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.
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.