Books on the History of Thai Nepali Diaspora Launched

Shilash Thapa Tamang
Kathmandu, 18 August

The Thai Nepali Association has launched three books related to the history of Nepali emigrants in Thailand. Nepalese Diaspora History in Thailand and its Nepali version Thailandma Nepaliharuko Itihas was launched in an event organised at Hotel Yak and Yeti, Kathmandu, on the 17th of August. Published by Thai Nepali Association, the books have been compiled and edited by Ramesh Khadka. The books present a historical record of Nepali emigrants in Thailand, Myanmar and Burma in the past 150 years.  A Photo Story of the Nepalis living in Thailand was also launched in the event.

Historian and cultural expert Jagaman Gurung, renowned artists Deep Shrestha and Mithila Sharma, Nepal’s ambassadors to Thailand Dhan Bahadur Oli, several poets, academicians, journalists and Thai Nepali citizens attended the event. The speakers discussed the condition of the Nepali emigrants in Thailand and stressed on the need for integrating Thai Nepali citizens with Nepali language, literature and culture.

Speaking about the book, editor Khadka said, “The cultural boundary of Nepal extends beyond its political borders. I take it as my fortune to be able to write a book about Nepali migrants living Thailand with a history of around 80 to 150 years.” The book, he claimed, has been compiled after interviewing around 400 Thai Nepali citizens. “Their oral history has taken the form of a written history now,” he added.

Another speaker Prof. Ram Krishna Regmi said that the books showcase the socio-economic life of the Nepalis in Thailand and their desire to be connected with the Nepali soil. He expressed the belief that the books can change the existing perspective of looking at the Nepalese Diaspora in Thailand. Similarly, critic Dr. Dinesh Bhattarai said the books disclose a history that remained hidden for many decades. “It is time to leverage Nepali Diasporas for the welfare of the country. For this, the Government of Nepal should changes its policies accordingly,” Dr. Bhattarai added.

Speaking as the Chief Guest, Dr. Jagaman Gurung discussed the diplomatic relation between Nepal and Thailand. He said, “Thailand is a Buddhist country and Nepal, the birthplace of Lord Buddha. So they share a strong mutual creed.” He also thanked the Association for conducting different activities for the promotion of Nepali art and culture in Thailand.

President of Thai Nepali Association Miss Wanchana Rai said that the books hold a special significance as they trace the history of Thai Nepali people. “If history erodes, we are eroded too. But now the books have saved us,” said Miss Rai who also appealed to the Nepal Government to make necessary arrangements to make it easy for Thai Nepali citizens for their easy arrival to Nepal.