kkimnews , Sikkim Nepali news Sikkim Culture Sikkim Sikkim people Sikkim news papers, Sikkim Tourism,Sikkim Tourism destinatio,North East News, Darjeeling News, Gorkha news, hill landslides news, earthquake newsn
Homeh SNOWLINE - हिमगिरि नेपाली
Kamala Aanshu: Short Biography
A genius littérateur, prolific writer, protagonist and
reformer of woman community
Her birth, childhood and schooling
Kamala Aashu is the name well known to the tens and thousands of the Indian Nepali readers who regularly read popular Nepali daily newspaper Sunchari and other literary magazines. Born on May 23, 1955 to mother late Manika Rai and late Chandra Bikas Rai at Dhobi Khola, Gopaldhara, Mirik, Darjeeling, Kamala Rai, literary name Kamala Aashu was very fond of music and literature since childhood. Dhobi Khola is a village in remote place where plenty of trees, tea bushes, flowers and natural scenes, the sunshine, sunset and changing climate attracted her emotion from the very beginning. Her father late Chandra Bikas Rai was the head master of Gopaldhara Primary school and she was greatly inspired by her mother and father for pursuing study. Chandra Bikash Rai’s father and mother Shri Prithiman Rai had passed away when he was a child and therefore he was brought up by his uncle, father of Shri Sachen Rai, Ghoom. Child Kamala was very curious to observe each and every thing around her and she has noticed the activities of her grand father. Her father used to teach her and her sisters all the lessons in school and in house. She used to learn all the Nepali poems by heart like Garchu pyaro sano Cha mero fulbari, halchu pani sanj bihan nabirai, champa, chameli, chap Ani sunakhari … so on so forth. A time came to her life in the early childhood that her father suddenly had to leave all of them as her father had to undergo basic training compulsorily to qualify for his teaching service.. A child of hardly ten years, Kamala did fell ill all of sudden and due to her prolonged illness, she could not attend school regularly. But her mother was very supportive and made available all books to her at house and encouraged to study and prepare for next examination. One year elapsed and by then her father too came back and joined his service. She got the opportunity to appear in the examination and successfully passed and was promoted to upper class. She was pale and weak due to severe dysentry and one day, she did fall from the roof of her house to the ground and became unconscious. Still then, it was the wishes of God that she lived and recovered. Slowly, she passed out from the primary school and admitted in Mirik School in 1968-69 at class five.
There she met many new friends who were very amicable to her and among them Manika Pradhan, Gyanu Tamang, Urmila Tamang were best friends while Biswamitra Rai was a talented persons who was expert in literature and music, always admired by her. However Biswamitra’s untimely dead could not make him a perfect man in the field, she always used to feel sorry about his untimely death. There were 8 daughters and no single son of late Mr. and Mrs. Rai and Kamala was second daughter. She was very sentimental from very childhood and she used to sing the song particularly the popular songs of Aruna Lama, Tara Devi and all. She staged in some of the function too, but later on she was more inclined towards literary pursuits and preferred to write short stories, short essays and few poems.
Her love affairs, marriage, literary works and writings
Her first short story or article was published in school magazine of Mirik High school during 1968 to 1971 entitled Mero Nasho. After that, her articles particularly short stories and essays were published in literary magazine like Chiyabari edited by Kumar Rasaily from Mirik, Teesta Sunkosh, Ramita and a couple of other magazines when she was in Darjeeling. She edited a magazine entitled Anurod with Gobindha Shrestha Gayal, which was handwritten. In 1974, a provisional literary magazine entitled Avakash was published from Selimbong Tea garden adjacent to Gopaldhara. She sent an article entitled Nariko Gunasho or grievance of women. Bijay Bantawa was the Chief Editor of Avakash who received the article and gladly replied her stating that her article would be come out in next issue. However, Emergency was declared by that time by former Prime Minister of India, late Mrs. Indira Gandhi and as a result many publications temporarily suspended their publication including Avakash. However, her name and the list of article were published in the next issue. It was the time that literary relationship between Bijay Bantawa and Kamala Aashu developed in a very healthy manner. They never talk about love but only literary discussion in the informal meeting or letter writing that took place. She completed matriculation from Mirik High School in the year 1975-76 and in 1976 she worked as a staff at Sikkim Express and Himalibela, Gangtok Sikkim for brief period and thereafter joined service at Sikkim Livestock Development Corporation till the closure of the corporation in 1993. After five years of literary association between them, ultimately they fall in love and decided to get married in 1978. During these period, she had already contributed short stories in Himalibela, Sudha, a Nepali literary magazine by late Jeevan Theeng and later Subash Deepak, Jhilkaharu edited by Late Dharmasamsher Basnet from Gangtok, Pratibimba edited by Girmee Sherpa and others, Sashurali edited by Dilu Maskey and many other periodicals.
After winding up of SLDC and consequent upon her pre-mature retirement from service, she was associated with Himgiri Prakashan, Gangtok and worked her life partner Bijay Bantawa with full participation and with full vigor and energy. This was the golden period in their lives that both of them started writing for many other magazines including Sunchari and their weekly publication Himgiri. Her article prominently published in Archana (Sikkim), Diyalo, (Darjeeling), Hamro Aastitwa (Darjeeling), Sainik Samachar (New Delhi), Garima (Kathmandu), Bagar (Kathmandu), Bhanu (Kathmandu) and many other local and national magazines. A short story with comments has been published in book entitled Bisou Shatabdiko Bharatiya Nepali Nari Lekha (Indian Nepali woman writings in 20th Century). Her short stories have been regularly broadcasted by AIR, Gangtok. She earned more prominence from 1995 to 2006, more than a decade when she regularly contributed articles in Sunchari Samachar daily being published from Siliguri and edited by renowned historian and literary person Dr. Kumar Pradhan. In Sunchari daily and Himgiri weekly, her articles on different aspects, problems, suggestions ranging from woman related issue to health concern and spiritual outlook have been published in a record number of 1000 and more. For her quality of prolific writing and creativity, she was given the name of Nepali computer too by her critics, but she never took them negatively and wrote more frequently and uninterruptedly taking great inspiration from such comments. During this period, her four books of short stories too published, three works from Himgiri Prakashan, Gangtok and one book from Nirman Prakashan. Seto Gulab (White Rose) was published in 1995, her maiden work which included old and new short stories of her time. Thereafter after an interval of four years, another book entitled Mamatako Chalbhitra (Within the waves of affection) collection of short stories was published. Again in 2000, a collection of short stories entitled Afno Matoko suganda (the scent of own soul) was published. Her last collection of short story entitled Mimansha was published in 2006.
Her works and trend of short stories
Although she started writing in 1970s and her various articles and short stories published in literary magazine, her first creative work in book form was published only in 1995 when her work Seto Gulaf (collection of short stories) was brought out in the market. She dedicated her first publication to her two great women; her mother Manita Rai and mother-in-law Dhanmaya in their life time. Within the period of eleven years after the publication of this book, the writer and her mother and mother-in-law are no more in the world. However, her literary contribution is still alive. The preface of the book is written by Sarad Chhetri a renowned literary person and winner of Sahitya Academi winner. There are 25 short stories in total in this book. Most of the trends of her earlier short stories are based on the social theme of her age and she has portrayed rather the sensitive aspect, inner vision of women. She has portrayed vivid role of women as mother, wife, daughter, widow, young girl etc. Her themes of the stories are based on reality, therefore there is no an iota of superficiality in her creative exposure in stories. A woman, only a woman who has given the birth of a child can understand the pain of a pregnant woman and can therefore happily face the dreadful pain at the time of delivery of her child. She experiences such painful feeling and expresses it naturally so that readers can feel the reality in her expression. Sense and sensibility, tolerance, compassion, love and above all different feelings in different situations faced by women have found place in her short stories, revealing every incident and turn of life experienced and observed by her. A well known critic and Sahitya Academi winner Dr. Jas Yonjan Paysi after reading this book has expressed, " Kamala Aashu has now become an established woman name in contemporary literary field of Indian Nepali literature. She is already famous as a woman columnist in various news papers, but now, she has earned a name in the field of Nepali story too. I appreciate Kamala Aashu as a simple story writer."
Another book entitled Mamatako Chalbhitra, a collection of short stories was published in 1999. She received more recognition from the readers as a successful short story writer and as compared to her first work; this book further recognized her creativity among the readers and some appreciation from the critics too. There are 30 short stories in this collection and her sense and sensibility and different aspects of human life are successfully painted in lucid style. She has characterized more effectively the various roles played by a woman as a mother, daughter-in- law etc. Dr. Jiwan Namdung has written about her story: The trend in story writing by Kamala Aashu is full of psychological analysis and human insight. The short stories like I love you, Mamatako Chalbhitra or within the wave of affection, Jethi Buhari or eldest bride, Aina or mirror are the glaring example in this collection to claim the support of the statement. She does not need for any recommendation to stand as a woman short story writer, the standard of her short stories themselves are the testimony to it. Bhanu Chhetri in Munal writes about the book: Most of the stories try to express inner feelings, problems, social status, sacrifice and tender aspects of women.She has emerged as one of the leading female writers from Sikkim..
In the year 2000, her work, again the collection of short stories entitled Afno Matoko Sugandha (fragrance of ones own soil) was brought out by Himgiri Prakashan, Gangtok. Through the lively characterization in every situation, the writer has taught a lesson of patriotism or love towards ones mother land. There is satire for those who believe in materialistic gain, the prime objective of their life, like the main charater Daulat who leaves his soil to earn money from foreign land and lead a luxurious life of pomp and glory. However his fate leads him towards pathetic incident, quite totally opposite to his dream as he suffers due to incurable disease like AIDS and finally on the bed of death, he remembers his mother land. The writer has dedicated the book to her father, Shri Chandra Bikash Rai. There are 28 short stories which tell human tragedy and lesson to the society. In this collection, a short story Baiganik Yugka Aama babulai, Garvaki Choriko Khulla Patra (An open letter by an stillborn child from mother’s womb to modern mother and father), it is a pathetic appeal of a stillborn female child, the hue and cry of the still born daughter in mother’s womb who appeal by her every feeling to accept her arrival on the earth and not to take pre-natal sex determination test and condemn or terminate her birth. Soon after the publication, the story created discussion among the readers which compels them to think the gravity of situation in new dimension of outlook in the changing global scenario and so-called scientifically developed society where the birth of female child is discarded after going ultra sound test and at the same time, the birth of the male child is celebrated. She openly criticize the hypocrisy of the modern parents through this story.Another story Belaiti Gai or English Cow depicts the importance of pet animal and relationship of man and animal in simple but effective style. Karmayogi (One who is dedicated ones work), Aasaktidekhi Para (Away from attachment) and Samarpan (Sacrifice) are her stories totally different from her feminine outlook, which depicts the positive aspects of life every way. Her story Aath Aani Har (necklace made of coins) depicts the old aged tradition of the people and culture who gives prominence for ones cultural heritage by preserving tradition and custom and wearing traditional ornament or preserving necklace from one generation to another generation. Doctor Lalit and Randhojko Bhumika (Role of Randhoj) are the stories where male characters play the main role, a paradigm shift, which are totally different from other stories since most of her stories revolve round the theme of the female characters. The other stories in the book however keep the dominant character of women after all. Shri Dhruba Burathoki, Kathmandu writes about her short stories: The main elements required in the story like nation, age, circumstances are available in Aashu’s stories. Some stories are characterized by mainly using the device of dialogues while some stories are biographical in style and more than that some stories are based on the theory of stream of consciousness propounded by Virginia Woolf. Some of her stories can be compared with the trend of existentialism of feminine writer Bishnukumari Waiba (Parijat).
Mimansha (analysis) is her final book of collection of short stories which is published in 2006, after her untimely death. The book contains 34 short stories and more than 80 percent stories were written by her just prior to her journey to heavenly world. In this way, the total number of short stories published in these four books reach the number of 117 in total and there are few other unpublished stories and other published short stories too in some of the magazine and periodicals which have not been compiled in her books. For example, in the year 1978 to 1985, her story entitled Phateko Chappal or torn out slipper was published in Sudha, a literary magazine edited by Late Jeewan Theeng and Subash Deepak. There are other short stories published in Himali bela, Teesta Sunkosh and Jhilkaharu. In Jhilkaharu, a short story entitled Domicilebhitrako Katha ( The story behind domicile certificate) was published in Jhilkaharu in which she has attempted to divulge the corrupt practices of officer and exploitation to innocent girls. Thus her short stories out number 125 in total which must be record written by any other Indian Nepali woman author so far. Commenting about her stories, Dr. Kamala Sanskritayan, a prominent writer and critics has pointed out, Aashu has highlighted all aspects and themes of the society and moreover she has given the message to the society in every story by different ways and there are no repetition of such message in another story whatsoever. Her main objective of story writing is to reform the society.
Dr. Kabita Lama has viewed and examined the various aspects of her life depicted in the books by various literary genious of Indian Nepali literature in her criticism which has been posted in this website in Nepali language. Over all, Dr. Lama has highlited the criticism written by various prominent writers of Indian Nepali literature like Dr Indra Bahadur Rai, Mrs. Kamala Sanskritayan, Dr. Lakhideve Sundas, Dr; Jas Yonjan Pyashi, Shri Mahananda Poudyel, Kedar Gurung, Samirna Chhetri and more.
Her Articles in different issues for
reformation and positive out look
Pix: Kamala Aashu receiving Bhanuratna Sahitya Award from
Chief Guest K.P. Malla at a function at Singtam
Apart from, she has written around 1000 essays or writes up on different social, cultural, health related and spiritual issues. In all, she has advocated the economic, social, intellectual freedom of women of the society.
Kamala Aashu with Former Chief Minister Pawan Chamling & others
At a Samman Sammilan Function, Nepal National Folk Singer
Dharma Raj Thapa is also seen in the picture. File photo.
In her article, she mostly advocated the liberation of women in the society by bringing consciousness, education among them for the development of society, but she has cautioned the women that their mission must not be directed as the hostile entity of the man. Equal right and fair justification were her theme of writings like other feminine writers but she appealed to achieve the goal by means of co-operation from all corners irrespective of the facts whether they are men or women and without gender discrimination. In every respect, she believed and lived in example. Writing without setting ones own example is meaningless, she often used to say. She regularly gave the message to the women of Darjeeling, Dooars, Sikkim and others by means of her writing about the importance of observing world’s women day, their rights and history of the day. Through her writings, she appealed the women to take part in politics, decision making process but not to be exploited by any manner. She never wrote against the male dominated society but made conscious to the women about their right and dignity. She even asked the support of the male society in her mission for the development of whole society. She did not believe that reservation policy alone will be enough for women or solve their problems, but talents and competition must be respected and given priority to obtain the dignified place by which man and woman can walk in equal footings. Her passion for writings was by any means to give service to mankind and make aware them. In order to obtain the dignified place, she considered the life a precious boon of God and stressed to work hard and avoid laziness. She always advocated doing something fruitful and positive in ones life and not wasting it by involving in pleasure seeking and fun making only. She found that the society mainly divided into two sects, that is rich and poor and women are also greatly divided into these folds. She felt sorry when a rich and educated woman denies coming forward to lend the helping hands to the poor and uneducated women. This is the situation that she believed, has created a distance among the women community. She therefore suggested in her various articles that every learned and rich woman must come forward to teach and contribute something to the downtrodden section of women who in return can be an asset of the society.
In her every article, the topics were different and there was hardly the repetition of the topics and that is too when she felt new concept emerging in the articles already written by her. Almost everyday, her articles appeared in popular newspaper Sunchari being published from Siliguri, North Bengal and a large number of women readership increased, other women writers too come forward to write and many readers appreciated her writing in letter’s to editor column. She was requested to write various problems through personal letters and meetings on various problems not only related to women issues but about the health perspective, counseling of successful marriages, children psychological perspective and even the youth readers about their problems like examination, study and interest. This way, she wrote about wide variety of articles useful to every day life of the people. Her articles inspire the women particularly belonging to village areas, tea gardens and far flung areas of Sikkim, Darjeeling, Dooars and others who tasted her style of prolific writings. The average Nepali women readers made their habit of reading Sunchari daily and there was demand in the market of Sunchari. It is evident from the fact that the letters were written to editor, the research by the newspapers agent and the publication of her articles even after her death, some new articles and some reprinted. Her articles on women issues include on the topics like the role of women in religion, the condition of women and memory power during pregnancy, It is better to remain unmarried than to become second wife, Women must be active and energetic, Now Self economic dependence more important to girls before marriage, time management is important for women, creative works of daughter- in -law, Shame and fear creates problem for delivery of child, mother must be disciplined and moral first of all, sexually transmitted diseases among the women, International Women’s day and right of the women, the role of mother to keep clean and healthy the whole members of family, women must not be beauty conscious only, positive steps after failure in love affair, the cause of depression among average women, It’s better not to write love letter by girls, Aung Sung Suuki: An inspiration to all women, the diminishing birth rate of female child, Women must be alert in food hobbit to be saved from anemia, the need of women to work during night, Beauty parlor at your kitchen and most other burning issues of women. Apart from that, she has written articles on philosophy and principle of life, the essence of true love, true friendship, mind of the people and environment, the importance of gratitude, Right thinking pattern is a must, Jealousy and doubts the great enemies of mankind, love works as medicine etc.
Her amicable nature and helping attitude
Despite heavy odds and struggle in life, she was very cool, calm and positive in every angle. Her spiritual spirit was very high and everyday, she used to spend at least one -two hours for prayers and meditation. She used to believe meditation than physical exercise, because to her it is a good medium to be physically, emotionally and spiritually stronger. According to Binashree Kharel, a poetess who knew her from very closed relationship, " she was a perfect woman. She used to know how to respect elders and preserve social custom and relationship. She always stressed on art of living. To keep relationship with elders by giving respect to them and to make communication with juniors by loving them and talking to them is a better way to grow good relationship, this was her ethos, principle of life and as a result, many young generations gave their ear to hear her."
How popular was her writing and her personality that could be ascertained from the record numbers of condolence published in almost all the newspapers and tribute written on her demise continuously for more than one month. The large number of readers was shocked to her sudden demise due to cardiac arrest and more than 45 organizations of Sikkim, Darjeeling, Dooars, North East and New Delhi expressed deep shock and organized condolence meeting. Such a massive condolence meeting organized and tribute accorded to any writer of Indian Nepali is a record in the history of Indian Nepali literature. The various literary and other organizations who hold condolence meeting and paid tribute to departed soul include:(1) Sikkim Academy, (2) Nepali Sahitya Parishad, Sikkim, (3) Yuwa Sahitya Parishad, Sikkim, (4) Press Club of Sikkim, (5), Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh, Siliguri, (6) Gorkha Kala Sangh, Glenbern, Darjeeling (7) Dakchin Sikkim Sahitya Parishad, Namchi, (8) Sadbhavna Samiti, Singtam, (9) Mirik Patrakar Sangh, (10) Nepali Sahitya Sammelan, Darjeeling, (11) Prativa Samman Manch, Darjeeling, (12) Kalimpong Sahitya Uthan Samiti (13) Government College, Darjeeling, (14) Sikkim Patrakar Sangh, (15) Himali Prakashan, Dentam, (16) Giri Sahitya Parishad, Samalbong-Sinji, (17)Tribeni Sahitya Parishad, Lapchu Peshok, (18) Kurseong College, (19) Press Association of Darjeeling, (20) Shivtar Bagmara busty Pragatishil youth, (21) Prativa Milan, Gangtok, (22) Gorkha Jana Pustakalaya, Kurseong, (23) Aarugi Sahtiya Sansthan, Kurseong, (24) Jagriti Parivar, Kurseong, (25) Kalimpong Press Club, (26), Kirati Khambu Rai Sanskriti Sansthan, (27)Devkota Sangh, Putung, (28) Chota Tingling school, (29) Paschim Sikkim Sahitya Prakashan, Geyzing, (30) Rangvang Velley literary and other organizations, (31) Prayas Sahityik Parivar, Kurseong, (32) Nava Uthan Sahityik Sanstha, Makaibari, (33) Basudha, Indian Nepali women literary association, Darjeeling, (34) Dr. Sovakanti Thegim Smarka Trust, (35) Nepali Sahitya Adhhyan Samiti, (36) Shrasta Manch, Sonada, (38) Chimal Parivar, Thurbo, (39) Gorkha Kala Sansthan, Nagari, (40) Kalam Sahityik Sansthan, Margarets Hope, Hope Ringtong, (41) Press Association of Dooars, (42) Nim Sahitya Parishad, Gorubathan, (43) Bharatiya Nari Sahitya au Gorkha Sanskrit Surakcha Sang, Darjeeling, (44) 7th International Poets meet, Chintan Bhavan, Gangtok, (45) Indian Federation of Small and Medium Newspapers, New Delhi, (46) Eastern panorama Group, Shillong, (47) Nirman Prakashan, Gangtok, (48) Sathi Prakashan, Kathmandu and others.
Her illness and untimely demise
From a very childhood, her health condition was not good, she was pale and thin due to acute blood dysentery at an early age and most of the time she used to suffer from severe headache and knee ache. However, due to her strong will power, she did overcome all of these complications.As she wrote in the articles, she observed strict rule in life and she developed her eating habit strictly as per the advice of Doctor. At the age of 29 years in 1984, she had a first symptom of cardiac problem. Dr. Kumar Bhandari did all medical check up and found her suffering from coronary heart disease at an early stage. He did not suggest the immediate operation but prescribed medicine which she regularly took. After the early marriage of her daughter, she faced another disease this time diabetes and pressure. However, she did take regular medicine and observed strict rule doing meditation and yoga. She was doing all the normal work but who knows that the cruel death was going to snatch her from the world? At the early morning of March 11, she left for her heavenly abode, therefore making a big vacuum in Indian Nepali literary world. However, she is alive with her noble contribution. The need of the hour is that her articles must be compiled in book form. It may be several books on different topics. The social issues of women, the health related problems of women, the general social issues, the spiritual issues, the general health issues and other informative topics could be of great interest to the readers. Apart from that, women social organization rising above politics and geographical barriers must come forward to contemplate research work and projects about her valuable contribution and follow her footsteps, she has not only touched upon literature and social issues, but she has equally inspired women in political field, sports field and above all self employment venture. If her single word is taken in positive way, the real tribute and justice to her will be there.
Kamala Aashu Smriti Pratishthan: Please Donate liberally
With a view to preserving her works and propagating her ideology, a trust namely Sahityakar Kamala Aashu Smriti Pratisthan has been founded on April 30, 2006.In the ad hoc committee of Trust, Shri Pradhumna Shrestha is nominated as the Chairperson and Bijay Bantawa as Secretary with other executive members. Now, Bijay Bantawa, the husband and journalsit and literary person is the Chairperson of the trust. Presently the trust or Pratisthan is compiling her works. A book called Sahityakar Kamala Aashu Smriti Grantha comprising her biography, critical analysis, reminiscence etc. written by various writers have aleady brought out. The objective of the trust is to provide the forum of discussion on various women related issues being faced by Indian Nepali women and to organize seminar, convention etc. and also to instutute award to women writers, social workers only for women.The other objective of the trust is to study, review and make critical analysis or assessment of her works and make aware of her positive contribution towards the society. Although, there are assurances from many social and intellectual persons to render necessary co-operation for this noble endeavor, the assurance alone cannot fulfill the objective of any mission. Hence the trust has again requested all those persons to contribute generously or extend their co-operation for the purpose. Any generous person or philanthropic organization can donate at our account of State Bank of India, Gangtok Branch IFSC code - SBIN0000232(Used for RTGS and NEFT transaction) Account No. A/C No. 00000011018622160 for the genuine social cause.