Durga Nath Sharma, journalist behind the popular world affairs show, is dead at 72Sharma was a veteran journalist with stints in Radio Nepal, Gorkhapatra and Nepal Television, but his enduring legacy will be the Bishwo Ghatana programme.
Durga Nath Sharma, the venerable broadcast journalist whose voice resounded through the homes of thousands of Nepalis, bringing the most complex news from around the world through weekly foreign news programme, died on Wednesday in Kathmandu. He was 72.
Sharma died at around 11 in the morning while undergoing treatment at the Manmohan Cardiothoracic Vascular and Transplant Centre.
For many Nepalis growing up in the 1990s, Sharma's weekly show on Nepal Television, Bishwo Ghatana, was their introduction to world affairs. In a stately voiceover, Sharma would present the week's most significant news, ranging from conflict in the Balkans to developments in the Middle East.
“Sharma was admitted to the hospital on Tuesday evening after he complained of a chest infection. He was at the Sahid Gangalal National Heart Centre for five days before being admitted to Manmohan,” Sharma’s brother Laxminath Sharma said in an interview with Kantipur daily.
Born in Ilam in 1947, Sharma, a veteran journalist and media personality, is remembered by his friends and colleagues for his curiosity and his passion for the news. During the Panchayat era, he bounced around from medium to medium, becoming a newsreader for Radio Nepal then an assistant editor at the state-run Gorkhapatra.
“Whether it was in the press, television or radio, he was the brightest man I ever worked with,” said P Kharel, former editor of The Rising Nepal, who worked briefly with Sharma.
When Nepal Television was established in 1986, Sharma moved over to television, initially as a newsreader. He went on to become general manager of the state-run television and eventually started his hugely popular Bishwa Ghatana (World Affairs) show.
“He was already popular by the time he went to work for Nepal Television,” said Kishore Nepal, another veteran journalist who worked with Sharma at Gorkhapatra. “But he contributed a lot to Nepal Television by researching various ongoing affairs from across the world and presenting to the Nepali audience through Bishwo Ghatana.”
According to Nepal, Sharma took a risk by attempting a world affairs show on the only television channel in the country at that time.
Sharma worked at Nepal Television for nearly 25 years, before retiring in 2005. Since then, he had moved on to writing books, like the Handbook of Broadcast Journalism, and teaching broadcast journalism. He was also honoured with numerous awards, including the Prabal Gorkha Dakshin Bahu, by the government of Birendra Shah.
"He always worked with dedication, which was the best thing about him,” said Nir Shah, an actor, director, and Sharma’s friend and neighbour. “He was a warm and generous person. Today, Nepal lost a stalwart in the fields of journalism and literature.”