Nepali Times
"I have no time for depression"

He tells himself that there is no time for gloominess, as he has only seven more years to make the best of before he hits 70, and his mental and physical faculties start to decline. Every week Nepali Times brings you entries from BP's 1977 prison diaries, handwritten in English.

29th January 1977

Sundarijal: It looks like winter rigour will not let up. The night was extremely cold and in the early morning the whole landscape was bright white from heavy frost. The water in the earthen pit, that GM keeps in the open for birds, was frozen into a thick lump of ice. I think this morning was the coldest period of the winter. On account of this severity of the winter my body hasn't felt relaxed ever since I arrived here. Two days ago there was hint of the spring in the atmosphere, and I had felt happy contemplating the comfortableness and ease that my body would feel when the winter would be over. But it was a false hope. I didn't feel like taking bath. I sometimes feel that excess cold affects our psychology through diminishing cerebral activity. My present state of pessimism-it is not really pessimism as it is deepest state of uncertainty-may have been induced by this long spell of severe winter. At my age man feels the severity of cold excessively-If I were free, perhaps the normal daily round of work would have greatly helped in mitigating the severity of the winter. As it is I am cooped up in a small area, with the company of one person, no work except reading some book which had been brought inside just by chance, far away from dear ones who can't visit me-all this makes for a mental state in which the vigour of the winter is felt abnormally.

Today, just a month ago on 29th December '76 I was in Patna and Sushila was with me. We went out shopping; I had to buy a pair of shoes and socks. We bought them at the Bata's. The choice was Sushila's and the money was of Laxman. In the evening Nona gave a party for some of my friends at R Block. Jitanda gave us a lunch at his house at Pataliputra. Sushila was all the time tense with nervousness at the prospect of my return to Nepal and to jail. Shailaja behaved in a peculiar fashion. She too was internally nervous and excited. I remember everything vividly-remember individual faces and different scenes. How long ago was it? How far have I travelled from that day? An age has passed, and an infinity seems to separate me from them.
GM says that we are not going to rot in prison, although there is no indication that the King is in a hurry to do business with us.

30th January

It was on this day-a month ago-that we arrived at Kathmandu to be promptly taken into custody by the Nepal military. In the morning in Patna as I was preparing for departure and arranging things, DP's house was full of friends and well-wishers came to goodbye to me. Sushila was lost in thoughts-and others in the family were bewildered and a little lost too. A month which is like an infinity separates me from that time and place and dear ones.

Today too it was extremely cold. In the morning frost was heaviest and the water froze in the open. I shivered the whole morning. Didn't read. Didn't get relief even under the pale sun. When back to my bed and tried to get warm under the quilt.

I have wasted the past one month that I have lived in prison-wasted being psychologically weak, being homesick, being exclusively concerned about how my family members would fare in my absence-wasted being moody, sad, depressed listless or nervous, disturbed, impatient, restless. I must pull myself up. Enough is enough. I have not many years to live-I am already past 62. By September I will have completed 63 years. Another seven years are left in which I can be actively engaged in the pursuit of my calling with full physical and mental vigour. I may live beyond 70 years but I can't expect to be in full possession of my mental and physical faculties. Hence I have to be extremely careful, methodical and organised so that every minute of my life is accounted for. And usefully utilised towards the end of my life. Enough is enough. I know nothing is lost by my imprisonment. If anything this has improved our political position. I have to look forward to a time when after my release I will be called upon to shoulder responsibilities of political nature. There will be our party to organise on a new basis-which will entail a lot of work. Then a lot of writing has to be done to educate the people and our rank and file. I have my ideas on various subjects to put into writing. When is the time for all this? I have to hurry up. Time is short. I have no time, absolutely none, for depression and black moods.

31st January

The day continued to be cold-the morning was as cold, if not colder, as yesterday, but during the day time the wind was not strong, hence the atmosphere was tolerably cold. I bathed today after a lapse of four days.
I finished Basham's book. It is a biggish book, but he has made his subject very interesting. For the beginner this book on current and medieval history of India can be easily recommended. I read the book with a half mind, and was not keen on going on, but this morning I found to my satisfaction and surprise that I have finished the book. I will again read it with attention. I had already covered the ground during my study of Indian history with school. I had read Smith's history for my matric exam in 1930. Perhaps Smith's is more academic and detached. Basham's appears to be a love's labour since Basham is an admirer of India's heritage. This subjected attitude of the author makes the book readable. His dealing of the arts and literature of ancient India is very satisfactory and some of his own translations of Sanskrit poems are reflective of the originals' moods and nuances of feeling and felicity of expression.

I was under the impression that I haven't done any reading during the 30 days I am here. It is not so. All told I have read 600 pages. Not a remarkable achievement. But considering my present state of mind and disturbed psychology I haven't expected that I would be able to do even this much of reading. Since yesterday my mood is all right. From tomorrow I am going to organise my daily routine with reading which will occupy the primary place. But where are the books? I will be really unimaginably hard if we are not supplied with reading materials. As it is we have books, not a very high quality, but books all the same, to last us till the end of February. After that if the isolation is not lifted and contacts with people at home are not allowed then I don't know how we will spend the time in jail.

Today we were informed that our clothes would be washed by navvies attached to the platoon doing guard duty here. We said that we will wash our clothes ourselves.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)