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Parijat (1934-1993)

Translated By: Padma Devkota 

Parijat who was born in 1937 in the hill station of Darjeeling, India, a place known for its tea gardens, is a Nepali writer. Her real name was Bishnu Kumari Waiba (Waiba is a subgroup of Tamang) but she wrote under the pen name Parijat. Her most acclaimed publication is Siris Ko Phul (The Blue Mimosa), which has also been adapted in the literature curriculum of some colleges in some English-speaking countries. In 1965, she was awarded with the Madan Puraskar for the novel. Siris Ko Phul is one of the most important piece of work in the whole of Nepalese literature.

She was elected a member of the Tribhuwan University. Parijat remained unmarried and continued to suffer physical setbacks. While she was contributing to literature, she also tried to support social causes and initiated attempts like Prisoners' Assistance Mission. She died in 1993.

New Year is a popular poem by Parijat. It contrasts the expected freshness of a new year with the experienced reality of the same old living conditions which leads the poet to revolt against the harsh reality with at least a desire to undo it and to create something better. The poet expects New Year to bring some changes in the life. The speaker of the poem does see the various changes taking place around her. April, the month of freshness has arrived and the birds are enjoying their new lives after defeating the dead winter. But still the speaker is shocked to see her routine life with no indication of any changes in it. Like the mason (craftsman) wasps (works like बारुलो), the speaker's life is having the same old life. Her dreams has been shattered (ruined or disrupted). Her expectations have remained unfulfilled. The poet concludes that everything including nature gets changed except human lives and dreams, however, the speaker reminds us that although we are not able not enjoy different lives but can enjoy the old the same life differently.

The poem in total has 12 lines, but it is divided with the conjunction BUT in the line 7. The conjunction of the opposition BUT appears exactly in the middle of the poem: there are six lines above and six lines below. The first six lines of the poem connote (express the state indirectly/imply) the mood of optimism which carries the expectations of the new things with the arrival of the new year that is explicitly implied by the wind chasing March away, the sun shining up the hill, the nightingale flying to and from the buds of the bottlebrush. But, the conjunction BUT used after the first six lines distorts (twists) the expectation of the speaker violently because the speaker faces the same old thing which is implied by the mason wasps returning lazily back to their same old situation and place.

Critical Thinking:

There lies pessimistic mood of the poem though nature shows the arrival of the new year. The poet does not celebrate the new year because it is not concerned with the human expectations and lives but nature and month -cycle. Though one faces many things in his life, one wants to live his life differently from the new year. And he starts to keep many resolution on the occasion of the new year. But ironically, he hovers around the old thing again. Life without changes is not progress. The poet expresses her desire to come out or escape from the routinized life and wants freedom from it. Hence, to run away from the reality of the world and try to form imaginary heaven, the speaker does expresses optimism (hope). It is no burden for the speaker to carry the load of the old memories, rather it makes her feel afresh. The poet seems nostalgic towards her past where she still wants to dwell in.


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