Jhamak Ghimire- Writing life with feet / turning thorns into flowers
The name of Jhamak Ghimire is widely respected in the field of Nepali literature. After receiving the Madan Prize in her self-contained essay ‘Jeevan Kanda Ki Phool’ in 2067 B.S. the name of Ghimire became the popular household name.
She was born with the disease named Cerebral Palsy due to which she lost the ability to walk, speak, stand or move. She has written many compositions, with the help of three toes of her left foot, sharpening her ability to hear and understand.
Many books have even been published by Ghimire. Ghimire, unable to get a formal education, has developed her ability by watching and listening to her brothers and sisters in the house.
Ghimire, who had received no family affection and no support, had to face many difficulties during her childhood. Jhamak, who has been interested in writing since 2053 B. S. has expressed her struggles with life’s experiences and self-realization in her works in literary creation. She writes contemporary articles.
Her articles are often short, good, and relevant. She likes to read books that give energy to her life to keep her curious about anything, and she likes optimistic articles about life.
Childhood of Ghimire
Jhamak was born as the eldest daughter of father Krishna Bahadur Ghimire and mother Ashadevi Ghimire on 2037 B. S. Asar 21 Friday. She was born in kachide of Dhankuta. Her childhood was full of struggles and difficulties. She was born with a disabled body in a family already living in famine. So-called her own people and relatives had called her Murkatta(human skeleton) as soon as she was born.
She used to receive the blessing to die soon on Dashai from her elders. She didn’t receive any kind of formal education from teachers or school. When she tried to learn something, her family used to scold her by saying what’s the use of her studying.
Whatever she learned, she had taught herself. She used to write with her toe on the floor. Blood used to spat out on the floor. Her family scolded her for ruining the floor. She then used to write with coal. But we have old Nepali belief that writing with coal invites the unlock and one had to borrow money. For this also she got scolded.
If other children do not read, they are beaten. But she got beaten because she asked for a book and a pen. Her occasional smile vanished when others shouted her not to laugh or smile. Again the old superstition of Nepalese society which says when you laugh a lot, misfortune will come your way.
People used to call her unlucky and walk away from her. When her grandmother, her only supporter, passed away when she was five. She began to eat a meal with her toes. She daubed herself in an attempt to wash or wipe herself. She grew up in hunger, thirst, nakedness, loneliness.
At the age of 9/10, she even had to endure the sexual abuse from the workers who came to build her house. They used to tease her for her intimate parts were shown from the torn clothes she wore.
Self-teaching started when she was seven years old and heard how the Indian epic “Ramayana” was recited by her father. One day, when she saw her father admonishing the younger sister to study, it sparked her curiosity and enthusiasm. She started writing the alphabet with her feet and learned the Devanagari script in one week.
Although everything she knows about the world comes only from what she reads, through her window, or in her limited social contacts, it brings her abundance of material. Jhamak’s gift came to light in 1994 when a local neighborhood journalist wrote about her in a local weekly newspaper. Other magazines also praised their work and their personality.
Jhamak Ghimire’s Struggle
Being born with a physical disability did not stop her desire to learn to read and write. She had heard from her sister who had read and pronounced the word. Based on that, she tried to learn something. Her father taught her sister by holding her sister’s hand and write letters, but she learned it herself. When she tried to write with a pencil, it used to over drop from her hand.
Jiwan Kanda ki Phool(life amidst thorn) describes her life and her struggles of her childhood. It begins with the earliest memories of her childhood. The care and support she received from her family strongly contradicted her behavior to society. At that time, hatred for society was growing in the spirit of an innocent child. This book also covers the rage of discrimination suffered by her from society as being born physically abnormally.
Ghimire has also been nicknamed as Helen Keller of Nepal. Both of them suffer from the same disease. But unlike Keller, Ghimire was born in a poor family. She was unable to get encouragement or support from her family to read and write because she was physically disabled.
However, she kept herself ambitious and proved to be a capable writer. Yet, her life was always preceded by struggles and hardships. It also sometimes tried to distance her from her desire to learn. Her tenacity and strong will make her an example today. Jiwan Kanda ko Phool is an inspirational book that teaches a lot. If someone is working hard, nothing is impossible, says the book. The reality is the same.
Jhamak Ghimire’s achievements
Ghimire is one of the 10 most talented writers in the world suffering from the disease. Sankalpa, Samjhana, Bachitaharu, Manchhe vitrako yodha, Jiwan Kanda ki Phool are some her remarkable creations. She has already published 13 books of hers.
Jiwan Kanda ki Phool is her self contained essay in which she has expressed her difficulties she had to face during her childhood. She has received dozens of national and international awards and honors through this work, including the prestigious Gorkha Dakshin Bahu Fourth and the Madan Prize.
She is the second woman after Parijat to receive the Madan award. Her Jiwan Kanda ko Phool has been translated into various languages, including English, Chinese, Assamese, Hindi, German, said Janardan Ghimire, secretary of the literary arts establishment.
She is also active in writing articles in various magazines on contemporary issues along with literature. Her regular columns have been published in Kantipur Daily and Blast Times Daily. Her struggles, courage, determination, learning, and ability to do so have become inspirational for every person.
Her efforts and struggles to raise life and society to new heights have inspired people with disabilities and even challenged those who are proud to be physically capable.
She said that all social, economic, political, legal and religious differences in our society should be eradicated for the upliftment of Nepali women.
कति काँतर बन्छौ हाम्रा गाउँका शेक्शपियर चेलीहरूरु तिम्रै धरतीमै मारिँदै छन् अकाल हाम्रा कोमल चेलीहरू सामन्त र स्वतन्त्रता त खोक्रो खाली नारा हो अब उठ चेलीहरू
Through this poem, she has given a message to the women to begin a change by changing themselves.
Jhamak Ghimire’s Creations
She has written many poems. Some of her popular poems are just below :
- Sankalpa (Vow)
- Aafnai Chita Agni Shikhatira (own pyre to the fire top)
- Manchhe Bhitraka Yoddaharu (warrior inside man)
- Awasan Pachhiko Aagaman (Arriving after death): short stories, poems, daily diaries, songs, essays, etc.
- Jeevan Kaanda Ki Phool (Life amidst thorn)
- Kabita Ram Bal Sahitya Prativa Puraskar 2055
- Aswikrit Bichar Sahitya Puraskar, 2056
- Madan Puraskar, 2067
- Prabal Gorkha Dakshin Bahu award
- Lain Sinha Wangdel Puraskar, 2072
- Midwestern University honors literary scholar Jhamak with a complimentary scholarship award.
The movie made on the life of Jhamak
The film Jiwan Kanda ki Phool, produced and directed by Vinod Bista, contains a biography of Jhamak Ghimire suffering from brain paralysis. The film is presented by Bista Brothers Films Pvt., Kathmandu banner and Jhamak Ghimire literary arts establishment.
The film also stars Rosita Buddhacharya, Kisan Sunuwar, Menuka Pradhan, Umadevi Giri, Sarita Ghimire. The lyrics of this movie were written by Prakash Siwakoti and Jhumk Ghimire herself. The story is written by Mukti Upadhyay and Jhamak Ghimire.
About 98 percent of the film’s cinematography has been done in Jhamak’s birthplace, Dhankuta Municipality-2, Kachide. Some scenes have been filmed in Dharan and Kathmandu. The film covers topics ranging from the days of her childhood to the day when she received Madan Puraskar. Ghimire said that the movie expects to spread consciousness to end social discrimination.
Jhamak Ghimire Literary Arts Foundation
Jhamak Ghimire Literary Arts Foundation, established five years ago in Dhankuta with the aim of promoting the art of literary gimmick. Gopal Guragain, chairman of the establishment, said that Dhankuta was established as a holy place of literature and tourism center under the name of Jhamak Ghimire.
Jhamak’s contributions are not confined to the hometown of Dhankuta, they are the property of Nepali literature and world literature, said Guragain. But the first right on this particular talent and intellectual property rests with Dhankuta itself. That is why the establishment has been trying to fulfill its duty by recognizing this unique talent and personality.
The foundation has placed a welcome board at various sites of Dhankuta city. Guragain said that the literary festival is being organized every three years on the occasion of the birth anniversary of the literary artist Ghimire. And the ‘Visit Jhamak Ghar Nagar Dhankuta’ is being organized every five years.
Strong belief in life as seen in ‘life thorns or flowers’
The essence is based on the author’s self-story, ‘Jeevan Kanda Ki Phool’, which received Madan Award, the prestigious award in the Nepalese Literature. Ghimire was born physically weak. The poor woman from the poor and rural environment had to deal with marginalized hindrances and futures due to the narrow mindedness of her family and society.
Even in such turbulent times, she had a deep regard for society and life. She has taken life as a blooming flower among the thorns. These things are revealed in this work through simple and fluent language.
Although unable to understand, to speak, to walk, to do the work by her hands, she cannot urinate, bathe, or wash. She writes with the help of her toes. Though suffering from cerebral Palsy but still to be able to create the masterpieces is thought to be wonder by the physicians.
There is the blind belief in Nepali society that such physical disabled child is born due to some of pre-life. So her mother was blamed. On the other hand, the male-dominant attitude towards women is equally abusive in this society. This situation is even worse in rural poor families than in urban conscious and affluent families.
A series of traumatic stories she narrated in which she expressed her deep history of struggle and her life are described in successive acts. Therefore, this work is based on the theme of Jhamak’s life.
In it, Jhamak describes the pain, sorrow, terror, panic, life experience she has witnessed from birth, especially the negative circumstances of her domestic and national life. Here are some of the thoughts of rural society and negative attitudes towards people with disabilities found in the work.
It has also been presented that in such circumstances, the love of life has come into being through constant self-restraint with constant self-esteem. Being able to express one’s feelings through writing, she was expanding her identity.
From a methodological point of view, this is an autobiography. It is not only a singular statement of a person’s story but also the various situations that a person experiences and the feelings, thoughts, criticisms, or visual references she has generated.
It has greatly opened up to the feeling that not all stones are the same, but also some shaligram, or the interplay of glitter. Critical vision or narrative context is well-articulated.
The main tone seen in the work presented is a strong belief in life. But there are plenty of other helpful vocalizations to express and empower this tone. It can be summed up in the following points:
Not only are people physically and mentally healthy or normal in the world, but there are also some unhealthy or weak or abnormal people. Such persons are referred to as a lame, blind, deaf, and sluggish, or a dumb or unusual man.
The practice of harassing the weak and the paranoid by those who consider themselves healthy and normal has been practiced in both Eastern and Western societies since ancient times. Such people also see the practice of divine curse as a sin of birth. In Greek dramas, deaf people have been used as comedians for lack of logical ability.
There is still a trend used by underdogs to make audiences laugh at movies and circuses. Aristotle argued in his ‘Politics’ that children with disabilities should be legally terminated. There was also the practice of throwing them into places such as hill ditches, rivers or forest. In the novel are some of the most touching expressions of the words and actions of, as they sometimes do, Apathetic towards you.
Here is a far cry from the unrelenting, unethical behavior that often leads to heartbreak. That is why she said that she lived such an unequal and substandard life that only animals could have lived. In society, she was the only one who wanted to see her alive than dead. All those who come to her house asking for her death. Here is a far cry from the unhappy statements of human behavior.
Jhamak has been badly criticized especially for her mother, for wanting to read a book, wanting to copy a book, being curious, demanding a book, eating out stale rice with hunger, without getting the help of anyone. She said I was never taught to live in harmony with life, I was only taught to flee from life. Even in the weak, there is a heart.
They also have curiosity. They also have a desire to live. We are not hungry for mercy. But why are the spits of mercy passed over us? The walls are standing tight in front of us. When will we have to break these walls and live our lives?”
The pain of being a woman:
Being a woman is a pain. Apart from this, the problems of the disabled or physically challenged women are still rampant in this society. Such social oppressions are presented here under the heading ‘Ritu Dharma and Bais’ and various other contexts.
In spite of such a debilitating physical condition, the father’s old friends, people who came to the house, and the troublesome behavior of the security personnel in the crisis have also exposed the ugly social culture and character.
The family economic background of Jhamak, the daughter of a postal general staff, appears to be lower middle class. Due to the poorness, even the common things that jhamak want, pen, cloth to cover the body, the filling of the stomach, the craving to read, has not been fulfilled.
While she had to fill her stomach with her parents’ anger and sticks. Lack of clothes compelled her to wear plastic trousers which tore easily due to her crawling. Such was the suffering of Jhamak.
Jhamak seems to be more determined with her thoughts and beliefs than she was since childhood. Later on, she finds that by study, she is rationalizing her ideas. Gorkha Dakshin Bahu fourth medal declared by King Birendra was not given to her timely.
Because of her disagreement with the monarchy. According to her, it’s not fine as being the king just by being born as the eldest son. She wrote many articles against the monarchy in times of crisis. Her monthly allowance 1000 RS. Was also deducted by king Gyanendra as he came to the throne. This has enhanced her sorrow.
Despite the urge that people belonging to different parties requested her to write in their favor. She totally held against them, for this also she has been traumatized several times which she has mentioned in the book. Likewise, even people who are well-educated can be found guilty of anger and resentment at their tendency to criticize others based on their physical weakness and forget about humanity.
Because of her unwavering belief in life, the passion for art literature, the rejection of murder violence, the opposition to injustice, the commitment to truth, the desire for democracy. The desire for widespread freedom, the opposition to the anarchy in the name of freedom, world humanism, the expectation of self-reliance, positive thinking in every field.
The following statements in the work confirm the same:
“I wanted to add life to literature, wanted to apply the idea of literature.”
The body may be crippled but not the conscience and sense.
“I cannot justify any cruel, brutal act as a creator. Neither can I call white black, nor can I pretend to see black as white. Humanity, peace, liberty, and democracy were the main motives of my writing. ”
Everything looks beautiful when you look at the world with beautiful eyes.
I do not have to operate under the flag of a party because I have that circumference that is not narrow.”
“I am a great and untouchable person not based on caste. I wanted to break away from the roots. ”
” Even though the blind faithful society never looked at me in a positive way, I always viewed myself with a positive outlook. ”
“Yes, a woman needs to be financially self-sufficient to be free in all sense. It teaches that life is me. “
” The pen itself is free, free is the creator himself.”
Certainly, the above statements not only reflect a deep passion for the life of the world, but also a positive attitude towards society and life. The idea that art is for life suggests that she wants to launch her creation. She also has a strong desire for disorganization, inconsistency, and anarchy in society. Likewise, one can find that advocating for complete independence in the creation of life and art literature is very powerful.
Ghimire never pauses to complain about her fate. She is independent and independent in her many efforts to master the obstacles in her life. She writes about life with the help of her feet to share with others and to encourage them to believe that it is really possible to turn a thorn into a flower that lives with hope, with courage and to live with hope. This really makes her an “angel of the thorns”.
Her weekly column deals with children’s and women’s issues as well as socio-cultural and political vices and achievements. Jhamak’s most amazing ability is to override her physical condition with almost supernatural bravery. That’s why it’s so inspirational for thousands of Nepalis and a leading national figure.
Author: Ankur Pradhan