'Hindi Day in Nepal maligned India's friend'
A Hindi Day programme organised by the Indian government in Nepal ended up "maligning" an eminent Nepali leader, one of the staunchest friends of India.
The Indian embassy in collaboration with the Hindi department of Kathmandu's Tribhuvan University had hosted a conference on Hindi at a three-star hotel. The daylong conference also had several speakers flown in from India and accommodated in the capital, with the Indian government picking up the tab.
Suryanath Gope, head of the Hindi department of Tribhuvan University, triggered the furore. Gope's paper belittled a champion of Hindi in Nepal, the late Gajendra Narayan Singh, Hindi activists alleged.
Singh, a three-time MP and minister who held important portfolios like commerce and supplies and local development, came from Saptari district in southern Nepal, lying in the Terai plain that has strong ties with India.
Though Singh started his political career with the Nepali Congress party, he later formed the Nepal Sadbhavana Party (NSP) to press for the rights of the people living in the Terai belt, who speak Hindi, wear the dhoti like in India and not the daura-suruwal, the national dress of Nepal, and have close ties with India.