Nepali Times
Fourth Estate
Media mourning


The good atheist that he was, Girija Prasad Koirala was sceptical of religious explanations about the cycle of life and death. This life was real for him, anything before and after mere speculation. He took life as it came and tried to make the best use of every opportunity to pursue the goal he believed in: democracy is a sine qua non for a dignified life and an honourable death.

Dignity was repeatedly denied to GP while he was alive. Ridiculed and reviled by disgruntled supporters and envious opponents alike, he learnt to build a platform from the bricks thrown at him. When he was finally put on a pedestal two years ago, having successfully conducted the Constituent Assembly elections, heroes and villains alike appeared Lilliputian in the shadow of his towering presence. That could have been why the Nepali media gave unprecedented coverage to his death.

Compared to the hysteria at the passing of Ganesh Man Singh or the desperation in the wake of the Narayanhiti Massacre, the mourners at GP's funeral were remarkably restrained. Some UML politicos were observed cracking jokes at Aryaghat, but the Nepali media as a whole chose to focus upon the trials and tribulations of GP's remarkable life.

The Nepali media is still facing a steep learning curve, however, as the quality of coverage indicated. This may have had something to do with the choice of the national stadium for the beginning of the funeral cortŤge, but television channels turned the moment of grief into a spectacle. The cameras zoomed in on the jovial faces of leaders assembled at Aryaghat. The passing of an octogenarian is often an occasion to celebrate in the Hindu religion, but here it just looked jarring and disrespectful.

The NC troika accompanying GP's hearse marred the solemnity of the occasion by waving at the crowds, but radio commentators made it even worse by focusing upon the unhealthy competition for the leadership likely to ensue in the party. Deliberations upon the legacy of the departed leader would have been more appropriate.

The print media displayed more maturity. The tabloid Naya Patrika came up with a better obituary package than the broadsheet dailies on the day of the cremation. When this was pointed out, a journalist at a rival daily commented that it might have been so because Naya Patrika had been working on the story for quite some time. This is hardly a surprise Ė what was surprising perhaps was how difficult it was to find a balance of accurate, lively, and memorable information about GP's life, despite the press doing his death to, well, death.

The Indian media refrained from sensationalising the passing of the architect of the peace process but gave the subsequent mourning prominence.

The Hindustan Times, the Times of India and the Deccan Herald editorialised about the possible consequences of GP's departure from Nepali politics. Indrani Bagchi, an advocate of a Hindu monarchy for Nepal, wrote a long piece in the Times of India urging her government to back the UML-led government to the hilt. Even well-known GP-baiter Yubaraj Ghimire wrote a critique in the Indian Express confessing reluctant admiration for the man he has loved to hate for years.

Obituaries on the Internet, or rather the comments that followed, were expectedly the most virulent. For all his commitment to peace and democracy, GP was clearly not a popular person in the hate-filled world of cyber-warriors. But then comments in cyberspace are ephemeral, with little or no impact upon grassroots politics in Nepal.

GP would have smiled had he been told of the things being said about him in cyberspace, and might have commented wryly, "They write without grasping the meaning and significance of any event." Perhaps that is true for most of what we do in the Nepali media even today.

The golden middle - FROM ISSUE #495 (26 MARCH 2010 - 01 APRIL 2010)
Real democracy - FROM ISSUE #495 (26 MARCH 2010 - 01 APRIL 2010)
Political vacuum - FROM ISSUE #495 (26 MARCH 2010 - 01 APRIL 2010)
Death of the guardian - FROM ISSUE #495 (26 MARCH 2010 - 01 APRIL 2010)
Political being - FROM ISSUE #495 (26 MARCH 2010 - 01 APRIL 2010)
Post-GP - FROM ISSUE #495 (26 MARCH 2010 - 01 APRIL 2010)

1. tara

Shockingly juvenile article by CK Lal. Grumbling about the inappropriate coverage of his Dear One's passing away (as if the recent flood of hagiography was not enough!) Both amusing and refreshing to witness CK Lal in his child-like avatar.

2. Baneshwor
"Obituaries on the Internet, or rather the comments that followed, were expectedly the most virulent. For all his commitment to peace and democracy, GP was clearly not a popular person in the hate-filled world of cyber-warriors. But then comments in cyberspace are ephemeral, with little or no impact upon grassroots politics in Nepal."

Walla! CK Lal reflects the kind of mentality the entrenched gerontocracy have towards the educated, young mass of Nepal. For him, as for his cohort politicians who are in the same age bracket as he is, the opinions, hopes, aspirations, suggestions and frustrations of the young generation (the median age for Nepalese is just 20.8 years!), who comprise a substantial majority of the country, is just something that is to be brushed away casually. 

Their generation feels that they are entitled to the keys to power by mere virtue of their age! They have been running the country for many years and the results are for us all to see. Old, corrupt, inefficient, politicians head every political party and government bureaucracy. I wonder how many of them know how to even use the internet! In an age when proficiency in information-technology usage holds the key to competing in the global economy, we have a bunch of grey haired people leading us into the information age--sexagenarians who do not appreciate the importance of the internet and IT, nor understand what it is. For CK Lal, opinions of "Girijababu" in the leading dailies are all that matter. Opinions of young Nepalis in what is probably the most democratic forum ever, the internet, are to be brushed away. How ironic this coming from the self purported guardians of democracy!

No wonder the young people are so restless and disenchanted with the old, decaying leadership. No wonder Gagan Thapa, the only leader in NC who speaks coherently and seems to have some sort of vision will have to wait for the next 30 years to rise to the helm of NC. No wonder the comment left in the internet boards by people (most of whom are probably below 40) are virulent and chastising of Girijababu, when the print media and visual media run by old people were singing paeans of him. No wonder there is a disconnect of the majority of the Nepalese (a big majority of whom are below 40) with the political process. 

The constituent assembly had proportional reservations on the basis of caste and jaati. A more better way to go about ensuring that the wishes of the Nepalese people were reflected in the constitution would have been to secure proportional representation on the basis of age. I would go so far as to say that this assembly is as unrepresentative as it gets. Its an assortment of the same wasted, old, corrupt faces. Girijababu to the young Nepalis represents the old order, the status quo. Only the old newspaper editors would praise one of their own.  

No wonder these old people, brought up in an age of dusty paper files and cabinets cant complete the constitution on time (if at at all). The young Nepalese of today understand the concept of time and efficiency. Had they been adequately represented in the constituent assembly the constitution would have been completed on time.   

3. Nirmal
Baneswor, Three star for you!

4. jange
"They write without grasping the meaning and significance of any event." Perhaps that is true for most of what we do in the Nepali media even today.

Speaking for yourself, Dr. Lal?

And Baneshwar ji, there is no need to complain about all these old people leading political parties. If the young are so capable they are perfectly free to open a new party and demonstrate to everyone how it is done in the IT age. Instead of waiting for the old ones to die so that they can take over. No?

5. rajbhanu

GPK was a perfect example of how an influential person can screw up big time and how a vision less person is very unappropriate for leadership !

He never looked up for the people but whatever and whenever he did was solely for holding on to power-be it leg pulling Late Ganeshman or Krishna Prasad Bhattarai or calling for an early mid-term election or even shaking hands with the Maoists. He had an unsatiable hunger for power and unfortunately that brought us to this ruin !

It is often heard that he did a great job bringing the rebels to politics and people praise him blindfolded overlooking how all the party's grumbling final revolution was going nowhere and everyone was running out of options. I still remember how the number of people attending their seventh-eighth phase of "FINAL" demonstration against Gyanendra's takeover could be counted. People have forgotten how GPK was advocating for the monarchy and even the baby king until the last moment.

He was never a leader of Nepal which is well clarified by his last move of bringing his good for nothing daughter into power despite the public opposition. Please donot tarnish definition of Leader, Great Leader and use them as a substitute for someone like GPK who was a blood sucking leech inside a human skin.

Let him rest where ever he might be and lets forget about the worst 16 years Nepal went through under his tortuous maneuvering to nowhere !

6. K. K. Sharma

Attributing anything to any of the leaders of the main political parties is far from reality. They do not do. They are made to do.

 Why else did they have to keep running up to the Indian embassy or the New Delhi. Why else are the Indians, like Jaya Praksas Naryan, Chandra Shekr, Surjit Singh, Sitaram Yechuri their mentors, guide and masters. 

.. Comical to know that C. K. Lal thinks that puppets dance without the strings. 

7. Anonymous
During the death of Stalin an American journalist happened to be in the then Soviet Russia. The journalist was curious to investigate why the entire population of Soviet Russia was weeping for days and nights. It was no one's surprise to learn why the one half of the population was mourning--it lost its most beloved "dear comrade" a patriarch who ruled for almost thirty years; people were worried for there was nobody to replace him! Guess why the other half who really hated the "brutal dictator" was also weeping as loudly at the demise. The latter mourned simply because it was too scared to death to even think about who the hell or how bad the next dictator is going to be! The irony of the story is that even today our media values the 'bhakti ras' more than 'critical faculty' when it comes to the 'post-mortem' of the deeds and character of our leaders. I don't know which half one belongs to, but one thing is sure one needs to learn to feel a bit tolerant of  the dissident voices and alternative modus operandi?

8. buzz

What can an individual do when Media is a disgrace. The likes of you have turned into propaganda machine with white lies.

GPK is a thief. He bankrupted NAC. He sold Tanakpur to India. Maoism started because of his failure as a PM. He ran country as his little piggy bank. This is what is coming. Good GPK does not believe in hell and heaven. Otherwise he much petty much guessed it that he will be burning in hell.

9. Aj

Poor Lal! It should be painful for Girija's foot Soldiers like CK to see him pass away. It's no secret, Girija was the most controversial politicians of last couple of decades. His 12 years of mismanagement, corruption is largely to be blamed for our country's presenet situation. How could he be "Mahapurush", "Mahamanab", "Yugpurush" with all the misdeeds?

10. Anish
We can analyze about life and times of GPK over and over again but present Nepal is what he and others like him have led us to. I don't subscribe to your pedantic theories nor do I have any interest in all your conspiracy theories ( frankly I find them blown way out of proportion) . All I see is a ruined country, all due to incompetency of derelict leaders like GPK . I don't think his death is a loss to country. In fact we could use a few more departures like this in quick successions .   

11. akash Sherung
I mourned GPK demise by reading some prayers and lighting a 'deep' but I didn't attend the funeral.  Mourning GPK's demise, for me,  was more a matter of offering respect to good old man who try to share love and compassion to common Nepali folks whenever opportunity arose.  My analysis of extraordinary presence of Nepali people during his demise was more to do with the current  political chaos and impasse this country is going experiencing than GPK's political achievement as a leader of Nepali congress, his contribution to the Jana Andolan II and his performence   as the primier of Nepal for a record 6 times.   Significant number of mourners turned in his funeral because GPO is the senior most leader of Nepali congress that is the founder of the current 22 party  alliance government.  Had GPK passed away in any other time..the extra ordinary mass would not be there..

12. Suman
Mr. Cynical Lal is at it again.  Somehow he has this divine knowledge of what others are thinking at Aryaghat: UML leaders are joking,  NC stalwarts are being happy, and then he calls  Yubaraj Bhimire a "GPK-baiter".  Wow! Ghimire is one of the most independent minded journalists in Nepal, and don't even try to pass a judgment on him.  This is especially strange coming from a person who does not shy away from promoting Koirala clan especially Sujata so shamelessly every time Mr. Lal has an opportunity.  Poor analysis overall..   Better luck next time.  

13. Binod

A suggestion to the publishers of Nepali Times... start hiring the ordinary comentators... they are far better than your usual set of so called reporters and journalists......and that includes Lal as well.


14. Nishan

Hey Mr. Lal,

What's wrong with you and Khagendra Sangraula ? You guys can't write anything without criticizing UML ? Even in this article solely dedicated to your idol GP Koirala, you couldn't help urself writing the fake story of UML leaders cracking jokes at Aryaghat. How lilliputian are your thoughts man ? Do you think people will believe on your polluted mind-made story ? Please think twice before writing anything against UML if you ve an ounce of morality and ethics.

15. Kris
GPK was a mastermind of political changes in Nepal, however, he was a failed prime minister and manager. He abolished monarchy because he wanted to be the first president of Nepal. Anyway I appreciate his role to abolish monarchy because Nepal will be good without monarchy. Power hunger nature of GPK gave us a good thing (abolishing monarchy) among hundreds of his bad contributions. He ruined the congress party. He is the main guy who promoted corruption in Nepal. He was the brand ambassador of corruption in Nepal.
 He died but he left many corrupted people in Nepalese society. Mr Lal and few journalists who is influenced by his corrupted mind or money will represent his legacy in future. The Nepalese media is highly influenced by politics. The media coverage after GPK death shows that media are busy to calculate what he achieved but they are completely neglecting  what he contributed to Nepal such as corruption, communism and many more.

16. Kamal Kishor

It looks like we are trying to turn ourselves into cynical mentalities. A man, an old man, died and we should be offering him our prayers. Have we lost our souls?


I never liked GPK, except admiring his relentless struggle for restoration of democracy and his believe that without him taking hold of situation Nepal won't be able to achieve the real democracy, all his philosophy and political activities were against my principles and beliefs. He was just the opposite of BP, whom I had several chances of meeting, discussing and differing. I do agree that GPK was more responsible for the present mess but others should be given their shares also; no exceptions: Ganeshman, Madan Bhandari, Makune, Prachand and even Man Mohan whom I admired more than anybody after BP.


But it is unethical, uncivilized, and non-nepali to degenerate Girijababu this way at this time; I never expected Nepali media going down the gutter. It is insult to democracy, democratic gains, and what we are today on a positive scale at this point of time.


When is the main-stream Nepali media going to learn civility?????

17. Anuj

A lady was asked, "where are you going today?". She replied, "Oh, I am going to Ranga Sala with my friends." I was curious and further inquired, "Why? Is there is any tournament going on out there?" The lady looked surprised and said, "Don't you know GPK's funeral procession will start from Ranga Sala today?  I said, "Oh, I know that. So, you are GPK, I mean, CONGRESS fan !" She immediately replied, "No way, please. Girija...haha hahaha...I am just going there to see RANGA in Ranga Sala. That's all. I am bored sitting here in room doing nothing!"

18. Dewi
What does comments on this post prove? "GP was clearly not a popular person in the hate-filled world of cyber-warriors" is clearly an understatement.

19. Ram
Aww, Shucks.  The commentators are hurt at CK Lal 's criticism. It's alright commentators, you have the best grasp of the Nepali politics and society. Be a good web commentator and smile now. Don't be sad. So, what if CK doesn't like what you say about Girija. You will still be writing "without grasping the meaning and significance of any event" but that shouldn't stop you from your inernet and anonymity given right of expression. Smile now, smile. :)

20. Manik

The 17 comments I read lighten me up. I am confident many more read Lal here and 17 fools find the grapes sour, but the readership numbers that they add to Nepali Times is applauded.

I believe Lal is at the premier league in putting his message across and it is so funny to see even people like Rabindra Mishra lose some sleep upon reading Lal.

If u have ever read Lal up and close, you can realise his awe at GPK not in conscience nor in character. It has been GPK's lone strature that has kept many of us at an awe.

Now, We have lost that strature- and and who would understand and realise the loss more than few pundits we have like in Lal? And alas! to most of the Nepali media, they only saw a conscience and a character history pass-away, now, I lose sleep over the vacancy of a strature.


Likes of Lal have moved on to find some light- and the 17 fools bury their head in the sand. Amen.

21. Manik

Dear Moderators/Editors,

In comment # 20; there has been a typo in a couple of instances. 

Please correct STRATURE  to Stature .

Thank you

22. buzz
This comment has been removed by the moderator.

23. buzz
Here goes Nepali times with censorship. What a shame. And again Dixit was shamelessly preaching against censorship.

Better to name Nepali Times as Koirala Times/

24. K. K.

Buzz, When editors resort to censorship it is called editing, not censorship.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)