Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 2, 2013
Dr Kavitaram Shrestha
Place of Birth: Ram Bazar, Okhaldhunga, Nepal
Recent Country/Place: Nepal
– Director, National/International Relations: Kist Medical Collage, Imadol-6, Lalitpur, Nepal
– Visiting Professor: International HealthDepartment of Public Health, University of – AberdeenMedical School, Polwarth Building, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD, Scotland, UK
– Chairman: Consulting Associates for Research and Training Services (CARTS); Anamnagar, Kathmandu-32, Nepal
– Principal: PreciousNationalCollege, Maihpi, Kathmandu
Awards/Rewards: Innovation Award, Sajha Bal Sahitya Puraskar BS 2058 (2001 AD, Mahendra Vidya Bhushan Feb. 1998, The Youth of the Year 2051 (1994), AsiaAfrica Solidarity Award Oct. 1994, Six Best National Film Festival Awards Wining Producer/Director in 1991, The Best Character Actor of the Year 91,� The Best Feature Film Storywriter of the Year ’91, Writer of The Best Children’s Book of the Year ’92, The Best Children’s Book Writer for the International Children’s Year ’82-’83
You are raising the issue in Kapilvastu Movement Day. Why actually you think this movement is required?
A false message is prevalent around the world that Buddha was an Indian Prince. The reality that Buddha was born in Lumbini under the Shakyas regime Kpilvastu, that falls in Modern Nepal is fully under shameful shadow. The fact that Lord Buddha was born in Lumbini was proven by King Ashok 23 hundred years ago as he positioned a stone pillar in Lumbini with an inscription highlighting that it was the birthplace of Lord Buddha. The marker pillar is still standing in Lumbini within the sovereign land of Nepal. The Indian Government has never opposed officially this fact. But it promotes the false impression that Buddha was an Indian Prince, with the evident fact that some part of the Kapilvastu lies in Indian soil and later part of Lord Buddha was spent in various areas that fall in modern India. Whole of the world is kept away deliberately from the fact that Lord Buddha in fact was a prince of Nepalese Soil and the irony is that the Nepalese authority never attempted to prove it for fear that it might lead to conflict with Mighty India. They simply escape taking a vain excuse that the self proving stone pillar is luminously standing in Nepalese soil and it does not need to be pointed out. Actually it is our privileged pride that Buddha was born in our gratifying soil and we can boast for it. It would nevertheless be an act of minimization to any in the world. How could it be taken as a confrontation with India or any in the world? Why are our officials so much scared? Or, are there any other reasons to be so shamefully quiet? In this odd and shameful situation the pride of Nepalese intellectuals around the world arose pronouncing loud that Buddha was born in Nepalese soil and burst out to celebrate the Kapilvastu Day on December 1 in 2008. December 1 is the glorified day when German Archeologist Anton F. had defined the Ashokan Pillar as a marker pillar of Lord Buddha’s birth place for the first time in 1935. After this Kapilvastu Day is celebrated every year worldwide and carried varieties of successful promotional activities around the whole year. This movement has now become an esteem symbol of the pride of nationalism among Nepalese intellectuals. In fact, it is needed extremely to work as a catalist for boosting the pride of nationalism in depressed Nepalese mind. Read the rest of this entry »
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Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 11, 2012
Lisa Choegyal is a tourism consultant who works throughout the Asia Pacific region, specializing in pro-poor sustainable tourism planning and marketing. With a background in the private sector, she was for over 20 years Director of Marketing of Tiger Mountain, Nepal’s pioneer trekking, adventure and wildlife operator. Based in Kathmandu, she has worked since 1992 as a senior associate of TRC Tourism (formerly Tourism Resource Consultants) in Wellington, New Zealand (www.trctourism.com). Lisa was Team Leader of the ADB Ecotourism Project 2000-2001, DFID tourism monitor on TRPAP 2001-2005, tourism-marketing specialist for the ADB SASEC program 2004-2008, and prepared the UK Aid DFID Great Himalaya Trail development program for SNV Nepal 2006-2010. She serves on a number of non-profit boards related to tourism and conservation, and is New Zealand Honorary Consul to Nepal since 2010.
DUNHAM: How do you assess the current framework for development in Lumbini, the framework that is already and has been in place for a long time?
CHOEGYAL: The institutional framework is interesting with so many stakeholders, different factions and historical complexities. UNESCO has a crucial role to play to preserve its world heritage status. The Lumbini Development Trust (LDT) is the obvious main custodian although it needs to be evolved into an Authority rather than a Trust. It is typical of the current political scenario that existing institutions become politicized. . Perhaps it was felt, in this case, that it is easier to create a parallel organization and just blow LDT out of the water. Three billion dollars is a convincing figure.
I’ve worked on Lumbini, from a tourism perspective, on and off, for the last twenty years but most recently with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) tourism infrastructure study, where I was part of a consulting team that designed the South Asian Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) tourism components. SASEC is an ADB grouping of five countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India – actually the north and northeast States of India – Nepal and Sri Lanka. We worked for six years as tourism sector advisors on the SASEC program with our firm, TRC Tourism, which is based in Wellington, New Zealand. SASEC was modeled on the ADB’s Greater Mekong Sub-Region tourism program, on which TRC had also been tourism advisors (Cambodia, China (PRC, specifically Yunnan and Guangxi), Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam).
In many ways, South Asia was easier than the Mekong because we were dealing with countries that were used to working together in tourism, and had been cooperating and selling joint packages for decades — whereas in the Greater Mekong, many of them had been emerging from long-term conflicts. We were able to make a lot of headway in the tourism sector in South Asia, whereas other SASEC sectors, such as water resources roads and large-scale infrastructure had a much more complex agenda. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Interview | Tagged: Asia pacific, Aurorakot, Devdaha, DIFID, Gotihawa, Great Himalaya Trail development program, Kapilvastu, Kudan, LDT, Lumbini, Lumbini Development Trust, Niglihawa, Ramgram, Sagarhawa, Sishania, SNV, South Asian Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC), Tiger Mountain, Tilaurakot, UNESCO | 1 Comment »
Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 11, 2012
Axel Plathe is the Head of Office and UNESCO Representative to Nepal. Mikel Dunham spoke to him in his office in Kathmandu, March 6, 2012.
DUNHAM: Perhaps the best way to begin is for you to describe UNESCO’s interest and involvement with Lumbini.
PLATHE: As you know, the site was inscribed in 1997 in the World Heritage list. Since then UNESCO has been engaged in Lumbini more or less strongly. We have particularly been helping, throughout the years, since the inscription, in managing the site. We have helped the government in establishing an approach on how to manage this World Heritage site.
We have also helped the government in the very cumbersome and heavy reporting exercise that the World Heritage Convention requests from state parties to the Convention.
Every second year, the state party, (in this case the government of Nepal), has to submit a report on the status of preservation of Lumbini. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Interview | Tagged: Buddha, Constantino Meucci, Kenzo Tange, Lumbini, UNESCO, World Heritage convention, World Heritage list | 1 Comment »
Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 7, 2012
Dr. Rijal is a member of Nepal’s recently created Greater Lumbini Development National Steering Committee, chaired by ex-Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”. Dr. Rijal, a member of the Nepali Congress political party, is also a current member of the Constituent Assembly, ex-Minister of Culture and Chairman of Apex College. Mikel Durham interviewed Dr. Rijal focussing on Lumbini issue.
DUNHAM: You’ve recently been appointed as a Member of the Greater Lumbini Development National Steering Committee. Now that the committee has been created, what progress can be reported?
RIJAL: So far, we have not been able to spend as much time as is needed to move the Lumbini project forward. Prachanda is terribly busy with the politics of the country. In some respects, I am also quite busy — nothing compared to his busy schedule but –
DUNHAM: How many members are on the committee?
RIJAL: Right now we are a six-member committee. And then there is a provision to add another eleven members later on.
DUNHAM: Prachanda is Chair.
DUNHAM: What has the committee actually done so far?
RIJAL: We went to New York and saw the Secretary General (SG) of the UN, Ban Ki-moon, in November. And the reason we went was that we wanted the involvement of the UN in the development of Lumbini.
It all started, however, when, earlier, I was the Minister of Culture. At that time, I established contact with Ban Ki-moon’s office and he extended an invitation. I went there. I presented my argument on Lumbini and he was very keen. He has long been interested in helping Lumbini and in realizing its potential. I knew that his mother was a devoted Buddhist and felt that her son, as Secretary General, should do something for Lumbini.
For his part, Ban Ki-moon also feels that it is his obligation on behalf of the larger Asian Buddhist community– he is the second Asian Secretary General – to do something for Lumbini.
That was one reason, last November, that we thought he could be of great help. And the visibility of his office was going to be very important to help Lumbini realize its potential. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Interview | Tagged: APECF, Ban Ki-moon, Buddha, Buddhism, Greater Lumbini Development National Steering Committee, Lumbini, Prachanda, U Thant, UN, UNDP, UNESCO | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 29, 2011
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Narayankaji Shrestha is back after wrapping up his week-long visit to China in the wake of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao´s impending visit to Nepal in mid-December. OurSpecial Correspondent Purna Basnet met Shrestha in Hong Kong on his way back to Kathmandu. Excerpts:
How did your first China visit as a foreign minister go?
After becoming foreign minister, I have been to UN General Assembly, India and SAARC summit under the leadership of prime minister. This is the first formal foreign visit under my leadership and it has been very fruitful. We held cordial discussions on all aspects of bilateral relations and I am confident that we will see positive results soon.
What would such positive results be?
Nepal-China friendship should not be seen as just another neighborly relation. It holds great significance. We could convince China to expand financial help to Nepal which was one of the two major agendas of my visit. China is likely to announce an increment in its annual grant to Nepal during the Chinese premier´s visit in December. We have also sought a one-time special grant at a time when we are approaching the final stage of the peace process and constitution drafting.
Did you have any discussion on reducing the massive trade deficit with China?
We had serious discussion on increasing bilateral trade and reducing the trade deficit. We have not been able to capitalize on the duty waiver offered by China on export of around 400 goods. Therefore, this time we urged China to provide waiver on those goods that we can export. They have asked us to provide a list of such items. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Interview | Tagged: Budi Gandaki, Hilsa-Simikot road, Jomsom-Beni roads, Kimathangka-Biratnagar road, Lumbini, Nepal-China friendship, North-south roads, Nursinggad projects, SAARC, Train service to Lumbini, West Seti | Leave a Comment »