Short stories and the tradition of storytelling are important facets of both written and spoken Nepali cultural heritage.
Gurus and Wise men and Wise Women have from the earliest times been interlocutors for conveying via stories from the legends, myths and spiritual treatises of the ancient Hindu scriptures; stories that convey timeless and important spiritual truths and ethical guidance to the crowds of spell-bound crowds from the young to the old who listen to their discourses. This tradition is very much alive and thrives in Nepal, and extends to other spiritual-religious and non-religious storytelling subjects, through village elders, parents and grandparents sharing stories about the land, the locality and its myths and legends. Stories about customs, local hero’s and heroines, real or mythical, of ancient times and many more subjects illustrate the importance of the short story and storytelling.
With the rise and rise of urban culture, short story writers have been provided with many more subjects through which to share human interest, experiential, moving, exciting and sometimes very profound reflections on life and human nature, chance, and so many other subjects, from love and romance, gender and other equality issues, struggles for justice and many more subjects that move and inspire.
Two further factors have in recent times, been making a great difference to storytelling and the scope of short story writers to reach new audiences — the role of the internet, and of the increasing importance of written English in education and media sectors of Nepal. As a result we find Nepali short story writers making an increasing mark in the broader world, as in the pages of their works are able to be related in highly accessible ways, in English, topics that depict both the distinct nature of life and human experience in many different settings in Nepal, and even the Nepali overseas diaspora, and at the same time how in not a few cases these resonate with those of non-Nepali people in other lands and cities, including in the West.
The short story writer (and songwriter) Kumar Shrestha is an example of such an ambassador for this increasingly important branch of contemporary Nepali literature in the English language.
‘Contemporary Nepali Literature: Fiction — the Short Story‘: by Mukul Dahal