Ashadh 29, 2063 BS.
Today is 193rd Bhanu Jayanti. In fact, I realised this only in the evening. Because of the CDM pandemonium, I forgot the essence of the day. Nevertheless, my due respects to the great poet of Nepali language.
(Today I was busy on a meeting cum discussion along with the faculties of the CDM, students, the Dean of the IoST, and the office holders of the FSU of the TU vis-à-vis issue of the CDM. So I could not go to programmes organised to celebrate the birth anniversary of AadiKavi Bhanubhakta Aacharya.)
Twelve years ago, same day I was participating in a poetry competition organised by Little Angels School. I was in grade IX that time. Ranjanmani Poudyal, a radio-journo at the Kantipur FM now, was a batch senior to me. We two were sent from our school for the contest. Ranjan got consolation prize and I got a certification with appreciation. Next day, after the PT and daily prayers in the school ground, our principal Ms Savitri Singh congratulated both of us for bringing home the bacon, and announced that the school would reward us. She said she would give Ranjan 1000 bucks and me 500 bucks. I don’t know whether Ranjan got it, however, it was never given a penny.
Meanwhile, after mentioning these things, I want to be honest and go for a confession. The poem which I recited in the competition was not mine. Tirtha Raj Adhikari, our Nepali teacher who was a student of my dad, wrote it for me. Actually, the poem that I had composed, he thought, was not good enough to win an award, and indited the one for me in a night. I was reluctant to accept the poem and asked him to send his son Hemanta for the contest. Nonetheless, he said that the eligibility criteria would not be met when his son who was in grade VII would be sent, and added that he did not see any other chap in the whole school adept enough even to recite a poem.
Despite aggrandizement for the participation in the contest and appreciation by the organisers and the school, I feel sort of infelicitous because the poem was not mine. Had the poem been mine, I would be proud of myself thus far. That was the first time and the last too when a literary piece that was projected as mine was not mine.
I used to love writing poems. I have produced plethora of poems. However, these days I don’t enjoy poetry. The poet within me has died. I don’t know why.
Meanwhile, I would like to remember some of my feelings about Bhanu Jayanti and of being Nepali. Nepalis in India celebrate it as a great festival. However, for most of we Nepalis who are Nepali citizens damn care the essence of this day. A couple of years ago when I used to work for The Himalayan Times, Anjita Pradhan—a colleague who hailed from Darjeeling—was sort of shocked when she noticed the undermining of the birthday of the great poet in his birth place.
Yes this is an irony. People of Nepali origin but different nationality are proud to be Nepali. However, Nepalis with roots in Nepal but living either in the country or abroad are obsessed with a kind of an inferiority complex. Nepalis from Darjeeling and Sikkim fought for the recognition of the language in India, and they proudly say that they are Nepalis (Gurkhas). However, if you meet a Nepali from Kathmandu in India, he will hesitate to tell you that he is Nepali.
A couple of months ago when I was in Varanasi, I came across Nepalis from five countries viz; Nepal, India, Bhutan, Burma, and China (Tibet). The descent and pride factors when analysed, among them, the worst ones are from Nepal.
I don’t suggest anybody to be jingoist. However, every body should love his or her descent. Be rationally nationalist. Love your language and don’t forget your background. Love your people and country.