Putali Baje obliged with Nepali citizenship


Pokhara, December 2

Following a long wait, British national Collin Philip Smith, popularly known as Putali Baje, has finally managed to obtain a Nepali citizenship certificate.

The home ministry’s Citizenship and National Identity Card Management Department provided the certificate to Smith in Kathmandu today.

Section Officer Arun Sapkota handed the document, with registration number 01/076/077, to the foreign national who has long been residing in Pokhara, ever since he retired as a United Mission teacher.

Earlier, a Cabinet meeting on November 15 had decided to oblige the British national, who spent a long time in researching butterflies in Nepal, with an honorary citizenship. “He was obliged with an honorary citizenship as per the Cabinet decision,” said the section officer.

Born in London in 1936, Smith had come to Nepal as a teacher under the United Mission. As he worked as a teacher in places such as Gorkha, Kathmandu and Pokhara, he carried out extensive research on butterflies as well.

Among the students he taught are former prime minister Baburam Bhattarai and late senior Dr Upendra Devkota. He taught them Science and Maths at Amarjyoti Secondary School in Gorkha.

Since 1973, Smith worked for the Nature Science Museum at Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu by collecting butterfly species for a decade. In that capacity, he is said to have collected 90 per cent samples of the 660-odd total number of butterfly species found in Nepal.

He has over 30 scientific articles and 10 books published to his credit.

Smith lives in Gyarjati of Pokhara metropolis-18, where he had bought a land plot in the name of one of his Nepali acquaintances who had worked with him for quite a long time. The citizenship certificate provided to him has the address of his residence mentioned.

After the government made the provision to provide honorary citizenship to persons of international stature in its Citizenship Act 2063, the government had provided its first honorary citizenship certificate to Sir Edmund Hillary of New Zealand, who made a name for himself by becoming the first person to climb the tallest mountain in the world, Mt Everest.

A version of this article appears in print on December 03, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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