Napali Translation of Vidyapati’s ‘Purush-Pariksha’ Launched

Shilash Thapa Tamang
Kathmandu, 12 August 12, 2023

Nepali Kalasahitya Dot Com Foundation launched Dhirendra Pemarshi’s Nepali translation of Mahakavi Vidyapati’s story collection Purush-Pariksha on Friday. The event, organized at the auditorium of Pathshala Nepal, also marked a tribute to Mahakabi Vidyapati who authored Purush-Pariksha in around 15th century in Sanskrit.

Former Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, Nepali Congress General Secretary Bishwa Prakash Sharma, former Vice Chancellor of Purbanchal University Prof. Dr.  Ram Avatar Yadav, litterateurs Dr. Bimal Koirala, Pro. Dr. Govinda Raj Bhattrai, Pro Dr. Usha Thakur and poet and critic Mahesh Paudyal were among the guests in the event.

Translator Pemarshi said he has just played the role of a mediator making the book accessible to the Nepali readers. The book also reflects the political and socio-economic condition of Vidyapati’s time, which are consonant with the conditions of the contemporary society, he added. He further said, “I tried to pour perfume from one vial into another and in doing so I might have lost a bit of the fragrance. This, let the reader decide.” Translator Premarshi also commemorated Mahakabi Vidyapati as a polymath with extraordinary capabilities.

Another speaker Dr. Ram Avatar Yadav said that the book was first translated into Maithili in 1815, followed by its translation into many languages and now into Nepali. He said, “Mr.  Premarshi has now become a part and parcel of the great tradition by translating such a masterpiece.” Dr. Yadav also discussed the key challenges of translation and said that the translated version of Purush-Pariksha has prevented itself from most of the possible weaknesses.

Speaking as the chief commentator, critic Mahesh Paudyal ascribed the book to be interconnected with the multidimensional aspects of human life. He explicated the meaning of ‘Purush’ in the book saying,” ‘Purush’ here does not suggest the ordinary meaning of a male; it rather means an individual with different traits of excellence. So, the book Purush-Pariksha is succinctly about how an individual can be virtuous and can best lead a life of morality.” Critic Paudyal, who is also an assistant professor of English at Tribhuvan University, said the English Department at Tribubhan University has recently included a section of Vidyapathi’s work in its Nepal Studies course, and also stressed on the need for the revival of Vidyapati scholarship and research in Nepali literature in the coming days. Regarding the Nepali translation of Purush-Pariksha, Mr. Paudyal said, “It was after a long time I felt like reading a book non-stop. This book, I suggest, should be prescribed for all the students, as it is packed with moral values.”

Nepali Congress General Secretary Bishwa Prakash Sharma explored the different moral lessons the book presents. Pointing at the story of Bhiru as an example case, he said the message carried by the story is enlightening as it suggests that one should have merits of his or her own to bring something into use. “Bravery, knowledge and wisdom are what make an individual a purush proper,” Mr. Sharma observed.

Litterateur Bimal Koirala appreciated Vidyapati’s Purush-Pariksha as timeless. Koirala said Vidyapati even preceded Machiavelli in writing moral instructions for the rulers of that period.

Speaking as the Chief Guest, former prime minister KP Sharma Oli said that Purush-Pariksha reflected the supreme consciousness of the author’s time. He thanked and congratulated Dhirendra Premarshi for translating such a significant work into Nepali.

Momila Joshi, the president of Nepali Kalasahitya Dot Com Foundation, credited the book for unveiling the political, economical and social truth of some 600 years ago and shared her happiness for being a part of the event.

Pathshala Nepal Foundation and Sisnu-Pani Nepal had coordinated the event jointly. The book has been published by Ambar Publication and is priced 400 rupees.