Pratyoush Onta

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Reading in a group

As a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania with the declared intention of qualifying in modern South Asian history, I took several interesting and challenging courses during the two academic years,

More training via coursework

After being a student in the Department of South Asia Regional Studies at the University of Pennsylvania for a year, I joined the Department of History at the same university in fall 1990.

Training via coursework

During the academic year 1988-1989, I was a very unhappy doctoral student in economics at the University of Pennsylvania. Earlier, I have described that year as the jhurest year of my life in these pages (August 26, 2017).

Patronage of publics

The end of Rana rule in 1951 was an important rupture in the history of public life in Nepal. In an important essay first published in 1970, the scholar of literature and history Kamal P Malla characterised the 1950s in the following manner:

‘Locating’ the Missing History Students

History students have been missing in Nepal’s oldest university, Tribhuvan Univesity (TU). Or at least that is what one or another journalist has been telling us in the recent past. On 28 July this year, Rohej Khatiwada published a long story in Naya Patrika on this subject (“Ritindai TriBiko Itihas Vibhag”).

My Limited ‘Liberal Arts’ Education

When I arrived at the campus of Brandeis University (located just outside of Boston, Massachusetts, United States) in August 1984 to start my undergraduate education, I knew only one thing about liberal arts education.

Transitioning to research in a subaltern university

Although Nepal’s oldest university Tribhuvan University (TU) was founded in 1959 as a teaching-only university, within some years of its founding, research efforts had already begun there in many different central departments and research institutes. Some of this started happening during the second half of the 1960s when some students opted to do research for their MA and PhD theses. This “transitioning to research” process at TU is incomplete, much like our country’s march towards democracy.

Failed student-led rebuilding of TU

The earthquake of 25 April 2015 and its aftershocks extensively damaged some of the buildings in the University Campus of Tribhuvan University (TU) in Kirtipur, Kathmandu. The main administrative buildings housing the offices of the top managers of TU, including its Vice Chancellor (VC), were completely ruined. The old building of TU’s Central Library was also wrecked by the quakes.

Think Tanks: Challenges to Tackle

There has long been a fascination with state-supported think tanks in Nepal. Most recently, the new government led by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has publicly announced that it is thinking of establishing a think tank under the prime minister’s office (PMO).

Nepali historical amnesia

Every few months, some member of the Nepali journalism fraternity writes an article lamenting the decline of the Centre for Nepal and Asian Studies (CNAS) as ‘a think-tank that did great work’ during the Panchayat Era.

The changing research landscape

What has changed in the social science research landscape since the political change of 1990 that put an end to absolute monarchy in Nepal and ushered in an era of multi-party democracy (with more than a few hiccups)?

The language of research

Every now and then, some member of the academic community in Nepal raises the issue about the language in which our social science researchers should be doing their research and producing their output.


The first issue of the quarterly magazine Nepali was published in late 1959 by the Madan Puruskar Guthi. It has been published continuously since then. The first 225 issues of this magazine, published in the same size and format, were edited by the late Kamal Mani Dixit (1929-2016). Given its relatively large published corpus, I think the following few stories about Nepali are worth re-telling to mark the first death anniversary of its erstwhile editor.

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