Second Place

Red is the Colour of Spring

Prasiit Sthapit


From 1996-2006 Nepal was in the grips of an Armed Revolution that pitted the government forces with the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists). A stronghold of the communists, Rolpa and its neighbouring district Rukum was the epicenter of the war. Those ten years witnessed some of the most brutal crackdowns by State forces in these districts. And the harder the state pushed, the more successful the Maoist-led People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and its affiliated organizations were in recruiting people. For many, the decision to join either side was triggered by a sense of revenge. Nim Bahadur Pun, for instance, joined the police because the Maoists had murdered his father. While Ganesh Khadka took up as a soldier in the PLA because he wanted to avenge his father’s death at the hands of the police. This cycle of revenge was very common during the war. After ten years, around 17,000 deaths, more than 1,350 disappearances, thousands disabled and millions displaced, the war finally ended in 2006. The Maoists entered mainstream politics and two years later, with the ousting of the centuries-old monarchy, Nepal became a Federal Republic. The communist party has been in power four times since then and the country has gone through some historic political changes. For this project, I met people who fought on both sides, heard stories of atrocities committed on either end. But what does all this mean today when those sides have come together? The people who bore the brunt of war are forced to look on as the historic treaty that promised justice and reconciliation for all violations of human rights committed during the conflict has been reduced to just another paper dream. And many who fought on the frontlines and believed in the beautiful image of a just, egalitarian society that the party leaders painted for them have given up. Comrade Lal, once a loyal party member, today repents: “If the war that was so close to being won can be demolished like this, what use is a revolution?”

Prasiit Sthapit (b. 1988) is a visual storyteller based in Kathmandu. In 2016, he was the recipient of the Magnum Emergency Fund Grant and was selected for the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass. He is currently associated Fuzz Factory Productions, a multimedia collective based in Kathmandu,, a platform for photography in Nepal and Photo Kathmandu. He is also the director of Fuzzscape, a multi-media music documentary research project.

[ ISSUE REPORTING PICTURE STORY ] A long-term project on a single topic. It could focus on science, news, politics or any number of topics, ranging from coverage of a single person to an entire community. The project must convey a deep understanding of the subject. Each submission consists of 10 to 40 images. Each participant is allowed to enter up to 5 submissions. The images must be taken in 2019 or 2020. Stories on COVID-19 can be entered in this category but if you have already entered something in the COVID PICTURE STORY category, you should avoid submitting the same story to this category.

Judges for Issue Reporting Picture Story
Abir Abdullah
Nariman El Mofty
Bryan van der Beek
Shiho Fukada
Wonsuk Choi