Nepali litterateur Dhurba Lohagan being awarded with the Bhanu Puraskar 2019 in Gangtok, Sikkim on Saturday Credit: EastMojo image

Gangtok: Bhanu Jayanti, the 205th birth anniversary of Bhanubhakta Acharya ‘Adikavi’ (1814–1868), was celebrated with great pomp and honour in different parts of the state.

As a part of the programme, leading Nepali litterateur Dhurba Lohagan was honoured with this year’s Bhanu Puraskar. Along with him, nine other individuals from various fields of Nepali art, music, journalism, etc, were also felicitated with the Sewashree Samman.

Present on the occasion as chief guest, minister of state for urban development and housing department (UD&HD) Arun Upreti distributed the awards. State minister for human resources development department (HRDD) Kunga Nima Lepcha and Nepali Sahitya Parishad (NSP) president Rudra Poudyal were also present on the occasion, among many others.

The 205th Bhanu Jayanti celebration was organised by the members of the NSP, Sikkim at Manan Kendra in Gangtok. Chief minister PS Golay attended a similar function at his native place Soreng, West Sikkim.

Meanwhile, Dhurba Lohagan expressed happiness and pride on being awarded with the Bhanu Puraskar. He informed that Nepali language got a voice only after Bhanu Bhakta, who translated the Ramayana from Sanskrit. He then highlighted on his journey in Nepali literature. He thanked NSP members for recognising his work and his followers for always appreciating his work. “During my journey, I received criticism but I never gave up on my passion,” he said.

Lohagan informed that he will write two books (poetry and prose) with the cash prize awarded to him. The books will be released before Dussehra, he added.

Participating in the meeting, minister Arun Upreti congratulated the awardees and congratulated the organisers for the success of the celebration.

“Bhanubhakta has contributed a lot for development of Nepali language and it should be remembered by everyone. His translation of Ramayana plays an important role in Nepali literature. People from all languages and culture are celebrating Bhanu Jayanti and it is a proud moment for Sikkim. Hope the celebration is even grander next year,” Upreti said.

Kunga Nima Lepcha welcomed the gathering to the celebration and congratulated the awardees for their achievement. Due to NSP, Nepali literature is flourishing in Sikkim, he said. He also briefed on the life of Bhanubhakta Acharya and his contribution towards Nepali literature. Everyone should read Ramayana at least once, he added.

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Rudra Poudyal gave a brief on the life history of Adikavi Bhanubhakta Acharya. He informed that the Bhanu Puraskar is awarded to people who have excelled in Nepali literature but have not been given the recognition they deserve. The first award was presented to Kashiraj Pradhan, and has been been awarded to various such unsung heroes. He also informed that the Sewashree Samman was presented to individuals who have excelled in various fields of literature, art, music, journalism, etc.

NSP also felicitated Class XII CBSE students from various schools who excelled in Nepali language. The celebration also included cultural presentations by different schools and organisations.

A competition on various genres of Nepali art, music and literature was organised by NSP on July 7-10. The winners of the competition (in various fields) also performed during the celebration.

Earlier in the day, members of the Nepali community organised a procession where participants decked up in their traditional attire — women in traditional “dhaka saree” and men in “daura suruwal & dhaka topi” — were seen dancing and singing with a huge portrait of Bhanubhakta.

Bhanubhakta was a Nepali poet, translator and writer. He translated the great epic Ramayana from Sanskrit to Nepali language. He was the first person to translate the epic Ramayana from Sanskrit. Despite having other contemporary poets in the country during his time, he is revered and honoured with the title of Adikavi (the first poet) of the Nepali language.

Every year, Bhanu Jayanti is celebrated by the Nepali speaking people all around the world as a mega event with literary seminars, and programmes and amid a remarkable presence of Nepali writers, novelists, and other literary figures/enthusiasts.

Chief minister PS Golay paying homage to Bhanu Bhakta Acharya in Soreng
Participants taking out a procession in Soreng

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