Laxmi Prasad Devkota : biography
Laxmi Prasad Devkota (Nepali: लक्ष्मीप्रसाद देवकोटा November 12, 1909 – September 14, 1959), was a Nepali poet. Devkota is considered the greatest poet of Nepali language—he has been given the title of "Maha Kavi" ("The Great Poet") of Nepali language.
Devkota was born into a Brahman family as the third son of Pandit Til Madhav and Amar Rajya Laxmi Devi. He was born in Dilli Bazar, Kathmandu on the day of Dipawali, the Festival of Lights, which is a celebration of Laxmi, the Goddess of Wealth. His name literally means a gift "Prasad" from the goddess of wealth "Laxmi". His family was never financially well-off.
Devkota studied science at Tri Chandra College in Kathmandu. After completing the intermediate level studies at Tri Chandra College, he enrolled in Humanities and that was when he began to read English poetry. In 1931, Devkota went to Patna on scholarship hoping to study English for his Master’s degree. But because seats were not available as expected, he enrolled for the Bachelor of Law degree instead. After he received the degree, he returned back home and started to live the family life. Despite taking tuition classes to supplement his earning, sometimes for fourteen hours a day, financial problems never left him.http://www.mynepal.com.np/information/historic-persons/laxmi-prasad-devkota.html
Devkota lost both of his parents and his very young daughter within a span of two years during mid 1930's. He fell into a depression and became a chain smoker. In 1939, his brothers put him into a mental hospital in Ranchi, India for five months. He makes references to his experience in the lunatic asylum in his famous free-verse poem पागल ("The Lunatic"). After he returned to Nepal, he worked as a part of Nepal Bhasanuwad Parishad, a state organization that acted as a censorship board, and also taught at Tribhuwan University. He wrote several of his epic poetry during this time. In late 40's, dissatisfied with the Rana regime, he went into a self-imposed exile in Benaras, India, where he edited Yugbani, an opposition journal.
After the autocratic Rana regime was overthrown in 1950, he returned to Nepal and helped publish Indreni, a bilingual literary journal. Although he was constantly in severe financial hardships, he was getting wide recognition as an important figure in Nepali literature. He was appointed the Minister of Education by the first democratically elected government of Nepal in 1957. However, in 1958, he was diagnosed with cancer, and a year later, he passed away.
Laxmi Prasad Devkota was primarily a humanist who occasionally wrote from an atheistic point of view too. Given this reality, some critics have tried to line him up with Marxism or other similar politically leftist ideologies. Apparently in one of his last poems to a friend, he said "Aakhir Shree Krishna rahecha eka" (" in the end, Lord Krishna happens to be the only truth"). However, there has been much intellectual skepticism about this last statement.
Devkota contributed to Nepali literature by bringing the Sanskrit tradition to its end and by starting modern romantic movement in the country. Devkota was the first to begin writing epics in Nepali literature. Nepali poetry soared to new heights with Devkota's groundbreaking and innovative use of language. Departing from the Sanskrit tradition that dominated Nepali literary scene, he wrote Muna Madan (1930), a long narrative poem in popular "jyaure" folk meter. The book received immediate recognition from the Ranas who ruled Nepal at that time. It tells the story of Madan who departs from his wife Muna to Tibet to make money. The poem deals with the themes of the hardships of journey away from home, grief of separation, longing and death. The following couplet which are among the most famous and most frequently quoted lines from the poem celebrates the triumph of humanity and compassion over any artificial hierarchies created by culture:
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