Nepal Festival in Melbourne

How do you describe in one word, the people from a country located in the Himalayas and is home to eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains, including Mount Everest?  The answer is ‘Beautiful’.  The beauty that is distilled from the village charm and the soft nature – Men in Bhadgaunle cap or Dhaka Topi and woman in traditional attire holding their rather distinct triangular national flag – Melbourne witnessed it all today at the Nepal Festival.

Nepalese are one of the fastest growing immigrants in Australia percentagewise. The Nepali migration has begun only recently to Australia. From 2004 to 2014 the population had an average annual growth of 27 percentage. Persons born in Nepal had the highest rate of increase between 2005 and 2015 with an average annual growth rate of 27.5%. However, this growth began from a small base of 3,800 persons in 2005. The 2011 census recorded 24,636 Nepal born people in Australia which is an increase of 439.6 percentage since the 2006 census.

Once upon a time, Nepal was a secret pride of Indian Hindus. The little Hindu Kingdom in the Himalayas, in their mind was a shining example of a theocratic state, contradicting the pseudo secularism of India. The self-destructive nature of India’s pseudo secularism, at best was an attempt to project a fake image of racial and religious harmony, but in essence is not fair to any religious or cultural group. A cooked up story of a royal massacre changed it all.

The Nepalese Royal Massacre occurred on 1 June 2001. Ten members of the family were killed including King Birendra and Queen Aishwarya by their son Prince Dipendra. Later, upon his father’s death, Prince Dipendra became de jure King of Nepal while in coma, and he died in the hospital three days after the massacre without recovering from this coma. Birendra’s brother Gyanendra became king after the massacre and the death of King Dipendra. But as such no-one believed the story suspecting a big conspiracy. This could be termed as a conspiracy theory but the fact remains that if it is not – only three countries could have pulled that stunt and one suspect, unfortunately is India.

Usually at every multicultural event in Melbourne, I try their traditional food, not just to satisfy my taste buds but also to learn more about their culture and culinary habits.  This time it was “Fish Fry set” priced at $15 from a food stall at the Princess walk near Federation Square selling Nepali Food. Unfortunately, I was served very cold food, which created a rather bad impression, which was made worse by the unhygienic way of food handling at that stall. It won’t be appropriate to gauge a whole community based on one food stall especially when Downunder Curry Nepalese & Indian Cuisine at Northcote is one of my favorite restaurants.

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