In Indian Nepal language and literature do not need any further introduction. It is now spoken by about ten million people throughout every length and breadth of Indian territory spread over to north, east, west and south India. Every year a good corpus of Nepali books of different genres, other than the publications of Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi and National Book Trust of India, apart from Nepali journals and periodicals are being published from these parts of India. What we lack is Nepali writers writing in English or we lack sufficient writers interested in translation and transcreation of source books is in other major Indian languages. Adequate transcreation of source books is in other major Indian languages. Adequate translation projects from the source languages to major Indian languages or to English are being undertaken by Sahitya Akademi, through which Indian Nepali language and literature will keep its pace with other Indian language in the years to come.
Before I started writing of a monograph on the life and works of Sant Jnandildas and his contribution towards the development of Indian Nepali language and literature in its modern frame, I was, to some extent, discouraged by some Nepali writers of both India and Nepal. The more these people became vocal against Sant Jnandildas the more I was attracted towards this new John of Arc of Nepali horizon. I, however, let these people down and consequently began to study about him and his works from the books and journals whatsoever available in the libraries both from Darjeeling and Kathmandu, simply not because that some of the illustrious Nepali writers both from Nepal and India are against Sant Jnandil, questioning his nationality. But the travesty of the truth lies elsewhere. The predicament with which nationality Jnandildas to undergo tremendously is to which nationality Jnandildas belonged. Nepal being his motherland where he was born and brought up, is no doubt, his first home and Indian where he grew old, devoted his life as a 'Karmayogi' and died as 'perfect seer' or 'siddha purush' is his second home or we may call his 'Karmabhumi'. At Darjeeling which was hi second home and where Jnandil composed his magnum-opus Udaya-Lahari in full in a popular Nepali folk metre, SAWAI, he has indeed sown the seed of rebellion in the minds of the indigenous hill tribes against the spiritual and religious exploitations inflicted by the Western Missionaries. This very spirit of his cultural and spiritual rebellion-sown in the minds of these hill tribes of Darjeeling under British rule at later stage led to political regeneration of these people against the mighty British Imperialism. This very spirit of Indianness inherited by Jnandil deserve no criticisms. Moreover, swayed by the emotional appeal of his Joshmani Panth, a new occulticism in traditional Hindu Philosophy people from al walks of life right from ascetics, householders, working and peasant class and royalty without any distinction of caste, creed and sex came under its influence which has its phenomenal growth during the lifetime of Sant Jnandildas in large parts of North-east India till today. Since Bhanubhakta Acharya, a strong proponent of another school of devotional poetry in Nepali language and literature, is regarded as our national poet of high excellence in India whose portrait has its place in the assembly Hall of west Bengal and on whose birth anniversary which generally falls on 13th July every year, an official holiday has the sanction of different State Governments of India like west Bengal, Sikkim, Assam and Meghalaya. Sant Jnandildas is equally held in high esteem as a Saint-poet of extra-ordinary brilliance in large parts of India. As the elites of Nepal out of sheer disgust and hatred have since been rejecting Jnandil's contributions towards the growth and development of Nepali language and literature as a whole, the Nepali-speaking people of India regards him in high esteem who exerted great influence on the social life, language and literature of Indian Nepalese. The greatness of his personalities and his contribution in shaping the Nepali language and literature to its distinct modern Indian imprint can essentially be compared with Bhanubhakta Acharya only. While we do not dare to question the nationality of Bhanubhakta, so also Jnandil's nationality is above political and geographical boundaries. The contribution of Jnandildas towards the religious tolerance, propagation of equality and fraternity, implicit social reforms and depth of his poetry is no less insignificant from that of Bhanubhakta Acharya. I greatly acknowledge my thankfulness to Sri G. S. Rai, ex-Headmaster of Samsing High School, Matelli, Dooars whose valuable suggestions on rendering the Udaya-Lahari and other poems to the target language with some additions and corrections can never be ignored. I ma be failing in my duty, however, if I do not owe my gratitude to Prof. (Dr.) Gokul Sinha, ex-Reader of Siliguri College, Siliguri, Darjeeling who has minutely gone through my entire typescripts and extended all help in polishing my language here and there in the manuscript. My thanks are also due to Prof. Indrabahadur Rai, Dr. Kumar Pradhan and Sri R. P. Lama. Finally, my enduring indebtedness infact goes to wife Sudha, sons Parker and Navin, and daughter Mona who silently and patiently bore my frequent outbursts and occasional obsession during the writing of this monograph.
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Though born in a Nepali Brahmin family in 1921, Jnandildas was a distinguished pioneer of social reforms during the early part of the nineteenth century. He chose the path of forming the Joshmani Panth with a view to educate the common Nepalese and inculcate a sense of rebellion amongst them through hymns, adages and lyrics against the social, cultural, economic and spiritual exploitation by Nepali Brahmins. These steps gradually assumed the shape of a great religious movement in the form of the Panth and all credit for this naturally goes to Jnandildas.
Through Udaya-Lahari and other folk rhythms, within the most popular Lahari tradition of oral literature in Nepali, Jnandil's poetry had charmed millions of Nepali hearts hailing especially from eastern Nepal, Darjeeling, North East India, Dooars, Sikkim and Bhutan for centuries. Owing to the greatness of his personality and his contributions in shaping the Nepali language and literature and giving its distinct modern Indian imprint, the Indian Nepalese place him appropriately in the history of Indian Nepali language and literature.
The author of this monograph, Kitab Singh Rai, who has an M. A. in English from Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla and B. Ed. From North Bengal University, Darjeeling is a teacher since 1970 and presently works as the Head Master of a Secondary School in Dooars. He is a distinguished writer, poet and essayist both in Nepali and English. Moreover, he is regarded as an eminent educationist in Dooars, Darjeeling and Sikkim.
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