Newā, also known as Nepalbhāsā, is a trans-Himalayan language spoken by the Newā people of Nepal. Newā was the administrative language of Nepal from the 14th to 18th century; following this period, the Shah dynasty began suppressing the language in 1768. Newā was replaced as the language of the administration, with hostilities towards speakers becoming more open. In the early 1900s, documents in Newā were declared not admissible in court and Newā authors were fined, whipped, imprisoned, or expelled and their books confiscated. Due to this suppression, the proportion of Newā speakers in their traditional homeland, Kathmandu Valley, dropped dramatically, with the language and culture still under threat. According to recent census data, 3.2% (approximately 800,000 people) of the Newā population speak the language, but thanks to activists like Shahani, there are more and more efforts to revitalize Nepalbhāsā.

Shahani is developing an electronic corpus for her language, through her PhD candidacy in Linguistics at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. This corpus will archive the work of media personnel in the community and provide tools to generate statistics on words and on how they are used, with the goal of facilitating further learning of the language and providing valuable data for linguistics research. The corpus will also serve as a valuable archive for researchers in the social sciences and journalists, who will be able to access media content in the language.