Happy 100th, Rastra Kavi!

- Abha Dhital, Kathmandu

Sep 24, 2018-

What is it like to live long enough to traverse across generations and see the country evolve from a Panchayat system to a Federal Democratic Republic? To witness it go from the age of snail mail to the social media era where every information is just a tap away? What’s it like to be one of the most celebrated national literary figures who has hit the centenary mark?

If there is one man who has the answer to it all, it’s our very own Rastra Kavi Madhav Prasad Ghimire. On Sunday, Ghimire turned 100, and at least a couple of thousand fans and well-wishers of the poet laureate flocked to the Lainchaur Banquet in Kathmandu to partake in the celebration.

Always so radiant, Ghimire has never failed to amuse his readers. On his hundredth birthday, he had the widest smile, and with his spirits high, he opened his arms for all the love and gratitude his guests had to offer. Among the well-wishers were veteran writer Satya Mohan Joshi, who is just two years from his own centenary. Ghimire’s 84-year-old life partner, Mahakali Ghimire, sat by his side like she has stood by him all these years. Mahakali believes her husband will live up to 110--at least. In a poem that Ghimire wrote on his birthday, he puts a special emphasis on time. “Today I turn a hundred, and it only means that new things and new lessons lie ahead of me,” he writes. He doesn’t hesitate for a fraction of a second to claim that life is a blessing and regardless of what age one is, they should make the best of it.

Having penned acclaimed works such as Gauri, Malati Mangale, Rajeshwari and Shakuntala, Ghimire is currently working on an epic called Ritambhara--he only has to get through two more cantos. At 100, Ghimire continues to inspire many with his natural flair, but asked about his mantra, he says, “I write if I can, I don’t oblige, or try too hard. There’s no point in it.”

Ghimire believes one should have two things to write: ambition and health.

“When I had the ambition, I wrote despite all odds,” he says. “But just having a goal is not enough. You also need the health to get you through the ambition, to help you reach the end goal.”

Ghimire also believes that just living to celebrate your hundredth birthday isn’t the biggest feat. If you live that long, you also have to be able to give back to the society, he says.  “Only then can you die in peace,” he says. “Only then the 100 years is worth the celebration.”

Published: 24-09-2018 07:29

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