Corey Black

Corey Black (Jagaran Media Center – JMC): Corey holds an undergraduate degree in political studies from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. He then obtained a Masters degree in International Politics from the University of Edinburgh. After returning to Canada, Corey conducted environmental and energy policy research for Gerard Kennedy, a Canadian federal Member of Parliament, and worked as part of Mr Kennedy’s communications and outreach team during the 2011 federal election. Corey’s AP fellowship was supported by the Human Rights Internet in Ottawa. After his fellowship Corey wrote: “If I do decide to pursue [a PhD], this experience will surely influence my research and critique of schools of thought.”

The Fall of a Nepali Icon

18 Aug

Suvash Darnal (source: Advocacy Project)

Few people I’ve personally met have left an indelible impression on me for their greatness, as in over the course of our conversations, an existential crisis gradually looms as the value of my being gradually fades into inconsequence and my ego dissolved, as compared to this looming impressionable tower of an individual. Their ideas, vision, drive and sensibility wow one’s senses to admiration, while their accomplishments shrinks one’s own worth to embarrassment and forces one to rethink the life plan and work ethic.

At 31 years of age, Suvash Darnal had already founded or co-founded three Nepali organizations of political and social influence, while traveling the world lecturing and learning from leading institutions and making friends and admirers of international leaders. His entire being was self-made, and his life a true rags to riches story to which the American Dream can only be envious. A soft-spoken man of conviction who aggressively pursued his ideals without prejudice or malice towards his foes, he grew to become one of, if not, the most respected and influential Dalit leaders in Nepal and south Asia, elevating an entire segment of the population’s plight onto the national and international stage, eliciting uncomfortable and revolutionary debates in a prejudiced society.

While in the United States pursuing a month-long fellowship at Stanford University’s Center for Democracy, Development and Rule of Law, and visiting Washington, D.C. to meet political leaders, he was killed in a tragic car accident leaving Dulles International Airport. The only passenger to die in the SuperShuttle van, the accident was needless and inexplicable in its tragedy, and the driver is now charged with reckless driving. Accident injury, or injuries, are often most annoying not just for your body but also for your psychological status. Though, litigating may be a right, which nobody are often bereft of , however many of the people also lose their faculty of decision-making to make a decision if they really should litigate and what to say just in case they litigate. Following are certain things which you ought to consider very carefully before approaching the law courts. You can see this more information about chicago car accident lawyer.

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Suvash’s life began of humble origins in a small Nepali village in Palpa district, maturing to become the first Dalit to graduate high school in the area. He soon moved to Butwal, the closest large city, thinking he was destined for India as a labourer. He quickly developed relationships with other passionate Dalits, and moved to Kathmandu with nothing but energy and ideals, and initially sold cheap watches, roadside. Him and his friends soon began photocopying and distributing Dalit news stories across the city, and writing for small publishing houses.

Streetwise and ambitious beyond rationality, he co-founded the Jagaran Media Center at the age of 20, quickly growing it into the largest Dalit media organization in south Asia. Their mission was to empower Dalits with information, get Dalit stories published in the mainstream press, train Dalit journalists, hold public officials accountable, and ultimately, create a more equitable and just Nepali society free of caste-based discrimination.

Once the JMC was firmly established, and as Nepal’s progress towards democracy backpedalled under King Gyanendra’s autocratic rule in the early 2000s, and wanting to play his part in his country’s political history, he co-founded the Collective Campaign for Peace (COCAP). It became a hub for the civil democratic movement at the time, and was influential in the monarchy’s collapse. Soon after, he set his sights on establishing a Dalit-focused policy think tank in 2009, initially called the Nepal Center for Dalit Studies, renamed the Samata Foundation. Its goal is to bridge the gap between government policy and caste discrimination, and is now the leading hub for Dalit research in Nepal, if not south Asia.

While building a more equitable and representative Nepali media landscape, being center stage in the collapse of a monarch and transition towards democracy, influencing Nepali public policy, attending international symposiums, and studying abroad via prestigious fellowships, he happened to edit, write, and/or publish two books: A Land of Our Own: Conversations with Dalit Members of the Constituent Assembly and a translation of the work of iconoclastic Indian thinker and Dalit activist, Dr. Amedkar.

Clearly, this was a man with a restless mind occupied by transformative and revolutionary ideas, all in the hope of helping his fellow countrymen escape a historical cycle of oppression. At 31, Suvash had already become a leader of the Dalit movement in Nepal, and was representing its interests and vision internationally, most recently at the U.N. in Geneva. From humble beginnings to a movement’s leader, one can only speculate as to what great heights this man could have reached in the years to come: Prime Minister? President? Overseeing the end of Dalit oppression in Nepal? South Asia? Who knows.

My time with Suvash was memorable, and much too brief. We had many long conversations at his Samata Foundation office and at the JMC, always beginning with discussions on political theory, philosophy, and the state of Nepali public and political discourse. We shared our admiration for Amartya Sen’s The Idea of Justice, discussed a recent paper by his Stanford professor Francis Fukuyama, and had a similar life goal of establishing a respectable home library – for the books we read are mementos to our evolving thoughts and maturing minds.

Suvash helped me to navigate the labyrinth of cultural peculiarities of Nepali politics, institutions, and media. He advised me on how to proceed during difficult times in my work and stay in Nepal, and provided guidance and ideas for projects I was involved in. Always supportive, thoughtful, and critically engaged, his presence and influence on my life and relatively short time in Nepal cannot be overstated.

Suvash was a man I admired for his charm, compassion, vision, intellect, and unflinching commitment to a noble cause greater than himself. Since his death, the days have passed slowly and aimlessly, and it’s difficult to grasp the reality and impact of his passing. He was too young, too visionary, too influential, too kind, to leave us suddenly under such tragic circumstances.

The vacuum left by his sudden departure is substantial, and the Dalit community is now reeling by the tragedy. He was the guiding light to so many individuals, causes, and ideas, and the loss of such an influential figure cannot easily be replaced.

Lessons to be learned from his passing are hard to come by, as it was such a senseless and careless accident. But as American poet Henry Longfellow once said, “So when a great man dies, for years beyond our ken, the light he leaves behind him lies upon the paths of men.” For Suvash’s influence and importance will now be the guiding light for those he lead and inspired, and for those that will ultimately follow in his footsteps and fill the void.

To borrow from Cormac McCarthy, we must carry his fire, in his honour, and for the movement he inspired. The fight for Dalit justice and an equitable Nepali society will continue, and those committed souls working under his soaring shadow will not let the Dalit cause languish. He was a towering giant of influence, and his deeds and vision will not pass in vain.

Suvash leaves behind a wife, Sarita, and a young daughter.

Posted By Corey Black

Posted Aug 18th, 2011


  • Ivor

    August 18, 2011


    Shocking. Take care.

  • Sad Momma

    August 22, 2011


    My condolences to Savash’s family and all his colleagues at the JMC. What a great loss. Although the voice of the JMC is silenced temporarily, Savash’s aspirated fight for a just society for the Dahlits will live on through the media center. Keep his dream alive…

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