Rupnarayan Sinha, a giant and pioneer of modern Nepali literature, was born on Friday 10 February 1904 in a house by the side of Hill Cart Road at Sepoydhura, then a hamlet and still a hamlet, in the hills of Darjeeling. He passed his matriculation from Government High School, Darjeeling in 1924. In the School, beside others, Pandit Dharnidhar Sharma and Late Surja Vikram Gyawali were his teachers who inspired his writing prowess. He was an excellent student and was much loved and admired by the then Head Master Achutya Nanda Adhikary. One of his classmates was no other than the famous writer Mahananda Sapkotaji.
For higher studies, Rupnarayan Sinha joined Scottish Church College, Calcutta and later graduated from St. Xavier’s College Calcutta in 1928. During his college years, he was awarded a scholarship of Rs. 5/- per month for his excellent results in English language. After graduation, he came back to Darjeeling and taught in his old School for six months alongside his former teachers. His desire to join legal profession took him back to Calcutta from where he returned in 1932 with a law degree and joined Darjeeling Bar. He practiced law under the able guidance of the renowned advocate Bhuwan Mohan Chakraborty. Sinha proved to a very successful lawyer with an uncanny success rate in the cases he fought in the law courts. In legal profession, he became a legend in his lifetime.
Rupnarayan Sinha also spent a lot of time in the service of the people. He was elected twice as the Vice-Chairman of Darjeeling Municipality in the year 1948 and 1952.
More than his distinguished profession and colourful public life Rupnarayan Sinha is known in the Nepali world as a great writer. He was the editor of Nepali magazines ‘Khoji’ published by Gorkha Dukha Newaran Samelan (GDNS) Darjeeling in the year 1940 and ‘Bharati’ published by Mani Printing Press in 1949.
Rupnarayan Sinha is particularly known for his novel ‘Bhramar’. His second novel ‘Bijuli’ remained unfinished due to his sudden demise on 26 January 1955.
For his time Rupnarayan Sinha was ultra modern in his life style, his thought and philosophy. All these qualities reflect in his writings.
On his death, a Bengali gentleman had commented thus, “Rupnarayan Sinha was like a prince, he lived like a prince and died like a prince.”
Sinha’s book of short stories called ‘Katha Navaratna’ exhibits his deep study and observation of a wide range of human characters and the different hues and ethos of Nepali community.
We are already nine years into the 21st Century and the information technology and the progress of science have brought the whole world at our doorsteps. The process of globalization is moving ahead at an unprecedented pace and we are face to face with the entire population of the world. Unfortunately Rupnarayan Sinha’s ‘Bigrayko Bahun’, a short story written about 70 years back in ‘Katha Navaratna’ about the dark face of ‘untouchablity’ is still relevant in the villages of Indian and Nepal. Sadly, the suicide note dated 20 October 2009 left behind by Pappu Singh Darnal of H. D. Lama Road, Darjeeling (Himala Darpan dated 23. 10.2009) is even more painful than the plight of Old Damaini of the story ‘Bigrayko Bahun’.
It is a story written with sincere feeling and beautiful style that touches the heart of all the readers and I have made a humble effort to present it in English language for those who are not acquainted with the Nepali language. In my translation, I am definite I have not been able to do justice to the high standard of the writer for which I beg apology.
Tarabari, 22. J N Mitra road,