Interviewing someone per se is a Herculean task, as it has to trace out one’s visceral realities and has to simultaneously explore the inner feelings and emotions of the interviewee.
Writer Shree Om Shrestha “Rodan” has now come up with his book “Prasangabash,” aiming to give new information about some acclaimed Nepali personalities.
With this anthology of interviews, taken with dozens of established literary figures at different times, Shrestha has made efforts to seek out in-depth information from various writers.
Almost all the interviews have been published since Rodan has been associated with the literary journal “Madhupark.
” This anthology is remarkable as it dissects the private shelves of those iconic Nepali writers in various genres.
Each interview begins with a brief biography of the interviewee, generally a few paragraphs long. Prasangabash contains 81 such literary figures who have contributed so much to the welfare of Nepali art, literature, and culture.
At the time of the interviewing, Rodan skillfully uses his homework on all those writers.
This collection begins with Ali Miya, one of the folk poets who can spontaneously speak in the language of poetry.
Although it is not in a question-answer format, it has explored myriads of concealed facts regarding the life of Ali Miya of Pokhara, known also for his rich repertory of folk songs.
The incorporation of Darjeeling-born prolific writer Prakash Kobid is quite another appreciable task as Kobid has played a crucial role in accelerating the flow of viscous Nepali fiction-writing trend.
Similarly, Rodan has integrated culture critic Satya Mohan Joshi whose stand is as high as Mt Everest in Nepali literature.
Poet laureate Dharma Raj Thapa − who has contributed immensely to Nepali literature − is the next icon being included in this book.
Moreover, this book contains impressively collected interviews that essentially provides new cognizance to boost Nepali literature and art.
Rodan’s interviewing style generally includes informal or conversational methods. He has interviewed not only prose writers but also lyricists, artists, and culture critics.
The particular interview with Lain Singh Bangdel is startlingly worth reading.
Undoubtedly, Bangdel is one of the highly acclaimed figures who had a dynamic personality, introduced Nepal to the international sphere by means of art and literature.
Readers come to know that he was the first Nepali painter to have exhibited his works in Paris and London, as revealed by the interview.
Rodan has also interviewed Michael Hutt who has recently published a biography of Bhupi Sherchan from Oxford University Press.
He is the first British citizen receiving his doctorate in Nepali literature.
Hutt emphasizes translation of Nepali literature to make it available to international readers.
A keen follower and enthusiast of Nepali literature, Hutt has translated dozens of Nepali works by Parijat, Bhupi Sherchan, Banira Giri, Lila Bahadur Chhetri of northeast India, and others.
Another litterateur to have found a berth in the book is Dehradun-born Bhim Darshan Roka, a contemporary of Shankar Lamichhane, Bhupi Sherchan, Tulasi Dhungel, Uttam Nepali, Amber Gurung and other creative Nepalis.
It was Roka who introduced the “ruwaia” (Rubaiyat) style in Nepali muktak – poems in four lines.
The interviews collected in this anthology offer an important view to consolidate our critical literary faculties.
Interviews with culturist Subi Shah, novelist Dhanus Chandra Gautam and Newar writer Dhuswa Sayami are of particularly well-rounded variety, focusing slightly less on craft.
For a contemporary Nepali literary journal like Madhupark, Rodan has interviewed a fair number of national writers.
In addition, Prasangabash also provides instant access to the most engaging dialogues this book has generated, and one cannot finish it without hoping for the release of volume two very soon.
The interview with Kamal Mani Dixit traces the historical timeline of Madan Puraskar.
Likewise, three pages have been written about the physical impairment of Jhamak Kumari, who has written a couple of books.
This anthology divulges the fact that she wrote them not with her hands but with foot.
Diamond Shamsher Rana, a gem in Nepali literary firmament, shared how he has been making his living largely on the royalties generated from his well-received novel “Seto Bagh” (White Tiger) which was also submitted for the Nobel Prize, as recommended by PEN-International Nepal.
The interviewer has not only scrutinized the shaded portions of writers’ lives but also has pinpointed the problems faced by them in course of writing.
From poet Manjul, Rodan informs us about the deteriorating plight of Nepali travel writing. Dha. Cha. Gotame, some of whose works can be found similar to Manjul’s, shares similar views on the subject.
Manuj Babu Mishra asserts that some writers have received superfluous adulation. The conversation with Bhawani Ghimire centers on the increment of Nepali readership.
Bal Krishna Pokharel expertly defends the simplicity of rhetoric used in Nepali literature.
In another interview, theatre person Prachanda Malla, interviewed by Rodan twelve years ago, sounds quite melancholic about the then plight of Nepali stage.
Similarly, the interview with Ninu Chapagain revolves around the subject matter of post-modernism, where he seems to be downplaying the Leela Lekhan, the new literary trend begun by Indra Bahadur Rai of the previous Tesro Ayam movement.
To balance out, Rai’s own response in an interview would have provided a dynamic dialogue to this assertion, which, sadly, is missing in this collection.
Dev Kumari Thapa of Biratnagar, and one of the female writers in Nepali, emphasizes creative writing while another acclaimed female writer Geeta Kesari’s concern is about the “season of novel” who sounds the view of Mary Wollstonecraft pertaining to the query about a very few female writers in Nepali literature.
While reading most of the interviews, the reader gets transported to the interviewing plot itself.
However, out of the 81 creative figures, Rodan fails to include a wide range of female writers who have contributed immensely to Nepali literature.
In any case, even though the selection of interviewees seems to be imbalanced, this anthology has made efforts to unravel the virtual parts of the writers’ lives.
Therefore, this volume projects an iconographical flavor to the corpus of contemporary Nepali books.
Published on 2011-02-04 16:26:17 on myrepublica.com