On the Way Up

From HIMAL, Volume 2, Issue 1 (JAN/FEB 1989)

We would like our readers to know that Himal is not just an environmental magazine. To clarify, Himal is a magazine on social, economic, cultural and environmental matters which affeel and afflict the people of the Himalaya. Treating this magazine only as an environmental advocacy bulletin restricts its reach and does less than justice to the enormously complex development issues our reporters and writers grapple with.

Since we never claimed to be devoted solely to ecological issues, it is interesting to speculate why we are so often pegged into that slot. One reason must be that concern for the “environment” is the fad of the moment for many journalists, administrators, development pundits and, yes, environmental  gurus.

It is our view that the word “development”, through overuse, has become invisible in South Asia. From the town of Galle on the southern rib of Sri Lanka to presently snowbound Leh in Ladakh, eyelids begin to droop the moment they spot the First “d” of development. So it does not help that Himal’s masthead screams “For Development and Environment”.  People simply skip over the first word and end up with “environment”. That is how, again, we end up being thought as an environmental journal.

The point being made, I hasten to add that we certainly have no intention of ignoring ecological issues. In reporting on the Himalayan environment, we encourage our contributors to question received wisdom and we welcome debate. There are several thought provoking articles in this issue, on illegal fur trading, high dams in the Himalaya, the Doon Valley judgement and “environmental extremism”. There is enough cud to chew on here till our next issue arrives at your mailbox.

It is time to welcome and to bid farewell. Welcome to Vidya Stokes, Speaker of the Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly as Advisor to Himal. We look to her and others to guide us as we strive to provide increasingly comprehensive coverage of the entire region.

Farewell to George Me Bean of UNICEF Kathmandu, mastermind of the Noon Chini Pani information campaign (see Mail section), and designer of Himal’s distinctive logo. We are glad, however, that the magazine has gained a reader in Barbados, which is where his next assignment takes George.

Sanjeeva Pandey is District Forestry Officer in Sarahan, Himachal Pradesh. Chetan Singh teaches history in Shimla and specialises in Medieval India. Laxman Thakur is a lecturer whose passion is studying pagoda style temples of the Himalaya. What do they have in common? That they are together, left to right, in this photograph, and that they simultaneously joined as subscribers to Himal in January. Welcome!

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