Veteran journalist Durganath no more

Kathmandu, February 5

Veteran journalist Durganath Sharma, whose dulcet voice that emanated from television reverberated through Nepali drawing rooms in the late 1980s and 1990s, passed away today. He was 72.

Sharma was one of the first two news anchors when state-run Nepal Television went on air with its maiden news bulletin on 29 December 1985.

Durganath anchored NTV’s prime time news bulletin for decades, but he was known to a large number of Nepalis as someone who explained world events through his popular weekly TV programme called ‘Bishwa Ghatana’ which was broadcast every Thursday evening.

As a pioneer and veteran television anchor and journalist, he has inspired generations of young broadcast journalists. But before carving out a career as a television journalist, he had also left an indelible impression among Nepalis in the 1980s as a news anchor for state-run Radio Nepal.

“Sharma’s versatility and outstanding performance not only took NTV to new heights, but set a new benchmark for presenters and journalists at Radio Nepal,” said Sharma’s colleague and senior journalist Dhurba Hari Adhikari.

Thousands of his fans, journalists and even prominent personalities took to the social media today to extend their condolences to his family.

“I am deeply saddened by the demise of journalist Durganath Sharma, a pioneer of television journalism. I express heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family. His creativity in television journalism will always be remembered,” Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli tweeted.

Born in Fikkal, Ilam, in 1947, Sharma, began his journalism career in the late 1960s as a part-time employee of Gorkhapatra. Over the years, he rose to the post of the general manager at NTV and remained there for five years in two stints. Sharma retired as an active journalist in 2005 and started teaching journalism. He also started writing columns for national dailies after that.

He has written four books, including Bina Rahadaaniko Bidesh Yatra, Barsa Aamsanchar Ma, and Handbook on Broadcast Journalism.

He published a mémoire, Chhal, around two years ago.

Sharma, who had undergone open heart surgery around 24 years ago, was admitted to Gangalal Hospital last Thursday after he complained of chest pain and difficulty in urination. He was transferred to Manmohan Hospital at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital yesterday, after his condition worsened. He breathed his last at around 11:00 am today.