Kanak Mani Dixit celebrates 25 years of Bhaktaprasad Bhyaguto’s journeyDixit’s book ‘Adventures of a Nepali Frog’ was one of the most widely read children’s books of its time.
Nepali children books publication Rato Bangala Kitab (RBK) and veteran writer and journalist Kanak Mani Dixit on Sunday celebrated the silver jubilee of their award-winning children’s book ‘Adventures of a Nepali Frog’ (Dhumdham ko Ghumgham: Bhaktaprasad Bhyaguto ko Nepal Yatra) at Rato Bangala School in Lalitpur.
The widely acclaimed children’s travel-adventure tale features the journey of one Bhaktaprasad Bhyaguto, a young local anthropomorphic Kathmandu frog. Rato Bangala Kitab had first published Dixit’s book in 1996 and since then Bhaktaprasad Bhyaguto’s journey has been translated in 23 different languages including in braille.
The celebration was observed with writers, journalists, academicians, artists and many renowned personalities from Kathmandu.
“I had read this book a long time ago, and I had a unique experience,” said veteran actor Madan Krishna Shrestha, chief guest of the programme.
“Going through this book, it feels that I myself am a frog. Oftentimes this book confuses me whether humans are frogs or frogs are humans,” said Shrestha, merrily.
The book is also a recipient of the Sajha Bal Sahitya Award in 1997.
Keynote speaker of the event, Gautam Vajra Vajracharya, author of ‘Frog Hymns and Rain Babies (Monsoon Culture and the Art of Ancient South Asia)’ who is currently based in the US, spoke virtually about the book. He said the book is “unique and helps to shape children’s cognitive development thanks to the author’s detailed rendering of Nepal’s geography.”
The power of ‘Adventures of a Nepali Frog’ lies in its descriptive and humorous narrative that not only entertains but also gives a lot of information about Nepal’s geographical features.
Addressing the programme, Victor Pradhan, a scholar of children’s literature and former director of Nepalese Society for Children’s Literature, said the book is a “milestone for children literature.”
“Children should be taught subjects like history, geography and culture in a playful manner, but Nepalis never learnt them that way,” Pradhan said. “So we lag behind in [learning about our own] geography. It’s through foreigners that we have to learn about our geography or history.”
The silver jubilee celebration also saw a conversation between author Dixit and educator Kalpana Parajuli where they talked about the book’s relevance at the time it was published and today.
For the event, the RBK had also organised a cover design contest for the limited anniversary edition. Among the five short-listed submissions, Bishwo Manandhar’s ‘Frogs in Khopa’ leapfrogged the other four.