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 Focus News (2005):

National Workshop on "Restructuring of Democratic Process of State and Issues of Inclusion of Dalits" Organized

JUP-Nepal organized a National Workshop on “ Restructuring of Democratic Process of State and Issues of Inclusion of Dalits” together with the release of a book entitled "Societal Analysis: Politics of Poverty, Injustice and Inequity” on December 22, 2005 at Falcha House, SAP-Nepal, Babarmahal, Kathmandu. Mr. Nara Bikram Thapa authored the book, which is published by JUP-Nepal. The agenda of the workshop was presumed to be timely and pertinent in the current complex socio-political situation of Nepal.

Mr. Ian Martin, the Representative of United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal and Mr. Ramprit Paswan, the Honorable Vice-chairman of Upper House were the chief guest and special guest respectively in the function that kicked off at 11 a.m. sharp. The duos jointly unveiled the book.

Mr. Shyam Shrestha, the Editor-in-Chief of Mulyankan Monthly Magazine, who is a prominent and focal personality of the current civic movement, presented a paper on the topic of the workshop [Click here >>> Working Paper: Restructuring of Democratic Process of State and Issues of Inclusion of Dalits [in Nepali: Rajyako Lokatantrick Pun-Samrachan Ra Dalit Samabeshikaranko Sawal]. Mr. Shrestha added that consensus-based governing system and the federal state mechanism will be appropriate for a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual nation like Nepal. Mr. Shrestha stressed on the formation of national- level organization of the Dalits, which will formulate policies, laws, statute and choose representatives for the federal parliament and the government. He further said that the quota system and proportionate election system would end the politics of mercy and sympathy, benefiting Dalits, Janajaties, Madhesis, minorities and women in the country.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Ian Martin underscored that there exists rampant and unprecedented discrimination in Nepal. He added, racial and gender discrimination is still persistent in the country, despite Nepal has signed in several international conventions and treaties. Mr. Martin further said, "there are umpteen evidences of human rights violations, which are induced due to current conflict in Nepal. And, we are looking at these violations very seriously and assessing [them]", he added.

To enrich and improve the paper, Mr. Bishwa Bhakta Dulal (Ahuti) and Man Bahadur Vishwakarma, NC Central Working Committee member, Mr. Jhala Nath Khanal, the standing committee member of CPN-UML, Mrs. Mithai Devi Bishwakarma, a prominent Dalit leader and Mr. Rajendra Dahal, the editor of Himal Weekly commented on the paper with substantial input and feedback. Mr Hira bishwakarma, the team leader of DEIP also spoke on the program. Most of the speakers acknowledged that social and cultural fusion should be the strategy of the Dalit movement. They also admitted that the nation should not copy any system from other countries, while tackling and managing the Dalit issues.

The function was attended by a large gathering of prominent and influential leaders from different political parties, human rights organizations, international development partners, journalists, media people and professionals. Kantipur Television, Image Channel, The Himalayan Times, The Annapurna Post Daily among others have covered the workshop proceedings with special priority. The workshop was chaired by Mr. Man Bahadur BK, the President of JUP-Nepal. In his concluding remarks, Mr Bk said, "the social inclusion has been talked much about but the concrete structure of the inclusive democracy has not been outlined yet. Therefore we have raised this issue to outline the structure of inclusive democracy". He also added that the issue would be carried out to the regional level as well as grassroots level. At last, he extended his heartfelt gratitude to all the guests including the author of the book, who made the workshop a reality.
Report by Man BK, JUP-Nepal

Mithai Devi Bishwakarma received Dr. Ambedkar International Award

Mrs Mithai Devi Bishwakarma of Nepal received this year’s Dr. Ambedkar International Award from All-India Dalit Sahitya Sammelan, a national convention of Dalit writers and Dalit leaders/social workers, held in New Delhi on December 12 and 13, 2005. Mrs Bishwakarma has the record of more than four decades of her dedicated contribution to Dalit movement of Nepal. Her father Late Saharshanath Kapali and husband Late T.R. Bishwakarma were both pioneering Dalit leaders of modern Dalit movement in Nepal.

Other Nepalese Dalit personalities among the award recipients in the India’s national Dalit showcase convention were advocate Ratna Bahadur Bagchand who received Dr. Ambedkar Excellency Award, and Durga Bahadur Sunar, who was the recipient of Dr. Ambedkar Brotherhood Award. Nepaldaltiinfo congratulates all the award recipients for their well deserved international recognition of their contribution to the dalit movement of Nepal.

The Nepalese delegation which went to New Delhi for the award ceremony of All-India Dalit Sahitya Sammelan was led by Mr Om Prakash Bishwakarma Ramdam, who is the National President of Nepal-Bharat Dalit Friendship Organization, established in 2002. Another distinguished delegate from Nepal was Dalit leader Dhal Bahadur Bishwakarma Paudel.

For more on the story of award ceremony and Nepal-Bharat Dalit Friendship Organization, please read the Organization’s Press Release (in Nepali).

Pictures from 21st National Dalit Writers’ Conference, New Delhi (Dec 12-13, 2005) Page-1 Page-2

Bishnu Pariyar is nominated as Harvard University’ Bridge Builders

Bishnu Maya Pariyar, a Nepali Dalit Activist who is also the founder of a Boston based organization Empower Dalit Women of Nepal (EDWON) has been selected as a prestigious International Bridge Builder with six others to participate in the Bridge Builders Conference 2006 at the John F. Kennedy School of Government in the Harvard University, from February 27 to March 3, 2006.

The International Bridge Builders Conference invites grassroots leaders from around the world to share their skills, successes, and struggles in international development and community organizing with the Harvard community and beyond. It builds bridges between participants and students, faculty members, development organizations, and the general public. In turn, students and faculty lead skills sessions, provide institutional resources, and pursue ongoing partnerships.

Dr B. R. Ambedkar Excellency Award 2005 for a Nepali Dalit Human Rights Lawyer

Advocate Ratna Bahadur Bagchand, a Human Rights Lawyer/ Dalit Rights Activist in Nepal will be honored with Dr B. R. Ambedkar Excellency Award 2005, one of the prestigious awards in the sector of Social Justice and Dalit Movement in India and Nepal. He will be receiving the Award over a program of 115th Dr Ambedkar Parinirban Divas and 21st Rastriya Dalit Sahitya Sammelan on December 12, 2005 in New Delhi. This is learnt from the award recipient himself.

The award is announced by a New Delhi based Indian national organization Akhil-Bharatiya Dalit Sahitya Sammelan recognizing the contributions Bagchand has made towards Legal Initiatives and Social Awareness for Elimination of the Practice of Untouchability in Nepal. He has been active in Dalit movement of Nepal over the past one decade ever since he started practicing law. Advocate Bagchand comes from a Dalit family in Doti, a remote district in far western region of Nepal.

<<< Advocate Ratna Bagchand

Bhim-Maya Jana Utthan Prize Awarded

A prize of Nepalese Rs 10,001 with a certificate of appreciation has been awarded to Mrs. Satya Devi Sob, Doti, over a ceremony organized by Jana Utthan Pratisthan in Kathmandu on 27 November, 2005 (12 Mangsir, 2062). The prize has been established by the family of Man Bahadur Bk, who is also the president of JUP, in the memory of his late parents Mr Bhim Bahadur Bk and Mrs Maya Devi. The prize has been handed over on the occasion of first funeral anniversary of late mother Mayadevi. On the same occasion, a book written by Man Bahadur Bk dedicated to his parents ‘Shasan Ma Dalit’ (Dalits in Governance) has also been released.

The prize, somewhat different in its nature, is for honouring those who, despite the hardship of discriminatory social practice, sacrificed/contributed in their hard days to provide good education to their children. Mrs Satya Devi Sob is such a mother of two well known Dalit personalities- Mr Krishna Sob, who has attained well deserved position of a development professional of international stature, and Mrs Surga Sob, who is the former president of DNF, first member-secretary of National Dalit Commission and founding president of FEDO. The prize has been awarded to Mrs Satya Devi, born in 1990, for her contribution to provide the education to her sons and daughters equally.

Awarding the prize, Mr Padam Sundas, the patron of JUP, praised the innovative idea of remembering our ancestors. He also emphasized to make our culture more creative and praiseworthy. Releasing the book, he said that the book has contributed much to the present movement of inclusive democracy. On the occasion, Manoj Lohani, the treasurer of JUP, welcomed the guest and described in detail about the prize and the book. Nawin Bishwakarma (Child Scientist), Subhas Darnal, the president of JMC, Tej Sunar, the secretary of DNF, Keshab Shakya, SNV, Durga Sob and Shankar Vishwakarma spoke on the prize and the book congratulating the awardee person. The awarded person Mrs Satya Devi spoke about the hardship of her time to educate the children in the remote area like Doti. She also gave back the cash prize Rs 10,001 to JUP, adding Rs 1,010 to it for using it towards girl education.

Man Bahadur Bk, chairing the program, thanked all the guests and participants for showing the belongingness and praising for both the prize and the book. He also described the contribution of his parents to the education of his siblings, despite the social and economic suppression. He also urged to do something creative rather than following the imposed traditional taboos. He also hoped that the book will contribute to the Dalit movement, and urged all concerned to have thorough discussion/ bargaining for social inclusion as soon as possible. He thanked SNV for its support to publish the book in his concluding remarks.

Man Bahadur Bk, chairing the program, thanked all the guests and participants for showing the belongingness and praising for both the prize and the book. He also described the contribution of his parents to the education of his siblings, despite the social and economic suppression. He also urged to do something creative rather than following the imposed traditional taboos. He also hoped that the book will contribute to the Dalit movement, and urged all concerned to have thorough discussion/ bargaining for social inclusion as soon as possible. He thanked SNV for its support to publish the book in his concluding remarks.

The nepaldalitinfo congratulates the award recipient mother and both of her children for their achievements and the prize awarded, and at the same time, expresses the sense of deep appreciation to Mr. Man Bahadur Bk and his family for establishing the unique award.

UK Government to raise Caste Discrimination Internationally

An Adjournment Debate on Caste Discrimination and Dalit People took place on Tuesday 22 November in the Houses of Parliament, where Foreign Office Minister of State, Mr Douglas Alexander, on behalf of the UK government, presently holding the EU presidency, made a series of very important commitments. For details, please click at:
>>> the press release issued by the Dalit Solidarity Network-UK and >>> the minutes of the debate.
Contributed by Rikke Nöhrlind, Coordinator, International Dalit Solidarity Network (, November 26, 2005.

Seven parliamentary parties and the CPN (Maoist) reach an understanding to solve caste problems

"Against the existing backdrop and reference in the country [Nepal]", seven parliamentary parties and the CPN (Maoist) have made public today 12-point understanding reached between them through different methods of talks for "establishing peace by resolving the 10-year old armed conflict through a forward-looking political outlet which has become the need of today". The Letter of Understanding released today states, “Implementing the concept of absolute democracy through a forward-looking restructuring of the state has become an inevitable need to solve the problems related to class, caste, gender, region etc of all sectors including political, economic, social and cultural, bringing autocratic monarchy to an end and establishing absolute democracy. (November 22, 2005)
Read the Full Text of 12-POINT UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN PARTIES AND MAOISTS- The Letter of Understanding

Related News:
Parties, Maoists reach 12-point agreement

Strategy to aim empowering Dalits

With the objective of empowering the Dalits by enlightening them on empowerment, discouraging intra-caste discrimination and addressing the problems dogging them, the Dalit Empowerment and Inclusion Project (DEIP) has prepared a new strategy. “Efforts will be made to forge alliances with Janajati and women’s movements at various levels,” the Empowerment Policy and Institutional Change (EPIC) strategy paper of DEIP states, adding that rallies and sit-ins will be organized through social mobilization to build pressure on the government to solve problems dogging Dalits.

Under the leadership of Dalit National Federation of NGOs, civil society organizations will put pressure on the government to make the National Dalit Commission (NDC) a constitutional and powerful body like the National Human Rights Commission. “The NDC, which is the greatest achievement of the Dalit movement, should no longer be kept under the Ministry of Local Development,” states the paper. “In the absence of set criteria, parties in power appoint their workers as officials of the commission.” “Marriages between Dalit castes will be promoted to remove intra-caste discrimination,” reads the strategy, further adding that efforts will be made to rehabilitate them in the Dalit society. Joint feasts will be organized to discourage unsociability”. The strategy will call on all Dalit organizations to adopt an inclusive policy while making appointments. Pointing at the poor implementation of land reform laws, the paper states: “There will be enough land for the needy, if the laws are implemented effectively.” The strategy lays stress on the need to convince the vice-chairperson of the National Planning Commission to formulate policies and programs in favor of Dalits. Source: Himalayan News Service, Kathmandu (November 21, 2005).

An Ethnography Study on Terai Dalits Near Completion

The first phase of an ethnographic study of Terai Dalits commissioned with the financial support of British Government funded Dalit Empowerment and Inclusion Project (DEIP) is near completion. After a field study of 10 Terai Dalit castes as identified by National Dalit Commission, a detailed report has been prepared by Mr. Subash Risal who has been assigned to conduct this study by Nepal National Dalit Samaj Welfare Organization. The study has reportedly come up with very interesting information about Terai Dalits, and is bound to have sociological implications and anthropological values. The study report will soon be published and disseminated. >>>More on this story.

"Abhisapta Swarharu", a milestone in the Dalit literary field

From left to right, writer Saroj Dilu, National Poet Madhav Prasad Ghimire,
DNF general secretary Gajadhar Sunar and MC Renu Sijapati

National Poet Madhav Prasad Ghimire officially launched the novel "Abhisapta Swarharu" written by a young Dalit writer Mr. Saroj "Dilu" Vishwakarma amidst a function of Book Symposium organized by Dalit NGO Federation, Nepal, yesterday the 30th October 2005. The National Poet, obviously having read the book prior to its launching, spoke high about the novel, and commended on the efforts of the young Dalit writer Mr. Dilu. On the occasion, literary figure of Dalit community Mr. Padam Sundas and writer Hira Vishwakarma highlighted various aspects of the novel. The function was chaired by the General Secretary of DNF, Mr. Gajadhar Sunar, and welcome speech was delivered by Mr. Tej Sunar, its Secretary and Executive Director. The master of ceremony was Mrs. Renu Sijapati.

The novel is about an inter-caste marriage between a Paswan woman and Jha man of Terai region. Initially, Jha promises to give his wife Dibyani a good life, but he fails to fight against odds in the society. Under the compulsion of his mother, he marries another woman of his own caste, abandoning his wife from Dalit community. Dibyani leaves the house of her husband, as he was getting married with another woman. She gives birth to a baby girl, undergoes much of trouble in her life, and eventually finds a shelter in the house of a teacher who helps her daughter Swastika in her education. Teacher’s son not only helps Swastika to acquire higher education in the city, but also shows his devoted love to her. Swastika emerging as a revolutionary figure in the novel restores the rights of her mother from the father back on track, and spreads the message against the wrong practices of the society. The novel has a happy ending of inter-caste marriage between Dalit and non- Dalit and intra- Dalit marriages as well.

The novelist hardly in his age of 30 came up with such a heart touching piece of literary work. It is my claim that he is the first writer of Dalit community who has written a novel having a Dalit as the central character. I highly recommend you all to read this novel and encourage the writer to bring out more and better novels and literary works in the future.
- Hira Vishwakarma.

Nepali Dalits represented in the 6th US Congressional Hearing

On Thursday, October 6, 2005, a delegation of NASO Community led by its President Dharam Bishwokarma, with its members Bishnu Pariyar, Sharda Khati, Sitaram (Chandra) Bishwakarma and Prakash Nepal represented Nepali Dalits to the 6th US Congressional Hearing on Caste and Untouchability. >>>More on this story

Dr. Rasali rejects Mahendra Vidya Bhushan Class-A Medal

Dr. DP Rasali has rejected Mahendra Vidya Bhushan Class-A Medal, which he is entitled to receive customarily from the King of Nepal for his earned PhD degree. He has made this decision to protest against the Government of Nepal for denying him Mahendra-Ratna Vidya Padak Gold Medal Award, which he deserved to receive for his position in National SLC Board Examination way back in 1972. He had then received Kamala Gold Medal awarded by the then Prime Minister of Nepal on behalf of his own High School in Kathmandu.

When he was declared the Board First in SLC in 2028 BS, and the officials of Ministry of Education came to know that he was from a Dalit community, they manipulated the situation and kept the Medal on hold on the pretext of changing rule of New Education Plan-2028 BS. He visited the Ministry several times to follow up the process. Once an Under-Secretary of the Ministry even showed him the artist’s design of the medal, which was said to be already ordered then, and asked him to keep patience. After two years of his follow- up, he had to give it up and move on for his higher education in India, and the medal was forgotten by the authorities. Sometime after four years, suddenly the Ministry of Education announced a notice in Gorkha Patra Daily for a nominal stipend to replace the coveted medal, on the ironical condition that the recipient, that was him, must be the then current student of Tribhuwan University in Nepal.

Dalits tell political parties to address their concerns

Dharan, September 30, 2005: Dalit leaders have urged the agitating parties to make clear their stance on inclusive democracy. Speaking at an interaction here today, Padam Sundas, a Dalit leader, said: Though political leaders talk about inclusive democracy every now and then, their stance on the topic is not clear. Parties must make it clear what inclusive democracy has in store for the Dalits,he said, adding that though the Dalits are committed to democracy, the parties have failed to take them into confidence. Stating that only a new constitution can liberate the Dalits, the central vice-chairman of the Nepal Dalit Association, Min Biswokarma, said the participation of the Dalits in the agitation for democracy is imminent.

In the present context, the provision of reservation for Dalits can provide relief to them; so the political parties must assure the Dalits in this regard, he said. Chairman of the Jagaran Media Centre Subash Darnal also said the Dalits have little confidence on the political parties agitating for democracy. We are attempting to find our share, but the parties are not yet clear, Darnal said. Guest in the programme, vice chairman of the FNJ in eastern region, Sanjaya Santoshi Rai, alleged that the political parties are not clear in their stand regarding the Dalits and their rights.
Source: Himalayan News Service

Profile: Tek Tamrakar, a human rights lawyer

Tek Tamrakar is a young human rights lawyer and defender. He stood first rank in first division in LL.M. in Constitutional Law, the degree he earned from the Tribhuwan University. Honoring his outstanding position, he was customarily awarded a "Mahendra Bidya Bhushan B Class" by the King Birendra in 2000. Tamrakar has been working as an adjunct professor in Kathmandu School of Law sine 2002. Besides, he has been involved personally in research on dalit, deprived groups with the perspective of law and human rights. He has carried out many research projects especially on legal status, affirmative action, judicial behavior, constitutional schemes for dalit in Nepal.

Tamrakar has been working in the field of human rights as a consultant associated with different organizations including a SWISS one. Knowing the collective power is supreme, he is one of a group of lawyers working on practical field to have registered an organization named "Dalits' Development and Law (DDL,Nepal). He is hopes, the will soon come forward with a great commitment and concrete plans. Tamrakar as a member of the nepaldalitinfo also commits to contribute to the network actively.

Bishnu Pariyar featured in Samay Weekly (Kathmandu)

Bishnu Pariyar, the founder of EDWON, a Boston based non-profit working on empowerment of Dalit women of Nepal was featured in Nepali Vernacular Weekly "Samay" of 13 Ashoj 2062 B.S. (29 September 2005). Her struggle, achievements and contibution to Nepalese Dalit movement have been introduced to the entire Nepalese community with the help of this weekly magazine.
Contributed by Pratik Pande.

Hearty Congatulations to Meg Bahadur Bishwakarma

Meg Bahadur Bishwakarma, a village lad of Arghakhanchi district, does not drink tea in the odious memory of an unjust and humiliating incident of his life. Once upon revealing his caste, he was asked to do his dishes, which he resented. A group of so-called upper caste in an unknown surrounding had then shouted at him for not following their tradition. He rather broke the glass than surrendering to them, then the situation became so tense as there was none to support him, and he was almost beaten.

Through his own extraordinary talent, effort and hard work, he has now become the General Manager of Hydro Lab, which is an international level company engaged in the scientific research and development in the field of hydraulics and sedimentation, which plays crucial role in the design, construction and operation of any hydro electricity projects in the region. The company provides consultancy services and trainings not only in Nepal but in whole of South Asia. While he is doing his Ph.D. from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trodenheim, Norway, he has been offered this very prestigious job in Nepal. He has proved himself that given the opportunity, Dalits can show their talents and intellect to ascend to such level. He should be taken as a role model for other Dalits striving for success in their lives.

Meg's contribution to Dalit movement started from 1987 when he was the student of Bachelor of Engineering in Pulchowk campus. He played a key role to establish an organization called "Jatiya Bibhed Unmulan Yuba Manch" (Racial Discrimination Elimination Youth Forum) when Panchayat was at its helm. It was the organization, which ventured bringing all the Dalit leaders in one forum and expressed their views. Late Hiralal Vishwakarma delivered his last speech in that forum.

Meg and his group which included Mr. Motilal Nepali and others toured the country to raise awareness against the caste discrimination by using the event of Silver Jubilee Year of Muluki Ain Day as it was not possible to tour without taking the side of the autocratic regime then. Without any external support, his organization was instrumental to run awareness raising and literacy programmes in Kitni and Godamchaur villages of Godavari in the Kathmandu valley itself. Now the same area has been a base for Feminist Dalit Organizatin (FEDO), which has been the host of many international visits especially from Japan.

Meg also serves as an Advisor to the Dalit Welfare and Scholarship Academy. Lately, Meg is one of the founding members of NADIAN, which is the organization of Nepali Dalit intellectuals in Nepal, and has been very active to play crucial role in its various activities on voluntary basis.

The Nepaldalitinfo network extends hearty congratulations to him on his success and wish him further enhancement to his professional career.[Report by Pratik Pande, September 2, 2005]

Prof. Man Bahadur Bihswokarma Elected to Congress Party's Central Committee

Prof. Man Bahadur Bihswokarma has been elected in the Central Working Committee of Nepali Congress (NC) Party with 492 votes in its 11th General Convention held recently. Prof. Bishwokarma, President of Nepal Dalit Sangh, a sister organization of Nepali Congress, had contested for one of 18 total posts in the Party Central Committee among 78 candidates. It is a first event in General Convention of Nepali Congress Party that anyone from Dalit Community has been inducted into its Central Committee of the party by electoral vote, albeit Mr. D.B Pariyar was nominated as member of the Central Working Committee in 2008 B.S. The nepaldalitinfo congratulates him for his election in the well deserved position in the party.

It was earlier reported that 15 Dalits were taking part as Convention representatives in the 11th national convention of one of the largest political parties in Nepal. [Report by Suman Paudel, September 1, 2005]

Jana Utthan Day celebrated- Baldev Ram Felicitated with the National Award

Jana Utthan Pratisthan (JUP) celebrated its eleventh anniversary on July 23 in the capital city, Kathmandu. On this occasion, the Jana Utthan National Award-2062 was awarded to Mr Baldev Ram of Saptari district for his continued contribution to Dalit movement from Terai region. The chief guest Honourable Ram Prit Paswan, Vice-President of National Assembly handed over a Tamra Patra (Copper Plaque) and a cash of NRs 20,000 as the award to Mr Baldev Ram. On the occasion, Paswan urged Dalit organisations to explore the history of Dalit movement and honour the pioneers of the movement. He also admired the organisation for awarding Baldev Ram, a Dalit activist of the grassroot level, and expressed his best wishes for its eleventh anniversary. Mr. Padam Sundas, the Convenor of the Award Selection Committee, explained the way how and why they had chosen Baldev Ram for the Natioanl Award for his outstanding contribution to Dalit movement.

The honoured person Baldev Ram explained his deeds for the Dalit movement. He expressed his heartfelt happiness in receiving the Jana Utthan National Award. He said, "It has once again bestowed an additional responsibility on my shoulder to do more for the Dalit rights and upliftment".

<<< Mr. Baldev Ram upon receiving the coveted National Award

Mr Ram is currently the President of National Land Rights Forum. He has led the “Carcass Boycott Movement” of Saptari, Chhintang Temple Entry, Land Rights Movement of Rajbiraj and many other events of Dalit movement in Terai. He organized 48 hour fasting (Ansan) and rally programme, demanding land rights and citizenships for Dalits, and opposing untouchability. He helped the flood victims of Khotang by collecting Bhichhya (alms) in several villages.

On the occasion, former Members of Parliament Rishi Babu Pariyar and Man Bahadur Bishwakarma, Mohan Mijar of National Dalit Commission, and Shanker Vishwakarma of NaDIAN expressed their heartfelt congratulations to the honoured personality Baldev Ram, and also congratulated the JUP for its success in completing more than a decade of service to the Dalit movement. Mr. Hira Vishwakarma, a life member of the organization also expressed his best wishes to the organization and congratulation to the honoured person. Mr Manoj Lohani, the Treasurer of JUP welcomed all the guests, and explained the programmes, activities and achievements of the organisation. He also announced the Jana Utthan Writing Fellowship for the journalists who bring up Dalit issues in the mainstream magazines and Jana Utthan Scholarships for Dalit students undergoing the vocational training/education under CTEVT. On the occasion, the certificates were also distributed to recognise the individual and institutional patrons of the organisation.

The celebration programme conducted by Mr Yam Bahadur Kisan, General Secretary of JUP was presided over by Man Bahadur Bk, the current President as well as founding President of the organisation. In the concluding remarks from the Chair, Man Bahadur Bk said that the organisation had started working informally by starting a publication, “Jana Utthan Monthly” magazine since 2050 B.S. Only after two years of its birth, the organisation got its legal status through its registration. He further explained how the organisation experienced ups and downs throughout the decade, and thanked all its patrons, life members, general members and the wishers for giving hands to get thus far completing the whole period successfully.

Gyanendra Gadal bags international Nepali literary award

International Nepali Literary Society (INLS)’s Late Haribhakta Katwal Best Song Book Award 2005 (NCRs 15,000) has been awarded to Mr. Gyanendra Gadal for his 'Malai Chhune Man' (Geeti Kavita Collection), published by INLS Colorado.

Lyricist Gadal is among 9 people who received international Nepali literary awards under different categories on the auspicious occasion of 192nd Bhanu Jayantee organized on July I7, 2005 by INLS along with its 14th anniversary celebration and the l4th Assembly /Convention of its Generael Body in Leesylvenia National Park, WoodBridge, in the state of Virginia, USA. For more on the proceedings of the INLS function, >>> Click here

Gadal, born in a Dalit family in Fikkal, Ilam district of Nepal, has written more than 200 items of songs, poems, stories and articles published in different literary papers / magazines. His first song was recorded in 1983, and subsequently, many others have been recorded by Radio Nepal, Nepal Television, Shraddha Studio and Music Nepal in various tape and CD albums. Currently, he is the Chief Editor, "Antardrishti", an international Nepali literary magazine.

With all his serious and outstanding contributions to Nepali literary world, Poet Gadal still calls his engagement in the literary area as his hobby. He has earned MBA and MS-IT (USA) degrees in education, and he is an IT professional. He lives in Denver, Colorado, USA. For more information on Gadal’s unique talents and achievements, and about his award winning Geeti book in particular, >>> Click here

< Gyanendra Gadal

Gadal has been actively participating in the Nepaldalitinfo network since Aug 29, 2004. The nepaldalitinfo greets and congratulates him for his outstanding achievements.

Kathmandu Dalit society felicitates a Dalit activist, and organizations working from the United States

Dalit Welfare Organization (DWO) organized a get-together program on 3rd July 2005 at Orchid Hotel in Kathmandu to welcome Ms. Bishnu Pariyar, the founder president of Empower Dalit Women of Nepal (EDWON) and a representative of Nepali-American Society for Oppressed (NASO) Community based in the USA. Chairing the program, Mr. Moti Lal Nepali, the president of DWO welcomed the chief guest offering a bouquet of flowers amidst a gathering of nearly fifty Dalit activists, journalists and intellectuals. Delivering his speech on the occasion, Mr. Nepali said, “It is a good news that in some corner of the world outside Nepal the people are organized to work for the cause of Dalits of their homeland.” He further added, we all activists are moving forward to emancipate Dalits from devastating and muddy land, and we all are ever ready to join hands and work together to achieve the goal.

Giving the welcome remarks in what seemed to be an interaction program, Mr. Om Prakash V.K. Gahatraj outlined the importance of the formation of NASO Community at the international power centre like America. Such an international networking for the success of our Dalit Movement was felt very timely. Now it has somewhat fulfilled our necessity though it is not sufficient, and should be extended worldwide, he said. He further asserted, every movement in the world has its own international network, and the visit of Ms. Pariyar to Kathmandu is an opportunity for all of us to know better about the developments taking place in the United States.

Addressing the program, the chief guest Ms. Bishnu Pariyar thanked DWO and all attendees for organizing the reception in her honor, and she explained the objectives of NASO Community and EDWON. She urged Dalit activists to unite. She said, if we could all unite and have a common voice within Nepal, there could be much cooperation forthcoming in so many ways from organizations like NASO Community and EDWON. She handed over a jacket each of the Nepaldalitinfo/NASO Community and EDWON to Mr. Moti Nepali and Ms. Anita Pariyar as momentos to create awareness about the respective organizations. She disclosed that the jackets have done well as a means to create awareness about the Dalits of Nepal in America. She also look forward to having organizations like NASO Community and EDWON contributing significantly towards helping the oppressed people of their homeland in future.

On the personal scores, as Ms. Pariyar informed, she had presented papers regarding the situation of Dalits of Nepal among audiences in various universities, and had made presentations to communities in America. Within a short period of time, it was found that the Americans are interested to help Nepalese Dalits.

Giving remarks in the program, Member Secretary of National Dalit Commission Mr. Hari Gandhari said, the cooperation and communication between the national organizations and the international networks will play a significant role in integrating Dalits in the mainstream of the nation. Similarly, ex-member of National Dalit Commission Mr. Desh Bahadur Sarki said, it would be better first to identify the core problems of our movement, and move ahead to achieve the goal. Mr. Gajadher Sunar , Secretary General of Dalit NGO Federation (DNF) said, it is a good news for us that the friends in the United States are united to work for the cause of Dalits in Nepal, and regular contacts and visits of our friends to Nepal will help greatly to benefit Dalit community. He added that it would be also a good approach for NASO Community to contact International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN) to extend the area of work to international scene.

Speaking at the program, Mr. Ganesh Kaliraj the executive Director of DWO said that the Dalits of Nepal are expecting a lot of help from the intellectuals outside Nepal, and so the friends who are eager to work in NASO Community should be sensitive towards the sentiments of the Dalit community in Nepal. Also speaking at the program was Mr. Chakraman Vishwokarma, the Secretary General of DWO who said, we are working to eradicate caste discrimination from the society and improve the social, economical and educational conditions of Dalit in Nepal. At this juncture of our movement, a little help from outside will be a great contribution to the Dalit mass, he added. Mr. Patik Pandey of DNF said, the good communication and exchange of ideas between Dalit organizations in Nepal and abroad will help us in our movement to give social justice to the victims. Speaking at the program Mr. Ratna Bahadur Baghchand, the Chairman of LANCAU Nepal said, until and unless we try to end the intra-Dalit discrimination no movement will get success. He further said, let us identify the root cause of our problem and work together to find the solution. Mr. Ram Prasad Basnet an educationist from Dalit community said, it is necessary to build a road map to pursue the path of Dalit movement correctly. Dalit women activist Ms. Anita Pariyar said, let us remove the differences from ourselves to move forward in Dalit movement with united voice. Ms. Sharada Vishwokarma, Radio Coordinator of DWO said either that may be national movement or international movement the focus should be given to Dalit women, as the most backward community in Nepal is Dalit women. Also, speaking at the program Mr. Ram Nepali of EDWON, Mr. Naresh Sunam of National Dalit Commission and Mr. Bhim Nepali who highlighted the importance of the formation of NASO Community in the U.S.A. and the role of EDWON.

At the program, most of the participants highlighted the need of exchanging information, use of resources and advocacy, importance of NASO Community, identification of fields of cooperation in our work and significant steps to be taken by NASO Community to achieve the objectives. There was also a moment of one-to-one interaction over a snacks refreshment provided at the Hotel premises by DWO at the end of the program.

^ Group pictures from the reception program at Hotel Orchid

Nepali-American Socity for Oppressed (NASO) Community was recently formed in Maryland/Washington DC area of the United States, with Mr. Dharam B. Bishwokarma as its founding chairperson, to foster empowerment and social justice among Dalits of Nepal. Recently, NASO Community organized a meeting of its members with representatives of EDWON and the Nepaldalitinfo network in Maryland that triggered overwhelming response from Dalit organizations and activists in Nepal. [Report by Om Prakash Gahatraj, posted July 06, 2005]

Two Bihar Dalit women nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Two Dalit women from Bihar State of India have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize this year for their work on empowerment of the disadvantaged sections of society, reports Indo-Asian News Service. The two women are among the 92 Indian women and a total of 1,000 women worldwide that have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005.

Dinesh Pariyar bags a RONAST Award

Dinesh Pariyar, a Senior Scientist of Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC) is one of 36 recipients of the prizes awarded by the Royal Nepal Science and Technology (RONAST) for this year. He received the award under Category ‘A’ of RONAST Talent Award 2005 carrying a cash prize of Rs. 50,000, for making significant contribution to the science and technology sector amidst a special function organized at the City Hall in Kathmandu on June 29.
>>>Related news story

Pariyar, born in a Dalit family of Saptari district, has earned a MSc degree in Pasture Agronomy from the Reading University in Great Britain. He currently heads Fodder and Pasture Division at NARC, and is a member of Fodder and Pasture Working Group of Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. He is the most prominent scientist in his field in Nepal, and has, to his credits, numerous scientific papers published nationally and internationally in his field of expertise. The nepaldalitinfo congratulates him for his well deserved recognition. [Posted by DPR, June 30, 2005]

NASO Community Hosts First Nepali Dalit Diaspora Meeting in Washington DC

On the auspices of the recently formed Washington DC based organization Nepali-American Society for the Oppressed (NASO) Community, the first ever meeting of Nepali Dalit diaspora and friends of Dalits was held at Elkridge (Maryland) in the Washington DC suburb on June 18, 2005. The meeting of introductory nature was considered to have far reaching implications as a step forward in the international movement for Dalit liberation in Nepal. The following were the main points discussed in the meeting:

1. Diaspora of Nepali Dalits like any other community people should have their presence realized wherever they live, through their cultural presence and contribution made to the society, no matter how small their number may be. The meeting provided a starting point in guiding NASO Community in this direction.
2. While living far away from the home country Nepal, members of Nepali Dalit Diaspora have a moral obligation to give back to our community in whatever small way they could do towards that end.
3. The members of Nepali Dalit Diaspora living in different parts of the World and particularly in the world’s power center such as Washington DC have a pivotal role to play through international advocacy, lobbying and activism in creating a global opinion for the liberation of Dalits in Nepal.
4. The organization like NASO Community can play many other roles such that civil, educational, governmental and non-governmental organizations in North America are facilitated in having their policies and programs in place and/or any of their efforts made for alleviating the sufferings of Nepali Dalits from socio-economic oppression and political exclusion.
5. Briefings on activities of nepadalitinfo network, a Boston based organization Empower Dalit Women of Nepal (EDWON) and the doctoral research work of Laurie Vasily at Cornell University that relates to Dalit adult education in Nepal were also made during the meeting.
6. Lastly, over an open forum discussion, it was felt that the people of Dalit community and friends of Dalits need to further strengthen their solidarity for eradicating both inter-caste and intra-dalit discrimination rampant in Nepali society.

The meeting chaired by NASO Community President Mr. Dharam B. Bishwokarma was attended by members of the NASO community, and representatives of EDWON and nepaldalitinfo network. Detailed report on the meeting will be available later. [Posted by DPR on June 20, 2005].

Laurie Vasily's Posting: Supporting solidarity
Filed under: Nepali Dalit Issues — Laurie Vasily, June 19, 2005 @ 5:17 pm

Here I am in Maryland, having attended a wonderful meeting of the Nepali-American Society for the Oppressed Community (NASO Community) meeting. (more…)

Sristi Gahatraj bags Best Music Video Editor award

Sriti Gahatraj won Best Music Video Editor award today in the 7th Annual Image Awards this year for her outstanding editing work in Adhuro Prem (Black & White) lining herself up among the music stars of Nepal. The award ceremony held in Birendra International Convention Hall in Kathmandu was hosted by VJs and RJs of the Image Channel group. The gala show that kicked off at around 4:30 in the afternoon was live-telecasted by all TV metro channels in the city for nearly three hours. [The details]

<<< Sristi Gahatraj receiving the coveted award
(Photo courtesy:

The nepaldalitinfo congratulates Ms. Gahatraj for her rare achievement in the field of music video technology, which should inspire all youth of Dalit communities of Nepal to perform and exhibit their talents at their best. Ms. Gahatraj is the first child of a well known Dalit intellectual Mr. Om Prakash VK Gahatraj. [May 28, 2004]

Dalit NGO Federation (DNF) lobbies for Dalit development, submits memorandum to Vice-Chairman Kirti Nidhi Bista

A delegation team of Dalit NGO Federation (DNF) visited Mr. Kirti Nidhi Bista, the Vice-Chairman of the current Council of Ministers, and submitted a memorandum on the 20th of May 2005 in his office at Singha Durbar, Kathmandu, lobbying for various policy changes and programmes targeted to Dalit development.

Acting President of DNF read out the memorandum, and handed it over to the Vice-Chairman along with other documents. The delegation team asked HMG/N to give priority to the Dalit issues in its upcoming budget, and handed over to him the documents including Reservation Modality along with the Kathmandu Dalit Declaration and the Full Report of the historic event, International Consultation on Caste-Based Discrimination held in Kathmandu from 29 November – 1 December 2004. The details [Pratik Pande, May 24, 2005]

UN rapporteurs to energise movement for Dalit rights

The recent announcement by the UN Commission on Human Rights to appoint two special rapporteurs to tackle the deep-rooted problem of caste-based discrimination is a shot in the arm for activists fighting for the rights of the Dalits, the oppressed classes, in India. The two rapporteurs, who have been given the title of Special Rapporteurs, will undertake a three-year study and will draft a set of principles and guidelines to eliminate this form of discrimination. The details... [ Source: OneWorld South Asia , May 17, 2005]

One more case against discrimination won
Statement by Ratna Bahadur Bagchand, Executive President, Lawyer’s Campaign Against Untouchability (LANCAU-Nepal), May 17, 2005

One more landmark case against untouchability crime has landed in our favour. LANCAU Nepal once more has won the case filed [at the Supreme Court] against the defendants [on 19 Aswin 2061- 5th October 2004], today. The final hearing of the case (Discrimination in the distribution of drinking water) proceeded with the Directive Order “not to discriminate in distribution of drinking water and to increase awareness against caste discrimination” from the Division Bench of Justices Ram Nagina Singh and Sarada Shrestha. Advocates Ratna Bahadur Bagchand, Narayan Nepal and Dinesh Tripathi pleaded from LANCAU’s side….
>>>[The details...]

Dalit NGO Federation (DNF) Submits Reservation Modality to HMG/N- A Summary Report

A delegation team from Dalit NGO Federation (DNF) submitted a Reservation Modality for the Dalit Community of Nepal to Dr. Tulsi Giri, Vice Chairman in the HMG Council of Ministers headed by the King of Nepal, on May 4, 2005. In the last few years, the Government has announced to make provision of reservation for the Dalit community, but has not yet been able to implement it.
>>>[The details...]

Jagaran Media Center presents a Tele-Serial, "Dalan"

Jagaran Media Center is all set to present a Tele-Serial, “Dalan” meaning “Oppression”, addressing the issues of Dalit community in its main theme advocating social equalities. The TV serial in 25 episodes of a story line covering the period from 2007 B.S. to now is written by Ahuti, a name well known in Nepal’s Dalit movement through his Dalit literary works. The serial is directed by Navin Subba and produced by Purna Singh Baraily. [Source: "Nepal" National Weekly, Kathmandu, Sunday, May 8, 2005- Baisakh 25, 2062]

<<< "Dalan" released at a brief function held in Kathmandu.

The Supreme Court orders for a new concrete law against untouchability

The Supreme Court has ordered on 8th of Baisakh 2062 (April 21, 2005) that the Government of Nepal should make a new concrete law for the elimination of untouchability. This order was passed to the Office of the Prime Minister, the Law Ministry and the Home Ministry to form a committee comprising of renowned leaders and organizations, to study the nature of cases related to untouchability and to make the law immediately so as to ensure justice to the millions of victims of untouchability in the country. The apex court’s decision was given over a writ petition filed by LANCAU Nepal ( a few months back (Kartik 2061) claiming that the provisions of the Civil Code (Muluki Ain) for possibility of punishment for the convict are ultra-vires [or contrary and inconsistent] with the provision of the Constitution of Nepal which seeks mandatory punishment for the crime.

The landmark verdict was given by the full bench including the Judges Min Bahadur Rayamajhi and Khil Raj Regmi. Senior Advocate Daman Nath Dhungana, Advocate Ratna Bahadur Bagchand, Advocate Narayan Nepal, Advocate Mameeta Nepali Giri and Advocate Santosh Giri pleaded on behalf of the writ petitioners, while the Government Attorney Mr. Narendra Pathak defended the case on behalf of the State. The writ petitioners are now requesting all concerned organizations, lawyers and activists to contact LANCAU Nepal office as soon as possible for forming a committee to provide inputs towards drafting the law. [Report by Santosh Giri, April 22, 2005]

Nepaldalitinfo adds:
The apex court’s verdict is a highly welcome and timely step forward, which should lead to the path towards eventually fulfilling one of the key demands of Dalits that states as follows:

"Legislate a comprehensive and compelling law to forbid all forms of caste discrimination and untouchability, removing flaws and ambiguity from the existing laws. Put in action the severe punitive measures against atrocities committed to Dalits, but not merely showing in the paperwork."

UN breaks its wall of silence on caste discrimination

Geneva, April 19 2005: The UN Commission on Human Rights today adopted by consensus a decision to appoint two Special Rapporteurs to tackle the entrenched problem of caste-based discrimination, says a media release from International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN). The Commission was endorsing an earlier decision taken by its Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the problem and find solutions for its eradication. This is the first time a political body of the UN has referred directly to the problem, and the decision is seen as a crucial step in the campaign for justice for South Asia’s Dalits and communities suffering from similar forms of discrimination around the world.

The Sub-Commission will now undertake a 3-year study, led by two experts given the title of ‘Special Rapporteurs’, and will draft a set of Principles and Guidelines to eliminate this form of discrimination.

The decision of the Commission comes in the wake of an International Consultation held in Kathmandu last year on how to address the problem. The Consultation adopted the Kathmandu Dalit Declaration, which provides concrete proposals for not only governments, the UN and development agencies, but also the private sector, trade unions and international financial institutions. One of the proposals has now been fulfilled in the form of the appointment of the Special Rapporteurs. The relevant UN documents and the Kathmandu Dalit Declaration are available at

“Given the enormous number of people facing such an egregious and systematic denial of their basic rights, it is surprising that the United Nations has taken so long to recognise the problem”, said Ms. Rikke Nöhrlind, co-ordinator of the International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN).

On behalf of the European Union, Ambassador Alphonse Berns of Luxembourg had earlier encouraged all members of the Commission on Human Rights “to give the [Sub-Commission’s] resolution the attention it deserves.” The EU has been supportive of efforts to raise this issue in the UN bodies.

Links for Related articles and information materials:
Full Text of the Resolution.
Media Release of IDSN
UN to fight against caste discrimination in south Asia

Dalit Representation & King’s Appointment

One of the key demands of the Dalit movement in Nepal is to have proportional representation of Dalits in all political appointments made by the Government. In this respect, the recent appointment of Regional Administrators and Zonal Administrators made by the present King’s regime is a positive step forward, as it realizes Dalit representation by at least 5% of the total number. >>>The details on this perspective.

Dalits’ Empowerment in the Nepal Human Development Report 2004

The Nepal Human Development Report (NHDR) 2004 released today by the United Nations categorically spells out, in its reform agenda, the need for Dalits’ mainstreaming through their inclusion and empowerment. The reform agenda set out in the report seeks a fairly radical and dynamic transformation of the Nepalese society. The proposed reforms include deepening democracy, removing discriminatory laws and practices, making macro policy reforms pro-poor, expanding equitable education and health facilities, empowering the disadvantaged and marginalized groups and investing in the organizational capacity of the poor, which relate directly to socio-economic transformation of Dalits from their current oppressed and excluded status. Other proposed reforms that are also related to Dalits’ empowerment are transforming agriculture, building infrastructure, and creating employment opportunities.

The NHDR 2004 bearing "Empowerment and Poverty Reduction" as its theme explores the various means of empowering country’s weak, marginalized and alienated groups including Dalits along with other groups- notably women, indigenous people, people with disabilities, children and senior citizens. This empowerment is intended to make the current power structures far more inclusive as a means for mitigating the poverty and reducing the risk of violent civil strife. The report revolves around the condition of multiparty democracy, which has not been able to address issues of exclusion and discrimination for the past 14 years since its restoration in 1990. The report also points out the historical conditions that have resulted in current conflict, which is more intense in western regions of the country.

Focusing on the specific case of Dalits and other disadvantaged groups in Nepal, the NHDR 2004 pinpoints the fact that the social cleavage originating in the caste system continues to obstruct the welfare of the vast majority of Nepalese people. Reviewing the historical development of caste system in Nepal, the report also recognizes that the caste-based discrimination including untouchability was formalized by the State throughout Nepal through Muluki Ain (Civil Code) in 1854, and considerable ambiguity still exists, despite the abolition of untouchability by New Civil Code in 1963, and then the abolition of caste-based discrimination by the country’s current Constitution. The report sees Dalits as victims of an obsolete political system that rendered them voiceless and choice-less in all spheres of their development- notably, education, health, access to resources and control over them, employment and representation in government and political positions. However, the report sees no reason to believe that Nepal cannot mobilize the indigenous capacities of its diverse people to transform mindsets legally sanctioned by the 19th century Civil Code.

Dalit activists, Padam Lal Bishwakarma (in the Advisory Panel), Durga Sob and others were consulted in the preparation of the NHDR 2004, of which Sriram Raj Pande is the lead author. The Dalit intellectuals feel that the report has covered some of the important demands of Dalits in Nepal in the proposed reform agenda, and gives a positive and compelling direction to the country in formulating its policy for Dalits’ all-round development. For full text of the NHDR 2004, please visit the website page: [Posted on December 15, 2004]

Cornell University Doctoral Student Studies Dalits of Nepal

A research on a topic relating to Dalit empowerment in Nepal is being conducted by a Ph.D. student from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, USA. Laurie Vasily is undertaking this project in the field of Education under the prestigious Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Program of the Fullbright Commission. This is the first time that a doctoral level student from such a reputed American University has undertaken research on Dalits of Nepal.
For more, please click here -> [ Story on Laurie Vasily ] and scroll down the news text.

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