[The mother of three, one of the most non-controversial and popular members of the royal family, had been among the first to settle down to a changed way of life since the abolition of monarchy, taking her children to the cinema during their school vacation like any other ordinary mom, going paragliding and being the chief guest at a pageant. (Watch video here)]
Kathmandu, Oct 8: Two years after Nepal's parliament officially declared the world's only Hindu kingdom a secular republic, Nepal's former princesses will Friday embrace their new status as law-abiding commoners with the inauguration of a charitable trust pledged to social service.
Nepal's last king Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah is inaugurating the Himani Trust, a non-profit charitable organisation started by his daughter-in-law, the former crown princess Himani Rajya Laxmi, in collaboration with six more women, including his daughter and three nieces.
The trust was formally registered with the district authorities last week even as Himani, a scion of the former Indian princely state of Sikar, celebrated her 35th birthday.
|Ex-Princess Himani Shah|
The mother of three, one of the most non-controversial and popular members of the royal family, had been among the first to settle down to a changed way of life since the abolition of monarchy, taking her children to the cinema during their school vacation like any other ordinary mom, going paragliding and being the chief guest at a pageant.
She has also been a regular visitor to the old-age home on the premises of Nepal's revered Pashupatunath temple, taking blankets and fruits for the residents.
'Since the last one-and-a-half years, the Crown Princess' secretariat began to receive public grievances,' said Pawana Shah, a relative of the former royals and also the secretary of the Himani Trust.
'People brought their sorrows and problems to her from far and wide. There were calls to help renovate a school building, repair a run-down bridge and help provide drinking water supply. That inspired her to open a trust.'
Funded initially by its seven members, the trust has pledged to work in five areas. Besides the welfare of children, youth, women and the elderly, it will also focus on health, education, employment and developmental work.
When she was the crown princess, Himani, as per tradition, was regarded as an adjutant of her husband, crown prince Paras.
However, Shah said the trust will be run by the seven-member board without any interference either by the former crown prince or the king.
It will also see the debut in public life by deposed king's daughter Prerana, who has stayed away from limelight till now. The former king's three nieces - daughters of his youngest brother Dhirendra, who perished in the tragic royal massacre in the palace in 2001 - are also on the board.
Of them, Sitashma Shah has already started a new chapter in her life by starting a boutique earlier this year run in partnership with her cousin Rochana Shahi and friend Vivek Upadhya.
Shah dismissed reports that the former crown princess had roused the ire of the Maoists, the former guerrillas whose 10-year insurrection led to the downfall of monarchy in Nepal.
A section of the media had reported recently that Himani, who had visited Sindhupalchowk district in northern Nepal to inaugurate a drinking water supply project, was obstructed by Maoist cadres, who called it a political ploy to gather support for the restoration of monarchy.
'It was not true,' she said. 'There was tremendous public support for her. The trust is a non-political organisation solely focusing on social service.'
(Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Rejected Eleven Times, The Lone Candidate Sticks For Twelfth Round - October 10, 2010
|The Lone Candidate for PM's Office|
Kathmandu, Nepali Congress parliamentary party president Ram Chandra Poudel failed to get elected as prime minister in the eleventh round of election at the legislature parliament in the Constituent Assembly (CA) Hall at Naya Baneshwor on Thursday.
Poudel secured 104 votes in his favour while 1 vote was cast against him. 40 lawmakers opted for 'no vote' section in the ballot paper. Altogether 145 lawmakers participated during the voting, Nepal News reports.
The Business Advisory Committee has now decided to hold the 12th round of elections on October 10 at 1 pm.
The Nepali Congress has said it would not quit the race unless there is a "package deal" on major issues - peace process, constitution-drafting and power-sharing.
A meeting of the top leaders of the big three parties ahead of yesterday's vote was inconclusive with the NC refusing to budge from its stance.
UCPN (Maoist) and UML have requested Speaker Nemwang to use his 'prerogative' to suspend the clause on prime ministerial election to end the impasse. (ANI)
[A spokesman for the State Department says adoptions from Nepal have been suspended because the U.S. government is concerned that children are being trafficked for adoption. The State Department has issued warnings about adoptions from Nepal since March.]
BOSTON — A woman from Revere is caught in an international adoption nightmare. Dee Dee Martin has been in Kathmandu, Nepal for more than two months, unable to bring her newly adopted daughter back to Massachusetts with her. The U.S. closed adoptions from Nepal because they fear some of the children are being stolen and sold.
The desire to be a mother was so strong for Martin that she went halfway around the world to fulfill it.
“I’m a single woman. The Nepal adoption program was open to single women and there weren’t many that were open to single women, so I did come alone,” Martin said.
“I really thought that I would be following in the footsteps of other Americans who did this in July, and they were in country and out of country within a three-week time period. Some even less than that.”
An Unrecognized Adoption
|Dee Dee Martin and her adopted daughter Bina in Nepal|
But Martin has been in Nepal for more than two months, living in a rented apartment with her adopted daughter. They can’t come back here because the U.S. won’t recognize the adoption.
Around the time Martin arrived in early August, the U.S. closed all new adoptions from Nepal. But Martin had Nepalese government approval and had taken custody of a 4-year-old girl named Bina. Martin thought families in the middle of adoptions would still be processed, but that hasn’t happened. She says the U.S. Embassy won’t give her specific information about her case and what’s taking so long.
“They just say that you are deemed as ‘inconclusive,’ and then the Embassy, because you are inconclusive, their hands are tied to issue a visa at this time,” Martin said.
Concerns About The Nepalese Adoption Process
A spokesman for the State Department says adoptions from Nepal have been suspended because the U.S. government is concerned that children are being trafficked for adoption. The State Department has issued warnings about adoptions from Nepal since March.
“If the State Department says, ‘we are concerned about irregularities in this country,’ do not go,” says Victor Groza, an expert on adoption from Case Western Reserve University.
Groza says Martin and others who are trying to complete adoptions in Nepal should have listened, because the U.S. doesn’t give grace periods when it closes countries for adoption.
“There’s not very much these women can do, because it’s really about our government saying, ‘this government is not a credible government,’” he said.
The State Department says it’s reviewing the case of Martin and at least five other U.S. families in Nepal waiting for approval. U.S. officials say they are working hard to help these families caught in the middle of the process, but they say the Nepalese government is not cooperating. This red tape seems a world away from Martin’s home in Revere, which she shares with her 80-year-old mother, Dorothy.
“This is the car seat that I bought for her,” Dorothy said.
A boxed-up car seat sits by the door; a pair of purple rain boots by the window.
“She loved children, always loved children, babysat everybody’s’ children, and so this is a dream come true for her to have her own child, it’s really wonderful,” Dorothy said.
Martin is a certified foster parent and pursued domestic adoption. But she was told it would take a long time for her, as a single, 45-year-old woman, to adopt a child. That’s why she looked overseas. Her mother says she’s frustrated there’s nothing she can do to help her daughter, who has done so much to help her.
“I get around myself and do things, but she’s such a support with everything and I miss her terribly,” Dorothy said.
Sens. John Kerry and Scott Brown co-signed a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last month, saying Martin and other families are “enduring extreme emotional and financial burdens while their childrens’ cases are investigated further.”
The letter urges the U.S. government to resolve the cases quickly. In Martin’s case, she’s on unpaid leave from her job selling skin care products to salons. Her company extended her leave, but she fears she’ll be fired if she doesn’t return by Oct. 25. Despite this, Martin says she’s not leaving Nepal without Bina.
“It is absolutely not an option to leave my child in this country. I could not put her in any kind of boarding school or pay to board her back in an orphanage,” Martin said.
“My daughter is 4-years-old. She is very aware of who I am. The orphanage when we first met let her know that ‘this is your mummy’ — it would destroy her psychologically if I ever did that.”
Martin says she has police reports showing Bina was abandoned at 6-months-old, starving and with a cleft palate.
Police posted ads but nobody claimed her. She has been in the same orphanage for more than three years. Martin says these circumstances prove to her Bina is in fact an orphan and deserves to come to Revere with her new mother.