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Melting Pot – From the hills to the buzzing city: The journey of three Nepalese-Mumbaikars

They are seen as primarily watchmen, waiters or, for the ones doing low end jobs. But that image is changing now - say some of them who are slowly starting to break out — and are now climbing the socio-economic ladder in the city.

The way a community is sometimes perceived could be because of our social conditioning or prejudices. And when it comes to Nepalis — those labels stick. They are seen as primarily watchmen, waiters or, for the ones doing low end jobs. But that image is changing now – say some of them who are slowly starting to break out — and are now climbing the socio-economic ladder in the city. The Indian Express narrates the tale of prolonged struggle and triumph against all odds of three Nepalese, who arrived in the city decades ago with a nothing but a shimmer of hope.

Motilal Nyaupane – Hotel Owner

Searching greener pastures, Nyaupane arrived from Butwal, Lumbini to Mumbai in 1989, but settled as a hotel doorman in Borivli. He worked there as the doorman for about seven years before moving up the rank and becoming a waiter. “Shuttling between jobs seemed the best option back then. It was only after changing five more hotels that I thought of doing business on my own in 2001,” he says.

With monetary support from his friends, as well as all his lifelong savings, Nyaupane opened two hotels – one in Dahisar, and another in Borivli. “The first few years were difficult. From legal issues to business rivalry, I faced everything,” informs Nyaupane.

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The restaurateur believes in discipline and hard work, and says he refrains from drinking even though his hotel serves alcohol. “And I tell the same to all Nepalis who come to Mumbai in search of a better living,” he says.

Financial constraints at home hampered Nyaupane hopes to study beyond the 10th standard, but he plans to nurture his daughter’s ambition to become an IAS officer.

Dinamani R Pandey -Nepali newspaper publisher

Nepalis form a large presence in Mumbai with an estimate 3 lakh living in Mumbai and Thane. While the most still remain in unskilled job industry, many have found new ways of a better life.

Pandey was no different 22 years ago. A Gujarati family offered him a job of running errands and he readily accepted hoping there would be better days. He knew education could give wings to his dreams. As a result, he graduated in commerce in 2001, and started a monthly magazine “Nepal Yuva”. He subsequently completed his masters, but did not stop there. “I specialised in Journalism from SNDT College and worked with quite a few media houses,” says Pandey.

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Even then he thought there was room to do better and bigger but getting finances was a worry.

“I had no option but to pawn my wedding ring and ask a few people for help. But it all worked out in the end,” he sighs.

Nepal Darpan, a Nepali daily for three years, currently sees 7,500 copies being sold and a readership of about 50,000 people in the city.

Ashok Nepali – Businessman and political worker

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More often than not it’s the struggle of identity that haunts an average Nepali living in the city. Many, scared of being targeted, do not like disclose who they are.

Nepali, who runs a security agency and has associated himself with a political party, is upfront about his origin. “My father came to Mumbai in 1975 and worked as a security officer at Sakinaka. Though I was born and brought up in Mumbai, I am pretty much associated with the place of my origin,” says Nepali, who is also the head of the political party’s Nepal chapter.

“It is true that a lot of Nepalis are still doing menial jobs in the city, but many have also moved up the social status. Several of whom I know are doing really well and also helping the less privileged,” he says.

First published on: 14-03-2016 at 02:43:10 am
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