Laxmi Prasad Devkota got enchanted by his visit to Sikkim

Laxmi Prasad Devkota (12th November1909 – September 14th 1959), was an eminent Nepali poet. He is arguably the best writer in the Nepali Language. Devkota was the third son of Pandit Tila Madhav and Amar Rajya Laxmi Devi. He was born at Thatunati (now Dhobidhara), Kathmandu on the day Laxmi Puja, the Festival of Lights, which is a celebration of Wisdom and Wealth. He showed poetic genius from a very tender age by Starting poetic career at the age of 10 with the writing of his first poem: -

“Ghanghor Dukhasagar Sansar Jaana Bhai, Nagarey Ghamanda Kahiley Marnu Cha Hamilai”.

Which reads like...

“Brother, this world's a great sea of tribulations.

We all have to die. Be not arrogant."

He is regarded as the propounding father of romanticism in the Nepali literature. Devkota was deeply influenced by the writings of William Wordsworth, P.B. Shelley, Byron and John Keats. He is the pioneer of modernity or modernism in Nepali literature, especially in essays and poetry, and he is also regarded as 'Anshu Kavi'(spontaneous poet). He could write poems in a spontaneous manner and even while signing  autographs for his fans, he used to write a poem before putting his signature. His poetry depicts the romantic characteristics like humanism, metaphysical relationships, aesthetic values, past glories, praise of nature etc. Apart from romantic writings, he wrote some potent revolutionary poems possibly under the impact of P.B.Shelley.

Devkota is also credited with the innovations of native Nepali vocabulary. He not only had a deep vision of literature, but  was also well versed in theology, philosophy, history and in all inter-disciplinary genres. Devkota is the first Nepali epic writer showing individuality in Nepali literature and the first ever epic of Nepali language is his Sakuntal. In connection with his 'Sakuntal,' his views were immensely critical. He said   –“To date  an epic in Nepali literature before the publication of Sakuntal is utterly resembling to the task of finding a snake in the ice land”.

The  masterpiece which renders him the loftiest position in Nepali Literature is his 'Muna-Madan'  in which he tried to portray the deplorable economic condition of Nepal in the most celebrated characters of two youths  Muna- a Nepali village girl and Madan- a Nepali peasant. The short epic can be compared to 'Romeo and Juliet' of William Shakespeare in the context of love and emotion . 'Muna-Madan' is written in Jhyaurey prosody, the typical Nepali folk lore. This work of Devkota has been translated into several languages like German, French, English, Russian, Hindi, Japanese, Chinese etc. and it has gained same popularity as it gained in the Nepali literary world.

He was indeed a genius who contributed towards the Nepali literature with many of unforgettable creations  like Pramithas, Maharana Pratap etc. Devkota has written in every genre of literature like poems, stories, and essays. A poet who could write a poem instantly, a charming orator, Devkota really was  a glorious wonder and the conferring upon him with the title 'Electric Poet' by the Nepali poet of Darjeeling Lt. Paras Mani Pradhan is, in real  terms, a great tribute to the diceased poet.

He had once served as an Education Minister in the Nepal’s Royal Cabinet headed by K Y Singh under His Majesty King Tribhuwan Bir Vikram Sahadev. Apart from this, Devkota contributed with his alluring writings in the various fields of Nepali literature like essays, novels, epics, dramas, and criticism etc. But, he could not publish all these  in his life time due to his poor economic condition. Recently, his new short epic has been published and is named as “Mayabini Sarshi”. This great poet of Nepali literature breathed his last on September 14th 1959 at 6:10 P.M (Nepal Time) due to cancer.

This glorious Nepali poet had once visited Sikkim. He was invited here by the APATAN Sahitya Parishad in November 1952. The Apatan Sahitya Parishad is the pioneer literary association of Sikkim founded by four eminent Sikkimese Nepali poets namely Agam Singh Tamang, Padam Singh Subba, Tulshi Bahadur Chettri and Nima Wangdi Lepcha. This Association has contributed a lot for the propagation of literary ideas among the Sikkimese society. He was felicitated at White Hall, Gangtok where Lt. Kashi Raj Pradhan made an introductory speech about Devkota and Padam Singh Subba read the Letter of Appreciation, which was presented to him. The then Sikkim Maharaja Tashi Namgyal roared  in laughter when Devkota recited an English poem in Vedic prosody.

An impressive programme was organized by the APATAN Parishad to felicitate the visiting literary personality. The then Chogyal of Sikkim, Sir Tashi Namgyal was the Chief Guest of the occasion. On this occasion, dramas like Satya Harish Chandra, Taramati and Mukunda Indira were staged.  His Majesty, the Maharaja of Sikkim Sir Tashi Namgyal was splendidly hailed by Mahakavi Lakshmi Prasad Devkota in a poem which reads like the following:

Hail! Glorious ruler of this mount in state,

Sikkim, the paradise of peaceful peaceful hills,

This lively sweet abode of angels, great,

Great in thy name. Thy well known bounty fills

With plenty of thy kingdom. Stainless soul,

Deeply devoted to the God that thrills

Thy inmost depth, thou findest him all whole

Thy own angelic subjects in their wills

Amassed forever in love to their great good

Selflessly hast thou lived, the Buddha life

In thy keen veins where human love must brood

And multiply, rich and intense to thrive

Thy teeming millions to whom a holy shire

Thou dost with sense of human sacrifice aye in spire.

Gangtok, 19th of November 1952

Sd/- Lakshmi Prasad Devkota