BP Koirala's English diary from his second incarceration in the 1970s has just been published in Nepali.
The diary, which he wrote during his imprisonment upon his return to Nepal from India in December 1976, was transcribed from microfilms preserved at the Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya and the Jawaharlal Nehru Museum in New Delhi. The contents were serialised in Nepali Times from 2001-2003 as a fortnightly column, 'Back at Sundarijal'. (#74, www.nepalitimes.com).
BP Koirala, who returned from India with a call for 'national reconciliation' between the monarchy and democratic forces, was arrested at the airport and locked up along with Ganesh Man Singh at Sundarijal by Mahendra's son, Birendra. At the time India was under Indira Gandhi's emergency rule, and spearheading the movement against it was BP's friend and well-wisher Jayaprakash Narayan.
An earlier publication, Atmabrittanta: Late Life Recollections, is not a diary and does not cover the last six years of Koirala's eventful life. BP's Nepali diary (Jail Journal), written during his first incarceration after King Mahendra's 1960 coup has also been published. These diaries fill that void.
BP comes to life in this translation by Sushil Sharma, which documents all the concerns of everyday life in jail. BP describes his health concerns in excruciating detail, but there are also discussions with Ganesh Man about Mahendra's true intentions, and readings of Gorkhapatra that look between the lines to figure out what Indira Gandhi may be up to. "I am not spending time in jail," BP writes on one of his more despondent days, "time is spending me."
The book has a foreword by Ganeshraj Sharma, but could have done with more explanatory footnotes and more consistent editing.
Pheri Sundarijal (Jail Diary 2033-34)
Bisheshor Prasad Koirala
Jagadamba Press, Lalitpur, 2006