First National Folklore Congress, Kathmandu

Nepali Folklore and Folklife 2006

(Nidhi Ratna Ghimire)


Since its establishment in the year 1995, Nepali Folklore Society (NFS) has been amply contributing to promote and preserve the folklore and folklife studies in the country. With its catalytic attributes and efforts, NFS has been common platform to all disciplines of the social studies such as sociology, anthropology, geography, political science, linguistics, literature medicine and architecture.

During the course of its activism, NFS has marked its first and second international congresses respectively in the years 2001 and 2003. Aiming to disseminate the output of these congresses to the experts and interested people, NFS has already carried out the newsletters covering the events and activities of the sessions. This report, thus, focuses on the events, activities and the sub-themes of the First National Folklore Congress held on 15-16 December 2006, Kathmandu.


For the grand success of the Congress, NFS received an encouraging supports from a number of organizations and institutions such as Nepal Academy, Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents, Sajha Prakashan, Bhrikuti Academic Publications, National Folk and Duet Song Academy, Nepali Kagaj Udyog, Nepal Sahitya Prakashan Kendra, and National Bookseller and Publishers Association of Nepal. The support provided by Nepal Academy stood remarkable since it sponsered the event and provided its library hall to venue the two-day Congress of NFS.


The Congress brought together hundreds of participants including above 150 regular participants representing various walks of life. Other observing and viewing the historic Congress were the students, media persons, volunteers and interested people. A total of 69 papers on various themes were presented during the Congress.


The Congress underlined the need to explore the diverse streams of folk group at the society and stressed on the holistic approach to study the people and places across the country. Sessions of the Congress were divided into seven sub-themes entitled:

1. Nepali Folklore and Folklife Study
2. Folklore, Gender and Power
3. Folklore and Folk Performing Art
4. Theoretical and Methodological Issues in the Study of Folklore
5. Folklore, Identity and Ethnicity
6. Folklore, Literature and Language
7. Folklore, Cultural Studies and Folk Practices

These sub-themes had focused on the matter related to the specific themes. In addition to these themes, inaugural and valedictory sessions, as described below, were also held.

Inaugural Session

The inaugural session of the Congress, held at the library hall of Nepal Academy on December 15, 2006 from 9:45-10:45, was chaired over by Prof. Tulasi Diwasa, the Chairman of the NFS.

On the occasion, Prof. Dr. Abhi Subedi delivered his welcome speech further shedding lights on significance of the NFS. Mr. Satya Mohan Joshi thanked the NFS through his speech for bringing folksongs, tales, and material culture of the real people in light. Honorable Minister for Culture, Civil Aviation and Tourism – Mr. Pradip Kumar Gyanwali, also the chief guest, had inaugurated the session igniting an artistic traditional lamp (Panas). He stated that the culture is a part of folklore. He further said that NFS has played the role of the preserver and promoter of cultures of Nepal.

Concluding the session, Prof. Tulasi Diwasa emphasized on the need of leading the folklore studies by Nepalese experts. He further thanked the Chief Guest and the support makers of the Congress.

Congress Session

Following the historic opening of the national Congress, the special second session entitled “Nepali Folklore and Folk Life Study” begun at the library hall of the Academy. In the session chaired over by Prof. Tulasi Diwasa, Prof. C.M. Bandhu (Palpa) presented a paper entitled “Tukka ko Saiddhantik Pakshya ra Gandharva Bolika Tukkaharu” (Theoretical Aspects of Idioms and Idiom in Gandharva Language).

On the occasion, Mr. Kusumakar Neupane (Pokhara) presented a paper named “Gandharvako Lok Sahitya: Nirantarata ra Paribartan” (Gandarvas’ Folk Literature: Continuity and Change) and Mr. Tej Prakash Shretha (Kathmandu) presented a paper on “Gopali Jati ra Tinko Lok Sahityako Chhoto Chinari” (Gopali Ethnicity and a Short Introduction to their Folk Literature).

The session witnessed Dr. Rudra Laxmi Shrestha (Lalitpur), who presented the salient characteristics of Gopali language through her “Kunchhali-Gopali Lok Bhasaka Kehi Maulik Bishesataharu” (Outstanding Features of the Kunchhali-Gopali Folk Language).

The Presentation by Mr. Jitendra Kumar Chaudhary (Rautahat) on “Gopalese Identity,” Mr. Amrit Yonjan (Ramechhap) “Lok Sanskritiko Sthalgat Anusandhanma Anusandhankartale Samana Gareka Chunautiharulai Pani Chunouti” (Challenge to the Challenges Faced by the Researchers on the Field Visit of Folklore and Culture), Mr. Luisang Waiba (Udayapur) on clan organization and oral history of Athpahariya Rais entitled “Clan Organization and Oral History of Athpahariya People of Dhankuta,” equally added bricks on the Session of the historic Congress.

On the occasion, Mr. Omkareshwor Shrestha, Kathmandu, came with his paper on “Dukainiko Rupbigyan” (Morphology of Dukaini) while Mr. Ajit Man Tamang (Nuwakot) presented the paper- “Duku Danuwarko Lokbhasa, Sahitya Tatha Pradarshankari Lok Sanskriti” (Folk Language, Literature and Performing Folk Culture of Duku Danuwar). Likewise, Mr. Man Bahadur Shahu (Dadeldhura), through his paper- “Marriage Practices of the Danuwars: A Study of Kinship Relation of Duku”, shed lights on the marriage practices of Danuwar while Yadav Subedi (Chitwan) dropped points over the income resources of Dukus through his paper- “Danuwar Jatika Amdanika Shrotharu” (Income Resources in Danuwar Ethnicity).

The third session of the Congress “Folklore, Gender, and Power” took place from 13 to 14 pm in the same day. In the session chaired over by Dr. Gajab Kumari Timilsina, Dr. Madhav Pd. Pokharel (Sunsari) presented a paper- “Myths and Ethics on Sex” further underlining the sex ethics in ancient Hindu and Western mythology. Another presenter, Ms. Suveckshya Shah (Kathmandu) came up with her paper under the title “Women and Politics: A Cultural Perspective” while Beena Poudel (Kirtipur) depicted the traditional thinking and culture of Nepali women through her paper “Nepali Mahila: Paramparagat Soch, Sanskriti ra Sudhar” (Nepalese Women: Change in Traditional Thoughts and Cultures.

Among others, Dr. Aruna Uprety (Kathmandu) presented “Lok Aushadhopachar ra Banaspati” (Folk Medicine and Herbs), bringing in light the importance and the usage of traditional medicines and methods. Likewise, Dr. Lal-Shyakarelu Rapacha (Okhaldhunga) presented a paper on the importance of ethnic language, linguistics and the folklife for the interpretation of history through his paper “Ethnolinguistic and Historical Connections in Kiranti Folktales.”

The fourth session of the Congress was held under the theme “Folklore and Folk Performing Art.” The Session chaired over by Prof. Dr. Madhav Prasad Pokharel brought in Dr. Harsa Bahadur Buramagar (Baglung) with his paper on “Galkot Khuwa Chhetrama Prachalit Lok Githaru.” Mr. Ram Saran Darnal (Kathmandu) with his “Nepali Sanggitma Badya Badan” (Musical Instruments in Nepali Music) through which he underlined the importance and history of Nepali folk musical instruments and their present situation.

Mrs. Beni Jangam (Kathmandu) talked about the importance and development of folk songs through the media and present situation of Nepali folk songs in her paper “Samakalik Lok Gitko Sthiti” (Condition of Contemporary Folksongs). Through his paper- “Juhari ra Dohori Git: Parampara ra Bartaman Sthiti,” Mr. Bhim Rana Jigyasu (Gorkha) highlighted the developmental history and commercial values of duet songs in Nepal while Dr. Dhrubesh Chandra Regmi, Shyam Saran Nepali, and Pramod Upadhyaya (Kathmandu) jointly presented a paper “Samajik Sasaktikaranka lagi Punarparibhasit Nepali Sanggit ko Aabasyakata” bringing in light the role of music at the context of social change.

During the session, Mr Krishna Pd. Neupane (Syangja) brought in light the duet songs prevailing in Syangja presenting a paper- “Syangjaka Nepali Dohori Lokgit ra Bibidh Sandarbha,” while Dr. Gajab Kumari Timilsina (Syangja) presented her paper on “Love and Pathos in the Folk Song of Nepal.” Dr. Jay Raj Panta (Doti) presented Ashika Geet at Doti through his paper “Doteli Ashika Geet.” Dr. Ganga Prasad Akela (Dhanusa) talked about the folk and traditional devotional song and their use and importance in the folklife in Mithila region through his paper- “Jivanka Saswat Pakshako Parichayak Mithilanchalko Loksankirtan.”

Through his paper “Dhannach: A Folk Culture,” Mr. Kamal Thoklihang (Panchthar) underlined that the Limbu folk dance- Dhannach- more than a form of dance is a culture representing the whole Limbu culture. Subi Shah (Dhading) added flavor in the session by performing a dance and playing madal while presenting his paper entitled- “Khyali Nach Eka Charcha.” Mr. Bulu Mukarung (Bhojpur) shed lights on the importance of musical instrument and music on the base of ethnicity through his paper- “Nepali Lokbaja: Jatiya Sandarbhama.”

The fifth session began on the 16th December under the theme “Theoretical and Methodological Issues in the Studies of Culture.” The session chaired over by Prof. Dr. Abhi Subedi floated in various papers including Mr. D.N. Gongol’s (Kathmandu) “Nepali Architecture and the Disappearing Tradition” through which he depicted the importance of traditional architecture for the contemporary society. With his paper - “Historicity through Folk Elements: A Phenomenological Reading of Abhi Subedi’s Yooma,” Mr. Puspa Raj Acharya (Kirtipur) exposed the way of using the mythical symbols further revitalizing them as a use of folk elements. Mr. Tara Lal Shrestha (Makawanpur) likewise, presented his paper based on the oral tradition of folk culture based on the subaltern people through his paper “Orality, Writing and Representation of the Subaltern: Issue of Sustaining a Cultural Identity.”

The Session ahead witnessed “Folklore of Nepal: Sources for Social and Political History,” a paper presented by Prof. Dr. Tri Ratna Manandhar (Kathmandu) through which he brought in light the sources of the folk culture while Prof. Dr. Yogendra Yadav, Prof. Dr. Tej Ratna Kansakar, Mr. Bala Ram Prasain and Krishna Chalise (Kirtipur) jointly presented the paper entitled “Documenting a Nonliterate Language: A Case of Baram.” Prof. Dr. Abhi Subedi (Tehrathum) termed the traditional and folk material as the stuff of commercial value for metropolitan visitors through his paper “Folk Fetish.” Similarly, Prof. Dr. Govinda Raj Bhattarai (Jhapa) underlined the folk culture and folklore for the sustainable development and strengthening of the democracy in the world through his paper “New Dimensions in the Study of Folk Element: An Appraisal of New Humanitarian Spirit.”

Mr. Bhim Narayan Regmi (Syangja) floated a paper on “Kathya Bhasako Samagri Sankalan ra Alekhan: Nepali Rastriya Pathsangrahako Anubhava” (Collection and Transcription of Spoken Language: An Experience from Nepali National Corpus) on the occasion while Bhim Prasad Nepal (Khotang) finally presented a paper on “Nepalma Loksanskritiko Awastha ra Samrakshyan” present status and preservation of Folk Culture in Nepal.

The sixth session took place from 11am to 12pm at the academy hall with the theme- “Folklore, Identity and Ethnicity.” In the Session chaired over by Dr. YogendraYadav, a total of seven persons had presented their papers including Mr. Lok Nath Verma’s (Banke) “Abadhi Lok Bhasa ra Lok Sanskriti.”

The session witnessed another paper entitled “Rastriyata Samabeshikaran: Fattepur, Saptarika Musaharharuko Eka Adhyayan” by Nani Ram Khatri (Kirtipur) discussing the backward Musahar due to overlooking national policy further stating the need of an inclusive policy. In the Session, Mr. Bijaya Kumar Rauniyar (Mahottari) presented a paper on the Maithili folk identity and culture named “Maithili Identity and Ethnicity in Folklore.”

“Abadhi Lokkatha ra Lokjivan” was the next paper presented by Mr. Bikram Mani Tripathi (Kapilbastu) which explained about the valor, love, sympathy, ghost, evil spirit as used in the different aspects of folklife and folktales. Mr. Madhu Prasad Aryal, (Kapilbastu) through his paper entitled “Bukune ra Rupamati Lok Kathama Abhiprayako Adhyayan,” brought in light the motif in the folktale prevailing at Jyagdikhola, Syangja.

Shova Kant Gautam floated a paper entitled “Nepali Ukhanma Krishi Prayogko Avastha” (Description of agricultural practice in Nepali proverbs).

The seventh session that begun at 12 pm with the theme- “Folklore, Literature and Language” chaired over by Dr. Govinda Raj Bhattarai. The session witnessed a paper by Mr. Badri Pd. Sharma “Bidari” (Kanchanpur) entitled “Kashiramko Bharatko Prastuti ra Bhasik Adhyayan.” Mrs. Sabitri Malla Kakshyapati (Palpa) also presented a paper in the session entitled- “Atit Chetanako Punasthapanama Loksrijanako Mahattwa.” Through the paper, she claimed that one can peep into the ancient tradition and acquire knowledge vicariously. Raj Kumar Gandharva (Lamjung) presented- “Karkha Gayan: He Barai…!” one of the most popular folk songs of the Gandharva.

Similarly, Mr. Shiva Prasad Poudyal (Butwal) presented the paper “Nepali Ukhanma Pratibimbit Sthaniyata” (Reflection of local color in Nepali proverb) and Mr. Prem Chhota presented the paper “Hanumannach Baglungko Prachintam Loksanskriti” (Hanuman dance: Ancient folk culture of Baglung). Mr. Gopal Thakur (Bara) presented a paper on “Element of Republicanism in Bhojpuri Folklore and Literature,” while Mr.Kapil Dev Lamichhane (Bhairahawa) came up with “Gaunkhane Katha Loksanskritiko Sambahakko Rupama,” Mr. Moti Parajuli (Kaski) on “Nepali Lokkathama Narabali: Sampkshipta Avalokan,” Mr. Bajramuni Bajracharya (Kirtipur) on “Gaijatrama Pradarshan Garine Byangya Sahitya Ka:tu Ra Naykhin Chwayeke.”

Among others, Dr. Bishwo Nath Bhandari (Dhankuta) and Mr. Ram Kishun Uranw (Sunsari) presented paper under the theme- “Jhangad (Uranw) Lok Bhasako Uchharan Prakriya” and Bam Kumari Budha (Rolpa) on “Nagara bajako Bibhinna chala.”

The eighth session had the theme- “Folklore, Cultural Studies and Folk Practices.” It was started at 2:30 and was chaired by Dr. Beena Poudel.

The Session witnessed the paper by Mr. Madhusudan Subedi (Dang) on “Folk knowledge of Acute Respiratory Infections Management among Tamangs in Nepal”; while Mr. Tejeswor Gonga (Bhaktapur) presented paper on “Lokjivan ka Kriyatmak Lilaharu”. Mrs. Neelam Karki came up with “Chhaupadi: Impact of Cultural Health” she brought in light the tradition and bad impact to the health of women. Mr. Subash Kumar Bitha floated a paper on “Bhojpuri Lok Samajma Chhath Parvako Sthan”; While Mr. Dik Bahadur Rai presented the paper on “Athpahariya Raiharule Garne Puja raTyasko Samajik tatha Dharmik Mahattwa”. Mr. Ram Krishna Chaudhary (Kailali) presented “Village Ruling System of Far Western Region’s Indigeneous Tharu Race of Nepal.” Mr. Satya Mohan Joshi presented the paper on “Mastoka Dhamisaga Sakhsatkar” as the last presenter of the session.

Valedictory Session

Prof. Tulasi Diwasa, the President of the Nepali Folklore Society, had chaired the session. Aruna Uprety stated that she got ample opportunity to introduce herself through NFS. D.N. Gongol said that he was proud of NFS as it accepted architecture as a part of its priority. Elke Selter talked on the importance of folkculture and the policy of UNESCO. Govinda Raj Bhattarai praised the great contribution of NFS for producing expert fieldworkers and giving new dimension of folk culture studies. Mr. Jal Krishna Shrestha, joint secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation had assured that the government policy for culture shall be made in future. Prof. Abhi Subedi gave vote of thanks to participants and talked about contribution of NFS for cultural studies in a short span of time. Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Satya Mohan Joshi lauded the NFS for its contribution in studying and promoting the Nepali folk culture. Finally, Prof. Diwasa concluded the session with his remarkable speech on folklore and folklife.