The Nepali language belongs to the Indo-Aryan subgroup of the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages and is classified under the Pahari subdivision. Nepali is a language spoken by around 17 million people, mostly in Nepal and the outlying areas of India. In Myanmar, Brunei, and Bhutan, there are numerous small language communities. The language is also popularly known as Khaskura, Gorkhali, Gurkha, or Gurkhali.
The language used by the historic Khasha people is the ancestor of current Nepali. Sanskrit legal, scholarly, and literary works including the Manu-smriti, Kalhana's Rajatarangini, and the Puranas all contain the word "khasha." The Khashas governed a vast area that included parts of what is now the Indian states of Garhwal and Kumaon, western Nepal and southern Tibet. A copperplate inscription discovered in Bodh Gaya bears the name "emperor of the Khashas" Ashoka Challa. His descendants inscribed numerous copperplates in archaic Nepali. The Khasha kingdom broke up into smaller principalities as a result of the pressure from the migrants and the growing ambition of the local authorities. In addition to a body of written literary texts that has grown over the last 250 years, Nepali also has a significant oral literature tradition. Sanskrit has a strong impact on the lexicon and writing style of written Nepali, which is transcribed in the Devanagari script.
The glorious history of Nepali Literature
The corpus of writings in Nepal's native language is known as Nepali literature. There were texts in Sanskrit, Newari, and Nepali before the Gurkha (Gorkha) occupation of Nepal. These writings included religious literature, chronicles, gift-deeds, and much more. With the probable exception of the diaries of the Gurkha ruler Prithvi Narayan Shah, the literature that is currently available in Nepali is more historically significant than literary. Only in the 19th century did literary writing in the Nepali language begin.
Most Nepali poets initially wrote in a language that was greatly influenced by traditional Sanskrit subjects. Poetic meters emerged later. These new poets were inspired by the topics from the Hindu epics Ramayana and Bhagavata-Purana. They were followed in the middle of the century by Bhanubhakta, whose Nepali translation of the Ramayana gained widespread acclaim for its use of a colloquial linguistic style, its earnestness regarding religion, and its accurate representations of the natural world. Early in the 20th century, poet Lekhnath Paudyal also gravitated toward the informal and included popular song rhythms in several of his poetry. Balkrishna Sama, who composed lyric poems and plays with English and Sanskrit influences, and a few short tales, is credited for ushering in contemporary writing in Nepal in the late 1920s and 1930s. Sama and his famous contemporaries Laksmiprasad Devkota, a poet who wrote in Sanskrit, abandoned the earlier literary heritage that was predominately in that language in favor of Western literary genres such narrative poetry, tragic plays, and short story collections. These poets addressed issues of oppression, authoritarianism, and misery that Nepal suffered from as well as subjects of compassion and nationalism in their poetry. Sama was the prominent figure of modern Nepali drama, which was influenced by Western playwrights, specifically Henrik Ibsen, in how it represented modern societal challenges. The Nepali short story also addressed current societal problems in Nepal and the need for reform in the hands of authors like Visvesvaraprassd Koirala and Bhavani Bhiksu. The Nepali language also has a rich collection of folk literature which are mainly read by children.
Q1. Which is the first Nepali novel ever written?
Girish Ballabh Joshi’s Bir Charitra composed in 1903 is popularly known as the first Nepali novel.
Q2. Who is considered the Father of Nepali Literature?
Translator, Poet and Author, Bhanubhakta Acharya is well-known as the Father of Nepali Literature.
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