Friday, December 20, 2013

Gorkha Bharat Jeevan and Moti Ram Bhatta

By Rabin Man Shakya. Ph D
Former Lecturer of Journalism at Peoples Campus, RR Campus

When there is no freedom of expression and no press freedom owing to the repressive and authoritarian nature of the rulers, the newspapers and magazines have to be brought out either illegally or have to be printed abroad, or the publications will be able to play only sycophantic and lapdog role.

That was exactly what happened in the Czarist Russia. Lack of press freedom during the Czarist regime in Russia prompted Alexander Herzen and Nikolai Ogarev to launch "Kolokol" (the bell) the first Russian censorship-free weekly newspaper published in London (1857-1865) and Geneva (1865-1867).

Therefore, absence of freedom of expression and press freedom and fear of Rana autocracy were the reasons that prompted some of the progressive-minded Nepalese intellectuals to start journalistic activities not from within Nepal, but from abroad.

Actually, the history of emergence and growth of Nepalese journalism is interrelated with the activities of the Nepalese immigrants in British India.

The founder of the Nepalese journalism is considered to be Moti Ram Bhatta, a Nepali poet, who brought out the first Nepali monthly publication "Gorkha Bharat Jeevan" in the year 1886 AD.

The magazine "Gorkha Bharat Jeevan" which was a monthly literary magazine was printed at Bharat Jeevan Press, Banaras in British India. Although, it was launched by Moti Ram Bhatta, the editor of the magazine was Ram Krishna Varma.

One of the first Nepalese advertisements was related to Gorkha Bharat Jeevan which was published on the cover of "Gorkha Hasya Manjari" also printed by the Bharat Jeevan press in Banaras in 1888.

Since "Gorkha Bharat Jeevan" was the first and pioneering publication venture by the Nepalese in India, there is no doubt that this magazine championed the cause of enhancing and enriching the Nepali language.

Was it a historical compulsion or just a mere coincidence that the first Nepali magazine was brought out from British India?

Given the authoritarian and repressive nature of the Rana regime, it was just futile to expect of a first publication from Nepal, just as it was not possible for Herzen and Ogarev to bring out first censorship-free Russian publication "Kolokol" from Czarist Russia.

*I value your opinion.Please provide your feedback by posting a comment below.
**Shakya is also State Education Director, NRNA-USA Oregon Chapter, Portland, USA.

1 comment:

  1. who is the first editor of 'Gorkha Bharat Jeevan'?