Lekhanath: The Crown of Poets

Balak baburo dwija suka nama
Hoon ma pareko chhu pinjarama.

[A baby-parrot I am; they call me ‘dwija’. I am caught in a cage.]

Do you know who wrote this timeless song? If not, I tell you. His name is Kavi Shiromani—the Crown of Poets—Lekhanath Paudyal. He was born in 1941 BS in a village called Arghaun-Aarchalé, the eastern Gandaki Zone of Kaski District, in the month of Poush. His father’s name was Durgadatta, and his mother’s name Basundhara.

Lekhnath became attracted to reading and writing at an early age. He read many books at home. He started writing beautiful poems in Nepali language since childhood. Some people, who would despise his poems at the time, began to praise him later on.

There were no any schools in his village at the time. One had to go either to Pokhara or Kathmandu in order to study. At the time, the name of ‘Kashi’ and ‘Kaski’ were famous for education. After completing his study from a school of Kaski, the poet came to Kathmandu and joined Tindhara Sanskrit School.

Lekhanath wrote poems in Sanskrit too. He published many of his poems in the magazine Sutisudha printed from Kashi. He also got some of them published in Sundari, a monthly Nepali, published from Kashi. By 1963 BS, the magazine Sundari had become quite popular among poets.

Lekhanath returned to Kathmandu after completing his study in India. Here, he looked for a job. He got a job of teaching children of the then Prime Minister Bhim Samsher. Considering the activities of his surroundings, he wrote a famous poem named “Pinjarako Suga”—A Parrot in the Cage—at the same time.

Lekhanath has given us many books we need to read, and books that enrich our knowledge and wisdom. His main works of epics and poems are:

Lalitya 2. Buddhi Binod 3. Ritu Vichar 4. Satya-Kali Samvad 5. Mero Ram 6. Tarun Tapasi 7. Ganga-Gauri and 8. Laxmi Puja, a play.

Three works of translation to his credit are Panchatantra, Avigyan Sakuntal and Vatrihari Nirveda.

The poems he has written are easy to understand and well-crafted. For instance:

Kaha thiyo baasa aghi ma ko thiye
Kaso hunda yo pinjara lindo bhaye.
Kaha chha jaanu kuna saatha likana
Talai malum chha ki yo kura mana.

[O, where was my retreat and who I was earlier? How did it happen to reach this cage? Where am I to go now, and in whose company? Do you know all these things?]

Since his poems and works are extremely beautiful, Lekhanath was given the title ‘Kavi Siromani’—the Crown of Poets—by the nation with a great honor in 2008 BS. In 2011 BS, he was given a chariot ride in Kathmandu. General people of the country as well as other poets paid due respect to him. His Majesty’s government gave him Rs. 5,000 as a cash prize because he had made Nepali language and literature stronger, more attractive, refined and beautiful.

Besides this, Lekhanath got ‘Tribhuvan Puraskar’ in 2026 BS. He worked as a member of Royal Nepal Academy since its inception. He became a full-time member of this institution as well.

Lekhanath fell seriously ill in 2022 BS. In the belief that if one died in Kashi, he would get redemption, he was taken to Kashi. He fell into consciousness on the way. So, he was taken to Devghat of Nepal, not Kashi of India, as he had willed.

He passed away in the holy pilgrimage site of Devghat.

Lekhanath’s works have been disseminated everywhere. A God-blessed soul he was, our poet, Kavi Shiromani Lekhanath Paudyal.

Translated by Chandra Gurung


[Gopal Parajuli (b. 1945 ) fundamentally writes for children. Though he has also published stories and fictions, he is basically known for the biographies of around 200 Nepali authors, collected in eight volumes. A hundred of them have also been translated and published in English with the title Pioneers of Nepali Literature, Part I and II. He lives in Kathmandu.]