Barbara’s ‘Yogmaya & Durga Devi’ Released
Kathmandu, Nov 12 . Yogmaya & Durga Devi: Two Rebel Women of Nepal, a book by American anthropologist and researcher Dr. Barbara Nimri Aziz, has been released. In a virtual event organized on ZOOM by Yogmaya Foundation on Thursday, Mr. Giriraj Mani Pokharel, Nepalese Minister of Education, Science and Technology, released the book. The book has been published by Mandala Book Point.
Speaking on the occasion, novelist Neelam Karki Niharika, author of the critically acclaimed novel Yogmaya, credited Barbara for taking Yogmaya Discourse out of the Arun Valley, to which it was confined for years. She commended author Barbara for bringing Hajurvani (Yogmaya’s aphorism) to the limelight. She also underscored the author’s role in highlighting the contribution of Durga Devi, a child widow also from Bhojpur, who fought vehemently against corruption. She repeatedly urged the need to acknowledge the contribution of Ratna Bahadur Basnet, an ally of Yogmaya, who dies in custody while he was in prison for intended self-emulation against the indifference of the then administration. Her own book Yogmaya elaborately details out this event.
Another critic, Ninu Chapagain, critically applauded the book. He agreed with the author that Yogmaya’s political message did not reach the intended ‘lower’ layer of the Nepalese society. He identified three areas the author has noted as needing more research: study of Yogmaya’s creations other than Hajurvani, research and study of her jail experiences, and stress on local heroes as models. He however disagreed with the author’s claim that politics hijacked Yogmaya’s mission.
Speaking on the occasion, Barbara Aziz thanked everyone who assisted her in the work. She said her book is a pure Nepali production, as Nepali people inspired it and helped it materialize. She acknowledged Parijat and Neelam Karki Niharika—two Madan Puraskar winners—for their roles in bringing Yogmaya to the limelight. She said this event was to invite young Nepali people to celebrate the contribution of another women reformist Durga Devi’s, whose works have been shadowed. She further announced her plans to produce a Nepali book on Durga Devi shortly, in collaboration with Neelam Karki, which shall anthologize critical writings on Durga Devi.
Dr. Dipesh Neupane, General Secretary of Yogmaya Foundation introduced the life and work of Dr. Barbara vis-à-vis her works and association with Nepal.
Speaking at Chief Guest, Minister Giriraj Mani Pokharel congratulated Dr. Barbaza for the commendable work, and assured that the government shall lend every possible support in materializing Yogmaya Ayurveda University being planned at a comfortable location inside the Arun Valley.
Mayors Parshuram Nepal of Mahalaxmi Municipality, Birbal Rai of Sadananda Municipality, and Murari Prasad Khatiwada of Khandbari Municipality, and Chief of Sankhuwasabha District Coordination Committee, Mr. Suman Shakya congratulated author Barbara, and promised their support to all the initiatives to uphold Yogmaya’s contribution, including the establishment of the planned Yogmaya Ayurveda University and other memorials.
The event chair Ram Chandra Neupane, who is also the President of Yogmaya Foundation, announced the names of eleven detainees, who had been held prisoners along with Yogmaya by the administration to abort their plants to burn themselves in protest against the state’s apathy towards their reformative demands. He thanks all the writers, including Barbara, who have contributed towards foregrounding Yogmaya in the last few decades.
The event was organized on the occasion of the 80th Yogmaya Memorial Day.
Barbara’s book is also available on Amazon.
Rama Adhikari, TGT
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