Ankush Nagarji, a talented Dalit youth currently pursuing his Masters in Sociology/Anthropology at Tribhuvan University has been felicitated with Dambar Singh and Seti Rasali Award for the year 2068. The event was held at PDRC on 25 May 2012. This award was established by Veterinary Scientist, Public Health Expert, and Professor Dr. Drona Prakash Rasali in memory of his late Grandfather and Mother to encourage the engagement of Dalit youths in a scholarly study of social, political and economic issues of Dalit community through inter-disciplinary perspectives.
The award consists of a Letter of Appreciation along with the cash sum of Rs. 10,000. Chief Guest, Dr. Om Gurung, Head of the Department of Sociology/Anthropology at Tribhuvan University, handed over the award to Mr. Nagarji whereas the cash was presented by Om Prakash B K, a very close relative of Dr. Rasali.
The special letter of congratulation sent by Dr. Rasali was also read out in the program. Mr. Nagarji expressed his delights and added that he will continue to strive in achieving academic excellence in the days to come as well. Some of the excerpts of his Statement of Purpose (SoP), which he read upon receiving the award go hereunder:
“The vulnerable and pathetic situation of my community has always inspired determination on my chosen career path. I’ve come across several painful situations in my life which added to it and ultimately propelled me on the field of sociology. Let me confess that this award has undoubtedly boosted my morale and hence, to be even more committed in my future goals.”
“After the completion of the formal academic journey, I will entirely engage myself in research and scholarly study of the socio-economic and cultural studies of my community. I have envisioned myself as a leading social scientist working for the betterment of my community through research and policy work in the future.”
Speaking on the function, chief guest Dr. Gurung congratulated Dr. Rasali on initiating this noble work through PDRC in the education sector. He further said, “There are similarities between Dalit and Indigenous community when it comes to the right-based issues. We are emotionally attached to it but that alone is not enough. We have to be involved in massive policy research and informed advocacy. This can only sustain the movement in the long run. Therefore, future researchers should focus their research based on the established theories and concepts of Sociology/Anthropology so far.”
“Nepal is now in the transitional phase towards democratic change. I’ve not seen adequate academics exercises to capitalize this transitional phase in Dalit’s favor.” He further maintained, “We must encourage and inspire our youths to get into the scholarly study of our issues. We need social scientists who can study and interpret our issues and thereby supply research-based policy recommendations to the policymakers. My department is always ready to work and support this community in this respect.” He staunchly underscored the need for informed advocacy for Dalits.
Mr. Om Prakash V K, relatives of Dr. Rasali shed light on how Dambar Singh Rasali would accord importance to the education then. He also talked about the talent and brilliance of Dr. Rasali throughout his academic career both at home and abroad. Prior to this, PDRC executive director Birendra Bishwakarma illuminated the objective of this award.
PDRC president Kamala Hemchuri in her concluding remarks said, “This award is probably the first of its kind in the higher education sector for Dalit community. Past generations have played their part in their ways and at various times. The future movement, however, should be directed more through policy research and scholarly study of the issues.”
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