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.

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