An Introduction to Modern Nepali Literature
Publication Year: 1991
An introduction to the two most developed genres of modern Nepali literature—poetry and the short story—this work profiles eleven of Nepal's most distinguished poets and offers translations of more than eighty poems written from 1916 to 1986. Twenty of the most interesting and best-known examples of the Nepali short story are translated into English for the first time by Michael Hutt. All provide vivid descriptions of life in twentieth-century Nepal.
Although the days when Nepali poets were regularly jailed for their writings have passed, until 1990 the strictures of various laws governing public security and partisan political activity still required writers and publishers to exercise a certain caution. In spite of these conditions, poetry in Nepal remained the most vital and innovative genre, in which sentiments and opinions on contemporary social and political issues were frequently expressed.
While the Nepali short story adapted its present form only during the early 1930s, it has rapidly developed a surprisingly high degree of sophistication. These stories offer insights into the workings of Nepali society: into caste, agrarian relations, social change, the status of women, and so on. Such insights are more immediate than those offered by scholarly works and are conveyed by implication and assumption rather than analysis and exposition.
This book should appeal not only to admirers of Nepal, but to all readers with an interest in non-Western literatures. Himalayan Voices establishes for the first time the existence of a sophisticated literary tradition in Nepal and the eastern Himalaya.
Published by: University of California Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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The compiler of any literary anthology is always liable to be accused ofsins of omission and commission, and I do not expect to be spared. Ibegan work on this project with the idea of producing two separatebooks: a much larger and more comprehensive selection of poems inEnglish translation, including works by as many as forty poets, and an...
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It is difficult to state with any certainty when it was that I actually beganwork on this book because I first read and translated some of these poemsand stories as long ago as 1980 while conducting research for a doctoralthesis. The project might well have taken another eight years to reachfruition had the British Academy not granted me a three-year research...
NOTE ON TRANSLITERATION
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Because this book is intended primarily for the reader who knows noNepali, 1 have not gone to great extremes to represent the exact Dc-vanagarl spellings of Nepali names and terms; I have sought instead toprovide an adequate representation of their pronunciation. Any readerwho is familiar with the Devanagarl script, however, should have little...
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Nepal is a Hindu kingdom, approximately equal in size to England withWales, that lies along a 500-mile stretch of the eastern Himalaya betweenIndia and Tibet. The most striking feature of the country is its spectacu-lar landscape, and the region's dramatic topography has been a crucialfactor in its historical and cultural development since the most ancient...
PART ONEThe Poets of Nepal
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Poetry is the richest genre of twentieth-century Nepali literature. Al-though the short story has developed strongly, the drama holds its groundin the face of fierce competition from the cinema, and the novel is in-creasingly popular, almost every Nepali writer composes poetry. Sincethe appearance of Shdradd, Nepali poetry has become diverse and so-...
Lekhnath Paudyal (1885-1966)
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Lekhnath Paudyal was the (bunding lather of twentieth-century Nepalipoetry, hut his most important contribution was to the enrichment andrefinement of its language rather than to its philosophical breadth. Hispoems possessed a formal dignity that had been lacking in most earlierworks in Nepali; many of them conformed in their outlook with the...
Balkrishna Sama (1903-1981)
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Lekhnath Paudyal, Balkrishna Sama, and Lakshrmprasad Devkota werethe three most important Nepali writers of the first half of this century,and their influence is still felt today. Lekhnath strove for classical pre-cision in traditional poetic genres; Devkota's effusive and emotionalworks provoked a redefinition of the art of poetic composition in Nepali....
Lakshmiprasad Devkota (1909-1959)
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When a truly great poet appears during an important phase in thedevelopment of a particular literature, the fortunes of that literaturearc changed forever. All poets who follow are bound to the traditionsthat their great predecessor has established, even if it is only in the sensethat these become the conventions against which they rebel, the norms...
Siddhicharan Shreshtha (b. 1912)
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Siddhicharan Shreshtha, who was born in Okhaldhunga in eastern Ne-pal in 1912, comes from a prosperous landowning Newar family. Hehas lived most of his life in Kathmandu but has responsibilities for anestate in the Tarai. Siddhicharan is a member of the influential firstgeneration of modern Nepali poets who grew up under the autocratic...
Kedar Man "Vyathit" (b. 1914)
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Kedar Man "Vyathit"' is one of Nepali literature's grand old men. Aclose contemporary of Devkota, Sama, Rimal, and many other influentialNepali poets, Vyathit has made the greatest contribution of all his peersto the development of Nepal's literary institutions during a long careerVyathit was born in 1914 to a Newar family of Bansbar! in the Sin-...
Gopalprasad Rimal (1918-1973)
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Gopalprasad Rimal was born in Kathmandu in 1918. He is rememberedas the first "revolutionary" Nepali poet and the first to reject the use ofmeter. He was one of the group of influential writers, including BijayMalla, Siddhicharan Shreshta, and Govind Bahadur Gothale, who pro-duced and contributed to Sharada, the journal that played a most crucial...
Mohan Koirala (b. 1926)
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As one of Nepali literature's most respected and enduring poets, Koiralahas been writing for more than forty years, but his poetry continues toevolve and change, adopting new styles and addressing new themes. Hehas wielded considerable influence over poets contemporary with himand is revered by younger writers. Yet it is extremely difficult to identify...
BairagI Kainla (b. 1939)
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In May 1963, an unusual literary journal appeared on the Darjeelingbookstalls. The publication of a new Nepali periodical was not a remark-able event in itself because short-lived magazines and papers had pro-liferated since the 1950s. This slim periodical, entitled Tesro Aydm (ThirdDimension), was of greater significance than most, however, because it...
Parijat (b. 1937)
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Parijat, the Nepali name for a species of jasmine with a special religioussignificance, is the pen name adopted by Bishnukumarl Waiba, a Ta-of the most innovative Nepali writers of recent years. The themes andphilosophical outlook of her poems, novels, and stories are influencedby her Marxist and feminist views and her own personal circumstances:...
Bhupi Sherchan (1936-1989)
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Bhupi Sherchan, who died in 1989, was probably the most popular andwidely read Nepali poet of the previous twenty years. The reasons forhis popularity are easily identified: his poems are written in simple Ne-pali; they address issues crucial to all Nepalis, not just to the educatedfamily of Tukuche, a settlement on the banks of the Kali GandakI River...
Banira Giri (b. 1946)
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Born in the town of Kurseong, near Darjeeling in the Himalayan foot-hills of West Bengal, Banlra Giri is one of the very few Nepali womenwriters to have established any reputation outside the kingdom. Shemoved to Kathmandu with her parents when still a young girl, and mostof her writing therefore refers to the environment and society of her...
New Trends in Nepali Poetry
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This chapter presents some Nepali poetry that reflects the predominanttrends of the past twenty years or so. I have resisted attaching the labelcontemporary to this poetry, partly because it is difficult to decide a specificdate from which contemporary literature should be deemed to have com-menced and partly because all literature is by its very nature contem-...
PART TWOSelected Short Stories
The Short Story in Nepali
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Nepali literature is of enormous value to anyone who is interested inthe culture and society of twentieth-century Nepal. Nor should it beforgotten that the world that Nepali literature describes is not confinedto Nepal alone: at least 2 million Nepalis live in India. A recent volumeof "Indian" Nepali stories contained works by authors from Darjeeling,...
Guruprasad Mainali (1900-1971)
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Mainali was one of the first generation of writers to develop the modernshort story in Nepali. Little detailed biographical information on him isavailable, but it is known that he was born in Kanpur village, KabrePalanchok district, and spent most of his life in government service. Somesources suggest that he was a high court judge. Mainali left his birthplace...
Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala(1915-1982)
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Better known in Nepal as "B. P.," the leader of the Nepali CongressParty that ousted the Ranas, Koirala became Nepal's first elected primeminister in 1959. Before this, however, he had already become quitewell known for his writing, which he began while studying law in Dar-Koirala's first story, "Chandrabadan" (A Face Like the Moon), ap-...
BhavanI Bhikshu (1914-1981)
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Bhikshu was born at Taullhava village in the Kapilvastu district of theTaral, but he spent much of his life in Kathmandu. He made his firstappearance in Nepali literature with an essay on criticism, originallywritten in Hindi, that was translated into Nepali and published in Shdradain 1936. His first story, "Mankind" (Mdnav), was published two years...
Shivkumar Ral (b. 1916)
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Rai was born at Rinak in Sikkim but made his home at Kurseong in theDarjeeling district of West Bengal. He studied for a while at Gyantse inTibet before gaining his B.A. from Calcutta University in 1941. Rai'scareer was primarily political: he was one of the founding members ofthe Gorkha League, an organization that represented Nepalis resident...
Daulat Bikram Bishtha (b. 1926)
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Bishtha was born in the eastern district of Bhojpur and is one of Nepal'sfew truly accomplished novelists. Six novels by Bishtha have been pub-lished, and several have earned him literary prizes. His stories are ex-tremely varied and include psychological portraits, portrayals of oppres-sion, and simple romances. Bishtha's stories are collected in Pradarshinl...
Bijay Malla (b. 1925)
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Bijay Malla is the son of Riddhibahadur Malla, the first editor of Sharadd,and the younger brother of Govind Bahadur Gothale. Bijay Malla waseducated at. Banaras Hindu University and at Trichandra College inKathmaridu. Both Gothale and Bijay Malla were strongly influenced bytheir childhood in the literary household where Sharadd was produced,...
Ramesh Bikal (b. 1932)
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Bikal, whose real name is Rameshvar Prasad Chalise, was born nearGokarna in the Kathmandu Valley, passed a B.Ed, in 1960, and hasworked in education for much of his life. His earlier stories express hissocialist beliefs and antiestablishment instincts, for which he was im-prisoned on three occasions between 1949 and 1952. His analyses of...
Shankar Lamichhane (1928-1975)
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Lamichhane was born in Kathmandu but lived with an uncle in Banarasuntil he was eleven. After receiving some basic education at TrichandraCollege in the capital, he took his first job at the age of twenty-two andworked for a number of governmental and cultural institutions in Kath-mandu. In his later years he became the manager of a handicrafts store....
Indra Bahadur Rai (b. 1928)
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Rai is one of the most original and influential Nepali writers to haveappeared in recent years. His earliest stories, collected in Bipana Katipaya(So Many Waking Moments, 1960), were written in a naturalistic style.The second collection—Kalhaslhd (The Faith of Stories)—showed a dra-matic change of approach and philosophy, as Rai formulated the views...
Poshan Pande (b. 1932)
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A surprise ending and a carefully constructed plot are the characteristicfeatures of Pande's stories. Many relate minor incidents from daily lifeor adopt everyday items as symbols of conflict, jealousy, or anger. Al-though "A Sweater for Brother-in-law" (Bhindjyuko Svelar) is generallyrecognized as his greatest story, it has a great deal in common with other,...
Tarim Prasad Koirala (1922-1974)
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Born in India and educated at Banaras arid Calcutta, Koirala was theauthor of" a novel entitled Snakebite (Sarpadamsha, 1968), a startlinglyFreudian tale of child psychology. Not a prolific writer, Koirala publisheda few stories in Sharada between 1939 and 1942, and the rest appearedafter 1950. "It Depends upon Your Point of View" is still a very popula...
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Prema Shah first came to the attention of Nepali readers with the pub-lication of "A Husband," which probably surpassed the many other sto-ries on the subject of widowhood. A second influential story is "TheYellow Rose" (Pahenlo Guldph), the diary of a woman who is dying fromtuberculosis arid observing her husband from her hospital bed. Prema...
Parashu Pradhan (b. 1943)
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Parashu Pradhan was born in Bhojpur district and gained an M.A. inNepali literature and politics. He began to write short stories in 1962and has also published two novels. Pradhan's main themes are socialcontradictions and human relations, and he is admired for the poeticand symbolistic quality of his prose. Recently, he has begun to include...
Dhruba Chandra Gautam (b. 1944)
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Gautam is known chiefly for the live highly accomplished novels he haspublished since 1969, but he has also played an important role in thedevelopment of the short story in Nepali. A prolific writer with at leastsixty stories to his credit, Gautam deals almost exclusively with contem-porary social issues and has developed a unique narrative style. Gautam's...
Manu Brajak! (b. 1942)
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Brajaki's first published story appeared in a Janakpur magazine in 1962,but he is still regarded as a writer whose work reflects c:ontemporarytrends. Brajaki has published two collections to date: Avamulyan (De-Today he saw that the ugly iron Aligarh padlock2 was still hanging onthe outside of the lavatory door. Its paint and polish had all washed...
Kishor Pahadl (b. 1956)
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Pahadl is a "new" writer whose first story was published in 1971. Pahadi'sstories are collected in Bdnchnu ra Banchekaharu (To Live and the Living,1980), Ghar-Khandahar (Ruins of Houses, 1980), and Vishuddl (VishudaiDevayanl. Do you like that name? I liked it, too, when I heard it first.In fact, it was because of her name that I first employed Devayanl. After...
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Adhunik Nepali Kavita (Modern Nepali Poetry). 1971. Kathmandu: Royal NepalAkddemi Nibandhdvali (The Academy Collection of Essays). 1976. Edited by Lak-Baburam Acharya. 1972. Purana Kavi ra Kavita (Old Poets and Poetry). Kath-Ballabh, Ishwar. 1981. Samantara (Parallels). Poems. Kathmandu: Sajha Praka-. 1985. Kasmai Devtiya (Oath of the Gods). Poems. Kathmandu: Sajha...
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Page Count: 280
Publication Year: 1991
Series Title: Voices from Asia