Category Archives: Wagle Street Journal 2

All Eyes On Nepal’s Eye: Magsaysay Awardees In Kathmandu

Ramon Magsaysay Jr. with his son in Kathmandu, Nepal “I see a lot of possibilities for Nepal that is facing challenges on peace, poverty and competitiveness in the globalized world…My late father started his public service during the World War II. I was a four year old boy. Fast forward to 2006. I am an old man, about to finish my second and last term in the Senate. Many a times I wonder am I being as good as my father or not quite up to him?”- Ramon Magsaysay Jr. in Wagle Street Journal.

eye camp where magsaysay awardees visited in kathmandu

They all got eye sight: Poor people from around the country had gathered in the Monastery to be operated in the eyes by a team of doctors led by Dr. Sanduk Ruit, the winner of this year’s Ramon Magsaysay Awards for International Understanding. All pics by Wagle

By Dinesh Wagle
Wagle Street Journal

Saturday blog. [This article appeared in today's Kathmandu Post and its Nepali version in Kantipur. Tomorrow an encounter with Ramon Magsaysay Jr.]

This was a perfect time to be romantic. Prayer flags were dancing to the tunes of the musical bells, and the cool breeze was blowing- Antonio Meloto became almost emotional. Resting on the baranda of the Pullahari Monastery in Kapan on Friday afternoon, the 56-year-old man from the Philippines was thinking something else. Continue reading

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Nepal Maoists and Democracy: From A Protest Venue

By Dinesh Wagle
Wagle Street Journal All pics and videos by Wagle

Protest Outside Maoist Office

Irony! You might think this policeman is attentively reading the poster with the photo of Prachanda but if you ask me I would say, NO, he is not. He is waiting for one of his friends to come out of the toilet so that he could go inside. This is also the part of the IRONICAL scene that I saw today. Policemen using the toilet facility in a Maoist office!

In this video, viewers will see Maoist cadres coming into the office in queue and suddenly starting to attack and chasing away the protestors. Within a few seconds, the scenes at Kupandole become chaotic like in a war zone. A sound of siren might give the impression that a police vehicle has started taking action. That’s not correct. That’s ambulance that happens to be coming from the Patan side and moving toward Kathmandu. The Maoists are shouting and screaming at the protestors.

Two major press conferences made first two lead on the evening news today. Koirala addressed his party men at the presence of reporters to tell them to have patience and vigil on possible efforts by reactionary forces to foil yesterday’s historic agreement where as Prachanda was so much willing to answer queries filed by reporters in a press meet organized by his party in the Yak and Yeti Hotel, not very far from Gyanendra’s Narayanhitti Palace, that his deputy had to intervene and tell reporters that the show was over for the day! I missed both of these events but that was intended. Continue reading

Nepal Peace Process: Leaders Bargain Inside, Brisk Business (and Intense Debate) Outside

By Dinesh Wagle in Baluwatar (Outside the Prime Minister’s residence)
Wagle Street Journal (All pics by Wagle)

Nepal fifth round summit talks day 2

Mission Republic: Lokraj Pandey, 22, is in a mission to spread the message of democratic republicanism in Nepal.

While leaders inside the official residence of the Prime Minister in Baulwatar were busy in the past two days bargaining on issues that will decide the future of the country, Shankar Chaudhari, 55, was putting pressure on the stove with the same intensity. There were people from the various walks of the life in front of the Gate No. 3 (east) of the PM residence on Monday and Tuesday as the high level talks kicked off. There were people, with wide range of political affiliation, who full of curiosity about everything going inside. There were people, from the civil society, who said they were there to pressurize the talking sides for the declaration of the Constituent Assembly elections. And there were scoop hungry journalists who were desperate for the headlines. While the Gate No. 3 remained closed to all these people, the wide entrance of Shankar’s place was open to all. Shankar not only fed samosa and other eatables to tired reporters who were standing all day expecting information from inside but also got a glimpse of how do they really function. Continue reading

Summit Talk? No. Convincing Madhav Nepal and Sher Bdr Deuba? Yes

Inside the gate, problem was represented by Madhav Kumar Nepal and Sher Bahadur Deuba. Both had this common complain: We were kept in dark about the understanding reached between the Prime Minister and Maoist Chairman.

fifth summit talks

Police were mobilized, you can say, to keep the Maoist cadres away from overtaking the main entrance of the Prime Minister’s official residence. Last time, several reporters recalled, arrogant Maoist cadres had overtaken the security of the gate and restricted the movement of journalist. There were very few Maoist cadres in sight today.

Dinesh Wagle (after moving around the PM residence for about an hour and half)
Wagle Street Journal

After that press conference, our destination was the residence of Prime Minister in Baluwatar where summit talks between the Seven Party Alliance and the CPN Maoist were about to start in an hour. A plate of Mo Mo in Everest Mo Mo, Naxal was necessary to keep us standing in front of the PM residence! The Mo Mo season has begun in Kathmandu (advance obituaries to buffaloes) and there was a big queue in front of the popular Mo Mo franchise in the valley. When we reached Baluwataar, we saw a bigger crowd in front of the PM residence. There was one similarity between those crowds: both were waiting for something. In Naxal, people were eagerly waiting for the Mo Mo to be cooked properly where as in Baluwatar, people were curious to know what was cooking inside the Nepali version of the 10 Downing Street. (The story continues after the box item)

Look, what they are fighting for:

By Ghanashyam Ojha

1. Interim Parliament : Madhav Kumar Nepal, general secretary of the CPN-UML demanded his party should get at least one more berth than the Maoists in the interim parliament. Nepali Congress has 75 parliamentarians (including Upper House), UML 73 and NC (D) 42, besides other smaller parties in the parliament. Earlier, the leaders had agreed to give 73 berths to the Maoists in the upcoming interim parliament. “But UML insisted it should get 74 berths and if that does not happen the Maoists should get only 72 berths,” said Deputy Commander of the Peoples’ Liberation Army (PLA) Ananta. Today’s meeting also decided to add 10 more seats for NC, UML and the Maoists, and 8 seats for the NC (D), putting the total number of seats for them at 85, 83, 83 and 52 respectively. However, NC (D) President Sher Bahadur Deuba disagreed and demanded an equal number of extra seats for his party. A leader at today’ meeting preferring anonymity said Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala told the meeting that the NC was ready to share equal number of seats with UML and Maoists if other parties in the alliance agreed on its agendas.

Constituent assembly elections: Nepali Congress, NC (D) and the Maoists agreed to go for a mixed system for the constituent assembly elections (proportional and geographical), while the UML insisted on the proportional system. According to a leader at today’s meeting UML General Secretary Nepal said his party would not be obstacle if all other parties went for a mixed election system.

On the monarchy: Although Nepali Congress, NC (D) and the Maoists have already agreed to decide the fate of the monarchy through the first meeting of the constituent assembly elections, UML General Secretary Nepal pressed for referendum. The UML Standing Committee meeting held on Monday morning, however had decided that the party would not play spoilsport should all other parties agree that the fate of the monarchy be decided through constituent assembly.

Arms management and Maoist combatants: The seven parties and the Maoists expressed differences over the language to be used in the final draft while mentioning the issue of the arms management and the Maoist combatants. The seven parties said the draft should mention that the Maoist arms would be locked in storages within the designated cantonments. The UN will monitor the locks through close circuit camera, besides setting up sensor devices, which will sound the siren (or ring an alarm). Prachanda said the Maoists agree with the monitoring system but insisted the draft should not mention it in such a manner.

Similarly, the seven parties said the Maoist activities like extortion, display of arms in public and intimidation should be mentioned in the draft as punishable crimes. But Prachanda objected. The leaders couldn’t reach an agreement over the language to be used regarding arms management and the Maoist combatants.

Continue reading

Changing Life Of A Nepali Village: Story from Nar

By Dinesh Wagle in Nar (Manang)
Wagle Street Journal (Saturday Blog) [Dinesh Wagle has started posting his Nar Phu Diary in Wagle Street Journal]

Encountering the people featured in a 25-year-old book that details the life and time of two of the remotest villages of Nepal All pics by Wagle. More pics will be added tomorrow

Pema Bhutti

Pema Bhutti with the book published 25 years ago that features her on the cover

On a recent afternoon Pema Bhutti, with her husband on the front, was having rice with yak milk on a ceramic plate in a kitchen cum chat room that could be reached via a single and slender wooden ladder that begins from the top of the stony building. Behind her on the wooden furniture, steel utensils and the colorful thermos containing briny tea are placed carefully. The mild fire burning in the ageno between them is preventing the cold that is trying to get intensified at the beginning of October. Continue reading

Maoists Deusi-Bhailo and Other Tihar Images of Kathmandu

For Maoists, Deusi-Bhailo meant: 1) making their presence felt in the city, 2) Creating awareness about republic Nepal, and 3) Raising money!

Tihar bhai tika

By Dinesh Wagle
All pics by Wagle

Deusi- and Bhailo-wise speaking, Maoists were one of the major attractions in this year’s Tihar. Last year, traditional Bhailo and Deusi songs were replaced by anti-autocracy and pro-democracy messages where as this year people, especially the Maoists, ended their deusi-bhailo songs with this wish (sing in fast pace bhaili rhythm):

Aagau aaula, deusi gaula, sarangi retaula
Ganatantra Nepal ma pheri bhetula

[We will come next year to see you again in republic Nepal and sing deusi songs and play sarangi]

Maoist Deusi Bhailo

Dance, comrade dance, in the tunes of madala and deusi songs, not the guns. Continue reading

Democracy Effect: Smiling Face of Thamel

An emotional blog: Tourists are coming, economing is about to boom! Thank you Democracy!

By Dinesh Wagle
Wagle Street Journal

I know I had said I would be away from computer from this afternoon but this addiction never goes away easily. I am in Thamel and early in the morning tomorrow, I would be driving to Beshishahar. I am compelled to write something after I went around Thamel, one of the most happening towns in Kathmandu. And I am here to compare Thamel, the tourist hub in the capital city with another equally vibrant town called New Road. The Dashain fever has gripped both of these places. New Road at 6:30 PM was quite and calm as almost all shops were closed and Thamel, at 9:20 PM, is still busy dealing with hundreds of Goras and Goris from abroad. Continue reading

School Students Used in Politics: STOP

Maoist students convention

As I am writing these lines, about 50 buses (one of them in the photo above) full of school children in uniform are being rushed toward the city center of Kathmandu. The students inside and at the top of the buses are screaming and, for me, the sound resembles to that of a woman being raped by a murderous gang. No wonder, these students are being taken to the inauguration ceremony of general convention of the Maoist student union: All Nepal National Independent Students Union (ANNISU). The scene is simply horrific and I fear possible death of the students falling from the top of the running bus. I am also deeply saddened by the fact that these students are being forced to leave their classes. Their parents sent them school in uniform hoping that they would learn something in classrooms and here they are: forced to take part in a conference of a political organization that, it seems, has very less to do with student welfare. “The main agenda of the convention is political,” I recall what the chairman of ANNISU Lekhnath Neupane said yesterday. Continue reading

Peace Process and Monarchy: GenNext Views

youth and politics discussion

It is widely believed that overwhelming majority of rural youths, partly influenced by the Maoist Peoples’ War and frustrated by the kings’ anti-democracy activities in the past, want no monarchy in Nepal. Same applies with city youths who are deeply dissatisfied with the monarchy and want it abolished. Out of the 12 medical science and social works students from different colleges, only one supported the idea of continuing monarchy in Nepal: that too strictly constitutional. The kings were never democratic, said a student, they always look after consolidating their autocratic power at the cost of democracy. Other said that the origin of the present king is suspicious and he shouldn’t be given space. These young undergrad students are critical of the government’s handling of the peace process and think that the Maoists arms must be managed so that everyone can go to the voting booths of the constituent assembly without fear. They think that politics is not dirty game but part of daily lifestyle. They argue for the participating of educated persons in politics so that the system could be saved from idiots. Below is an article in Nepali based on my discussion with students of Tribhuvan University that originally appeared in Kantipur a few days ago. Texts and Pics by Dinesh Wagle

??????? ??????? ??????? ??????? ?? ???? ????????? ?????? ???????, ?????? ?????? ? ?????? ????????????????? ?????? ???????? ??? ? ‘???????? ??????????????? ?????? ??????????? ??????? ????? ???? ???,’ ??????????????? ‘?????????? ?? ???????’ (?????) ?? ?????????? ???????????? ???- ‘?????????? ???? ??????? ? ??????? ??????? ?????? ?’ ????? ????????? ??????? ??????? ?????? ???????? ?????????? ??????? ?????? ?????????????? ?????????? ‘????? ?????? ????? ????? ??? ????????????? ???? ? ????????? ??????? ????? ?????????’ ???? ? Continue reading

Fuel Price Protest Lesson: Monarchy in Nepal Should Be Abolished

By Dinesh Wagle
Wagle’s Web Log

Those who missed the power of protest in April saw the same yesterday when the government formed after the April Revolution buckled down in front of the public wrath and revoked its earlier decision to hike the price of petroleum products. A colleague this afternoon asked, “What does this protest symbolizes?” I answered: “Anyone trying to save the monarchy in future will face the same kind of wrath and that force will be demolished by the people.” People are waiting, looking and analyzing the decisions made by the government. They are not protesting before decisions are made. They waited for the government to hike the price of fuel and they hit did what was necessary. Continue reading