Nepali Times
Under My Hat
25 Years Ago


Most newspapers around the world have sections that carry interesting snippets of news from a decade or so ago in order that readers get an idea of how much progress the country has made, what great strides society has taken, and how every day in every way we get older and wiser.

In this way, communities and nations pass their collective experiences from one generation to another so that another cohort of adolescents can make the same mistakes all over again. Being the carriers of this nation's institutional memory, we in the media therefore take very seriously our public service responsibility of being newspapers of record. This is why we have taken the trouble this week of going back in time to pick items of news from newspapers of yore that demonstrate our laughable early primitiveness and na?vete, and contrast that to the professionalism and press freedom that we enjoy today to publish any ox excrement we like, and get away with it. These are freedoms that we should defend tooth and nail and never take for granted. Here is a selection of news items from The Rise and Shine Nepal, circa February 1979:

PM Thapa sworn in
Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa was sworn in today for the second time as prime minister at a function at the royal palace. Speaking to media newspaperpersons afterwards, PM Thapa said he was working towards setting the world record for the most frequent prime minister and pledged to complete at least five tenures by the dawn of the next millenium. "You will see. I'll still be prime minister in 2004," he predicted, amidst gales of laughter from the press corps.

Arniko born in Nepal
A birth certificate belonging to Arniko has been found in a bahal in Thimi, conclusively proving that the famous Nepali architect was in fact born in Nepal and not in China, as claimed by a Hong Kong newspaper last week. That report set off protests in the streets of the capital during which effigies of the Hong Kong paper were set alight by protestors to ward off the chill. "We never knew he was from Thimi, but now that we do, we can't let the Honkies claim our national hero," said one protestor, shouting aggressive slogans.

Their Majesties grace Feu de Joie
Their Majesties graced a feu de joie (French for 'blaze away at the sky') on the occasion of Shivaratri, observing a grand tradition of the Royal Nepalese Army in which soldiers line up along the perimeter of Tundikhel and fire their muskets aimlessly with wild abandon. The military spokesperson said this year's fue de joie was "spectacularly successful and a sign of things to come". The army also performed a 'Beating Retreat' (English for 'marching backwards in a disciplined manner') parade which drew loud applause and wolf-whistles from onlookers perched on trees in the vicinity of the Martyr's Memorial.

Sikkim is Sikkimised
India today occupied Sikkim, telling the Choegyal to "go take a walk", official reports from Gangtok said.
The move was greeted by howls of protest from the citizens of that landlocked Himalayan kingdom that has often been described by historians as an olive pip between two boulders. Many Sikkimese were distraught that they would have to stop issuing postage stamps depicting rare whales, but they were assuaged when told by New Delhi that their country's name would henceforth be immortalised by the Oxford Dictionary as an intransitive verb meaning: 'obliterated, wiped out, gobbled up, chomped off, made a part of something bigger, or all of the above'.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)