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Having come from a simple peasant family, Maharjan has come a long way to become the founder of Mandala Book Point


Whenever scholars or intellectuals find difficulty to get books on Nepal , Madhav Lal Maharjan comes to their rescue guiding them in their search for specific books. He is not a new name in the academic and intellectual circles of Nepal as well as among those living abroad who specialize on Nepal .

Situated at Jamal, Mandala Book Point has collections of more than 10,000 books with titles ranging from history to culture, philosophy to law and international relations to Tibetan Buddhism. Thanks to his own interest, Maharjan visits various web sites to know about the new release and brings them to the country as soon as possible.

Along with academicians and intellectuals, dignitaries like former US president Jimmy Carter has also visited his book shop. Senior Nepalese politicians visit his book store frequently. In early days of his business, Dr. Ishwori Lal Shrestha, Dr B.P. Shrestha and Dr. Harka Gurung were his regular visitors. Maharjan has still maintained his tradition to welcome scholars. Mandala Book Point attracts almost all scholars, intellectuals and other general readers. It is also a meeting point for scholars and intellectuals who discuss contemporary issues along with searching for books.

Maharjan has participated in various book fairs around the world. He is a regular visitor to New Delhi Book Fair. “One of the objectives of the Mandala Book Point is to promote interaction between Nepalese scholars and scholars from abroad,” said Maharjan, 56, a father of two sons. “I am completely satisfied in this business as I don’t see there is any other better business in which you encounter a number of people from different walks of lives.”

Although Maharjan, who also has been publishing a journal named Studies in Nepali History and Society for the last ten years, has busy schedule, he also allocates his time for social work as he is the chairman of School Management Committee of Jansewa Madhyamik Vidyalaya, Panga. “I share my leisure time with my family members and social works,” said Maharjan, who comes to the city center from Kirtipur at 9 o’clock in the morning and returns late in the evening.

In his book store, Maharajan also has a separate room where he meets with his visitors and discusses matters related to academic interest. Maharjan happily provides scholars and intellectuals the information about new publications.

Whoever may come to Nepal to do study on the country, his/her mission will be incomplete without visiting Mandala Book Point and meeting Maharjan who is always available to share his ideas and guide anybody who comes to see him.

Maharjan, who has seen various political phases including open and closed society - does not let any visitor go empty handed. Although it was too risky to sell books banned by the government during Panchayat days, he imported and sold them to the readers nonetheless.

Born in a peasant family in Kirtipur Municipality , Panga - nine kilometer east of capital Kathmandu - Maharjan has never thought that he would end up as a book seller. It was Professor Ishwori Lal Shrestha, who introduced him in this profession in 1969 when he was just a college student. Graduated in commerce in 1974 from Tribhuwan University , Madhav opened his own Himalayan Book Seller back in 1976 after working for seven years at the book store of Shrestha.

Following the People’s Movement of 1990, Maharjan has seen a new trend in book business as the number of visitors has drastically increased. From a few visitors in the past, Maharjan now says hundreds of youngsters come to his book store these days. His regular visitors included scholars like late Rishikesh Shaha. “There are many Nepalese scholars who have written books on Nepal but late Shaha was a great scholar of this country,” said Maharjan who also sold a number of books written by him.

Maharjan complains that many renowned Nepalese serving in politics, civil service, police and army can contribute to society by writing their memoirs. “We can see almost every Indian scholar or officers writing books whenever they retire from their service but our people have yet to learn this culture,” said Maharjan, who is living in his extended family of 13 members. “Nepalese scholars and academics have written some books on Nepal but writing memoir is still rare. Persons serving in higher and most powerful positions should write their experiences to enrich the knowledge of their people.”

“This is a good profession,” said Maharjan, general secretary of National Book Sellers and Publishers’ Association of Nepal.



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