We have been cursed with having to live in interesting times chronicling the past five years of Nepali life.
What we as a nation have gone through since 2000 we wouldn\'t wish on any other. It started with innocent disillusionment with our democratic deficit, the political fecklessness of leaders who frittered away the people\'s trust. Violence ravaged the land, strikes and blockades disrupted life, the massacre of an entire royal family by one of its own. There were torture and disappearances, bereavement and displacement, the horrendous slaughters of innocents, unprecedented religious riots, and then a step-by-step return to mandale-ism even as totalitarians rattled the gates. Vignettes are captured in our composite supplement in this issue.
Looking back, what has been extraordinary is the rapid pace of the slide. Such degradation takes decades in other countries-here we went from bad to worse to awful in the span of five years. Society had been ravaged by centuries of marginalisation, exclusion and exploitation, and the violence infected quickly erupting like a puss-filled boil.
The conflict has sent the economy into a tailspin, putting pressure on media finances. Society is so polarised that objectivity is equated with subversion. Some call us pro-royal, others pro-republic. We must be doing something right if they can\'t make up their minds.
We freely admit to having a bias: in favour of democracy, civil liberties and press freedom. You don\'t fight totalitarian tyranny by curbing those values, and you can\'t ensure sustained progress without them. It has been a tumultuous journey and an experience few journalists anywhere have had to endure in this day and age.
In our very first issue of this paper in July 2000, we wrote here: 'A balance of comment fosters debate and expands the public sphere.a newspaper also needs a set of values to sustain itself. In a society cursed with inequality, some of those values are fairly obvious: to speak for the last, the lost and the least. We will be fair, and we will protect our independence intensely.\'
What we didn\'t know then was how soon and severely we\'d be put to the test.