BP Literature Festival Discusses Ecology in Literature

Shilash Thapa Tamang
Kathmandu, 11 September

The first “BP Literature Festival, 2080” organized by Nepali Congress Central Committee discussed “Ecology in Literature” in one of its sessions. The festival held on the occasion of 110th birth anniversary of Bisheshwar Praasd Koirala at BP Memorial Building, Sanepa featured ecology as an important subject for discussion. The discussion was carried out among the speakers Dr. Tirtha Bahadur Shrestha, Sangita Raimajhi and the sitting vice chancellor of Far Western University, Prof. Dr.  Amar Raj Joshi. The session highlighted different environmental problems of our times including global warming, climate change and draught resulting from by rapid population growth, capitalism and human-centric activities.

During the discussion, Dr. Tirtha Bahadur Shrestha recalled BP Koirala’s autobiography Jail Journal and narrated an episode describing a pair of swallows which amused BP Koirala while he was in jail. Through that, Dr. Tirtha pointed out how BP Koirala had emphasised ecological preservation through literature some 45 years ago. He also insisted that ecological consciousness at local level is a solution to the present environmental problems.

Speaking on the issue, Prof. Dr. Amar Raj Joshi said different theories and literary writings produced in the west are mostly anthropocentric and they lead to environmental exploitation, while the east like in Upanishads keeps nature in the heart of creation and advocates for the worship of all the elements of nature, including animals.  He also mentioned that the academic activities have not been able to include ecology in its major agenda though there have been many theoretical discussions on it. Dr. Joshi also cited an urgent need to use literature as a means to revolt against the ongoing environmental problems.

Likewise, another speaker Sangita Raimajhi attempted a comparative analysis of masculinity and capitalism. She said capitalism is found to be exploiting nature the way a man dominates a woman. Miss Raimajhi observed nature and woman as synonymous to each other, as both nurture and reproduce on one hand and simultaneously become a victim of male and capitalistic domination on the other. She also brought reference from BP Koirala’s Sumnima and noted how the character Sumnima was linked with nature that favored every natural course, while Somdatt, a man rejected such things at different instances.

The first day of the event also included several other sessions followed by different panel discussions on issues like Psychoanalysis in BP’s fiction, Literature in the Mother Tongues of Nepal, and BP in BP’s Eyes.  Prof. Abi Subedi spoke on BP Koirala’s literature and life philosophy. The literature festival was inaugurated by Nepali Congress President and former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and will continue up to 12th of September.