18 December 2008

Deepak Rauniyar’s Debut Film Threshold: Claims and Counter Claims

By Harsha Man Mahrajan

Decoding a text is always a subjective matter. So what I am going to write about Deepak Rauniyar’s debut film, Chaukaith (Threshold) might not be what you think about the film. This film won third prize in 6th Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival.

It has a simple story. Trisna, an enumerator of Census visits a woman living in a Tarai village. Her name is Saraswati Gupta but people know her by her village’s name. Not her own name.

Trishna’s visit enlarges Saraswati’s understanding of world. Trishna throws a stone in Saraswati’s calm and serene pound. And Saraswati’s life no more remains same as before.

In the beginning Saraswati feels uneasy with Trisna. She has no habit of speaking with strangers. But her hesitation gradually vanishes and they become good friends. And gradually Rauniyar unveils his characters. We come to know more about their lives.

Saraswati, a mother of two daughters has grudges: her early marriage discontinued her study. She was studying at ten class and due to her marriage she could not appear Schooling Leaving Certificate (SLC). Trishna requests Saraswati to restart her study. But Saraswati thinks her husband will oppose this. He scolds her even if Sarawati goes to market.

Saraswati has a son from a failed marriage. She asked for divorce when he barred her from working outside the home. Saraswati could hardly believe that due to the given reason a woman can leave the husband. She was putting up her husband for a long time. She never had courage to leave her husband.

Saraswati even sings on Trishna’s request. But her singing ends abruptly when her husband returns. He brings fingerchips for daughters and pani puri for Sarswati. Seeing his affection towards his wife, Trishna even becomes nostalgic. In evening she leaves Saraswati and sets for Kathmandu.

At bedroom, she leaves bed when he requests her to move towards him. We can say he wants fulfill his sexual desire. But Saraswati informs him that she is feeling tired. He repeats same demand. So she opens the door, passes the threshold, and goes to other room for sleeping. And the film ends.

As said earlier, people can interpret this film in different ways. Some might say it is old bikashe story which equates woman rights in leaving the husband. Marriage is more complex than the film has presented. For them this is no solution. They blame social norms and value not the husband. And for them, the husband is victim of society too.

Other might ask “Where is a ground for leaving the husband. The portrayal of the husband is far from complete. He is not evil enough to leave. The story lacks conflict between Saraswati and her husband. He cares her and being the wife he has rights to ask for sex.”

Some might even agree with Deepak. They might say: “The husband is not cruel one; he is the breadwinner. Yet he needs to appreciate her desires and aspirations. He has never done this.”

Other might agree with Deepak. Many things happen in a spur of a moment. At these moments we never think about the result. So Saraswati must have leaved the bedroom in the given situation.

What do you think?

Review of the film and photo source:


07 December 2008

Not Without/Without My Daughter: More than Culture Shock

By Harsha Man Maharjan

In Ellul’s book Propaganda, he thinks that more we consume media; more we become vulnerable to propaganda. Have I also become a victim of propaganda? Only readers can tell.

Today I am writing my feelings on Brian Gilbert’s film Not Without My Daughter. As its regular film show and discussion series Martin Chautari screened it on 4 December 2008. It is based on a true story about the struggle an American woman did to escape from Iran to America with her daughter leaving her brutal and abusive Iranian husband. This is film is only an American perspective.

Wanting to now more about the film, I googled. Then I came to know about its controversy and, reaction from Iranian people and the husband himself. According to IranMania.com, documentary Without My Daughter directed by Alexis Kouros and Kari Tervo, contains the husband, Bozorg Mahmoody’s views. This documentary is not available in Nepali market.
To IranMania.com, Alexis Kouros had said: the documentary "is about the relationship between a human being and the system or politics, in which the system or politics is the final winner. It shows how politics affect individual lives". Even Bozorg Mahmoody thinks himself “a victim of international politics and propaganda amid the animosity between Washington and Tehran”.

Not Without My Daughter has a simple story. An American woman Betty Mahmoody goes to Iran with her Iranian husband and their daughter for few days. He has assured her that they would return the USA. But he changes his mind and decides to stay in Iran forever. She shows dissatisfaction and the husband becomes more abusive and brutal. He lets his wife to visit the US not his daughter. So at last she succeeds to escape with their daughter from the husband.

We can see this film from few perspectives. If we analyze the film in feministic perspective, Betty Mahmoody has rights not to accept Islamic dress code and religion. But it sounds as if we are giving emphasis to individual rights. If we look through cultural perspective, both husband and wife are from different cultures: Iranian(communitarian) and American (Individualistic). And there socialization is different too.

From nationalistic perspective, Bozorg Mahmoody wants to serve his country and its people. He feels guilty for remaining in the US as a doctor when he is supposed to participate in Iranian revolution. And nation is more important than an individual.

There is a psychological reason too. In the US he feels inferiority complex. He knows that the American state and some Americans hate Iranians. He loses his job as a doctor. His only fault is he is an Iranian. So when he returns Iran he gains power and his wife feels powerless. He not only hopes that his wife will convert to a Muslim, he also becomes brutal. He flogs her publicly for not obeying his commands.

More about the film/documentary:

More about the controvery:

Photo source:

04 December 2008

Toll Free Phone Hangama in FM Radio Networks in Nepal: Call Us We will Pay for the Call

By Harsha Man Maharjan

Many Nepalese people outside of Kathmandu are voicing their views in national issues through talk programs like Nepal Chautari and Hamro Nepal Ramro Nepal of Ujjyalo 90 Network and Aab ko Nepal of Nepal FM Network. It is unprecedented in Nepali history.
And Nepal’s transitional phase needs more interaction and dialogue on many important issues. These FM programs are helping in this dialogue.

Main reason behind this is the caller has to pay nothing for the call. These networks pay for calls. They use toll free phone lines. Even the content of FM radio stations outside kathmandu is reaching these networks’ offices at Kathmandu through these toll free lines. These networks also use these lines to get suggestions and opinions of listners about other programs of networks too.

For me toll free line is new concept. I came to know about this kind of phone line from Nepal Chautari. Antenna Foundation Nepal publishes advertisement of Nepal Chautari highlighting this phone line. Even annual report 2007 of Nepal Telecom has mentioned that toll free service or Advance Freephone Service is becoming popular these days. According to the report its increased from 22 to 54 which are subscribed by money transfer business sector, man power/education consultancies, large business houses, banks, airlines, FM stations, media publications, social organizers etc.

More about Toll Free Lines:


About Nepal Chautari:

About Hamro Nepal Ramro Nepal:

23 November 2008

Community Radios for Better Networking among them

By Harsha Man Maharjan

Everybody says networking is good for FM radios. It produces synergy.

Two station mangers of community radios accepted this too. But they are not happy with what Ujjyalo 90 Network and Nepal FM Network are doing these days.

Both of them, Ghamaraj Luintel, Radio Sagarmatha and Gunakar Aryal, Radio Madanpokhara are for two way communication in these networks They were presenting a talk on the topic: Why Networking for Community Radio? On 20 November 2008 at Martin Chautari.

Yes there is a huge gap between what goes through the capital and what comes from local radios outside Kathmandu. These two networks must increase the volume of content from outside.
There is issue of editorial rights too. Luintel thinks these networks kill editorial rights of local radios. And this happens till there is same boardcasting of packaged news.

Many people think these networks are futher concentrating resources in Kathmandu. And local radios outside Kathmandu are not getting adequate benefit.


01 October 2008

Perils of Network Radio in Nepal: Dilemma of Being National Broadcasting

By Harsha Man Maharjan

There are two networks of FM Radios in Nepal: Nepal FM Network and Ujyaalo 90 Network (UNN). Their content is available in satellite and internet. And any radio can hook their content after contracts. This has made this network powerful. They boast that they are heard all over Nepal.

But there is negative aspect of network radio too. Here is an experience of Hem Bahadur Bista, Chair of Nepal FM Network and host of talk program Samaya Sandarbha. There was a long traffic jam inside Kathmandu on Monday, 29 September 2008. Kantipur, a Nepali daily published a news on it. Bista desired to do the talk program on the jam on Tuesday. But he could not do that. Reason was national quality of his network. He has to think about unknown listeners in Humla too. So he quit the idea of the program.

It shows that though Nepal FM is situated in Kathmandu, it is difficult for this FM to raise local issue being in the network.


25 September 2008

Translator’s Society in Nepal

By Harsha Man Maharjan


Translation is a difficult task. Once I tried to translate George Orwell’s essay English Language and Politics for Mulyankan magazine. I had even informed this to the then editor of the magazine. I translated few paragraphs but it was not satisfactory. At last I quit that job.

So I am aware of difficulties of translators. On 21 September 2008 I participated in a meeting organized by Translator’s Society.

Translation is alluring job. Who wants not to be a translator, when the rate of translation is Rs. 500 per page? And there is demand of translation.

International Non Government Organizations, the UN bodies need translators. Federal set-up will demand more translation. That means it has future too.

At Yala Maya Kendra, there were people known for translation like Basanta Thapa, Manjushree Thapa and other. Many issues came during the meeting. I have noted some of them:

Translator’s Society should be legal entity.
This society should update list of translated books in Nepal especially literature.
Translator must seek permission from writers.
The society has to decide rate of translation.
It can organize training program on translation and proofreading.
It must standardize transliteration of Nepali words. It must work with copyeditors

24 September 2008

Don’t Resurrect Big Brother: Curbing Cyber Pornography in Nepal

By Harsha Man Maharjan


Big Brother is Watching You
George Orwell, 1984
Orwell wrote the novel 1984 in 1948. He was writing about future. It is a negative utopia. The big brother of the novel watches every activity of its people. And everyone has this knowledge. There is no hope for dissidence.

I think Nepali government is also trying to resurrect this big brother. It wants to monitor cyber café and is searching ways to stop access with pornography in internet.

Adult has right to access pornography. Yes, government must bring out the measure to curb access to pornography by children. It might corrupt children’s mind.

Nepali government strongly believes that pornography abets violence on women. But there is no concrete study to prove this. Oh yes, Himal Khabarpatrika reported that many actors have unknowingly act on Nepali blue films. And some of them were only for private purpose.

So government must work out on the policy related to x-rated film and material. The Government is only opting easy way. No doubt cyber pornography is a click far from access. Any body can access it. How to keep it away from children? Answer is difficult.

15 September 2008

What a Joke: Documentaries not Saleable in Nepali Television Channels

By Harsha Man Maharjan

Documentaries are thriving in Nepal. Moviegoers in festivals prove this. Yet documentaries get lest priority in Nepali television channels.

What is the problem? It has to do with imagery we have about documentaries.
They were boring and lifeless. It used to be on a festival or a place or a person. Nepali Television created this imagery.

Before NTV, Film division under Department of Information produced newsreels, documentaries and film. These newsreels and documentaries are about Panchayat politics, royal personalities or development. These were publicity materials. In 1971 Royal Nepal Motion Picture Corporation came into existence and did same job including others.

Kantipur Television added creativity -different camera angles and presentation through Vikalpa, a collection of documentaries.

Our imagery of documentary is changing due to film festivals and other international television channels. Film festivals provided exposure and access to different kinds of documentaries: King for a Day, War and Peace, Raam Ke Naam, No one Believes Professor. We now even have some nice documentaries like News Room Bahira, Team Nepal, A Rough Cut on the Life and Times of Lakchuman Magar, The Sprit doesn’t Come Anymore etc. News Room Bahira has personal touch that we never saw in documentaries of Nepal Television.

Every time I watch documentaries in Aljazeera TV , It reminds me what Nepali television channels lack. And I ask a question: why are they not showing documentaries? I got the answer in interaction programs at Martin Chautari. One of them is 11 September 2008 Martin Chautari Media Discussion series by Deepa Gautam and Tanka Upreti on documentaries of Nepal Television. Both of them told that Nepali TV owners are reluctant to pay for documentaries. These owners believe that documentaries are not saleable. I agree with Gautam and Upreti. They are not not saleable.

Yes, Kantipur TV has stopped Vikalpa. Now its old editions are fillers only.
Television channels need to find sponsor for it. I don’t think it is impossible. There is no other way.

The problem is with the content and presentation of documentaries. We must unlearn the conventional style. We must experiment.

10 September 2008

Names of Nepali Film: End of Imagination

By Harsha Man Maharjan

Irani films

Abbas Kiarostami’s Taste of Cherry, The Wind will Carry Us
Majid Majidi’s Color of Paradise, Children of Heaven
Boman Ghobadi’s A Time of Drunken Horse, Turtles can Fly


Janayudha(People’s War)
Sano Sansar(Small World)
Taxi Driver

These are some names of Irani and Nepali films. What we see during comparison is that Irani film’s names are fresh and poetic. Their cinematography is poetic too. They are full of color.

Among six Irani films I have named here, I have seen all, except Ghobadi’s A Time of Drunken Horse. So what I am writing here is applicable to five films.

How miniscule is the plot of Taste of Cherry? It is story of a man, Mr. Bardi who is searching for a man who can bury him after he commits suicide. The director gives no importance to reasons of suicide. At last a taxidermist agrees to do what Mr. Badi ordered to do but we have inkling that Mr. Badi will regret to commit suicide. Actually the taxidermist himself once tried to commit suicide himself he dropped his plan after tasting cherry leaves.

Ditto is the plot of Turtles can Fly. This film is not about turtle as I wrote in previous posting. It is about children who have to shoulder burden as turtles do. It tells a tale of thirteen year boy, Satellite, the organizer of the cleaning minefields, whose life changes when he falls for a girl with her toddler and a disabled brother. Only girl and her bother know that the child is the result of the rape during war. The girl’s sad face speaks women’s plight during war. It is children and women who suffered the most in war.

Opposite to them, Nepali films have long plot and story. They cover stories of two generations or more. Basudev is the example of this. There are few exceptions like Mukundo.
But all of six Nepali films I named above all sound stale. They are lifeless. They lack spark. Their names are not poetic.

09 September 2008

Yes, Turtles can Fly

By Harsha Man Maharjan

Can Turtles fly ? If we ask this question to others. There answer will be no. Never.
But Iranian film maker, Boman Ghobadi thinks opposite to what others think. For him, turles can fly.

I have read a story of friendship between a turtle and two cranes. Here too the turtle travels in air. Two cranes help it. During a drought, the turtle makes a plan to move to another pond. According to the plan it will clutch a stick with its teeth and two cranes will carry the stick by their beaks. Everything was going well when, I think…a crow…gives credit to cranes for making this plan. The stupid turtle could not listen to praises and opens its mouth to tell truth. It falls and dies.

But Ghobadi shows how turtles can fly without others help in his film, Turtles can Fly. Turtles are only symbol here. This film is more about children then turtles. It is not about children if we say childhood is the happiest moment of life. We think children have no burden, no responsibility.

Turtles can Fly is about daily life of children in Kurdish refugee camp on the Iraqi-Turkish border. These children are innocent like turtles. But they have a huge burden as turtles have on their back too. Yet they need to fly. If they don’t fly, they will die. It is a harsh reality.

These children eke out a living through cleaning minefields. It is dangerous job but they lack option. Satellite, a thirteen year boy organizes this job. His life changes when he falls for Agrin, a girl who has migrated with her blind toddler and her brother. Only her brother and she know that the blind toddler is the result of rape during war. Her sad and mysterious face betrays this. At last she commits suicide.

So this film tells us how war affects children, girls and boy and how stigma remains with rape victims during war in their whole life.

I recommend all to watch this film. I think Nepali film makers can learn a lot from this film. It teaches us how even a film with small plot can tell harsh facts of life.

links for film and the director

17 August 2008

Vulgarity or Reality: Language Debate of Dalan, Teleserial

By Harsha Man Maharjan

Nepal television is showing a telefilm about state-led oppression of dalit community, Dalan. Jagan Media Centre made this telefilm which is directed by Nabin Subbha.

I don’t remember seeing any Nepali telefilm which gives real picture of history. It relates how higher caste people utilized state policies to oppress dalit community. In other words how state assisted in oppressing this community.

In telefilm sector, many people are praising the telefilm. We have high hope about the teleserial. The telefilm team did research of Nepal’s history to make it and donor community did huge investment for it. Number of its fan club is rising day by day.

Lately, its language has come under criticism. In its previous edition (Year 8. No. 52), Nepal magazine has criticized its vulgar language. The magazine thinks the language has astounded general people and it is worth censoring.

In today’s edition (Year 8. No. 53), Purna Singh Baraili, producer of the telefilm disagrees with the magazine and informs that he feels no uneasy watching it with his family.

Now question comes: is the language too vulgar? I don’t think so. Actually this kind of language adds reality to the presentation of real life of dalit community. I appreciate it.

From Jagran Media Centre

JMC is currently broadcasting a 25 episode television series illustrating the life, suffering and upliftment of three generations of a Dalit family called Dalan. Dalan is being braodcasted every Sunday 8:40 PM from Nepal Television. The purpose of Dalan is to create awareness among Dalits and non-Dalits alike and encourage a change in attitudes and behaviors toward Dalits. JMC has applied a participatory approach to the writing of Dalan by utilizing intensive discussions with Dalit scholars, writers, activists, film critics and journalists.
Shot entirely in the remote villages of Parbat, Baglung and the periphery of Kathmandu, Dalan presents a very realistic picture of Dalits life and history from 1950 to 1995 A.D..
Directed by Navin Subba (of Numafung) and aptly scripted by Aahuti, a renowned litterateur and Dalit activist, Dalan has become a work of art.

photo from Nepal magazine

15 August 2008

Self Promotion through Tito Satya

In media there is role of promotion and advertisement. We hear about tie-up between film producers and products like cars, watches etc.

I have no knowledge on this kind of deal in Nepali media sector.

But what I have seen on two issues of Nepali comedy serial Tito Satya.

Earlier Deepa Shree Niraula hums a part of a song film, Sundar Mero Naam. Yesterday we see Deepak Raj Giri tolerates pasting the poster of the film on his car for the protagonist is similar with him.

Deepak Raj Giri is main actor of the film. I don’t know why he used his telefilm to publicize the film.

Link about the film

10 August 2008

Mainstream Nepali Media Mum on Kantipur Ownership Row.

By Harsha Man Maharjan

Issues of media rarely become news. That’s why many Nepalese could not believe what they heard and read on 7 August 2008. The news was about break-up between Sirohiya and Gywali family, owners of Kantipur Publications and Kantipur FM. It also informed that Gywali has left Kantipur Publications and Kantipur FM.

I came to know about this issue on 7 July 2008 from Sanghu with byline of Deepak Adhikari and and it has being doing following-up from that day without bylines. My friend from Kantipur informed that Sambodhan too did coverage on the issue. Few Nepali blogs also covered on the issue.

At last the news came in host media on 7 August 2008.

On 7 August, both Kantipur and The Kathmandu Post published news on change in ownership of Kantipur Publications and Kantipur FM. Now Gywali family is out from these publications and FM. Capatain Rameshwar Thapa has entered the team.

Many people believe that many journalists will leave Kantipur and TKP to join new publications by Gywali family.

Why this issue was not news for other mainstream media? Why did they not carry this issue though they had knowledge of it? We speak of plural media. Only due to this we come to know about activities of rival media but Nepalese mainstream media kept mum on the issue. Only few weeklies dared to do this.

Does it imply that they have unwritten alliance not to divulge wrong activities inside these media houses?

25 July 2008

U-turn in Depiction Madheshi in Tito Satya, Comedy Serial of Nepal Television

By Harsha Man Maharjan

I was happy to watch July 24 2008 episode of Tito Satya(Better Sweet). It is a popular tv comedy serial in Nepal. Long ads during this program, proves this.

I used to blame these kinds of comedy teleserials for portraying stereotypical images of disables, women, non-Nepali speaking people. Usually it laugh at Newari, Hindhi accents.
Is it a big think when a BBC newscaster pronounces Sher Bahadur Deuba in different way as we do? It is obvious to do mistakes when a person lacks certain sounds in her/his native language. But Tito Satya always derides Newars for non announcing Nepali words properly.

However this trend got u-turn on July 24. It presents a Madheshi as citizen of Nepal, who has equal rights as other Nepali. It links power of Madheshi with the first President and Vice-president of Madheshi community. In the episode a Madheshi threatens to inform President and Vice-president about the discrimination.

21 July 2008

Nepali Style of Breaking News in Television Channels

By Harsha Man Maharjan

What is a breaking news ? Usually it is to disclose important incident by any media institutions. That means generally breaking news is about politics like death of Man Mohan Adhikari. But in present context its definition is not static.

We no more limit breaking news with only politics. Even human interest news of so-called soft issues is also breaking news. Yet many people still believe that breaking news must contain correct facts.

Here I am referring to breaking news of Sagarmatha TV and Image Channel on 19 July 2008 about the result of election for the President of Nepal in Constituent Assembly. The Assembly had not officially announced the result. Yet till 7 pm, Image was breaking news as ‘Flash News’that Nepali congress candidate Ram Baran Yadav got 294 and Maoist nominee Ramraja Prasad Singh, 282. At the same time, news channel Sagarmatha TV was breaking news that Yadav got 294 and Singh 284. Both of these channels were wrong.

Later it was found that Yadav got 283 and Singh, 270. Breaking these kind of wrong information only dilute credibility of these tv channels.

18 June 2008

What is the Way Out of FM Jam in Nepal ?

By Harsha Man Maharjan

I have a routine of listening to news aired by Nepal Fm at 6 am everyday. But these days I could not get clear signal of the fm. Actually signals of none of the radio is clear.

There are more than 30 radios on air at Kathmandu. There is no plan from government side before awarding radio licenses. It only created chaos. And we are suffering today. When will government stop working on ad hoc style?

What is the way out of it ? When will I get chance to listen FM radios clearly ? I don’t have answer. There might be some way out.

01 June 2008

Watching Media Persons at Work on 28 May 2008 at Baneshwor.

Nepal was to become republic on 28 May 2008. Declaration of republic was scheduled at 11 am. CITIZEN were surrounding parliament building at Naya Baneshwor to celebrate the declaration . As parliamentarians only declared it republic at 11 pm. These are some activities of media persons I captured.

29 May 2008

Small Medium, Big Revolution: Role of Pamphlets in Social Movements in Nepal

By Harsha Man Maharjan

What was the role of Pamphlets in different social and political movements of Nepal? There is no concrete study on the issue.

Usually pamphlets are written material. They are prepared to persuade people on different issues. They might contain one-side issue. People use them to social transformation or to maintain status quo. They are portable, easy to hide. So pamphlet is effective medium for social movements.

Some people might think they are useless where about a half population are illiterate. But it is word of mouth that gives publicity to the content of pamphlets.
I don't know how pamphlets were used by political activists in Panchayat period (1960-1990) and before. Scholars might have mentioned about them in books. There is no doubt that pamphlet was important medium in these autocratic political systems when state media were in the hands of rulers and private media were few.

I can tell how Civil Movement for Peace and Democracy used pamphlets during the direct rule of king Gyanendra. In the early days of the rule it was difficult for private media to disseminate this information and pamphlet was main medium. After few months private media also courage to carry views and news opposed to the rule.

I think pamphlets played important role to bring down the Gyanenda rule. Nepal will be announced republic today (28 May 2008). I think it is time to remember the role of pamphlet in ending monarchy in Nepal. No doubt non government radios also propagate messages opposing the activities of the monarchy. Pamphlets will always be a medium of opposition.

25 May 2008

Chinese film on Kings and their Ambitons: Forget people

By Harsha Man Maharjan

There is a hope in Nepali people for 28th May 2008. Parliament will declare Nepal a republic on that day. So we are evaluating the role played by Shah Dynasty in Nepal.

In this context, Martin Chautari screened a Chinese film by Chen Kaige, The Emperor and the Assassin (161 mins, 1999, China) at its premises, Thapathali, Kathmandu, Nepal on 22 May 2008. Kaige is a member of Fifth generation Chinese directors. These directors use new film language and different plot than their elders. They revisited Chinese history and brought facets of history not presented by the establishment.

The Emperor and the Assassin is about Ying Zheng, king of the kingdom of Qin; his lover Zhao and his assassin Jink Ke. Zheng unified seven kingdoms of China in 221 BC. In this way we can compare Zheng with kings and queens of Shah dynasty who unified small principalities and kingdoms geographically. As in the case of Zheng, Shah rulers could not unified Nepali culturally.

So this film tells how Zheng’s lover goes to the kingdom of Yan being a spy. She has to find an assassin for the king of Yan. This assassin needs for killing Zheng. In this way Zheng and his lover hatch a plot to abort his assassination.
But watching inhuman treatment and massacre of people of the kingdom of Zhao she starts to hate Zheng and love the assassin.

At the end of film the assassins’ attempt of assassination fails and Zhao goes to Zheng to take the assassin’s dead body.

This film is a story of kings and their ambitions. It tells how general people suffer in the process of “nation building”. These power-hungry emperors hope that their unification process would bring peace and prosperity in general peoples’ live but their action does nothing but suffering.

Does that mean the process of nation building unnecessary? I have no answer. What I can say is that in this process people of enemy kingdoms are brutally killed, tortured. And in some cases their culture are destroyed. These scars of the suffering will remain for ever. So I think the film’s story of kings and their ambitions are universal.

23 May 2008

NBPAN: a Club of Few Big Book Publishers

By Harsha Man Maharjan

Few years National Booksellers and Publishers Association of Nepal (NBPAN) had more than two hundred members. Today it is less than fifty.
What are the reasons behind this? Ram Chandra Timothy, chair of NBPAN furnished his explanations on this issue in the program organized by Martin Chautari on 18 May 2008.
Main reason for this is weaknesses of NBPAN. Many things: training, seminar, research etc it was supposed to do are not done yet.

Another reason is the criteria required for being a member of NEBPAN. To be its members, booksellers and publishers must register themselves. According to Timothy there are many booksellers and publishers who are not registered.

Whatever may be the reasons behind the dwindling numbers of the members, it has turned NEBPAN into a club of few big book publishers and sellers at Kathmandu.

22 May 2008

Gloomy Pictures of 12th National Education and Book Fair 2008

This time also, there were only praises of 12th National Education and Book Fair 2008 in Nepalese media. Broadsheet like Kantipur and The Kathmandu Post published reports and dairies about the fair. It is more than zeal of journalists. It has something to with advertisements of the fair.

By praising, these media cooperated with the organizers of the fair. What is a point in presenting its weaknesses; it will only lose the advertisement.

Definitely the fair has bright sides. It is creating a book reading culture in Nepal and media have to support this. Is the fair only contained good aspect? No.

Here are some negative aspects. In the fair, there is majority of booksellers selling international books. The number of national publishers and booksellers are decreasing but Indian publishers are increasing. It has to do with money. I came to know that Indian publishers had to pay more than Nepali participants.

Some of Indian publishers were criticizing poor facilities they got in the fair. But Nepalese media only were full with Indian publishers’ appreciation of increasing visitors.

12 May 2008

What a Nice: Badri Bahadur Karki Taskforce's Report is Partially Public

By Harsha Man Maharjan

What a nice. What Badri Bahadur Karki’s High-level Taskforce on Restructuring and Autonomy of Government Media said is no more secret now. I moved heaven and earth to get this report. I call member of the taskforce Dhurba Hari Adhikari. He didn’t have the copy. I called Badri Bahadur himself he requested to ask in ministry of information. I call there and no one said no to me and no one provided me the report either.

Now the gist of the taskforce is available in a book named Patrakarita: Niti tatha Kanun(Journalism: Policy and Laws), published by Freedom Forum. Taranath Dahal and Bhimarjun Acharya are its writer. Dahal told me that his boss at RSS provided him the report. Actually I used to get the report from the RSS too. I could not get it.

Then I tried to get it from Gorkhapatra Corporation. Tej Prakash Pundit was member from that taskforce. But he is out of contact with me since his eviction from the corporation.

This report is not public yet. I hope government will make the report public soon.

02 May 2008

In the Praise of Workers of Nepalese Media Sector

By Harsha Man Maharjan

1 May.
International Workers' Day.
Salute workers in media sectors in Nepal and World.
Whose condition is poor, ustually.
Who have no place in media to disseminate their grievances.
Even competitors media house avoid the issue of exploitation of media workers.
Whose concerns some well paid Journalists disdain to voice .
Some examples: these journalists back management side
not workers' .
Readers generally talk about their right to access to media
not the welfare of these workers.

26 April 2008

Nepalese Weeklies Still Have Space

By Harsha Man Maharjan

Yes. These newspapers still have niece in Nepalese life. Media scholar Pratyoush Onta, Journalists Kunda Dixit and Dr. Dharma Adhikari are right. Their influence is waning. But daily newspapers could not replace weeklies from our life. Why is so?
The occasion was regular media discussion at Martin Chautari on 24 April 2008. Pundit or main speaker was Dr. Dharma Adhikari. The topic was The Essence of Journalism: Some Thoughts on Nepali and US Perspectives and Practices on the Craft.
The pundit and others presented their views on the subject.

Dr. Dharma Adhkari introduced weeklies as opinion-based journalism. Yes its news contains opinion and most of them are aligned to different parties and fraction of these parties. These weeklies cover the gap created by ‘Valadmi Journalism’ (Innocuous Journalism ) of dailies. According to Kunda Dixit, ‘Valadmi Journalism’ only presents superficial fact. It whets our appetite for more news. Then we have to bank on weeklies.

But weeklies’s news is amalgamation of fact and fiction. We have to decide which is fact and which is fiction.

Weeklies still have place in Nepalese Journalism field due to growing corporate censorship. Professionalism and commercialism are present trends in Nepal. There are internal and external pressures inside newsroom. And ‘Innocuous Journalism’ is the result of these pressures.

Weeklies too have these pressures but as they are in ‘Mission Journalism’, degree and manifestation of these pressures are different from that of dailies’.

link to Dharma Adhikari

01 April 2008

UML's CA Manisfesto Mum on Restructuring of State Media in Nepal

It is habit of UML to keep all option open in every issue.

It says nothing about restructuring of state media in its CA Manifesto. It is not suitable for main political parties of Nepal to do this. They must have clear vision on the issue.

Government must stop meddling with these media institutions.



20 February 2008

Network society of how many for what ?

By Harsha Man Maharjan

Internet is new media. Its nature is global. But how a local people benefit from it?

I am not talking about students. They can consult internet for their study.
This sunday I had to get few passport size photos. I was at my office at that time. I don’t have number of Milan Studio, a photo studio at Kirtipur.

I googled it. There was the website of the studio. And within Sunday evening I could get my photos. My problem was solved.

The owner of the studio told me that he made the website a year ago with Rs. 500. It is not big amount. That means it is being cheap.

But I could not stop thinking. Who does get benefit from this? No doubt people know about the studio through the website. What is its economic benefit? Does it only create long term effect? or Is its effect unseen ? or Should we stop counting economic benefit ?

18 February 2008

Civic Engagements and Interference for Inclusive Media in Nepal

By Harsha Man Maharjan

Representation of Janajati, Dalit, Madhesi and Women in Nepalese newsroom is poor and hopeless. It is about 14 %, 2 %, 2 % and 12 % respectively. Their national presence are 39.2 %, 11.8%, 30.63 % and 50.05% respectively according to 2001 census.

But there is no concerted effort for increasing this number. On 17 February 2008 Martin Chautari organized a half day discussion program on the issues of inclusiveness of Nepal Police, Nepalese Bureaucracy and Nepali media.

Definitely my interest is on media. And historian and media researcher Pratyoush Onta presented this paper. ASMITA Women's Publishing House, Media & Resource Organization's Manju Thapa was more interested to know the ways to bring change in the numbers in newsrooms.

Asmita has researched many times about the missing journalists women in Nepali media. But Nepali media houses never incorporated its recommendations.

I accept thesis of Pratyoush Onta and Sangita Lama. Without correcting their exclusive newsrooms, these media houses have no rights to blame the interim government for not making different institutions inclusive. That means the discussion of inclusion must begin from media houses.

Now I am presenting some of ways of civic engagements and interferences. I have collected them from here and there.

Media Rights and Other Right Activist Instutions
1. To demand proper representations in media houses.
2. Make civic awareness about this through media literacy programs.

1. Write Letter to editor demanding inclusive newsroom.
2. Start to talk about the issues publicly.

There might be many others ways. Pls add your comments. We need to create a movement for more inclusive media.



17 February 2008

Who Cares of Others ?

By Harsha Man Maharjan

Do you believe somebody loves 48 hour per week load shedding in Kirtipur, a historical place in Kathmandu, Nepal these days? Load shedding has become our routine.

He is not a manufacture of generator. Neither is he a seller of generator.

He is a student studying masters in Tribhuwan University. His name is no important.

His exam is going on and he has to cram too much.

He manages a Chinese rechargeable lamp.

Blaring radio and tv of his neighbor disturb his study. It seems that his neighbour has no knowledge of what Mark Twain said, "Your freedom ends where my nose begins."

Who cares of others?

Radio and tv were the symbol of status in Kirtipur in 1980s. It seems that few still believe in this.

15 February 2008

People's interest in blogging increasing in Nepal

By Harsha Man Maharjan

There is no other way than practice to know ABC of blogging. I had tinkered with about dozen of blogs my self.

K.P. Dhungana of Harmo Blog was saying this to a mass of about thirty listeners today in a program.

Most of them were interested to know the technical aspect of blogging. Blog is no more an alien concept in Kathmandu now. According to him there are more than three hundred bloggers in Nepal.

He has been writing about blogs in his blog and in newspapers.
Youth Initiative organized the program at Martin Chautari premises today.
There were two speakers but Umesh Shreshtha could not show up.

05 January 2008


By Harsha Man Maharjan

There is no heaven for journalists, activists, dissidents. Democracy demand toleration of criticism. Criticism paves ways for improvement.

What about authoritarian countries like Saudi Arab. Saudi government has been detaining a blogger Fouad Alfarhan on 10 December 2007. His crime was to post information about Saudi academics who were detained with charges of funding ‘terrorism’. According to report Saudi government is interrogating him for “doing campaign for these detained academic”. Saudi bloggers and bloggers from world are condemning Saudi government.

It is right time we think about Nepali bloggers’ welfare too. Any time any group can threat Nepali bloggers for their posting. I might be unaware to threats some Nepali bloggers had faced. Those who blog disclosing identity are vulnerable to these kinds of threats. WE NEED TO UNIT FOR FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION.

03 January 2008

Kantipur FM Being Radio of Nation: Where is local Content?

By Harsha Man Maharjan

Kantipur FM has become Radio Kantipur. This is how Kantipur FM is propagating itself. It is celebrating ninth anniversary on 4th January 2008. It is Radio Rastrya Ko (Radio of Nation).

It has become bigger, broader and blah blah. Yes its audience has multiplied enormously. It is operating through seven relay stations.

Now it has covered about 60-65 district. It got seven license to air radio stations in Kathmandu (96.1 mhz), Sunsari (96.1 mhz), Birgunj (96.1 mhz), Nepalgunj (101.8 mhz), Bharatpur (96.1 mhz), Pokhara (101.8 mhz) and Butwal (96.1 mhz). Six of them are of 1kw and but one relay station at Sunsari is of 10 kw.

Now a question arises. How can Kantipur FM air its national content through relay stations ? How can it become national when it is a FM radio ? Isn’t main principle of FM radio local ? How is it different from Kantipur FM ?

I put some of these questions to Prabhat Rimal, station manager of Kantipur FM. He accepts that they got licenses for operating radio stations. He finds it unfeasible to open radio stations at these places at this moment. He told me that Kantipur FM is airing few programs for few hours as local content in few languages in some places.

It is airing radio programs on Maithali and Newari on Tuesday and Wednesday for 30 minutes each for Kathmandu and Janakpur. Is this enough? I doubt. Kantipur FM lacks local content.
Rimal thinks that there should be co-ordination among different FM stations regarding of content in local languages.