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BairagI Kainla (b. 1939) In May 1963, an unusual literary journal appeared on the Darjeeling bookstalls. The publication of a new Nepali periodical was not a remarkable event in itself because short-lived magazines and papers had proliferated since the 1950s. This slim periodical, entitled Tesro Aydm (Third Dimension), was of greater significance than most, however, because it represented the first effort by a group of Nepali writers to formulate a coherent theory regarding the nature and function of the literature they produced. Indeed, one might even go so far as to describe this new movement, of which Tesro Aydm was the principal organ, as the first articulation of self-conscious modernism in Nepali literature. Although most Nepali writers aimed to produce literature that conformed with their own conceptions of modernity, none had yet begun to propound a philosophy that would define the attitudes and valuesof modern Nepali literature. Tesro Aydm was published and edited by three young writers with common ideals: BairagI Kainla, Ishwar Ballabh, and Indra Bahadur Ral. Their contention, set forth in Kainla's editorials and Ral's essays, was that conventional Nepali literature was "two-dimensional," or "flat," and that it had to acquire a "third dimension" if it was to approach life as an indivisiblewhole to be apprehended objectively.In the editorial statement of the second edition of Tesro Aydm, Kainla criticized the old style of Nepali literature: The bland sentimentalism (of earlier writers) is not simplydrivel; it is also an escape from a sense of responsibility and therefore an escape from the realities of life. In dimensional terms, this kind of writing is "flat" because it lacks a third dimension (depth, and thought or vision) and has no faith in life. Such literature cannot satisfy the needs of the modern intellect. (Quoted in Tanasarma [1977] 1979, 201) 99 100 THE POKTS OF NEPAL The distinctive features of dimensionalist. (ayameli) literature are most clearly apparent in its poetry. Most oi the cliched allegories, metaphors, and vocabulary of the "old school" were discarded, as was the use of meter. Poets began to borrow heavily from psychological theory and world mythology. Kairila and Ral urged writers to adopt a moral dimension of their own and to embark upon a fresh exploration of their language . This led to genuine originality and innovation, but also on occasions to "literary obscurantism at its worst" (Subed! 1970, 67). Opinions vary with regard to the value of the movement and to the validity of its arguments. Yadu Nath Khanal, for instance, writes that, the dimensionalist school "has not gone much further than to suggest that modern sensibility must find a more complex form than traditionally available to express itself fully" and argues that Mohan Koirala has been more successful in this endeavor (Khanal 1977, 245). The overtly intellectual tone of much dimensionalist poetry, exemplified by the eclecticism of its references to obscure myths and its use of abstruse symbolism,means that some works cannot be comprehended fully without extensive recourse to the few commentaries that have been produced (see, for instance , Subedl 1981, 178—188). Several poems have come to be regarded as minor classics, however, and the finest of these were the work of the poet Bairag! Kainla. Kainla, whose real name is Tilvikram Nembang, is a Limbu who was born in the Panchthar district of eastern Nepal in 1940 and educated across the Indian border in Darjeeling. Very little information is available regarding Kainla'slife prior to 1960, and he has published nothing since returning to his home in 1966 after a period of residence in Kathmandu. His appearance on the Nepali literary scene was therefore brief, but his contribution has had a lasting effect. The following comments are restricted to an examination of the three poems presented here in translation . "The Corpse ol a Dream" (Sapndko Las) appears to have been written some time before the philosophy of third dirnensionalism was first formulated , when Kainla's first poems appeared in a collection entitled Flower, Leaf, and Autumn (Phul-Pat-Patjhar),edited by Ishwar Ballabh arid published around I960. This is a poem about unrequited love; references to "that love I gave up for mother and father" and to the "ritual of living" that "requires the sacrifice of a life" suggest that the love affair that the poem describes was aborted because of a difference in caste between the lovers. Thus, the poem concludes, Man must walk on feet of convention over the corpse of a dream, trampling life's...


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