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India pays tribute to Buddha`s bard in Nepal

Kathmandu: Chittadhar Tuladhar, one of Nepal`s best-loved ethnic authors who wrote an epic on Gautam Buddha, will receive a fresh lease of life nearly two decades after his death, with India funding a museum on him here.

On Friday, Indian ambassador Rakesh Sood inaugurated the spruced-up Nepal Bhasha Parishad Building in Naradevi in Kathmandu, renovated with Indian assistance. And it will house a museum and educational centre dedicated to the poet and his works.

India has pledged NRs 5.24 million under its Small Development Projects Programme for the renovation of the building as well as establishing the museum.

Tuladhar, better known by his pen name Chittadhar Hridaya, belonged to the indigenous Newar community of Kathmandu Valley, a people said to be descended from the Buddha`s clan and known for their business acumen as well as mastery over the arts and crafts.

Though he wrote primarily in the Newari language, also known as Nepali bhasha, Tuladhar`s name became known to Buddhist scholars abroad after his 20th century epic "Sugata Saurabha" - based on the life and teachings of Gautam Buddha - was translated into English under the aegis of Harvard University.

"This project denotes the importance accorded by India to preserving and promoting rich heritage of Nepal, which also symbolises the strong and close bonds in the field of cultural and literature between the two close and friendly neighbours," a statement from the Indian embassy here said.

The Nepal Bhasha Parishad was established in 1951 to promote the rich but not widely disseminated literature penned in Newari language and was housed in a dilapidated building nearly 150 years old.

The ramshackle edifice was restored while maintaining its traditional architectural authenticity, an effort that will also preserve an important cultural monument of Nepal.

The Buddha`s 2554th birth anniversary was observed worldwide last month.

IANS

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