The religious Kirant leader Mahaguru Phalgunanda was born as Phalgunanda Lingdel on Karti5 25, 1941 BS (November 10, 1885 AD). He was the third son of Hansamati and Janganbanj Limbu living in Mangsebung (then Chukchinumba), Illam district, Nepal.
Phalgunada, also spelled Falgunanda was a Nepali Gurkha, a soldier at the British Indian Army and fought the World War-I in Myanmar (then Burma). He witnessed severe physical, mental, psychological, and societal damages while in war for almost a decade, hence he decided to come back home and carry out social campaigns.
Lingdel mainly advocated for educational rights to all during the Rana Oligarchy. The Ranas then opposed any form of education to the public leaving the large population illiterate and ignorant. Education was kept as the exclusive prerequisite of the ruling elites only.
Mahaguru promoted the Kirant religion and their great holy book called Mundhum while using an indigenous script called Sirijanga. According to the latest decennial census done in 2011 Kirat religion stands as Nepal’s fourth-largest religion. Mahaguru’s followers religiously identify themselves as ‘Kirat’ and according to them, Phalgunanda was arrested by Rana Rulers twice for his preaching.
Phalgunanda’s cultural ideology is named ‘Satyahang’ which loosely translates as a path of truth-seeking, however, some critiques commented that his cultural teaching, preaching, and rituals are inspired by Hindu sect Josmani and its Guru Madhunanda from Myanmar.
He, the Mahaguru is best known for his outstanding role in bringing social reforms. He dissuaded animal sacrifice during celebrations like birth, wedding, and funerals to cut off unnecessary social expenditures; he eliminated social orthodoxies and raised awareness to encourage children to learn school lessons in their mother tongue.
In his honour Nepal Philatelic Bureau, Kathmandu has issued his Postal ticket as in Distinguished Personalities Series in 1993.
The government-designated Mahaguru as a national hero in 2009 and he is Nepal’s 16th national luminary along side King Janak, Sita, Gautam Buddha, Anshuverma, Araniko, Ram Shah, Unifier Prithvi Narayan Shah, Bir Balabhadra Kunwar, Bhakti Thapa and so on.
Phalgunanda died on Chaitra 22, 2005 BS (April 4, 1959 AD) in Imbung and was cremated at Silauti of Panchthar district. His devotees from all over Nepal make time to flock to this site on his birthday to remember and express gratitude for his selfless deeds.