A history of magazines in Nepal
Editor’s note: This is a translation by Niranjan Kunwar of an article from Uttam Kunwar’s anthology,
ra Anubhuti (Experience and Sensations), first published by Rupayan Press, Kathmandu, in 1981. This essay
first published in the literary magazine Ruprekha in 1976.
Just like modern education, magazines started very late in Nepal; the developmental trajectories of both are similar. After completing his highly touted Europe tour in 1851, the Rana Prime Minister Jung Bahadur brought a ‘Vulture Press’, the symbol of modern consciousness, to Kathmandu. A few press houses were established after the arrival of the ‘Vulture Press’ but these were mainly used for the printing of religious materials and governmental notices. There was no noteworthy developmental trend in magazine publication in Nepal for nearly fifty years after the event.
It was only in 1898 that a magazine titled Sudha Sagar edited by Pandit Nardev Moti Krishna Sharma came out of Thahiti, Kathmandu. This magazine is considered to be the first newsmagazine published in Nepal. Before Sudha Sagar, the first issue of Gorkha Bharat Jiwan edited by Motiram Bhatta was published in Varanasi in 1886, as stated by Grishma Bahadur Devkota in “The Development of Newsmagazines and Press in Nepal”. That is why, generally speaking, Gorkha Bharat Jiwan is considered to be the first newsmagazine published in Nepali. But apart from word of mouth, no one has been able to uncover any evidence regarding that particular magazine to this day. Back then, a local organization in Varanasi used to publish another magazine, Bharat Jiwan, in Hindi, which once carried an advertisement for Gorkha Bharat Jiwan. But since no one ever laid eyes on the magazine or met anyone who had seen it with their own eyes, it can perhaps be deduced thatGorkha Bharat Jiwan remained a well-meaning desire of Motiram Bhatta or another individual who supported that desire by publishing the advertisement; the plan never materialized. At one point, linguist-expert Professor Balkrishna Rupawasi spent a whole week inside the office and the library of that particular local organization in Varanasi in order to look up evidence concerning Gorkha Bharat Jiwan with the hopes of stretching the history of Nepali newsmagazines. But he found nothing. If he had found any concrete proof, one could consider the year 1886 to be the beginning of Nepali newsmagazines. But since history cannot be based on myth, it would be appropriate to state that the history of Nepali newsmagazines began only after the publication of Sudha Sagar.
…it would be appropriate to state that the history of Nepali newsmagazines began only after the publication of Sudha Sagar.
Sudha Sagar discontinued after a few issues but shortly afterwards, in 1901, the same person, Nardev Moti Krishna Sharma, published a newspaper through Pashupat press (an earlier name of the current Pashupati press) at Thahiti, Kathmandu. That newspaper was Gorkhapatra which has since set a record in Nepali language. Even though Gorkhapatra is published as a daily newspaper these days, it used to look like a magazine back then. It even published excerpts of stories and novels sporadically. Before Gorkhapatra, the weekly Gorkhe Khabar Kagat edited by Ganga Prasad Pradhan had started in Darjeeling in 1899 (that lasted for thirty years). After that, Upanyas Tarangini edited by S.S. Sharma began its publication in Varanasi in 1902. Even though there was more than one issue, one cannot call Upanyas Tarangini a magazine because it discontinued its limited run after publishing a series of excerpts from novels.
At one point, a group of Nepalis studying in Varanasi started Sukti Sudha in Sanskrit. After it discontinued, a few founding members inspired by their experience and supported by manager Ganga Dutta Sharma conceptualized the monthly Sundari in 1908. When it comes to Nepali literary journals, Sundari is considered to be the first one. It was through Sundari that Chakrapani Sharma Chalise began his Nepali language service by simplifying prose. But after a year run, Sundari – published under the supervision of Somnath Sigdel, Pandit Devidutta Parajuli and Bishnu Prasad Bhandari – was compelled to close. Despite personal differences Ram Mani Acharya Dixit and Lekhnath Paudyal had also contributed to Sundari, and initiated the Lalitya movement. The credit for generating a debate regarding decency and indecency in literature is also given to Sundari.
Sixteen months after Sundari’s closing, another monthly Madhavi edited by Matrika Prasad Adhikari was published, once again in Varanasi, on Kartik Purnima, 1910. Famous linguist Ram Mani Acharya Dixit had managed to dodge the Rana rulers at the time and, intending to serve his mother tongue, used Matrika Prasad Adhikari’s name as a cover for the publication. Madhavi is considered to be a pioneer when it comes to literary prose written in the Nepali language. But the historical Madhavi did not last very long either. After coming out with eight issues, it discontinued on Jestha Purnima, 1911.
Then a series of historical publications sprouted – the weekly Gorkhali edited by the young Surya Bikram Gyawali around 1918 in Varanasi; Gorkha Sansar and Tarun Gorkha, both weeklies edited by the rigorous Thakur Chandan Singh, between 1928 and 1931 in Dehradun; Rajbhakti edited by poet Sambhu Prasad in 1928 in Varanasi; Gorkha Sewak edited by Mani Singh Gurung in 1937 in Assam; Udaya edited by Kashi Bahadur Shrestha in 1938 in Varanasi; Gorkha edited by Ranadhir Subba around 1946 in Kalimpong; and Yugbani edited by Laxmi Prasad Devkota and the Bhatta brothers around 1948 in Varanasi. Published outside Nepal, these magazines may have used the Indian soil as a platform but they embraced a strong Nepali spirit. All of these discontinued in their infancy due to ‘occupational hazards such as a lack of readers and advertisements’ (a phrase often used by Kamal Dixit). But they deserve credit for paving a path for the current state of development of newsmagazines in Nepal and pioneering various aspects of the profession regarding language, literature and editing. These magazines also attempted to cultivate a reading habit amongst Nepalis.
(Left to right) Parasmani Pradhan, Hriddi Bahadur Malla, Surya Bikram Gyawali. Image: Madan Puraskar Pustakayala.
Bharati was another noteworthy name published outside Nepal that left a major impact in the field of Nepali language and literature. It was started as a monthly in the summer of 1949 by editor Paras Mani Pradhan in Darjeeling and ended its run in 1957 after 108 issues. Bharati received a strong support from a majority of Nepalis engaged in the craft of language and literature, boosting the initiatives of Surya Bikram Gyawali, Dharnidhar Koirala and Paras Mani Pradhan who were working hard in Darjeeling to refine and uplift the Nepali language. Until that point, Nepali literature was somewhat limited within the boundaries of Kathmandu but the Indian postal system pushed Bharati’s circulation to regions such as Varanasi, Dehradun, Assam and Burma where a large number of Nepalis lived. It also enjoyed a wider circulation within Nepal. Consequently, the magazine contributed to the proliferation of Nepali literature. But when the publishers had to compromise due to financial reasons, it was abruptly discontinued after a nine-year run.
Bharati had actively furthered the important work started by Sharada, Udhyog and Sahitya Shrot in Kathmandu. Unlike other publications, it was free from the hassles of finding contributors because Sharada was established fifteen years earlier, in 1934, by Subba Hridhhi Bahadur Malla, subsequently inspiring plenty of writers. Udhyog and Sahitya Shrothad honed the skills and increased the stamina of many of these writers. That is why Bharati did not struggle to gather writing material. Besides, since it received the editing services of Rup Narayan Sinha, an educated and wise cultural icon, almost every issue of Bharati is of high standard. The magazine also escaped from the censorship of Nepal’s Rana regime. Despite these advantages, it is regrettable that Bharati could not continue for a longer period.
If we examine the developmental history of Nepali literature, Nepali news magazines have played a key role. It would not be inaccurate to state that after Bhanu Bhakta Acharya, almost every writer found their way through various Nepali news magazines. As proof, one can browse through thousands of pages of Sharada which ran for twenty-eight years. But Sharada had to face several obstacles in order to achieve this historical feat. Aside from lack of editors and publication materials, it also tackled severe restrictions imposed by the system of censorship. Sharada’s founding editor Subba Hriddhi Bahadur Malla expressed during an interview with the writer of this essay, “Every article we received for Sharada had to be presented to the Nepali Language Publication Committee (which has now merged with Sajha Prakashan) and publication was allowed only after approval. Once, apart from the Nepali Language Publication Committee, a separate group of forty individuals was put together. This group was responsible for examining every article received by Sharada for publication. On one hand, there was strict censorship from the Rana regime and on the other hand, I had to face the wrath of writers when their work got revised and edited. To be honest, it felt as if I was living on the edge those days…”
“…On one hand, there was strict censorship from the Rana regime and on the other hand, I had to face the wrath of writers when their work got revised and edited…”
Sharada published regularly between 1934 and 1943. Then it became irregular for a few years. Between 1947 and 1949, it picked up speed but after that, since its issues became sporadic, it gradually lost its significance up until 1962 when it came out with its final issue. Compared to the Darjeeling-based Bharati, the publishers of Sharada were making immense financial gains but the obligation that came from being involved in the family business turned out to be the main reason for its demise.
The fortnightly Udhyog was started by editor Surya Bhakta Joshi in late summer, 1935, six months after the first issue of Sharada came out. The cover of its first issue had a dramatic design. A demon impersonating unemployment was targeted by bullets that symbolized various businesses. The illustration expressed an intention for ‘industrial eruption’, a metaphor that captured the public’s desire for economic progress. Even though Udhyog was meant only for businesses, this strategy was impractical, and so, by its second year, it started publishing literary materials and also became a monthly. Gradually, Udhyog adopted several avatars, catering sometimes to the business crowd, sometimes to the literary, and even included astrological features. In the end, after a sixteen-year run, Udhyog took its leave from the publication industry with a conclusive write-up in its final issue that came out in 1951.
(From left to right) Sharada, Udhyog and Nepali. Image: Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya.
The fact that Udhyog had received the tacit approval of Juddha Shumsher’s regime was quite a revolutionary step in 1935 because it was a regime that prohibited the publication of even simple, poetic lines. For example, the words “Wake up…Follow the radiant red rays…Move ahead” was considered treacherous and violent even though it was meant to inspire. Moreover, Udhyog, with a show of bullets, had openly nudged the Nepali people to increase the country’s economic output. Its vision was grand. Udhyog was also the first magazine in the Nepali news sector that started the trend of adopting a specific subject matter or professional area. Later, content-focused magazines such as Sikshya, Gharelu Eelum and Paropakar followed Udhyog’s example.
Udhyog was also the first magazine in the Nepali news sector that started the trend of adopting a specific subject matter or professional area.
In the midst of this, the monthly Sahitya Srot edited by Hridaya Chandra Singh Pradhan started its run in 1946. Even though it discontinued in 1948 after remaining in publication for a little more than two years, Sahitya Srot was highly influential in the field of Nepali literature. Editor Pradhan deserves the main credit for this. The few issues of Jana Chetana and Jagaran published after the advent of democracy are great examples of Pradhan’s talent regarding the art of editing.
Pragati is another magazine that left a historical mark despite being in circulation for a short time. Edited by Narayan Prasad Baskota, pragati entered the market in 1954 and came out with sixteen issues. But its contribution to the development of Nepali literature is quite special because it came out at a time when the literary landscape was depressing. By injecting progressive ideas, Narayan Prasad Baskota fully reactivated the movement. Baskota was also successful at gaining the support of Mahakavi Devkota and various other literary figures. Despite being immensely popular, pragati closed after only three years because it relied solely on its subscribers and took no advertisements. The magazine couldn’t function even though it decreased its frequency from a monthly to a bi-monthly.
indreni, edited by Ishwar Baral, also deserves a special mention even though it only released seven issues after its inception in 1957. Later that same year, the monthly Dharati jointly edited by Ishwar Baral and Bhawani Bhikshu hit the market. Bhikshu had gained experience from his involvement with Sharada; there were many similarities between the two magazines. But in terms of lifespan, Dharati turned out to be the opposite; it discontinued after a total of eleven issues.
Meanwhile, various other content-specific magazines came out: Dhanman Singh Pariyar’s Balsakha (1952) for children; Shekhar Manandhar’s Kopila (1954) for folk songs; Dharma Raj Thapa’s Danfe Chari (1954) for the development of folk culture; Shashi Kala Sharma’s Swasnimaanchhe (1959) for women; Basu Pasa’s Kisaan (1960) for farmers; and, with an editorial team of five, Babar Prasad Singh’s Nepal Kanoon Patrika (1959) for those interested in legal matters. There was a separate magazine dedicated to sports. Edited by Manindra Raj Shrestha, Sporting Times started publication in English in 1956 but discontinued after a few issues. Later, Shyam K.C.’s Sportsman could not sustain itself for long either.
After the Madan Puraskar Guthi—established with the goal of clearing every physical and mental roadblock to the overall development of Nepali literature—started becoming active, the organization started the publication of the trimonthly Nepali edited by Kamal Dixit in late autumn, 1959. With a total of 69 issues so far, Nepali has collected rigorous articles about various aspects of Nepali language and literature. Nepali is the first magazine in Nepal that has maintained its regularity without compromising its qualitative and quantitative aspects such as sections and number of pages. The other magazine that prioritized these two aspects of professional integrity and achieved a historical feat is Ruprekha, which came out about a year after Nepali. Even Madhuparka – which was indirectly yet completely patronized by the palace – could not escape from this ill-practice (combining issues, etc), even though its publishers did not have to worry too much about finances. Maintaining professional integrity by providing customers and readers with an issue at the end of every month is a responsibility of anyone involved with newsmagazines; it would not be inappropriate to state that, that symbolizes a certain standard.
Nepali is the first magazine in Nepal that has maintained its regularity without compromising its qualitative and quantitative aspects such as sections and number of pages.
Shree Ram Dev Bhattarai and a few other enthusiastic youth who had started the National Library for the public conceptualized the bi-monthly literary magazine Ruprekha in 1961. These managers had casually turned into editors and publishers, estimating that Ruprekha would not last for more than a couple of years. The environment was such that even highly ambitious folks had fallen at the face of occupational hazards. In this context, no one had imagined that Ruprekha would transform into a monthly so soon and continue for so long. That is why its historical contribution to the development of Nepali literature is quite incredible. But due to readers and writers who had already developed a special interest in Nepali literature, as well as the almost-intoxicating support and perseverance of long-timers associated with the magazine, Ruprekha has continued to publish without pause for the past seventeen years. (Sharada still holds the record for the longest-running magazine – it published a total of 185 issues during its 28-year run, even though there should have been 336 issues. The reason for this is that since Sharada started the malpractice of combining issues from its first year, it suffered from a lack of advertisements and readers.) By publishing 188 issues so far [winter of 1976, it had reached 245 issues by summer of 1981], Ruprekha has managed to set a new record in the field of Nepali news magazines for producing the most issues. Because it has introduced several writers and supported the development of their craft, Ruprekha presently occupies the same niche that Sharada and Pragati were known for in the past. There are only two news magazines in the history of the profession that have managed a consistent, long-term run—Gorkhapatra for newspapers and Ruprekha for magazines. It is a pleasant coincidence that both of these important publications are printed by Pashupati press, which was also involved with the initial layout and design, keeping the future in mind.
Rooprekha Magazine. Image: Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya.
Everyone associated with Ruprekha is proud of the fact that it is the only monthly that publishes regularly without combining issues. But this element is also a topic of concern for those interested in magazines; in fact, a serious concern for literarily inclined Nepalis living in Nepal at the end of the twentieth century. Why is there this level of indifference in Nepal towards the continuity of magazines? People might sympathize with the question but the pathetic reality persists.
Why is there this level of indifference in Nepal towards the continuity of magazines?
Inspired by Ruprekha’s publication and its immense popularity throughout Nepal, some young people became enthusiastic to publish magazines. ‘Ruprekha-size’ and ‘Ruprekha-style’ became a standard between 1961 and 1971 – designers and publishers at the time used these terms with each other! Various magazines such as Himani, Rachana, Bhanu, Fulpati, Mukut, Singhanad, Bagaicha, Ratna Shree, Siundi and Shilanash hit the market one after another. Quite a few of these did not last long; the ones that continued were irregular. Nevertheless, they all contributed to Nepali literature. Later, around 1965, a trend in ‘collections of essays’ started, saving those interested in writing and publishing from the hassles of having to officially register as a magazine. This trend rapidly gained popularity and reached its peak between 1967 and 1969, after which the number of collections gradually decreased. Regardless, in 1974, the palace put out restrictive measures to this new practice in publication.
The initial intention behind publishing these various collections was quite sincere; it also definitely increased the number of Nepali readers and contributed to the overall cause of magazines. But later, gradually, this practice attracted people wanting to make quick cash. Since the number of advertisements increased during festivals, the publication of collections also increased during these seasons. Those providing advertisements used to say “One full page” but they started using insulting phrases like “Only for Rs. 50”. In fact, those working for corporations known for providing advertisements started getting involved in this novel business. As a result, almost every large corporation included someone involved in the business of publishing these collections. Even though this kind of environment was not ideal for magazines that published regularly, these collections did increase the number of readers and so, their proliferation in the market was somewhat welcomed. But then, the practice came to an end in 1974.
When it came to magazine publication, not only was the situation disheartening, denigrating and full of obstacles, there was also a steady decrease in novel, innovative ideas. Between 1949 and 1951, political prisoners, in order to kill time as well as be expressive, chose the slate as their medium and started publishing ‘slate magazines’. The main ‘editor and publisher’ behind this endeavor was Shyam Prasad. Later, they started publishing magazines on walls. This type of magazines were mainly used in educational institutions. In 1975, by using calendars to publish magazines, Sindhupalchok High School added an exciting new dimension. For a few years, the practice of keeping handwritten magazines from 1953 in bookstores also became quite popular.
Between 1949 and 1951, political prisoners, in order to kill time as well as be expressive, chose the slate as their medium and started publishing ‘slate magazines’.
Pocket magazines was another addition to these diverse modes of publication – Haribhakta Katuwal’s Banki is significant in this medium. These days, something more exciting than pocket magazines is getting published – Chautaro. This magazine gets published in an international paper used by the postal service and gets distributed. Bijay Sagar Shrestha from Palpa is considered to be the pioneer behind this. It is also worth mentioning the contribution of the doctor duo Hemanga Dixit and Manindra Ranjan Baral who helped make magazines more popular by putting out the Yati digest. Along with that, for English readers, the monthly Basudha edited by Tanka Lal Shrestha is especially noteworthy. Another English monthly, published earlier this year, is Nepal This Month edited by Uttam Kunwar. Designed and distributed in Bangkok, Thailand, the sale and marketing of this magazine has achieved an international standard because its goal is to promote Nepal’s tourism; it is considered to be the best amongst the ones produced in Nepal. At 5000 copies per issue, this magazine probably has the widest circulation.
The royal palace has been supporting the production of newsmagazines in Nepal from early on. But since the support often came with strings attached, this has always been a controversial topic. Sharada received financial aid from the palace since 1935 and Udhyog since 1939; in fact almost every magazine published since then received some form of support from the palace. This clearly implies that the palace was conscious about the development and longevity of newsmagazines. But since the aid was never enough, almost every magazine shut down at an early stage. In fact, the incomplete support from the palace is considered to be one of the reasons for the demise of these magazines. The final issue of Udhyog (1952) provided clarification. The magazine published a letter it had received from Sagar Mani Acharya Dixit, the then director of Nepal Bhasa Prakashini Samiti, which stated that since Udhyog had not been publishing regularly despite receiving financial aid since 1939, the support would be discontinued. The magazine also published a write-up which stated that the support had not been timely.
In any case, magazines that were registered before the implementation of the current media policy had been receiving some form of financial aid from the palace. But the media policy emphasized only dailies, weeklies and bi-monthlies; other magazines were ignored by the royal government. The tradition of financial support from the royal government to newsmagazines had been ongoing since 1935 when Juddha Shumsher was the Prime Minister. But according to the 1971 media plan, financial aid would be provided on a case by case basis. Thus, these magazines – a major feature of Nepal’s intellectual field – that had maintained a convenient dependence, suffered a setback. When we reached out to the concerned person asking for support, we received a reassuring response: “It’s being considered. After our study is complete, we will do something”. But this was a response we had been receiving every year for the past few years. A developing country like Nepal demands that those involved in publishing should be patient; those patient folks are waiting for a positive result, hopeful that the study will be complete soon. But since the agenda to support magazines keeps getting shifted from the Ministry of Communication to the Ministry of Education to the Royal Pragya Pratisthan, this state of being ignored remains unchanged.
A few recent incidents provide a clear illustration of the fact that Nepalis have a deeply ingrained habit of dodging their responsibilities. This is reflected in a case between a large financial organization and a regular monthly magazine. The organization had been providing an advertisement to every single issue of the magazine for nearly two years but it abruptly stopped advertising. Since the magazine was the most regular and famous one, a concerned representative from the magazine approached the organization requesting them not to stop the advertisement, with words along the lines of “Please continue your publicity as well as support us.” A senior member of the organization agreed with the fact, expressed sympathy, and responded, “You are right but since we support you, we also have to entertain the requests from other magazines. That’s why we decided to stop providing advertisements to every magazine.” Despite having the authority to decide which magazine would qualify for an advertisement and signing off on a decision, he decided instead to merely sign in his attendance sheet and do nothing. Used to leading a convenient life without responsibilities and exhibiting such lowly conduct, decision-makers like these are culpable for making Nepal one of the least developed countries in the world.
There is another reason why magazines continue to get ignored. People with authority are able to exercise their power more fully by making these unsubstantial decisions on paper rather than by supporting magazines. But the current government authority in charge of media policies seems to have understood the situation and has provided reassurance to change it; that’s why the publication field is hopeful these days.
Madhuparka Magazine. Image: Madan Puraskar Pustakaya.
There have not been many instances of the government conducting investigations and shutting down magazines. However, an especially noteworthy case in this context took place in the summer of 1961. When Daulat Bikram Bista’s story Ek Saanjh was published in the bi-monthly Bagaicha edited by Govinda Prasad Lohani, it was accused of vulgarity. The publisher was asked to provide an explanation and the office of the magistrate in Kathmandu instantly prohibited subsequent publications of the magazine.
Even though there is complete uncertainty regarding the longevity of magazines, magazines have not stopped getting printed since 1898. Swept by the twentieth century conscience, several active individuals have taken on the task of igniting the awareness of Nepali society. Their attempts may not be everlasting but magazines have been successful in opening the eyes of the public regarding the role of the press when it comes to matters of identity and development; because, in a developing country like Nepal where publishing books is considered to be difficult, magazines have somewhat fulfilled the task of books.
The arrival of Ramjham that started publishing twelve years ago further highlighted several important aspects of magazines. An editorial team assembled under the leadership of the current Crown Prince Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev is responsible for the publication of Ramjham which has increased the reputation of Nepali magazines.
It is not easy to analyze the distribution of magazines in comparison to Nepal’s population. Not counting Nepali-language speakers who reside outside Nepal, the population of Nepali citizens is one crore and fourteen lakhs [1976 figure]. Since Nepal does not have an institution like the Audit Bureau of Circulation, it is even more difficult to get an accurate picture of the state of magazine distribution in Nepal. Going by estimates – Ruprekha and Madhuparka produces 24,000 copies annually in total; if we add about 20,000 copies of various magazines produced in Jhapa, Biratnagar, Rajbiraj, Janakpur, Birgunj, Kathmandu, Pokhara, Palpa and Nepalgunj, the entire population of Nepali citizens receive only about 44,000 copies of magazines every year. In other words, 251 people get to share one copy of a magazine every year on average. To simplify, if we assume that each magazine has 72 pages, one citizen gets a share of 3.4 pages every year. This is a rather pathetic record. In this way, if we assume that every copy of a magazine costs two rupees, a citizen approximately has to spend seven paisas every year on magazines; ironically, Nepalis who earn Rs. 950 per year on average are not ready to spend even one paisa annually for the sake of mental stimulation and entertainment by buying magazines.
The difficulty in income-generation and the fact that money-order services have opened only recently in a few districts are some of the reasons affecting magazine sales. This presents obstacles to collect fees from customers. Besides, the literacy rate of the country is quite low. On top of that, some managers have collected fees but not sent copies outside Kathmandu. Such malpractice has regularly created a sense of distrust in the population towards magazines. That is why the magazine business has not been able to advance in general.
Another reason why Nepali magazines have not been able to expand its reach is due to the unlimited infiltration of Hindi magazines in the market that are cheaper and of a lower standard. Due to the cheap publicity of Hindi films—considered to be the chief source of cheap entertainment—an average Nepali can understand Hindi. As a result, the sale of readily available, low standard Hindi magazines in the market is quite high compared to Nepali magazines. This further proves the fact that there is a greater demand for cheap materials internationally compared to qualitative materials. There has not even been an attempt to produce similarly low-standard material in Nepali in order to compete with the Hindi items in the market. That would at least increase the number of Nepali readers.
Regardless of the situation, there have been about fifteen hundred magazines published during the 78-year history of Nepali magazines—proven by the record kept by Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya. Out of this, about 300 were daily or weekly newspapers. That means, it can be estimated that almost 1200 were magazines. However, there are only a few magazines that still get published. This only means that the task at hand—solving occupational hazards such as a lack of advertisements and customers—is highly important. One of the new communication goals of the government (which has ironically gotten old ) is to turn the magazine industry more robust rather than letting magazines shut down. This is why the royal government, especially the Ministry of Communication, needs to get rid of their indifference towards magazines; there have been signs that the state is moving in the right direction.
First of all, the royal government needs to take appropriate steps towards differentiating magazines. It needs to analyze the quality of magazines and accordingly allocate either advertisements or financial aid in a fair and balanced way. Otherwise, the situation of the past 78 years will repeat itself. Whatever happened in the past, since Nepal is under the appropriate leadership of His Majesty King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev who is focused on the overall development of the nation, Nepali intellectuals are hopeful that the magazine business will be developed as much as other businesses in Nepal, because magazines are definitely the only medium that continually sharpens a nation’s intellect as well as accurately portrays it.
In the end, I’m compelled to state (without undue pride) that if three generations of Nepalis in the last fifty years were to discuss Nepali literature and society, the grandparents would be obliged to mention Sharada, the son Pragati, whereas the grandchildren these days are obliged to mention Ruprekha. These are all obligations. Editors and publishers involved in the business of magazines are compelled to merely accept “fame” in lieu of respect and financial gain. Since the future is uncertain, we cannot foretell which magazine will be mentioned by the great-grandchild. Whichever magazine gets mentioned, it will be progressive not regressive because it is only the name that gets changed – the objectives and the mode of work will get refined in a timely way – this has been the process so far!