By Usha Wagle Gautam
Where ever they are, the Nepalese community adheres firmly to its cultural roots. In Qatar too, the community actively celebrates its core cultural values, giving everyone a look at their cultural traditions. They celebrate their festivals in large numbers and with full zest.
New Year is one of the country’s biggest festivals. The festival, celebrated worldwide on April 13 this year, featured parades, street dances and reunions. The Nepalese community in Qatar, more than 400,000 in numbers, were excited with anticipation ahead of the New Year, also known as Navavarsh and based on Nepal’s lunar calendar called Nepal Sambat.
Some Nepalese organisations decided to not wait for the occasion and celebrated the Nepalese New Year 2073 in advance, on Friday, April 8.
The Parbat Youth Society organised a musical programme. Popular singers Kalpana Kafle, Bimal Raj Chhetri, Sabitri Joshi and Jamuna Rana performed during the programme. The programme also aimed to raise funds for poor senior citizens in Nepal.
Kafle, who performed three songs, found “sheer excitement in the audience members”. Performing for the second time in Qatar, Kafle said the mood of the audience was much better this time.
Chhetri performed five of his popular hits. He too said the audience was more enthusiastic this time around than usual. He said he felt he was lucky to perform at a programme with a social cause. “The last programme I performed at was about supporting street children, and this time senior citizens; I am more than happy to have been a part of both programmes,” Chhetri said.
Rana performed four songs. She joined the audience during the performance. “It gives me a unique feeling whenever I perform in Qatar,” said Rana.
Joshi made her debut in Qatar, singing six of her songs.
Nepalese Musical Family (NMF) artiste Issa Gotani performed an amazing belly dance. This was followed by Kafle’s tube-light and candle dance — mixed with stunts — in which he broke ten mercury tube-lights and used five candles.
Chhetri and Kafle also participated in a dohari — a folk duet competition. The dohari was supported by NMF artistes.
The Nawa Prativa Cultural Family also arranged for a musical programme to mark the New Year at Shalimar Palace. The programme was co-ordinated by BN Rana and featured popular TV comedians Kumar Kattel and Arjun Ghimire, and folk singer Sunita Pariyar.
Kattel and Ghimire’s comedy act showcased the positive and negative aspects of social media websites such as Facebook. The act also touched on last year’s massive earthquake in the country, the trauma it caused, and the government’s reluctance to support the survivors. They also criticised the wrangling of politicians.
The performance itself revolved around the daily happenings of a village in Nepal. Kattel acted as a young crook who, along with his friends, commits petty crimes and mostly spends his time in Solmari (local name for a bar) by drinking dabaka. Ghimire played the role of the most cunning man in the village, expert in fooling the villagers with his inventive (and funny) ideas. The duo was performing for the first time in Qatar. Both are writers, assistant directors and actors in a television sitcom back in Nepal.
Pariyar performed four songs. “I felt very happy to perform here and get introduced to the Qatar-based Nepalese expats,” she said.
Non-resident Nepalese singing star Krishna BC covered the songs of singers Pramod Kharel and Bal Hari Rana. Artistes Anjana Tamang, Nirmala Lakhandi, Jina Magar, Raj Lopchan, Damodar Neupane, Ganga Gurung, Arjun Magar and Narayan Khadja also performed their songs. Non-Resident Nepalese Dancing Star 2015 Anajana Tamang, Nirmala Lakandi, Jina Magar Raj Lopchan, Janga Gurung, Arjun Magar, Dil Magar, Nirmal Rijal and Saroj BK performed songs on Nepalese songs ranging from cinema to folk to hip hop.
The Khotang Service Society (KSS) organised a welcome programme at Al Dosari Park to celebrate the New Year. The programme aimed to gather funds for an ambulance to be donated in a western district of Nepal. The organisers said that the turnout was more than they expected.
The programme was chaired by KSS chairman Prakash Gurung and attended by distinguished community leaders. It was hosted by general secretary Rudra Sharma Acharya, while second vice-chairman Ekraj Rai hosted the cultural section. First vice-chairman Tila Bahadur Khatri delivered the welcome speech. Member Jaibi Rai told the audience about KSS’ activities. Adviser Dev Raj Rai said the full list of donators will be soon made public.
At the cultural programme, poet Tirtha Sangam Rai recited some of his celebrated poems. Likewise, poets Lekh Karki, Umesh Kalikote and Prem Prasad Bhattarai read their poems and ghazals. Singers Hutta Raj Rai, Yogesh Khadka, Ugesh Rai and Rabin Rai performed songs. Singer Yogesh Khadka and Ugesh Rai were felicitated in the programme. Rai was recently declared as the winner of a singing competition while Khadka was the second runner-up.
Nuwakot Service Society organised a programme at Green Restaurant, along with a lucky draw. Sandhya Group and Naya Shakti Group organised a volleyball competition to mark the New Year. Dang Deukhuri Service Society also organised a get-together.
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