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Lekhnath Poudyal, Nepal's Patriot-Poet
The first poet ever to be given a civic reception and a chariot ride
Bhuwan Thapaliya (Bhuwan)     Print Article 
Published 2006-02-22 17:44 (KST)   
Devkota was a great poet, a prolific writer of undisputed classics, and so were other giants of Nepali poetry like Siddhicharan Shrestha, Gopal Prasad Rimal, and Bhupi Sherchan. But none were as big a poetry patriot as Lekhanth Poudyal (1885-1966).

Poetry was God's gift to him. But his most famous predecessors were not as gifted as Poudyal, according to the critics who have had the opportunity to read his masterpieces like "Pinjara Ko Suga," "Ritubichar," "Buddhibinod" and "Satyakali."

However, it can be said now that we undervalue our assets. We cannot change reality, but maybe we can look at it more kindly. Maybe we can stop saying for a while that the Poudyal wasn't the true servant of Nepalese literature.

But let us not forget the fact that he was the pioneer, who gave new dimension to Nepalese literature, and not even his most famous predecessors were able to match their superior compositions with his works.

In accordance with the Nepalese tradition, when a poet does well, we look for reasons to diminish his achievements, and for a very long time that is what happened with Poudyal. We needed a chariot to tell us that Poudyal was a great poet.

Poudyal was reportedly the first poet ever to be given a civic reception and a chariot ride to treasure his literary achievements. Observers say that such an instance has not been found in other countries in the history of world literature.

Poudyal was given a grand public felicitation on his 70th birthday. He was taken around the city in a special chariot amidst a grand ceremony as a mark of honor for his contribution to the Nepalese literature.

The government announced a half-day holiday at government offices to allow everyone to participate in the holiday. The then Prime Minister Matrika Prasad Koirala, government ministers, eminent litterateurs and a large number of citizens and well wishers participated in towing the chariot.

The chariot procession that commenced from the residence of the poet laureate at Thamel concluded upon reaching the historic Khari tree at Tundikhel after passing through the main thoroughfares of the town.

Most importantly even in his heights of fame, Poudyal was a picture of modesty. There was no " Look at me. I'm great" kind of swagger, as he was taken around the city in a special chariot amidst a grand ceremony.

"Poudyal was a far more practical poet than his most famous predecessors," asserts one critic. "He was not carried away by adulation like they were."

It's a long forgotten fact that he was felicitated by the state, but Poudyal will always be remembered for his numerous poems that interweave themselves with the Nepalese culture, tradition and society. The truth is that he was a humble poet who symbolizes two things: purity and honesty. That is why he is such an excellent poet for people to study.

In his poems, we can feel the socio-political veins of Nepal and the beauty of nature. His most renowned work perhaps is the poem "Pinjhara Ko Suga" in which he has symbolized the Nepalese people as a parrot inside a cage of the autocratic Rana rulers. "Pinjhara Ko Suga" was used as an anthem against the Rana regime, and it is said to have evoked the voice of the voiceless Nepalese then.

His other poem of equal magnitude is more relevant today. In his immortal poem, "Rastrako Jagriti" (national consciousness), he compared the Nepalese with Kumbhakarna (a demon who wakes up every six months only after suffering from acute hunger).

Although he wrote this poem half a century ago regarding the revolution of 1950, it is still applicable to present-day Nepalese character, as Nepalese wake up only after they are in the middle of difficulty, only to sleep again in the vicious circle of uncertainties.

It takes a lifetime to attain the greatness that embraced Poudyal, most probably because he always believed in making his life a poem and a poem his life.
©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Bhuwan Thapaliya

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