Parts that make a whole
- bookworm babbles
Jun 28, 2017-
Ujir Magar recently released his first book, Ansha. Magar who currently serves as the chief secretary of Nepal Journalist Federation writes about various aspects of the Maoist insurgency and its effect on current political scenario in his new book. In this conversation with the Post’s Samikshya Bhattarai, Magar talks about his new book and his take on journalism. Excerpts:
Tell us about your new book, Ansha?
Ansha is a book based on the Maoist insurgency. As I was working as a journalist during that period, I got a firsthand experience of the conflict and was even able to travel to some of the places worst-affected by it. I heard lots of stories and met people from various walks of life and learnt how the conflict had affected them. So, I decided to collect all these stories into a book. Ansha is in a way a brief summary of the Maoist insurgency from a point of view of a journalist.
In the last decade, we have seen many books about the insurgency written by people who fought on either side, by public intellectuals and analysts, and even by journalists. How does your book add to the existing discourse?
Yes, there are quite few books about the conflict but my book does not base itself on a certain ideological and political aspect of the conflict but on how the lives of individuals, regardless of who they were, were affected by the war. I have more than 200 characters in my book that range from high-ranking government officials and Maoist cadres to commoners. I have tried to show how everyone, right from the grassroots to the corridors of power, was a part of the conflict that has in so many ways shaped what we know as Nepal today.
You have written numerous articles on media platforms on the subject in the past; tell us how different it was compiling it all in a book.
As my book is a non-fiction based on my work as a journalist, writing it was not very difficult. However, there is a difference between reporting and writing a book. While reporting, one focuses on a single story and the aspects that surround it. You go to the field, and produce a write-up immediately, under a short timeline. While writing a book however, one needs to focus on not just one but multiple characters, multiple stories and multiple aspects that surround each of these characters and stories. It is not very straightforward, the process can get tricky and stories sometimes get entangled. Book-writing definitely demands more time and energy. In this case, I wrote the book almost after a decade of the conflict. I had to fill a lot of gap by just recalling. The compilation was a strenuous process.
What are three books about Maoist insurgency that you think everyone should read?
The first book is Prayogshala by Sudheer Sharma as it gives you a remarkable account of the insurgency and everything you want to know about the period. Another book would be Das Barsiya Janayuddha by Dipak Sapkota. And the third book would be Divorce by Netra Pandey. Even though the book is based primarily on the parting of Puspakamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ and Baburam Bhattarai, it delves into the internal conflict inside Maoist party as well as various other aspects of Nepali politics.
Published: 28-06-2017 08:36