Things are with her
As perceived and adorned gracefully
Lots of love and lots of pity
Along she is carrying
Of quintessence motherly
In her exemplified
The feminine persona so lovely
More and more and not less
I see and God confess
She is holier than me
Sent to care your needs
Alleviate your sufferings
Brighten your dreams
Like an Angel in the morning
Seen among lovely flowers
Caressing and them preparing
To see a beautiful day dawning
And the day passed off peacefully
Unto noon and evening
And seen her bidding children
Good-night with words so soothing
Oh mother! what you are
Made of which stuff so rare
For me and for all
You weep your tears
A drop falls on him
Another on her
A dozen on them
A few goes out
To form an ocean
Of love for your children
Unto I would love
Diving deep to die even
For not in vain will go
Your love and affection
My dear my mother
You are, I swear
As good as heaven……
If you place a fern
under a stone
the next day it will be
as if the stone has
If you tuck the name of a loved one
under your tongue too long
without speaking it
it becomes blood
the little sucked-in breath of air
beneath your words.
No one sees
the fuel that feeds you.
The liar, at any rate, recognizes that recreation, not instruction, is the aim of conversation, and is a far more civilized being than the blockhead who loudly expresses his disbelief in a story which is told simply for the amusement of the company.
Fountainhead and source of rivers,
Dew-cloth, dream drapery,
And napkin spread by fays;
Drifting meadow of the air,
Where bloom the desired banks and violets,
And in the whose fenny labyrinth
The bittern booms and heron wades;
Spirit of the lake and seas and rivers,
Bear only perfumes and the scent
Of healing herbs to just men’s fields!
The full-orbed moon with unchanged ray
Mounts up the eastern sky,
Not doomed to these short nights for aye,
But shining steadily.
She does not wane, but my fortune,
Which her rays do not bless,
My wayward path declineth soon,
But she shines not the less.
And if she faintly glimmers here,
And paled is her light,
Yet alway in her proper sphere
She’s mistress of the night.
I think awhile of Love, and while I think,
Love is to be a world,
Sole meat and sweetest drink,
And close connecting link
Tween heaven and earth.
I only know it is, not how or why,
My greatest happiness;
However hard I try,
Not if I were to die,
Can I explain?
I fain would ask my friend how it can be,
But when the time arrives,
Then Love is more lovely
Than anything to me,
And so I’m dumb.
For if the truth were known, Love cannot speak,
But only thinks and does;
Though surely out ’twill leak
Without the help of Greek,
Or any tongue.
A man may love the truth and practice it,
The beauty he may admire,
And goodness not omit,
As much as may befit
But only when these three together meet,
As they always incline,
And make one soul the seat,
And favorite retreat,
When under kindred shape, like loves and hates
And a kindred nature,
Proclaim us to be mates,
Exposed to equal fates
And each may other help, and service do,
Drawing Love’s bands tighter,
Service he ne’er shall rue
While one and one make two,
And two are one;
In such case only doth man fully prove
Fully as a man can do,
What power there is in Love
His inmost soul to move
Two sturdy oaks I mean, which side by side,
Withstand the winter’s storm,
And spite of wind and tide,
Grow up the meadow’s pride,
For both are strong
Above they barely touch but undermined
Down to their deepest source,
Admiring you shall find
Their roots are intertwined
Light-winged Smoke, Icarian bird,
Melting thy pinions in thy upward flight,
Lark without song, and messenger of dawn
Circling above the hamlets as they nest;
Or else, departing dream, and shadowy form
Of midnight vision, gathering up thy skirts;
By night star-veiling, and by day
Darkening the light and blotting out the sun;
Go thou my incense upward from this hearth,
And ask the gods to pardon this clear flame.
The mind that is cheerful at present will have no solicitude for the future and will meet the bitter occurrences of life with a smile.
It has come to this, that the friends of liberty, the friends of the slave, have shuddered when they have understood that his fate was left to the legal tribunals of the country to be decided. Free men have no faith that justice will be awarded in such a case.
Youth is not a time of life, it is a state of mind. It is not a matter of red cheeks,red lips,and supple knees. It is a temper of the will; a quality of the imagination; a vigor of the emotions; it is a freshness of the deep springs of life.
I woke before the morning, I was happy all the day,
I never said an ugly word, but smiled and stuck to play.
And now at last the sun is going down behind the wood,
And I am very happy, for I know that I’ve been good.
My bed is waiting cool and fresh, with linen smooth and fair,
And I must be off to sleepsin-by, and not forget my prayer.
I know that, till to-morrow I shall see the sun arise,
No ugly dream shall fright my mind, no ugly sight my eyes.
But slumber hold me tightly till I waken in the dawn,
And hear the thrushes singing in the lilacs round the lawn.
How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!
Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
River and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside–
Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown–
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!
Yesterday the fields were only grey with scattered snow,
And now the longest grass-leaves hardly emerge;
Yet her deep footsteps mark the snow, and go
On towards the pines at the hills’ white verge.
I cannot see her, since the mist’s white scarf
Obscures the dark wood and the dull orange sky;
But she’s waiting, I know, impatient and cold, half
Sobs struggling into her frosty sigh.
Why does she come so promptly, when she must know
That she’s only the nearer to the inevitable farewell;
The hill is steep, on the snow my steps are slow—
Why does she come, when she knows what I have to tell?
Now you are mine, to-night at last I say it;
You’re a dove I have bought for sacrifice,
And to-night I slay it.
Here in my arms my naked sacrifice!
Death, do you hear, in my arms I am bringing
My offering, bought at great price.
She’s a silvery dove worth more than all I’ve got.
Now I offer her up to the ancient, inexorable God,
Who knows me not.
Look, she’s a wonderful dove, without blemish or spot!
I sacrifice all in her, my last of the world,
Pride, strength, all the lot.
All, all on the altar! And death swooping down
Like a falcon. ‘Tis God has taken the victim;
I have won my renown.
Somewhere the long mellow note of the blackbird
Quickens the unclasping hands of hazel,
Somewhere the wind-flowers fling their heads back,
Stirred by an impetuous wind. Some ways’ll
All be sweet with white and blue violet.
(Hush now, hush. Where am I?—Biuret—)
On the green wood’s edge a shy girl hovers
From out of the hazel-screen on to the grass,
Where wheeling and screaming the petulant plovers
Wave frighted. Who comes? A labourer, alas!
Oh the sunset swims in her eyes’ swift pool.
(Work, work, you fool——!)
Somewhere the lamp hanging low from the ceiling
Lights the soft hair of a girl as she reads,
And the red firelight steadily wheeling
Weaves the hard hands of my friend in sleep.
And the white dog snuffs the warmth, appealing
For the man to heed lest the girl shall weep.
(Tears and dreams for them; for me
Bitter science—the exams are near.
I wish I bore it more patiently.
I wish you did not wait, my dear,
For me to come: since work I must:
Though it’s all the same when we are dead.—
I wish I was only a bust,
Oh we’ve got to trust
one another again
in some essentials.
Not the narrow little
that says: I’m for you
if you’ll be for me. –
But a bigger trust,
a trust of the sun
that does not bother
about moth and rust,
and we see it shining
in one another.
Oh don’t you trust me,
don’t burden me
with your life and affairs; don’t
into your cares.
But I think you may trust
the sun in me
that glows with just
as much glow as you see
in me, and no more.
But if it warms
your heart’s quick core
why then trust it, it forms
one faithfulness more.
And be, oh be
a sun to me,
not a weary, insistent
but a sun that shines
and goes dark, but shines
again and entwines
with the sunshine in me
till we both of us
are more glorious
and more sunny.
Butterfly, the wind blows sea-ward,
strong beyond the garden-wall!
Butterfly, why do you settle on my
shoe, and sip the dirt on my shoe,
Lifting your veined wings, lifting them?
big white butterfly!
Already it is October, and the wind
blows strong to the sea
from the hills where snow must have
fallen, the wind is polished with
Here in the garden, with red
geraniums, it is warm, it is warm
but the wind blows strong to sea-ward,
white butterfly, content on my shoe!
Will you go, will you go from my warm
Will you climb on your big soft wings,
as up an invisible rainbow, an arch
till the wind slides you sheer from the
and in a strange level fluttering you go
out to sea-ward, white speck!
I can imagine, in some other world
Primeval-dumb, far back
In that most awful stillness, that only gasped and hummed,
Humming-birds raced down the avenues.
Before anything had a soul,
While life was a heave of Matter, half inanimate,
This little bit chipped off in brilliance
And went whizzing through the slow, vast, succulent stems.
I believe there were no flowers, then
In the world where the humming-bird flashed ahead of creation.
I believe he pierced the slow vegetable veins with his long beak.
Probably he was big
As mosses, and little lizards, they say were once big.
Probably he was a jabbing, terrifying monster.
We look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of Time,
Luckily for us.
As a drenched, drowned bee
Hangs numb and heavy from a bending flower,
So clings to me
My baby, her brown hair brushed with wet tears
And laid against her cheek;
Her soft white legs hanging heavily over my arm
Swinging heavily to my movements as I walk.
My sleeping baby hangs upon my life,
Like a burden she hangs on me.
She has always seemed so light,
But now she is wet with tears and numb with pain
Even her floating hair sinks heavily,
As the wings of a drenched, drowned bee
When the bare feet of the baby beat across the grass
The little white feet nod like white flowers in the wind,
They poise and run like ripples lapping across the water;
And the sight of their white play among the grass
Is like a little robin’s song, winsome,
Or as two white butterflies settle in the cup of one flower
For a moment, then away with a flutter of wings.
I long for the baby to wander hither to me
Like a wind-shadow wandering over the water,
So that she can stand on my knee
With her little bare feet in my hands,
Cool like syringa buds,
Firm and silken like pink young peony flowers.
Reject me not if I should say to you
I do forget the sounding of your voice,
I do forget your eyes that searching through
The mists perceive our marriage, and rejoice.
Yet, when the apple-blossom opens wide
Under the pallid moonlight’s fingering,
I see your blanched face at my breast, and hide
My eyes from diligent work, malingering.
Ah, then, upon my bedroom I do draw
The blind to hide the garden, where the moon
Enjoys the open blossoms as they straw
Their beauty for his taking, boon for boon.
And I do lift my aching arms to you,
And I do lift my anguished, avid breast,
And I do weep for very pain of you,
And fling myself at the doors of sleep, for rest.
And I do toss through the troubled night for you,
Dreaming your yielded mouth is given to mine,
Feeling your strong breast carry me on into
The peace where sleep is stronger even than wine.
A person should hurry toward the good
and restrain one’s thoughts from the bad.
If a person is slow in doing good,
one’s mind will find pleasure in wrong.
If a person does what is wrong, let one not do it again.
Let one not find pleasure in wrong.
Painful is the accumulation of bad conduct.
If a person does what is good, let one do it again.
Let one find joy in it.
Happiness is the result of good conduct.
Even a wrong-doer sees happiness
as long as one’s wrong action does not ripen;
but when the wrong action has ripened,
then does the wrong-doer see bad.
Even a good person sees bad
as long as one’s good action does not ripen;
but when one’s good action has ripened,
then the good person sees the good.
Let no one underestimate evil,
thinking, ‘It will not come near me.’
Even a water-pot is filled by the falling of drops of water.
A fool becomes full of evil
even if one gathers it little by little.
Let no one underestimate good,
thinking, ‘It will not come near me.’
Even a water-pot is filled by the falling of drops of water.
A wise person becomes full of goodness
even if one gathers it little by little.
Let a person avoid wrong actions, as a merchant,
who has few companions and carries much wealth,
avoids a dangerous road;
as a person who loves life avoids poison.
Whoever has no wound on one’s hand
may touch poison with that hand;
poison does not affect one who has no wound;
nor does evil one who does no wrong.
Whoever does wrong to an innocent person
or to one who is pure and harmless,
the wrong returns to that fool
just like fine dust thrown against the wind.
Some people are born again in the womb;
wrong-doers go to hell;
the good go to heaven;
those free from worldly desires attain nirvana.
Neither in the sky nor in the middle of the ocean
nor by entering the caves of mountains
is there known a place on earth
where a person can escape from a wrong action.
Neither in the sky nor in the middle of the ocean
nor by entering the caves of mountains
is there known a place on earth
where a person can escape from death.
Dark Friend, What Can I Say?This love I bring
from distant lifetimes is ancient,
do not revile it.
Seeing your elegant body
I am ravished.
Visit our courtyard, hear the women
singing old hymns
On the square I’ve laid
out a welcome of teardrops,
body and mind I surrendered ages ago,
wherever your feet pass.
Mira flees from lifetime to lifetime,
Bhimnidhi Tiwari was born to a young couple Lalnidhi Tiwari and Nanda Kumari Tiwari in 1911. Lalnidhi Tiwari was extremely pleased as he had previously had no sons and organized the Indrasavha drama – an extravagant thing to do at the time to celebrate the birth.
Bhim Nidhi Tiwari grew up in a traditional home. His mother died when he was seven years old. His poem, called “Dagbatti”, recounts his experience as a child the night he was taken to the ghat burning grounds, his head shaved, and his feeling when fire consumed his mother. When his father died, Tiwari had become 27 years old and his family’s responsibilities came upon him.
For 32 years he served as a government employee. First as a section officer in the Ministry of Education and afterwards an assistant secretary. In 1938, he established Nepal Sahitya Press which was later merged with Pashupati Press. In 1949, he established Nepal Natak Sangh – an organization that worked to uplift the status of Nepalese drama and literature.
Tiwari represented Nepal in the East Asia UNESCO seminar which focused on copyright. In 1967, he accompanied his Late Majesty King Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah on a royal visit to the Netherlands, West Germany, and Karachi. The Russian government also invited him for a three week visit. Later, he visited London, Rome, and Delhi.
Lalnidhi Tiwari was a great inspiration to his son’s writings. Bhimnidhi Tiwari used to say: “The future of Nepalese drama is in doubt. Dramatists are not respected and actors and actresses are desperate.” No doubt, after Bal Krishna Sama, Tiwari contributed much to the enrichment of Nepalese drama. Among his works are Sahanshila Sushila, Adarsha Jiwan, Putali, Kashiwas, Kishan, Nainikaram, Siddhartha Gautam, Nokar, Biwaha, Akanki Pallav, Satya Harishchandra, Aakanki Kali, Silanyas, Matoko Maya, Maharaj, and Indradhanus.
Tiwari also wrote short stories, novels, poems, lyrics, and satires. He believed in social reform and wrote against smoking, drinking, and gambling. His work gives insight into Nepalese lifestyles, culture, mythologies, and history. Bhimnidhi Tiwari received many awards and prizes for his creations. “Yasashvisav” and the historical dramas, “Silanyas” and “Matokomaya” were awarded. He received the Madan Puraskar in 1970 and his Late Majesty King Tribhuvan honored him with the Prakhyan Trishakti Patta, Rajyabisekh Padak, and Gyanpad Sewa. Tiwari died in 1956.
Madhav Ghimmire is a living legend. Born in 1919, he is among the last of the older generation of poets in Nepal. His contemporaries – Bal Krishna Sama, Laxmi Prasad Devkota, and Siddhicharan Shrestha – have become historical figures in the annals of Nepalese literature; Ghimire is the only link to their past. A time in which these poets created some of the most powerful verses in Nepali literature. Today, their works are studied in school, college, and university.
Madhav Ghimire does echo the past. His eyes twinkle as he fondly remembers old times. At this point in his life, he is eight-one years old, he expresses contentment regarding his personal and professional experiences. Ghimire knows his destiny has been proven and he is pleased about it. His childhood, youth, and adulthood are now memories he reflects upon calmly. His innate love for the study of literature has made possible the growth of his poetic genius. As he recites a few lines from “Rupa Rani”, one can appreciate the rhythmic use of his words. What comes to mind is the play of sunlight on water, the breeze soft on the skin, and the sensation of lightness. Ghimire caresses words like an ardent lover; he seeks for emotional gratification in his creations and is comforted.
His childhood was spent in Lamjung District – among the hills, trees, rivers, and birds of rural Nepal and he grew up playing nearby cowsheds – the herders, cows and calves his close companions. Ghimire’s father was the second son in the family and was responsible for looking after cattle. They lived as a joint family and had enough to go by. The eldest son looked over household affairs and farming. Ghimire’s father along with the herders would stay high up in the lekh for several months in the cowshed and during winter, they would bring the cattle down to graze in the besi. Eight-year-old Ghimire would often accompany them and during his stay, loved having rice and milk amidst surroundings rich with natural resources. Sometimes when the cattle were fed salt, a customary practice in cow herding, his father would also add salt to young Ghimire’s meal.
Since he was most of the time away from home with his father, he was unable to develop close ties with his cousins. He became used to his loneliness and found solace in the natural beauty of his environment. In this way, the poet’s relationship with nature became a bond he feels as strongly about today. “It has been years since I last visited my village. I know the cattle are no longer taken up to the same area for grazing, but I desire to visit old haunts. Most probably I won’t recognize anyone in the village, but I feel the same about the place. I can feel the river flowing, the small trees growing; they must be big trees by now, and the heat of the sun on the riverbank’s stones. About this time, mid-April, kafuls and aisalus fruit would be ripening and bird songs would burst from the trees.
Ghimire’s mother died when he was about one and half year old, he tries to remember her but the memories are old. What he does acknowledge is the longing he had for her – to be held in her warm embrace and experience her compassion. “I coveted the way my jetho buba and jetho muwa (his father’s elder brother and sister-in-law) showered their affection on their son, Mohan Lal, my cousin who is about three to four months older than me. I also wanted to hear the sound of my mother’s voice calling my name. I wanted her to protect me like a hen with her chicks. I searched for the same kind of privilege I felt my cousin received from his parents. My jetho muwa cared for me, but I couldn’t help feeling insecure knowing she was not my mother. I think this is my childhood’s only greatest loss.
“Sometimes I thought my jetho buba and jetho muwa were indifferent to me. I was under the impression that my jetho buba wanted his son to do better in life – study hard and get an education. My grandmother adored me, but I think she felt uncomfortable to openly display affection on me. Maybe she thought it would displease her eldest son and jetho buhari.
“My father was always happy to see me after his sojourns in the lekh. He loved pampering me. I feel however, no matter how much a father loves his children, I think a mother’s love is irreplaceable. I desired to call my jetho muwa or grandmother ‘mother’ and whenever my father was around and heard me call them, he would come towards me, lift me up, and carry me. My father was sensitive about my need for my mother. I think he understood how much I wanted her.
“My father enjoyed singing. He had a good voice and his listeners would become enraptured. Especially when he recited slokas, poetical lines, they could feel the emotion in his voice and the experience would bring tears to their eyes. I was always impressed with the way my father sang; I also wanted to sing like him. Maybe unconsciously his singing and the dancing that went on in my village developed in me a desire to do something creative and beautiful. Later on, I wrote many lyrics besides poems.”
Proper educational opportunities were lacking in Ghimire’s village during his childhood. Someone who could set tithis, auspicious dates, for events like “marriages”, “Ekadasi” or “Osi” or someone who could do basic letter writing, reading and arithmetic was considered educated. “I used to sit on the pidi, outside our house and write Ka, Kha, Ga, Gha (Nepali alphabets)… on the ground with a bamboo stick. I remember a jogi, holyman, used to live on our farmland. He taught us English alphabets from an old grammar book he had; text books were non-existent then. I found studying alphabets through illustrations enjoyable.
“My father wanted me to receive educational opportunities jetho buba wished for his son. He knew unless he made the effort, his elder brother would show no interest in me. So he thought it over and decided to send me, I think when I was about twelve years old, to a jotishi, astrologer; astrology played an important role in our family and village life. This was probably the beginning of my formal education.
“Afterwards, a relative suggested to my father to send me to a school when I was fourteen or fifteen years old. It was called Bhasa Patshala, Language School, and was situated five kosh, about one or two hours walk away from our village. The guru, teacher was a Sanskrit pandit, scholar and was looking for pupils who wished to learn Sanskrit. Since our relative knew I had studied astrology and could read and write, he thought my educational base would help me study without problems. He was right because I enjoyed myself and did well.
“Depending on the season, the number of students in our class would vary. Sometimes there would be 15 to 20 of us and at other times, just about two to four students. During winter, the number of students would increase to 40 because there would be less much farm work. On the whole, I think this unrestricted kind of education suited me. Since I was attentive and listened carefully to what our teacher said, I was given a lot of attention by him when there were few students. Once I received the Ramayan as a prize. I read it, I also read the Mahabharat, and from there I selected poems of Lekhnath Poudyal. The difference I found between the religious books and Lekhnath’s poetry was the writing confidence I gained with the latter. I was able to approach Lekhnath’s work without being overwhelmed with the religious, historical or cultural context of the Ramayan and Mahabharat. Lekhnath provided me an example of how a contemporary person could create literature without feeling inhibited by his ordinariness (human weaknesses).
“I tried to create poetry and showed it to my teacher. I wasn’t sure what I had to write; the only thing I remember was I wanted to write. He liked my poems and encouraged me to continue. I sent one to the Gorkhapatra, a weekly at that time, now a national daily and it got published. I was amazed. Someone told me I would most probably become a poet. I was further amazed. To people it seemed the word ‘poet’ connoted greatness. In my experience, they were willing to read what I wrote and accepted it as literature. I think my first inspiration came from here.
“For about three years, I remained at Bhasa Patshala. Then, one day, my teacher’s younger brother returned from Kathmandu after giving his exams at Durbar High School. He told me that in ‘Nepal’, a popular name used for Kathmandu in those days had many learned people and were considered maha (great) gurus. When I heard him describe the golden temples I became in awe of ‘Nepal’; such a place could only exist in my imagination. I suddenly felt the urge to change my present state of education as well as see the world. I also knew I had already reached my potential as a student at Bhasa Patshala. By this time, my father and jetho buwa had started living separate.
“Without telling anyone at home and with seven mohar (a mohar is 50 paisa today) in my pocket, I associated myself with a trader going to Kathmandu. On reaching the capital, I became acquainted with students of the Sanskrit Patshala situated nearby Rani Pokhari (it’s still in existence). Since I had nowhere to stay, they generously shared their lodgings with me during the initial years. I helped with their cooking and ate with them. Afterwards, I sent a letter home informing my father about my whereabouts. I think he suspected me to be in Kathmandu because, I don’t remember him becoming alarmed after my departure. Later on, from time to time, he sent me money to cover my educational and living costs.”
So began Ghimire’s student’s life in Kathmandu during which he learned to manage his cooking, cleaning, and washing chores. He comments on how things have changed today. “Nowadays, students who live in Kathmandu are provided with every kind of facility to study in. They have access to good books, libraries, educational programs, and the internet. Back in my time, my student life revolved around two things: studying and learning by rote.”
Ghimire’s advantage over former students was his writing experience. Within six months’ time, he ranked second among 150 to 200 students. He became surprised with his performance. After this, he was considered budhimani, highly intelligent. Ghimire then realized that if he failed, he would lose face. He decided to work harder. His teachers impressed with his good grades recommended him to take up literature and mathematics. Towards the end of his studies, Ghimire was able to achieve first rank in his class and passed his Madhyama level of studies.
Although his studies took much of his time, eighteen-year-old Ghimmire made the time to work on his poetry. “For five years, I continuously wrote poems and published them. Slowly, I began to build up a reputation among my teachers and classmates. One day, my friend took me to Nepali Bhasa Prakashini Samiti and introduced me to Bal Krishna Sama and Krishna Shumshere. A vacancy for a writer was available in their committee and they selected me. From 1944, I started working and writing for the samiti, committee. Two years after my arrival, Laxmi Prasad Devkota joined us.
“About this time, Devkota, Gopal Prasad Rimal, Kedar Man Byathit, Siddhicharan Shrestha and I would meet regularly at the samiti. We would share and comment on each other’s work. I think this environment was congenial for our growth as poets and writers.
“Our greatest fear with our writing was the then Rana government. We had to be careful that we did not criticize them openly because they were suspicious about what we wrote. Occasionally, the samiti published a satire or two but these were very obscure. To read we had to smuggle books for ourselves. Still, I remember I was able to read and write a lot during this period.
“I think challenges are part of every situation. Each time you want to do something, you will face difficulties; this is a natural process of life. We came through the problems in our time and today, if you look at the world, you’ll see the “competitiveness” between people – writers, poets or journalists in our context – becoming a big problem. In the old days, creating a name for yourself was easier; fewer people wrote or created.”
Ghimire’s writing career developed gradually and in 1946, he became the editor of Gorkha Patra. In 1947, he participated in a poetry competition on the national flag of Nepal. Besides winning the competition, his reputation as a good poet spread. Sharada and Udaya were other journals in which he began to publish his work. He continues: “Then my first wife Gauri passed away and I was shattered. I began writing poems on her.” His poetry collection Gauri was received very well and the journal became enormously popular with the public.
Ghimire worked for two more years at the Gorkha Sansthan. However, because of his wife’s death, he realized raising two of his children, at that time his two daughters, was becoming a difficult task. For a while, he took over the management of a school in Gausar – a small town in the besi, hilly flatlands of Lamjung. Then in 1952, he participated as a trainer in a teachers’ training program in Tahachal located in the capital. Later on, a college was established in the same area, where Ghimmire taught Nepali literature until 1957. That same year, the poet who had now become nationally established, became the member of the Royal Nepal Academy. “My involvement in the academy’s activities reinforced my commitment to Nepalese Literature. My whole environment was filled with literature and creativity and, I felt, there was nothing more I wished for.” Ghimmire became Vice Chancellor of the Royal Nepal Academy from 1979 to 1988 and Chancellor from 1988 to 1990. During his tenure, he led delegations to China, Russia, and Bangladesh. For his work, he has received the Distinguished Academy Medal, Shree Prasiddha Praval Gorkha Dakshinabahu, Bhanubhakta Award, and Tribhuwan Pragya Puraskar among others. And his literary achievements are Gauri, Malati Mangale, Himal Pari Himal Wari, and Shakuntala to name a few.
As he reflects on his life, he expresses his desire to talk about the poet and poetry. He finds it helps him to identify himself better. “People may be able to differentiate between the physical beauty of a stone and plastic bag. When they are asked to select between a flower or lalupate leaf, it becomes difficult. Both things are part of nature’s creation and are attractive. I think, here, the poet becomes indiscriminate. Here, they are able to distinguish between that subtlety and describe both things with equal poetic intensity.
“Similarly, people differ by their personalities. They respond differently to the same situation. If a person is slapped, she or he may react violently or angrily. We may regard this response in two ways: objectively and subjectively. I think the expression of poets is based on the latter. They look beyond the person’s violence or anger and, reach into the depths of her/his mind.
“For example, a lahure, Nepali soldier working for British or Indian Army, is known to his commander by his role number. When he dies in battle, news reaches his village and people think highly of his valor. His brave deed is regarded objectively. However, what are his mother’s feelings? She has been expecting him to return, maybe bring her a gift, and when she hears about her son’s death, it is not a role number but an integral part of hers that dies. She thinks she should have died instead of her son. How would you define her feelings?
“When a mother’s child cries, she feels pain. So whether it’s the mother who lost her son or the mother whose child is crying is not the issue. The emotional content both mothers convey is important. This is what comes into the poet’s poetry. Pain, anger, joy, or sorrow subjectively described is what makes poetry real.
Talking about today’s literary environment, Ghimmire is speculative. “In my time, even though we feared the Rana government, we did not let go of our commitment. We did tapashya, penitence with our poetry. Nowadays, although competition is strife, a lot of young people have the freedom to follow their interests. But how long they will want to commit themselves to writing or art – a path of mental, emotional, and physical struggle – is something else.
“Also, because of economic and technology progress, youth today have access to modern amenities. Nowadays they have computers at home. Although these changes have helped lives become better; at the same time, they have developed a more relaxed view in people regarding work – the grit and perseverance that makes creation brilliant – which I think is missing.
“The way appreciation is being given to people is disappointing as well. When you watch television, you see this person or that person being acknowledged. Whether their work is worth it or not; it doesn’t seem to signify. The publicity stunt seems to weigh much more. And in time, this kind of process will devalue the meaning of literature and art.
Ghimire rationalizes that poetry should stand up for human values. “Children are brought up learning values that later form their perceptions. Sometimes, they are learnt to believe the wrong things. Look at our caste system. It leads to a misunderstood perception of class structure that is damaging. When I was a child, I used to play with a boy from the Damai, tailoring class (Before, in Nepal, vocations were allocated according to a person’s caste). Once while I was bathing in the river, he came by in a dhunga, small boat and I playfully tried to catch him. He then splashed me with water. Everything about us was natural and spontaneous.
“I feel poets should be able to go beyond the social hierarchical boundary and give humanity vision. By using their poetical skills, they should be able to seek the truth and broaden minds.”
Ghimmire believes as poets or writers we should be able to advocate world peace, justice, humanitarian deeds, etc. We have leaders who govern the country but they try to solve problems through political or administrative means. With poets or writers, wisdom should emanate from their writings.
“Most important is the conscience of the poet – how s/he perceives things; to be able to feel for the sufferings of others is what a poet should be able to emote in words. Like in Devkota’s “Muna Madan”:
Manche thulo dilale huncha, jatale hundaina,
A generous heart makes you profound and not your family/caste.
“These are the words of a compassionate man and they make you feel deeply. “Why did Devkota feel like this? Who can understand? Why do poets feel the way they feel? Who can understand? I think being able to write good poetry is a boon for others. People have the opportunity to look through the eyes of a poet and sense the beauty, ugliness, sadness or happiness in the world. Sometimes in ugliness or hardships, poets see things differently. Here, their hearts rule over their minds.
“In the past, I wrote many poems on the Himalayas. People started to call me the ‘poet’ of the Himalayas. Then someone questioned me whether I preferred the hard life in the hills to the less difficult life in the plains. I feel, however, the richness of the mountains move me; I cannot stop it. I loved my first wife Gauri dearly. She had scars on her face from small pox. Yet it mattered little to me. When I wrote poems on her, I was writing from my heart.”
To the eight-one-year old poet, social consciousness is another strong element in poetry. His awareness regarding a catastrophe like the effects of nuclear warfare indicates his sensitivity towards the future of the world and, the reason behind his poem Ashastha. He especially feels strongly about the status of women in Nepal. For him, they represent a symbol of struggle and hardship. “I find I strengthen my poetry by writing on social issues. This does not mean that poetry that comes from the heart is less significant. I feel poetry that comes from the mind is as important; it only takes a different mode of expression. Besides, this kind of poetry requires enlightenment. It cannot come from experience alone.
“As poets or writers, we cannot expect our work to make tangible changes in society, but down the years, it should be able to give the human spirit that conscience, courage, and foresight to make those changes possible.”
Laxmi Prasad Devkota is known among us as the Mahakabi or Poet the Great— the title given by the state for his unmatchable contribution to Nepali literature. He deserves that title as he had done so much in this field through his genre of writing that has earned a greatest honour and respect in the heart of Nepali speaking population both at home and abroad.
Devkota was born on the night of Laxmi Puja in 1966 BS from the womb of Amar Rajya Laxmi Devi in Dillibazar, Kathmandu. As he was born at a time when the entire Hindus including his family were worshiping Goddess Laxmi, the Goddess of wealth, his parents took his birth as the greatest gift of Goddess Laxmi. Accordingly, his name was given Laxmi Prasad. However, he turned out to be the gift of Saraswati, the Goddess of Knowledge’.
His father Tilmadhav Devkota was a scholar in Sanskrit language. Laxmi Prasad Devkota attained his basic education at home under the custodianship of his father. His was a middle class family and financial status of the family was not very sound. He completed Bachelor’s Degree in liberal arts and law. But his desire to complete Masters’ Degree could not be accomplished in the absence of sound financial position of the family.
Right after graduating from college, he started working as a personal tutor. It is said that he used to teach more than 13 hours a day. He had to do that to support his family. During Devkota’s time, the country had been under Rana’s dictatorial regime. Young Devkota knew the importance of education and he vowed to do something to help educate the masses—the idea was not well received by the then Rana rulers.
Devkota was a brilliant student and did well in school. He was good in both Nepali and English language and could write in both the languages. Right from the early age, he was keen in Nepali literature. At the early age of ten, he wrote a poem when he was studying in Drubar High School—the school set up for the education of the ruling Rana children. The ordinary people had to seek special permission to study in this school. Laxmi Prasad Devkota’s father also had to run from pillar and post to ensure admission for his son in the Durbar High School.
Devkota and his friends were keen on generating awareness among the people and educating them. They decided to establish a library to generate public awareness. They had to seek permission from the government even to establish a library during those days. Devkota and his friends, thus, were put behind bars for trying to establish a library. As a result, poet Devkota had to undergo a great suffering. He was later fined and released. Devkota then went to Benaras, India, where he used to sell his poems for his survival. He also worked as an editor of Yugbani magazine in Benaras and gave continuity to his writing.
After he returned to Kathmandu, he wrote Muna Madan—an epic poem based on folk verses. Although, Devkota has written many books including some of his masterpieces, he loved Muna Madan the best. It is said that Devkota, when he was in death bed, had asked his friends and relatives to preserve Muna Madan even if all other works were to be burnt.
Muna Madan is perhaps the most popular of all works of Devkota. The simplicity of language, folk and lyrical verses and rhythmic expression made this book popular among the all including ordinary folks. Muna Madan’s popularity also made Ranas to appoint Devkota a member of the Nepal Bhasanuwad Parishad. During this period, Devkota wrote the epic, Shakuntala, in three months. It is said that Puskar Shumshere Rana challenged him to write another epic in a period of one month. Accepting the challenge, Devkota wrote another epic Sulochana in ten days. Both Shakuntal and Sulochana are Devkota’s masterpieces. For sometimes, he worked as a lecturer in Trichandra College. He also served as Education Minister for three months.
Although Devkota started writing during the Rana period when the free thinking and creative writing used to be discouraged, he broke the traditional and conventional style and introduced a new genre and approach in writing poems and other forms of literature. Devkota is a versatile writer and has written pomes, epics, prose, essays, plays and fictions. But he is basically a poet. He was influenced by western poets like William Wordsworth, John Keats and PB Shelley. As a lover of nature and romantic poet, we find Wordsworth, Shelley and Keats in Devkota’s poetic works. The way Devkota’s Charu and Wordsworth’s Lucy Gray appear similar in expression and theme, it is said that Devkota wrote Charu as a dedication to Wordsworth.
What spiritualism is to Lekhanath, nature is to Devkota. The theme of much of his works is nature and human sensitivity, feelings and love. In this way, Devkota is a master in romantic poetic work in Nepali literature. Although the romantic era in writing began during the period of Motiram Bhatta, it was still immature and imperfect. Devkota is the one who both professed and practiced and gave a new dimension to romantic poetic works in Nepal. While Motiram fantasised the romantic style with conservative tone, Devkota unified it with sense and reality. Devkota had a deep passion for nature and has perfectly practiced it through his aesthetic use of nature’s image in his poetic works. He tries to instill beauty and fragrance of nature in his poems through his craft of words and sentences and eloquent expression.
As a path breaker in the Nepali literature in general and poetic works in particular, Devkota is an atheist and a radical egalitarian. He challenged the tradition of attributing everything to God’s willingness. If there is, at all, any God, it is within human being and the best way to attain godliness is to serve the less privileged fellow humans. He has, thus, strongly and explicitly expressed this feeling in his much acclaimed poem ” Yatri” (Traveler or Pilgrim), he has opined that God dwells within a human and not in any temple and has called upon the pilgrims not to wander about in search of God but to go back home and devote to the service of mankind—the downtrodden ones who have undergone sufferings. However, towards the end of his life, he suddenly turned religious, thus, writing ” Akhir Shri Krishna Rahechha Eka (After all there is the God –Lord Krishna)
Straightforwardness, lucidity and honesty are some of the characteristics of Devkota’s poetic works. His feelings, sensibility and expressions have been blended perfectly and brilliantly with words and meanings that have created an explosion of thoughts and ideas in his writings. We find spontaneous expression in Devkota’s poems and there is no artificial sense. He had the habit of not revising his writings. Once written, it was final. He has given less prominence to grammar. His poems are like flowers grown and blossomed in the forests. This is the reason why the language in Devkota’s poems and prose is rough and less polished.
Humanitarian feelings are well entrenched in many of his poems through which the poet has advocated egalitarian society free from poverty, hunger, class and creed. For him, there is no class other than human being and no creed other than serving to human being. In Muna Madan he has, thus, said “Manisa Thulo Dilale Huncha Jatale Hudaina” ( a man attains greatness not by caste but because of his heart or feelings).
Devkota has also written essays, one act plays and plays and novel. Devkota is the first modern essayist in Nepal. Laxmi Nibanda Sangraha (Collection of Laxmi Prasad Devkota’s essays) is the example of the modern essays in Nepali language, which have clarity in meaning, expressive in feelings and eloquent in terms of language. In this, Devkota broke the traditional style of essay writing and popularized the personal and expressive style of essays writing instead of descriptive and narrative approach. The Laxmi Nibanda Sangraha is perhaps the most brilliant book of essays ever produced in Nepali literature.
As a versatile and multi-dimensional writer, Devkota has made contribution in the field of plays, fiction and short stories. Sabitri Satyaban is Devkota’s acclaimed play, which has earned equally high fame for Devkota. Champa is the only fiction Devkota has ever written.
Despite holding some important and high-ranking positions, his financial status was always precarious and he had to struggle a lot for survival. But the difficulties he suffered never deterred him from writing and making contribution to Nepali literature. The contribution Devkota made to enrich the Nepali literature would always be written down with golden letter. We cannot imagine the state of Nepali literature without Laxmi Prasad Devkota. Thus, Laxmi Prasad Devkota has earned a greatest respect in the heart of Nepalese people both in Nepal and abroad.
Recognizing his unprecedented contribution in the field of literature, he was honoured as a life member of the Nepal Academy. Devkota was also conferred with the title of Mahakabi (Poet the Great). He died at the age of 50 due to cancer in 2016 BS. With his demise Nepal lost a brilliant icon of Nepali literature.
Devkota’s contribution to Nepali literature is as follows-
Poetic works: Muna Madan, Raj Kumar Prabhakar, Kunjini, Shakuntal, Sulochana, Basanti, Putali, Bhikhari, Mhendu, Ravana-Jatayu Yuddha, Chhahara, Chilla Patharu, Luni, Mayabini Sashi, Maharana Pratap, Manoranjan, Nabras, Sitaharan, Dushyanta Shakuntala Bhet, Aakash Blochha, Balkusum, Chhayasanga Kura, Katak, Gaine Geet, Sunko Bihan, Bhavana Gangeya, Sundari Jarpini, Aashu, Prathimas, Prithiviraj Chauhan, Maina, Pahadi Pukar, Muthuka Thopa, Laxmi Kabita Sangraha and Laxmi Giti Sangraha.
Essay: Laxmi Nibandha Sangraha
Plays: Sabitri Satyaban, Rajpur Ramani, Basanti, Maina and Krishibala and Bharatmilap.
Laxmi Katha Sangraha (anthology of Devkota’s short stories)
Devkota translated William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth into Nepali
I walked into a room with new faces
I know they are people of different status
All ever eager to have their hair done
Though waiting for hours was no fun
I saw ladies of all shapes and size
Some dressed to kill with their disguise
Thank god, there was one patron who was nice and proper
I overheared that she appreciated her kind neighbour
On my left someone boasted about winning at Mahjong gambling!
And she gossiped about who was divorcing!
I noticed another vain woman at the corner chair
Undecided which style was suitable for her hair!
When finally the hair dresser came to me
I just simply requested a hair-cut and shampoo for me
He breathed a sigh of relief for I wasn’t fuzzy
Unlike the others; to cut and shampoo my hair was easy for him
I believe that beauty comes from the heart
And not how my hair should part
The hair dresser is earning an honest living
He needs to be praised for what he is doing.
Vaughan and his twin brother the hermetic philosopher and alchemist Thomas Vaughan, were the sons of Thomas Vaughan and his wife Denise (née Morgan) of ‘Trenewydd’, Newton, in Brecknockshire, Wales. Their grandfather, William, was the owner of Tretower Court.
Vaughan spent most of his life in the village of Llansantffraed, near Brecon, where he is also buried.
Both Henry and his twin Thomas were schooled locally by the rector of Llangattock (Crickhowell), the Rev. Matthew Herbert. This occupied six years preceding their attendance at Jesus College, Oxford, England in 1638. However, around 1640, Vaughan’s family influenced him to pursue a career in law to the abandonment of an Oxford degree.
As the Civil War developed, he was recalled home from London, initially to serve as a secretary to Sir Marmaduke Lloyd, a chief justice on the Brecknockshire circuit and staunch royalist. Military service interrupted his study of the law and, upon his return, Vaughan began to practise medicine. By 1646, he had married Catherine Wise with whom he reared a son, Thomas, and three daughters, Lucy, Frances, and Catherine. After his first wife’s death, he married her sister, Elizabeth.
Vaughan took his literary inspiration from his native environment and chose the descriptive name “Silurist,” derived from his homage to the Silures, the Celtic tribe of pre-Roman south Wales which strongly resisted the Romans. This name is a reflection of the deep love Vaughan felt towards the Welsh mountains of his home in what is now part of the Brecon Beacons National Park and the River Usk valley where he spent most of his early life and professional life.
By 1647 Henry Vaughan, with his wife and children, had chosen life in the country. This is the setting in which Vaughan wrote Olor Iscanus, the (Swan of Usk). However, this collection was not published until 1651, more than three years after it was written. It is believed that there was great crisis in Vaughan’s life between the authorship and publication of Olor Iscanus. During these years, his grandfather William Vaughan died and he was evicted from his living in Llansantffraed. Vaughan later decried the publication, having “long ago condemned these poems to obscurity”.
Olor Iscanus is filled with odd words and similes that beg for attention despite its dark and morbid cognitive appeal. This work is founded on crises felt in Vaughan’s homeland, Brecknockshire. During the Civil War there was never a major battle fought on the ground of Brecknockshire, but the effects of the war were deeply felt by Vaughan and his surrounding community. The Puritan Parliament visited misfortune on the community, ejecting many of their foes, the Anglicans and Royalists. This was an obvious source of misfortune for Vaughan, who also lost his home at that time.
There is a distinct difference between the atmosphere Vaughan attempts to convey in this work and in his most famous work, Silex Scintillans. Olor Iscanus is a direct representation of a specific period in Vaughan’s life, which emphasizes other secular writers and provides allusions to debt and happy living. A fervent topic of Vaughan throughout these poems is the Civil War and reveals Vaughan’s somewhat paradoxical thinking that, in the end, gives no clear conclusion to the question of his participation in the Civil War. Vaughan states his complete satisfaction of being clean on “innocent blood” but also provides what seem to be eyewitness accounts of battles and his own “soldiery”. Although Vaughan is thought to have been a royalist, these poems express contempt for all current authority and a lack of zeal for the royalist cause. His poems generally reflect a sense of severe decline, which possibly means that Vaughan lamented the effects of the war on the monarchy and society. His short poem “The Timber”, ostensibly about a dead tree, concludes “thy strange resentment after death / Means only those who broke – in life – thy peace.”
The period shortly preceding the publication of Henry Vaughan’s Silex Scintillans marked an important period of his life. Certain indications in the first volume and explicit statements made in the preface to the second volume of Silex Scintillans suggest that Vaughan suffered a prolonged sickness that inflicted much pain. Vaughan interprets this experience to be an encounter with death and a wake-up call to his “misspent youth”. Vaughan believes he is spared to make amends and start a new course not only in his life but in the literature he would produce. Vaughan himself describes his previous work as foul and a contribution to “corrupt literature”. Perhaps the most notable mark of Vaughan’s conversion is how much it is credited to George Herbert. Vaughan claims that he is the least of Herbert’s many “pious converts”. It is during this period of Vaughan’s life, around 1650, that he adopts the saying “moriendo, revixi”, meaning “by dying, I gain new life”.
It was not until Vaughan’s conversion and the writing of Silex Scintillans that he received significant acclaim. He was greatly indebted to George Herbert, who provided a model for Vaughan’s newly founded spiritual life and literary career, in which he displayed “spiritual quickening and the gift of gracious feeling” derived from Herbert.
Archbishop Trench has proposed that “As a divine Vaughan may be inferior [to Herbert], but as a poet he is certainly superior”. Critics praise Vaughan’s use of literary elements. Vaughan’s use of monosyllables, long-drawn alliterations and his ability to compel the reader place Vaughan as “more than the equal of George Herbert”. Yet others say that the two are not even comparable, because Herbert is in fact the Master. While these critics admit that Henry Vaughan’s use of words can be superior to Herbert’s, they believe his poetry is, in fact, worse. Herbert’s profundity as well as consistency are said to be the key to his superiority.
While the superiority or inferiority of Vaughan and Herbert is a question with no distinct answer, one cannot deny that Vaughan would have never written the way he did without Herbert’s direction. The explicit spiritual influence of Herbert on Henry Vaughan is undeniable. The preface to Vaughan’s Silex Scintillans does all but proclaim this influence. The prose of Vaughan exemplifies this as well. For instance, The Temple, by Herbert, is often seen as the inspiration and model on which Vaughan created his work. Silex Scintillans is most often classed with this collection of Herbert’s. Silex Scintillans borrows the same themes, experience, and beliefs as The Temple. Herbert’s influence is evident both in the shape and spirituality of Vaughan’s poetry. For example, the opening to Vaughan’s poem ‘Unprofitableness’:
How rich, O Lord! How fresh thy visits are!
is reminiscent of Herbert’s ‘The Flower’:
How fresh, O Lord, how sweet and clean
Are thy returns! ev’n as the flowers in spring
Another work of Vaughan’s that clearly parallels George Herbert is Mount of Olives, e.g., the passage, Let sensual natures judge as they please, but for my part, I shall hold it no paradoxe to affirme, there are no pleasures in the world. Some coloured griefes of blushing woes there are, which look as clear as if they were true complexions; but it is very sad and tyred truth, that they are but painted. This echoes Herbert’s Rose:
In this world of sugar’s lies,
And to use a larger measure
Than my strict yet welcome size.
First, there is no pleasure here:
Coloure’d griefs indeed there are,
Blushing woes that look as clear,
As if they could beauty spare.
Critics have complained that Vaughan is enslaved to Herbert’s works, using similar “little tricks” such as abrupt introductions and whimsical titles as a framework for his own work, and that he “failed to learn” from Herbert. Vaughan carried an inability to know his limits and focused more on the intensity of the poem, meanwhile losing the attention of his audience.
However, Alexander Grosart denies that Henry Vaughan was solely an imitator of George Herbert (Grosart, 3). There are moments in Vaughan’s writings where the reader can identify Vaughan’s true self, rather than an imitation of Herbert. In such passages Vaughan is seen to demonstrate naturalness, immediacy, and ability to relate the concrete through poetry. In some instances, Vaughan derives observations from Herbert’s language that are distinctly his own. It is as if Vaughan takes proprietorship of some of Herbert’s work, yet makes it completely unique to himself. Henry Vaughan takes another step away from George Herbert in the manner to which he presents his poetry to the reader. George Herbert in The Temple, which is most often the source of comparison between the two writers, lays down explicit instructions on the reading of his work. This contrasts with the attitude of Vaughan, who considered the experience of reading as the best guide to his meanings. He promoted no special method of reading his works.
In these times he shows himself different from any other poet. Much of his distinction derives from an apparent lack of sympathy with the world around him. His aloof appeal to his surroundings detaches him and encourages his love of nature and mysticism, which in turn influenced other later poets, Wordsworth among others. Vaughan’s mind thinks in terms of a physical and spiritual world and the obscure relation between the two. Vaughan’s mind often moved to original, unfamiliar, and remote places, and this reflected in his poetry. He was loyal to the themes of the Anglican Church and religious festivals, but found his true voice in the more mystical themes of eternity, communion with the dead, nature, and childhood.A poet of revelation who uses the Bible,Nature and his own experience to illustrate his vision of eternity. Vaughan’s poetry has a particularly modern sound.
Alliteration (conspicuous in Welsh poetry)is more extensively used by Vaughan than most of his contemporaries writing English verse,noticeably in the opening to The Water-fall.
Vaughan elaborated on personal loss in two well-known poems, “The World” and “They Are All Gone into the World of Light.” Another poem, “The Retreat,” combines the theme of loss with the corruption of childhood, which is yet another consistent theme of Vaughan’s. Vaughan’s new-found personal voice and persona are seen as the result of the death of a younger brother.
This is an example of an especially beautiful fragment of one of his poems entitled “The World:”
I saw eternity the other night
Like a great Ring of pure and endless light,
All calm, as it was bright,
And round beneath it, Time in hours, days, years
Driv’n by the spheres
Like a vast shadow moved, In which the world
And all her train were hurl’d.
Death and Legacy
As is the case with many great writers and poets, Henry Vaughan was acclaimed less during his lifetime than after his death on April 23, 1695, aged 74. He is buried in the churchyard of St Bridget’s, Llansantffraed, Powys. He is recognised “as another example of a poet who can write both graceful and effective prose” and influenced the work of poets such as Wordsworth, Tennyson and Siegfried Sassoon. The American science fiction writer Philip K. Dick even named Vaughan as a key influence.
In the modern Nepali poetry, Bhupi Sherchan is a brilliant personality. Bhupi is one of the most popular and celebrated poets in the modern era as he brought about a new revolution in the genius of Nepali poetry in general and prose poetry in particular. His unique style, forceful expression, simple and lucid language, clear message, sharp attack on the decayed social and cultural practices and high degree of satire have earned a high respect among the Nepali speaking population both at home and abroad.
Bhupi Serchan was born in 1992 B.S. in Thakkhola, Mustang, a remote Himalayan district. His original name given by his parents is Bhupendra Man Sherchan. But he chose Bhupi after he grew up.
His mother died when Bhupi was just a five-year old boy. This incident brought about a big shock in young Bhupi’s mind. Although he was well taken care by other members of his family, Bhupi always missed his mother, which made him rebellious right from his young age.
Bhupi SerchanHe walked up and down on the icy slopes of the mountain in the Himalayan district of Mustang. During his youthful age, Mustang was very backward as no modern facilities were available. The condition of ordinary people was very pitiable. Bhupi’s family was wealthy and he did not have to experience any kind of hardship. But he saw very closely the pains and plights of the poor people who had to shed their blood and sweat from dawn to dusk just for survival. The harsh climatic and geographical conditions made life of the people further worse. Even after working long and hard, the people hardly had two meals a day. He saw extreme poverty, inequality, exploitation, discrimination, torture and trauma of the people in the villages. The poor were getting poorer and the rich richer. The exploitation and discrimination were perennial and unabated. These conditions touched the tender heart of young Bhupi. As a rebellious boy right from the childhood, he then turned to be a revolutionary supporter of the communist ideology. Mustang did not have good schools and colleges and Bhupi’s father sent him to India for higher studies from where he completed Bachelor’s degree. During his stay in Gorakhpur and Benaras of India, he got acquainted with some revolutionary and leftist people. Their company made Bhupi a staunch communist supporter. During those days, communist movements had gained momentum in different parts of the world. In our northern neighbour—China, communist regime had already been established through an armed revolution. Even in India, the communist ideology had attracted many youths. Influenced by the burgeoning communist movement in the world including our neighbours, some Nepali youths had formed a communist party in Nepal, as well. Inspired by the revolutionary spirit among the youths and touched by the perennial poverty and backwardness in Nepal, Bhupi became an active member of the communist party. Some critics are of the opinion that although he was emotionally a communist, his life style never matched the ideology he believed. He was a romantic person and his early life was full of romance. He liked girls, alcohols and friends. When he was drunk he used to become pessimist but once the influence of alcohol was gone his original spirit of revolution and optimism would again revive.
Moreover, the deep rooted poverty, inequality, discrimination and exploitation that had remained in practice for centuries had always disturbed Bhupi’s mind. He was of the belief that emancipation from the chain of poverty, injustice and discrimination could be possible only in the communist system of governance.
He started writing poems in Benaras in course of his active involvement in political activities. In the early days he wrote folk songs and poems in folk verse to express the rebellious and revolutionary feelings that had been deeply rooted in his heart. He also wrote stories and plays. He chose literature as a tool to express his revolutionary and radical feelings.
After completing Bachelor’s level in Benaras, he returned to Kathmandu and roamed around the alleys and gullies of Kathmandu Valley, a wanton boy chasing his dreams. But he failed to get one of his choices. It is this period when he saw the yards of Kathmandu and wrote the poem “My Yard” as the reminiscence of his difficult days. In this poem, he has used imageries and metaphors in an artistic way not only to depict the real situation of that period but also brilliant used satire on the tendency and attitude of the society.
At one point, he found it difficult to survive in Kathmandu as he was nothing to earn his living. He then went outside of the Kathmandu valley to take up his family business. A poet and revolutionary person could hardly be satisfied to work as a construction contractor. When he was in Bhairahawa working as a contractor, he expressed his frustration like this: “When in Kathmandu, I used to count the stars and looked at the attractive damsel’s face; Here I count bricks and look at the beauty of brick dust” He soon quit this business and established a school in Pokhara where he stayed for a long time. Apart from running the school, he got associated with several social organizations and social work. The social work gave a sense of solace to poet Bhupi, to a certain degree.
His first collection of poems ” Naya Jhyaure” was published in 2011 BS which contains mostly folk songs and poems written in folk rhyme. He wrote these poems highly influenced by communist ideology and contained political and communist slogans more than the real poetic justice. According to Ghataraj Bhattarai, the poems in ‘ Naya Jhyaure’ carry more political sloganeering, writer’s anger and fury rather than literary thought.
Bhupi’s second collection of poems is “Nirjhar” in which the poet appears to be more mature. The poems in this book demonstrate Bhupi’s poetic art and understanding. In earlier poems, Bhupi wrote being influenced by political ideology but the poems in his second book have shown that Bhupi wrote the poems from his heart spontaneously expressing his inner feelings in a poetic art. Coming to this stage, Bhupi has been able to do justice to poetry.
In terms of quantity, Bhupi may be considered as one of the writers whose contribution may appear to be less significant. He has written a very few books. But in terms of quality, Bhupi’s contribution in the Nepali literature particularly in the Nepali poetry is no less important than that of any other celebrated and acclaimed writers. He has written a drama called ‘Paribartan’ (Change) and a few short stories. But his dramas and short stories have made little impact on the society and Nepali literature. Although the theme and plot is strong in terms of message, the juxtaposition and development of the plot are weak and not cohesive in the drama ‘Paribartan’. Critics have said that it is more like a political slogan mongering rather than the pure literary art. In the drama, which is full of patriotic and progressive political feelings, he has championed the rights, interests and justice of the common people and unleashed a crusade against exploitation, injustice and discrimination that was in existence in the Nepalese society as a whole. The underlying message in this drama is that justice and truth would ultimately prevail and people’s power would triumph. The book is a testimony that the author wants to bring about progressive political change in the society.
Bhupi’s mastery is in poetry. His real talent and poetic art as well as full maturity are seen in the poems written after 2020 BS. A third collection of poems called “Ghumne Mechmathi Andho Manchhe’ ( A Blind Man on a Revolving Chair) was published in 2025 BS. This book is his literary masterpiece that has proved that Bhupi is an extra ordinary poet. This book contains Bhupi’s 43 poems and every single poem is excellent and brilliant. Although prose poems, they are written in both irregular and free verses. The language is simple, lucid but brilliantly meaningful with full of satire. These poems contain Bhupi’s political ideology but they are presented in a subtle but artistic manner. Through these poems, Bhupi has expressed his anguish against exploitation, and social and cultural discrimination, distortion and contradictions. He has described his poems as the expression of his feelings that gushed out of his heart like the rivers and streams that flow down from the Himalayas as snow melts due to earthly heat. The atmosphere in his surroundings and incidents that happen in the society in the name of social and cultural practices provided him food for thought that came in the form of poems.
The metaphysical conceit in Nepali literature is a borrowed tradition from Sanskrit literature, which was in vogue for long time until Nepali literature entered into a post modern era. With the emergence of Motiram, romantic era began in Nepali literature. The mix of metaphysical conceit and facile romanticism and aestheticism coupled with nihilism and experimentalism were the established tradition in Nepali literature with social and cultural continuum. Bhupi’s era was marked by literary anarchism and ultra liberalism, which was experimented by some of his contemporary poets—an influence of Freudianism and other western free thinkers. But Bhupi kept himself away from this brand of experimentalism, nihilism and anarchism. He chose materialistic, progressive, humanist and existentialist approach.
Gopal Prasad Rimal emerged as a path breaker in the modern era of Nepali literature and established the tradition of writing prose poems with progressive outlook. Bhupi carried this tradition established by Rimal to a newer height especially in the poetic credo. Commenting on Bhupi’s literary genius, critic Govinda Bhatta has said, “at a time when the Nepali poetry was taking the shape of political sloganeering, Bhupi transformed the political sloganeering into a sweetest and brilliant poetic form and enriched the progressive literature in Nepal with classical perfection”. Similarly, Professor Yadunath Khanal has described Bhupi’s poetic quality as “deep and solid expression of feelings and experiences with utmost honesty and civilized manner”.
His poems contain high degree of human values and satire against the existing social system. With Bhupi emerged a new era in Nepali poetic world which came to an end with his death in 2046 BS.