Prithvi Narayan hailed as the unifierThe Prithvi Jayanti was celebrated as the National Unification Day on Thursday after a gap of 11 years by remembering Prithvi Narayan Shah, the architect of modern Nepal.
The Prithvi Jayanti was celebrated as the National Unification Day on Thursday after a gap of 11 years by remembering Prithvi Narayan Shah, the architect of modern Nepal.
Prithvi Narayan is also known for his “Divyopadesh”, a collection of his wise, famous and often prophetic sayings on national politics and economy.
Thursday marks the 296th birth anniversary of the king who founded the Shah dynastic rule that lasted until the historic Constituent Assembly ended monarchy 11 years ago. In a society divided over his role, governments after the success of the Second Janaandolan had given no importance to the day, often drawing flak for disregarding the contribution of the late king to nation building.
This year the Prithvi Jayanti and National Unification Day was celebrated with national prominence as the government announced a public holiday and organised a formal event to commemorate the day.
President Bidya Devi Bhandari, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, Deputy Prime Minister Kamal Thapa and Chief of Army Staff Rajendra Chhetri, among other top officials, attended the commemorative function.
Former minister Modnath Prashrit was pleased at their participation in the programme. “We thank the government for declaring a public holiday on this day and for celebrating it at the national level,” he said.
Prithvi Narayan was the king of Gorkha when he launched the national unification campaign in September 1745. After conquering Nuwakot, he annexed many other small principalities to his kingdom.
Nepal Academy Chancellor Prof Ganga Prasad Upreti said true tributes to the builder of the nation would be to bring into practice his precepts contained in the Divyopadesh.
Pandit Bishwa Prem Bhattarai praised the government for reviving the celebration of Prithvi Jayanti. “The government should not forget the national hero in the name of federalism and republicanism,” said Sarad Dahal, president of the National Unity Party. Actor Santosh Panta was also happy with the government’s decision to announce a public holiday on Prithvi Jayanti.
Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Jitendra Narayan Dev underlined the need for studying PN Shah’s Divyopadesh in new light. Minister Dev said the Unification Day would have real meaning only if the state could accommodate all the languages, religions, cultures, customs and ethnicities on a single string of national unity, as reflected in the late king’s proclamation that “Nepal is a garden of many flowers”. The new national anthem also incorporates his observation.