Dr. Harka Bahadur Gurung (1939–2006) was a Nepalese geographer, anthropologist, author, artist and politician, known for his conservation work.[1][2]

Harka Gurung
Born5 January 1939
Died23 September 2006(2006-09-23) (aged 67)
Cause of deathShree Air helicopter crash
Alma materUniversity of Edinburgh, Patna College, Patna
Known forGeographer, Planner, Anthropologist, author, artist, politician

Early lifeEdit

Gurung was born in Lamjung on 5 February 1939, in the village of Taranche. His father was an NCO in the British Army. After completing his secondary education at King George Military School, he studied for a B.A. and M.A. in Geography at Patna University, and later received a PhD from Edinburgh University after being offered a scholarship there.[2]

Academic careerEdit

After completing his PhD, Gurung worked as a Research Fellow at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, returning to Nepal in 1966 to take up a lecturing post at Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu.He was the first PhD holder in Nepal. In 1984 he was appointed Visiting Fellow at the East–West Center in Hawaii. A prolific scholarly author, Gurung published fifteen books and around 675 academic articles and reports.[2] He also worked as an advisor to the World Wildlife Fund in Nepal.[3]

Political careerEdit

In 1968 Gurung was appointed Vice-Chairman of Nepal's National Planning Commission. He subsequently held several government posts, including Minister of State for Education, Trade and Industry Minister, and Minister of State for Tourism. He served as Director of the Asia and Pacific Development Centre from 1993–1998, and was a consultant for the World Bank.[2][4]


Gurung unfortunately died in 2006 along with 23 others in a helicopter crash at Ghunsa in Taplejung, whilst returning from a conservation meeting.[1][5] The 2011 Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival was dedicated to his memory,[6] and Lamjung F.C. created a memorial football tournament in his honour.[7] In Pokhara, a three-hectare eco-park (the Dr Harka, Chandra & Migma Memorial Laligurans Eco Park) was set up to commemorate Harka and those who died with him in the crash.[8]


  1. ^ a b Pradhan, Suman. "Chopper Tragedy Blow to Nature Conservation". Inter Press Service. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d Dahal, Dilli R. (January 2007). "In Memory of Dr Harka Gurung" (PDF). Contributions to Nepalese Studies. 31 (1): 1–10. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
  3. ^ Manjushree Thapa (8 September 2009). A Boy from Siklis: The Life and Times of Chandra Gurung. Penguin Books India. ISBN 978-0-14-306548-7. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
  4. ^ "Nepal labours in the face of trade siege". New Straits Times. 11 April 1989. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
  5. ^ "Former city student dies in Nepal copter crash". The Scotsman. 26 September 2006. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
  6. ^ Basnet, Rosha. "Remote Lives at the 'KIMFF'". Oh My News. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
  7. ^ "Lamjung FC to organize football tournament in memory of Dr Harka Gurung". Nepali Football.com. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
  8. ^ "Dhumpus to get an 'eco park'". The Kathmandu Post. HighBeam Research (subscription required). Archived from the original on 6 May 2016. Retrieved 12 March 2013.