Thursday, November 17, 2005

 
Cooperation Between Yayokkha and KRSA

Recently I had an opportunity to meet with Mr. K.B. Rai, the president of Kirat Rai Yayokkha in Kathmandu. During the meeting I mentioned the proposal of KRSA to help Yayokkha in research oriented tasks such as: scholarship programs for students who do research on Kirat Rai culture, writing language books and producing television documentaries etc. Mr. Rai told me that in the past, Yayokkha had received some applications submitted by research students for funding, but due to lack of budget they could do nothing. Mr Rai was very pleased to know that KRSA is interested to help in this field. He requested us (KRSA) to be specific on the figure that we can contribute each year so it will be easier for them to make an announcement. He said Yayokkha would be very happy to work with KRSA in the mission to preserve and promote our Kirat Rai culture.

Issues of Divided Rais

I also raised the issue of the new trend among Kirat Rais subgroups who are breaking away from Yayokkha giving the reason of their distinct language and culture. On this regard he said it was the idea of very few short sighted people who found themselves in the dead-end career and had no option left to make a living. Janajati Empowerment Project was funding money to the indigenous communities for their upliftment based on their distinct language and culture. So those individuals wanted to take advantage of that and they fabricated the idea of separation.Their supporting point was that they have different language and culture than rest of the Rais. It clearly came out of that sick mentality to gain personal benefit in the name of language and culture. They do not have wide support and we should not believe that the whole community of the particular subgroup is behind those few unsatisfied individuals.


Problems

Not enough budget. Currently Yayokkha has almost 22 lakhs budget. That is not enough to preserve and promote the culture of more than 30 different Rais. Some of them are in the verge of extinction such as ‘puma’ which has just few hundreds who can speak it. Yayokkha is trying to document those languages as much as possible but now due to security reason it is also very slow and difficult.

There are two staffs in Yayokkha office and the office space is provided by the president himself. Many people question why Yayokkha does not include different Rais in the central level that would at least help solve the separation issues. Mr Rai says being in the central level you can not limit yourself to your own group, I am Bantawa but my responsibility is to look at the other groups which are in the verge of extinction. It would be wrong judgment to see central level jobs as the advantage for particular rai group he/she represents.




Mr KB Rai

Mr Rai has true devotion in the efforts to uplift Kirat Rai culture. I found him a man of integrity, very hardworking with a vision and honest. I was very impressed with his commitments and values he gives to make things better.

Mr Rai has huge collection of different Rai ethnic dresses, items and arts. He is retired British Gurkha Army and a devoted social worker who gave new shape to Yayokkha organization.


Rajendra Rai
Denver

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