Biography of Laxmi Prasad Devkota – Nepali Mahakavi

Gifted poet Laxmi Prasad Devkota born on the festival of the Goddess of wealth “Laxmi Puja” and so named as a present from the Goddess Laxmi. But he turned out to be wealthier in knowledge and wisdom rather than in money and riches. He was known as Mahakabi, the great poet, and lived and died a poor man.

Biography of Laxmi Prasad Devkota

Lakshmi Prasad Devkota was born on November 12, 1909 (1966 BS) on the night of Laxmi Pooja festival in Dillibazar, Kathmandu. His father Teel Madhav Devkota and mother Amar Rajyalakshmi Devi regarded him as the gift from the goddess Laxmi and named him Laxmi Pradad. Devkota is known as the greatest poet of Nepal, and has been given the title of “Maha Kavi” (“The Great Poet”).

At the time of Devkota, the learned poets preferred to write poems in Sanskrit rather than in Nepali language. Devkota is known to have started a modern romantic movement in Nepal. Devkota was the first poet to write epic poems in Nepali literature. Nepali poetry soared to new heights with Devkota’s groundbreaking and innovative use of the language.

Devkota wrote Muna Madan (1930), a long narrative poem in popular “jyaure”, a Nepali folk style. The Rana rulers at that time liked the epic poem. The poem is a story about a young guy named Madan leaving his wife Muna at home to earn money in Tibet. The hardships of the journey and the grief of separation, longing and death are some of the most important aspects of the story.

Devkota is known for his ability to compose long epic poems with literary complexity and philosophical depth in very short period of time. He wrote Shakuntala, his first epic poem (the first “Mahakavya” – epic poem – in the Nepali language) in three months. The book is a voluminous work in 24 cantos based on Sanskrit play by Kalidas ‘Abhjana Sakunalam’.

Besides poetry, Devkota also made significant contributions in stories and essay genre. He is also considered the father of the modern Nepali essay. He defied the conventional form of essays by breaking the rules of grammar and syntax, and embracing a more fluid style.

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