Tamu Samaj (“Tamu Society”) is a society of Tamus (also known as Gurung), an ethnic group from Nepal. The Tamu societies are created around the world as a means to preserve Tamu’s unique culture outside of Nepal. They organise cultural events, such as festivals of dance, music, and food. They also engage in humanitarian, social and educational activities. There are a number of Tamu Samajs around the world, including: Tamu Samaj Sydney, Tamu Samaj Victoria, Tamu Samaj UK, but some inherit different names such as “Gurung Tamu Society”.
Tamu Samajs were originally formed to spread a sense of solidarity among Tamus living in Nepal and abroad. They are a central part of the community’s social gatherings, activities and events.
The main place of settlement of Gurung are in the lap of the Annapurna and Machhapuchhre mountains in West Nepal’s Gandaki zone specifically Kaski, Lamjung, Tanahu, Gorkha, Parbat districts. Small numbers also live in Baglung, Taplejung, Sunsari districts as well as Sikkim and also Bhutan. There are roughly 450,000 Gurungs in Nepal totalling about 2.43 % of the population of Nepal..
The Gurungs are famous for their culture. In Gurung society Chima holds the main responsibility for managing the village administration and also settles disputes in the village.
Rodhighar is among the major identity of the social system of Gurung. Some have called the Rodhighar a house to thread wool, while others have called it a place to settle for the night. The Rodhighar is a good example of cooperation, assistance, better relation and collective spirits among the Gurungs.
Ama Samaj is also integral part of Tamu Samaj as they provide moral and financial support to Tamus who are sick or dead.
Pre Tamu Samaj Victoria
Tamu people residing in Victoria have been celebrating Lhochhar since 1997 in many places around Melbourne. Then Lhosar Committee was formed in Melbourne that consisted of Tamus and Non Tamus background Nepalese. Lhosar Committee then started hosting Lhocchar from 2001 at Kathmandu Cottage Restaurant at North Melbourne. We all celebrated Lhocchar at Kathmandu Cottage Restaurant.
First Initial Phase of Tamu Samaj Victoria
Prior to Solangture and other Event companies in Melbourne, TWGG International was the first commercial company to take challenge and courage in Victoria to bring artists and movies to Melbourne to promote Nepalese culture, language and heritage when the population was not that big in Victoria.
When Nepathya toured in Australia around 2009, it was practical to contact TWGG International as the director was Tamu and Tamu Samaj Sydney had brought the band to Australia. Prem Gurung, who was the president of the Tamu Samaj Sydney contacted Tonnou Ghothane to collaborate with Tamus in Melbourne to bring the band in Victoria.
The informal meeting was held between Tonnou Ghothane and Lhosar Committee. Due to the budget, Lhosar Committee withdrew from the project and TWGG International managed to do it alone.
With success of Nepathya Concert in Sydney, the Tamus in Melbourne started to feel the confidence that they should be part of the Nepathya Concert. However, all the parts had already been organized by TWGG international including venue except for promotion.
During the time when the promotion was to be done for Nepathya Concert, the lobbying started, and the matter went to Sydney. Again, Tonnou Ghothane and Lhosar Committee sat down to discuss the Nepathya Concert and who should be handling it. At that time, Tonnou Ghothane was thinking of the sentiments of Tamus in Sydney and Melbourne made a proposal that Tamu Samaj Victoria be created in Melbourne not only for this concert but forever and that Tamu Samaj Victoria in association with TWGG International will bring the Nepathya Concert and all Victorian Tamus can be a part of Amrit Gurung led Nepathya Concert.
Indra Gurung from Tamu Samaj Sydney thanked Tonnou Ghothane for handling the matter very well. Prem Gurung also played a part later to establish Tamu Samaj Victoria and gave Tonnou Ghothane moral support.
Second Phase of Tamu Samaj Victoria
After the concert, the establishment of Tamu Samaj Victoria died down. It was an agreement that Tonnou Ghothane placed that Tamu Samaj Victoria must be established after the concert.
At that time there was an unrest in Tamu community. The views were divided as there were many issues. One of the main issues was that what will happen to the spouse of the Tamu who are not Tamu. Other main issue was that Lhosar Committee consisted of people from Non-Tamus background. There was also concerned in the community that Tonnou Ghothane was trying to disrupt the harmony in the community in Melbourne by establishing the Tamu Samaj Victoria.
The persons that made it possible was from the support of Hari Gurung and Kiran Gurung. They were instrumental in negotiating with people who were against the establishment of Tamu Samaj Victoria. And there were many. Finally, the agreement was reached.
Formation of Tamu Samaj Victoria
On Saturday, 27 June 2009 the first meeting was held to form Tamu Samaj Victoria at Magic Mint Cafe at Moonee Ponds owned by Suman Gurung. The main objectives of the Tamu Samaj Victoria were to maintain and develop Tamu culture, custom and tradition through various social and cultural activities amongst the members and the broader public. Later on, Tonnou Ghothane added that Tamu Samaj Victoria must maintain and develop our Tamu culture, language and tradition and to organise events that would not only help to bring the Tamu community together but also to welcome and entertain all the Nepalese and Australian living in Victoria.
The persons that attended the first ever Tamu Samaj Victoria formation are as follows:
- Tonnou Ghothane
- Ashik Gurung
- Bam Gurung
- Sagun Gurung
- Durga Man Gurung
- Khagendra Gurung
- Prem Kumar Gurung
- Kush Gurung
- Gopal Gurung
- Min Gurung
- Pahalman Gurung
- Hari Gurung
- Hema Gurung
- Sita Gurung
- Suman Gurung
- Sakhsam Gurung
- Balendra Gurung
- Jay Gurung
- Deepak Kumar Gurung
- Kshitiz Gurung
- Narendra Gurung
- Anjali Gurung
- Maya Gurung
- Jamuna Gurung
- Shesh Ghale
- Pragya Gurung
- Bikram Gurung
- Amrit Gurung
- Mabi Gurung
The above 29 Tamus established the first Tamu Samaj Victoria Executive Committee for 2009 – 2011 in Melbourne.
They are as follows:
President: Min Prasad Gurung
Vice President: Suman Raj Gurung
General Secretary: Kiran Gurung
Joint Secretary: Kusmi Gurung
Treasurer: Balendra Jung Gurung
Joint Treasurer: Hari Gurung
Executive – Cultural: Mabi Gurung
Executive – Sports: Prem Kumar Gurung
Executive – Public Relations: Shristi Ghale
Executive – Public Relations: Srijana Gurung
Executive – Public Relations: Bikram Gurung
Tonnou W G Ghothane
After the Formation of Tamu Samaj Victoria
The first Executive Team had a great challenge ahead. They had to draft Constitution and bring all Tamus together. Under the leadership of Min Gurung, Tamu Samaj Victoria achieved most of the objectives in 2 years.
Kiran Gurung was instrumental in making sure that Tamu Samaj Victoria was institutionalized and drafting of the Constitution. At this time, President of the Tamu Samaj Sydney, Prem Gurung tried to assist Tamu Samaj Victoria in drafting the Constitution by providing the draft of the Tamu Samaj Sydney Constitution and providing advice.
Finally, on 14 Dec 2010, Tamu Samaj Victoria became a legal entity in Victoria with registering with Consumers Affairs Victoria.
The Initial Activities of Tamu Samaj Victoria
Lhochhar has always been our flagship event. It got bigger and bigger.
Tamu Samaj Victoria also screened the first Gurung movie in Melbourne called Dhee on 23 September 2012, Sunday at Nova Cinema Hall, Carlton. Tamu Samaj Victoria always wanted to do things legal from the start. Most movies are shown in Melbourne without classification at that time. But with initiation of Tonnou Ghothane, Tamu Samaj Victoria got approval from Australian Government Classification Board to screen Dhee movie.
At the end of 2009, our Tamu, Resham Gurung died while swimming. Since Tamu Samaj Victoria was not registered, Tamu Samaj Victoria led the fund raising in association with Nepalese Association of Victoria.
Tamu Samaj Victoria required funds to register with Consumer Affairs Victoria. Even though Tamu Samaj Victoria was still on process, Khem Raj Gurung and Reema Gurung Concert on 23rd August 2009 was our first ever event on the banner of Tamu Samaj Victoria besides Lhochhar and Nepathya Concert.
Current Tamu Samaj Victoria
The Tamus in Victoria has grown significantly now. There are very active males and females in Tamu community in Melbourne to drive the Tamu Samaj Victoria to next level.
There is our ambitious plan to build Tamu Cultural Centre in Melbourne.
Now besides Lhochhar, we have Buddha Jayanti, Tamu Cultural Day, Deusi Bhailo and Newsletter.There is a great future for Tamu Samaj Victoria with new energetic, passionate and smart new comers Tamus and second generation Tamus in Victoria.
Tamu Samaj Victoria should be more flexible, open, open minded and inclusive to bring all Tamus in Tamu Samaj Victoria. There should be no clause that restricts any Tamus to work voluntarily in Tamu Samaj Victoria. Every time they have given, we should respect them their spouses and their children for supporting to serve the Tamu Samaj Victoria.
Future of Tamu Samaj Victoria
We will have our own Tamu Cultural Centre in Melbourne.We will produce the first person from people of Nepali origin in Council, State Government or Federal Government.
We will work with other organizations outside of Nepalese organizations like South Asia, Asia and Australian organizations. We will collaborate with Nepalese Association of Victoria, NRNA Australia, Tamang Society of Victoria, Magar Samaj, Manag Society, Bhutanese organizations and so on.
We need to empower our women, children and all Tamus so that we can demonstrate to Australian community and Australian government that we are able, skilful, asset to economy and law-abiding Australian citizen, Australian PR, second generation Tamus, Temporary Visa Holder Tamus and Tamu International Students.
- – Prem Kumar Gurung (Founder Member)
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