Pokhara— The eighth IME Nepal Literature Festival (NLF) 2019 kicked off in Pokhara on Friday. With a rainy and gloomy day of touristy town Pokhara, the festival is being held at Barahi Ground at the shores of Phewa Lake.
“Democracy is not only infrastructure and development. It means that every citizen should have access to and assurance of health services, education, security and justice,” said Dr. Devendra Raj Panday, Civil Society Leader, “The state is primarily responsible for this, but it is also the duty of every other sphere – the private sector and each individual citizen.”
Panday was delivering the keynote speech on ‘Democratic Development and Public Accountability’ during the inauguration session of the NLF, Organized by Bookwork Foundation in association with Random Readers’ Society. Panday, also a former Finance Minister and Finance Secretary of Nepal, stressed on the need for all citizens to come together as a civil society and fulfil their duties for a greater good.
Prior to the keynote speech, breaking away from a traditional inauguration, NLF 2019 was begun with auspicious hymns from the ancient Vedas chanted by Anita, Mamata and Manita Sundas. The three Sundas sisters, along with a fourth sister, Melina, have created ripples in Nepal by professionally chanting the Vedas, laying claim to a skill traditionally dominated by Brahmin males. This reflects the positive transformations in Nepal that NLF aims to collate and showcase.
Chief Guest Hon. Prithvi Subba Gurung, Chief Minister of Gandaki Pradesh, also appreciated the role played by NLF to capture literary and artistic trends, playing a role in furthering the nation’s prosperity. “Prosperity is not merely infrastructure. It is the upliftment of people’s lives and the strengthening of their intellectual prowess. For this, knowledge and research are essential. This is where celebrations like the Nepal Literature Festival are essential,” he said.
Also agreeing with NLF’s crucial role in furthering Nepal’s reputation as a premier tourism destination was Deepak Raj Joshi, Chief Executive Officer of Nepal Tourism Board – Nepal’s national tourism organization. “I would like to request the learned individuals, in their literary roles, to present here to collect, curate, create and disseminate the incredible stories that Nepal has to offer. This will also be a huge boost to Visit Nepal 2020,” he said.
NLF is being supported by IME Group, one of Nepal’s leading business conglomerates, for the second year running. Chandra Prasad Dhakal, President of IME Group, said, “It is not an easy process to win the hearts of millions of people around the world just through words, and bring about a change in their attitude, lifestyle and mentality. Authors and litterateurs have been leading society and social change through this very unique capability.