Bhim Nidhi Tiwari is one of the legendary literary icons of Nepal. His contribution in the field of Nepali literature is so great that he would always remain in the heart of millions of Nepali speaking population both at home and abroad. There are more than three dozen books to his credit—a feat only a few Nepali writers have achieved.
Bhim Nidhi Tiwari was born to Lalnidhi Tiwari and Nada Kumari Tiwari in Dilli Bazar, Kathmandu in 1911 AD. The Tiwari family belonged to middle class and his childhood period was blissful until he lost his mother. His mother Nanda Kumari Tiwari died when Bhim Nidhi was just a seven years old. The death of loving mother brought about both physical difficulty and mental shock to young Tiwari.
The death of mother shocked him and the scene he saw in the ghat—the funeral site—kept on haunting him throughout his life. In the middle of the night, seven-year Tiwari was taken to the bank of river, where the body of his mother was laying. He gave dagbatti to his mother by lighting the funeral pyre on which the body was laying. He bade last farewell to his beloved mother and watched mother’s body burn into ashes. His head was shaved. Later he wrote a poem called ‘Dhagbatti’ recounting this scene and his feelings about his mother’s death. His inner poet came out to express this grief and ultimately made him a great poet and writer of Nepal. The other grief and sorrow befell upon him before he reached adulthood. At the age of 27, he lost his father as well. The death of father placed all burden of the entire family upon him.
He could not regularly attend the school due to early death of his mother. He was self-studied person. Although he completed intermediate level in liberal arts, he did it quite late during his adulthood. It is said that he appeared in the examinations for the intermediate level along with his daughter. He had started writing quite earlier and he had to study his own works when he appeared in the intermediate level examinations of Tribhuvan University.
He was of the view that a person had to learn different things that comes across him/her. He believed that being a human being, one must be self-reliant and one has to do all works that a person needs. So, he used to do all personal works and also would participate in the household chorus. Cooperation, love and compassion towards the fellow human being are his motto. Thus, he had sympathy and support for the less advantageous people in the society. Creation was in his mind. He loved and appreciated creative works. Apart from writing, he learnt music, fine art and other vocations. He was also interested in gardening and philanthropic works. He got inspiration and encouragement in these vocations and activities from his father. But his main concentration was in writing. Thus, he soon rose as a celebrated writer in all genres of literature in Nepal.
As the responsibility to support the family came upon his shoulders, he joined the government job and worked as a government employee in various offices for 32 years. He worked as a junior officer in the Ministry of Education and was later promoted to under secretary. Despite being a public servant, he continued to write and his major works came out during the period of his service as a civil servant. Later, he established a press called ‘Nepal Sahitya Press’ which was a major turning point in his literary career. Similarly, he established ‘Nepal Natak Sangh ( Nepal Drama Society) in 1949 with the objective of promoting Nepali dramas and Nepali literature. It is through this organization (Drama Society) he promoted dramas by staging many Nepali plays on various occasions and in various places. As he established the Drama Society, he had to write plays to perform on the stage, which made him a dramatist. If he had not established the Drama Society, Bhim Nidhi Tiwari, perhaps, would have concentrated more on poems and other branches of literature.
Tiwari witnessed two eras during his life time. He saw Rana period when the law of the rulers was in vogue. Individual freedom including the freedom of expression had been restricted. As a writer, he wanted to express freely and live a life of free thinker. But that was not possible during the Rana rule. The writer had to focus more on historical, religious and metaphysical themes because social, political and cultural themes could invite wraths from the Rana rulers. One has to either eulogize the Ranas or simply skip social and political themes. If one had to write on social themes, the writer had to take extra caution so that there would not be even a slightest negative remark on the then political structure, system and ruling clans. Bhim Nidhi Tiwari, therefore, chose the theme of historical, religious and metaphysical theme in his early works—be it poems, stories, essays or dramas. When he got more mature in writing and thinking, he started writing on social themes.
Tiwari was a free thinker and his works have reflected his philosophy as a thinker. Freedom of expression and free thinking were what Tiwari had believed and it always stirred his mind. He wanted to express his thoughts openly and clearly and he chose the literary way to express his thoughts in public. He wrote being inspired from natural surroundings, social incidents and culture. As he was moved by natural setting, he wrote in a naturalist and romantic style. The social incidents and happenings and cultural aberrations made him more sensitive and sentimental in writing. These feelings made him existentialist, humanist and an advocate of social changes and reforms.
Tiwari began his writing career with poems and his first poem is Suryaghat. He has written gazals, poems in meter (rhyme) and verse poetry. According to critic Ghataraj Bhattarai, Bhim Nidhi Tiwari was inspired by Laxmi Dutta Panta to write gazals, whereas his metrical poems were inspired by tradition and his senior poets. Until his age, the verse poetry had not been popular and many poets chose to write in rhyme borrowing the tradition of Sanskrit poems. But Bhim Nidhi found it easier to express inner feelings freely and openly in verses. In verses, he did not have to be bound by the metrical rule. He, therefore, composed them for freedom of expression.
Tiwari has written poems both in verse and non verse, essays, fictions and plays. He is a versatile poet. He has written tragic, educative, reformative, suggestive, radical, and revolutionary poems. He could write poems on any subject in a spontaneous manner. There was no particular time for Tiwari to write a poem. He could write any time when the poet within him tells to write. Tiwari once said to Ghataraj Bhattarai, " I have a poet within myself but cannot tell where it is. I also cannot say where, when and how it tells me to write poems. It orders me even in midnight when I am in a sound sleep and I woke up which I have to obey and have been obeying". . As he wrote prose poems in the latter part of his life, the prose poems are more mature. We find a blend of romanticism, idealism, nature praise, humanism, existentialism, satire and revolution in his poem. In other words, Bhim Nidhi Tiwari as a poet is all in one and one in all.
Tiwari looks more powerful in plays. His plays are so powerful and strong that they have really stirred the mind and sentiment of the readers. His plays have varied themes. But those plays which have been written on social and historical themes are more popular and stronger. "Sahanshila Shusila" is the best example of social drama that has been written on the contemporary social setting which tells the social tradition and cultural practices of the contemporary society. Among the historical plays, "Silanyas", "Chautara Laxmi Narayana" and " Mato Ko Maya" are brilliant which portray the historical development of Nepal. "Silanyas" has vividly and authentically presented the social setting and political and social scenario before Nepal was created.
His era marks a break from the past. The traditional play writing was based on idealism, which did not reflect what society was but preached what society should be like. But Tiwari broke this tradition and set a new standard and introduced a new approach in literary writing. He has described what was happening in the society and how people had exactly felt. The style and approach of addressing the societal issues and originality are major aspects that have made him distinct in the Nepal literary spectrum. His plays reflect high artistic values and literary intellect.
As a multi-dimensional and versatile literary figure, Tiwari is also a fiction writer. He has written many short stories and published more than three dozen books consisting of his stories. Like in dramas, the social and contemporary issues are the main themes of his stories. His place in this branch of literature is also unique and important because of his own quality. He has simple and lucid language which is the lingua franca of common people. As a novelist, he has also earned reputation of a champion of social cause. Although Tiwari has contributed to all branches of literature, his mastery is in the drama field. Balkrishna Sama is the master playwright of Nepal but Bhim Nidhi Tiwari’s role and contribution is equally significant. In terms of craft of language and use of imageries, Sama has, indeed, earned highest place in Nepali drama but Tiwari is equally respected for his choice of theme of common people and historical incidents.
(Source: The Rising Nepal)