There is no doubt that the great poet Laxmi Prasad Devkota could compose in multilingual. He also had the ability to write literature easily in English.
He wanted to win the Nobel Prize by making a name for himself in the world by composing works in English. Although that was not possible due to the technology and circumstances of that time, his unique works are remarkable not only in the world of Nepali literature but also in the world.
Devkota had arrived in the then Soviet city of Tashkent to attend the Afro-Asian Literary Conference. His English speech is still discussed there. The second time he went to New Delhi, India to attend a conference, he went to the Soviet Union for medical treatment.
Devkota did not get a chance to reach America, but his poetry made an honorable debut in America.
However, world-renowned writers Ved Mehta and Dum Morre, who met the great poet on his death bed, introduced Nepali literature to the world community in their memoirs by meeting Devkota and discussing some Nepali literature. The discussion of Nepali literature and the great poet Devkota has already reached the English speaking world.
Devkota’s most popular and even record-breaking Munamdan written in Zhaure verse has also been translated into many English translations. It has also come in other languages.
But in 1980, after Columbia University Press published ‘Nepali Visions’, ‘Nepali Dreams’, ‘The Poetry of Laxmi Prasad Devkota’, the genius of the great poet Devkota began to be discussed in the United States.
The publication of this book by Columbia University Press in the United States is of great importance and its acceptance in the UNESCO’s Nepali translation series is of the greatest importance. It is included in the UNESCO representative works collection. It is part of the Modern Asian Literary Series, which has Kathleen R. F. Warill, Pierre Kachia, Citi Sia, Barbara Stoller Miller, Edward Sedestiker, Marsha Wagner, and Donald Keane on its editorial board.
The book is stored in 210 universities and libraries around the world. The novelist who introduced Devkota to this work is David Ruvin, a native of Connecticut, USA. In particular, he is a person who has gained fame by translating the works of Indian writers Premchand and Nirala into English.
Theodore Ricardi Jr., a professor at Columbia University, encouraged David to become interested in the great poet Devkota. He had sought permission from his wife Mandevi Devkota and son Padma Prasad Devkota to translate the poems of the book. In Nepal, he got help from Mahesh Raj Pant, Dorav Bahadur Bista and others to translate this book and write his biographical introduction.
David has translated 45 of Devkota’s poems in this book. This collection includes his well-known poem ‘Pagal’ and his last poem ‘Akhir Shrikrishna rahek ek’.
Michael Hutt wrote a review of the book in the Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies. Recently, Nepali modern literature has been ignored in books written on Nepali culture. Ruvin’s new book on Devkota has freshly presented information, style and structure.
The book was reviewed by DJ Mathews in the April 1981 issue of the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, an online publication published by the Cambridge University Press. He noted that the attention of the West was drawn to Nepal, that those who went to Nepal for various projects had learned Nepali, but that no one had discussed the important literary aspect of the language of this country.
Reviewing this book, Dr. As Taranath Sharma writes in the 1984 Winter-Spring Issue 19, Issue 1, 1984 of the Journal of South Asian Literature, published by the University of Madison, “the introduction to Rubin’s translation and the elements influencing Devkota’s life and work are absolutely correct.”
However, he disagreed with the translation of the poem, saying, “Poetry does not need to be lost in translation.”
The book, first published by Columbia University Press, appears to have been published as an independent publication in the United Kingdom.
David Ruvin has died. Nepali citizens will always remember the work he did to introduce the great poet of Nepal.