Agam Singh Giri
Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 17, 2011
The Himalayan Beacon
in Nepali literature. His five poetical collections are Yaad – Remembrance, Atama Vyathaa) – Anguish, mine, Aashu – Tears, Jivan Geet – Life’s songs, Youdha r Yoodhaa – War and Warrior, Jaleko Pratiwimba r Roeko Pratidhawni – A burning image and a weeping echo. The first collection was published in 1955 and the last one was published posthumously in 1978 and it was awarded the first Bhanu Puraskar in 1979 by the Nepali Academy of West Bengal.
Giri wrote of sadness felt incessantly by him and a rather over-burdensome sadness prevades his poems. No product of any personal trauma, yet this sadness was intrinsic to Giri’s own nature. The poet’s painful realisation of the sad plight of Gorkhas made it later more acute and the poet discursive. Nevertheless a majority of the best poems of Giri fall in the later category of his poems. In his first phase the poet alternated between inwardly cognizing his sadness as though in purity when poetry was for him ‘a painful expression of an accursed life’ and focusing it outward and bearing it in fusion with other feelings as an in-grown aspect of the existing social reality. The second choice or tendency perceptibly gained on the first.
Of the Indian Nepalis or Gorkhas, who, Giri felt, are today only a faint shadow of their former glorious self, he says:
You have become unrecognisable here
Blood in your cheeks has dried up
The light in your eyes is gone
You look like a child who has fallen asleep, sobbing
Like a prisoner tortured long
The ill-fated whose morsels are snatched away
And the house dispossessed
I have come only to see whether you are ‘You’
But, you have become unrecognisable
Ever of romantic temperaments in his writings, Giri wrote lilting metrical lines and smoothly rhythmical free verse with equal ease. He opted increasingly for the second in his later days in an effort to selectively take in some of the agreeable aspects of modernist writing. He wrote Youdha r Yoodhaa – War and Warrior making relevant to the Gorkhas on a grand scale the ringing declaration of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose ‘You can perhaps force a man to shoulder a rifle but you can never make him fight to give his life for a cause which is not his own.’