Revered culture expert Satya Mohan Joshi died on Sunday at the age of 103. Joshi's works in knowledge creation; in art, language, literature, history and culture; will be talked about for a long, long time.
NepalMinute checked out with some of the country's highly renowned personalities to document how they recalled the centenarian, regarded till moments before his death as Nepal's Living Legend. As the literary figures mourned the loss of Joshi, they shared their memories and association with the revered culture expert. Excerpts:
Abhi Subedi, Professor
He is a Sanskritibid – a culture expert. He wanted to be identified as a culture expert, not as a historian. He was the one who worked on folk history, folklore and folk culture or literature. He wanted them to perform as well. This is why he came up with dramas. He always felt that culture is a visual and performance art. He also contributed to archaeology and wrote books and articles on ancient culture and tradition.
He was active his whole life. His life was meaningful. He did not work alone as he worked with society and a large number of people. The others, like me and you, can work on projects he started.
Ghimire Yubaraj, director, Shilpee Theatre
He used to write dramas taking references from folklore and culture. But he broke free from superstitions and his dramas were progressive. They had a flavour of locale. His write-ups and dramas documented the society of the corresponding times. He used to define history and culture and often said there is no such thing called originality of culture because, for him, the culture changed over a period of time and space.
He was the one who informed us about how the Nepali drama came to the audience from the Royal Palace as he was one of the living audience of the drama Mukunda Indira that was first staged to the public in 1995 BS. The first show of the drama was done on the balcony of Durbar High School. We have recorded his experiences in the book entitled Rangamanch Samiksha: Bhag-2. His dramas Majipa Lakhe, Siruma Rani and Charumati were staged back to back, which was a historical thing as such dramas written by the same writer are not staged back-to-back. He was energetic all his life.
Maya Thakuri, writer
Joshi was a constellation. He was a source of inspiration for us. He lived a simple life. Every citizen in the country is indebted to his contribution. Joshi is the heritage of faith in Nepali literature. His contributions for the development of Nepali and Newari languages, and his research and write-ups about Araniko have enriched our literature and languages. He is a motivator and inspirer.
Narendra Raj Prasai, writer
He was a man with simplicity and he was always a disciplined person. He was a great researcher. He used to respect everyone and never uttered derogatory words to others. He was patriotic and always wore a tailor-made Nepali cap, Topi. He was the one who introduced Araniko to the Nepali people. His contributions to the Nepali and Newari languages will not ever be forgotten. He lived a complete and meaningful life. His life was glorious. His contributions will always remain with us.