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Madhav Ghimire: National Poet of Nepal
He is a very simple person with simple tastes, but his verses are both diverse and complex
Bhuwan Thapaliya (Bhuwan)     Print Article 
Published 2005-12-21 11:56 (KST)   
"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."

- Madhav Prasad Ghimire
Born in 1919, Madhav Prasad Ghimire, the national poet of Nepal, is a living legend. He is undoubtedly one of that rare breed of poets in Nepal to achieve fame and fortune and not the miserable oblivion they are usually accorded.

But the greatest asset of his life is his simplicity. He is a very simple person with simple tastes, but his verses are both diverse and complex.

Nevertheless, to some he is a poet of the Himalayas and to some - the poet of love and harmony. However he is thought of, this truth cannot be denied: He is a lyrical poet and one of the true servants of Nepalese literature.

Moreover, he is also a national treasure, connected as he is with the golden age of Nepalese literature.

He is among the last of the older generation of poets, whose contemporaries - Bal Krishna Sama and Laxmi Prasad Devkota -have become historical figures in the annals of Nepalese literature.

Ghimire's mother died when he was about one and half years old, and his childhood was spent in the Lamjung District with his father among the hills, trees, rivers, and soothing brooks of rural Nepal.

Proper educational opportunities were lacking in Lamjung during his childhood. His first teacher was a holy man, who taught Ghimire and others the English alphabet from an old grammar book.

He began his formal education at the age of 12, when his father sent him to study astrology, which he pursued for over two years. He was then sent to the Bhasa Patshala Language School, which was about a two-hour walk from his village.

The teacher was a Sanskrit scholar (a pandit), and Ghimire received a lot of attention, because the pandit found Ghimire devoted to his studies.

Fortunately, after he received the Ramayana as a prize he studied it and also read the Mahabharata and from there progressed to the to the poetry of Lekhnath Poudyal. It was the latter who inspired him to compose verses that he showed his teacher.

The teacher liked his poems and encouraged him to continue. He sent one poem to the Gorkhaparta, now a national daily, which published it, and since then there has been no looking back for Ghimire.

He remained at Bhasa Patshala for about three years, until one fine day, without telling anyone at home, he left for Katmandu. In the capital he became acquainted with students at the Sanskrit Patshala, where he initially remained.

So began Ghimire's student life in Katmandu, and within six months he ranked second among 150 to 200 students. He was accordingly thereafter considered as highly intelligent.

Although his studies took much of his time, 18-year-old Ghimire set aside time to work on his poetry. For five years he continuously wrote poems and published them.

He gradually acquired an enviable reputation among his teachers and classmates.

Then the turning point came: one day, his friend took him to the Nepali Bhasa Prakashini Samiti and introduced him to Bal Krishna Sama and Krishna Shumshere.

A vacancy for a writer was available on their committee, and they selected him. From 1944 he worked and wrote for the committee.

About this time he met regularly with Devkota, Gopal Prasad Rimal, Kedar Man Byathit, and Siddhicharan Shrestha on the committee, sharing and commenting on each other's work. This environment was congenial to their growth as poets and writers.

Ghimire's writing career developed gradually, and in 1947 he participated in a poetry competition for the national flag of Nepal. Besides winning the competition, his reputation as an excellent poet spread.

Then the devil started playing fast and loose with his life, with everything going helter-skelter. His first wife, Gauri, whom he loved very much, passed away, and he was terribly devastated by her untimely demise.

Unable to get her out of his memory, she became the subject of his versifying. His poetry collection in journal form, "Gauri," was received very well and became enormously popular with the public, being one of the best-loved works of literature in contemporary Nepal.

For works of such high order he has received the Distinguished Academy Medal, Shree Prasiddha Praval Gorkha Dakshinabahu, Bhanubhakta Award, and Tribhuwan Pragya Puraskar, among others.

In recent years he was also accorded the honorific "The National Poet of Nepal" by the Government of Nepal for his outstanding contribution to Nepalese literature.

His major literary achievements and contributions are "Gauri," "Malati Mangale," "Himal Pari Himal Wari," and "Shakuntala," to name only a few.
Source: www.spinybabbler.org
©2005 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Bhuwan Thapaliya

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