Mount Everest pioneer Sherpa Tenzing Norgay was unfairly treated and did not get the recognition he deserved, his grandson said yesterday.
"My grandfather did not get the recognition he deserved. He should have been knighted by the British queen for the achievement along with Hillary and Hunt," Tashi Tenzing said in the Nepalese capital, Katmandu.
Norgay scaled the 8,850m peak with New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary on May 29, 1953. They were part of a British team led by John Hunt.
Both Hillary and Hunt were knighted by the queen following the expedition. Norgay, however received only a medal.
"It was not fair. If the queen had knighted my grandfather it would have been a nice gesture," Tenzing said. "Without him, Hillary would never had reached the summit."
However, Tenzing said he does not hold any grudges against Hillary. In fact, he admires Hillary and had even called him on the phone from the summit last year.
"I also see Hillary as an inspiration and he is a great man. I have a wonderful relationship with him," Tenzing said.
Hillary's claim in his autobiography, published after Norgay's death in 1986, that it was he, not his Sherpa guide and teammate, who had been the first to step on the summit, had caused problems between the two families.
Tenzing, like most of his family members, insisted it was a team effort.
"Once you are on the summit you don't even realize you have reached the top and it is hard to remember who got there when," he said. "They reached the summit together."
Tenzing remembers his grandfather being an ambitious man who grew up on the foot of the mountain.
"My grandfather created the name for the Sherpas. He is the one who made Sherpas famous in the world," he said.
Tenzing, now an Australian citizen, runs an adventure travel agency in Sydney, where he lives with his wife, Judy, son Pasang and daughter Dechen Lamhu.