The special cultural programme organised by the Civil Forum Nepal (CFN) at the Birendra International Convention Centre on February 9 started around an hour late than its scheduled time of 3:00 pm. The programme titled ‘Nirwasan ko Asu Nepali Man le Puchhau’ was organised to express solidarity with the Bhutanese refugees in their struggle.

The cultural programme commenced with a mellifluous song Ekai Najarmai by Anju Panta. After that the formal proceedings began with the welcome speech by CFN chairman GP Dhungel, and the lighting of lamps by chief guests UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal and former prime minister and NC-D leader Sher Bahadur Deuba. Minister Pradip Gyawali, Maoist leader CP Gajurel, United Leftist Front president CP Mainali, and Bhutanese refugee leader Tek Nath Rijal were among the distinguished guests at the occasion.

A host of songs and instrumentals by national and international artists, and dances choreographed by various artistes, could not but make the evening entertaining for the audience. Along with the entertainment, the audiences were repeatedly reminded of the suffering of the Bhutanese refugees, and called for solidarity with their cause.

Songs celebrating Nepali diversity and nationality caught the audience’s attention more. The songs of Badri Pangeni, surprisingly adorning a combat shirt, reminding the decision-makers of Nepal that the poor are yet to benefit from Loktantra caught the pulse of most of the audience. Kunti Moktan, who preceded Pangeni, received a good welcome and loud ovation for her popular song Lali Gurans. The amazing peacock dance by Narendra Ale was great fun to watch. A documentary exposing what led to the Bhutanese refugees’ evacuation from their home country was also screened.

A confluence of the traditional Nepali, traditional Tibetan, and modern instruments was seen when Tibet-born renowned flautist from the US Nawang Khechog, a Grammy nominee, performed with master flautist Prem Avatari along with others on the panche baaja and a drum set. It was indeed a rare treat for all.

The Acharya brothers — Satya Raj and Swaroop Raj — didn’t lag in giving a stellar performance. Renowned artistes Yam Baral and Ananda Karki also sang at the concert.