Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Crossing Borders

Last week I got to peek through the pages of ‘Mother’ again, a work by Russian novelist Maxim Gorky that changed the ideologies of many people around the world. This revolutionary novel depicting the story of a rebel during the time of the Russian revolution carried the history of Russia across the globe after being translated into many different languages. Like Gorky, many other Russian writers of that time — Dostoevsky, Gogol and Tolstoy — won international fame through their writings. Similarly, Hindi, German, Chinese and many other authors have been successful internationally.

In Nepal, the literary pieces of Laxmi Prasad Devkota, Parijat, Bhupi Sherchan, Gopal Prasad Rimal and others are forever remembered with reverence. But, compared to world literature, Nepali literature is yet to find its international readership.

Here comes a question: why is this so? Have we ever thought of how Russian and other literatures were able to keep such a significant mark in world literature?

It is not only because those works were good pieces of literature. Rather, one of the reasons for their broad international fame was because they were translated into many world languages including English. Translation into many languages made it possible for them to take their place in libraries around the world, helping people to read and understand them.

Translations not only help literature cross borders, it also helps writers survive. Diamond Shamsher Rana’s ‘Seto Bagh’, translated into English as ‘White Tiger’, is one example. In one of Rana’s interviews, he has revealed the fact that his ends, so far, are met by the royalties of ‘White Tiger’, published by a British publication decades ago.

Contrarily, a few Nepali literatures have been given the opportunity to be translated into English, like Parijat’s ‘Shirish Ko Phool,’ which is now incorporated into the curriculum of some US universities. Recently, Ramesh Vikal’s ‘Awiral Bagdacha Indrawati’ earned the honour of being the only Nepali literary work to get a place in the Cultural Endowment Project, formed by a committee of US Senators dedicated to translating popular literature of the world. There are still many other great Nepali literatures, like Madan Mani Dixit’s ‘Madhavi’, waiting to come out of the wrapping to reserve a space in world literature.

For every country, its language, culture and literature hold its identity. Literature reflects the social order and practices of an era and transmits that to its readers. If Bhanubhakta had not translated ‘Ramayan’ into Nepali, many of us still would not have known the great epic and the time of that era.

Promoting the culture, language and literature of a country for its broader readership is the responsibility of the state. But unfortunately, enough work has not been done by the sector responsible for looking after literature and culture. It seems the culture of sycophancy has plagued every section of Nepali society. Even for the promotion of Nepali literature, politics plays decisive role. Still, academicians are politically appointed. The centre lacks the zeal to promote Nepali literature in the world. Whatever few translations have been done so far is only because of the self-initiatives of the writers and self-proclaimed translators.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Dear Positive,
      You had been complaining of my letters all the time and I always took it as your suggestions. You had been telling me how badly I write and I acknowledged it as an inspiration. You had been grumbling on how I had changed all those years and I anticipated it as your verdict. Your biting words sometimes discouraged me but again, I saw wisdom in your rebukes. Your cold spoofs often hurt the small ambitions inside me but the very next minute, I sensed knowledge in your bitterness. After all, it was you who told me to do so.
      You had been grousing of how I got on my nerves quickly and only if you could have understood, it was all because of the solitary disorder. Your cutting words often heated my temperament but again, I comprehended the process to be physiological and became ice. When you dragged me by the lane of abuse, I understood it as the freedom that you use. I remember the day you handed me a paper of separation to get signed and I duly did it thinking you had given me a freedom to write.
      With furling of every season, I embraced the decision you lodged on me to be what I am not. With the curl of years, I clinched the inner-self in you regardless of my being what I really am. With fold of every morning, I induced the ‘what-I-want’ in you irrespective of what I always wanted. After all these years, you have still been grudging at my smile and here I cry not because you want it but because my eyes have been straining for quite sometime now.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Some Poetries-V

When trees of survival start lamenting
Over the pathetic failure of reasons
Tanned beliefs start weaving young reveries again
The old verves start measuring the unexplored paths
I am lying here still, and destination peeping at horizon.
Faith smeared with shades of fear
Desires tarnished with tints of despair
Colours, you couldn’t paint my aspiration
And happiness, you disguise in black.
When the emptiness in eyes stare at hopes
When skinny belly stretches against poverty
When mud begrimed faces make its gesture
The dark lines of sorrow covering their wrinkled smile
Tell the taunting tale of civilization.
Unable to hold the load of corroded thoughts
Dreams like autumn leaves are falling down
Rotten ethics eaten by the worms of debacle
Are peeping from the holes in my pocket
The once upheaval of principles insane
Is quietly attacking my existence today.