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Padri Ganga Prasad Pradhan 164th birth anniversary celebrated

Padri Ganga Prasad Pradhan
The Tindharay unit of the United Christian Fellowship on Monday celebrated the 164th birth anniversary of Padri Ganga Prasad Pradhan, the first Gorkha journalist and writer of Gorkhali text books including the translation of the Bible in the Gorkhali/Nepali language. Veteran Gorkha litterateur Narbahadur Dahal was the chief guest of the event while Adon Rongong, editor of Christian quarterly Bibhawna, was the keynote speaker. Meanwhile, director of Mission Himalaya, Daya Ratna Pradhan, presided over the programme.
In his address, Rongong briefed about the life of Padri Ganga Prasad Pradhan, recalling the timeless contributions made by him to Gorkha literature. He said, “Bhanu Bhakta Acharya was the first Nepali poet and translator of the Ramayana into the Nepali language. Likewise, Padri Ganga Prasad Pradhan was the pioneer of the ‘Gorkha printing press’ and editor of ‘Gorkhey Khabar’ in Darjeeling. He also translated the Bible into Gorkhali language. Hence, all Gorkha people should celebrate his birthday annually as is done with Bhanu Bhakta Acharya. We should not forget that Ganga Prasad gave birth to Gorkha journalism in the region.”
Expressing similar views, Dahal, also urged the audience to make people aware about Ganga Prasad and his contributions to Gorkha print media. “We Gorkhalis should be united in celebrating Padri Ganga Prasad Jayanti as we do on Bhanu Bhakta Jayanti. We should not just look upon him through a religious perspective. It is true, he was the first Gorkhali pastor in India, but he is also the first Gorkhali to setup a printing press and start a Gorkha newspaper called ‘Gorkhey Khabar’ in Darjeeling, which leaves us with a bigger reason to celebrate his birth anniversary,” said the veteran writer. 
“I, along with my Gorkha counterparts, have also been thinking about conferring a title to Ganga Prasad Pradhan. He was more than just a ‘Padri’. He was the pioneer of Gorkha journalism and he deserves a title which can be shared by the Gorkha community across the world. Till date, we find only the Christian community in the region celebrating Ganga Prasad Jayanti, and now all Gorkhalis irrespective of their religion should be a part of it. We will soon talk to local Gorkha organisations and clubs on the matter, and I’m sure we will find a title for Padri Ganga Prasad Pradhan by his next birth anniversary,” Dahal further said.
Calling him the father of Gorkha mass media, Daya Ratna Pradhan said, “We Gorkhalis must speak about Padri Ganga Prasad Pradhan to the larger crowd. Hence, it has become essential for us to digitalize his chronicle, and what better way than the internet. We should now speak of him on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms where people are active. Our team at Mission Himalaya is even looking forward to start an official website on Ganga Prasad. Besides, our long pending desire remains to have a postal stamp on the first Gorkhali journalist, for which we will speak with the local administration soon. Ganga Prasad Pradhan’s work and contributions have been kept in darkness for long, and needs to be popularized.” 
The welcome address was delivered by Martha Rani Rai, headmistress of Tindharay Girls’ Higher Secondary School, while the vote of thanks was offered by Mashi Prakash Moktan, church leader of St John’s, Tindharay.  (HS)

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