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Kindness is his legacy

Kindness is his legacy

Literary figure Shree Prasad Upadhyay (SP Asa) is no more. He died at the age of 80 on November 15. He was a renowned literary figure who wrote about history and made it interesting.

According to his daughter Uma Ghimire, SP Asa had been suffering from prostate cancer for the past three years. A day before his death, he suffered a brain hemorrhage and was admitted to B&B Hospital in Gwarko. He breathed his last at the Pashupati Aryaghat, leaving behind his wife, three daughters, and a son. His last rites were performed on the day he died.

Asa was born in Sitapaila, Saranpur, and was always interested in reading and writing. He wrote about political issues and historical upheavals including the Rana regime and dethronement of King Gyanendra among others.

Among his varied interests were finding scientific explanations of many of our religious rituals. He gave many fascinating scientific explanations for activities carried about by pundits in various ritualistic ceremonies.

Ek Aankhe, Dui Mukundo, Abhag, Sister Shova, Antim Abhilasha, Doctor D, Mahasamanta, Raktasamman, Ek Babako Jeevani, Dravya Shah, Chitkar, Serofero are some of his published novels. He also dabbled in poetry and has published a few collections as well. He was popular for his social, detective, and historical novels. Loktantra Aghi ko Mahabharat and Nepal ko Pahilo Kotparva are some of his works on history. All in all, he has published more than three dozen books. He also wrote newspaper articles.

He also served as the vice chairman of the National Committee of the World Hindu Federation and was active in the restoration of democracy. He was also involved in politics and a leader of the Nepali Congress in the revolutions that took place in the country.

Asa Pragyan Kendra was established in his name in 2012 and has branches in Sikkim, Assam, and Manipur in India, Canada, United States of America, United Kingdom, and Australia. The center, with assistance from the Nagarjuna Municipality, has published a memorial volume in Upadhyay’s honor.

Post-graduate students in Nepali have written research papers on him. Various authors have written books on his literary life. But his legacy perhaps lies in the fact that he was a kind man, always willing to lend a helping hand. His daughter Uma says he was a support system for the family as well as his relatives and friends.

In his own ways, he was a philanthropist too. He advocated for women’s empowerment and was a staunch supporter of the necessity to educate girls and women. He also used to narrate stories of Shivapuran, Shreemad Bhagwat Saptaha Puran, and Nawah (religious ceremonies) in public and help collect money to construct public buildings.

 “He used to give money to children for their studies,” says his daughter, adding he never shied away from helping others, even when he might not have had enough himself.

Before his death, he had wanted to publish a book on how Palpa’s Rani Mahal was constructed and how girl children were sent to the palaces. But the dream didn’t materialize because of a lack of funds.

For her father’s sake, Uma wishes the government to give literature its due and invest in it so that writers like Upadhyay can wholly immerse themselves in the field.

Born: 30 July 1944

Death: 15 Nov 2023