Dr. Makoto Kitada (Osaka University 大阪大学)

Paper Title:

Jagatprakāśa Malla’s grief to his bosom friend: Affection expressed in Maithili and Newari

Paper Abstract:

According to Brinkhaus’ study on Maithili dramas written in Nepal, Jagajjyotir Malla, King of Bhaktapur city (reign AD 1614-1637), was the first poet and playwright that introduced Maithili as the court language, instead of Bengali which had until then been in use in the Malla courts of Nepal. Intriguingly, his grandson Jagatprakāśa Malla (reign 1643-1672) was the first author that composed dramas in his mother tongue, Newari (Tibeto-Burmese). Thus, both, grandfather and grandson, played significant roles in the two major lingual reforms in Nepal. However, Jagatprakāśa’s impulse of literary creation in his mother tongue seems to be rooted in his personal emotion, namely, his affection and grief to his passed-away bosom friend Candraśekhara, Maithili poet who served his court. In his songs composed in Maithili and Newari, Jagatprakāśa lay bare his strong feelings for the deceased. He often adopts very unique formulations such as: He and his friend are inseparable like the androgyne form of Śiva (ardha-nārīśvara). Indeed, His deep sorrow to the lost friend is the basso continuo sounding in the dramatic works of his later years, however merry the plots may be, even in his Newari comedy “Thief Mūladeva and His Partner Śaśideva”. 

A colophon in the manuscript of the Maithili drama “Abduction of Princess Madālasā” suggests that this play originally composed by Jagajjyotir Malla was restaged by Jagatprakāśa, probably spurred by his unattainable desire to get his friend back to life through the magical power of drama, dance and music. 

Thus, my paper will observe this singular phenomenon in the history of literature in the region where the two linguistic areas, NIA and Tibeto-Burmese, overlap: At this point of time and space, an individual’s impulse of self-expression and the emergence of regional identity cross over.   

Participant Bio:

Tokyo Univ. B.A. (1995) & M.A. (1997 Linguistics, Prakrit) 
Martin Luther Univ. (Halle, Germany) Ph.D. (2009 Indology) 
Now professor for Urdu at Osaka Univ. 

Makoto Kitada‘s interests lie in South Asian belles-lettres and aesthetics in various languages such as Sanskrit, Prakrit, Bengali, Maithili, Urdu and Newari. His focus of research is on the interaction between music and poetry.  

For his master’s degree, he studied the Vasudevahiṇḍi, a collection of Jaina tales in Māhārāṣṭrī Prakrit. In Ph.D. thesis (published from Peter Lang), he dealt with the Ayurvedic passages on embryology and anatomy in the musicological treatise, Saṅgītaratnākara. Since 2009, he regularly visits Kathmandu and practically learns the Tantric Caryā (cacā) chanting from Narendra Muni Vajrācārya, and also makes philological study of Nepalese manuscripts (dramas) written in Old & Middle Bengali, Maithili and Classical Newari. At the same time, he is translating into English the Masnavī Gulšan-e-‘Išq “Garden of Love”, the Dakanī Urdu masterpiece by Nuṣratī of Bījāpur, in collaboration with Richard Williams Ph.D. (SOAS). 

Since 1989, he has learned the Sitar and Sarod from Pt. H. Amit Roy, disciple of Late Pt. Nikhil Banerji, and gives concerts in various occasions.  


The Body of the Musician. An Annotated Translation and Study of the Piṇḍotpatti-prakaraṇa of Śārṅgadeva’s Saṅgītaratnākara. Peter Lang, Bern 2012. 

Baṙu Caṇḍīdās’ verses found in Nepal: http://hdl.handle.net/11094/77726 ; 


Field research of a drama festival in Kathmandu: https://doi.org/10.11588/xabooks.642

The earliest version of Vidyā Sundar by poet Śrīdhara found in Kathmandu: http://hdl.handle.net/11094/78806

Translation of Jagatprakāśa’s Newari songs: http://hdl.handle.net/11094/73756