Contemporary Nepali Literature: Lyrical Poems (Ghazals and Lyrics)

Mukul Dahal (mukul[email protected]). Editor: Pen Himalaya (

This essay is part seven of the author's "Contemporary Nepali Literature: A Bird's Eye View."

Lyric as a distinct genre has a history of about five decades whereas ghazal has a history of over a century. Lyric existed as folk lore and religious hymns in the first half of the century. Lyric emerged as a literary genre in the fifties. Today's lyrics sing not only of love and betrayal but also of social life and human suffering. Lyricists are conscious enough to imbue their lyrics with literary colors and contents. A trend of writing lyrics not only to be sung but also to be read has evolved in Nepali literature. Publication of the anthology of lyrics is on the rise. The noted contemporary lyricists are Kiran Kharel, Ratnashamser Thapa, Prem Binod Nandan, Yadav Kharel, Ishwor Ballaw, Kali Prasad Rijal, Kshetra Pratap Adhikari, Ram Man Trishit, Rajendra Thapa, Ganesh Rasik, Hiraya Bhojpure, Daibagya raj Neupane, Bhim Birag, Krishna Prasad Parajuli, Shrawan Mukarung, Sashwat Parajuli, Suman Pokhrel etc.

Ghazal has been the most vibrant area of contemporary literary scene. This genre has attracted an amazing number of literary artists from the new generation although certain structural rules are to be observed while composing it. This is quite positive sign for Nepali ghazal. Having made a long journey from Motiram Bhatta to Upendra Bahadur Jigar to Bund Rana, Gyanuwakar Poudel, Manu Brajaki, Lalijan Rawal and from them to the new generation, Nepali ghazal has gained a shape and artistry. Love and praise of beauty of the beloved and also of nature are the classic and most suited themes of ghazal. Apart from them ghazal writers today also use ghazal as a vehicle for satire on and criticism of the evil side of human nature and society. One most important aspect to be noted here is that ghazals are pouring into this field but majority of those trying hand at it lack consciousness to impart quality that includes choice of soft words and musicality in their ghazals. This quality is essentially sought in the genre like this. There are some established names who have been writing ghazals with this sense in mind. Such writers are Bund Rana, Lalizan Rawal, Gyanuwakar Poudel, Mun Poudel, Pramod Snehi, Manu Brajaki, Shrestha Piya Patthar, Dhruba Madhikarmi, Jainendra Jeewan, Manu Manjil, Bibas Pokhrel, Shreedhar Kattel etc.


There are other equally important and popular genres of prose one should not skip while discussing Nepali literature. Travel writing, which is one of them, is very popular and widely written in Nepal. Writers like Taranath Sharma, Ramesh Vikal, Ghanashyam Rajkarnikar, Madan Mani Dikshit, Shreekrishna Gautam and Manjul have written great works of travelogue. Bhisma Upreti, Yubaraj Nayaghare, Rashmishekhar, Gyanendra Bibas are some names from the younger generation.

Biography and literature for children demand separate space. I have not incorporated them in this brief write up. It is better to cover them in separate writing.

Contemporary Nepali Literature: A Bird's Eye View

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Last Modified: 11 March 2004