23 December 2018: When a bunch of Sydney boys learned about an icon from their home country washing dishes in their own city, they decided to do something about it. After all, it was Pushkar Shah.
Anyone in Nepal who can hear, read or write knows Pushkar Shah. A renowned peace activist and adventurer, Mr Shah set out to win the world on a bicycle back in 1998. When he finally returned home, he had measured the landmasses of 150 countries of the planet. Ever since, he has published a book on his journeys and conquered Mt Everest and spoken at hundreds of programmes inspiring millions of youths.
Badri Chhetri, one of the youths who took lead to organise a fundraiser for Mr Shah, told southasia.com.au that at least $4,300 is already in their account and a few thousand dollars more is yet hit their bank account.
Some Nepali-Australian businessmen in Sydney have apparently committed $500 each. “But we are yet to receive it,” said Mr Chhetri. He and his friends will release information about the total collection once all of these commitments are received, he added.
Talking to southasia.com.au from Kathmandu, Mr Shah reminisced his Australia visit 18 years ago. He said he was amazed by the sheer size of the Nepali diaspora at the moment.
He remarked that he had met only 200 or so Nepali-speaking people when he travelled around Australia back then, starting in October 2000. “But now we are everywhere. They are on train, bus everywhere,” he said in a telephone conversation.
Mr Chhetri said the fund was raised through a gala dinner tickets sale and auction. Rockdale party palace owner Laxman Sapkota bought Mr Shah’s bicycle for $1,850 while two paintings donated by Sydney-based “Painter Krishna” fetched another $2,270, southasia.com.au understands.
Mr Shah said that the bicycle sold through the auction was not his original bicycle he used to circumnavigate the planet; it was although a bicycle he used in 2018 as he frequently travelled to Australia.
Mr Shah was born in Makaibari of Nepal’s Dolakha district. When he left home to travel the world his mother gave him a hundred rupee note, he said at a literary festival in Pokhara. That rolled up note was still on his person when arrived back at home after completing his peace mission across the globe.