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Krishna Singh Moktan : Gorkha IPS Officer and Eminent Nepali Writer from Darjeeling Hills

Gorkha IPS Offficer Mr. Krishna Singh Moktan is an ex- IG Prisons. Government of West Bengal. Did his MA in political science from Calcutta University, Sociological Studies from Vishwa Bharati Shantinikitan. An eminent writer, and has written six novels, a biographer, and translator. He has been awarded Nirvan Award by Government of Sikkim (2002), Bhanubhakta Award by Government of West Bengal, Information and Culture (2004) and Sathya Akademi Award, New Delhi (2005) . Shri Krishna Singh Moktan was born on 21st August 1930, in Ghum, a village situated 8 k.m.due South of Darjeeling town. His education took place at Government High School, Darjeeling and later took his law degree  from Calcutta University in 1955, and obtained qualification in Social Science at Vishwabharati, Santiniketan, Bolepur in 1956. 

In 1962 he joined prison service as the Superintendent of Prison and rose to the rank of Inspector General, the highest post in the department of prisons in West Bengal. In early life he discovered his writing prowess in Nepali and started writing  stories in 1951 and  stunned the literary world with his first novel 'Charan Dhuli' published in 1957 that made the writer immortal in Nepali Literature. It's 3rd and the latest edition hit the bookstalls in 2003. Between 1959 and 1965, he wrote a collection of short stories and two novels, Jiwan Parikrama and Aashes Prem, all immensely popular. The writers popularity emerges from his ability to express even the most complicated events or situations in a very simple language that can touch the hearts and minds of readers all age groups, status and walks of life.

In his introduction to his famous book, 'jiwan goretoma' (life on the beaten path), the author Krishna Singh Moktan, describes life, as "the greatest miracle, and man as it's pivot, the embodiment of grandeur, the seed. That intrinsic to all human beings are the seeds of virtue and goodness, independent of education, family background ,caste, creed wealth and circumstance." It is with this profound sense of understanding that he has dealt with all the characters in his now timeless book, Jiwan Goretoma. In the process he discovered many interesting personalities among the prisoners whom he depicted in simple lucid language, and as the book evolves it becomes quite obvious that along with his characters the author himself is a central part of the tale. Of all the characters, Chandra Shekhar (the author himself) is the most absorbing personality, whose inherent goodness could penetrate the core of the most hardened criminals and discover a goldmine of what he calls "the seeds of virtue and goodness".

Krishna Singh Moktan was a former inspector general of prisons. During his tenure ranging from the days of the naxal movement till he retired he came across a disparate range of people that fell foul of the law and were incarcerated in jails and prisons that were under his care. His book is about some these  people for whom life had taken unfortunate turns.The book was written in Nepali, and and it became an instant hit. Basant Kumar Rai, translated the book into English. The language and idiom makes no effort at embellishment. This is not what the book is about and gives a wide birth to stylized prose of fiction. 

As one reads the book, the language and nuance of 'life on the beaten path' throbs with a rhythm and gravity of it's own. By the time you finish reading it, one is left pondering over an old cliche, "there but by the grace of god, go you and I". The characters range from political activists, anarchists, con-men, women of easy virtue, murderers and thieves on whom fortune had turned their back, and one is left with an uncomfortable feeling that the line which seperates us from the other side....is a thin one. Krishna Singh Moktan's position in  Nepali literature is fully consolidated  by this book, 'Jiwan Goretoma'. It came as little surprise that the Sahitya Academy Award  was conferred on him by the Government of India  in 2007.

( Written by Basant K. Rai. I am happy to be posting this on my blog page, with a few changes and adjustments.)

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