Few words from daughter

The book has also portrayed the pain and anguishes of Tibetan women, painful of being under a master, and the helplessness of two lovers who were separated by the cultural differences between Tibet and Nepal. After reading this book, readers will feel the pain young Dharma Ratna and Hisila went through. Dharma Ratna ‘Yami’ could not marry his young charming love Hisila, a Tibetan native. I often wonder why he didn't marry Hisila. However, upon his return home completing one of the jail terms, he was able to find true love and the life partner Heera Devi, who supported him in every endeavor to realize his dreams to free Nepal from the tyranny of the Rana oligarchs.

The book was written by our dear father as a way to keep his mental poise and to relieve himself from the inhumane torture inflicted by the Rana regime during his long political imprisonment. The composition of this book helped him steady his nerves and put away from severe mental agony. During the democratic movement of the 1940s in Nepal, a large number of freedom fighters were kept without due process in jails, and many were tortured. Four of the bravest among them became martyrs: Ganga Lal (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gangalal_Shrestha), Dasha Rath Chand (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dashrath_Chand), Dharma Bhakta Mathema (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dharma_Bhakta_Mathema) and Shukra Raj Shastri (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shukraraj_Shastri) were executed publicly in 1997 BS (1941 AD ). Ten people were given life imprisonment with property confiscation. Dharna Ratna with three others were imprisoned for eighteen years with property confiscation; remaining persons were imprisoned for varying terms from five to twelve years. He changed his surname from ‘Tuladhar’ to ‘Yami’ in order to break the culture of silence by symbolizing that he had shed his caste and just identified himself as a common citizen of Kathmandu. He realized the bad impact of the existing social practices of those times based on caste system. This message helped other political prisoners in the jail to unite and organize oppressed communities against the Rana rulers.

Dharma Ratna Yami and other political inmates went through immense hardship and brutal torture practices of the jail during their imprisonment years. Physical torture was a routine. All of the inmates were packed in a small prison-cell with extremely degraded inhuman facilities. One of Yami’s close friends died during one of the brutal beatings. After the brutal untimely killing of his close friend, young Dharma Ratna Yami went into severe depression and lost his composure. To revive him from the depressive state, his close friends started reminding him of his first love and sweet heart Hisila of Tibet. It worked miracle! The thought of Hisila slowly nurtured him back to healthy mental state. He decided to narrate his immortal love story during his remaining time in the prison cell. This narration also included the love letters he wrote to Hisila. The inmates really used to get entertained by his compositions. These compositions and Hisila’s remembrance also influenced us in our family. He named two of his daughters after Hisila. The birth of his third child Timila sensed a new era marking the end of Rana regime and the beginning of democracy in Nepal. His seventh and the last child, a daughter was born with charismatic face with Tibetan sparkling eyes. The child reminded him of his sweetheart Hisila and he couldn’t stop himself calling his child Hisila to keep a memory of his great lost lover. 

I could conclude two loves coexist in his life. I often wonder how he could love Hisila so much and eventually live with my mother. How did the existence of two women affect his life? My mother died at the age of forty nine leaving behind seven children. I was not of the age to understand and analyze such intricate emotional details. My mother either sympathized with my father's earlier romance and let him nurture the memory of Hisila allowing her youngest daughter to be named after her, or that she was beyond jealousy altogether. In either case it was a relationship that endured and thrived much to the delight of all of us.

This book was written originally in Nepal Bhasa language (Sandeya Lisah), and has been a course book for Newari literature in Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal. This book has remained very popular among the students undertaking this course. We feel honored to see that this book has managed to remain in the hearts of the Nepalese people.

The popular literary figure in Nepal Bhasa – Yami’s first cousin Mr. Chittadhar Hridaya (born Chittadhar Tuladhar), a famous writer, was jailed in 1941 AD for six years by the Rana regime for writing a poem in Nepal Bhasa during a crackdown against the language. The Ranas promoted only one language, Nepali. They had a very biased view for any book written in ethnic languages. Due to this language suppression policy imposed by the Ranas, lots of valuable literature written by ethnic groups vanished. This classical piece of literary work never got due publicity.

The Nepali version of this book titled Lhasa Bolchhe was translated by the famous poet, Durga Lal Shrestha ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRITe4HJIZ0 ) . It has also been translated into Chinese language. It is our hope that this Chinese publication will further strengthen the socio-cultural relationship with our neighboring country China. And now this book has seen the daylight in English, translated by Mr. DB Gurung. My sincere gratitude to him. We hope to translate this book in several other international languages to spread the glory of this great love story.