Thursday, October 6, 2011

Aama: Best movie to study about Panchayat system,

By Harsha Man Maharjan

I had heard a lot about this movie, but had not got a chance to watch it. This movie is not available in the market. So, i watched it for a research purpose from Nepal Television Program department few months ago. Some Nepali film scholars believe that it was a trend-setting cinema of Nepal which promoted existing political ideology i.e Panchayat system. It presents a story of young man who has returned Nepal from Indian Army on holiday. He was impressed by nascent ideology of party less Panchayat system and decided to serve the mother, Nepal. This cinema shows how that system was leading people in the road of development. This is the best movie to study Panchayat ideology established by King Mahendra in 1960s. It is interesting that NTV has no right to broadcast this movie since it is related to 'undemocratic' political ideology. Being a person interested in media history, i am delighted to see this movie in You Tube. Hats off to the person who has uploaded it.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Panchvati: Cinema Banned in Nepal in Panchayat Period

While undertaking the research on Royal Nepal Film Corporation (RNFC), I came to know about Panchvati. It was co-produced by RNFC and Shova Doctor, an Indian producer in 1987. It was made in Hindi and later, dubbed into Nepali. But Nepali government never showed courage to screen it publicly.

Going through the discourse on this movie in Nepali print media, I concluded that it was not shown due to its content. But if the problem was with content, why it was not noticed while going through the script ? Did RNFC check its script before ? The question came to my mind. And I approached Narayan Dhoj Pant, a staff at RNFC. His answer was that the script was never submitted by Shova Doctor.

Anup Subedi, a film critic informed that yagesh, a journalist from Kantipur has this movie. Yagesh bought it from India. And Martin Chautari, where I am working as a media researcher, screened this movie for the first time in Nepal in 11 Aug 2011. Prakash Syami, who helped in dubbing of the film, was pundit. He argued that this cinema was victim of rivalry between two staffs of RNFC, Teeka Singh and Neer Shah. Singh was interested to screen it, but Shah opposed it and the issue became public. Palace interfered at last, demanding for the movie and the palace never return it.

Though Syami denied it, I think that crux of the problem was the content. Panchvati is a story based on incestuous relation between a person and his brother’s wife. Till 2011, we have never seen a Nepali movie with this kind of theme. It is interesting that it raised the issue of marital rape in 1987, isn’t it ?

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Part of History: Rejected Introduction of My Masters Dissertation

By Harsha Man Maharjan

Friends, here is introduction of my dissertation, my supervisor rejected. He thinks that it is inappropriate to write dissertation in the first person. Please go through it and write your opinion:

Chapter one

From Proficiency Certificate Level classes in my college I came to know about development communication and development journalism. These concepts caught my heart- I honestly believed that they were important. At that time I heard about Hamro Gaunghar, a column on development journalism published in Gorkhapatra by Kishor Nepal. He started to write this column in 1976. And this column was synonymous to development journalism and development communication for me. That’s why I earlier decided to do my masters thesis on this column. The most of these columns were available at Tribhuwan University Central Library (TUCL). With zeal, I xeroxed about 100 columns of Hamro Gaunghar and took an in-depth-interview with Kishor Nepal, contributor of the column, at his office in Battisputali. I even consulted with Lal Deua Rai, who taught me Development Communication in R.R college. He requested to come with a special question related to the column. And I started to read those columns.

Going through the columns I realized that there were limitations of Hamro Gaunghar. Even Kishor Nepal accepted this during the interview. Gorkhaptra was a state-owned media institution, and he had to sanitize his column. This column usually contained praises and less criticism of government. What was the reason? It had to accept government policies and plans-especially National Communication Services Plan 1971 which had a slogan: ‘Communications for Development’.

This plan is available in press council’s book Prakashan ko Digdarshan. It began planed and systematic development communication in Nepal. It brought six governmental communication institutions and six semi-governmental communication institutions in a network. (Sharma 1980). We can hardly find a document on Nepalese mass media more comprehensive than this plan. It is unprecedented.

Now my interest sifted to this plan. I decided to delve into how, why and what about the plan and went through articles written on the subject. A question related this plan which I encountered during my exam made me more curious about the plan. I was unprepared for this question and I had no option then to leave it in the exam. Now I was dead sure to do my thesis on the subject. I discussed a lot about this plan with my colleagues Sharad Ghimire and Pratyoush Onta at Martin Chautari where i am working. Consultation with these people helped a lot to polish my topic.

I started to search the literature on the plan. Earlier I have thought that some body must have done studies on the plan. Alas! I found no comprehensive study on the subject. It was difficult for me even to trace people who worked on the taskforce to prepare the plan. My study fills this gap.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Ramjham: The Royal Magazine of Nepal

By Harsha Man Maharjan

Ramjham is a magazine published by Press Secretariat of the Royal Palace in Nepal during Panchayat system in 18 feb 1965 (See pix 1). It is an important medium to study propaganda of this system. There are two reasons for this. First, it was under full control of the palace. Second, it was a periodical which made a possibility to publish it time to time. More than this is the magazine edited by members of Royal Family. In the first issue, there were six editors-four from the palace and others out of palace. They were Birendra, Shanti, Sharda, Gyanendra Shah, Renu Lal Singh and Nirbikram Pyasi. Among them, Birendra was the editor in chief. It is interesting that he was not more than 20 years at that time. That’s why it was Singh and Pyasi who did the most of work related to the magazine.

This magazine remained for 25 years. During this time, it published articles on different aspects of Nepal. It also published literary materials. Moreover, it also published articles, photos promoting monarchy in Nepal. We can find no article criticizing the panchayat system. At that time, writers could not criticize some holy cows like monarchy, Panchayat system, Hindu religion etc.

In conclusion, what we can say is that this magazine was an avenue for the palace to do propaganda for the system. Due to this, this magazine folded when the system ended.