Nepali literature

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A statue of Nepali writer Parijat

Nepali Literature (Nepali: नेपाली साहित्य) refers to the literature of Nepal written in the Nepali language. The Nepali language has been the national language of Nepal since 1958. The Nepali language has also been recognized as a "major Indian literary language" by the Sahitya Akademi, India's National Academy of Letters.[1]

The Nepali language evolved from Sanskrit and it is difficult to exactly date the history of Nepali literature since most early scholars wrote in Sanskrit. It is however possible to roughly divide Nepali literature into five periods.[citation needed]

Pre-Bhanubhakta Era[edit]

It is thought that Nepali literature has existed in verbal folklore for the past hundreds of years; however there exists no evidence of a written literary work before the Bhanubhakta. Before Bhanubhakta, writing was done in Sanskrit, and because it was a language accessible by high-caste Brahmins only at that time, many Nepali people were not involved in literature. A few scholars have argued that poet Suwananda Daas was the first literary figure in the history of Modern Nepal.

Bhanubhakta Era[edit]

Nepali speakers honor Bhanubhakta as the "Adikavi" (literally meaning 'first poet') of the Nepali language. Bhanubhakta's most important contribution to Nepali literature is probably his translation of the holy Ramayana into Nepali language. He wrote the Ramayana in metric form, using the same form as Sanskrit scholars. Besides translating the Ramayana, Bhanubhakta also wrote original poems on a diverse range of subjects: from advocacy of family morals to satires of bureaucracy and poor conditions of prisoners.[citation needed]

Early 20th century[edit]

Motiram Bhatta (1923–1953) revived the legacy of Bhanubhakta and publicized the contributions of the latter. Motiram played such a fundamental role in the legacy of Bhanubhakta that some allege that Bhanubhakta was just a fabrication of Motiram's mind.[citation needed]


The Pre-Revolution Era was a very prolific time for creative writing despite the lack of freedom of expression, during the period the independent magazine "Sharada" was the only printed medium available for publication of Nepali literature. Short stories by Laxmi Prasad Devkota, Guru Prasad Mainali and Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala has become recognized as of tremendous importance. It is arguably the most significant period for the development of Nepali literature.[citation needed]

Plays like the influential Muna Madan by Laxmi Prasad Devkota tells the tales of human lives: the story is about a man who leaving his wife and mother home, goes abroad in order to earn money and tragically dies while returning back. However the story also portrays the life of the wife who suffered greatly without her husband. Other stories by Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala introduced psychology into literature in his creations named "Teen Ghumti", "Doshi Chasma" and "Narendra Dai".[citation needed]

This regime produced several prominent poets like Laxmi Prasad Devkota, Gopal Prasad Rimal, Siddhicharan Shrestha, Bhim Nidhi Tiwari and Balkrishna Sama. Later Period several poets come into light during one Panchayat regime. Indra Bahadur Rai,[2] Parijat, Bhupi Sherchan, Madhav Prasad Ghimire, Bairagi Kainla, Krishna Bhakta Shrestha, Madan Regmi, Dwarika Shrestha, Mohan Koirala, Upendra Shrestha, Ishwor Ballav and Tulasi Diwas and Krishnabhushan Bal can be named in this regard.

Nepalese Civil War 1996-2006[edit]

Post-Revolution Era[edit]

There are many modern Nepali authors who have been active in writing groundbreaking, innovative Nepali literature in the era after the Democracy Revolution of 1991 and continuing into the present day, e.g. Khagendra Sangraula, Shailendra Sakar, Yuyutsu Sharma, Bimal Nibha, Nayan Raj Pandey, Narayan Wagle, Mahananda Poudyal, Toya Gurung, Durba Chandra Gautam, Roshan Thapa, Saru Bhakta, etc.

Among the younger generation poets the names of Sarada Sharma, Ramesh Kshitij, Nawa Raj Subba, Suman Pokhrel, Homraj Acharya, Netra Atom, Raj Kumar Bania, Vivash Basti, Bimal Bhoikaje, Gayatri Bist, Buddhi Sagar Chepain, R. M. Dangol, Prateek Dhakal, Padam Gautam, Jyoti Jungle, Amog Kafle, Khadga Sen Oli, Sudip Pakhrin, Ramesh Paudel, Biplov Prateek, Hom Parbag, Vyakul Pathak, Khumnarayan Poudel, Saran Rai, Vishnu Rai, Rasa, Shyam Rimal, Promod Snehi, Chunky Shrestha, Rajendra Shrestha, Prakash Silwal, Prahlas Sindulee, Lal Gopal Subedi, Bimala Tumkhewa, Tanka Uprety, and Gyanendra Vivash can be cited.

Nepali speakers are rapidly migrating around the globe and many books of Nepali literature are published from different corners of the world. Diasporic literature has developed the new ways of thinking and new branch in the Nepali literature.


  1. ^ Himalayan Voices: An Introduction to Modern Nepali Literature (Voices from Asia), edited and translated by Michael J. Hutt, University of California Press, 1991. p. 5. ISBN 9780520910263
  2. ^ Gorkhas Imagined: I.B. Rai in Translation, Eds. Prem Poddar and Anmole Prasad, Mukti Prakashan, 2009

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]