Chalfal Vernacular Weekly
Gopal Thapaliya, editor and publisher, Chhalphal vernacular weekly, is ill for a long time. At the time when the CPN ML (now UML) was underground, Chhalphal was the mouthpiece of the party. Thapaliya, being a Communist, had to suffer hard and he had been jailed for many times. Thapaliya talked to People’s Review in contemporary politics and press situation in the country. Excerpts of the interview as given below:
Q. Being a veteran politician what is your opinion regarding the present day politics?
A: Politics is an ideology and it leads the society, nation and economy. People have divided politics in two parts, and the politicians have taken politics as a medium to give peace and prosperity to the country and its people. People have given their lives for the sake of country and the people but Nepal is the other way round and the politicians have given pain and suffering to the country and its people. They have kept the Nepalese people naked and hungry. There was a necessity for change to free the people from this pain and suffering and so we all got together and brought about this change. At the present moment some of the political parties and their leaders including their coterie have been working towards their self-interest only and so I am interested in siding with one group or the other to enrich themselves.
Q. Is it true that the present day politicians are more interested in earning and becoming rich rather than working for the country and the people?
A: It looks like that. It may not be 100 percent but the characteristic of the politicians seems like that. If one percent of politicians in power are good then 99 percent are bad. The true and honest politicians have been set aside. Even today the people have not had any positive change in their lives.
Q. Which system or leadership will work for the welfare of the nation and the people then?
A: Leadership is available in all the parties but they have not been able to rise up. There are some honest leaders but they have not been given the opportunities. There are good and ascetic leaders even in pro monarchy parties. There were leaders of even a higher stature then the leaders of congress and communist during the Panchayat era. If the federal republic system is implemented with a clean and clear intention then we do not need any other system.
Q. With your experience in journalism for more than 5 decades what is your opinion regarding the present day journalism?
A: The journalism in the past was driven by ideology, value and ethics. Journalists were ascetic and I as a journalist spent seven years of my life in the jail and was arrested 24 times. I went through all those sufferings for the sake of the people and the country. Journalist should work with a goal to make the people aware, united and revolutionize them. Journalism is a service to the nation. Journalism then had a mission and a vision and I am a journalist of that period. There were other journalists who were like me and we brought about a change in our country.
There are very many devices in the present day journalism and there are a lot of medium like TV, radio and social media etc … but there is no seriousness in the education of this type of journalism. There has been misuse of democracy. There should be democracy but no vulgarity, hypocrisy and falseness. Journalism should be as above but some of the present day journalists are busy in making money by hook or by crook.
Q. what is the mission of the present day journalism?
A: The mission of both the past and present day journalism should be to serve the people and the country. Then mission never changes. In the panchayat era if a journalist wrote against the king then the journalist was put in jail and so there was a response to any anti panchayat news as the journalist were put in jail. Whereas at present there is no evaluation as to who is doing what and the good journalist are suffering.
Q. You are a very experienced and dedicated journalist who has been fighting for the freedom of the press for a long time and you have been ill for a very long period as well. What type of help has the nation provided for you?
A: when I fell ill I was not treated at home and the nation took me all the way to the US of A for my treatment. I was able to complete my treatment and come back to my country with the help of some conscious people. I became ill because of the police torcher I received in my lifetime. There were no agitations during the panchayat era when I have not received the police beating. I have been involved in the agitations of the recent past as well. But the nation has not paid any attention and there may be many more journalists who have not been looked after by the nation like me. Politicians are given crores of rupees from the nation’s property within seconds but we do not receive any amount. We face a huge problem in our treatment as we were involved in agitation in the past and so could not earn any money and we do not have money even for the treatment. How are we to treat ourselves if we do not have any money as treatment is not possible without money. I have not requested for economical help from the government for my treatment. I believe that the nation should have a conscience and do something for the people who have work for the good of the people and the country.
Q. You have been ill because of your struggle against the panchayat system as an honest brave and righteous journalist fighting for a change in the country how have you been able to maintain this expensive treatment now?
A: I am taking medicines worth Rs 4500 per day. I had some ancestral property which has all been sold out. The house in Kathmandu, where I am staying now, was constructed by the earnings of my wife. I have not made any monetary contribution in the construction of this house. We agitated and there was a change. I became ill and bed ridden and so could not earn. I could not earn as a journalist as my aim was not to earn money. I have spent all that I had for my treatment and now I do not know how I will bear the cost of my treatment but to survive I will have to do it somehow.