Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala : biography
Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala () (1914–1982) was the Prime Minister of Nepal from 1959 to 1960. He led the Nepali Congress, a social democratic political party.
Koirala was the first democratically elected Prime Minister in Nepal’s history. He held the office just 18 months before being deposed and imprisoned by order of King Mahendra. The rest of his life was spent largely in prison or exile and in steadily deteriorating health.
While Koirala is considered one of the most charismatic political leader of Nepal, he was also one of the most well-read and thoughtful writers of Nepalese literature. He wrote short stories and novels, and some poems. Koirala began writing short stories in Hindi. His first stories were published in Banaras in Hansa, a Hindi literary magazine edited by Prem Chand (India’s Tolstoy). His first Nepali short story "Chandrabadan" was published in Sharada (a Nepali literary magazine) in 1935. Koirala was very good at depicting the character and mind of women. Four other stories of Koirala were included in Katha Kusum (an anthology of Nepali stories), published in 1938 in Darjeeling. As a social realist, with good psychological insight, Koirala had established himself as one of the most important Nepali short story writers by 1938. Doshi Chashma [Guilty Glasses], Koirala’s anthology of sixteen short stories, was published in 1949.
Koirala was very busy in the 1950s as he was in the center of Nepal’s national politics. He was, however, able to write an incomplete novel Hitlar ra Yahudi (Hitler and the Jews) in the form of travelogue. The 1960s were very productive for Koirala in terms of his literary output. He wrote many novels and short stories in jail during 1960–68. They include: Tin Ghumti (Three Turns), 1968; Narendra Dai (Brother Narendra), 1969; Sumnima (A story of the first Kirata woman), 1969; Modiain (The Grocer’s Wife), 1980; Shweta Bhairavi (The White Goddess of Terror), 1983; Babu Ama ra chora (Father, mother and sons), 1989; and an incomplete autobiography Mero Katha (My Story), 1983, and many more yet to be published.
Koirala also has dozens of political essays including the following: "Rajatantra ra Lokatantra" ("Monarchy and Democracy"), 1960; "Thichieka Janata Jagisake" ("The Oppressed People Rise"), 1969; "Rastriyata Nepalko Sandarbhama" ("Nationalism in the Context of Nepal"), 1970; "Kranti: Ek Anivaryata" ("Revolution: An Absolute Necessity"), 1970; "Panchayati Vyavastha Prajatantrik Chaina" ("The Panchayat System is not Democratic"), 1978; "Prajatantra ra Samajvad" ("Democracy and Socialism"), 1979; and "Rastriya Ekata ko Nimti Ahwan" ("A Call for National Reconciliation"), 1980.
Koirala’s writings (both political and literary) were banned until recently. Nepalese youths spent several years of imprisonment just on the charges of possessing Koirala’s writings. Another problem is that his rare and important writings have been scattered all over. Old newspapers and magazines (including the underground publications) have to be researched. Libraries, museums, and archives in Kathmandu, Banaras, Calcutta, New Delhi, London, Paris, Berkeley, Stanford, and many other places have to be visited to collect the materials on Koirala. As a result, one can hope to produce volumes of his political writings and literary works.
Koirala was the focus of Nepalese politics during the 1950s, 1960s, and the 1970s. Even today, long after his death, people of Nepal feel that the restoration of multi-party democracy is a tribute to him. Koirala was also one of the most important literary figures of Nepal. In politics Koirala was a social democrat; in literature he was an existentialist especially in his novel Tin Ghumti (Three Turns). He said that he wrote his literary works to satisfy his anarchist impulses, impulses which revolted against the traditional order of things. But as a social democrat he was in search of a political order that was agreeable to every citizen of Nepal.