Monthly Archives: November 2004

Beard (Daari), What a Lively Thing U R!

By Dinesh Wagle on November 20th, 2004 in Wagle Monologues

beard (noun) hair growing on a chin and lower cheeks of a man’s face: a week’s growth of beard. a false/grey/bushy/long/white beard.

Thus defines the Oxford dictionary the word beard. We in Nepali call daari to what they call beard in English. Therefore, the hair on chin and lower cheeks of my face is daari. I cannot give you an exact number of my daari.

However, I can tell you how important they are. Huge. Daari generate talks, start conversations, and create such an atmosphere where people feel free to express themselves. Ditto with my daari. They are thought provokers. They attract attention from both sexes. You might understand why my daari is popular among females. I will explain why male are interested in my daari.

Let’s start the discourse, I call it Daari Mahatmye, from the news. Today, I am no longer a bearded man today. I am a beardless man. No daari, clean shaved face, cute and shining, at least for some of you people out there. Continue reading

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The People’s War That Was on TV

This Tuesday, Nepalese got a glimpse of what they were seeing in Tora Bora, Basra or in Falluja recently, that too, in their very own land: Krishna Bhir of Dhading, a district that borders Kathmandu. New Delhi based Nepali language channel Nepal One aired a shocking footage that depicted Maoists guerillas in victorious mood with sounds of gunfire at the background.

An eyewitness describes the horrific moments of fighting between Royal Nepal Army soldiers and Maoists guerilla. Phanindra Silwal, a local scribe based on Dhading shares his lifetime experience with Ujir Magar of Kantipur Daily Newspaper. Here is the rough translation of the article that originally appeared in Wednesday’s edition of Kantipur.

We were cautiously observing the ‘Dhading Banda’ (closure of Dhading) in Tuesday that was called by the Maoist. At 9:30 in the morning, I was sitting in front of my office, Highway Information Center, chatting with some of my friends. Suddenly, a van filled by Royal Nepal Army men, some of whom I knew, stopped in front of us. They had come from Gajuri.

Suddenly, a message in a rather hasty tone started popping in from the communication set carried by one of the soldiers. ‘A group fell in ambush…in ambush..’ The set immediately went dead. I took out my bike and ran toward the possible accident site with the permission of those soldiers. I was worried but somehow reached Salanghat. Locals were warning me no to go there because firing was going on. I went ahead with a movie camera on hand.

I saw many people in the uniform of army on the junction of Charaudi Bazar that lies on way to Prithvi highway from Gorkha. In Malekhu, army had requested me to relay a message to their fellows. A support convoy of three vehicles was soon arriving. I passed that message to those standing persons. After hearing from me, one of them alerted the remaining with these chilling words: “Be careful guys, enemies are coming.” At that very moment, I was shocked to know that I just passed the message of army to the Maoist guerillas. Those people in the uniform were Maoist.

“Who are you?” they started scanning me. They permitted me to shoot after I showed them my identity card of Nepal One television. Firing was at its height in the Bazar.

I went even ahead at around quarter to 10. Those people, about 150, were scattered around. Somebody carried communication set. Pistol in one hand and the set in another, they were constantly listening the message that came from army camp. “Use LMG only, shoot from LMG only,” the guerillas were telling each other.

Not very far from that chaotic scene, I saw a woman in combat uniform interrogating a wounded army soldier.

“Are you a journalist?” she asked me. “Also a human right activist?”

“Yes,” I said.

“This operation was carried away in my command,” she denoted. “Give credit to me in your news. War codes have fully been met. Take care of this comrade.”

After uttering these words, she handed over the soldier to me. She identified herself as ‘Pratikshya.’ The morale of the wounded soldier was at it’s lowest.

“Hide him quickly,” she suggested, fearing that the group behind might again attack. I took him in a nearby house. With a handkerchief, I banded his bleeding wound. I hadn’t yet reached to the place where fighting took place.

Guerillas were singing in victorious mood and were counting how many arms they looted from the army men. I have never seen so many Maoists ‘army’ before. Organized as ‘Ring Special Command’, they were fighting under the Eastern Command of Maoist party. Two guys were carrying a launcher. 5 people were carrying AK 47 rifles. SLR and Insas were in everyone’s hand. My best estimate was that the guerillas were somewhere around 1 thousand.

Leaving them there, I moved toward Krishna Bhir. Maoist had already left the place by then. I was late. An army van was burning, several bullets and bombs were laying scattered around the place. A dead body of a soldier was lying nearby. I went a kilometer back to find the soldier I had hid earlier. While returning to Charaudi, I saw somewhere around 500 guerillas crossing the suspension bridge. They were apparently heading towards Ghyalchowk village of Gurkha district. Some were stepping towards southern Dhading.

I met an army vehicle on the road while returning to Malekhu. I handed over the injoured injured solider to them. The asked me about the situation in the Ground Zero. After hearing my briefing, they blank fired and headed toward Krishna Bhir.

Unprecedented Footage in a Nepal TV: Network dropped off the Cable

Nepalese satellite channel surfers went through an extraordinary television experience yesterday (Tuesday, Nov 16) when a New Delhi based Nepali language network aired shocking footage of deadly fighting between Royal Nepalese Army and Maoist guerillas. The video taken by a local journalist depicted armed guerillas, mostly young, in victorious mood after their fierce and four-hour long gun fight with security forces in a busy highway that links Kathmandu, the capital city, with the rest of the county.

The broadcast was first of its kind in the 10-year long insurgency that has claimed more than 10 thousand lives so far. Five government soilders died in the incident. By the end of the day, the video was already in most of the talks in the streets of Kathmandu.

When they wake up in the next morning, they find themselves reading about the same incident, even better described this time in words, in on of the country’s most widely circulated newspaper. Kantipur carried an appealing report by the same scribe who captured those images for Nepal One Television.

Almost all Nepalis are affected by the civil was in one way or the other. Those who have been able to save themselves from the warring sides have been have been forced to leave their village, thus being refugee in their own country. The war itself is not that new to Nepalis. They have been reading and hearing about the ongoing war in the newspapers, televisions and radios. But yesterday, they saw on TV what they have been reading or hearing. Such footage was never seen in any Nepali television.

The gravity of the footage was such that one of the largest Cable service providers today dropped of the channel from its distribution. The move by Space-Time Network is not surprising since it operates a satellite channel that rivals Nepal One. Some reports suggest that Space-Time bowed under the pressure of Army to send Nepal One off air, at least in the most important and influential Kathmandu market. (detail will follow soon)

Kathmandu In Festive Mood. And, Patent for BBC Nepali’s voice.

The recently launched BBC 103 FM in Kathmandu has definitely changed my radio habit. Before I was a TV worm, always pressing the remote control and surfing those 40 something satellite channels available on my cable network. In a normal day, I would be in front of that idiot box until 2 AM. Not anymore. It’s the BBC’s World Service tuned all the time and I am constantly updated on world events. In the mean time, I can do a whole lot of work, like, now, I am writing this blog. It has been a good medium for a global citizen like me who wants to listen news from Africa, music from South America, a drama from Europe etc, etc. When it is 3 PM in London, Kathmandu clocks 20:45, time for the tune Changba ho Changba in BBC’s Nepali Service.

There was an interesting report on yesterday’s broadcast of BBC Nepali. Their far-western Nepal correspondent Umid Bagchand (sorry if I misspelled) had filed a report from Kathmandu about the mood of the capital city and his impression of that. His argument, and its’ very much true, was that unlike remote places like Dadeldhura where people were very much afraid to celebrate any festivals because of the messy security situation, Kathmandu was largely unaffected from what was going on in other parts of the country, and was in a festive mood to celebrate Tihar. Continue reading