Nepali Times
Nepalis first

Really liked Captain Vijay Lama's essay ('I'm a Nepali first', Nepali Pan, #328). Being a Parsi resident in Nepal, I wholeheartedly concur with his sentiment ".instead of talking against other groups, we Tamangs must study and work harder to be as good as or better than them." This is exactly the philosophy that guided us Parsis in India. We make up less than 0.001 percent of the population, but we are leading personalities in every field of activity. We didn't do this by harping on our ethnicity or Persian heritage, we did it by integrating and ensuring that we excelled in our fields.

J Contractor,

. I was touched by Vijay Lama's sentiments. 'Be a Nepali first' could be the mantra that will guide us all towards achieving everlasting harmony among our diverse ethnic groups and communities. For centuries, the crown was the symbol of unity. But the crown that Gyanendra wore divided Nepal. I now plead to Nepali leaders of all hues and shades who aspire to replace the king to steer this nation in the right direction by also adopting and advocating this simple idea of being Nepali First. As an aviator, Lama may spend most of his time flying, but it is obvious that his heart and soul are embedded deep in the Nepali mato.

Deep Lamichhane,
New Jersey, USA

. I read Vijay Lama's article regarding the Tamang community and was impressed with what he is doing, to help spread the warmth in a tangible way. Also, about "This season, let's spread the warmth of tolerance", I think we should say "...let's spread warmth and acceptance".

Vinita L,
San Fransisco

. I too am a Nepali first. Vijay Lama deserves appreciation for sharing his thoughts. Yes, together we need to work to make this country an attractive garden with colourful flowers. I will help the Nyanopan project in anyway I can.

D Acharya,

. I was deeply touched by Vijay Lama's comment. Indeed we are Nepalis first, and then whatever ethinicity we are. I am fascinated by the idea of making change through small steps, and I would like to help the captain's Nyanopan project. Je gara jaso gara, yo man the Nepali ho!

S Pande,

. I read with great interest Vijay Lama's piece and particularly liked his response to the chauvinistic, divisive, and ultimately self-defeating ethnicity-mongering and jingoistic politicking from the so-called elites of these groups.

R Shrestha,

.We were all deeply touched by the effort of Nepal's airline pilots to help fellow-Nepalis in the cold mountain regions, and their effort to 'keep Nepal alive'. We have started a clothing drive for the Nyanopan program.

Students of Humanities
Himalayan White House College, Kathmandu

. I wonder how well Vijay Lama is informed of Nepal's true political and ethno-sociocultural history. His opinions are straight out of Panchayat-era feudocracy. The people of indigenous ethnic groups were suppressed for hundreds of years by the feudal ruling class under a Hindu monarchy. Marginalised ethnicities were systematically cast out of the mainstream state apparatus. Socio-economic backwardness remained rampant among indigenous people despite their hard work and honesty. Speaking out against exclusion and the right to revive one's identity, religion, culture, language and customs is neither bigoted nor chauvinistic. The ruling feudal class always misinterpreted it as divisiveness, and that is just a ploy to protect their monopoly. Tamangs, who have been hit hard for the last 300 years, are justly trying to make their voice heard. It is not self-righteous anger and fiery rhetoric against other communities. Tamangs are no less Nepali, but they are Tamangs with distinct proud identities. No doubt, Nepal is a beautiful garden with many flowers but every flower should be given its due honour and a just space. Even so, I really appreciate Lama's effort to spread warmth by flying clothes to the needy in remote areas.

Tilak Lama,

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)