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The Short Story in Nepali Nepali literature is of enormous value to anyone who is interested in the culture and society of twentieth-century Nepal. Nor should it be forgotten that the world that Nepali literature describes is not confined to Nepal alone: at least 2 million Nepalis live in India. A recent volume of "Indian" Nepali stories contained works by authors from Darjeeling, Sikkirn, Assam, Nagalancl, and various other regions of Nepal's huge southern neighbor (Bharatiya Nepali Katha 1982). The following selections are dominated by stories from Nepal, but Indian Nepali literature has not been whollyignored and is represented by the Darjeeling writers Shivkumar Ral and Indra Bahadur Ral. Verse genres are still the strongest area of Nepali literature. In the first section of this book, I have attempted to demonstrate the richness and variety of twentieth-century Nepali poetry. The Nepali short story, a genre that began to adopt its present form only during the early 1930s, has also developed a surprisingly high degree of sophistication within a relatively short space of time, as I hope my selection shows. Modern Nepali stories offer insightsinto the workingsof Nepali society that have long been the stuff of sociological theses: 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. These translations illuminate the nature of life in twentieth-century Nepal in a way it has never been illuminated before. In its present form, the Nepali short story is only a half century old. The only antecedents it has within the comparatively young literary tradition of the Nepali language are narratives translated from Sanskrit such as Shaktivallabba ArjyaTs rendering of the "Virataparva" chapter 173 174 SELECTED SHORT STORIES of the Mahabharata epic, which dates from 1770, or the less esoteric Tale of Finds (Pindsko Kathd) from 1815. Although Nepali literary scholars try to prove otherwise (see, for instance, M. Sharma 1978), it is clear that the short story genre has been adopted from Western literatures, probably via Hindi and Bengali, and that it isa product of the sweeping cultural and political changes that have occurred in Nepal since the turn of the century. Several prototype.1 ; for the modern Nepali short story are to be found in the early issues of the state newspaper, the Gorkhapatra, established in 1901. Although stylistically unremarkable and largely plagiaristic, many of these stories were nevertheless set in recognizably contemporary contexts and therefore marked a significant departure from the didactic, moralistic, and miraculous tales of earlier Nepali fiction. This trend toward social realism accelerated and bore its first full fruit during the 1930s in the important. Kathmandu journal Shdradd. Several other periodical publications were also important in this process. The first truly original short story in Nepali is said to have appeared in Gorkhdliin 1915 (D. Shreshtha 1982, 4), and by the time Gorkhd Sansdr (Gorhha World) began publication in 1926, the crucial elements of originality, coherent plot structure, linguistic simplicity, and contemporary subject matter had begun to coalesce. Although published in Dehra Dun, an Indian military town in the Himalaya, Gorkhd Sansdr was an important forum for progressive writers from Nepal who could not publish in their homeland because of the censorious attitudes of the Rana rulers. "Annapurna," a story by the Darjecling lawyer Rupnarayan Singh, which appeared in Gorkhd Sansdr in 1927, is considered a landmark in the development of modern Nepali fiction (I). Shreshtha 1982, 4; K. Pradhan 1984, 146). With an exactitude rare in such matters, it can be asserted that the history of the modern Nepali short story began in 1935 when Guruprasad Mainali's first story, "Naso" (The Ward), was published in Shdradd. The first anthology of Nepali short stories appeared shortly afterward: this was the important Kathd Kusum (Story Flower), published by Darjeeling 's Nepal! Sahitya Sammelan in 1938 arid now in its twelfth edition. Kathd Kusum contained stories by Balkrishna Sama, Guruprasad Mainali, Pushkar Shamsher, arid Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala. Because the short story isa comparativelynew phenomenon in Nepali, there is no scope or need for a detailed pcriodi/alion of its history. There may be some merit, however, in attempting to assess the philosophical and literary influences at work in its development. Realism (yathdrthavdd) is the fundamental quality for which every Nepali story writer strives, although definitionsof realism have varied from time to time. The basic tradition of social realism can be...


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