'A People War' Released

12 Sep 2006

Wars are never pretty. Nepal’s conflict ruined the country, tore apart our social fabric, brutalised us and hardened our dealings with each other. One can engage in a discussion on the philosophy of violence, but we have to ask ourselves at what cost?

Nearly 15,000 people were killed between 1996-2006, hundreds of thousands were widowed or orphaned and millions were forced to flee their homes.

nepa-laya asked photographers and journalists to submit pictures they had taken of the past ten years of conflict. This book is a collection of 172 of the most outstanding among the 3,000 images or so submitted by photographers and journalists for this book. They are portraits of a country in pain. But the faces also tell a story of  survival, hope and the triumph of the Nepali spirit. Despite all odds, citizens struggled for peace and democracy and won. This is our  story told in pictures taken by 80 photographers.

Every war has its iconic picture. Somewhere inside this book is the picture that will, years hence, be the defining moment of this conflict. A picture that brings together the suffering and bereavement that was heaped on top of a people who were already suffering from poverty, injustice and neglect.

The book does not have pictures of actual battles, partly because most of them took place at night. But the publishers also believe that war journalism shouldn’t be about covering battles, but about how war affects ordinary people.

Few will be unmoved by this book, by the pictures of ordinary Nepalis caught up in pictures is the inner strength and resilience of us as a people.  

This is a book that should remind us of events beyond their control. But the thread running through the selected the turmoil of the past ten years. That violence is a dead-end and we must all individually and as a nation work to ensure that Nepal never goes through such horror again.

Nepali editor and publisher, Kunda Dixit, coordinated the project and wrote the preface and captions. The images were short-listed and selected in 2006 by him and a team consisting of noted Bangladeshi photographer Shahidul Alam of the Drik Picture Library and Shyam Tekwani, war photographer and assistant professor of journalism at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.