29 January 2017: Pushkar Shah, a famed peace and democracy activist from Nepal who went around the world on bicycle, has said he brought home a piece of Dinosaur bone “stolen” from Lesotho. He paid $100 to a museum employee of the African nation to obtain that prehistoric souvenir, he said during a literature festival in the lake city of Pokhara.
Mr Shah is a household name in Nepal. He left home in November 1998 with a one hundred rupee note (little over a dollar) that his beloved mother gave him for his “world tour”. He arrived back in the country after eleven years during which he had cycled around 150 countries surviving on the goodwill of those who appreciated his journey aimed at spreading “world peace”.
By the time he arrived back in Nepal in 2009, he had covered 221,000 kilometres. In other words, he had circumnavigated the world five and half times which later became the title of his book, Sansar lai Sadhe Pach Fanko.
Speaking about his experience with award-winning writer Amar Neupane and businessman Jiba Lamichhane, Mr Shah yesterday said that he was willing to hand over his souvenirs collected during his journey to the Government of Nepal. However, the government had shown no interest to procure his collections from the 150 nations he bicycled to.
So what else does he have apart from the Dinosaur bone?
He also have seventeen kilograms of coins from various nations of the planet, 1200 varieties of bank notes, lids of 1700 brands of beer, tens of thousands of postal stamps, gifts of all kinds from people from 150 countries and also a stone from the top of the world when he successfully climbed Mt Everest in May 2010.
Needless to say, Mr Shah had adventurous 11 years of peddling around the world. In a YouTube video posted on 28 January, he is seen sharing his encounter with women. He apparently received marriage proposal (the first one in Hong Kong) on eleven different occasions. But he did not accept them because he had a different goal, he said in the video. He was also robbed eleven times. On the very first day in Mexico, he was kidnapped by two men with a truck. He attacked one of the abductors when he realised they were about to kill him with a knife and escaped, losing his bicycle.
Mr Shah was involved in Nepal’s democratic movement of 1990 during which he received a bullet wound. The ensuing frustration and political disillusionment after the restoration of democracy prompted him to leave Nepal to spread words of peace from the Land of Buddha.
Wherever he went, he carried Nepal’s flag. He also collected and carried flags of each of the 150 nations he visited. He took them all to the top of the world when he successfully made the ascent in 2010.