LUSTROUS CHANDANI

Role of Queen Aishwarya in Nepali Literature

Late queen Aishwarya Rajya Laxmi Devi Shah is famous by her pseudonym Chandani Shah in Nepali literature.

 As a queen, she was regarded to be  vile and malevolent but as Chandani Shah, she showed her gentler side with her lyrical compositions which were later sung by the greats of the Nepali musical fraternity. Needless to state, the beauty of her words which were latermoulded to mellifluous tunes captivated music enthusiasts even to this day.

Having a queen performing a duel role of an elite social figure and a humble writer may keep many at dismay. But history has it that the first lady writer of Nepal was also a queen - Queen Lalita Tripura Sundari.

By birth, AishwaryaRajyaLaxmi Devi Shah belonged to an elite family and was born on 7th November 1949 in Lazimpat to late General Kendra ShumsherRana and Shree RajyaLaxmi Devi Shah. She started her education from St. Helen’s Convent of Kurseong, India and got transferred to St. Mary’s at Kathmandu and later went on to pass her S.L.C from KantiIswariRajyaLaxmi High School in 1963. Unlike other aristocrats, she was simple, bubbly and least flamboyant who liked being with friends and loved to see cultural programs shown in schools. From her school days, she was fond of music and inured to listen to music, crooned sweet tunes to her cronies and wrote down songs and poems.

She had a keen interest in arts and music and learned music from Kalanidhi College of music. Like any other woman, when she stepped into marriageable age, she got married to the then crown prince of Nepal, BirendraBirBikram Shah Dev in 1968.

Chandani Shah has written about a dozen poems which were published under the title, ‘AfnaiAakashAfnaiParibesh.’ The songs were written not in regular basis or in large volumes. They were simple yet joyful. A published collection and equal number of other scattered verses are all she wrote but she took out time from her busy schedule that shows her love towards poesy. A literary magazine was also published from the royal palace where other royal members gave their contributions and in 1986, while Chandani Shah was protruding herself as a powerful person in the state affairs, her collection of verses, ‘Writings of Chandani Shah’ was promulgated. Many critics commented on her writings and many even doubted at her writings. Some think that Chandani Shah’s writings are not up to the mark to be kept on the top list of women writers of Nepal and such kind of remark should not be given importance. Like a queen, she was neither bossy nor boastful in writing, instead was a modest poet who had a soft corner for poetry. Despite various comments, she became a popular lyricist and Radio Nepal and Nepal Television broadcasted her songs. Her songs and poems were even transmuted into Hindi and Urdu language. The beauty of some such songs were above par.

She could effortlessly describe how the love of a person in life could bring so subtle nuances in feelings and relationships. To illustrate, the famous song sung by the SworSamrat, ‘Narayan Gopal’

Euta mancheko mayale kati farak pardachha jindagima

In her writings, we will not see anything that describes the riches and glamour of a royal palace but reflections of ordinary life and natural surroundings like snow-clad mountains, chirping birds, rain, forest, cairns and passes and could mingle them with the human love. She had the power to spell bound the ordinary listeners with her sweet lyrical words filled with romance and love with words like

Ukali orali haruma

Bhanjyang ani chautariharuma……….

As a writer belonging to royal family, her lifestyle seemed to be enshrouded by the eulogists or sometimes it appeared to languish in the labyrinthine passage of power and politics. Despite having immense love for power, politics, money and family, she met an unexpected tragic death.

She could effortlessly describe how the love of a person in life could bring so subtle nuances in feelings and relationships.

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