Sikkim observes 207th birth anniversary of 'Adikavi' Bhanubhakta Acharya

Gangtok: Sikkim on Tuesday observed the 207th birth anniversary of Nepali poet, translator and writer Bhanubhakta Acharya.

Acharya was the first writer to translate the Ramayana from Sanskrit to Nepali. Despite having other contemporary poets in the country during his time, he is revered and honoured with the title of ‘Adikavi’ of the Nepali language.

Always celebrated as a festival more than just a birth anniversary, Nepali Sahitya Parishad organised a function at Bhanu Udyaan, Zero Point in capital Gangtok to mark the occasion. It was attended by governor Ganga Prasad and chief minister Prem Singh Golay, besides other ministers and legislators.

Ministers and legislators of Sikkim during a function to mark the 207th birth anniversary of Bhanubhakta Acharya in Gangtok on Tuesday
Sikkim CM PS Golay during a function to mark the 207th birth anniversary of Bhanubhakta Acharya in Gangtok on Tuesday

As per tradition, the state government awards ‘Bhanu Purashkar’ to a Nepali litterateur on the occasion. For the 2021 edition, former MP Dil Kumari Bhandari, who fought for the inclusion of Nepali language in the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution in 1992, was chosen. However, the felicitation has been postponed for a later date owing to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

CM Golay congratulated the people of the state on the birth anniversary of Bhanubhakta Acharya but lamented that a bigger celebration could not be conducted due to COVID-19. “We couldn’t organise a yatra too. This is a very small celebration today,” he added.

The CM also took the podium to congratulate Bhanu Purashkar winner Dil Kumari Bhandari. “The recognition conferrred by the Nepali Sahitya Parishad upon Dil Kumari Bhandari is appreciable. However, the former MP should have been awarded long time ago for her contribution to the Nepali language. Her struggle was historic, hence we congratulate her,” he said.

Meanwhile, commenting on the Nepali language being on its way out from the school curriculum, specially among private schools, Golay said: “The onus for such a decision relies on the public schools. This is not a decision of the government.”

Also read | Sikkim heading towards ‘genocide’ over lack of COVID management policy: SDF

However, Golay said that in government schools, Nepali language is almost a compulsion. “Even if it isn’t, students always opt for the language. We give equal importance to Nepali and Sanskrit. We will stil urge the private schools to implement it in their curriculum,” the CM said.

Commenting on the recent notification of the education government to make Saturdays a traditional attire day in government schools, Golay said: “The decision has been taken to inculcate cultural understanding among our children. But it is not a compulsion upon the students. We are taking such steps only for the preservation of Nepali language and culture.”

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