PM or no PM, New Year show will go on

Kathmandu, November 2:

For the first time in one-and-a-half-decade of Nepal’s history after restoration of democracy, the function to celebrate the Nepali calendar New Year 1126 was held today without a representative from the government. Since 1991, prime ministers have been chief guests of the event here.

“Traditionally, the PM is invited. Since there is no one holding the post, we found it disconcerting to invite the chairman of the cabinet due to security and other reasons. Hence, we did not invite anybody,” said Hikmat Bahadur Maili, the chairman of the New Year Celebration Committee 1126 (NYCC).

Nepal Bhasha Mankaa Khalaa (NBMK) has been organising cultural rallies for past 26 years, through NYCC, which is reconstituted every year.

Around 50,000 people, including 150 troupes playing traditional musical instruments, marched along the lanes of the capital and prayed for people’s prosperity and long-lasting peace. Similar rallies were held in Lalitpur, Bhaktpaur and other townships in the Valley.

Addressing a mass meeting at Basantapur, NBMK chairman Padma Ratna Tuladhar demanded a strong national policy for formulating the national calendar. He said: “Those who assert Nepal’s independent status and claim Indian interference now and then should first boycott Bikram calendar which originated in India,” he said, adding that if Nepal could announce Nepal calendar as the country’s national calendar, it would portray Nepal’s identity in the world.

RK Manandhar, managing director of Image Channel Nepal, awarded Dr Jagadish Chandra Regmi with the Nepal Sambat Image Sirpaa for his contribution to research on the history of Nepal calendar. The award contains a purse of Rs 10,000. Among the rallying troupes, Chigo Dhime group of Tahanani, Kakeshowri Dapa Khalaa and Jhigu Dhime Kumanani bagged cash prizes of Rs 10,000, Rs 5,000 and Rs 3,000 respectively. The Tole Sudhar Samiti Jhochhen held a grand motorcycle rally that moved around the valley all day.

According to historians, a merchant named Sankhadhar Sakhwaa launched the new calendar 1126 years ago, after he paid off the debts of all citizens. The lunar calendar was in use for all political and cultural documents until it was banned by Prime Minister Chandra Shamsher who replaced it with Bikram Sambat. Sakhwaa was honored as a National Luminary in 1999.

A candle rally was also organised today at Bagbazaar. Hundreds of locals walked around the local thoroughfares, holding candles. Around a dozen musical cassettes and CDs were also released on the same occasion in the capital.

On the eve of New Year, Sukunda Rally was organised at Makhan; a mass track event was organised by the Newaa Dey Goo and a special children’s track event was organised by Nhoo Puchaa yesterday.