|History of literature|
|Modern by century|
Nepali literature (Nepali: नेपाली साहित्य) refers to the literature written in Nepali language inside Nepal as well as in any part of the world. The Nepali language has been the national language of Nepal since 1958.
Nepali language evolved from Sanskrit and it is difficult to exactly date the history of Nepali language literature since most of the early scholars wrote in Sanskrit. It is, however, possible to roughly divide Nepali literature into five periods.
It is thought that Nepali literature has existed in verbal folklore for the past hundreds of years; however, there exists no evidence of a written literary work before the Bhanubhakta. Before Bhanubhakta, writing was done in Sanskrit, and because it was a language accessible exclusively by high-caste Brahmins at that time, common Nepali people were not involved in literature. A few scholars have argued that poet Suwananda Daas was the first literary figure in the history of modern Nepal. Being contemporary of Bhanubhakta but still representing Nirgun Bhakti Dhara (attribute-less devotional stream) Saint Gyandil Das was an outlined poet in Nepali who wrote Udayalahari.
Nepali speakers honor Bhanubhakta as the "Adikavi (Nepali: आदिकवि)" (literally meaning 'first poet') of the Nepali language. Bhanubhakta's most important contribution to Nepali literature is probably his translation of the holy Ramayana into the Nepali language. He transcribed Ramayana in metric form, using the same form as Sanskrit scholars. Besides translating the Ramayana, Bhanubhakta also wrote original poems on a diverse range of subjects: from advocacy of family morals to satires of bureaucracy and poor conditions of prisoners.
Motiram Bhatta (1923–1953) revived the legacy of Bhanubhakta and publicized the contributions of the latter. Motiram played such a fundamental role in the legacy of Bhanubhakta that some allege that Bhanubhakta was just a fabrication of Motiram's mind.
The Pre-Revolution Era was a very prolific time for creative writing despite the lack of freedom of expression, during the period the independent magazine "Sharada" was the only printed medium available for publication of Nepali literature. Short stories by Laxmi Prasad Devkota, Guru Prasad Mainali, Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala and Gadul Singh Lama (Sanu Lama), has become recognized as of tremendous importance. It is arguably the most significant period for the development of Nepali literature.
Plays like the influential Muna Madan by Laxmi Prasad Devkota tell the tales of human lives: the story is about a man who leaves his wife, mother, and home, to earn money abroad and the tragedy of his mother's and wife's deaths when he returns home. However, the story also portrays the life of the wife who suffered greatly without her husband. Other stories by Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala introduced psychology into literature, for instance through creations such as "Teen Ghumti", "Doshi Chasma" and "Narendra Dai".
This regime produced several prominent poets such as, Laxmi Prasad Devkota, Gopal Prasad Rimal, Siddhicharan Shrestha, Bhim Nidhi Tiwari and Balkrishna Sama. Later, several poets come into light during the Panchayat regime. Indra Bahadur Rai, Parijat, Bhupi Sherchan, Madhav Prasad Ghimire, Bairagi Kainla, Banira Giri, Ishwor Ballav, Tulsi Diwasa, Toya Gurung and Krishna Bhooshan Bal can be named in this regard.
Nepali language authors contributing after the democratic revolution of 1991 to present day could be listed as Khagendra Sangraula, Ashesh Malla, Yuyutsu Sharma, Suman Pokhrel, Shrawan Mukarung, Nayan Raj Pandey, Ramesh Kshitij, Narayan Wagle, Buddhi Sagar, Mahananda Poudyal, Deenbandhu Sharma among many more.
Nepali language speakers are rapidly migrating around the globe and many books of Nepali language literature are published from different corners of the world. Diasporic literature has developed new ways of thinking and created a new branch in Nepali language literature.