D. P. Dash

गहना कर्मणो गतिः (gahanā karmaṇo gatiḥ) | କର୍ମର ଗତି ବଡ଼ ଗହନ ଅଟେ | complex are the ways of action (Gītā, chap. 4, ver. 17)

Professor D. P. Dash
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Saturday, February 18, 2012

DP or David Panai

Today I was very proud to be rechristened David Panai (a new expansion of my nickname, DP!), by a senior member of the Lun Bawang community, Rotarian Patrick Panai, who is also an Elder in the Borneo Evangelical Church (or SIB, Sidang Injil Borneo).

Upon the invitation of Mr Fred Black, my Chonglin Park friend, I was attending this church service at SIB today. After prayers and hymns, Patrick was making announcements before starting his talk on St Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. He was welcoming the visitors when he spontaneously expanded my nickname DP to David Panai after welcoming me to the church.

Later, Patrick said it was common for the Lun Bawang to give an ethnic name to a visitor, to facilitate easier recognition and assimilation within the community. To me, this was a precious gift and it makes me feel very privileged! I knew a little about this Sarawakian ethnic group from my Lun Bawang student, Elisha Batuncang, who seemed pretty serious about his ethnic identity. This was important to me as I am only too aware of the assault of modernity on traditional cultures around the world. Today, I feel I am born again, as a Lun Bawang!

What a unique privilege!

1 comment:

  1. Hi, David Panai, nice to hear from you after a very long time. Wasn't sure whether you were still in Malaysia or back in Odisha! About your re-christening, to my mind 'evangelical' is a bit antithetical to ethnic, as it's based on conversion of people belonging to religions other than Christianity. Your views and experience seem otherwise, though, and I'd be glad to know and learn more...In ISABS news, Paul is in town and Kakoli hosted a dinner at her home, attended by him, Subhashree, Sharbari, Shyamal and me. It was a nice get-together.