The Story of Nanda Devi is on the Internet

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Nanda Devi Festival ProfiledDainik Jagran
15 February, 2004
(Special Sunday Edition)

In the old days people listened to stories from their elders sitting around the fire. Nowadays with information technologies these stories are told through the internet and social workers and students take the place of elders.

Away from the chatting culture of cybercafes in the capital Dehra Dun, the story of Niti valley in the border district of Chamoli is being presented on the internet, like the stories of olden days. By clicking on a computer, one can browse through these stories. For example going through the information of Bhotiya tribes you come across Gaura Devi. You click the picture of Gaura Devi and the information about her life comes up in front of you. Reading about her you click to the Chipko Andolan. All the stories of Garhwal unfold in front of you., the internet site, is the collective efforts of Dhan Singh Rana of Lata, some social workers and an Uttarakhandi student overseas. According to Dr. Sunil Kainthola, the director of Alliance for Development, it started with efforts to put information on community based conservation and ecotourism by Lata village on the web. This magnificent project by Gram Sabha of Lata attracted the attention of many international researchers. Through the influence of initial information provided by Kainthola, many researchers visited the place and presented their views on ecotourism of the local community in many environmental platforms around the world. During this period, many Indians residing in foreign countries became interested in the region. Kainthola said that for the necessity of communications among Uttarakhandis, Rajiv Rawat, a student of York University in Canada created the web site named NANDA DEVI.

It is important to note that with this communication arrangement, all the most current news can be presented on this web site. On 26 January, Republic Day, information on the Nanda Devi Women’s Festival by Lata village was published on the site the next day. In this action, the interesting fact was that this web site was published in Canada. Communication technology has removed the geographic distance. Especially due to the availability of internet facilities in Joshimath reporting events has become a matter of few seconds. The information and news was sent to Rajiv Rawat of York University in Canada through Deepak Uniyal of KSE computer education in Joshimath and the Alliance office situated in Dehra Dun. When it is night here, it is day in Canada where Rajiv Rawat publishes the web site of Nanda Devi.

In addition, information and materials connected to the region including popular books written on Nanda Devi are also available on this site. Inspired by the efforts of Gram Sabha Lata, the cultural-based Anwal Music has also put its materials on the web. Angwal has further announced that money of all its sales will go to developing community based ecotourism in this region. Apart from this, 50% of sale of one issue of CHITHI PATRI in the Garhwali language will go to the Mahila Mangal Dal of Lata and Reni villages. This special edition is full of fascinating stories of Nanda Devi, patron deity of Garhwal and Kumaon.

Creation of this site was an interesting coincidence. In the seventies, Sudhir Singh, working for the Survey of India migrated with his family to Canada. In his own cultural environment, his son Rajiv grew up listening to stories of Garhwal from his mother. In 1994 the Uttarakhand Andolan inspired him, which led him to create the web site UTTARAKHAND.ORG that subsequently played an important role among the Uttarakhandis living in foreign countries. Influenced by the struggle and cultural heritage of the residents of Nanda Devi region, he created an important web site for them. It is a coincidence that Uttarakhand throbs in his heart, as he speaks little Hindi and Garhwali. It is also coincidence that his mother ‘s name is Nanda Devi.

– Feature Desk (translated from Hindi)