By Dinesh Wagle on August 2nd, 2005 in Wagle Street Journal
Two heartbreaking stories from today’s Nepali society: “You Don’t Belong Here. Go to [king] Gyanendra’s Country.”
A protestor from an anti-RCCC rally in New Baneshowr, Kathmandu this afternoon. Another photo is also from the same rally. All pics by Wagle.
Before I talk about the photo on the left, taken this afternoon in an anti-establishment rally, let me share something more important than this. The story starts with my arrival in home. I came home this afternoon ‘unusually’ early. My usual time is at around 9 PM or 10 PM or 11 PM. Today, it was 6 PM. As I was about to enter the house, I saw a woman talking with my mother just inside the main gate.
She was a very well acquaintance and I instantly recognized her. She was from my village, Duragaun, in Ramechhap District. I left that part of the world when I was 10 or 11 (now I am 27). But I still have vivid memories of my birthplace where I spent my childhood. I have not been there once in the last 6 years. I have been living with those memories that were imprinted on my mind. Things have changed, dramatically. Hmm… not that dramatically because I can guess that by seeing other parts of the country and by seeing myself.
As I started reading a print out from the BBC website, she came to me and started talking. “They have threatened us,” she whispered, literally. “That Kailash,” she was saying something about her youngest son, “he joined [Royal Nepali] Army. And now they are saying either bring him back or be ready to leave the village. They will issue a notice in a few days giving us time, time to bring Kailash back to the village. ‘You should go to Gyanendra’s country’ is what they have told us.”
Kailash is a 19 year old boy who was struggling to find a job until recently. He approached me several times. Unfortunately, I could not be of much help to him. A college boy, he was ready to do anything so that he could feed himself in this cruel city of Kathmandu. Somehow, he joined Army leaving the college behind. His only brother is an unemployed fellow. His father, a retired man, does not work and is partly disabled. Joining Army was definitely not his first choice but considering the situation that was the best ‘option’ available to him.
Now, his mother is here to take him back to the village. I am sure Kailash would be forced to join the “people’s army” and might see unfortunate day in future if he goes back to the village. If he doesnâ��t go, his family will be expelled from the village. What a difficult situation.
The woman did not name those who were trying to oust her along with her husband from the village. Naming was not necessary. It was understood, automatically. They are the Maoists who claim to be fighting for the suppressed Nepali people and society. They are the ones who give the appealing slogans of eradicating feudalism and establishing people’s government. They never get tired of preaching us that they are fighting against autocracy.
My own family’s story is no different than that of Kailash’. We have been driven out from the village. First, they alleged that my father did corruption when he was Chairman at the Village Development Committee (VDC), captured the house and land, and established their offices there. After a few months, they mailed him stating that he was innocent and thus the people’s court had vindicated him from all charges. And they invited the family back to the village. But I have seen the Maoists, in Ramechhap for instance, inviting people and killing them.
Its not only Kailash’s family or mine. I want to bring now the story of Arjun Kumar Roka. In a late afternoon two months ago, as this 56 year old man from Khotang district’s Dadagaun VDC was busy working in his filed, a group of Maoists summoned him in his house. There they, (more than 30 armed people) completely searched the house, interrogated Roka and his wife for several hours. Everything was done at gunpoint. The Roka couple was completely helpless.
“They took almost everything- from chickens to furniture to shoes to sandals with them,” Roka told me recently in Kathmandu. “They wanted hard cash that they suspected us of concealing. They forced us to open our clothes and searched until 2 am in the morning. At last, my wife gave them the money that I had collected thinking that one day they will come and that will save other things in the house.”
They first made the list of every property of the family. They were not satisfied with what the family reported about the hard cash. They were determined to find. The militia at last found no grave mistake on Roka’s part and they declared the verdict. “We found no enough reason to kill you. We are giving your life back to you. But you have to leave this house and village early in the morning. This country is not for feudal peoples like you. Go to Gyanendra’s country. And, to the couple’s surprise, the Maoists gave them Rs 2000 for the travel expenses. They looted everything and gave back the ‘bato kharcha’.
The family asked for two- three days before they leave the village but the Maoists threatened them. “No, leave early in the dawn otherwise we can’t take any responsibility of your safety.”
So, when Roka left the house, he was walking without shoes. His wife was, obviously, without ornaments. The parents of two sons and two daughters (all marries) left their ancestral property like this. Yes, Roka has finally arrived in the “Gyanendra’s Country.” But who will take care of him? What’s his future? He must have found so many other Rokas like him in this city under the collective banner of Maobadi Pidit Sangh (Maoists’ Victims Association).
Well, let me return to the two pictures posted along with this blog. They were taken this afternoon in an apparently lousy protest program. The woman in the first picture did not specifically pose for me. Her mood mirrored the aura of the rally. What she might be looking for? Democracy? And end to autocracy? Most of the speakers were shouting against the Royal Corruption for Corruption Control that jailed former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba recently. [Later my brother Email told me in house that some of the participants in the rally were attracted by the Japanese traffic volunteer Kyoshi Baba.] The rally was dominated by Deuba’s supporters from his party Nepali Congress Democratic.
Here comes the reason why I termed this rally as “anit-establishment” rather than pro-democracy in the first sentence of this blog. No one was shouting for democracy. Everyone, it seems, was concerned about RCCC verdict. I think to protest RCCC is a waste of time. We have bigger agendas now. We have the primary enemy now. In fact, there are two enemies- both armed. One has kicked out democracy from the country and the other is kicking out innocent villagers like Roka and Kailash’s parents. What is different between these two enemies?
12 Responses to “The Real Cross Fire”
1. D.MICHAEL VAN DE VEERfirstname.lastname@example.org Says:
August 2nd, 2005 at 11:36 pm
The “difference” is one may stop the killing and join the
7-Parties in restroying a Democratic Nepal, and the other will never stop the killing and will never support Democracy.
2. King Kong Says:
August 3rd, 2005 at 1:28 am
Old Nepal – New Nepal
Good to write about what the Maos do on the ground in Old Nepal.
Too many Nepali soldiers unknowingly only went to the New Nepal Army to earn their living, they have nothing to do with KG. They may not truely be seen as the enemy.
Stop war now, lay down weapons! Brothers must stop killing brothers!
King Kong says: Only women can save Nepal!
3. Sheeit Says:
August 3rd, 2005 at 2:34 am
Take one side bro… ‘cause the way you are going, you are only going to sink and take Nepal down with you too…
4. third eye Says:
August 3rd, 2005 at 7:06 am
Deuba and his followers might have needed some disciplinary action and it would have been perfectly acceptable if that verdict was declared by CIAA or any other lawful means. However, right now, the major enemy is feudal autocracy headed by that rotten, crooked, mean-spirited, bloodsucking, filthy, stinky, disgrace to the name of people and country, evil, cheater, swindler, hoodlum, wolf in sheepâ��s clothing, shameless, worthless, beastly and dastardly snake named KG. At the same time, other suckers are throwing the peoples from their house. Donâ��t you know whatâ��s call of the time? The call of the time is People need to take guns and shoot these bastards anytime anywhere. Whoever can lead people to this venture will succeed to duly respond to these criminals. Everyone from the cabinet should be shot dead. Then, satanic palace of KG should be bombed, first starting from outside then going inside. Peopleâ��s bloods have been boiled. Out of 25 million few will definitely risk their life for this good work. If found, KG should be dragged in the street nude and made him dance in front of Maoist victims. Itâ��s not impossible if people are united. If Maoist don’t stop torturing people, people should respond to them also same way. Com’n parties, unite. Make it happen.
5. D.MICHAEL VANDEVEERemail@example.com Says:
August 3rd, 2005 at 8:03 am
Your correct King Kong about many in the Army having nothing to do with the King
These RNA soldiers, both women & men, at some point will need to choose-sides if the King continues to oppress the people.
These RNA solders at some point will have to decide if they serve the King and the Thapas & Ranas or the People.
Before they “lay weapons down”, they may have to TURN THE WEAPONS AROUND !
Ps. Both men and women are needed to save Nepal ! Women must play a decisive role in leadership but why should they let the men not do their part ?
6. Rajendra Says:
August 3rd, 2005 at 9:24 am
Yes, while the RNA and the Nepal Police along with the Armed POlice are doing their best to save this great nation from anarchy, the terrorists are bent on destroying the peace of Nepal. And the irony is that foreign countrires including India, the US and the UK joined by Danish, Swiss, Norwegians are helping terrorism in Nepal. It is no secret now.
And we know that they have invested a lot in the media, in the so-called civil society, etc. But the national resolve is that we will soon get over all this. There is peace all around except rallies of 50 people and seminars of 12 dullards talking nonsense. We Nepalese are all united in our resolve against terror. And we shall win this ordeal. The last 6 months have been a set-back for the foreign conspirers. They thought there will be a revolution here in mid-March.
Now, we are well ahead over the 6th month. This is the way 3 years will pass. And then there will be no semblance of Maoists. The parties will then go for elections of the lower house and there will soon be a democratically elected government in power.
7. King Kong Says:
August 3rd, 2005 at 1:32 pm
Kathmandu is not Nepal!
Who is united, dear Mr. Rajendra?
You people are divided and that is why you fall in alarming speed. The ignorance of the educated people of Kathmandu is the true reason for this division. Too many well-off people sitting in front of their computers and writing fascist nonsense. The villagers are no longer with you Kathmandu cowards. You do not help them, you just protect your own illegal wealth, you are guilty. Go back to your birthplace if you dare.
King Kong says: Kings are too costly!
8. arjun Says:
August 3rd, 2005 at 3:50 pm
Sad to hear such news we don’t know how many innocent people have suffered like Roka and kailash families?? good to read and feel sad about it but what to do??? Will it come up somebody and stop all this?? When we will be able to step in our peaceful Nepal when??
9. Suresh_rkatbk Says:
August 3rd, 2005 at 4:04 pm
Congrats! Wagleji, you’ve truly tried to depict the present scenario of Nepal giving the example of Roka and Kailash parents.
This is indeed the actual fact which should be of grave concern to the present KG’s government – if it is really serious concerning the plight of the common people.
But, KG and his appointed toadies are quite busy in propagandising the royal move and the one-sided version of their story—- that the country is turning towards normalcy—-the RNA is getting control of the maoists in the rural areas/villages…bla.bla.bla..They continue to go on saying- that the royal move was the best move- there was no alternative to this- as if it is bestowed upon the people of Nepal by Indra (God) from Heaven. This is all bullshit they’re shouting.
They should not forget that only Kathmandu is not the whole of Nepal. There are 74 other districts which they even do not dare to speak. They are the bootlickers of KG. They do what the King order them to do. They are just slaves of the king….and are trying to clone the rest of the citizens like they are. They don’t have their own verdit to say. They speak on behalf of KG and his military men. This is the unequivocal truth. The fact is that these royal appointed flunkies (Giri, Bista and others) are simply interested in prolonging their current position and stay in power as long as they can. Bringing PEACE and restoring total DEMOCRACY in Nepal is not their heartfelt priority.
No conscious and wise person will ever believe in this 21st century that Democracy will be given to the people by an autocratic regime which is ruthlessly ruling the country for over two centuries like a dictator. It is a laughable matter and a ridiculous proposition. Shouting slogans of holding municipal elections without the participation of the mainstream political parties and appeasing the maoist’s concern is an absurdly extravagant idea that this present government is trying to do. This is nothing but simply a hoodwink for showing and placating to the international world/ donor nations and getting their expressed or tacit approval and goodwill support. Such type of elections can never be legitimate or representative.
If the King is really interested in giving Democracy to the people of Nepal, he should honestly and earnestly agree for the Constituent Assembly and forget the ambition of staying above the constitution. In doing so, the King will get more respect and applaud from its citizens and the international community. They will not haunt him anymore like what they’re doing now after the February 1 royal takeover. This is what the King should understand. The past days of the medieval times are gone. Those were the days of the kings and the emperors. Today is the age of democracy and elected government.
In a truly democratic state, no one should be above the constitution. How can the King be? On the one hand, he is talking about restoring Democracy in Nepal and on the other, he is still deeply interested in holding full power and taking control of everything â��the military, media, the political parties and in fact all. So, now it must be already clear to the people that the King is equivocating and misleading the Nepali people for his selfish motive to rule at the top. Otherwise, why he seems not interested in bringing the legitimate political parties, intermediaries (such as UN, if felt necessary) intellectuals and the rebelling maoist to the negotiating table and opt for a peaceful end to this ongoing political deadlock and unnecessary loss of lives.
Now, let me turn to the maoist side of the story. PRACHANDA and BABURAM are the protagonist who took lead of the people’s war since a decade ago. But what type of war is this? Where are they heading to? They are the most cowards and foolish people I have ever heard of. Do you want to know why? They and their followers are shouting slogans of people’s war and at the same time, do not hesitate even to the slightest degree to victimize the poor Nepalese. Torturing, unjust killing, beheading, blasting and bombarding have become their hallmarks. They have turned this once peaceful country into a warzone. They have demolished and still targeting the very basic social infrastructure and facilities which are simply indispensable for their own families and the majority of the common people.
Is this a show of bravery and wisdom? I wonder, they do not possess even the slightest amount of commonsense.
They should understand that destroying infrastructure and killing civilians will not shake the autocratic regime, not the slightest bitâ�¦instead it will further tarnish their already bad image and nobody will hesitate to label them as notorious terrorists. Their actions in turn will make the royal government more strong in garnering and acquiring international financial and military support and further the civil war. When are they going to learn this? Although some of their demands may be genuine, but their way of achieving these demands is dastardly goosey. The maoist have long since acquired the sympathy and support of the common people had they been more flexible in their extremist type of communist mentality. They should have never dreamt of turning this beautiful country into a communist republic.
Only a handful of these eccentric people like Baburam, Prachanda, Mahara, etc. are thinking of this idiotic idea and have tried to cajole the less erudite common people of the countryside in this deadly game of people’s war. It is now well understood that such fake rebellion in the name of people’s war has no destiny. If they are really serious about overthrowing the regime why don’t these people directly approach the ultimate powerholder (i.e. the King) and do or say what they like. But on the contrary, they are targeting the hapless and unarmed Nepalese brothers and sisters and making them the scapegoat. So, this is how these co-called maoist demonstrate their cowardice. It is a shame in the name of People’s war.
There are three options left with them now:
First, continue their war and either overthrow the regime or get perished.
Second, give up their arms and surrender to the regime.
Third â�¦give up their arms completely, repent and regret their past mistakes and come to terms with the mainstream political parties to fight in unison against the autocratic regime in a peaceful way.
The first two options are highly unrealistic, so now the only realistic option is the third one. But, the question isâ�� Are they ready to take the plunge for a peaceful reconciliation with the parties or continue their one-way road â��which only meets to a dead end.
Wagleji, to answer your question which you’ve posed in your final remarksâ�¦.the difference between the two is thatâ��one is ruling from the top and torturing poor Nepalese by blaming them of supporting the guerrillas, whereas the other is ruling from the bottom (although in an illegitimate and forceful way) and doing more than that in the name of people’s war to overthrow those ruling at the top—-but reaching nowhere. The truth is that common Nepalese (belonging to the middle ground ) do not like to choose any of the two.
Regarding Rajendraji’s comments, I agree to disagree with you in two respects. Firstly, you’ve pointed out that ” Foreign countries including India, the USâ�¦â�¦are helping terrorism in Nepal”. How could you come to this blatant conclusion? As far as I understand, this civil war in the name of maoist insurgency has erupted in Nepal mainly because of our non-egalitarian social structure and setup, poverty and disillusionment among the people and unbalanced development over the years. It has nothing to do with foreign power.
In the present scenario, what the foreign governments really wanted in Nepal is simply a legitimate people’s elected representative government and restoration of independent media and human rights. Secondly, you have stated that ” there will be no semblance of Maoists in three years timeâ�¦â�¦and the parties will go for elections of the lower houseâ�¦â�¦â�¦..in power”.) How come you reach to this conclusion so soon ? Do you think that the present political developments in Nepal these days is going towards that end? I doubt.
10. mina Says:
August 3rd, 2005 at 11:03 pm
Actions speak more correctly than words. In Maoists win, we get Communist slavery – eat happily what the rulers provide and work for the rulers even if you are hungry. It the king wins, we serfdom slavery – follow your master’s orders and don’t dare to raise doubt about his authority. The first is called commune and the later Hukumi Shashan. Here comes the Nepalese army. Now they have to express their altimate responsibility. Where there loyalty lies ? Whom they are responsible to ? To the People or to the King ? Others are all secondary questions which can be sorted afte then.
11. manan Says:
August 4th, 2005 at 5:59 am
Its amazing that there are people like Rajendra who believe that Gyanendra can overcome the Maoists. What has he done in these six months that has convinced you that all can be overcome, my friend?
I will not argue with you, because it is useless. Wake up, there are “terrorists” in this situation, although the Maoists, RNA and Armed Police are all three of them quite vicious at times.
Military might has been tried for some time now, and you can see the results, and you see the effect it is having on even the army. For it is inevitable that at one point brothers will be fighting brothers. It is happening now, and if the conflict escalates, will be much more prevalant. Do you want that?
12. arjun Says:
August 4th, 2005 at 5:35 pm
“My God! What Have We Done?”
Sixty years ago this week, Father George Zabelka, a chaplain with the U.S. Air Force, met with the airmen who dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and gave them his blessing.
Days later he counseled a crew member who had flown a low-level reconnaissance flight over Nagasaki to review the results. The man described how thousands of scorched, twisted bodies writhed on the ground in the final throes of death, while those still on their feet wandered aimlessly in shock – flesh seared, melted, and falling off.
The description raised a stifled cry from the depths of Zabelkaâ��s soul – and eventually altered the course of his life.
Does this refelect crises towards nepal??