THE SHERPA- E-TALK
WITH MR. MURARI RAJ SHARMA, The Permanent Representative of Nepal to the
United Nations Organization
27 , 2004
Welcome to THE SHERPA-E-TALK. It is my honor to E-TALK
with Mr. Murari Raj Sharma, the Permanent Representitive of Nepal to the
United Nations Organization. Mr. Sharma was appointed Nepal's Permanent
Representative to the United Nations on 20 July, 2000. Prior to that he
served as Foreign Secretary, Special Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, Joint Secretary at the same Ministry as the head of its United
Nations, International Organizations and International Law Division, Joint
Secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs, where he was in charge of the
Planning and Special Services (Drug Control and Disaster Management) Division,
Joint Secretary of the Ministry of finance and headed its Budget Division.
Mr. Sharma, was elected Chairman of the Fifth Committee (Administrative
and Budgetary) of the United Nations on 17 July, this year.
Holding a master's degree in economics from Tribhuvan University of Nepal,
Mr. Sharma also taught at the same University before entering the Civil
Service. A Hubert Humphrey Fellow at the American University in Washington,
D.C., Mr. Sharma also holds a Master of Public and International Affairs
from the University of Pittsburgh in the United States, and a Bachelor
of Law from Tribhuvan University of Nepal.
Born in April 1951, Mr. Sharma originally
is from Bhojpur district of Nepal, married and has two sons.
Tsewang Sherpalama: My sources
told me that unlike most government officers in the higher positions,
you are neither from a rich nor a powerful family in Nepal. In fact, you
come from a simple middle class family in Bhojpur, Nepal. How did you
become the Permanent Representative of Nepal to the United Nations Organization,
since such a high position is traditionally appointed as per king's choosing,
or may I say blessing?
Murari Raj Sharma: Tsewangji, thank you very much. I really appreciate
this opportunity to participate in your E-TALK program.
Yes, I've come from a middle class family in Bhojpur. I have always done
my duty in public service as my duty to my family; with total dedication,
sincerity and integrity. Indeed, there were some hiccups before I could
come to New York. The Cabinet decided to send me but the final approval
was delayed by several months. Two successive Prime Ministers to intervene
on my behalf before my appointment was cleared.
Sherpalama: I have heard you say many times "no other ethnic community
of Nepal has done better job than the Sherpas to promote Nepal in the
globe." The Sherpa community appreciates your evaluation. May I ask
you what has the government of Nepal, in your opinion, done to reward
such efforts of the Sherpa people?
Murari Raj Sharma: The Government has been rather
slow in recognizing the tremendous contributions the Sherpas have made
to shine Nepal's name in the world. Over the last few years, I have seen
some positive changes. The government has begun to provide prominent mountaineers
in need with support for treatment and pension and helped establish foundations
and programs that will support the Sherpa community. That is just the
beginning. The Government needs to do more for progress and prosperity
of the entire northern belt of Nepal where our Sherpa brothers and sisters
Tsewang Sherpalama: You are
a great storywriter and a well-respected poet of Nepal. If you were asked
to write a story of a poem about a romantic relationship leading to marriage
between a Sherpa and a Bahun, what would be the summary of your message
to both societies for acceptance of their relationship? Or do you believe
there should be no such relations between Brahmins and Sherpas?
Murari Raj Sharma: The gist of my poem would
be this: Let the two budding flowers bloom in love to eternity and let
them weave their hearts and our nation together in to one.
Two years ago, one of my Brahmin friend's son married a Sherpa girl
in New York. I told my friend: Interracial marriages are the most powerful
glue to hold a nation together and promote social mobility and racial
harmony in the country. Unfortunately, many Brahmins and Sherpas are
still too conservative to approve of such marriages. I am sure this
will change with growing education and urbanization of the country.
Tsewang Sherpalama: You are
a Hindu and devoted vegetarian. You once told me that Buddha is in many
ways part of your life and beliefs. How do you feel as a Nepali that Nepal
where Buddha was born, has been declared as the Hindu Nation in our constitution
without the consent of the indigenous people of the land?
Murari Raj Sharma: According to Hindu scriptures,
Buddha is one of the ten reincarnations of Vishnu, the protector. Therefore,
I revere Buddha as much as I do Rama and Krishna, two of the other reincarnations
of Vishnu. Besides, Buddha was one of the greatest apostles of peace and
nonviolence that makes him so special in m belief. That said, declaring
a nation as secular or identifying it with a particular religion is a
political decision that should be made through an appropriate political
Tsewang Sherpalama: There
is no denying that the Bahun and Chetries are the dominant cast in the
political and administrative fields in Nepal for many years for many reasons.
However, most Janajatees view this as something that the Bahun and Chetries
have been doing to suppress Janajatees from sharing the power, or otherwise
hold Aryan superiority in the only Hindu kingdom in the world. How would
you, as a Nepali and a Brahmin, comment on such views?
Murari Raj Sharma: Tseawang Sherpalama I do not
blame the Janajatis if they think they have not received a fair deal in
public life. They have a point. Indeed, all citizens should have the freedom
and opportunity to pursue a vocation of their choice. The Government should
put in place policy to ensure equitable representation of all social groups
in important walks of national life, including in political and administrative
fields. This is a critical imperative for our national integration, economic
progress and social harmony to gain momentum.
At the same time, the janajatis should also show greater interest in
going into politics and administration. At least in administration, there
are no hurdles to entry other than the competitive examination conducted
by the Public Service Commission.
Traditionally, different communities have acquired special skills in
all societies. That phenomenon also exists in Nepal. Children know better
about things their parents do and feel comfortable in business. Mountains
lure the Sherpas. The Chetries, Rais and Limbus prefer the military and
police. The Brahmins, Chetries and Newars venture into politics. This
can change if the respective groups reorder their priorities.
Tsewang Sherpalama: There
is a practice of asking for a Nepali Nagarik Pramanpatra when Nepalis
with a Nepalese Passport renew their passport either at the Royal Nepalese
Consulate Offices or in Nepal Embassy. I know you do not look after this
issue, but you have studied law, in Nepal. Why should a Nepali with a
Nepalese passport have to prove his/her identity with a Nepali Nagarik
Pramanpatra? Isn't the Passport of Nepal the official document identifying
he/she is a Nepali? Is there a provision in the law of Nepal for such
requirement? AND IS IT TRUE THAT BAHUN AND CHETRIES ARE EXCLUDED from
Murari Raj Sharma: The existing law stipulates
that the passport must be issued against the Citizenship Certificate.
It has not somehow envisioned what should be done when a new passport
is issued to replace the old one. Therefore, the Citizenship Certificate
is the prerequisite to issue a new Nepalese passport. No one -- regardless
of his/her caste, creed, ethnic origin or political belief -- is exempt
from this requirement.
Once issued, the passport is sufficient to identify its holder as a
Tsewang Sherpalama: You are
now the Chairman of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary)
of the United Nations Organization. What is your role there and what does
this new position for you mean for Nepal?
Murari Raj Sharma: I was a chairman of the Fifth
Committee in the 57th session (2002-03) of the UN General Assembly. Last
year, the General Assembly elected me to the Advisory Committee on Administrative
and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) for three years, until the end of 2006.
The main work ACABQ is to examine the UN secretary-general's administrative
and budgetary proposals and to submit its recommendations to the General
Assembly. The Secretary-general presents his proposals to ACABQ first
before he presents them to the General Assembly. Finally, the secretary-general's
proposals and ACABQ’s recommendations go together to the General
Assembly for final decision.
As member of ACABQ, I am supposed to be an independent expert. In this
capacity, I will try my best to make the United Nations stronger, more
efficient and more effective. A better United Nations will help Nepal
as well as the entire international community. As a Nepalese citizen
I will do my best to promote and safeguard Nepal’s interest with
al strength my membership of this committee gives me in the United nations
Tsewang Sherpalama: You have
closely experienced all the great achievements (If there are any) and
the failures of the countries in the world including of the United States
of America. If you were to be the Head of State in Nepal today, what would
be the single greatest achievement of the other Nations that you would
implement in Nepal?
Murari Raj Sharma: Tsewangji, I will not be
the Head of State of Nepal. The Constitution of Nepal is clear about it.
From my perspective, nation building is the greatest challenge for
Nepal and for many other developing countries as well. Different countries
have had their own political and development experiences and we will
have to find our own. People, hydropower and tourism are the key for
our success and we must harness them to their full potential. We need
to focus our primary attention on lifting people out of poverty, illiteracy,
disease and discrimination. We must also develop hydropower and tourism
The immediate challenge for Nepal, however, is to resolve the Maoist
problem through peaceful means. We must stop the wanton loss of human
Tsewang Sherpalama: Is it true
that the Deuba government has been trying very hard to remove you as the
Permanent Representative of Nepal from the UN, but due to the fact that
you have accomplished many great things as a Permanent Representative
of Nepal at the UN and your popularity in Nepalese Community in NY, it
has made your removal much harder?
Murari Raj Sharma: First, let me thank you for
your kind words of appreciation. I am profoundly grateful for the support
the Nepalese community in New York has kindly and generously provided
As you know, I have completed my 4 yearlong tenure in June 2004. It is
time for me to move on. However, we do have a wrong system of recalling
the sitting ambassador without deciding who would replace him/her. As
a result. Nepal has had no ambassadors for last 4/5 years in some countries.
That is absurd. Other countries appoint new ambassadors before they ask
the existing ones to return home. I wonder why we cannot do the same.
Tsewang Sherpalama: I have
seen many envoys of high positions come and go from Nepal. I find you
are the most down to earth and open minded person of such a high position.
On behalf of the Sherpa community in NY, I wish you the best to you and
your family. Would you like to share any personal thought with our community?
Murari Raj Sharma: Tsewangji, thank you for
the compliments. The Sherpa community in New York is strong and growing.
It is reaching out to the Sherpas elsewhere in the United States as well
as to wider Nepalese d Diaspora and local communities in this country.
The Sherpa community in New York is also helping its compatriots back
home. I applaud all these activities vital to safeguarding the community's
interest here and promoting peace and progress in Nepal. I commend you
for the very dynamic and exemplary leadership you have personally been
providing to the Sherpa and Nepalese community in the New York area. Some
other able colleagues from the Sherpa community have also been making
remarkable contributions to this common cause. Please continue the good
Finally. I am deeply grateful to the Sherpa community and personally
to you for the robust and continued support given to me in New York.
I would like to thank
His excellency Mr. Murari Raj Sharma for participating in this SHERPA-E-TALK.
STAY TUNED FOR THE NEXT SHERPA-E-TALK with one of the hardest working Sherpa
parents who will share their experience of "working hard" for
the education of their children.
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