August 01, 2007

Celebrating a 'rare' bright spot in the Nepalese sky

Congratulations Mahavir dai for bagging the Magsaysay award! You have given us a 'rare' bright spot to celebrate and be proud of! Dedicated people like you give us and our 'unfortunate' country some happiness, which is so 'rare' these days. Actually, there is still some hope for our nation because of seniors like you.

Below is the news from The Kathmandu Post:

Fourth Nepali bags Magsaysay Award


KATHMANDU, July 31 - Mahabir Pun, 52, of remote Myagdi district in Western Nepal has won the Ramon Magsaysay Award, becoming the fourth Nepali national to bag what is regarded as the Nobel Prize of Asia.
The Board of Trustees of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation (RMAF) on Tuesday announced Pun as one among seven recipients of the prestigious award for 2007.

A press statement posted on the RMAF's official web page said Pun is being given the Community Leadership Award in recognition to "his innovative application of wireless computer technology in Nepal, bringing progress to remote mountain areas by connecting his village to the global village."

He will be conferred the award amid a function in Manila, Philippines, on August 31.

"When good work is done, someone or the other does remember. I am happy," Pun, who was on his way home to Chitwan to meet his elderly mother, said over the telephone.

Prior to this in 2004, the Global Idea Bank had awarded Pun the "Overall Social Innovation Award" .

Born in Nangi village in the remote hill district, Pun received his primary education in a local school, and went to highschool in Chitwan, where his father had moved to better educate his children. Soon after completing highschool, he worked as a teacher for 12 years to help put his younger siblings through school.

Pun's destiny took a big turn when he received a scholarship to pursue a bachelor's degree at the University of Nebraska, Kearney in the USA. In 1992, after more than 20 years, he returned to his ancestral home in Nangi and started teaching computer classes at the high school there, powering four donated computers with hydro-generators at a nearby stream.

Neverthelss, it proved impossible to get a telephone connection to nearby Pokhara and access the internet. Pun e-mailed the British Broadcasting Corporation in 2001, asking for ideas. Within a year volunteers from Europe and the United States were helping him rig a wireless connection between Nangi and the neighboring village of Ramche, using TV dish antennas mounted on trees. Some small grants soon led to the construction of improvised mountaintop relay stations and a link to Pokhara. By 2003, Nangi was online.

Pun expanded the wireless network to embrace 12 villages-distributing 100 computers to local schools, connecting them to the internet, teaching teachers how to use them, and then tinkering and troubleshooting until everything worked.

Before this, three Nepalis including Mahesh Chandra Regmi (in 1977), Bharat Dutta Koirala (2002) and Dr Sanduk Ruit (2006) bagged the most coveted award of the entire Asia region.

The RMAF recognizes and honors individuals and organizations in Asia regardless of race, creed, sex or nationality, who have achieved distinction in their respective fields and have helped others generously without anticipating public recognition. The awards are given in five categories: government service; public service; community leadership; journalism, literature, and creative communication arts; peace and international understanding.

According to the RMAF website, the six other recipients of the prestigious award this year are Jovito R. Salonga of the Philippines (government service), Rev. Kim Sun-tae of Korea (public service), Tang Xiyang of China (peace and international understanding), Palagummi Sainath of India (journalism, literature, and creative communication arts), and Chen Guangcheng and Chung To of China (emergent leadership).

Posted on: 2007-07-31 20:13:03 (Server Time)


  1. Yes
    This is very heartening and inspiring.

  2. You have a very interesting blog Basanta daju, I have put your blog into mine's link ( You also can do same if you like mine. But I hope you will share your feeling. Bhai bhanihalnubhayo tesaile tapai mero dai hai ta!!! Keep blogging!!!!

  3. He certainly has taken a noteworthy step.