Remembering Suvash Darnal

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Photo credit: 
Yu Liu, 2011 Draper Hills Summer Fellow

The CDDRL community remembers and honors the life of Suvash Darnal, which was tragically taken in a car accident on August 15 outside of Washington, DC. Suvash graduated from the 2011 Draper Hills Summer fellowship at Stanford University just three days before the accident occurred. A passionate human rights advocate for the Dalit community in Nepal, Suvash was the executive director of the Sumata Foundation in Kathmandu. This profound loss was felt by all the members of the 2011 Draper Hills Summer Fellows program, CDDRL faculty, and staff who had spent the last three weeks engaging, learning and benefiting from Suvash's wisdom and insight.

"Suvash was an extraordinarily warm, thoughtful, modest, committed, and optimistic advocate for democracy and human rights," said Larry Diamond, director of the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. "He will be sorely missed and we will find a proper way to sustain his memory."

Suvash is remembered by his peers for his gentle spirit, kind smile, and warm sense of humor. Many reflected on their time together with him as a gift and inspiration to us all. In such a short time, many of the fellows developed a strong connection to Suvash and his presence at Stanford left a deep impression on the group.

Suvash dedicated his life to supporting and advancing the rights of the Dalit community, an ethnic minority in Nepal and India, working tirelessly to gain equal representation in mainstream politics for all excluded groups. Founder of the Jagaran Media Center, Suvash used the media to build awareness of his cause and trained 500 young Dalit journalists.

Gerhard Casper, President Emeritus of Stanford University, reflected on his last conversation with Suvash over dinner at the graduation ceremony "I sat next to Suvash and he gave me a detailed, optimistic account of the future of Nepal and looked forward to returning home to pursue his tireless advocacy to ensure that Dalits have equal representation in the new constitution."

The death of this young activist is a tremendous loss for the Dalit community, the country of Nepal, and the broader field of human rights. The CDDRL community strives to work together to carry forth Suvash's vision of a more equal and inclusive world for all. Suvash leaves behind a wife and a one-year old-daughter.

The Facebook page, "Remembering Suvash Darnal" has been set up in his honor by the CDDRL community as a living memory of his life.