Bhaktapur, Nov 14: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' has said that the Nepal Sambat calendar is not only of the Newars, but it is a unique calendar of Nepal and all the Nepalis.
PM Prachanda said so while addressing a programme of garlanding a statue of National Hero Shankhadhar Sakhwa who propounded the Nepal Sambat calendar, and of launching the original name of Madhyapur Thimi. The programme was organized by the Shankhadhar Sakhwa Foundation at Madhyapur Thimi today.
"There was this misconception that the Nepal Sambat belonged only to the Newars. This is Nepal's own indigenous calendar. It is the common calendar of all castes and communities. Nepalis should take pride in this calendar as it is a calendar of entire Nepal and Nepalis alone," PM Prachanda reiterated.
Stating that the Newar intellectuals played a major role in establishing the Nepal Sambat calendar, he said they waged a struggle also to get it recognized as the National Calendar. The PM described Nepal Sambat as the calendar based on social justice.
Recalling that he has taken many decisions inspired by Shankhadhar Sakhwa, the Head-of-the-Government said, "The first republican government under my leadership had made the historic decision to recognize the Nepal Sambat as the National Calendar after the establishment of republic. At that time I took a decision to absolve the loan of up to Rs 30,000 that the poor peasants of Nepal had taken. I took this decision inspired from Shankhadhar Sakhwa."
He said the cabinet meeting held yesterday (Monday) took the decision to bring into use the Nepal Sambat in all the government documents and works." This decision has taken our national sovereignty and self-respect along with freedom, equality and social justice to a new height. It has made all of us proud," PM Prachanda added.
Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Sudan Kirati said the government led by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal should also take the leadership of the task of alleviating poverty from the country and achieving prosperity.
He described Shankhadhar Sakhwa as the 'socialist cultural leader', saying it was he who absolved the debt of poor farmers and set the culture of social justice and equality during his time.
Minister Kirati declared that the Ministry of Culture will set up a prize in the name of National Luminary Shankhadhar Sakhwa.
Livestock Minister of Bagmati Province Dr Rajendra Man Shrestha said the decision of the federal government to bring into use the Nepal Sambat in government documents is a welcome step. He said the Bagmati Province Government has also decided to use the Nepal Bhasa and Tamang languages as the official language of government works.
Rastriya Swatantra Party president Rabi Lamichhane said his party will also bring into use the Nepal Sambat calendar as it is Nepal's indigenous calendar. He also stressed on the need of preserving the national history.
Nepali Congress joint general secretary Bhisma Raj Angdambe said it is necessary to explore and establish Nepal's unique identity and history.
Mayor of Madhyapur Thimi Municipality Surendra Shrestha said the Madhyapur Thimi Municipality has identified 450 unique names of places and heritages in the municipality. He said these names would be promoted.
Foundation former president Shyam Krishna Manandhar said a campaign has been launched to publicise Sakhwa's contribution throughout the country. Stating that a drive of installing the national luminary's statues within the country and abroad has been started, he said Shakhwa's statue has been installed at 22 places within Nepal and in Baltimore, USA as well.
Foundation president Gyanram Shrestha said the Rana rulers had replaced the Nepal Sambat that was brought into use by Shankhadhar Sakhwa 1143 years back with the Bikram Sambat calendar. He added that a big achievement has been made till date through the Bhintuna Movement that started from Nepal Sambat 1100.
On the occasion, Prime Minister Prachanda unveiled a stone slab with the indigenous and historical names of Madhyapur Thimi inscribed on it. He also launched the Shankhadhar Bulletin.
Managing Editor of Nepal Samacharpatra national daily Direk Lal Shrestha and Saunak Ranjitkar who developed the Nepal Sambat app were felicitated on the occasion.
Similarly, musician Ram Krishna Duwal, social campaigner Ganesh Sayami and Narayan Kilambu were honoured with the Shankhadhar Medal.
There should be no any inhibition in celebrating Nepal Sambat: PM
Meanwhile, addressing another programme marking the Nepal Sambat 1144 New Year at Basantapu in Kathmandu, PM Prachanda said that there should not be any inhibitions in celebrating the Nepal Sambat calendar as it is the common unique calendar of the whole nation.
The Nhuda National Celebration Committee had organized the programme.
The Prime Minister also assured on the occasion that any attempts from any side to discredit and undermine the Nepal Sambat calendar and undo its implementation would not be tolerated.
Committee president Prof Dr Nareshman Bajracharya stressed that the government should be people-oriented and not power and party-oriented. It should take the people together, he reminded.
Also attending the programme were Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha, Kathmandu Metropolitan City mayor Balendra Shah, Deputy Mayor Sunita Dangol, Janakabi Durgalal Shrestha, Nepali Congress leaders Prakash Man Singh and Bhimsen Das Pradhan and CPN (UML) leader Krishna Gopal Shrestha, among other party leaders.
On the occasion, the Shankhadhar Sakhwa National Foundation, Thimi was conferred with a cash prize of Rs 25,000 and a Letter of Commendation for making notable contribution to study and research on the National Luminary Shankhadhar Sakhwa.
A Nepal Sambat calendar published by the Nhuda National Celebration Committee was launched at the programme.
A message of best wishes send by President Ramchandra Paudel on the occasion of the Nepal Sambat New Year 1144 was read out.
A cultural rally accompanied by musicians playing the traditional musical instruments went through various thoroughfares of Kathmandu inner city in the morning today in celebration of the start of the New Year. (RSS)