Ephemera from the 1959 first general election and the 1980 plebiscite – rare images from the Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya collection as showcased in the Hri travelling exhibition.
In September 2013, when Nepal was gearing up for the Constituent Assembly Election, Hri and MPP Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya (MPP) collaboratively hosted the travelling exhibition Lived Stories Everyday Lives in Kathmandu. In addition to the set of over 20 images from across Southasia, the Kathmandu exhibition showcased a special Nepal Section aptly titled ‘The Election and the Referendum’.
The Election and the Referendum
‘The Election and the Referendum’ showcased campaign materials, flyers and pamphlets from the first general election in 1959 and the 1980 plebiscite. These are part of a rich collection of ephemera at the MPP. Established in 1956, MPP has a unique collection of monographs, periodicals and ephemera which reflects different aspects of Nepali society, culture, history and Nepali literature of different periods. The library collection is rich in rare materials, which are too vulnerable for circulation. The collections comprises newsletters, posters, pamphlets, banners, calendars, manuscripts, reports, manifestos, letters, sketches, photographs, negatives, film-footage, speeches, press releases, images of wall paintings, invitations, audio-records etc. These select and rare images have been made available online for the first time.
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POLL BOOTH, KATHMANDU
Kathmandu Municipal Election, June 1947. For the election, the city was divided into 21 wards. The Gorkhapatra editorial on the election-day hopes for a ‘new Kathmandu’. Further, it hopes that God will give the elected members strength and sense to serve the country. Photo: Harold Dusenberry (1907-1991).
POLL BOOTH EXIT, KATHMANDU
Kathmandu Municipal Election, June 1947. A municipal election, the first of its kind in Nepal was held during the rule of Rana Prime Minister Padma Shamsher. Earlier in May through a proclamation he had declared a Reform Committee to suggest changes in the administration so that it could be carried on by “an assembly of elected and nominated members”. Photo: Harold Dusenberry (1907-1991).
General Election 1959. Publicity flyer issued by the Election Commission urging the public to vote.
General Election, February 1959. Gorkhapatra headline featuring King Mahendra’s message to the nation announcing the dates of the election. The election was held amidst acute political instability eight years after the fall of the Rana regime.
BISESWOR PRASAD KOIRALA
General Election, February 1959. Campaign pamphlet of Nepali Congress candidate BP Koirala for constituency no.32, Morang. He got elected with 9579 votes. The Nepali Congress won 74 seats in the election, thus becoming the largest party in the parliament.
General Election, February 1959. Campaign pamphlet featuring “hut” as the election symbol of Gorkha Parishad. Winning 19 seats out of the total 109, Gorkha Parishad became the second-largest party in the parliament, followed by United Democratic Party (5seats), Nepal Communist Party (4 seats) among others.
Referendum May 1980. Campaign Material issued in support of multi-party democracy. Colour codes (election symbols) for ‘multi-party’ democracy and ‘reformed Panchayat’ were blue and yellow respectively.
PRATIBANDHIT NEPALI CONGRESS
Referendum, May 1980. “Stamp on the sky-blue colour for your rights and freedom!”
Referendum, May 1980. “Ask your own soul. Will multi-party system be able to put up with democracy? Vote for Panchayat.”In the contest, Panchayat won 54.79% votes and Multi-party Democracy came close with 45.21%.
Pamphlet in support of the multi-party democracy distributed by a leftist group in Palpa, western Nepal. Though multi-party democracy lost out to Panchayat in the overall result, in Palpa it was the former which got more votes.