On the Way Up
From HIMAL, Volume 3, Issue 2 (MAY/JUNE 1990)
If democracy consolidates its gains and survives in Nepal, grassroots action may at last begin to stir and spread across these hills and plains. Village-level activism was discouraged during tlie Panchayat era, with local administrators preventing every “disruptive” act of empowerment.
Adjacent hills of Kuma.cn and Garhwai or Darjeeling, might have been in ferment, but on the Nepali surface all was calm. Now, in Nepal, there is bound to be acrimony, disgruntlement, factionalism and even violence, but this only means that we have entered the real world. Rather than fear anarchy and wish a Teturn to the comforting but unequal warmth of the Panchayat flame, those who still define the agenda must adjust to new realities.
Himal, too, is busy adjusting to the new realities, as this our first issue after the Nepali jana andolan will show. We will now confront political issues directly rather than take refuge in figures of speech, subtle jabs, sarcasm and irony. We can now call a spade a spade and not a manual agricultural excavator.
But we do not propose to convert Himal into a political news-magazine. It will remain a development-sensitive, environment-conscious periodical that tackles the deeper conundrums of Himalayan society. We will concentrate on issue-based coverage, of which politics is but one aspect. In this present issue, we have focused overwhelmingly on Nepal, picking up long- neglected subjects and looking at the full agenda ahead.
Being free of censorship and self-censorship in our home ground also allows Himal to look mote honestly at fundamental questions affecting life elsewhere in the Tegion. This magazine will renew its efforts to grow as a useful information channel for thinkers, activists, administrators, and academics of the region.
Himal docs not crave a mass market, but it does look forward to developing a small but sensitive Teadership which can carry on a discussion across frontiers and divisions of the minci – discussion on earthy issues such as local-level initiatives, alternative development, representative government, ecological activism, and the politics of development.
The Kathmandu Spring has outlasted its 1968 Prague predecessor and has entered a soggy monsoon period. May it survive many more seasons and bring lasting change in this part of the Himalaya.