I attended the 204th Bhanu Jayanti celebrations, held at Manan Kendra.

Remembering Bhanu Bhakta Acharya, I stated that this day should not be seen merely as a day to celebrate his birth anniversary, but it should also be a celebration of Nepali literature and culture, and above all a festival of being Nepalis. The legendary poet’s contribution to Nepali literature, culture and tradition is immeasurable, and now it is on us to take the rich legacy forward.

I felt very happy to know that the theme for this year’s Bhanu Jayanti is “Jatiya Sadbhavana” (Communal Harmony) – a great message to the people. Our Government has maintained peace, security and harmony in the State in all these years. I urged everyone to take ownership and responsibility as dutiful citizens and give their full support in giving continuity to the communal harmony that exists in the State. All the communities of Sikkim should work for the interest of the State and not be driven by self-interest.

Addressing the students and youngsters, I encouraged them to follow their dreams and utilize their talent in order to move forward in life. They must remember that it is their thoughts and actions that make or break them. Success cannot be achieved easily and without putting in hard work and perseverance. The world today has made tremendous advancement in all fields. Especially the developed nations have marched ahead through their hard labour as well as innovative and creative thinking. Our youths should take a leaf out of their book and learn to persevere with new ideas to achieve success. They should stay away from petty matters like communalism and not pay heed to ‘traditional intellectuals’, who are stuck on to the old and outdated ideas like caste- based society. The new generation should instead work towards making our society-knowledge based and one that is based on scientific thinking. It is certain that in modern world, those who cling to ‘traditional thinking’ will reach nowhere in life, whereas for innovative and scientific-based thinkers, the sky is the limit!

I informed that our Government has endeavoured has worked towards the promotion of Nepali language. Nepali is taught not only in schools and colleges, but from this year, we have also appointed Nepali Graduate Teachers. From next year, we will also appoint Primary Teachers for Nepali. All these steps have been taken to encourage our students to take up Nepali as a subject in schools and colleges. A language can be safeguarded, promoted and recognized if people study it as a subject. Similarly, people from the Nepali community can even write UPSC examination in Nepali language as it comes under the 8th Schedule of the Constitution. Such efforts will go a long way in promotion and recognition of Nepali language.

Recognizing the great contribution of Bhanu Bhakta Acharya, we have established the Bhanu Bhakta Cultural Centre at Kyongsa, Gyalshing, West Sikkim, which not only consists of a statue of the literary giant but other amenities as well. We were even successful in having the presence of descendents of the ‘Adhikavi’ during the inauguration of the Centre. Unfortunately, this infrastructure has not been utilized properly. So, I called upon all concerned to look into this matter and come up with solutions to ensure that this facility created by the State Government is put to use for the benefit of our people. Likewise, we have also created many religious destinations, which have gained immense popularity among tourists from abroad and other parts of the Country. Places like Chaar Dhaam, Siddhivinayak Temple at Rhenock, to name a few, have caught the imagination of many tourists, especially those following Hinduism. But our own people from the Nepali community, I feel, are yet to appreciate and value these developments. I urged the gathering to give do acknowledgements to good work and not to take anything for granted.

The Nepali community still suffer from an identity crisis. We are often viewed as immigrants by our mainland countrymen. Doubts are cast on our nationality. Even personally also, I was made a victim of this crisis, when a case was filed in the Court questioning my nationality. It is during such times that we, the Nepali people have to be united and prove that we are proud Indians having made our contributions towards the Nation, right from the time of Lord Buddha. History is proof that the Buddha was of Nepali origin, having being born in Nepal. So, if we are to prove our identity, we can say that we are Indians as much as Lord Buddha is! Therefore, whenever aspersions are cast on our identity, we as a community should stand for each other and protect ourselves from such derogatory attacks.

I announced for the construction of Bhanu Bhawan in Gangtok and requested the concerned organization to look for a suitable land. The State Government would bear all expenditure in its construction.

I congratulate the family members of Late Shri Radha Krishna Sharma for the prestigious Bhanu Puruskar conferred posthumously on the literary figure and also all other awardees in different categories.