Author Topic: Ishwor Baral  (Read 6043 times)

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Ishwor Baral
« on: September 02, 2009, 11:23:12 AM »
Ishwor Baral
  Researched by Xeno Acharya


 
Ishwor Baral was born on a cold winter evening in 1923. His parents were Devi Ranjan Baral and Bhuwaneswori Devi. Devi Ranjan's family were landowners in the Terai and they were well-off. The Barals are said to be gurus of the ancient kings of Kaski and they originated from the Eastern Hills of Sindhuli to Saptari.

He received his primary education at home; his mother used to give him lessons. By the age of four, he learnt the Amarkeskosh Kanda by heart and by the age of five, he knew all the three kandas of Amarkosh. He also learnt the Hitopadesh, Raghubansh, Laghu Sinddhanta, Kaumudi, Rudri, and the Vedas by the age of 11, a time when his formal education also started. Thus, his base in Sanskrit became very strong. In 1941, he matriculated from India, Jayanagar and got admitted to Darbanga College for Intermediate in Science studies. But since he was involved in the Quit India movement, he was arrested and imprisoned by the then British-India Government in 1942. A year later, he came to Kathmandu and enrolled in Trichandra College for his science studies, where he met and made friends with established writers such as Bijaya Malla. But the then Rana regime was not keen on supporters of the Quit India movement so Baral returned to India and joined Darbanga College again. Due to the time spent in moving from one area to another, Baral was unable to do well in his I.Sc. exams and afterwards, he decided not to take up medical studies. He joined Hindu Vishwo Vidyalaya in Benaras in 1945 and majored in English with a B.A honors degree.

Baral slowly became interested in the arts. He subscribed to a monthly literary magazine Sarada and through it, he was introduced to renowned poets like Laxmi Prasad Devkota, Bal Krishna Sama, and Hridaya Chandra Singh Pradhan. His association with them helped develop his interest in literature. His first article "Katha Ko Paribhasa" (definition of a story) is considered to be his first work on criticism.

In 1946, he met Rajeshwor Devkota and Bala Chandra Sharma in Kashi who were both responsible for initiating the Jayatu Sanskritam movement. With the initiative of these two promising literary figures, Ishwor Baral brought out Jhyal Bata and Himal Chuli, collections of his short stories and criticisms.

His parent's lectures were also a big source of encouragement for him and he received positive feedback from his teachers when he submitted a paper on "Prithivi Narayan Shah Ko Dibya Upadesh" (The divine preaching of Prithivi Narayan Shah). This was an English translation, but somehow it struck him that he should be contributing to the Nepalese language and then started to write mostly in Nepali. Baral had a flair for languages and he was well-versed in Hindi, English, Maithali, Bengali, Bhojpuri, and other different languages In his writings, one especially finds an abundant use of classical Nepali and Sanskrit words, thus making reading a difficult process for general readers.

Baral's poetic career started from Udaya, a literary monthly magazine that published his first work. Kamal Dixit, an influential figure in Nepalese literature, also had his work published in the magazine at the same time. But later on, both of them started to work more on essay writing and literary criticism.

During his lifetime, he published eight books and seven others were printed after his death. His important books are Jhyal Bata (short story collection); Himalchuli (collection of modern poems of recent poets); Rabindra Nath Tagore's Stories (translations); Mohan Koirala's Poems; Poems of Parijat; Akhyan Ko Udbhab; Prithivistwan; Rajeev Lochan Joshi; Devkota and His Creations; Bal Krishna Sama, Byektitwo Ra Kriti; Subananda Dekhi Sambhuprasad Samma; Rup Narayan Singh: Byektitwo Ra Kritiharu; Bharateli Nepali Sahitya Ra Shaahityakaar; and Chariyeka Samikshyaharu. He also became secretary of Nepal Cultural Society and Nepal Writer's Forum and was the editor of Dharati and Indreni.

Meanwhile, people in Nepal and India were actively getting involved in the anti Rana movement and the Quit India movement respectively. In 1946, the Nepali National Congress was formed in India under the leadership of B.P. Koirala; Ishwor Baral became one of its founders. For some time, during his stay in Darjeeling, he taught Nepali at college. But after he completed his M.A in English from Hindu Vishwo Vidyalaya, he was asked to consider whether his educational qualifications were being appropriately applied in the teaching profession. In 1951, he returned to Nepal and started to teach English at Trichandra College, a time when the autocratic Rana rule had recently ended.

During the tenure of Bhagwan Shahaya Nayak, one of India's ambassador to Nepal, Baral was invited to take up a teaching job at Jawahar Lal Nehru University. While teaching at the university, he got selected to study at School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and attained a Ph.D. on the paper "Life and Writings of Prithivi Narayan Shah". In time, Dr. Baral became a highly acclaimed critic of Nepalese language and literature. He explained that literature is a creative piece that contains a clear picture of reality, a sequence of events, and a definite shape and emphasized the correct use of rhymes, grammar, and sentence patterns. He felt that writing as a whole had to be simple, correct, and understandable. He himself followed the rules of writing strictly and believed that quality writing is an outcome of properly organized set of ideas enhanced by correct writing patterns. His criticisms have definitely helped to refine and uplift the quality of Nepali literature.

Dr. Baral enjoyed reading literature and spent money lavishly on collecting books. He had a personal library where he had them properly placed and arranged. He was also a good orator and spoke in short and emphatic sentences. A keen gardener, he kept a collection of over 100 varieties of roses. He had thorough knowledge on different types of seeds and seedlings and would enthusiastically talk to his guests about them.

Although Baral belonged to a financially strong family, in his life he experienced many economic problems. Sometimes, he faced extreme difficulty in meeting ends.
He believed in hard work and earned his living through his writings and job as a professor. Thus, he was able to give all his children a good education.

In 1989, he was nominated vice chairman of Royal Nepal Academy for four years. For his tireless contribution to Nepalese language and literature, he received the Baal Chandra Puraskar, Badesiddi Puraskar, and Jhapar Puraskar among others. He contributed the amount of money he received for the Jhapar Puraskar for the reformation of the award management committee. But they forwarded this amount to Tribhuwan University so that students doing research on Dr. Ishwor Baral could receive financial assistance. Among his most significant awards is the Sitaram Puraskar (amounting to NRs. 2,50,000) which he received when he was suffering from a serious illness.But the money was no help to Baral; he was diagnosed with brain tumor in Delhi. Only a few days later, he passed away during a high fever on a cold morning in 2000.
Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. [Anon]