Indian President Pranab Mukherjee offers flowers at the statue of pioneer poet Bhanubhakta Acharya at Chowrasta in Darjeeling, India, on the poet’s 202nd birth anniversary on Wednesday. (Bhim Chapagain/Republica)
DARJEELING, JULY 14: Chowrasta Chowk in Darjeeling echoed with Bhanubhakta Acharya's poetry and Nepal's national anthem throughout Tuesday. Most of the men present there were in daura-suruwal, the traditional Nepali outfit, and the women wore chaubandi cholo.
They were gathered for celebrations of the 202nd Bhanu JJayanti, or birth anniversary, of eminent poet Bhanu Bhakta Acharya. President of India Pranab Mukharjee, West Bengal Governor K N Tripathi and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee were also present at the event. They garlanded the statue of Bhanu Bhakta at Chowrasta.
The West Bengal government has decided to formally celebrate the 202nd Bhanu birth anniversary. The program was organized by West Bengal's Information & Cultural Affairs Department.
Bimal Gurung, chief of the Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA), was also present at the function. As he entered the dais, thousands of domiciled Nepalis started singing “Yo Nepali Shir Uchali", adding an emotional touch to the occasion.
Speaking at the function, Indian President Mukharjee said poet Bhanubhakta is not limited to a particular language and geography.
He portrayed Bhanubhakta as a poet who has played a crucial role in strengthening Nepal-India relations. “Many Indian writers and poets often talk about Nepali writers and Nepali literature,” he said, adding that there are many Nepali writers in India who have been contributing to strengthening those relations.
Bhanubhakta's poetry is full of humanity and realism, he added. “I feel proud to have a chance to participate in a function marking the birth anniversary of such an eminent poet.”
West Bengal Governor K N Tripathi said he had been hearing about Bhanubhakta since long ago. “I am really interested to know more about him,” he said. “I salute Bhanubhakta who wrote the great epic Ramayana in Nepali.”
Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee said Bhanubhakta is liked not only by Nepalis but also by all who love literature.
In the function, traditional Nepali dances were presented by the Nepali-speaking community. Renowned writers Gupta Pradhan and Shankar Pradhan were felicitated with the Literature Academy Award by the West Bengal government for their contribution to Nepali literature. Similarly, Sijan Kshetri was awarded the Youth Literature Award and Shankardev Kshetri the Children's Literature Prize.
In a message sent on the occasion of Bhanu Jayanti, Chief Minister of Sikkim Pawan Chamling said that Bhanubhakta is a symbol of the unity of the state. The Sikkim Government views Bhanu Jayanti as unity day, he said.