Edmund Hillary: A Nepali Remembrance
Filed Under: Opinion, World | Posted: 01/11/2008 at 2:49AM
Comments | Region: Nepal
When the global media disseminated the news on the death of Sir Edmund Hillary on 11 January, the Nepalis immediately realized that they lost a senior historical and philanthropic friend. The Nepalis have long known him as their acquaintance because he was able to reach the summit of the Mount Everest along with the Nepali guide Tenzing Norgay Sherpa in 1953. He remained a veteran friend of Nepalis.
The Nepalis, no doubt, were impressed by Hillary’s Everest-like human morality of contributing to the upliftment of poor Nepalis. Mingma Sherpa, a trekking guide says, “We lost a true friend today. He had been our close relation through the Mount Everest.” Similarly, Basu Raj Shakya, an English language teacher in Kathmandu comments on Hillary’s death as ‘a dignified death’. He was of the opinion that Hillary further heightened his dignity not only through the mountaineering expedition but also through his social work dedicated to the wellbeing of the Sherpas of the Himalayas, who have been fighting for their basic needs.
In the northern Nepal where Sherpas are part of the Nepali population, Hillary has contributed to Nepal’s social advancement by establishing several schools and hospitals.
In a sense, Hillary physically died and humanistically continued living. His earlier adventurism led him to the deeper perception of the Sherpa community life. The peak of the Mount Everest definitely demonstrated his human-focus approach of mountaineering.
Modern mountaineers can learn a lesson that mountaineering is not a mere business of adventure and obtaining lucrative opportunities. It is a journey of reaching a certain geographical height from where mountaineers can also adventure upscaling their mental and spiritual height. It simply means reaching the summit is part of life victory while reaching the summit of humanity is the whole victory. Perhaps, Hillary was advancing towards reaching the summit of humanity but his physical man vanished suddenly though his original man will continue to live not only in New Zealand, Nepal, America and Great Britain but in the globe and global minds interconnected by communication technologies.
Almost all mainstream and alternative Nepali media gave the news about Hillary’s death. This shows how much importance the Nepalis have given to what Hillary had been doing for Nepal’s cause.
Hillary’s work can set an example for other mountaineers for doing something to conquer the evil mountains of poverty and illiteracy.