On the invitation of Shigeo Watanabe I was able to attend the 20th World Congress of IBBY held in Tokyo in 1986 and present a paper on Nepali children’s literature. On that occasion I met Celia R. Jaher, Director of UNESCO’s Division for Book Promotion. She suggested writing her for a support to organize national seminar on children’s literature in Nepal. This made it possible for me to organize an “Achievement Oriented Workshop of Writers and Illustrators for Children” (15-19 August, 1987) and a national seminar on “Children’s Books and Reading in Nepal” (20-22 August, 1987). Nepal Academy invited Mrs. Manorama Jafa of AWIC, New Delhi to conduct the workshop. Both the achievement oriented workshop and the national seminar were unique events in the history of Nepalese children’s literature. On the final day of the seminar a resolution was proposed by Ram Kumar Panday, for the establishment of a non-governmental institute to promote children’s literature and reading habits in the country and it was seconded Basu Rimal Yatri. The seminar also entrusted C.M. Bandhu with the task of co-ordination.
- The First Meeting
Following the decision of the national seminar C.M. Bandhu called a meeting on the day of Ghatasthapana, 8th of Asoj 2044 to discuss on the constitution of the society and formation on ad-hock committee for running the society in the initial stage. The meeting chaired by a senior writer for children Yadunandan K. C., discussed on the draft of the memorandum of association of the “Nepalese Society for Children’s Literature” (NESCHIL) submitted by C.M. Bandhu. An ad-hock committee was also formed under the chairmanship of C.M Bandhu, consisting of members like Ramesh Bikal, Mohan Raj Sharma, Ram Kumar Pandey, and Basu Rimal Yatri. This foundation meeting was attended by the following persons in addition to those mentioned above: Tirtha Bahadur Shrestha, Shiva Prasad Satyal Peeth, Krishna Prasad Parajauli, Bhup Hari Paudyal, Ram Sharan Darnal, Nara Hari Acharya, Jit Bahadur Thapa, Narendra Shrestha, Murari Regmi, Diwakar Dhugel, Milan Shakya, Shant Das Manandhrar, Kul Man Singh Bhandari, Tej Prakash Shrestha, Archana Neupane, Bijaya Chalise, Daivajya Raj Neupane, and Rameshwar Prasad Adhikari.
Later Bishnu Bhatta and Mohan Khadka were included in the ad-hock committee for registration purposes of the society.
- Aims and Objectives of NESCHIL
Nepalese Society for Children’s Literature is an independent academic and nonprofit organization was established in 1987 with a view to promote children’s literature and reading habits among the children bringing together the writers, illustrators, editors, librarians, teachers, publishers, and experts for children.
Specific objectives of Nepalese Society for Children’s Literature (NESCHIL):
- To organize conferences, seminars and lecture programs at regular intervals and to encourage its members to participate in such activities,
- To carry out research activities in children’s books and readings,
- To publish journals and newsletters to disseminate knowledge and information about children’s books and reading,
- To organize competition programs for the writers and illustrators for children’s book and honor writers, illustrators, translators, editors and publishers as well as the individuals for their outstanding contributions, and
- To develop co-operations among the national and international organizations engaged in the promotion of children’s books and reading habits.
NESCHIL is a non profitable organization which runs with the honorary services of its members. The constitution of the society has provisions of four types of membership: General, Supporting, Institutional, and Honorary. The writers, illustrators, critics, editors, translators and librarians for children can get ordinary and life membership by paying fees fixed by the executive committee on the recommendation of a life member of NESCHIL. Any person interested in the activities of NESCHIL and want to support can become a supporting member. A library and an academic institution can become an institutional member by paying fees. NESCHIL can award the honorary membership to any individual for his and her contribution in the field of children’s literature.
In addition to the persons mentioned above following writers and illustrators got membership of NESHIL and attended the general meeting in 1088. They are Harsha Narayan Dhaubhadel, Gehendra Man Udas Pokhareli, Gopal Parajuli, Mukesh Kumar Chalise, K.K. Karmacharya. Later, more writers and illustrators got their membership of the society. They were: Mohan Sitaula, Kedar Neupane, Uttam Prasad Wagle, Kalpna Pradhan, Ghana Shyam Rajkarnikar, Bishwmbhar Chanchal, Usha Dixit, Bidur Chalise, Kavita Ram, Victor Pradhan, Prachanda Malla and Gopal Raj Mainali.
- Election of Executive Committee
The first Executive Committee elected for the term of 1989-1992 was as follows: C.M. Bandhu (President), Ramesh Bikal (Vice President), Ram Kumar Pandey (Secretary), Nara Hari Acharya (Joint Secretary), Basu Rimal “Yatri” (Treasurer), and members were Mohan Raj Sharma, Parashu Pradhan, Bishwa Nath Neupane, Gehendra Man Udas Pokhareli, Usha Dixit and Bishnu Bhatta.
NESCHIL started to develop relationship with organizations of similar objectives and activities. In 1989 C.M. Bandhu attended a national Seminar on “Better Books for Children” organized by Association of Writers and Illustrators for Children (AWIC), New Delhi on the invitation of AWIC. Preparation of better books for children was one of the main goals of NESCHIL. So, a project was devised and proposed at the second annual conference at Banepa a 10-volume encyclopedia for children. The members of society felt that a basic Encyclopedia for Children was a need of time. It was targeted for the children of 12-15 age groups. Though, it was not possible to get resources, awareness for the need of such reading materials was created.
Some more writers got the membership of the society and attended the general meeting held in 1991. They were Ranjushree Parajuli, Bhagirathi Shrestha, Shiva Hari Adhikari, Bhivaneshwari Satyal, Haruhito Noju, Bhagat Das Shrestha, Gopi Krishna Sharma and Dhruva Krishna Deep.
In the next general meeting held in 1992, following new members were present: Rochak Ghimire, Gita Krishna Kharel, Sumitra Adhikari, Himanshu Thapa, Subarna Ram Joshi, Hemang Dixit, Bimal Lal Shrestha. Some of the members attending the meeting of the next year were: Dhruva Ghimire, Hemang Raj Adhikari, Victor Pradhan, Ram Babu Subedi, Jeevendra Dev Giri, Dirgha Man Shrestha, Shamshu Prasad Dahal, Ram Bahadur Pahari, Banshi Shrestha, Purna Prakash Nepal Yatri ,and Kul Mani Devakota.
NESCHIL had associations with UNICEF from the very beginning of its history. NESCHIL collaborated with UNICEF to organize competition for Ezra Jack Keats award at the local level. UNICEF supported NESCHIL to publish Vishwaka Bal Kavita (Children’s poems from the world, 1990) and Balika (The girl child, a collection of stories for children, 1990). NESCHIL also made contacts with International Institute for Children’s Literature, Osaka and International Youth Library, Munich.
NESCHIL started to publish NESCHIL Newsletter and Baal Sahitya, an annual journal from the year 1988. The newsletter was meant to disseminate the information on Children’s literature in Nepal and the last page was devoted to English summaries of the main events. The journal has been publishing papers presented in the annual conferences and English summaries were also given from number 3 of the journal. Book reviews of new books for children are also published in the journal. A list of books for children (grades 1-7) was published in the third volume of Bal Sahitya. A revised version of this list was published in the following year which also contained a list of magazines for children. This list was approved by the Government of Nepal, Ministry of Education to use in the schools for rapid reading.
In 1990, C.M. Bandhu, President of NESCHIL participated in the International Conference on Children’s Books and Illustration held in Beijing from June 6 to 10, 1990. In 1991 NESCHIL organized one-day seminar in collaboration with Private and Boarding School Organization to discuss on the status of reading children’s books in schools.
By this time the number of NESCHIL membership was around 80 and only about 70% remained regular participants of the programmes and activities. Even in the last election held in 2009 only 70 out of 84 turned for voting. But, now the number of NESCHIL members has increased to 140 (see Bal Sahitya 18, 2010).
- The Second term 1992-95
As a rule a new election was held to elect a committee for the year 1992-95. C.M. Bandhu and Ramesh Vikal continued as the president and vice president respectively. Ram Kumar Panday was elected as General Secretary, Bishwambhar Chancal as Secretary and Tej Prakash Shrestha as Treasurer. The members were Basu Rimal Yatri, Gopi Krishna Sharma, Janak Prasad Humagain, Ranjushree Parajuli, Uttam Raj Tripathi and Bishnu Bhatta.
In 1993 C.M. Bandhu was awarded a fellowship at the International Youth Library, Munich where he studied current trends and techniques in writing for children. In the same time he was able to visit Bologna International Children’s Book Fair in Italy and attended an event in Austria to honor Astrid Lind Grin, the famous Swedish writer for children.
In Munich, Bandhu also met Lioba Betten the Director of Books FOR ALL program. As a result, NESCHIL received in 1993, UNESCO coupon of 2000 USD (UNUMS) which enabled us to about 70 schools and reading clubs of Nepal. Later, she wished to support for book distributions to continue mobile library project, but NESCHIL was not able to receive it in time. UNICEF Nepal also supported to prepare mobile library shelves to operate such libraries in the remote villages.
Bal Mandir of Jawlakhel provided NESCHIL a room for office purposes and also to run a reading library for children. The library was open daily for some time. But NESCHIL had to shift its office and library. NESCHIL could not develop its library and documentation program because of the lack of suitable rooms for children’s reading. NESCHIL has been searching for a land to build a children’s library at a suitable location in Kathmandu. The construction and operation of a Children’s Librar at Launchaur under Japanese aid was a matter of satisfaction for NESCHIL as well. NESCHIL also appreciated the opening of children’s section in the national library of Harihar Bhavan and Keshar Library at Keshar Mahal.
- Executive Committee for 1995-98
For 1995-98 Ramesh Bikal, who was also a member of Nepal Academy at that time, was elected as a President, Ram Kumar Panday as Vice President, Bishwamber Chanchal as General Secretary, Victor Pradhan as Secretary and Tej Prakash, again as Treasurer. The members were Gopi Krishna Sharma, Basu Rimal Yatri, Ranjushree Parajuli, Sharada Adhikari, Niranjan Bajracharya and Subarna Ram Joshi.
In 1995 NESCHIL made a survey of educational materials for primary school children. The survey team coordinated by C.M. Bandhu consisted of Ramesh Bikal, Ram Kumar Panday, Basu Rimal Yatri and Bishwambhar Chanchal. More than a dozen members of NECSHIL were involved in the research work. In the annual conference of NESCHIL held in Pokhara, two Proposals were passed: There should be libraries in all the middle schools for 1-7 grades and at least one hour’s reading program every week for them. A Nepali delegation of writers for children attended 26th IBBY World Congress held at New Delhi on September 20-24, 1998. The delegation led by the renowned writer for children Madhav Ghimire consisted of the members C.M. Bandhu, Parashu Pradhan, Victor Pradhan and Sharada Adhikari.
- Executive Committee for 1998-2001 and 2001-2004
In the new committee for the term of 1998-2001, C.M. Bandhu was elected as a President, Bishwambhar Chanchal as a Vice President, Victor Pradhan as General Secretary, Tej Prakash Shrestha as Secretary and Sharada Adhikari as a Treasurer. Members were Gopi Krishna Sharma, Janak Prasad Humagain, Niranjan Bajracharya, Diwakar Dhugel, Mohan Duwal and Dhruva Ghimire. As consensus and awareness was grown among the academicians and intellectuals in favor of children’s literature for graduate level was also developed. In 1999 NESCHIL organized one day orientation program for the teachers of children’s literature at Tribhuvan University. The annual conference held in Dhanagarhi in 2000 was quite festive and impressive. But the funds announced by the donors to establish “Jaya Prithvi Bahadur Children’s Book Award” was not collected and the award is not yet established. In 2001 AWIC, New Delhi invited C.M. Bandhu to attend a seminar on “Picture Books of My Country”. This time he took some Nepali picture books for children to display at the exhibition.
C.M. Bandhu, Bishwambhar Chanchal, Victor Pradhan, Tej Prakash Shrestha and Sharada Adhikari continued their executive positions for the term of 2001-2004 as well. The elected members were Janak Prasad Humagain, Ram Babu Subedi, Dhruva Ghimire, Mahadev Awasthi, Amar Kumar Pradhan and Shashwat Parajuli. In 2002 NESCHIL organized a two day seminar to mark “Hundred Years of Nepali Children’s Literature”. The seminar, jointly organized by NESCHIL and Nepal Academy discussed the development of various genres of Nepali children’s literSature in a span of hundred years.
In 2004 NESCHIL was entrusted by New Delhi office of UNESCO to prepare a Nepali Encyclopedia for Children. UNESCO has already supported NESCHIL to publish Nepali books for children. This time NESCHIL was able accept the offer with challenges to complete the work in about 9 months. The first encyclopedia for children containing more than 700 pages was published by UNESCO New Delhi office in 2004. It was prepared by an editorial board with C.M. Bandhu, as a chief editor. Other editors include Victor Pradhan, Mahadev Awasthi and Bishwambhar Chanchal. It was assisted by various experts, writers, artists, photographers, layout designers and typesetters.
In 2004 a delegation of Nepalese writers headed by C.M. Bandhu and sonsisting Shanta Das Manandhar and Sharada Adhikari visited Denmark on the invitation of Danish Writers Association. During the visit Nepali translation of Anderson’s Ugly Duckling as Bhadda Tiuro, was released in Copenhaugen by Prajjwal Shamshere Rana, the Nepalese Ambassador to Denmark. This was a memorable even in the history of Nepalese children’s literature when a book of a world famous Danish writer translated by an eminent Nepali writer/translator was released by the Nepalese ambassador in the land of Anderson. This event was a mark for further strengthening the relationship between Nepal and Denmark in general and co-operation of the writers and illustrators in particular.
- Executive Committee for 2005-2008
In the new term of 2005-2008, Bishwambhar Chanchal was elected as a president, Victor Pradhan as a Vice President, Tej Prakash Shrestha as a General Secretary Saradha Adhikari as a Secretary and Dhruva Ghimire as a Treasurer. The members were Ananta Prasad Wagle, Amar Kumar Pradhan, Mahadev Awasthi and Shailendu Prakash Nepal.
In 2005 Dhruva Ghimire, Ram Babu Subedi and Jaya Prasad Lamsal attended the Asian Storytelling Conference on September 19-21, held in New Delhi and organized by AWIC. They met Peter Sneck, the President of IBBY, who encouraged Nepalese delegates to become a member of IBBY. Nepal submitted its application of willingness to join IBBY and Nepal Section of IBBY was established as NBBY functioning in close co-operation with NESCHIL.
Well known Nepali poet Dwarika Shrestha invited to organize a workshop of writers and illustrators for children at Sauraha Jungle Lodge with Danish writers and illustrators lead by Sally Alstchuler. It was coordinated by Bishwambhar Chanchal and was highly successful. The Danish Writers Association developed a three year project (2008-2010) for the development of writing and illustration in Nepal. In 2008 a group of Nepali writers and illustrators for Children visited Denmark under the leadership of Bishwambhar Chanchal, consisting members as Dhruva Ghimire, Saurabh Kiran Shrestha and Palpasa Manandhar. The accidental death of Sharada Adhikari on October 9, 2008 made everyone of the society sad and everything was disturbed. The annual conference was not held, journal was not published. The election was delayed and could be held only on the 9th of May 2009.
In 2008 NESCHIL was allocated the IBBY/Yamada Fund to run a Mobile Library Project for 12 schools of 2 districts of Nepal. The program was coordinated by C.M. Bandhu and assisted by Dhruva Ghimire in Nijgarh of Bara district and by Tej Prakash Shrestha in Thankot area of Kathmandu which ended in the middle of 2009. The IBBY has already sponsored another project to prepare reading materials for children out of local resources which will be impremented in 2010.
- Executive Committee for 2009-2012
In the new committee for the term of 2009-2012 Ram Babu Subedi is elected as the president, K.K. Karmacharya as the Vice President, and Sailendu Prakash Nepal as the Genreral Secretary, Ananta Prasad Wagle as Secretary and Ram Bahadur Pahadi as a Treasurer. The members elected as are Pramod Pradhan, Gopi Krishna Sharma, Sharmila Khadka Dahal and Rajendra Bhakta Joshi.
- Executive Committee for 2014-2016
In the new committee for the term of 2014-2016 Mr. Victro Pradhan is elected as the president, Dr. Ramesh Bhattarai as the Vice President, and Mr. Shashwat Parajuli as the Genreral Secretary, Mr. Yashu Shrestha as Secretary and Mr. Kartikeya Ghimire as a Treasurer. The members elected as are Dr. Dhruva Ghimire, Dr. Shailendu prakash Nepal, Mr. Bhola Kumar Shrestha, Mr. Ekaram Shinga, Mrs. Ganga Kasajoo and Mrs. Anuradha Sharma.
- Executive Committee for 2016-2018
Executive committee for 2016-2018 Mr. Tej Prakash Shrestha is elected as the president, Dr. Shailendu Prakash Nepal as the Vice President, and Mr. Pramod as the Genreral Secretary, Mr. Yashu Shrestha as Secretary and Mr. Kartikeya Ghimire as a Treasurer. The members elected as are Dr. Dhruva Ghimire, Dr, Renuka Thapa Solu, Mr. Rajendra Bhakta joshi, Mr. Bijayaraj Aacharya, Mr. Pradeep Lama Bomjan, and Mrs. Yadevi Dhakal.
13. Executive Committee for 2018-2020
For the current term of 2018-2020 Dr. Shailendu Prakash Nepal is elected as the president, Mr. Pramod Pradha as the Vice President, and Dr. Dhruva Ghimire as the Genreral Secretary, Mr. Yashu Shrestha as Secretary and Mr. Rajendra Bhatka Joshi as a Treasurer. The members elected as are Dr. Rishiram Sharma, Dr. Bishnu K.c., Dr. Jayanti Rupakheti, Dr. Yadevi Dhakal, Mr. Ekaram Shinha and Mrs. Shashi Thapa Pandit.
- Honorary Members
Honorary Membership has been awarded to the following persons for their contribution in the field of children’s literature:
- The national Poet Madhav Prasad Ghimire
- Writer and Editro Dev Kumari Thapa
- Writer and Editor Santa Das Manandhar
- Writer and Translator Krishna Prakash Shrestha
The annual conferences were the most important events held every year in different places of Nepal. These events were accomplished in collaboration with local organization, municipalities, libraries, literary societies, clubs and also village development committees. Here is a list of the annual conferences held:
1988 I Nepal Academy, Kathmandu
1989 II Banepa Municipality, Banepa
1990 III Curriculum Development Centre, Sano Thimi, Bhaktapur
1991 IV Little Angel’s School, Lalitpur
1992 V Tansen Municipality, Tansen, Palpa
1993 VI Purvanchal Sahitya Pratisthan, Biratnagar
1994 VII Kakarbhitta VDC, Kakarbhitta
1995 VIII Sarvanam Natya Smuha, Gaidakot
1996 IX Sarvajanik Pustakalaya, Pokhara
1997 X Chitwan Sahitya Parisad and Udyog Banijya Sangh, Chitwan
1998 XI Bhimeshar Nagar Palika, Charikot, Dolkha
1999 XII Sudur Paschimanchal Sahitya Samaj, Dhanagarhi
2000 XIII Adarsh VDC and Plan International, Nijagarh
2001 XIV Lakshmi Narayan Pustakalaya, Besi Sahar, Lamjung
2002 XV Siddharth SahityaParisad, Bhairahawa
2003 XVI Siddharth Vanasthali School, Balaju
2005 XVII Dharan Bal Sahitya Samaj, Dharan
2007 XVIII Battar Youth Club, Nuwakot
2008 XIX Sonitpur Sahitya,, Samskriti Tatha Kala Samaj, Thankot
2010 XX Ghandruk, Kaski
2011 XXI dhawal pustakalaya and Tribhuwan Multiple college, Tansen Palpa,
2014 XXII Dolakha kalasahitya pratisthan Charikot Dolakha,
2016 XXIII Hamro Narayani yuba club,Chandranigahapur Rautahat,
2017 XXIV Bhimeshwor Samudayik Adhyan tatha suchana kendra, Chisapani Ramechhap.
2018 XXV Rupakotmajuwagadidiktel Municipality, diktekl, Khotang
In addition to the regular publications of the journal Bal Sahitya and newsletter Nebasasa Samachar, NESCHIL has published more than two dozen books in Nepali language for children.
Some of the books have been reprinted due to the demand of the readers. There is also high demand for the encyclopedia for children Nepali Bal Vishwakosh which needs to be revised and updated before publication.
- Best Writings and Illustrations
Selection of the best books of the year both in writing and illustration is one of the major works of NESCHIL. Every year NESCHIL has been announcing the best writing as well as the best illustration of the year for children. Two titles are selected from the year 2002 for writing only for age groups 3-7 and 8-16 and also two titles are selected from the year 2010 for illustration for age groups 3-7 and 8-16. Here is a partial list of the selected works:
Year Writing Illustration
1988 Kalpana Pradhan Mohan Khadka
1989 Ekaram Milan Shakya
1990 B. Chanchal Tulasi Aryal
1991 Kavita Ram Tekbir Mukhiya
1992 S.D. Manandhar K.K. Karmacharya
1993 Ramesh Bikal K.K. Karmacharya
1994 Dhruva Ghimire Sunil K. Ranjit
1995 Shyam Pd. Sharma Mohan Khadka
1996 Sarubhakta/P. Pradhan K.K. Karmacharya
1997 Kanak Mani Dixit Subhas Rai
1998 Kank Mani Dixit Subhas Rai
1999 Bijaya Chalise Tek Bir Mukhiya
2000 B. Chanchal K.K. Karmacharya/ Shanta Hitang
2001 Krishna Duwal Tek Bir Mukhiya
2002 Sharada Adhikari/Bijaya Raj Acharya Kishor Joshi
2003 Binaya Kasaju/Shilpi Pradhan Yuvak Shrestha
2004 S.D. Manandhar/Dhruva Ghimire Devendra Pande
2014 Ram Prasad Gyawali/Rumana Husain, Buddhisagar Promina Shrestha, Suamn Maharjan/ Kishor Joshi
2015 Shashwat Parajuli/Ananta Wagle Bhawana Tulachan/Suman Maharjan
2016 Sudharisal Sharma/Krishnamurari Sharma Mrigaja Bajracharya/kritikishor Joshi
2017 Saroj Yadav/Shanta Dixit Uwahang Limbu/Promina Shrestha
2018 kartike Ghimire/Vinaya kasajoo Sonam Tamang/Samit Shrestha
Nepalese Society for Children’s Literature (NESCHIL) has a history of last 28 years. This article gives a picture of the people involved and their works for Nepalese children. In comparison to many other independent organizations getting live of 28 years is a matter of significance. Some of the members of the earlier period are no more with us. We missed Kul Man Singh Bhandari who used to organize a mini exhibition of his illustrations, we missed Ramesh Bial who made fictions for children out of the facts of life, we missed Janak Prasad Humagain who lauded his voice for children’s literature, we missed Basu Rimal Yatri who cared and reared the NESCHIL from its birth to early childhood, we missed Sharada Adhikari who nourished the society dedicating herself for the development of literature for children. There are others like Bishwanath Neupane, Mohan Khadka, Kula Mani Devakota, Sharat Chandra Sharma, Laxmi Prasad Shrestha, Dhruva Krishna Deep … … … …. … …. … … … … … … … … … … … and B.B. Singh. Though we missed all of them forever, their works are with us. There are many with us, who inspire us for our works though they are not seen in our meetings and events of NESCHIL. It is true that we might have not been able to inform and invite them. But it is also true that many of them are active in more important works.
Finally, it is a matter of satisfaction that many promising writers and illustrators for children have joined NESCHIL recently. This is a good sign for a bright future of the society. We need serious thinking in creating works for children; they should be attractive and appealing to the children. NESCHIL has to face the challenges of the time. Our creative efforts must be suitable for the children of New Nepal.