Following last year’s announcement by the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) chairman Anit Thapa that a single programme should be held to observe the birth anniversary of pioneer Nepali poet Bhanu Bhakta Acharya, the day was today marked at Chowrastha here with joint efforts from the GTA, the district administration, and the Nepali Sahitya Sammelan (NSS).

Though the GTA and the NSS had held one programme to observe Bhanu Jayanti last year, the district administration had held another one, a trend that was being followed in the previous years.

Speaking on the poet’s 206th birth anniversary today, Mr Thapa said, “Last year, we had taken a pledge that a single programme should be organized on the birth anniversary of Bhanu Bhakta, and I am happy that it was possible this time. We should continue this system in the coming years also. Earlier, a dual administration used to organise it separately, even though we were paying homage to the same person and the statue around which the programme used to be held was also the same.”

The GTA chairman also said that from this year onwards, they wanted Bhanu Jayanti to be celebrated like a festival, which they could not owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In fact, though homage was paid to the statue of Bhanu Bhakta at Chowrastha by Offering khadas (traditional scarf) and garlands, the programme was limited this time with recitation of parts of Bhanu Bhakta’s Nepali translation of the Ramayana, and a poem.

Like previous years, no other programme followed it like the Bhanu Bhakta Puraskar and other award ceremonies like the Master Mitrasen Puruskar, Padri Gangaprasad Puruskar and G Douglas Puruskar.

“From next year, we will observe this programme as a festival, as he has played a big role in our Nepali language. We could even extend celebrations for two days. This year, we could not even give away the Bhanu Puraskar, which we will do next time. However, we had announced the Giri Puraskar last year, along with other awards to be given in April this year, which we also could now due to the ongoing pandemic. We have now decided to hand over the awards after a week to recipients at their homes personally,” he said.

The awards to be given in April included Giri Puraskar for Kagendra Dixit in the field of theatre, and the Chuzang Dukpa Smriti Puraskar to be given to Ajnish Raya in the field of music.

The lifetime achievement award will be given away to Sonam Tshering in the field of Art and Culture, while the Shiva Kumar Rai award to be given away to Pradip Gurung in the field of literature.

The Aruna Lama Smriti Puraskar will be awarded to Dawa Galmo in the field of music.