From HIMAL, Volume 8, Issue 6 (NOV/DEC 1995)
Himal has worked single-mindedly over the last eight years, to address the concerns of the inhabitants of the Himalaya. What it did was necessary and important, delving deep into the Himalayan psyche and landscape, and raising issues to challenge the government, academia, and those engaged in development.
Rather than go about it as a scholarly journal or newsletter, Himal sought to address the issues in a magazine style and format, something that has its own economics. The response was gratifying, and over time Himal collected a dedicated readership.
As it turned out, the audience was as small as it was committed. The numbers did not add up to sustain the magazine, and Himal Association, the non-profit publisher, always had to go in search for funds beyond subscriptions and advertising. Because of the low level of English use in the Himalaya, the lack of a developed Himalayan market to support a homegrown journal, and, most importantly, Himal’s own determination to cover serious issues rather than the news-of-the-day, sustainability proved elusive.
After eight years on the road, it was clear that the only way to remain a Himalayan magazine was for Himal to begin to serve the tourist, tapping into the world’s never-satiated demand for a romantic Himalaya. There was good money to be made in that direction, but we have decided to take the trail less travelled by.
Indeed, it is a path that has not been taken by anyone before – a South Asian magazine to straddle the region from the Sea to the Bay and from Tibet’s Chang Tang plain to Sri Lanka’s coconut plantations. The prospects are challenging, but the rewards are those that come from opening doors, lifting barriers, and letting ideas run free. South Asia’s conversations on Himal’s pages, we think, will be worth listening to.
To our faithful readers who provided the Himalayan Himal the strength to publish until the end of 1995, we say: the Himalaya, from Namcha Barwa to Nanga Parbat, is like a clothesline on which South Asia hangs. Himal will continue to cover these ranges with undiminished commitment, with the added consideration that this region is also a part of South Asia. Decisions taken in the maidan have a lot to do with what happens in the pahad. As the excitement of publishing a first-time magazine for one of the most populated, yet neglected, regions of the world carries us forward to Himal South Asia, we know that even though there will be less coverage of the Himalaya in Himal henceforth, that coverage will have more impact.
As Himal prepares for its re-launch, a thanks from the heart to all friends who have helped the magazine since 1987. Without trying to be exhaustive, and in no order, Himalayan Himal salutes Rajiv Tiwari, Robert Cohen, Shanta Dixit, Miriam Poser, Milan Dixit, Bikas Rauniar, Manoj Basnet, Rupa Joshi, Bharat Upreti, Bharat Koirala, Padam Singh Ghaley, Basanta Thapa, Suman Basnet, Prakriti Karmacharya, Ratna Kumar Sharma, KesangTseten, Manjushree Thapa, Omar Sattaur, Stan Armington, Sanjeev Prakash, Sita Maiya Thapa, Bikash Pandey, Anmole Prasad, Frans Meijer, Dipak Gyawali, Pratyoush Onta, Ajaya Dixit, Halle Jorn Hansen, Anup Pahari, Anil Chitrakar, Claus Euler, Adolf Odermat, John Baccaglini, Sujeev Shakya, Helene Zingg, Akio Horiuchi, Indra Ban, Joti Giri and Jon Swan. And Jagadamba Offset.
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