Sydney, Nepali Kala Sanskriti tatha Sahitya Pratisthan (NKSSP) organized the event Nepalese Australian Multicultural Harmony 2022 with the assistance of the Australian Government and in collaboration with NRNA, SCC, NSW. It took place on 11th June 2022 at Marrickville Town Hall, 303 Marrickville Road, Marrickville, NSW amid an encouraging and lively atmosphere.
The special guest Kul Bahadur Magar, the chargé d’affaires and Acting Ambassador of Nepal to Australia, the chief guest, MP Hon Mark Coure, the Minister for Multiculturalism and the Minister for Seniors NSW, Dr. Andrew Charlton, Federal MP for Parramatta, MP Chris Minns, NSW Leader of the Opposition, Consulate General of Nepal to NSW Deepak Khadka and Indra Ban, the reputed community leader and senior NRNA campaigner jointly inaugurated the Nepalese Australian Multicultural Harmony 2022.
Mayor Darcy Byrne, the Multicultural NSW representative, Community Engagement Officer Luke Boulos, Inner-West Council, and representative councilor Matt Howard, from Marrickville-Midjubari Ward, Councilor Bhadra Waiba City of Canterbury-Bankstown also graced the event with their presence. Ganesh Bhatta and Renu Shrestha set the tone of the session.
Nepalese Australian Multicultural Harmony 2022 program coordinator NKSSP Vice President Sima Roshi (Bhagwati Acharya) in her welcome speech said, “We would like to welcome our distinguished guests and ever respectable community members. Our team is indebted to all for your kind presence and respective contributions to making our event presentable and successful. We are thankful to you for your valuable guidance and support which have encouraged us to perform progressively in the best service of our community and the broader community. We are happy to continue the tradition of celebrating multiculturalism and collaborate with the organizations of other communities to promote multicultural harmony.”
Nepalese Australian Multicultural Harmony 2022 also showcased the diversity of the ethnic communities of Nepal such as Tamu, Newar, Thakali, Kirat, Magar, Limbu, etc., and it aims to connect Nepalese diverse cultures with the proud ethnic communities from different countries such as Vietnam, India, Sri Lanka, Japan, China, Brazil, etc., the proud Aboriginal Australians, the indigenous community of Australia.”
The songs and dances representing different communities were performed on the occasion such as Kumari Dance, Typical Newari dance, Tamang group dance, Tamu dance, Nepali solo dance, Thakali dance, Sherpa Dance (Nepal), Indian classical dance, Bollywood dance, Sri Lankan dance, Sydney Japanese Soran Dance, Chinese Chosen Performance, Arabic belly dance, Vietnamese English song, Nepali songs, etc.
John Shrestha, the NKSSP deputy cultural VP performed the Lakhey Dance which simply caught the imagination of the audience and was one of the highlights of the Nepalese Australian Multicultural Harmony 2022. He enacted the ritual dancing of the Newah community, the indigenous community of Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, in a spectacular way. This dance is performed during the Indra Jatra (festival) in September. Lakhey is worshipped as a God. The dwellers offer food and ritual items to the person wearing a Lakhye costume and mask.
The public Nepalese Australian Multicultural Harmony 2022 festivity with thrilling performances of music, dance, feasting, etc. is timed to coincide with the greatest Hindu festival Bijaya Dashami and spring. NKSSP treasurer cum logistic support coordinator Bhusan Roka sang the cover version of Swor Samrat Narayan Gopal, the prominent singer and national music icon of Nepal. The audience was mesmerized by his soulful and spellbinding rendition of the popular number.
Mahesh Prasain (Max), the Sydney-based young leading performer of the Nepalese community in Australia as usual entertained the audiences with his folk-based peppy numbers.
Representing Guthi Australia, Sarina Sainju, the renowned dancer and performer along with Sneha Poudel, and Leena Shrestha representing the second generation made a speech on Girls’ Adulthood Transition and Challenges in Australia.
The special guest, the chargé d’affaires and Acting Ambassador of Nepal to Australia, Kul Bahadur Magar stated, “Culture, a foundation or keystone of any community, is the finest expression of what it means to be human. We must make every effort to educate the coming generations on the proud values and uniqueness of their forefathers’ tradition and culture.
The genuine preservation and promotion of culture take place when there is proper respect for all kinds of cultural diversity with social justice. Nepalese community in Australia is lucky that there are many community organizations such as NKSSP which are industriously, purposefully, and meaningfully working towards preserving and promoting our proud native culture and identity and making good efforts to make the second generation connect to their forefathers’ proud culture.”
The chief guest MP Hon Mark Coure, Multicultural Minister NSW said, “Nepalese are rich in cultural diversity, and with this event, the non-Nepalese communities living in Australia will have an opportunity to promote their glorious cultural practices and appreciate the cultural spectrum of the wider community including the mainstream community of Australia.”
The chief guest MP Hon Mark Coure, Multicultural Minister NSW in his keynote speech said, “Nepalese are rich in cultural diversity, and with this event, the non-Nepalese communities living in Australia will have an opportunity to promote their glorious cultural practices and appreciate the cultural spectrum of the wider community including the mainstream community of Australia. We always appreciate the high-quality service of the Nepalese community for working in collaboration with the diasporic communities of other countries and the mainstream community of Australia.”
MP Chris Minns, NSW Leader of the Opposition said, “Everyone takes special pride in their own historical identity and the uniqueness of their physical and intangible cultural heritage.
Nepalese are deservedly famous for their love for native culture and respect for the culture of the broader community. They have traditional reverence for multiculturalism which deserves appropriate praise and gratitude. Australia is a proud country as it is blessed with migrant communities who have brought their beautiful culture to Australia and shared their native cultural identity with the broader community.”
Dr. Andrew Charlton, Federal MP for Parramatta said, “We are always appreciative of the proud migrant communities which have been making rewarding efforts to continue to conquer new horizons to promote multiculturalism. The events like these also bring families and locals together for meaningful socialization. Dignity and pride created through culture run deep in the Australian Nepali community. It is always a heartening experience for all of us to work together for the overall progress of this great multicultural country. I would like to thank all the communities which have participated to make this event worthwhile.”
The Consulate General of Nepal to NSW Deepak Khadka expressed, “Multiculturalism denotes the acknowledgment of many distinct cultural or ethnic groups coexisting in harmony within a society. A multiculturalism society supports the view that many distinct cultures are good and desirable for the overall progress of any society. The multicultural view encourages such diversity. Multiculturalism is a policy or spirit of maintaining a diversity of ethnic cultures within a community.
We all are thankful to NKSSP and all other organizations which have been working round the clock to enhance the beauty and strength of the spirit of multiculturalism spirit. We all come from a proud country where multiculturalism is practiced and appreciated. Our community has a sacred commitment to the values of multiculturalism which is highly appreciated by Australia.”
The first Nepalese woman who touched down on Australian soil Indra Ban said, “Nepalese community has a prosperous cultural heritage, and they are always excited to interact with other multicultural communities and exchange diverse cultural experiences. They always have a wonderful attitude towards the differences shared by other communities. They always feel delighted to observe the spirit of multiculturalism which is one of the topmost priorities of Australia. It is always a great honor to be a part of such a meaningful event. In Nepal, the followers of the Hindu religion are the largest number. Buddhism is another remarkable religion. The founder of Buddhism, Lord Buddha was born in Lumbini, Nepal. There are also followers of Islam, Christianity, etc. They have incredible religious tolerance. The social activities launched by NKSSP are always praiseworthy and attending the event gives pride to one and all.”
Harish Velji, the renowned community leader of the Indian diaspora in Australia shared his experience of visiting Nepal, “ I was simply amazed by the natural beauty of Nepal and not less by the social harmony and cultural heritage of Nepal and their awesome sense of coexistence promoting their own identities. A great civilization thrives on some form of social harmony and ethnic values.
It is everyone’s responsibility to create healthy social harmony. The Nepalese community’s participation in mainstream multiculturalism in Australia is always worthy of respect and appreciation. The beauty of Australia largely lies in its policy of multiculturalism and Nepalese community being itself multicultural is committed to upholding the mainstream practice of multiculturalism.”
Councilor Bhadra Waiba City of Canterbury-Bankstown the well-known community worker and the councilor for Bankstown council said, “All communities irrespective of their background are being integrated into the development of Australia.
The decent policies and provision of the Australian government’s multiculturalism can be adapted to suit our cultural values and native identity. We are proud to recognize that NKSSP, a leading community organization in the Nepalese diaspora in Australia, has been consistently and remarkably delivering in the best interest of Nepalese art, literature, and culture engaging Nepalese belonging to different ethnic groups.”
Deepa Shrestha, the NKSSP secretary, and the committed community campaigner offered the vote of thanks on behalf of the NKSSP. She said, “We feel honoured to have all distinguished guests in our event and we would like to thank all including the ever understanding and cooperative community members. When we preserve and promote the rich heritage and native culture of our community, we can strengthen our coordinated relationship and unity with other communities and impress one another with a unique native identity.
When we celebrate our art, culture, and literature, there will be greater participation from the other communities. NKSSP has been presenting different art, literature, and culture-oriented activities such as Bhanu Jayanti, Tij program, and publishing a magazine Prabash ko Paila (Overseas Step) and with the accomplishment of this historic event, we have received yet one more proud feather in our cap. We would like to extend special thanks to Sunrise Gyanwali who made all arrangements for the artists and supported the team to run the program as per the run sheets. ”
Bhanu Jayanti, the signature program of NKSSP, was held in the first session. After being given an Acknowledgement of Original Traditional Land Owners, the national anthems of Nepal and Australia were played. It was followed by the Kids’ Group Presentation reflecting Nepalese traditional dance and cultural heritage. The adorable performance was designed by the NKSSP General Secretary Rina KC who was herself a noted dancer and a dance teacher.
The chief guest, the pioneering community leader Dr. Narayan Pradhan NKSSP President Sujata Basnet, NRNA, Australia VC, and NSW Coordinator and NKSSP advisor Deb Gurung jointly inaugurated the program by lighting the candle. In the session hosted by Renu Shrestha, the 208th Bhanu Jayanti program coordinator and NKSSP Joint-secretary Rekha Bhatta offered the welcome speech.
The chief guest addressed the audience shedding the light on the value and significance of celebrating Bhanu Jayanti. He said, “Every year while celebrating this occasion, the literary enthusiasts of our community recite the poems to pay the tribute to the first poet of Nepal. This day is also celebrated in honor of the golden principle- unity in diversity.”
Aakriti Ghimire performed Kumari Dance representing Shabdamala Nepali Language School, NSW, to lend Nepalese cultural grace and traditional ethos to the event.
NRNA, Australia Vice-President, and NSW coordinator Deb Gurung said, “Nepalese are famous for celebrating their unique culture wherever they are. They are passionate about promoting collective peace and growth and coexisting peacefully having decent goodwill toward all the communities. We earnestly believe that the interaction among the multicultural communities and the exchange of art and culture will enhance and strengthen the worth of our community. We would like to thank all for participating individuals and groups in this event.
Team NRNA, NSW, and NCC feel honoured and proud to be a part of this inspiring and significant event and contribute positively to the overall social harmony and ethnic values. We are committed to the spirit of multiculturalism of the great country of Australia and proud to adopt it while promoting our diasporic culture.”
The NRNA President Nanda Gurung said, “NRNA, Australia is always committed to collaborating with the community organizations for the overall success and goodwill of the community-spirited events. Community cooperation is always on the agenda of NRNA, Australia and it is proud to be more proactive when it comes to supporting the event dedicated to promoting Nepalese identity and native culture. It feels great to learn that the local councils and the Australian government also have acknowledged the illustrious and momentous activities of NKSSP in a very encouraging and notable way.”
From the chair, NKSSP President Sujata Basnet offered a vote of thanks. She said, “I personally and on behalf of the team would like to thank community members for your kind presence and enthusiastic participation. We are thankful indeed to all who have been consistently extending their helping hands to make all the events organized by NKSSP highly presentable and successful.
We would like to pay a compliment on you for your amazing sense of cooperation and support to celebrate the grand occasion with remarkable participation. We would like to acknowledge the Australian government for the grant given to encourage multiculturalism. We are thankful to the Multicultural NSW for granting $ 10,000 for this event.”
The renowned poets Maheswar Sharma and Daya Ram Simkhada recited the poems in typical Nepalese tone and with rhymes and rhythms built into the words. Rekha Bhatta also re-created the legendary patriotic song of Nepal ‘Rato ra Chandra Surya’ in her voice. Maheshwar Sharma and Akriti Ghimire were honoured with Bhanu Awards. The renowned community leader and youth campaigner Mahesh Prasai Max was recognized with the honour for his invaluable contributions to the community.
The Nepalese Australian Multicultural event grant writer, the Event Manager for Cumberland Council – 2019 and Multicultural NSW-2022, and the program coordinator NKSSP Vice President Sima Roshi (Bhagwati Acharya) was awarded by the chief guest MP Hon Mark Coure, the Minister for Multiculturalism and the Minister for Seniors NSW.
The Australia-based journalists who have been serving the Nepalese community to give the appropriate facelift to the Nepalese community were felicitated on the occasion.
Also present on the Nepalese Australian Multicultural Harmony 2022 were the well-known community leaders, the former NRNA, Australia President Goba Katuwal, former NKSSP president Janaki Rimal Poudel, former NKSSP president Rabindra Kumar Sharma, ONUF International Secretary Ramesh Pandey, NIMFA Oceania Coordinator, Chitra Tumbahangphe, Heupati Gurung, Alex Karki, International Nepali Literary Society, NSW President Mamata Tiwari, Secretary Dr. Prakash Poudel, Shabdamala Nepali Language School President Bishnu Ghimire, Nari Nikunja NSW Coordinator Dr. Samta Gurung, NRNA, NSW, SCC joint secretary and the deputy event coordinator Rakesh Joshi, member Sabina Shrestha, NKSSP advisor Gyan Gurung, Vice President Ramesh Baniya, Treasurer Jwala Bista, Executive Member Kumari Gurung, Manju Gurung, Sanita Lama, DJ Susil, etc.