Bahá'í Faith in Nepal

Bahá'í Faith in Nepal

The Bahá'í Faith in Nepal begins after a Nepalese leader encountered the religion in his travels before World War II.Citation
last = Effendi
first = Shoghi
authorlink = Shoghi Effendi
title = Appreciations of the Bahá'ís Faith
journal = The Bahá'í World of the Bahá'í Era 94-96
volume = VIII
publisher = Bahá'í World Centre
pages = pp. 63-65
year = 1938-1940
url = http://bahai-library.com/books/appreciations.html
isbn =
] Following World War II, the first known Bahá'í to entire Nepal was about 1952cite web | url = http://bahai-library.com/index.php5?file=handscause_statistics_1953-63&chapter=all | title = The Bahá'í Faith: 1844-1963: Information Statistical and Comparative, Including the Achievements of the Ten Year International Bahá'í Teaching & Consolidation Plan 1953-1963| author = Compiled by Hands of the Cause Residing in the Holy Land | pages = pp. 9, 104] cite web
last = Sarwal
first = Anil
title = Bahá'í Faith In Nepal
work = Bahá'í Articles
publisher = Prof. Anil Sarwal
date =
url = http://www.sarwal.org/BahArt/Bahai%20Index.htm
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-09-04
] and the first Nepalese Bahá'í Local Spiritual Assembly elected in 1961, and its National Assembly in 1972.cite book
author= Marks, Geoffry W., (Ed.)
year= 1996
title= Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986: The Third Epoch of the Formative Age
publisher= Bahá'í Publishing Trust, Wilmette, Illinois, US
id= ISBN 0-87743-239-2
url= http://bahai-library.com/?file=uhj_messages_1963_1986
] For a period of time, between 1976 and 1981, all assemblies were dissolved due to legal restrictions.cite web
last = Universal House of Justice
first =
authorlink = Universal House of Justice
title = To the Followers of Bahá'u'lláh in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, Bahá'í Era 153
work = Ridván 1996 (Four Year Plan)
publisher = Bahá'í Library Online
year = 1966
url = http://bahai-library.com/file.php5?file=uhj_ridvan_1996_southasia&language=All
accessdate = 2008-05-04
] The 2001 census reported 1211 Bahá'ís,Citation
first = Central Bureau of Statistics
last =
author-link =
contribution = Table 17: Populations by Religion, five year age group and sex for regions
contribution-url = http://www.cbs.gov.np/Population/National%20Report%202001/tab17.htm
title = 2001 Census
year = 2001
pages =
place = Nepal
publisher = National Planning Commission Secretariat
url = http://www.cbs.gov.np/
doi =
id =
] and since the 1990's the Bahá'í community of Nepal has been involved in a number of interfaith organizations including the Inter-religious Council of Nepal promoting peace in the country.cite web
coauthors = U.S. State Department
title = Nepal - International Religious Freedom Report 2007
publisher = The Office of Electronic Information, Bureau of Public Affair
date = 2007-09-14
url = http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2007/90232.htm
accessdate = 2008-09-05
]

Early days

In the 1920-1940 period Col. Raja Jai Prithvi Bahadur Singh, Raja Of Bajang, traveled to Europe and the Americas and heard of the Bahá'í Faith through contact with individuals like Lady Blomfield.

The first known entry of members of the Bahá'í Faith to Nepal was before 1953 when Mr. Kedarnath Pradhan from Sikkim came to Kathmandu along with his family. Following conversions and further pioneers the first Local Spiritual Assembly in Nepal was that of Kathmandu city which was elected in 1961.

By 1963 the local assemblies of Nepal included: Bhaktapur, Biratnagar, Dharan, Kathmandu, and Pokhra, with small groups of Bahá'ís in Bodegaon, Dabeha, Nalar, and Dolkhashahr. Isolated Bahá'ís were in Bakloong, Damdame, Rakhughati, and Rakheshwav. Perhaps the first Hand of the Cause to visit Nepal was Rúhíyyih Khanum in 1964. [Citation
last = Bahá'í International Community
first =
author-link = Bahá'í International Community
title = Madame Rúhíyyih Rabbáni, leading Bahá'í dignitary, passes away in Haifa
periodical = One Country
volume=11
issue=4
pages =
year = January-March 2000
url = http://www.onecountry.org/e114/e11401as_Rabbani_passing.htm
] In 1969 Hand of the Cause Adelbert Mühlschlegel visited a number of central Asian countries including Nepal at the request of the Universal House of Justice. [http://bahai-library.com/books/bw18/609-635.html "The Bahá'í World", Vol 18, Part 5, "In Memoriam: Adelbert Mühlschlegel 1897-1980"] ]

Growth

With Hand of the Cause Ali-Akbar Furutan representing the Universal House of Justice, the Bahá'ís of Nepal first elected their National Spiritual Assembly in 1972 during the reign of King Mahendra.

The national and local assemblies were all dissolved between 1976 and 1981 due to legal restrictions. The local and national assemblies were reelected in and since 1982 [ [http://bahai-library.com/asia-pacific/Notes%20on%20Research/national_spiritual_assemblies.htm Notes on Research on National Spiritual Assemblies] Asia Pacific Bahá'í Studies.] - this dissolution and reformation was during the reign of King Birendra.

In 1984 the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Nepal printed "Selected Writings on Baha'i Administration" in parallel English and Nepali scripts.cite web | last = MacEoin | first = Denis | coauthors = William Collins | title = Compilations | work = The Babi and Baha'i Religions: An Annotated Bibliography | publisher = Greenwood Press's ongoing series of Bibliographies and Indexes in Religious Studies | url = http://bahai-library.com/books/biblio/compilations.html | accessdate = 2008-08-05 | pages = entry #114]

On 29 September 1990 Hand of the Cause Collis Featherstone died and is buried in Kathmandu. [Citation
last = Hassall
first = Graham
author-link = Graham Hassall
title = H. Colllis Featherstone
newspaper = Bahá'í World News
date = October 1990
url = http://www.bahai-library.com/asia-pacific/featherstone.htm
]

Demographics

Though it is illegal to convert others, occasional reports of police harassment, and reports of discrimination based on religious belief or practice by 2001 the national census reported 1211 Bahá'ís (but includes children down to 0-4yrs old - indeed the largest segment of population was 10-14 years old.) There were more women than men, and of the 5 Divisions more Bahá'ís lived in the Eastern Division and the least in the Western one.

Multiplying interests

Since the early 1990s the Bahá'ís of Nepal have involved themselves in diverse concerns in Nepal.

One group of Bahá'ís setup an organizetion "Education, Curriculum, and Training Associates", or "ECTA", which means "unity" in Nepali, in 1997 to promote rural development strategies and programs that can be done at low cost by village groups without extensive outside aid. [Citation
last = Bahá'í International Community
first =
author-link = Bahá'í International Community
title = ECTA focuses on grassroots empowerment in Nepal
periodical = One Country
volume = 12
issue = 04
year = January-March 2001
url = http://www.onecountry.org/e124/e12411as_ECTA_sidebar.htm
doi =
id =
] Nepalese Bahá'ís joined the Inter-religious Council of Nepal promoting peace in the country who have also met with CPN Maoist leadership [Citation
last = nepalhumanrightsnews.com
first =
author-link =
title = Religious Leader hold discussion with Maoists in Nepal
newspaper = Nepal Human Rights News
date = 2005-06-23
url = http://www.nepalhumanrightsnews.com/news.asp?id=381
] and consulted on AIDS issues. [Citation
last = Sarkar
first = Sudeshna
author-link =
title = World News: Nepal: South Asian religious leaders unite to fight AIDS
newspaper = newkerala.com (India)
date = 2003-12-02
url = http://www.bahaindex.com/news/world-news-nepal-south-asian-religious-leaders-unite-to-fight-aids.html
]

A "Sacred Gifts for a Living Planet" conference in Nepal in November 2000 was organized by the Alliance of Religions and Conservation and the World Wide Fund for Nature included Bahá'ís. [Citation
last = United Methodist News Service
first =
author-link = United Methodist News Service
title = United Methodists join 'Sacred Gifts' event in Nepal
newspaper = United Methodist News Service
date = 2000-12-06
url = http://bahai-library.com/newspapers/110600.html
]

The Club of Budapest offered a "Change the World -- Best Practice Award" given to four international educational projects that aim at empowering people through learning and enabling them to take full control of their economic development. Marcia Odell was one of the awardees, representing the Women's Empowerment Program (WEP) in Nepal, which has developed an approach to microfinance and the empowerment of women. The WEP program has reached more than 130,000 women in Nepal and has also received considerable support from the Bahá'í community of Nepal. [Citation
last = Bahá'í International Community
first =
author-link = Bahá'í International Community
title = Baha'i-inspired educational system for the poor of the world honored by the Club of Budapest
newspaper = Bahá'í World News Service
date = 2002-12-22
url = http://news.bahai.org/story/185
]

In December 2003 a conference entitled "Education: The Right of Every Girl and Boy," brought together representatives of five South Asian countries by government officials and members of the Bahá'í communities: Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka and was co-sponsored and supported by: the Bahá'í International Community, UNESCO, World Vision India, National Foundation for India, Save the Children UK, Commonwealth Education Fund, and India Alliance for Child Rights. [Citation
last = Bahá'í International Community
first =
author-link = Bahá'í International Community
title = Girl highlights conference theme
newspaper = Bahá'í World News Service
date = 2003-12-24
url = http://www.upliftingwords.org/News/20031224India.htm
]

In 2006 Bahá'ís participated in a international youth conference organized by Hindu Vidyapeeth Nepal. It was set as a peace conference with the theme of 'Deepening our Spirituality' in Kathmandu. [Citation
last = Peace Journalism
first =
author-link =
title = Nepalese Organization Hosts International Interfaith Youth Conference on Peace (Nepal, International)
newspaper = Peace Journalism
date = 2006-09-25
url = http://www.pluralism.org/news/article.php?id=13640
]

ee also

*History of Nepal
*Religion in Nepal
*Freedom of religion in Nepal
**Spiritual ecology

References

External links

* [http://www.valleyfreeradio.org/2008/05/a-bahai-perspective-05102008/ Warren Odess-Gillett interviews Sita Roohi, a Bahá’í from Nepal now living in the US…]


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