Under the banner of the West Bengal Newar Development and Cultural Board, the Newar community celebrated the Newari New Year-1139 in Kurseong on Thursday.

To mark the day, a ‘Shobhayatra’ (rally) was taken out from the Kurseong Tourist Lodge to the Motor Stand in the town, where Newari people, mainly members and supporters of the Board from different places in the Hills participated. They were clad in their traditional Newari attire, while they played their traditional musical instruments.

Talking to reporters, the Newar Development and Cultural Board chairman, Sunil Pradhan, claimed that the community had marked the Newari New Year with such enthusiasm for the first time in the country.

“So far, the new year was not celebrated by any Newari association even in the Hills, including Kurseong, due to different reasons,” Mr Pradhan said.

“Today’s celebrations were possible because of the initiatives taken by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, as she gave us the opportunity to revive and preserve our tradition and culture that had almost disappeared, by establishing a separate development board for the Newar community,” he added.

According to him, the Board is engaged in different activities for the preservation of the culture and tradition and the uplift of the Newari people.

“We have already constructed around 700 houses in the Hills for the needy Newari people. Not only this, several other development programmes are underway,” Mr Pradhan said.

People belonging to the Newar community from different places in Darjeeling Hills, and those from Kalimpong district attended today’s programme, he added.

According to him, they will be observing the 5th Foundation Day of the Newar Pradhan Kalyan Association and the second foundation day of the development board at the Montiveot Ground in Kurserong on 23 December. Thousands of people from different places will be participating in the event that day, Mr Pradhan said, while also sending across greetings and good wishes to all the Newari people on the Newari New Year-1139.