D. B. Gurung – Life and Letters

Written, collected and edited by Ram Prasad Prasain

One of contemporaneous signatures in the field of Nepali writers in English, D. B. Gurung was born in a middle-class Gurkha family in Kathmandu. His family hailed to Kathmandu originally from Rumjatar, the mid-eastern Nepal. His schooling took places in different countries from Nepal, India, Bhutan, and Sikkim to the United States. He has traveled extensively about forty-two states in the United States; and visited the United Kingdom, Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, and India.

Gurung realized the importance of a native land owing to the experience of his familial movement. He was a painter and also started expressing his poetic sensibility since by early childhood. Though his family and acquaintances did not openheartedly appreciate the flair of poetry in the youth of Gurung family.

Gurung has spent many years far from his native country. He has garnered the firsthand experience as a migrant and diasporic person. Being a member of ethnic community, he knows better how it feels to be a victim of racial segregation, and being educated in a liberal tradition,  he feels the suffocation—as does Gagan, the protagonist of his novel and somehow his alter ego —in a society where people are denied basic freedom and human dignity.

Gurung published his first volume of poems, Sleepwalk (2003) which earned national attention and drew the literati and critics on it, and co-authored Voices from Nepal (1999), the first anthology of poems by Nepali writers in English. He brought the voices and echoes of the repressed humanity in his novel, Echoes of the Himalayas (2000). It has captured diverse issues: autobiography, native-nationalism, ethnicity, resistance, identity politics and representation effectively, vividly and picturesquely.

Gurung’s dexterity and erudition has been witnessed in his Nepal Tomorrow: Voices and Visions (2003).  He has edited and compiled widely read collection of articles from various spheres of society that accumulates and assembles thirty-nine of the finest minds of country with its encyclopedic scope. The epigraph from Nepal Tomorrow: Voices and Visions speaks as

To the millions gone
Who could not find voice
To the millions born
Who cannot find voice
And those millions unborn
Who are yet to find voice (xii

He ventures to voice the voiceless millions, empower the margin voices and break down the culture of silence. He expresses mission, vision and direction with messianic responsibility through his literary insights to ethnic minorities, sidelined ones and downtrodden portion of humanity.

Gurung’s many poems have been published in various anthologies of Nepal and the United States, including Distinguished poets of America, American Poetry Anthology, and Creative Arts and Science, among others, and have won several awards and commendations. He prepares to appear with a new novel sooner ahead. Philosophy, politics, life and society and controversy make place and leave marks on history through his writing.

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