A little story of Shiddicharan Shrestha|Poet of an Era

Every since I was small, A written form of expression always took me to another world, another time. The natural scenery intermingled beautifully in writing to flesh dwelling revolutionary poems against inequality. Literature was just more than loads of paper. Indeed, it was a mirror society that allowed us to better understand the country we live in.

The formation of a Nation costs hundred years of struggle and sacrifice. Like every other country in the world, Nepal has a long history of poets who have risen up against social and political oppression. Who stood up and wrote for peace, change, rights, and revolution which still keeps Nepal literature vibrant and evergreen.

Their attempts to describe the melodiousness rural mountain dialects with the pure and true form of poems are often praised and honored by fellow Nepalese. Surprisingly, only little is known about the personal life of the man whose poems are now read and learned by every Nepali schoolchild. We come across the old scripture but never of their journey and their contribution to make this country a better place.

As Nepal has recently followed 109th Siddicharan Jayanti(Birthday). Today, I am here to a share a little story I know of युगकवि(“Poet of an Era”) Shiddicharan Shrestha.

Siddhi_charan_shrestha_1912-1992

An old man peering inquisitively in pair of cheap-wired framed spectacles is Siddhicharan Shrestha. Born and Raised around the hardest topographical area, nourished by breathtaking beauty, and snow peak of Okhaldunga Nepal. It’s was indeed a life-changing experience for him to grow there which later bestowed the historic contribution to Nepalese history.

Siddhicharan Shrestha started his poetry journey at the age of 13. His writing about beautiful rural landscapes as a source of joy made nature poetry a popular poetic genre. As, today’s contemporary mind has a hard time extending the word nature by its figure Siddhicharan Shrestha poetry intermeddles the significance and connexion of the environment in the form of poetic view of the universe. His natural flow of poetry holds an inescapable part in Nepal literature history. 

Let’s look back to one of his masterpiece poem मेरो प्यारो ओखलढुंगा!My beloved Okhaldunga. A poem pens Siddhicharan longing childhood in Okhaldhunga, Nepal

तिम्रै सुन्दर हरियालीमा
तिम्रै शीतल वक्षःस्थलमा
यो कविको शैशवकाल बित्यो,
हाँस्यो, खेल्यो, वन कुञ्ज घुम्यो
मेरो प्यारो ओखलढुंगा!

In the beauty of your verdant green,
In the coolness of your heart,
This poet spent his childhood,
laughing, playing, wandering the glades,
My beloved Okhaldunga.

Also taken as environmental poetry, Poet Siddhicharan shows an interconnection between nature and humankind, escaping greed and cruelty. An anthem poem later sung by Narayan Gopal reflects the sorrow of every Nepalese to leave their beloved country for employment and wealth in western countries.

 

Honored as “युगकवि”, “Poet of the Era”. “Yuga-Kavi” poems colored the revolutionary journey of Nepal hard-fought against 105 years ruthless Rana Regime. His revolutionary writing aroused freedom fighters, and he was sentenced to 18 years in jail for his protest line “Without a revolution, there can be no proper peace” against the government of those times. As, the nation was going from turbulent times fighting the Rana dynasty. Most of the poets whom we regard as a major figure put their country and art forward as a patriot. Nepal Literature persisted and played a significant role to necessarily invent national identity which later enabled democracy after the country ended ruthless Rana Regime.

In the course of his service to nation Siddhicharan contribution to raising social awareness, and his role as a social reformer is still highly respected by the nation. Even to honor him a highway in eastern Nepal that leads to Okhaldhunga has been named Siddhi Charan Highway. Shidhicharan is always an inspiration to many new poets and writers.

Siddicharan-highway

Every year on the 9th of Jestha,(Nepalese calendar) Siddhichran Jayanti (Birthday) is celebrated with hundreds of programs all over the country to honor his Nepali literature contribution.  Whereas, This year 109th Siddhichran Jayanti fell short due to COVID-19. His family celebrated his birth anniversary by laying wreaths at the statue of Siddhi charan at Dharmapath, New Road, Kathmandu. 

full-length-statue-of-siddhicharan-93239

Siddhicharan expression of patriotic commitment still grounds the history of our nation. His life as the martyrdom and his writing can be canonized as an example for the young generation. Our debt to the heroic man in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude.

In the process of modernization, we can observe general a shift where Nepalese have tried to absorb new sciences, writing, technology, and culture of Western origin. Writing from other nations can expand your world view and give a chance to explore commentary on foreign politics, society, and stereotypes. Whereas, we should also focus on expanding our literature writing to other nations and unify this world by literature diversity.

Hence, Future of Nepali literature remains in our hands.

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