KATHMANDU, Feb 16: She was born in Nairobi, Kenya and brought up in the Ugandan capital, Kampala. She went to Texas A&M University in the USA and is a veritable byword for the global citizen.
But Kusum Vyas is also a staunch follower of the Hindu way of life, and its culture and traditions. She takes great interest in the preservation of dilapidated temples and monasteries to prevent them from crumbling into ruins.
She dreamed of starting preservation initiatives for the Pashupatinath temple even before she ever landed in Nepal. Visiting Nepal for a brief period this time, felt spiritual peace while at the temple, but also concern at its poor condition.
Some friend took her to Triveni in Panauti, where she received a warm welcome from school children carrying green pitchers. Vyas had arrived in Nepal with a green pitcher to raise awareness about conservation of bio-diversity and environment.
Talking to Republica, Vyas underscored the urgent need to start efforts for the conservation of temples and monasteries here.
“I really felt sorry to see the dilapidated state of the Narayan Temple in the premise of Narayanhiti royal palace. The beauty of this city would grow if Ranipokhari gets proper conservation,” she said.
“Society is becoming increasingly dependent on foreign aid even for minor conservation work. Conservation efforts will not be effective until and unless society itself becomes aware and relies on its own resources to save the heritage of its surrounding,” she added.
Vyas is president of Green Yatra Action Network, a global environmental campaign of Hindu and secular institutions around the world, which is recognized by UNDP as the greatest civil awareness campaign on climate change.
Vyas emphasized that it was high time conservation efforts started for the temples in Nepal as this is the place from where Hinduism rose to prominence.
“This is not a political issue. The conservation of mother earth is the responsibly of every human being,” Vyas said.
Her organization, Living Planet Foundation, is working to come up with exemplary results for small conservation projects in Nepal.
Vyas has shown how environmental degradation can be mitigated with the help of religion.