LAXMI PRASAD DEVKOTA - "THE LUNATIC" - English translation

Devkota was born on the night of Lakshmi Puja on 13 November 1909 (27 Kartik 1966 BS) to father Teel Madhav Devkota and mother Amar Rajya Lakshmi Devi in Dhobidhara, Kathmandu. His father was a Sanskrit scholar, so he attained his basic education under the custodianship of his father. He started his formal education at Durbar High School, where he studied both Sanskrit grammar and English. After finishing his matriculation exams from Patna at the age of 17, he pursued Bachelor of Arts along with Bachelor of Laws at Tri-Chandra College and graduated from Patna University as a private examinee. His desire to complete his master's degree was left incomplete due to his family's financial conditions.

Only after a decade from his graduation as a lawyer, he started working in Nepal Bhasaanuwad Parishad (Publication Censor Board), where he met famous playwright Balkrishna Sama. At the same time, he also worked as a lecturer at Tri-Chandra College and Padma Kanya College. ( Via Wiki)

Translation In English of 'The Lunatic' - Laxmi Prasad Devkota.

1. Oh yes, friend! I'm crazy-

    that's just the way I am.

2. I see sounds,
    I hear sights,
    I taste smells,
    I touch not heaven but things from the underworld,
    things people do not believe exist,
    whose shapes the world does not suspect.
    Stones I see as flowers
    lying water-smoothed by the water's edge,
    rocks of tender forms
    in the moonlight
    when the heavenly sorceress smiles at me,
    putting out leaves, softening, glistening,
    throbbing, they rise up like mute maniacs,
    like flowers, a kind of moon-bird's flowers.
    I talk to them the way they talk to me,
    a language, friend,
    that can't be written or printed or spoken,
    can't be understood, can't be heard.
    Their language comes in ripples to the moonlit Ganges banks,
    ripple by ripple-
    oh yes, friend! I'm crazy-
    that's just the way I am.

3. You're clever, quick with words,
     your exact equations are right forever and ever.
    But in my arithmetic, take one from one-
    and there's still one left.
    You get along with five senses,
    I with a sixth.
    You have a brain, friend,
    I have a heart.
    A rose is just a rose to you-
    to me it's Helen and Padmini.
    You are forceful prose
    I liquid verse.
    When you freeze I melt,
    When you're clear I get muddled
    and then it works the other way around.
    Your world is solid,
    mine vapor,
    yours coarse, mine subtle.
    You think a stone reality;
    harsh cruelty is real for you.
    I try to catch a dream,
    the way you grasp the rounded truth of cold, sweet coin.
    I have the sharpness of the thorn,
    you of gold and diamonds.
    You think the hills are mute-
    I call them eloquent.
    Oh yes, friend!
    I'm free in my inebriation-
    that's just the way I am.

4. In the cold of the month of winter
    I sat
    warming to the first white heat of the star.
    the world called me drifty.
    When they saw me staring blankly for seven days
    after I came back from the burning ghats
    they said I was a spook.
    When I saw the first marks of the snows of time
    in a beautiful woman's hair
    I wept for three days.
    When the Buddha touched my soul
    they said I was raving.
    They called me a lunatic because I danced
    when I heard the first spring cuckoo.
    One dead-quite moon night
    breathless I leapt to my feet,
    filled with the pain of destruction.
    On that occasion the fools
    put me in the stocks,
   One day I sang with the storm-
    the wise men
    sent me off to Ranchi.

Realizing that same day I myself would die
    I stretched out on my bed.
    A friend came along and pinched me hard
    and said, Hey, madman,
    your flesh isn't dead yet
    For years these things went on.
    I'm crazy, friend-
    that's just the way I am.

5. I called the Navab's wine blood,
    the painted whore a corpse,
    and the king a pauper.
    I attacked Alexander with insults,
    and denounced the so-called great souls.
    The lowly I have raised on the bridge of praise
    to the seventh heaven.
    Your learned pandit is my great fool,
    your heaven my hell,
    your gold my iron,
    friend! Your piety my sin.
    Where you see yourself as brilliant
    I find you a dolt.
    Your rise, friend-my decline.
    That's the way our values are mixed up,
    Your whole world is a hair to me.
    Oh yes, friend, I'm moonstruck through and through-
    That's just the way I am.

6. I see the blind man as the people's guide,
    the ascetic in his cave a deserter;
    those who act in the theater of lies
    I see as dark buffoons.
    Those who fail I find successful,
    and progress only backsliding.
    am I squint-eyed,
    Or just crazy?
    Friend, I'm crazy.
    Look at the withered tongues of shameless leaders,
    The dance of the whores
    At breaking the backbone on the people's rights.
    When the sparrow-headed newsprint spreads its black lies
    In a web of falsehood
    To challenge Reason-the hero in myself-
    My cheeks turn red, friend,
    red as molten coal.
    When simple people drink dark poison with their ears
    Thinking it nectar-
    and right before my eyes, friend!-
    then every hair on my body stands up stiff
    as the Gorgon's serpent hair-
    every hair on me maddened!
    When I see the tiger daring to eat the deer, friend,
    or the big fish the little,
    then into my rotten bones there comes
    the terrible strength of the soul of Dadhichi
    and tries to speak, friend,
    like the stormy day crashing down from heaven with the lightning.
    When man regards a man
    as not a man, friend,
    then my teeth grind together, all thirty-two,
    top and bottom jaws,
    like the teeth of Bhimasena.
    And then
    red with rage my eyeballs rool
    round and round, with one sweep
    like a lashing flame
    taking in this inhuman human world.
    My organs leap out of theirs frames-
    uproar! Uproar!
    my breathing becomes a storm,
    my face distorted, my brain on fire, friend!
    with a fire like those that burn beneath the sea,
    like the fire that devours the forests,
    frenzied, friend!
    as one who would swallow the wide world raw.
    Oh yes, my friend,
    the beautiful chakora am I,
    destroyer of the ugly,
    both tender and cruel,
    the bird that steals the heaven's fire,
    child of the tempest,
    spew of the insane volcano,
    terror incarnate.
    Oh yes, friend,
    my brain is whirling, whirling-
    that's just the way I am.

( Translation of "Pagal"by Mahakavi himself. )

Devkota wrote a satirical poem titled "The Lunatic." The poet illustrates the supremacy of emotion in this poetry. In this poem, which is an autobiography, he assumes the identity of a maniac to vent his rage at humanity's inhumanity. This poem serves as both a contemporary statement of his deepest emotions and a ruthless expose of the hollowness of the era's purported intellectual seekers. The poet also emphasizes Nepal's social, cultural, and political landscape.

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