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Darjeeling icon Rai passes away

Poet funeral on Thursday, GTA offices to shut down

Indra Bahadur Rai
 

Darjeeling: Indra Bahadur Rai, one of the most prominent Nepali literary figures and a cultural icon of the community, passed away in Darjeeling on Tuesday. He was 91.

The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) has decided to close all its offices on Thursday as a mark of respect for Rai.

Rai is considered one of the pillars of modern Nepali literature and has left an indelible mark with his writings over a range of issues.

Binay Tamang, chairperson, board of administrator, GTA, said on Wednesday: "As a mark of respect to Sir Indra Bahadur Rai, the GTA has decided to close all its offices tomorrow. We would also request the schools to send students from Classes VIII and above to attend the funeral tomorrow (Thursday)."

The funeral procession will start from Rai's residence at Looch Nagar in Darjeeling. "The procession will start at 12.05pm . After doing the rounds of town, the body will be kept at the Gorkha Dukha Niwarak Sammelan (GDNS) ground for all to pay homage," said Despad Rai, the poet's son.

Indra Bahadur was born on 27 February 1927 at Balasun in Darjeeling and is a receipt of major literary awards like the Sahitya Akademi Award, Jagadambarshri Puraskar and Agam Singh Giri Smriti Puraskar among others.

Rai published his first literary work, Vipana Katipaya, in 1960 and his last published work was Pachila Chuniya Ka Lekh Haru early this year. Despad said: "Of late he was not much into writing or reading. He passed away peacefully between 6 and 6.30pm last evening."

Rai was not only one of the most prominent literary figures but had also left a mark in politics.

He was a proponent of a separate state and played an active role in the movement for recognition of Nepali language in the Eight Schedule of the Indian Constitution.

Rai is survived by his son, two daughters, grandchildren and great-grand children.

Social activists, political leaders cutting across political lines and people from different walks of life expressed their condolences to the bereaved family.

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