Why Does Fiction Matter? A Tale of the 1960s from Nepali Literature
The official finds its place in the chronicles of the state, while the ordinary reveals itself through the creative works of the people distanced from the official in society. The tension between the former and the latter adds dynamism in the social drama that inspires the creative genius to record the most ordinary with the precision of lens beyond the access of the state. This study centers on the basic question of relating fiction to study the historical worldviews and realities of a particular people, taking three test cases from the 1960s in Nepali literature: B. P. Koirala’s Narendra Dai (written in 1964, published in 1970), Parijat’s Sirishko Phool (1964), and Indra Bahadur Rai’s Aaj Ramita Chha (1964). The three texts have presented the 1960s in Nepali literature from the perspective that lies beyond the reach of the official records in that all the three authors have invented cozy but nonconformist worldviews of their own in order to set the quest of their protagonist. Drawing insights from new historicist theory, I propose to read the texts in order to see the ways each of the authors records the historical transitions of the 1960s from the perspective of the people, discussing how fiction matters in understanding and analyzing historical realities of any point in time.
Keywords: agency, resistance, transition, people’s history, self vs polity