THE MIGRATION AND ESTABLISHMENT OF NEPALI ASSOCIATION OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA (NANC) IN 1994 AND ITS HISTORY AND THE SHORT MEDIEVAL NEPAL HISTORY (SECOND ADITION DRAFT)
MY MESSAGE AND ADVICE
To the Executive Board Members of Nepali Association of Northern California (NANC) and all the young generation of Nepali Community, who are living in the Bay Area Northern California, I want to thank all of you for your great work for promoting and preserving our beautiful Nepali Traditional Culture Heritage here in Bay Areas. I believe, it is very important for the young generation to keep alive our National Traditional Culture because our Nepali ethnic costumes, our National language and our Nepali Culture Heritage are the only thing that truly and proudly represents our Nepali ethnic identity and our motherland Nepal. I also believe, it is very important for the young generation, not to let our unique Nepali culture heritage disappear with the new environment of modernization. It brings all the Nepali brothers and sisters together even though we are living in abroad in the new world. Please note, the Kathmandu Night Celebration of present-day known as Nepal Night was not established by (NANC), but it was established and organized by the different mixed Nepalese and American group for their fund raising purposes. But later they it dissolved and later it was took over and organized by (NANC). So that, if the Executive Board Members of (NANC) are not interested to continuously organize and celebrate the Nepali National Festivals then no need to celebrate Nepali night continuously also because the Nepal night was not established by (NANC).
The Nepali Association of Northern California (NANC) was officially established in 1994, by the first migration of Nepalis, who are still living in the Bay Areas. I still have some of the documentary video of the beginning of (NANC)’s activities, if any of the Executive Board Members of (NANC) wish to watch this video for research, please contact at (email@example.com). I am also adding some of the Basic short Medieval Nepal History for to study by the new generation. I believe both these histories are important to know by the new generation of Nepali Community and also is an important resource. All the history of (NANC) beginning to present should be available to read on the (NANC‘s) Website for the future study. The (NANC) was established by the first migration of Nepalis, only for Promoting and Preserving the Nepali Traditional Culture Heritage and Celebrating all the Nepalese festival together with all the Nepali brothers and sisters. It is important to note by the new generation that the (NANC) was not established for the Political Platform – it was established for promoting and preserving for Nepali traditional culture heritage. Please also note, when the By-law is written for the (NANC), it is not necessary to re-write new By-law every two years, but, if necessary, new Amendment to the By-law, should be made. When you created the website for the (NANC), all the (NANC) activities history must be preserved in the (NANC‘s) Website and should not be destroyed during upgrading the website.
A SHORT BEGINNING OF NEPAL HISTORY
The Himalayan Country Nepal is situated between the two largest countries of Asian civilization, India and China. Nepal has been a meeting-ground of influences from both these civilizations since the medieval time to the present-day. But, after Chinese took over Tibet, the borders to the north side are no longer open for freely movement for the people of both sides. But the borders to the south side still open freely movement for the people of both sides. While the Nepalis have retained physical features and other traits from the Mongoloid stock of the north, they have been heavily influenced culturally much more from the south. But, when the powerful Muslims Empire replaced the Hindu Kingdoms of India, in the 10th century and in the centuries following, Nepal became a political sanctuary for many fugitive Hindu Rajputs chieftains from northern India. Yet they did move, Nepal was constantly subjected to pressures of massive immigrants from both the northeast and from the southwest. Nepal has offered shelter to wave of immigrants from both sides for at least a thousand of years ago and perhaps longer than that. In the highland valleys and hills of the Himalayan country, the tribal people, generation after generation have lived and died and been forgotten, their original history as individuals and as a people unrecorded, and so dissolved into myth and legend, conflicting, unreliable, undecipherable.
Since the medieval time to present-day, the migration they came for many reasons, looking for better opportunity. Some they have entered into Nepal, to escaped from their enemies, some they have entered Nepal to seeks their better lives of economic, and some they have entered political security and some they have entered into Nepal, for promoting and preserving their religious freedom. It is true; the early settlers endured many hardships while making their homes and villages. The forests had to be cut down and land prepared for the raising of crops. The concept of [racial purity] is nothing more than a myth in Nepal. So that, the Country became the diverse races and multi cultures follower’s people. Being mountain country, until the 1769, Nepal has always had small tribal kingdoms and concentrated mostly in river valleys or top of the mountains. The valleys had wider tracks for ponies and cattle whereas the rest of the country had merely pathway for sheep and goat. There were hardly any tracks for bullock-carts or warrior’s chariots. These areas were control by the tribal chiefs or the local Raja (Kings). The examples are the baisi (22) principalities and the (24) principalities of medieval Nepal. It were called the Sapta Gandaki and the Sapta Karnali regions. In the eastern part Sapt Kosi Pradesh by the Nepalese there were as many small Rajas (Kings). Lastly, we would like to point out that geographical conditions have provided shelter to countless warriors and others who fled to Nepal for fear of their lives and possessions.
Defeated of Tamuwan:> The Tamuwan (Gurung territory) Gandaki zone was defeated in the beginning of the 16th century by the fugitive rajput chieftains from northern India, they escaped from the Muslim invaders of India. Originally the Shah Dynasty began from the Tamuwan Lamjung and Gorkha, Gandaki zone of modern-day’s central Nepal. Yasobrahma Shah became the first Hindu raja (king) of Lamjung and his younger son, Dravy Shah, who conquered the other Tamu tribal kingdom Gorkha, and he became the first Hindu raja (king) of Gorkha. According to the medieval Nepali historical account, the fugitive Hindu Rajput Chieftains first entered into the western hills into the Magar tribal kingdoms called Bara Magrat or the 12 Magar districts in the mid-fourteenth century. Bringing with them their army offices, their advisers and most of their high ranking followers. The Magars and Gurungs tribes are the two most important hill tribes of the western Nepal. Later the Magars are divided into many major clans (Jats), share some common clan-names with the Hindu Chhetris, like Burathoki, Rana, Thapa and Garti. This is probably the result of the early accommodating adjustments made by the Brahmans. In the beginning of the 6th century, the invader moved into the lowland of Tamuwan, the Gurung tribe occupy the stretch along the zone immediately to the north of the Magar zone. When they moved into the Tamuwan, they brought with them the Magars and the local Hindu tribes for their help and communication with Tamu tribes
The baise 22-Principalities were defeated and unified by King Prithvi Narayan Shah in 1769, he was the king of small kingdom of modern-day Gorkha. After that, Prithvi Narayan Shah became the first united king of Nepal (1769-1775). Long before Prithvi Narayan Shah embarked upon his ambitions scheme for the incorporation of the Kathmandu Valley into his Gorkha kingdom. One of his predecessors, king Ram Shah (r-1606-1641) had already established a name and reputation for himself as a just and fair ruler not only among the Gorkhas but also in the entire midland region of Nepal. King Ram Shah’s name became a household word among the people in the mid-mountain area because he introduced a legal code suited to the local customs and conditions of that time.
ANCIENT KIRATI RULERS OF NEPAL VALLEY
According to the medieval Nepali historical account, the Kirati rulers of Kathmandu Valley formerly known as Nepal Valley, is the nearer recorded history of Nepal. They invaded from east and established a kingdom in Nepal Valley. They left a legacy of outstanding kings in the rich fabric of early Nepal. Yalambar was the first and best remembered Kirati king. Legend credits him meeting with Hindu god Indra, the lord of heaven who strayed into the valley in human guise. He had the dubious honor of being slain in the epic battle of the Mahabharata, in which gods and mortals fought alongside each other. According to the ancient historical information, there were 28 Kirati kings. In the reign of the 7th century, Gautama Buddha and his beloved disciple Ananda are believed to have visited the Nepal Valley.
By then, the Kirati had developed their culture to a point where the 4th century B.C., chronicler Kautilya describes them as exporting many different grade of woolen blankets and carpets. They were largely sheep breeders and shifting cultivators, When the Kirati dynasty came to and end, so did its crafts and architecture. But though the Kirati people vanished from the Nepal Valley, they remained in the eastern mountainous where they are considered to be forebears of the Rais and Limbus. The first Lichhavi king, who defeated the last Kirati kings, Patuka and Gasti.
Lichhavi Dynasty:> The last Kirari ruler of Nepal Valley was King Gastee, succumbed to Lichhavi invasion from the lowland of present-day’s Lumbini area in about 300 A.D. The Lichhavis were possibly Rajputs from present-day’s Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. They brought with them the first golden age of Nepalese arts, and introduced the division of society through the Hindu caste structure. The Lichhavis gave Nepal its first great historical figure, king Manadeva, in the fifth century. An inscription in stone at Changu Narayan, dated 464 A.D., confirms him to be a king of considerable talents, responsible for conquests in the east and west. While Lichhavi sculptors created masterpieces in stone, King Manadeva’s politicians and widespread armies consolidated the kingdom. His successor, King Mahadeva II, had a tremendous mother fixation known through royal inscriptions: Mom’s virtues were extolled almost more than those of her son. When king Manadeva II rode to battle, his mother either accompanied him or sent a close confidant.
In 602, the first Thakuri dynasty began with the ascent of Amsuvarman, he inherited the throne upon the death of his father-in-law, the Lichhavi king Vasudeva. According to the medieval information, King Amsuvarman himself was not a Lichhavi, he may have been a Gupta from northern India. His palace in Deupatan, not far from Pashupatinath was so fabulous it has passed into legend. King Amsuvarman’s sister married to an Indian prince and his daughter Brikuti Davi married to the powerful Tibetan emperor Srong Tsong Gamapo, perhaps as a token of vassalage to powerful Tibetan emperor. Brikutin Devi is believed to have taken as part of her dowry the begging bowl of the Buddha and other artifacts of Buddhism. Brikuti, she is now a legendary figure and best known as the (Green Tara) of Tibetan Buddhism, subject of countless thangkas and images. Emperor Srong Tsong Gampo’s wife Chinese princess became known as the (White Tara).
The Malla Dynasty:> The Malla dynasty period (1200 to 1768) witnessed further boost in enhancing the culture heritage of Nepal Valley modern-day’s Kathmandu Valley, by building the Pagodas style palace buildings and temples, decorated with carved doors, windows, exquisite open-air shrines and courtyards filled with brilliant sculptures. Modern-day’s Kathmandu Valley became a larger city. According to the medieval Nepal historical information, in the 1760s, Kathmandu contained about 18, 000 houses. During the 14th century, the dynasty was threatened and Kathmandu was subject to many attacks by outside invaders. In 1312, the Khasa King Ripumalla lead a raid in the Kathmandu Valley and in 1345-46, Sultan Shams ud-din of Bengal invaded the city and the Mughals left long lasting damage, destroying many earlier building and settlement which led to widespread reconstruction of the city. In 1484, the Malla kingdom divided into the three kingdoms of Kathmandu, Bhadgaun and Patan.
The early Malla period is often thought of as a stable age of peace and plenty, when art flourished and traders brought riches and recognition to the Nepal Valley. But hardly had the Malla rule began a terrible Earth Quake struck the valley city and killed thousands of people. The most important figure of ensuring years was the Raja Harisimha or Hari Shingh. He came to the Nepal Valley between (1325 and 1330 from Tirhut, a kingdom in the foothills south of Kathmandu. Some believe he was a conqueror who vanquished the cities of Bhagtapur and Patan and ascended the throne of Kathmandu. Other maintain he came as a refugee, expelled from his kingdom by the Muslim invaders (Ghiyas-Uddin-Tuglaq), to live in Bhagtapur but not to rule there. Whichever version is correct, King Hari Singh made a lasting and valuable contribution to Nepal’s religion. He brought with him the royal goddess Taleju Bhawani, and this south Indian deity remain to this day the royal goddess of Nepal.
The early Malla monarchs held absolute power by divine right: they were considered to be incarnations of Vishnu, as are the Shah rulers. Although the Malla were Hindu Shaivites following strict Brahmin rituals, they were tolerant of Buddhism, which was widespread at the court and among the people especially in its Tantric form, the cult of Vajrayana. A feudal administrative structure was imposed, dominated by an aristocratic elite whose power at times overshadowed those of the sovereign. Below them, Brahman and Chhetris monopolized all offices of profit around the palace. Next on the social ladder were the traders or farmers, divided into occupational castes.
Kings such as Jitamitra Malla, King of Bhaktapur (r-1673 to 1696) was noted in particular for his construction projects. In 1664, he built a Shikara-style Shiva temple with a gilded repousse mask of the God on each side in Bhaktapur. In 1682 he built, near the Durbar square, the two storied Dharmasala Palace in which there is a golden Mahadeva. The palace was used by royalty until 1769 and today is a museum and part of the World Heritage Site on Durbar Square. To the east of this he erected the temple and statue of Narayana, along with the temples of Dattatrikasa and Pashupati. An inscription in 1678 states that he built the royal palace Thanathu Durbar, its gardens and courtyard. King Jitamitra Malla was also credited with restoring Kumari Chowk, the images of Astamatrikas and in 1690, donated two large copper kettledrums (nagara) or bells to his favourite deity, the goddess Taleju for the gilded roof of Taleju. He also contributed a finely carved wooden tympanum above the main entrance to the Mul Chowk and also eracted many memorials in Bhaktapur.
His son, Bhupatindra Malla replace him after his death in 1696 was equally as fascinated with architecture, and continued the development of the Dharmsala Palce, its 55 windows and gardens. Today, the young generation are proud of their architectural heritage and are delighted to show visitors the grandeur of the three Durbar (palace) Squares, which are became the World Heritage Sites of Nepal. They were all built during the Malla period. Besides thee, there are many fabulous temples that owe their existence to the creative zeal of the Mallas. It was the Mallas who transformed a tiny village into a well organized and planned city which later became known as Bhaktapur.
Explanation about the meaning of “Malla”:> The literal meaning of “Malla” in Sanskrit is “wrestler”. The Mallas as a class of people find a place in several ancient treatises with identical heroic tradition. States D. R. Regmi in his book, ‘Medieval Nepal’. It is believed that Arideva’s father was so impressed by his ability as a wrestler that he conferred on him the title of ‘Malla’ and with his reign in the Nepal Valley during the twelfth century began a new dynasty.
Malla Kings of Important Jayasthithi Malla (R-1379 to 1424):> It is said that after Jayasthithi Malla’s rise to power as the husband of Rajalla Devi (the daughter of the prevailing ruler), Nepal Valley experienced a sustained effort in reorganizing the shattered and chaotic kingdom. He is remembered for the social organizing he set up by dividing the people into various caste (Jats) groups according the their professions. King Jayasthithi Malla no doubt occupies a high place in history as the founder of the Malla Dynasty, which ruled Nepal Valley for nearly four hundred years. He emerged out of obscurity to occupy the throne of the Kingdom of Nepal Valley; this was no mean achievement and speaks of high qualities of head and heart, states by ‘Regmi in ‘Medieval Nepal’. A lover of poetry and drama, he always encouraged learned men. Many important Sanskrit mythical books were translated into Newari language and the feeling of ’religious unity’ flourished during his rule.
King Yakshya Malla (R-1438 to 1491):> The entire Nepal Valley was once a single kingdom ruled by king Yakshya Malla, a powerful warrior king responsible for immensely expanding the Malla kingdom. He built the Dattatreya and Pashupati temples of Bhaktapur. Ruling from this city, he was known to visit Pashupatinath in Kathmandu every day. It is said that one day, when floods prevented him from crossing the Bagmati river, he could not reach Pashupati temple. As he could not pay homage to Pashupatinath on this day, he spent a sleepless night. Lord Shiva appeared to him in his dream and told him to build another Pashupati temple in Bhaktapur. He built one within the Durbar (palace) Square. It was renovated some years ago. Yakshya also invited four South Indian Bhatta Brahmins to take charge of the pujas within the Pashupati temple of Kathmandu. Their descendants are still the official priests in the Hindu kingdom’s holiest shrine.
King Bhupatindra Malla (R-1696 to 1722):> When strolling through the squares of Bhaktapur, one name that keeps cropping up is that of king Bhupatindra Malla. This multitalented ruler of Bhaktapur is responsible for some of the most fascinating architectural heritages of the city. He is also fondly remembered for his vast contribution in the field of art and literature. The most well known and prominent structures in the city are his creations such as the five-stories pagoda, Nyatopola Temple, Pachpanna Jhyal Durbar (55 windowed palace) and his own statue (in front of the Golden Gate). The Frescoes and the intricate woodcarvings of the (55 windows palace) are a source of marvel and they are now being renovated. Also a dramatist, he has written more than half a dozen literary works, which includes Maithili literature. It is believed that his special inclination towards performing arts affected the construcftion of his palaces.
The Fall of the Malla Dynasty:> Before his death, king Yakshya Malla dived his territory among his sons into three Kingdoms-Kantipur (Kathmandu), Patan and Bhaktapur. Thus began the rivalry and bitter fueds which were some times settled with outside help. The age old wisdom, “United we stand, devided we fall” was ignored. King Prithvi Narayan Shah, the ruler of Gorkha, a kingdom to the north of present-day Kathmandu, stood upon the Chandragiri hills overlooking the valley, and declared he would become the ruler of all the Nepal Valley present-day’s Kathmandu Valley. It was many years before he attacked the Valley. It is said he arrived at the gates of Kantipur when the citizens were lost in the revelry of the Indra Jatra Festival. His army met no resistance and the city became his when the Living Goddess Kumari, who is taken out on a chariot procession during this festival, blessed him with a tika.
Legend has it that when Ranjit Malla, the last Malla ruler of Bhagtapur accepted defeat against the Shah rulers, he silently took off his crown and with eyes full of tears dropped the crown from a window of his palace. Then, reciting a sorrowful hymn, he bade goodbye to his kingdom and walked towards Kasi (Varanasi in India). He then spent the rest of his life in prayer and devotion to Lord Shiva. The most significant history books of the world show that the tales of the defeated are left unwritten, while those of the victorious are glorified. History is full of heroic tales of conquests. Someone’s defeat is another man’s victory. The tales of the conquering heroes are inscribed and acclaimed in the history pages, and the painful tales of the losers are only told through folk music and dances. According to the medieval history, many Mallas changed their family name to avoid persecution. But, since Ranajit Malla was an intimate friend of Prithvi Narayan Shah, in is said the he was lenient towards Bhaktapur. The Malla descendents have been using surnames like Pradhananga and Rajalwat. It is known that Pradhananga was a respected title given by the Malla rulers as recognition of their high post in the durbar (palace). According to Luciano Petech, Medieval History of Nepal, “The rulers forbade the use of the title ’Malla’ substituting ’Rajalwat’ for it”. Regardless of this stipulation, the descendents along with the other Newar communities preserved the traditions, culture and skill of the Malla period wherever they went.
King Prithvi Narayan Shah, the first united King of Nepal (1769-1775)
Prithvi Narayan Shah was the first unified King of Nepal (r-1769-1775), Raja (king) of Gorkha from (r-1743). Prithvi Narayan Shah succeeded his father, King Nara Bhupal Shah to the throne of the Gorkha kingdom in 1743. He is credited for starting the campaign for a unified Nepal. Prithvi Narayan Shah was the ninth generation descendant of king Dravya Shah (r-1559-1570) and seventh generation descendant of king Ram Shah of Gorkha, Prithvi Narayan Shah was the tenth in line of the Shah kings of Gorkha. whose forefathers escaped to western hills Nepal during the mid-fourteenth century, from the northern India after the powerful foreign Muslim Empire invasion in India. During the annexations of the 22-Princilities, by the Gorkha king Prithvi Narayan Shah, all the diverse people and their chiefs inhabiting northern mountain Nepal, joined the Gorkhali army, that was ever triumphantly on the march and became partners in the great enterprise of building modern Nepal. It was thus that various races and tribes and their chiefs, speaking different dialects and observing different customs, were able to partake of an equal sense of pride in the name and tradition of Gorkha.
It is noteworthy that even until 1970s, anybody coming from anywhere in Nepal, irrespective of caste or religion, passes for a Gorkha outside Nepal; and so great is the sense of pride and respect felt by all Nepalis for the name and tradition of Gorkha that even social and political organizations of Nepalis domiciled in India and elsewhere are still called Gorkha.
King Prithvi Narayan Shah’s reign with the defeat at Nuwakot, which lies between Kathmandu and Gorkha District. He won Nuwakot in the subsequent attempt in 1744. After Nuwakot, he took possession of strategic points in the hills surrounding the Kathmandu Valley. The Kathmandu Valley’s communications with the outside world were thus cut off. By 1767, the Gorkha king had been laying siege for some time to the three ancient kingdoms of Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhadgaun in the Kathmandu Valley.
The rulers of the three ancient kingdoms in the Kathmandu Valley had not been able to stop their internecine strife and conflict even in the face of the imminent and ever-present threat post by Gorkha king Prithvi Narayan Shah’s military and diplomatic manoeuvre over a protracted period of time. The ancient kingdoms of Kathmandu and Bhadgaun were at cross-purposes with each other and the ministers or pradhans of the kingdom of Patan were engaged in their mischievous game of siding with one or the other of the two and changing their own kings according to their convenience and whims, thereby aggravating the situation of instability and uncertainty in the Kathmandu Valley.
The Pradhans (court-ministers) of Patan were very powerful and chose kings and got rid of them at will. They put Rajyaprakash Malla, brother of Jayaprakash Malla, on the throne of Patan, and then replaced him with Bishwajit Malla. In October 1760, they made Raja Jayaprakash Malla of Kathmandu also Raja of Patan. However, the Pramans of Patan substituted Ranajit Malla, Raja of Bhadgaun for Jayaprakas in 1762. In 1763, they requested to Prithvi Narayan Shah himself to become Raja of Patan, but the latter sent his brother Dalamardan Shah to officiate for him in that capacity. Dalamardan Shah was forced by these court-ministers of Lalitpur to vacate his office in 1765. He was replaced by Tej Narsingh Malla (1765-1768), the last Malla Raja of Patan. Although Dalamardan Shah’s brief tenure as Raja of Patan was not in itself much of an asset to Gorkha’s struggle for complete ascendancy in the Kathmandu Valley, it may be said to have prepared the people of the Kathmandu Valley psychologically own leader.
The Gorkha King, Prithvi Narayan Shah’s objective was to force the Kathmandu Valley into economic isolation before making an all out attempt at its conquest. The Gorkha King, Prithvi Narayan Shah was already in control of both the eastern and the western trade routes to Lhasa, Tibet from the Kathmandu Valley. In 1762, he conquered Makwanpur, Timalkot, Sindhuli and Hariharpur on the Mahabharat range southwest of the Valley, thereby blocking the southern routes to India. He was thus successful in imposing an economic blockade on the Kathmandu Valley. By 1767, the Gorkha king had been laying siege for some time to the three ancient kingdoms of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhadgaun in the Kathmandu Valley. Emissaries of Jayaprakash Malla, the last Malla Raja of Kathmandu (r-1736-1768). The conquest of the Kathmandu Valley by Gorkha king, Prithvi Narayan Shah in 1769 further dimmed the prospects for the British East India Company’s gains in Nepal, for Prithvi Narayan Shah was fully conscious of the of the rapid rise of the British East India Company from a commercial concern to a political power. But Prithvi Narayan Shah did not live long enough to accomplish this end, for he died on 10-11 January 1775 at the age of 52.
According to information, it took Prithvi Narayan Shah three attempts to conquered the king of Patan into an alliance, by laying siege to the town of Kirtipur. During the battle, Prithvi Naran Shah’s brother was killed, and when his troops failed to take the town he withdrew and set up a blockade of the entire valley, closing off all trade routes and executing blockade runners. On 29 September 768 Gorkha troops entered into Kathmandu while the population was celebrating a religious festival and took the town without a fight. Prithvi Narayan Shah was crowned king and for the first time, a hill ruler, the Jaja of Gorkha, had become sole ruler in the Kathmandu Valley. His first act in 1769 was to expel all foreigners from the territory he held, including traders, agents for the East India Company, Roman Catholic missionaries and even musicians or artists influenced by northern India’s style. The conquest of the three kingdoms of Kathmandu Valley was the start of the expansion of Gorkha control that eventually spread throughout the Himalayan regions.
By 1806, his successors had extended the kingdom from the Teesta River in the east to the Satlaj in the west, and a portion of the lowland Tarai was also incorporated in it. The kingdom of Nepal is like Sandwich between the two large countries of China and India. Maintain friendly relations with the Emperor of China. Great friendship should also be maintained with the Emperor beyond the southern seas (I.e., the British East India Company), but he is clever. He has kept India suppressed, and is entrenching himself on the plains. One day the army will come. Do not engage in offensive acts. Fighting should be conducted on defensive basis. The failure of Prithvi Narayan Shah’s successors to heed this advice and warning led to their involvement in a war with China in 1792 and with the British East India Company in (1814 to 1816). Although the war with China did not cost Nepal much, its war with the British East India Company meant the loss of considerable territory of Nepal. Prithvi Narayan Shah’s valour and statesmanship still inspire the people of Nepal with a sense of pride.
PREPARATION TRAVELING FOR ABROAD
Quite recently until the 1980s, it was difficult traveling in Nepal because there was no motor roads in most of the country, for people who wanted to go abroad (foreign countries), for study, business trips and for working and want to get a passport, because they had to walk a week or more from their Villages or home towns to get to capital, Kathmandu, which had the only passport office. Not only that, but if you did not know a high ranking official in the passport office, then you would have another complication with the office staff for getting a passport. Since there were no motor roads in the country, people traveling from Manang, Rolpa, Jhapa districts, had to walk about two weeks to get capital, Kathmandu. When I applied a passport for my wife Mina Gurung in January 1985, luckily she got her passport in one day because I had good link with some of the high ranking people who were serving in durbar (palace) but if someone did not have connections with the right people they would wait for months.
BEGINNING OF MY NEW LIFE IN THE NEW WORLD
Beginning of my lonely life in the different environment and in the new world, I, Udim B. Gurung, landed in San Francisco in the end of the 1980. At that time, I was just crossed age of 25 years old and I barely knew any Nepalese in the SF. Bay Area. But later I found some Nepalis in the San Francisco, Bay Area. They were, Kishor Dhital (1980), Shiv Thapa (1978), Kishor Gurung (1980), Minu Singh (1980s), Dipak Singh (1980s), Usha Lama with her husband Dorji Lama (1976), Lucy Tshring with her husband Lharry Tshring (April 1974), Dorje Sherpa (July 1981), and Ajit Rana (1978), But Kishor Gurung who returned to Nepal after he graduated from the San Francisco Music Collage. Deepak Singh (1980s), who is still living in the Bay Area but was not interested in involving with the Nepali Community. And Minu Singh who also returned to Nepal after living many years in the San Francisco-Bay Area.
When I came to San Francisco, everything was very cheap, the apartment rent, groceries, gasoline, transportation fare etc. The environment also was very good and peaceful, during that time, I did not see any security guards standing anywhere in the Banks or any other offices but in the present days, the security guards are standing every where. During that time, I used to live in the middle class areas at Van Ness and Union Street in San Francisco, in a one bedroom apartment, where the rent was only $400.00 a month but in the present-days the same apartment rent is around $2.000.00 a month.
Back then, San Francisco Muni Bus fare only cost $0.25 cents but today its cost $2.25 and the monthly Bus Pass was only $16.00 but today it costs $68.00, one gallon of milk used to be $0.99 cents but today its cost $4.00-$5.00, one gallon of Gasoline used to cost $0.59 to $0.99 cents. There was no cell phone but the good thing was, the public phones were available everywhere at the Bus stops, Bar and Restaurant and in all the public places, in San Francisco. The public pay-phone used to cost 10 cents unlimited for a local call. There was no VCR back then for people to watch their favorite movies at home. People had credit cards with yearly fees but there were no credit card swiping machines. When you used them, the salesperson would make a copy of your credit card for the transaction. During that time, the minimum wages was $3.25 an hour in San Francisco. At the Airport: > When we went to the airport to drop off our friends and relatives, the airport security would allow everyone to walk right up to the front of the airplane door but not anymore.
BEGAN UNITING THE FIRST MIGRATION OF NEPALIS
In the early 1986, the Nepalese population grew to the double digits and Dashain festival was celebrated in a few family homes. By early 1987, the population had grown to three digits. As the population grew, most of the Nepalese people wished for a group dashain celebration together but it was not possible due to venue problems (a big financial burden at that time) and other various reasons. By July 1988 Mr. Gopal Khadgi was able to secure a venue at no cost through his work place at Boys and Girls Club of San Francisco.
With the good news of venue secured, Gopal Khadgi, Govin Shahi, Kishor Dhital, Sita Dhital, Minu Singh, Udim B. Gurung, Ramesh Lama, Mina Gurung, Shiva Thapa, Anil Pandey, Navin Adhikari, Himal Gurung, YakJung Thapa, Dorje Sherpa, Raj Shahi, Naveen Thapa, Saroj Salike, Rabi Kunwar, and many other Nepali friends together organized and celebrated the first group dashain party at the Boys and Girls Club in San Francisco, October 1988. After that, couple of years continuously celebrated the dashain party at the Boys and Girls Club in San Francisco because there was no cost for the venue because of Mr. Gopal Khadgi. The food was organized potluck system and prepared by the individual friends. I want to thank Mr. Gopal Khadgi for his help in securing the venue at no cost. The next year, July 1989, we celebrated the Nepalese New Year picnic in the Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. Many Nepali friends and other friends came from as far as Sacramento, Eureka, and Monterey, Santa Rosa and San Jose.
THE COMMUNICATION PROBLEM
In those days the communication system was a big problem because there was no cell phones and no personal computers and e-mail systems. Mostly foreign students and new migration people used their work phone for their communication because they couldn’t afford home phones since minimum wage was $3.25 an hour. But the good thing was that there were pay phone everywhere, almost every other block in the city and almost every bus stop and all over the public places.
We began collecting the addresses of members of the Nepalese Community and friends to send all information and invitations through regular mail. Our community appreciated the Dashain celebration and Nepalese New Year Picnic but there was some of us who wished to meet more frequently with other friends and members. In 1988, Gopal Khadgi along with Govind Shahi, Nabin Adhikari, Saroj Salike, Dorje Sherpa, Raj Shahi, Mohan Sthapit, Yak Jang Thapa, Shashi Shrestha, Ravi Kunwar, Ramesh Lama, Naveen Thapa, Kishor Dhital and Himal Gurung with many other friends formed the Yak and Yeti Soccer Club in San Francisco.
They met every week at the Golden Gate Soccer Play Ground and after the game, they all gathered in Gopal Khadgi’s home on 46th Avenue, San Francisco. The gathering also provided a platform to share each other’s sorrow, joys and seek help in finding jobs. Many friends, Govind Shahi, Daniel-Tamang, Shrawan Nepal, Ajit Rana, Rajesh Shrestha, Ramesh Lama, Navin Adhikari, Kishor Dhital, Himal Gurung and many other friends frequently joined the group to play.
In 1993, a new interest group emerged to create a formal Nepali Association. Shekhar Sharma, Govind Shahi, Gopal Khadgi, Narendra Gurung, Rattu Lama, Gautam Manandhar, Ishwar Maskey, Kiran Maskey, Dr. Kishor Maskey, Dr. Surendra Pradhan, and many other friends formed the election committee and Govind Shahi was nominated as a Chairman of Ad hoc committee. After meeting practically every weekend, they came to an agreement to name the association the Nepali Association of Northern California (NANC). and a fair democratic election was held on October 15, 1994 along with the dashain party celebration, in Emeryville, CA. The culture program included music, dance, singing and comedy. The logo was submitted by Rajesh Maskey
THE FIRST OFFICIALY ELECTED (NANC) EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBERS WERE AS BELOW FOR TWO YEARS, ON OCT. 15, 1994 TO MAY 1996
1. Gopal Khadgi-President
2. Shekhar Sharma-Vice-President
3. Kiran Maskey-Treasurer
4. Dr. Surendra Pradhan-Genral Secretary
5. Rattu Lama-Member
6. Ramesh Lama-Member
7. Ang Dorje Sherpa-Member
8. Nabin Adhikari-Member
9. Ishwar Maskey-Member
THE SECOND (NANC) EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBERS WERE AS FOLLOWING FOR NEXT 2 YEARS.
1. Govind Shahi-President
2. Ramesh Lama-Vice-President
3. Rattu Lama-General Secretary
4. Kiran Maskey-Treasurer
5. Ishwar Maskey-Member
6. Nilambar Shrestha-Member
7. Gautam Manandhar-Member
8. Usha Kachhapati-Member
9. Saroj Salike-Member
10. Sunita Davis-Member
11. Sudha Shah-Member
12. Gopl Khadgi-Advisor
13. Shekhar Sharma-Advisor.
THE THIRD (NANC) EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBERS WERE CELLECTED AS BELOW FOR 2 YEARS
1. Ravi Kachhapati-President
2. Ishwar Maskey-Vice-Presiden
3. Shekhar Sharma-General Secretary
4. Udaya Rajbhandari-Treasurer
5. Bishal Bisht-Member
6. Lucy Tshering-Member,
7. Nilambar Shreshtha-Member
8. Shrawan Nepal-Member
9. Dr. Surendra Pradhan-Member.
THE FORTH (NANC) EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBERS WERE CELLECTED AS BELOW FOR 2 YEARS
1. Nilamber Shrestha-President
2. Raj Shahi-Vice-President
3. Jane Fry-General Secretary
4. Charles Tsou-Treasure
5. Frank Wallace-Member
6. Shekhar Sharma-Member
7. Udhav Giri-Member
8. Bishnu Thapa-Member
9. Sudha Shah-Member,
After serving six months, the President Nilamber Shrestha was unable to serve continuously and he resigned. The Vice-President, Raj Shahi become the President.
I hope, all the readers will be enjoyed knowing about the early history of (NANC) and will be understand reading this early (NANC) history, how the first migration Nepali founded the Nepali Association of Northern California (NANC). It is to note, during those days, that the NANC Executive Members never had a special meeting. Their meeting place used to be the family gathering place. The (NANC) was established by the first migration of Nepalis, only for promoting and preserving the Nepalese culture heritage and celebrating all the Nepali National Festival together with all the Nepali brothers and sisters.
I believe, wherever the new generations of Nepali are living, you must keep promoting and preserve your Nepali National Culture Heritage. Because all your culture heritage, your language and your Nepali ethnic costumes are the only thing that truly and proudly represent your Nepali identity and your motherland Nepal. (All the Information are Collected and Edited by Udim B. Gurung), for the future study by the new generations.
To the readers, please read and review the article carefully and if you find any corrections, please contact me with your information and useful comments or if anyone wishes to watch the beginning of NANC video as a proof for research, please contact at (firstname.lastname@example.org).