In preparation of the World Newah Conference

Tribhuvan R. Tuladhar


The idea that the Newah people around the world should come together at a single venue to sit down calmly and seriously to talk about the future and advancement of the Newah community as a whole, explore the dreams and aspiration, problems and issues of its people at the personal level, has stood the test of time. Voices are now being heard, effort are being made, to see if such an event can be brought to fruition in the realm of possibility and reality. This will be a giant step forward for the Newah community to bring unity, understanding, camaraderie and confidence amongst the Newah people so that the community pride and glory can be resurrected and reestablished once again.

A genesis, that took ten years to incubate and gain acceptance, is now having a momentum of its own. A decade is a long time for such an incubation, nevertheless, the situation and conditions of the Newah community is such that in many people’s minds this endeavor needs to take place, and needs to take place soon.

Talking of, and discussing it all the way, is well and good, but the talk needs to turn to action, ideas needs to be translated into realistic and feasible programs and bodies needs to be on the ground to carry this to completion. Are we ready? Are we ready to Walk the Walk?

Even today, as we speak, numerous questions arise in our mind as to how to do this, when to do it, and where to do this conference. Who should be involved and what should be its goals, and what should be its outcome, and many more. Continued discussion is needed to clarify, simplify, and fully understand the issues and bring about a complete consensus so that the ideas and steps are well understood and it can be translated into concrete and workable programs and events. It is easy said than done.

The very fact that this idea has survived as long as it has, in the imagination of the Newah people, is testimony to the need and usefulness of such an event for the development of the Newah community in Nepal and worldwide. At this crucial juncture we must be careful not to jeopardize this vision and work collectively and intelligently towards its implementation adhering to it’s purpose and goal.

Newah community is at the crossroad. Situation in the homeland is becoming more difficult and un-tenuous. The pressure of a livelihood along with the political encirclement and transformation of this historic community that ruled the land to a minority status has profound psychological impact on the people. Hordes of people migrated to the fertile and welcoming city of lights and festivals has now turned into a nightmare. The uncontrolled influx is tearing apart the fabric of the city and its indigenous Newah culture and its people. Attempts to survive the relentless onslaught of opposition and cultural curtailment from the ruling class has manifested itself in forms of Nepal Mandala wide Bandh, to express severe grievances and frustration of the situation of the country, and brought out demand for self-determination and autonomous rule in a federal setup of the country. It was a courageous step, a needed step, and in-fact successful one to illustrate to the dis-concerned elitist government that the indigenous inhabitants of Nepal Mandala need to be listened to and consulted in all affairs of governance of their land which the Newah people have built from scratch. The message remains unheard.

Newah people are well known for intelligence, talent, creativity, ingenuity, patience and innovation in multiple fields of human activities and endeavor. Two and half century of subjugation by the Shah regime and their surrogates tried to diminish, cleanse and eradicate the importance and significance of the Newah culture and its people. However, the treasure trough of unique art, architecture, sculptures, painting, traditions and rituals, that has captivated anthropologists and historian though the ages, still remains and survived while the ill intentioned and incompetence regime of 240 years have fallen on the wayside. The story does not end there. The struggle for survival of the Newah language and culture still goes on and the clash of the civilizations persists. The indigenous people of Nepal is experiencing the upsurge and resurgence of the same group of people as before, coming to power under the cloak of a convoluted democracy of their making. Once again the dark cloud is overhead and air is dampened for the future of Nepal, in a new and different way. The quest for power and supremacy is live and kicking with this new turncoat breed.

Despite falling into hard times the Newah people has not learnt all the lessons. There are enough people within the community that undermines the essence and soul of the culture and the importance of language or culture for the survival of the community. It is quiet unfortunate. Segment of the younger generation is awash with “nepali” ideology and has yet to learn the truth and the lesson of what it means to be a Newar.
Only working together as one people, in unison and harmony, and in facing the external threats despite internal discourse, disagreements and competition, will the Newah community learn the final lesson that will save it from eventual collapse.

The call for convening the conference has come. The year of 2010 has been mentioned and here again one more time we start up on the wrong foot. Let us not put the cart before the horse, again. This is the third time and let’s gets it right. To be serious about this endeavor there are set of exploratory works that needs to be done towards the preparation and before the final implementation of such a significant event.

If the Newah community around the world really feels the absolute need for such an undertaking, and believe that this conference will bring about quantitatively and qualitatively improvement and enhancement of the Newah community in Nepal and around the world, than we should move ahead, dedicatedly, in a focused way to achieve this goal. We will have to devote the needed time, effort and resources for the conference and see what kind of results it can bring at the end. One thing what we do not want to see again is the jockeying of individuals and personalities for position and control, name and fame, which goes totally against the spirit and goal of the event and unity of the community. It will undermine all the effort and resources put into it to achieve its goals.

To begin it all and to make it universally acceptable, it would be appropriate to have a Revered Core group of wise and respected leaders of our community that will provide a guiding light of selfless devotion, just and balances so that all the committees and teams will work in unison to make this endeavor worthwhile. This can be the Supreme decision making body that will see that there is no conflict of opinions, interests and egos takes place, and the event runs smoothly without any disunity, dissatisfaction and bickering. Newah people are quiet famous for that too. For the Revered Core the following people come to mind:
1. Dr. Padma Ratna Tuladhar,
2. Mr Satya Mohan Joshi and
3. Mr. Malla K. Sunder or others of that stature.

The rest of us all in committees and teams shall work under their leadership and shall perform our respective duties with mass participation of all interested people and volunteers professionally carry out the responsibilities for a successful conclusion of the conference.

Presently, an Exploratory Study Team needs to be constituted with participation from every corner of the globe where Newah people resides who will study the situation in depth and report to the Revered Core leaders in about 6 months laying out the following and not limited to. (Two or so members from every country can be included from around the world to form this team).

The Exploratory Study Team shall conduct the following preliminary activities:
1. Consider the “Vital signs” of the community around the world, for or against the world Newah Conference.
2. A survey of opinions and suggestions and find out what, how, when and who should undertake the implementation of the conference.
3. Suggest a skeleton frame work of organizational structure, and indicated resources, humans and monetary, that may be available for the conference.
4. Nature and extent of participation by the Newah community where it will be convened.

The report will lay down the foundation and framework of manpower and monetary resources that will be needed to get the conference off the ground.

1. World Newah conference needs to be a stand alone, independent, and proud Newah event. It shall not be piggy-backed after any other “Nepali” event like the NRN conference or other festivities
2. As a world event a centrally located venue, somewhere in the center of the globe like DOHA, UAE, could be selected, or even somewhere in Europe, England, so that people from all over the world can convene without traveling around the globe.
3. The responsibility of financing the event shall lie on the newah people residing outside Nepal and not on anybody from Nepal. This is the contribution of the world Newah people to our compatriot in Nepal who are presently under tremendous politically, culturally, financially and emotionally stresses.
4. At the submission of the report by the Exploratory Study Team if a recommendation is made to convene the conference in the US and with the support and commitment of the entire world newah community the Newah community in the US shall consider hosting the conference in the US. In the US resides the largest Newah community outside Nepal and is most able to host it provided the entire community should be brought together for this huge effort.
5. Only as a last resort, the Kathmandu venue may be considered. The current political condition in Nepal is not conducive and friendly to the Newah community, and attempts from various groups may be made to scuttle or dis-erupt it or downgrade it inorder to diminish it effect and importance. If conditions are deemed favorable with participation of top echelon of the political and community leaders shows sufficient support and from all the indigenous people of Nepal so that the leadership of the Newah community can find a place in the mainstream of Nepal political circle, then it could be advantageous to have the conference in Nepal.
6. The conference needs to establish two important institutions for the Newah people and future generation in and outside Nepal. They are:.
a. World Newah Organization – that will promote Newah interest around the globe and interact with international bodies in time of peace and in time of crisis of the community.
b. World Newah Fund – a financial institution that will bring the resources of the Newah people and other world financial resources and institutions together to support and finance important endeavor of the community in Nepal and Nepal Mandal.

Having said this, I hope we can see beyond our immediate needs, wants, and interest, and do something that will enable the future generation to protect, preserve and promote the historic wealth of Newah culture and it people which our fore-fathers have left behind.