Facts About Laxmi Prasad Devkota
|Full Birth Name||Lakshmi Prasad Devkota, Laxmi Devkota|
|Also known as||Maha Kavi, Poet with the Golden Heart|
|Famous For||Poetry, literature, Playwright, Scholar and Novelist|
|Profession||Poetry, literature that evokes a concentrated imaginative|
|Birthplace||12 November 1909, Dillibazar, Kathmandu|
|Death Place||14 September 1959, Kathmandu|
|Social Media||Wikipedia , Facebook|
Who is Laxmi Prasad Devkota?
Laxmi Prasad Devkota is one of the most influential people in the history of Nepalese liberal arts. He is considered the “Maha Kavi,” which translates to The Great Poet for his contribution to the designated field. Until the end of his career, he expanded his professional horizons with active participation in the field of drama writing and novel writing. People often remember the poet for his flexibility and versatility in the craft.
One look at his writings, and one can understand exactly what we have been rattling about in the previous sections. Although the guy takes credit for several dozens of papers, his masterpiece collection includes Muna Madan, Sulochana, Kunjini, Shakuntala, and Bhikhari.
Why Laxmi Prasad Devkota Called Maha Kavi in Nepal?
The title of Maha Kavi is given to only a chosen few when it comes to the topic of literature. When we dig down to the roots of our literary culture, Laxmi Prasad Devkota is the only person who fulfills the requisites. The backbone behind his superb writing ability is his bilingual range and the flexibility to switch between them without losing his sharpness.
As a matter of fact, he could write poetry in Nepali, Sanskrit, Hindi, and English in a short amount of time. He had completed his first epic Shakuntala within three months. Similarly, he wrote his other epic Sulochana in less than ten days and Kunjini in a single day. Completing a skillful piece of literature in a single day is an achievement in itself. Generally, it is not a single overwhelming achievement but a series of small feats over time that adds up to become a massive influence in one’s career heights in the long run.
Also, we have already discussed about his versatile features. His contribution range expands its horizons to essays, plays, novels, stories, criticism, and countless poems. Remember, he got adapted to these many sectors of writing while continuing his creation of epics and never compromised the quality. To this day, his essays are admired for their content and style.
The significant contribution a poet or literature-related personnel can give is inspiring the generations after him. Laxmi Prasad Devkota has set the bar or provided a threshold to the quality of Nepalese literary culture. To any person thriving for a career in liberal arts, his writings can be compared to some fundamental law that governs the path of its derivate works.
Laxmi Prasad Devkota’s Early Life, Family, Date of Birth(12th of November, 1909)
Born on the 12th of November, 1909, Laxmi Prasad Devkota opened his eyes for the first time on the day of Laxmi Pooja. So, what is unique about that particular day? Well that day, people under the Hindu religion wingspan worship the goddess of wealth Laxmi and pray for prosperity. Little did he know the surprising coincidence would significantly contribute to the nomenclature of the famous poet.
Devkota’s first and middle name means a gift “Prasad” from Laxmi. Considering the irony that his family always struggled with economic issues, we can surely say that the holy name did not serve to its full potential for the man. The future-poet was born in a Brahmin family to parents Pandit Til Madhav and Amar Rajya Laxmi Devi. They lived in the capital city of Kathmandu, Thatunati, to be precise. The place later got its name changed to Dhobidhara.
Devkota was Borns in Brahmin family, Schooling, College
Growing up in a Brahmin family means the poet had a pre-determined fate of involving informal education. As it happens, training was not so readily available to all the people at that time due to the strict law enforcement of the Rana Dynasty. Lucky for Devkota, he had a scholar father. He got most of his primary education under the custodianship of his guardian.
Poet Laxmi continued his further studies at Durbar High School, which was the only school at that time. His parents had to go through a lot of hardships to bless him with the chance to get enrolled at the institution. During this time, the poet explored subjects such as Sanskrit grammar and English. Devkota’s journey to a lifelong pursuit of poetry started from school. He wrote his first piece of a poem as a student.
As per the sources, the literature manic was a quiet student and always enjoyed reading and writing as a teenager. He excelled in his subjects and held a prestigious school career. He remained a part of the high school until his graduation at the age of seventeen. Something off-topic but an exciting fact indeed, Devkota got married at the age of fifteen. Times were surely different then!
Moving on with his studies, Devkota enrolled at Tri Chandra College in Kathmandu in 1925. There, he completed his intermediate level studies and moved to the Humanities sector for further advancement. Laxmi started studying English Poetry at this period of time. The influence of these romantic era writers can be witnessed in many of his works. He completed his course in 1929 and headed to Patna of India in pursuit of a Master’s degree in English.
In Patna, Devkota got impressed by the libraries. The infrastructure and the number of books impressed the poet. Dreaming of such facilities in their home country, the poet and his friends wrote a letter to the then-Rana Prime minister and requested for aid. They pleaded the authority to establish a library in Kathmandu but did not receive a positive response. In fact, they served some time behind bars and got released in exchange for hefty fines.
Devkota returned to Patna in 1931 for the continuation of his study. Unfortunately, the seats were unavailable, and he decided to start his Bachelors in Law instead. The book-worm eventually finished his Law study and returned home to continue his family life. Despite his vast knowledge of several subjects, Devkota always struggled with financial stability. He even went to the lengths of taking tuition classes for fourteen hours a day to supplement his income figures.
Poverty-stricken and helpless, the poet went through a tough time. He never got to fulfill his dreams of getting a Master’s degree due to financial blemishes. This was the time; the man came up with his best creation, “Muna Madan.” The work adopted the jhaurey folk tune and challenged all the Sanskrit scholars who had been dominating the Nepalese literature at that time. The book got enormous recognition from people and even from the royalties. His contribution to the craft got awarded with a purse worth Rs. 100. The amount might sound like a joke now, but a hundred rupees at that time meant a lot of money. A LOT!
With nation-wide recognition, the poet started his career uphill battle. But it seems, the mighty had different plans for his child. Devkota got grieve-struck in the mid-1930s after he lost both his parents and daughter within two years. That is heart-rending, isn’t it? The whole incident took a toll on the poet’s mental stability. Following the event, the man became a chain smoker and fell into severe depression. Worried by his degrading mental health, his brothers admitted him to a psychiatric hospital in India in 1939. His spiritual struggles during this four months counseling period gets reflected from his famous poem “Pagal” (The Lunatic).
After the whole thing settled down, a rejuvenated Devkota returned to his homeland and started working at the Nepal Bhasaanuwas Parishad, which is sort of like a Publication Censor Board now. Still scratching his claws against the money-centric society, he worked as a lecturer at Tri-Chandra College and Padma Kanya College. The only good thing that happened to Devkota during this time was his fateful meeting with another Nepali literature legend Balkrishna Sama.
Things were getting settled for the poet, but his mind was far from getting resolved. Frustrated with the running political scene, Devkota went into a self-imposed exile to India. He stayed in Vernarasi and actively participated in the revolution movement.
Devkota’s Political Experience
Throughout his lifetime, Laxmi Prasad Devkota did not work under the influence of any well-established political party. He liked to express his revolt against the then-reigning government of Ranas via his literature. Looking back at his writings, we can find his rebellious attitude reflected between the complexities of his words.
The most close he got to political influence was his job as an editor. He worked for the Nepali Congress Party newspaper called Yugvani and helped the battle against the government through his own set of skills. He conducted his works from Venarasi, a holy place in the heart of India. He continued his battle until the Rana government finally waved the white flag in 1951, and democracy stepped in the country. After the tremendous change in the country’s political system, Devkota got appointed as one of the members of Nepal Shalakar Samiti in 1952. He received the honor via King Tribhuwan. After few years of serving under the firm, Kunwar Inderjit Singh appointed the poet as Minister of Education and Autonomous Governance. This was the last honor the literature legend received.
Laxmi Prasad Devkota’s Family Life and Death
Laxmi Prasad Devkota struggled with his mental and physical health from the mid-1930s. The loss of his loved ones had wounded the man from within. Some sources even reveal that he had suggested his wife to a co-suicide during the darkest days of his life.
As it happens, he had drowned in debt while supporting the expenses of his daughter’s weddings and dowry system (a tradition that needs the groom’s family to provide ransom or other physical gifts to the bride during the marriage). These situations led to his addiction to cigarettes and finally to his cancer diagnosis.
Unable to pay for the treatment and inadequate health facilities in the country, the poet lost his long battle with cancer and died on the 14th of September, 1959. He got peacefully laid to rest at the banks of Bagmati River located near Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu, surrounded by his loved ones.
Devkota had married with Mandevi Chalise at the age of fifteen. He shares five daughters and four sons with his beloved partner. Laxmi’s son Padma walks the path of his late father and indulges in the profession of poetry and writing. He worked as an English professor for many years at Tribhuwan University.
Laxmi Prasad Devkota – The Man Who Revolutionized Nepali Literature and Known as Maha Kavi
Laxmi Prasad Devkota holds the title of “Maha Kavi” or The Great Poet in Nepal. People also like to call him names such as “The poet with the golden heart.” His contributions to the national literature are immense, and his works remain as the basis for several professionals on their careers. Living a life of poverty and getting whiplashes from lifetime and again, the tale of this literature legend is sure to motivate the ones on their struggle paths. Sure, the man passed decades ago, but his poems, essays, and stories still compel us to remember the greatness of his talent and the sharpness in his expression skills.
Devkota’s Unique Writing Skills and Famous Publishes
Laxmi Prasad Devkota has contributed a lot to the Nepali literature sphere. His innovative use of language and romance-fused writings worked as the turning point for the Sanskrit-dominated culture. Somewhere in his career, he got inspired by the Newari song (a local language in Nepal which originated from the Sino-Tibetan roots) called Ji Waya La Lachhi Maduni. The song probably struck some chords to the poet, and he wrote the most popular literature of the Nepali language known as Muna Madan.
The long narrative poem got published in 1930 and holds the title of the most-sold book in Nepalese literature to this day. The thing got more recognition after its movie adaptation and went on to grab the Oscars. This achievement tells us the impact it had on the media then and the contribution it had to skyrocket Devkota’s career. Introducing Madan as the main character, the poem is an expression of hardships in one’s journey, the sorrow of separation, the irresistible longing, and the agony of death.
Devkota just had a knack for writing meaningful and powerful pieces within a short period. He wrote Shakuntala, a voluminous work in 24 cantos, which takes inspiration from the famous Sanskrit play Abhijnanasakuntalam. It got published in 1945 and demonstrated his mastery of Sanskrit language and the clever use of words. Devkota’s translator David Rubin described Shakuntala as his greatest achievement.
List of Famous Poems and Publications Written by Laxmi Prasad Devkota
- Crazy – पागल
- Luni – लुनी
- Like Strength – बल जस्तो
- Muna Madan – मुनामदन
- Duel between Raavan and Jatayu – रावण-जटायु युद्ध
- Kunjini – कुञ्जिनी
- Prince Prabhakar – राजकुमार प्रभाकर
- Beggar – भिखारी
- Mahendu – म्हेन्दु
- Gaine’s Song – गाइने गीत
- Butterfly – Poetry Collection of Childrens (पुतली – बालकवितासंग्रह )
- Golden Morning – सुनको बिहान
- Farmer – कृषिवाला (Musical Play)
- Kidnapping of Sita – सीताहरण
- Meeting of Dushyant and Shakantula – दुष्यन्त-शकुन्तलाको भेट
In addition to this, Devkota also spread his professionalism to short lyric poems based on several traditional and non-traditional forms. Influenced by English poets Wordsworth and Coleridge, he brought out his “Bhikhari” (Beggar) poem collection. The title poem in the group described the pain and suffering of a homeless person deprived of worldly pleasures and assist from his loved ones. Some of the famous poems from the collection are “Ban”(Woods), “Kisan”(The Farmer), and “Badal”(Clouds).
Laxmi Prasad Devkota’s contribution to the essay genre is also remarkable. He is considered the father of modern Nepali essay. During his time, he helped to break the traditional way of essay writing and encouraged the involvement of feelings and clarity. Most of his works had a touch of humor and criticism of the modern influence on Nepali society. To clearly understand this, his essay “Bhaladmi” (Dignitary) and “K Nepal Sano Cha?”(Is Nepal Small?) can works as references. The latter also focuses on nationality and the sentiments associated with the feelings. All of these gems come under the single book name “Laxmi Nibhandha Sangraha.”
As it all comes down to observation, Laxmi Prasad Devkota can be considered a humanist who occasionally expressed his feelings from an atheistic point of view. Some critics have even compared his mentality to that of a Marxism-based thing and other politically leftist ideologies. One of his last poems had indications of god influence, but professionals are still skeptical about the message in that poem to this day.