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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 24 April 2024

Thin crowd at poet Bhanubhakta Acharya’s birth anniversary celebration irks Anit Thapa

The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration organised the birth anniversary celebration at Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan in Darjeeling where Thapa was the chief guest

Vivek Chhetri Darjeeling Published 14.07.23, 06:30 AM
The audience at Bhanubhakta Acharya’s birthday anniversary celebration at Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan in Darjeeling on Thursday.

The audience at Bhanubhakta Acharya’s birthday anniversary celebration at Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan in Darjeeling on Thursday. Picture by Passang Yolmo

Low attendance at poet Bhanubhakta Acharya’s 209th birth anniversary celebration in Darjeeling on Thursday prompted Anit Thapa, the chief executive of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), to wonder why people flocked to political meetings and refrained from attending important cultural events.

Bhanubhakta is considered the tallest poet of the Gorkha community and was the first to translate Ramayana into Nepali from Sanskrit.

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The information and cultural affairs department of the GTA organised the birth anniversary celebration at Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan in Darjeeling where Thapa was the chief guest.

“We are immersed in identity and cultural issues but it surprises me that when it comes to celebrating our identity and culture, we are always less in numbers. The gatherings at political meetings and entertainment shows are big,” Thapa said in his speech.

Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan has a capacity to accommodate around 700 people. Around 100 people were present at the event.

There is a strong tone of identity and culture not only in politics but also in literature and art in the hills. The demand for the Gorkhaland state is mostly driven by the identity issue as Indian Gorkhas believe that they are mistaken as citizens of Nepal by the mainstream India.

Against this background, Thapa’s statement gains weight.

This is, however, not the first time that Thapa has raised this issue.

The GTA chief had made a similar observation when attendance was low during the birth anniversary celebration of poet Agam Singh Giri at the same Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan in Darjeeling on December 27, 2020.

Giri, who died at a relatively young age of 43 in 1971, was a prolific poet and lyricist whose writings many believe are in tune with the current topics of political debates like identity, self-determination and homeland and his works best reflect the tribulations of Indian Gorkhas.

On Thursday, GTA conferred Agam Singh Giri Puraskar 2022 on noted writer Dr Gokul Sinha. The award carries an amount of Rs 1 lakh.

Similarly, the GTA also conferred the Bhanubhakta Puraskar (literature) on M Pathik, Master Mitra Sen Smriti Puraskar (folk song) on Santosh Portel, Padri Ganga Prasad Pradhan Smriti Puraskar (journalism) on Mohan Lama and D.B. Pariyar Smriti Puraskar (art) on Purna Rai Nirupam. Eas of the awards consists of a citation, a trophy and a cash award of Rs 50,000.

Thapa asked the organisers to ensure that there was a larger presence in such celebrations in future.

GTA officials said they had issued 370 invitation cards for the event. “Since Bhanu Jayanti is celebrated in every nook and corner, the attendance was a little low this time,” said the official.

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