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Gorkhapatra enters 121st year of publication



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By Aashish Mishra
Kathmandu, May 8:

“May all be happy, may all be healthy,
may all be well, let none be unhappy.”

It is with this slogan that Gorkhapatra began publishing in 1901, marking the beginning of print journalism and mass media in Nepal. Initiated by Rana Prime Minister Dev Shumsher, Gorkhapatra outlasted its initiator; it outlived the Rana regime; it saw the rise and fall of Nepal’s experiment with democracy; it experienced the absolute monarchy of the Panchayat years; it was the paper that published the [then proposed] new constitution of 1990; it covered the details of the 10-year People’s War and it is still here today as the mouthpiece of Nepal. That is why, in his article published in The Rising Nepal’s special Gorkhapatra Anniversary supplement on Friday, senior journalist and former news chief of Gorkhapatra Dhruba Hari Adhikary called the paper “a newspaper of record.”
The state-owned national daily entered the 121st year of publication on Friday and the same day, its parent organisation the Gorkhapatra Corporation (GC) celebrated its 59th establishment day. On the occasion, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli congratulated and extended his best wishes to all the journalists, technicians, employees and administrators working at the corporation.
Friday also marked the sixth National Journalism Day on which Prime Minister Oli wished for the professional prosperity and progress of Nepal’s journalists.
Issuing a congratulatory message, the Prime Minister reaffirmed the government’s commitment to the freedom of the press and hoped the day would inspire media personnel to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed right in a socially responsible way.
Minister for Communication and Information Technology Parbat Gurung also extended his wishes to everyone associated with Gorkhapatra Corporation and praised the media’s role in the democratic movements of the past.
In a special publisher’s note published on the front page of Gorkhapatra, GC Executive Chairman Krishna Murari Bhandary said that the broadsheet daily was a living document of Nepal’s history and a heritage of Nepal and Nepalis. He stated that the publication had been changing with the times and had been catering to the readers with its paper, website, YouTube channel and smartphone app. He also reiterated the corporation’s resolve to make its publications competitive in the market and work in support of the national aspiration of ‘Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepal.’
The Gorkhapatra started life as a weekly paper. Its first issue was eight pages long and on the front page, the paper highlighted its objective to serve the public

by disseminating news and information and acting as a bridge between the “subjects” and the “rulers.” The newspaper gradually increased its publication frequency to two times a week and then three times a week and became a daily from February 16, 1961.
In addition to introducing print journalism to Nepal, Gorkhapatra is also credited with publishing the first news photo. On April 25, 1927, the paper published the photo of a woman Surya Mati Shresthani weaving cloth using the Shree Chandra Kamdhenu spinning wheel. This photo is credited with ushering in the era of photojournalism in Nepal.
Gorkhapatra is also a pioneer in the field of multilingual journalism. It began its ‘Naya Nepal’ section on September 18, 2007 and currently publishes news articles in 38 national languages of Nepal.
No formal programmes
Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, GC did not organise any formal programmes to mark the beginning of its flagship publication. Only a small ceremony was organised to garland the statue of Jaya Prithvi Bahadur Singh, who played an instrumental role in founding Gorkhapatra. Last year too, the corporation could not celebrate its anniversary because of the pandemic.
The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MoCIT) held a subdued event to announce the recipients of the veteran journalists honour and the national journalism prize of the years 2076 and 2077.
MoCIT Secretary Hari Prasad Basyal informed that the ministry had originally intended to hold a grand event to celebrate the anniversary of Gorkhapatra and the National Journalism Day but had to cancel because of the second wave of COVID-19 that began in the country.