Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Laxmi Prasad Devkota

The poet Laxmi Prasad Devkota, considered to be Nepal's greatest, is traditionally held to have been born on this date in 1909 in Kathmandu.

Born to the impoverished family of a Hindu priest, Devkota left school early to help support his family, and by the age of 25 found that by selling his poetry, he could earn a meager living. In 1934 he sold 3 poems to the Nepali journal Sharada and attracted widespread attention within the literary community. Two years later he published his first collection, Muna Madan. His poetry was a combination of traditional Sanskrit idioms and themes with currents from European Romantic poetry -- at times evidencing a desire for change in the oppressive regime in Nepal. He occasionally found his poems censored by the ruling Rana family.

Despite publishing and being awarded cultural and government positions, Devkota toiled in poverty throughout his life; his early death by cancer is thought to have resulted from receiving inadequate medical treatment.

"Dirty hands and golden plates -- what can you do with wealth? Better to eat greens and nettles with a happy heart."
-- L. Devkota, from Muna Madan.

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