Hillary Clinton switches over to Nepali

April 14th, 2009 - 3:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Chelsea Kathmandu, April 14 (IANS) Known for her oratorical skills and prowess with the pen, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has now added a new feather in her cap - by switching over to Nepali.
On Tuesday, as Nepal ushered in a new Nepali ethnic year, Clinton greeted the new republic, which has become of strategic importance to her government, sending “best wishes for a happy 2066″.

“Naya barshako suba kamana”, the message painstakingly said in erroneous Nepali, meaning good wishes for the new year.

Then switching back to the more familiar terrain of the queen’s English, she hoped that “in this New Year, Nepal will continue on the path to peace and prosperity”.

Clinton said she saluted “the spirit of tolerance and shared heritage that brings Nepalis together regardless of their differences on this day to celebrate and exchange good wishes”.

Clinton’s predecessor Condoleezza Rice had not sent her best wishes to Nepal at the start of the previous Nepali new year, let alone look up the handbook of Nepali phrases.

But Clinton however nurtures fonder memories of the former Himalayan kingdom which she had visited in 1995 with daughter Chelsea as the First Lady of a US governed by her husband President Bill Clinton.

The Americans finally beat their diplomatic rivals in Nepal — India and China — with the former being preoccupied with elections that would kick off from Thursday and the latter fuming at the fresh spate of protests by Tibetans in India and Nepal.

The goodwill message will come as a pat on the back for Nepal’s ruling Maoist party that is lobbying with Washington to take it off the state department’s list of terror organisations banned in the US.

From Tuesday, Nepal enters the new year 2066, according to the Vikram Sambat, the ancient calendar used by Indian emperor Vikramaditya.

The previous year saw momentous changes in the sleepy kingdom, transforming it into a federal republic, bringing the Maoist guerrillas to power through the ballot and ousting deposed king Gyanendra from his ancestral palace to turn it into a museum.

It was also marked by a sharp rise in crime and a crippling power crisis, which has dampened celebrations.

The Maoists, who fought a 10-year war to end Nepal’s 239-year-old institution of kings, began the new year on a cautious note.

Earlier, the government had mulled promulgating a revolutionary 11-month calendar.

However, the last month of Chaitra, which was to have been axed, finally received a reprieve with the new calendar having 12 months as in the past.

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