KATHMANDU — 296th Prithvi Jayanti is being celebrated across the country marking the contribution of Late King Prithvi Narayan Shah in the unification of Nepal.
As the country is celebrating 296th birth anniversary of King Prithvi Narayan Shah and National Unification Day today, it is a sombre occasion for all Nepalis to objectively recognise the significance of the Nepali nationhood and the national rebuilding process in the changed context.
This discourse of national rebuilding calls for a thorough and candid evaluation of the role of Prithvi Narayan Shah, the architect and unifier of modern Nepal, more than ever with the country transforming into a federal democratic republic.
Every year, Poush 27 of Nepali calendar marks the birth anniversary of Late King Shah. He is credited with starting the campaign for a reunification of Nepal. Born in 1723 (1779 BS) on the same day, Late King Shah became king of Gorkha at the age of 20.
King Prithvi valued his people and enjoyed talking to his subjects about their general concerns. This practice helped him to build a rapport with his people and helped him to understand the requirements of the citizens. King Shah sealed his borders and maintained a peaceful environment except for distant relations with the British, who were refusing to trade with Nepal at the time.
Although, the people’s war, waged by the then CPN (Maoist),started on the foundation of public grievances of social, cultural and other forms of discrimination by the then state, later rallied around on the identity issue. The proponents of the people’s war strongly raised the ethnic issues and banked on it to mobilise public support for their cause.
King Shah had conceptualized the saying, “Nepal is a garden of four castes and 36 sub-castes” which reflects the diversity and culture of Nepal and is equally relevant in present time as well. He is said to have advocated for inclusive Nepal and respected culture of various communities.
The birth anniversary of late king Shah used to be marked as the National Unification Day at the state level in the past too. But the successive governments after 2006 dropped the idea, although some political parties and groups continued with the tradition on their own.
But, the present government this time has announced a public holiday today on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Shah.
Marking the same occasion, President Bidya Devi Bhandari attended a special program organized in the capital today. Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, chief of constitutional bodies, Ministers and other dignitaries attended the program.
On the occasion, President Bhandari and Prime Minister along with other dignitaries offered wreath in the statue of the Late King Shah situated at the western gate of Singha Durbar.
NC leader Regmi passes away
KATHMANDU— Nepali Congress leader Keshab Regmi, who contributed to restoring democracy in 1990, has passed away on Thursday night.
Regmi, who was suffering from respiratory problems for long, died at his residence in Gongabu in Kathmandu. Regmi, who also served as secretary of NC, Kaski, played an important role in establishing Nepal Students’ Union, the student wing of the NC.
He was also sent to jail five times for fighting to restore democracy. He is survived by two wives.
His last rites were conducted at Pashupati Aryaghat today itself. People from various walks of life and NC leaders attended his funeral rite.
On the occasion, NC President and former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, senior leader Ram Chandra Paudel and General Secretary Dr Shashanka Koirala paid tribute to Regmi by draping his body in the party flag.Follow @gorkhapost