After almost lapses of 15 years, Nepal is formally marking the Prithvi Jayanti and National Unity Day today paying respect to nation builder. Under a pressure from Maoist Party, Nepali Congress removed the national unity from calendar. Today is also official holiday in Nepal.
.Interestingly, the celebration has restored during the tenure of Maoist leader and Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal. However, President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, a close clan of Kazi Kalu Pande has shown got paying respect to nation builder.
Despite removing from national calendar, Nepal Army has been celebrating Prithvi Narayan Shah’s birth anniversary annually as Shah is the founder and first commander-in-chief of Nepal Army
Even opposition from a section of party, President Bhandai has been annually visiting the statue of Prithvi Narayan Shah and paying respect to him.
Like in the previous years, President Bhandari has extended a Best Wishes On Prithvi Jayanti.
President Bhandari has extended best wishes to all the Nepalis at home and abroad on the occasion of the 301th birth anniversary of late King Prithivi Narayan Shah.
Issuing a statement on the occasion of Prithvi Jayanti on Wednesday, President Bhandari said that the formation of modern Nepal through the unification of scattered small principalities was a unique and proud chapter of our history.
“Everyone should accept this historical reality that the independent and sovereign existence of Nepal has been maintained because our heroic ancestors had carried forward the campaign of nation building, which was first started under the leadership of Prithvi Narayan Shah,” she said.
“Standing on the foundation prepared by the unification process, we have been able to set the journey of today's sovereign, independent, inclusive and democratic Republic of Nepal,” she said.
She further said while being proud of the achievements of the present time, everyone should equally respect the sacrifices made by our ancestors.
The teachings of Prithvi Narayan Shah regarding social, economic and foreign policies are still relevant, said the President.
She added, “I believe that this National Unity Day will inspire all of us to achieve the happiness and prosperity of the people by keeping the independence, sovereignty, geographical integrity and national unity intact.”
The practice of marking the Day was halted following the April Uprising of 2006 which culminated in ending the monarchy from Nepal. Before 2006, marking Prithvi Jayanti had been in practice since 1951 by organising various programmes and giving a public holiday commemorating King Prithvi Narayan Shah who unified Nepal by unifying small principalities.
For the past few years, voices had been raised to mark the Day and to pay tribute to Prithvi Narayan Shah.
RPP’s Lingden Role
This time, Rastriya Prajatantra Party led by Rajendra Lingden succeeded in compelling the government to mark the Day, after the party put forth marking the Prithvi Jayanthi as a pre-condition to support and join the present government led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachnda’. It is the first ever government formed after 2006 to formally give public holiday on the occasion of birth anniversary of late national unifier Shah.
King Prithvi was born in 1723 and had unified the Himalayan country and safeguarded the country from British empire. He had become the King of the nation in 1768 and before this, he became the King of Gorkha in 1743.
Through his unification drive, PN Shah created one of the old nations but some of the political parties, especially after 2006 movements, showed prejudice against the national hero and curtailed the practice of marking the National Unity Day.
Speaking at a vote of confidence session at the House of Representatives (HoR) on Tuesday, Rajendra Prasad Lingden, Chairman of Rastriya Prajatantra Party, thanked the government for granting public holiday on Prithvi Jayanti.
The Council of Ministers meeting held on January 9 decided to give a public holiday on the day of the birth anniversary of King Prithvi Narayan Shah on January 11.
Lingden opined that since Prithvi Narayan Shah gave the name and identity of Nepal, there is no need to hesitate to honour PN Shah. "We should respect the glorious days of our history," he said, "Prithvi Jayanti or National Unity Day is not only for any party or ideology, it is for all of us," said chairman Lingden.
Nepal Army organising special function
Meanwhile, Nepali Army is organising a special function at the Army Headquarters on Wednesday to mark the 301st birth anniversary of the king and the National Unity Day. PN Shah was also the Chief of the Nepali Army in 1743.
According to the Directorate of Public Relations and Information under the Headquarters, a special function will be held in presence of Chief of the Army Staff (CoAS) along with senior most generals and officers in front of the Army Headquarters, where a life-size statue of late Shah has been erected.
Brigadier General and Spokesperson for the Army Headquarters Krishna Bhandari said that a special unification trail squad of Nepali Army in the attire worn by the Shah’s army with a torch left Gorkha on January 5 for Kathmandu.
Brigadier General Bhandari said that the team had now arrived in Nagarjun-based army barrack. The team that arrived from Nuwakot handed over the torch and the national flag and of Nepali Army to the Nagarjun Barrack on Tuesday.
The team of the barrack will bring that handed over historical and cultural artifacts to the Army Headquarters to mark the Day on Wednesday, said Bhandari.
According to the unification trail trend, first a team from Shree Ripumardin Battalion Gorkha with historical military uniforms and traditional accessories with the national flag and torches of the five permanent companies of the Nepali Army hands over the torch to Dhading's military squad, and the Dhading military squad to Nuwakot-based army team and Nuwakot team to Kathmandu-based Nagarjun Barrack, which then finally brings the accessories to the Army Headquarters before converging into the mass and special function on Wednesday.