A writer thriving in the Nepali diaspora: An interview with Krishna Bajgai

Books of Krishna Bajgai. Collage by Rezwan

Books of Krishna Bajgai. Collage by Rezwan. Fair use.

Krishna Bajgai, an accomplished Nepali author based in the UK, has skilfully established his unique presence within the dynamic Nepali diaspora while simultaneously achieving significant recognition and fame in Nepal. His literary accomplishments have earned him numerous prestigious awards and accolades from various local and international literary institutions.

Krishna Bajgai holds the position of President at Samakalin Sahitya Pratistan (the Contemporary literary academy) in the UK and is currently the Editor/Publisher at its literary platform Samakalin Sahitya which has been published for over 15 years. He also serves as the Editor-In-Chief of the ‘Prawasan’ Literary Research Journal. His commitment to advancing literature transcends geographical boundaries. Previously, he was the International Coordinator for the Short Story Society Nepal and served as the Senior Vice President of the International Nepal Literary Society in the USA (2010–2012). Furthermore, he played a pivotal role as the Founder and President of the International Nepal Literature Society, Belgium Chapter (2007–2011).

Krishna Bajgai's literary prowess extends across a diverse range of published works, showcasing his versatility as a writer. Among his literary works, you can find an array of books (all published in Nepali), encompassing a collection of short stories, micro short stories, a book of children's stories, travelogues, and haiku collections. His inspiring journey in the international literary scene continues to enrich the Nepali literary landscape.

Global Voices contributor Sangita Swechcha interviewed Krishna Bajgai via email about his literary achievements and contributions. The answers have been edited for brevity and context.

Image provided by Krishna Bajgai.

Image provided by Krishna Bajgai.

Sangita Swechcha (SS): Tell us about your latest publications

Krishna Bajgai (KB): Recently, I have published an anthology of travelogues named ‘Umihotaru’ (in Nepali). It covers my travel experience within Japan, the USA and UK.

SS: Having stayed abroad for so long, how do you manage to publish so many books?

KB: Indeed, it hasn't been easy! However, my profound passion for contributing to Nepali Literature has driven me for over 40 years. I have carefully organised my life to maintain a work-life balance, which grants me the precious time to write. It's all about commitment, and I am fully dedicated to writing and regularly publishing my creations. To date, I have published 15 books (in Nepali) covering diverse genres.

SS: Can you share your experience regarding the inclusion of many of your stories into Nepal's educational curriculum for children's literature?

KB: Yes, in the past few years, 21 of my children's stories have been selected for grades 4, 5, 6, and 7 in the National Curriculum for children's books in Nepal. In my understanding, a children's story writer must be innovative and imaginative while using the mildest words possible to make it comprehensible for young readers. Meeting these standards requires knowledge of children's psychology and an understanding of their interests. It is a highly responsible task for a writer to meet these required standards. I believe that the publication houses and curriculum designers recognised these qualities in my writing, which led to the selection of my stories for the curriculum.

SS: How do you see the global Nepali diaspora contributing to the advancement of Nepali literature?

KB: In the past decade, the Nepali Diaspora has remarkably extended its presence all over the world. One notable aspect of the diaspora community is that they encounter difficulties in preserving their identity and ethnicity while also aspiring to integrate with the mainstream population of their host countries. These struggles and experiences deserve expression, and one of the most powerful ways to convey them is through writing. Numerous research studies have shown that the diaspora community's challenges and experiences are best represented in the literature they produce.

Through literature, the Nepali diaspora expresses its struggles and experiences, contributing not only a fresh perspective to Nepali mainstream literature but also aiding in the preservation and restoration of their own identity and recognition.

SS: What are your future plans? Please shed some light on your involvement in Samakalin Sahitya Pratistan.

KB: Nothing specific is planned at the moment, but I will certainly continue with my writing. Hopefully, a new collection of travelogues and children's storybooks will be published by the end of this year.

When speaking about Samakalin Sahitya, I take great pride in leading the Nepali diasporic literary organisation, ‘Samakalin Literary Academy, UK,’ established in 2007. Over the years, it has made significant contributions to Nepali mainstream literature through various means, including its own website and a Facebook page with over 260,000 members. Additionally, the organisation is actively involved in publication, having published more than 30 books across multiple genres of Nepali literature. This platform has been instrumental in providing newly emerging diasporic writers with the opportunity to publish their creations in an easy and systematic format.

One of the most commendable aspects of Samakalin Sahitya is its publication of peer-reviewed journals such as ‘Pravasan’ since 2017, with the objective of preserving literary works in the permanent records of research. This initiative has not only garnered attention from academics in the homeland but has also fostered greater collaboration and interaction between diasporic writers and peers. The journal's existence has been instrumental in bridging the gap between the homeland and diasporic Nepali literature, enriching the potential for mutual growth and progress.

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