Navyaata Article 3 : BEING NEPALI

There I was again, with my favourite non-human company; Jack Daniels and Coke in my hand. It was the second Acoustic Gig held in London. As mentioned in my previous article, my hesitation to say ‘no’ resulted to me landing in the presence of the extremely bubbly YouTuber Nattu, JPT Rockerz and many other Nepalese musicians. If Nattu ever needs to think of changing her career path then I would suggest carrying on the works of the Maha Jodi. One certainly needs to empty their bladder before they situate themselves next to her. Now more about the event, imagine watching YouTube but live, also add a few technical glitches and off-beat voices. Not to forget our Nepali Timing. Yes, I’m guilty of it and was guilty that evening too. But Hey, I’m Nepali; we love to blame, right?
The gig had a handful of photographers, too many I would say. Awkward smile, forced smile, plain unhappy. I pulled off all those poses. While I waited to top up my drink, a conversation started with an eager music lover. He was a ‘fan’ of the acts performing that evening. Like how it goes, bro ke garnu huncha, ka basdai ho, UK ako kati bhayo, it was all covered. Unsurprisingly next on our guff list was the Nepali party scene in the UK. Just a month later there was a highly publicized launch of two event companies set to take place and for the next 10 minutes our talk completely focused on the organizers. When I say organizers, I mean the caste of those organizers. There I was standing opposite someone who no doubt is mature than me; certainly older and he was advising me to not attend that party as one of the organizer was a Chhetry.
If only the photographers were there at that instant. They would’ve captured a slightly bewildered ‘k re’ expression on my face. I had to ask him to repeat and justify himself for his request. It was plain simple for him; because people of Chhetry and Bahun castes are already doing well in Nepal and we can’t let them control us here in England. By that time I was just itching to get away from that bar side and find solace somewhere. Was this dude drunk or was he just speaking his mind? We can’t sugar-coat what people think and I know for a fact that there are many from our generation who have similar beliefs to the man I spoke to.
 I would like to believe that there are more who want to put such caste issues behind us and be a Nepali first and foremost. The view back home could be different but for me living in UK where there’s so many people of different nationalities. I don’t want to be known for my sub-caste, I don’t want to be known as a Limbu. Most importantly, I want to be known as a Nepali. We, ethnic minorities already face a hard time establishing our national identity here and what the man’s voice echoed was just indigestible for me.
I had to go to that party. I am actually proud that a Chetry, Shrestha and Thapa were working together to pull of such an occasion. We ask of each other’s name followed almost instantly by ‘ani thar ke ho’. There’s nothing wrong with that except at times it reminds us of the negative stereotypes that have been passed on from the previous generations. What is on writing today was voiced by me when the interviewer of BFBS Gurkha Radio asked for my view concerning the mounting tendency of jatiya’ sansthas being formed in the UK. What’s more is have you noticed how hypocritical some of us can be, we take our freedom of speech too far at times by cussing yo jaat or tyo jaat but when it comes to treasures such as Anuradha Koirala and Prabal Gurung, it all fades away. It’s high time we show respect to one another for the person we are, be more civil and forget the negatives that our parents may have told us to hold on to.
Let’s be Nepali was my message and a movement that I wanted to create. Thankfully there’s always an army of enthusiasts on Facebook who are game for almost anything!  And so we did by opting to change our surname to Nepali. As expected various janne-battho’s had to give that input ‘Lex, a caste called Nepali already exists’. Well, Hello Mr Wikipedia! So does the caste Nepal. I am fully aware of that and won’t mind being known as a Nepali. O and to let you know, the response was amazing. In the beginning there was about ten of us and it just increased. Those that joined this mini-movement do not actually know the reason behind why I wanted us to be known as a Nepali but I’m sure the picture that I’ve painted today is clear to see.
Published on Asadh Issue of Navyaata Magazine
Lex Limbu
Lex Limbu is a non-resident Nepali blogger based in the UK. YouTube videos is where he started initially followed by blogging. Join him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

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  1. More than once, i have heard some people saying-bahun,chhetri lai gorkhali bhanna mildaina. This has made me think again about the pride we ALL nepalese take for being a gorkhali or a ‘gurkha’. ‘Bahun harule desh bigarey’ is another common thing said. And we have this youtube account name called diliprai and tamagurali who feel quite free to say bahun chhetri are indian origins and only mongolians(kirats) are true nepali.
    Having said that we all know how nepali society has structured itself calling bahun chetri as superior class and them still think they really are.
    This is a very important issue to raise and i’m glad you’re raising it. I hope our new generation would just forget about caste system and not be judged on their last name.

  2. Ya but we should think other way round as well, lex why did u not mention that we also get abused from chetri and bahun, i have heard so many chetri and bahun calling us bhote, dumba, bheda bakra, leday, and ESP the ranas like to call us pakhey, I have caught them saying so many times, maybe its just a co incident that it happened to me , or u might not know because u have not met many of them, I can’t even tell how I was treated while making my passport and citizen card just for being not one of them, but since I came here in uk I dont care cause we all are Nepali 1st here and some bahun and chetri I met here are nice , my point is this article would have been so much better for me if you had mentioned other way round as well , after all don t forget we are the one suffering more

  3. I am a Nepali (Sherpa) living in New York. I recently went to the ANA convention 2011 DC program with an expectation to meet and have a good time with fellow Nepalese from all over USA…BUT only to be disappointed. At the hotel where the program was held, while checking in… I overhead a conversation between two Nepali ladies saying ” BHOTE haru pani k garna aayeko hola? ” and the comment was directed to us. It of course made me angry…the the short tempered “sanki” Nepali side of me wanted to go and scream in their face and be like… HO? but And before I made any move.. the smart Nepali side of me kicked in and I was like… Ignorant manche haru sanga k mukh lagnu? so I just smiled at them and left.
    Even though I pretended that little incident didnt mattered… but I could’t deny that somewhere it did make a difference and when I went to bed that night I realised that there were 3 kids with them.. and that had what kept me bothering. Kids learn from their environment,from elder people around them.. so these kids… if unfortunelty they were paying any attention to what the ladies were talking about… that day leanred that anyone who looked like me and my friend are NOT SUPPOSED to be Nepali. And this defintely is not a good lesson for Future Nepali.

    Nways This is a great article you posted.

  4. authenticity should always exist…hence, i believe there’s no need to change our castes into ‘nepali’. as u already hold a good public figure lex, i kindly request u not to emphasize too much in ur movement. plz think twice. we all simply need to discard the different levels of love and respect for different castes.

  5. definitely …you need to broaden your horizon lex. with no offending intensions; it is, perhaps, hard not to be able to respect one’s belief if you haven’t been through at all what that person has been through – there is no smoke without fire. I know you are a good blogger but if you seriously want to strip the fact out of any person’s belief maybe it’s worthwhile to do some research behind his belief. I personally really don’t want to advocate these ethnic minority norms but i do respect the truth and logical belief behind every act. maybe that person was raciest but so was Ghandhi..why is he ideal person in the world then ? we all have right to have our openions and beliefs and you surely don’t have right to use your freedom of speech wrongly, specially, being so hipocritically judjemental. if you really want to disple such biased and loathful beliefs perhaps you had better dig deep till you find it’s root.
    again I’m someone who admires your work…..

  6. frm dis above comment we can know dat u guys r such a stupid n realy hopless wat u think dat only brahamin n chettri came from another country den jst go n search in net abt ur history i think u r in zero level abt d own country history so my friend jst go n pick the history book of nepal den u will get d answer..u guys listen before blaming others first see urself where u r n for whom u r blaming????? jst dont blame 2 only brahmin n chettri….guys we r frm d same country n we r same so make a unity …….

  7. Lex, you are doing a brilliant job. To all others, I regret to say that this so called “Caste System” even in UK is truly spoiling our identity as Nepali. My background is completely different to all of yours above and so is my ethnicity. When I enquired to one of my Brit work colleague about caste system in UK, i was astonished to learn that even UK used to have one; with all of our sins, it was abolished 200 years ago. This signifies where Nepal is today, in conparision to UK and where we all Nepalis living in UK are. It is true that we must all maintain and preserve our cultural and social values and traditions wherever we go, but is it probably not time for us to leave these negative aspects behind and move on.

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