I am a Newar. Born Newar. Raised in the heart of Patan. Living in the city of Newars.
The fact that “Newa Pride” has never appealed to me has nothing to do with how much I dislike Newari people in general. (Confession: I even seriously lack Nepali Pride. I wonder, what that is supposed to mean.)
The issue here is Nepal Sambat calendar and Newari New Year 1129. The government has now recognized Nepal Sambat calendar as the national calendar and has also declared Shankhadhar Shakhwa as the national icon, the one who supposedly started Nepal Sambat calendar around 800 AD. History has it; this Shakwa dude magically absolved the people of Kathmandu of a terrible debt and gave them freedom. And to mark his benevolent work, Shakwa himself is said to have started Nepal Sambat calendar.
Now, with the recognition of NS and its New Year day, we will officially have three separate “new year” days in single year. Bikram Sambat, Nepal Sambat and Lohsar. There’s also the English New Year.
Moreover, the government has also decided to form a task force on finding ways to incorporate the Nepal Sambat into “practical use” in daily activities.
President Doctor Sahib, himself lauded the government’s decision. This will keep intact, the national integrity and cultural harmony, he stated. Prime Minister Intense too said, the government will always step up its effort in preserving and conserving Nepal’s unique cultural identities. Former PM Koirala Babu speeded to Bhaktapur early morning and offered garland on the statue of Shakhwa dude. General Secretary of UML, Jhalanath Khanal did not miss out the moment either. He praised highly of the current coalition government, of which his party is proudly part of, for making a decision to recognize Nepal Sambat.
For once, I want to be optimistic and say, yeah – this sort of recognition of a cultural identity will surely maintain peace and harmony in the country.
There’s Bahun Pride, Chettri Pride, Maithili Pride, Madhesi Pride, Yadav Pride, Thakur Pride. There’s Buddhist Pride. There’s Muslim Pride and Convert-Christian Pride too. Lots of Pride.
I really want to be optimistic. But I don’t know how, all these pride will remain peaceful and harmonious.
And, what I don’t understand is, why form a government task force (with cultural experts, historians and astrologers) and try to incorporate or rather enforce the Nepal Sambat into the present use!
Do we seriously need yet another calendar?
And how come, all of a sudden, PM Intense sees the need to preserve “unique cultural identity”. His party members are the ones who started chopping off “sacred and holy” cows and eating them. (Though, I am not against that.)
Newar people of the Kathmandu valley celebrated the New Year 1129 – with enthusiasm, passion and pride. There were rallies, there were processions, there were singing and dancing, there were drunken frenzy, there were chants, and there was madness in the streets.
Newa Bhawana Jindabad! Long live, Newa Pride. Fuck it.