Book: Jiwan Kada Ki Phool
Author: Jhamak Kumari Ghimire
Original title: जीवन काँडा कि फूल
Published: Jhamak Ghimire Sahitya Pratisthan 2010
Media type: Biography
Pages: 250 pg
Awards: Madan Puraskar
“I recall that when I first learned to write the letters of the alphabet, I was unable to express my excitement with anyone.” Even if it was on the naked soil, I had perfected the art of scrawling letters and had learned to speak them, if only in my head. I blasted a cloud of dust in the air the first day I was able to scribble the initial letter of the consonant (Ka) out of sheer joy because I had broken countless twigs and hurt the fragile skin pressing against the earth in order to learn writing this letter. Furthermore, when I practiced writing by dipping my toes in the dew drops collected in the bowl, my toes bled.”
This is an excerpt from Nepali author Jhamak Ghimire’s book Jiwan Kada ki Phool (Life is a thorn or a flower). Jiwan Kada ki Phool is an autobiography in which she describes the struggle and hardship she faced in achieving her goal of learning to read and write.
Even though she was born with a disability, she was able to learn to read and write. She used to imitate her sister’s pronunciation of the letters by repeating them silently. She used to watch her father take her sister’s hand in his and teach her how to write letters on paper. She did it herself, but her pencils were usually dew drops from her foot, bamboo stems, or rocks, and her paper was always the wide and welcome soil.
Jiwan Kada ki Phool is a memoir about Jiwan Kada ki Phool’s life and struggles since childhood. It all starts with her earliest childhood recollections. In contrast to the harsh way society treated her, she received care and support from her grandma. The sentiments and emotions of an innocent child growing up among society’s hate, feelings and emotions she could never express. Her rage stemmed from the social persecution she endured as a result of being born physically disadvantaged. Her wordless reactions to all the cruel things society said to her, as well as her struggle for life and recognition after her grandma died, are brilliantly conveyed in the novel.The phrases and sentences used are quite similar to those spoken in Nepalese communities on a daily basis.
Jhamak Ghimire is regarded as the Nepali equal of Hellen Keller, as they both suffered from cerebral palsy. Unlike Keller, though, Ghimire came from a poor family in a destitute nation, where the parents wanted their physically deformed children were dead rather than suffering. Her family did not encourage or assist her in her efforts to learn to read and write. She did, however, establish herself as one of Nepal’s most talented and aspiring novelists. Despite the fact that her life had always been full of struggle and adversity, she never lost sight of her ambition to study. Her tremendous willpower and perseverance resulted in the birth of an aspiring novelist and one of the most inspiring books of all time.
A must-read is Jiwan Kada ki Phool. It is an amazing novel that shows us that nothing is impossible if we are willing to pursue something and work hard for it. The book is the author’s masterwork and the most popular book of the period 2066-67 B.S. It has been reprinted seven times in less than two years, making it Nepal’s all-time top seller. It has also won numerous honors. The book is inspiring and motivating, and there is something in it for everyone. It’s been lately translated into English as “A flower among thorns.”