Monday, May 3, 2010

Parijat was born in 1937 at the hill station of Darjeeling, India, a place known for its tea gardens. Because her mother Amrita Moktan died early, she was raised by her father Dr. K.S. Lama, who was a psychologist, and her grandparents.
The birthplace of Parijat, Darjeeling, was a major center of Nepali language, culture, and literature during her growing up. Darjeeling, which was once part of Nepal and was annexed into British India after Nepal lost a bitterly fought war with then expanding British Empire and ended with Sugauli Treaty of 1816 AD, remains inhabited by Nepali people and never lost its character as a major center of Nepali language, culture, and literature. Sharing a close relationship with Nepal, Darjeeling has played an influential role in the development of the country's literature. Therefore, Parijat was intricately connected to Nepal and Nepalese literature from her early childhood. Having had a keen interest in literature from her childhood, she was destined to play an important and well-appreciated role in strengthening Nepalese literature.

Parijat completed part of her schooling in Darjeeling and came to the Kathmandu in 1954. She completed her latter years of schooling at Padma Kanya School and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. Suffering early on from physical ailments, at 26 she became paralyzed and was supported for much of her life by her sister.

Her first novel ‘Shirish Ko Phool’ ushered Nepali novel writing into the realms of philosophical light by breaking the shackles of social and psychological subjectivism which were in vogue. Parijat received ‘Madan Puraskar’ in 1992 for this particular novel. She acclaimed international fame which is evident from the fact that her novel has been tranlated into Engliash as ‘Blue Mimosa’ and is included in the curriculum of Meriland University in United States of America.
Indeed, this is a great honour for a Nepali writer and speaks volumes for Parijat’s craftmanship and genius as a writer. In this context, Margaret Sandoz, a Professor of the University had mentioned in a letter to Parijat, “The entry of the book written by a woman in the curriculum for world literature is an important event for me, for my department and the students. We shall be building a history of that.” (The Legend of Literature. A Biography of Parijat by Narendra Raj Prasai).
Parijat was greatly influenced by men of letters like Jean Paul Sartre, Albert Camus and Frank Kafka, who viewed the human being as an isolated existent cast into an alien universe to conceive the universe as possessing no inherent truth, value or meaning and to represent human life in its fruitless search for purpose and meaning, as it moves from nothingness it ends to an existence whcih is both anguished and absurd. As Albert Camus said in ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’, “In a universe that is suddenly deprived of illusions and of light, man feels a stranger. His is an immediate exile…”
In ‘Shirish ko Phool’, Suyogvir too finds life and love to be meaningless. Being conscious of his old age and his own poast, he experiences a kind of despair and suffocation which remains like a shadow throughut the novel, following him everywhere he goes and in whatever he does. His love for Sakambari remains unrequitted which makes him contemplate life as a failure and love as nothing but a source of anguish and frustration. Suyogvir feels a sort of vaccum prevailing in his conscience and this leads to his negation of life from its values and meaningfulness.

“प्रेम नहुँदा पनि मेरो निम्ती निस्सर नै थियो र् अब भएपछी पनि निस्सर | के मुल्य मेरो? के मुल्य मेरो प्रेमको”

In fact, Suyogvir seeks to search the meaning and value of his life in love. Similarly, a note of alienation finds an echoing tone in the novel. This sense of isolation and alienation leads to an alley of absurdity of human precarious existing condition and state,

“हामी एक – अर्कामा स्पस्थ सकेनऊु कहिले सक्तैनओ पनि”

In Samuel Bekett’s ‘Waiting for Godot’ life and death both are absurd. He shows that death cannot wipe out the problem of ‘our being born’. Ironically enough, Suyogvir in the novel finds meaning and value of life in death. Though one is born unwillingly and dies unwillingly but in between life and death and an individual seeks to assert his sense of being, for that matter, his existence.

“हामीले सवस फेर्नेको निमित जियुनु पर्छ | जडाका किर जस्ता मनिषहरु हामी, हामीले हाम्रो अस्तित्व जहाँ पनि कायम राख्नु जियुनु पर्छ |”

In ‘Waiting for Godot’, we find a similar tone when Estragon, one of the character in the play says, “we always find something… to give the expression we exists.”
In her novel Parijat portrays absurd nature of love betwen Sakambari and Suyogvir (Suyogvir’s Kiss which is means of expression of his love proves ‘fatal kiss’ for Sakambari’s life), mechanical sex between a boy and lady shop owner to a large extent enhance the elements of absurdity where the truthless human existence is vividly presented.
Undoubtedly, Parijat’s ‘Shirish ko Phool’ remains as a gem in the casket of Nepali lityerature, bearing within it all the existential ethos. It would not be wrong to say that with a subtle artistic mode Parijat has ventilated her philosophy of life, love and sex in her novel.
It was out of my keen interest on Parijat as a writer and personality that I am trying to justify her great work with all my understandings and limitations. So there might be lucana in the process of doing it. Therefore, I would like the readers to overlook it as my failure and take it as an honest endeavour on the writers past.