Today is Bhanu Bhakta Acharya’s birthday. Don’t remember how old he is now, and does it even matter? Counting years of a man who left us so many years ago.
Let me be a big idealist and cry about how few today take the time to look back and honor his work. There used to be a time when his birthday was a national event. As a student in Kathmandu, I participated in number of events over the years to honor Bhanu. My poems were no good and I never won any prize but to be part of that event and to hear from much better writers and poets was an achievement itself.
Nowadays Bhanu’s birthday or Bhanu Jayanti receives a customary nod from national dailies and news networks, and that is considered enough. You don’t see it as a national day to honor a man’s contribution to his country, it is just another “day” stuck on the calendar.
I will not discuss who Bhanu was or what he did or did not do, it will get unnecessarily long and senseless. However, I would like to say that in today’s Nepal, it is suddenly not cool or progressive to celebrate our forefathers and mothers if they don’t belong to certain ideological section. This selective memory is shameful. Criticize them if you don’t agree with them but don’t trash their contribution because without them we as a nation and people wouldn’t be here.
By the way, I too have beef with Bhanu Bhakta. Don’t agree with the way he depicted women in his work but still he is my Aadi Kabi and I honor his work.