Rare Footage of 1950s Nepal Captured by Swiss Geologist Toni Hagen
Toni Hagen was a Swiss geologist, who spent several years in Nepal during 1950s. In this documentary, Toni filmed his Nepal visit and his geographic survey and mapping work from 1950 to 1961. He captured Nepalese cultural & ethnic diversity and the challenges he faced as he wandered around different parts of Nepal with number of baggage porters to carry out his survey mission. Toni worked for Government of Nepal in the beginning, but he was soon hired by the United Nations after his first year in Nepal. He was the first foreigner to work in Nepal as an expert under the United Nations.
Geographic survey was the first task Toni had in Nepal. He spent his early days in exploring the presence of diamond mines in Himalayas. He conducted geographic surveys from Madesh to Himalayas to all the way Tibet. He walked 14,000 KM during his lengthy survey trail. Although Toni’s primary interest was studying rocks while entering Nepal, his interest soon started to shift more towards Nepalese people and their everyday problems.
One of the major hassles back then was to cross big rivers due to lack of quality boats and bridges. Toni believes that the implementation of suspension bridges, which started in 1960s, was one of the most important development works to occur in Nepal. Tony has captured various challenges he faced while crossing rivers in Nepal and his makeshift medical proficiency as he treated his sick porters who had multiple health issues. Toni had an opportunity to visit rural areas of Nepal well before any other tourist went there. He even had his wife and kids joined him after few years in Nepal. They went around with Toni to different parts of Nepal.