Montery Avenue
Berkeley CA 94707 USA
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2143 Hawkins Lane
Eugene OR 97405
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5324 East Burns St.
Tucson, AZ 85711
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Depraf ment of English
Tribhuvan University
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Department of Environmental
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Mimasaka Women's College
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Tokyo 114-8580
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College of Holycross
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Prayagpath, P.O.Box No. 59
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14418 Oakvale St.
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2140 Dogwood St.
Cornelius OR 97113
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8 Keene St # J58
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Research in the field of
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Dept. of Linguistics,
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Comparative Tibeto-Burmen
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Malsuse , Ikuko
Keio University
1-30-13-202 Higashitamagawa,
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Minpaku
Midori Book Store
Toyonaka P.O Box 98
Osaka 560-8691
Japan
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Department of Geography
University of Zurich
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CH- 8057 Zurich, Switzerland
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15303 Ashworth PI. N.
Seattle WA 98133
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Dept. of Sociology and
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Wheaton College
Norton, Massachusetts 02766,
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9535 Vista Secunda,
San Diego, CA 92129 USA
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302 S. Bassett Street
Madison Wl 53703
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3001Cregler Drive
Apex NC 27502 USA
Rose, Penelope
1103 Clay St.
San Francisco CA 94108, USA
Rossi, Donatella
8647 SE Alder Street
Portland OR 97216-1603, USA
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Salyer, Jennifer
995 Joshua PI.
Fremont, CA 94539
Veeva @ goplay.com
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Ruetschistrasse 21
8037-CH Zurich
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9040 SE Telford Road
Boring OR 97009
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Newah  Vijnana-5
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New Carrollton. MD 20784 USA
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10695 SW Murdock Street #B3
Tigard OR 97224 USA
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Research School CNWS
School of Asian, African, and
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Nonnensteeg 1-3
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4213 Cedar Tree Lane
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Mita Shrestha & Larry Owen
229 East Handcart way
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Shrestha, Prof. Mohan Narayan
625 Lafayette Blvd.
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842 Guilford Ave.
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Ratchdamnoen Post Office
Bangkok 10200
Thailand
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Microsoft Corporation
One Microsoft Way
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215J Michener Park
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4M5 CANADA
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Population Studies, Nepal
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Newah Vijnana, the Journal of Newar Studies accepts
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From South Asian (Countries
Siddhi R, Shakya
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