Nepal Yatayat, Maoist Comrades and Today’s Youths

Teenager’s Talk: A Kathmandu girl writes how it feels to be a member of youth brigade in today’s Nepal. “[B]eing a youth in Nepal is a problem in itself,” she says. “In the villages you are the perfect choice for the so called People’s Army (where the person is never given the choice). In cities, the exposure results in making you over ambitious, you dream too big everyone remarks. When the reality is even an MA doesn’t fetch you a job.”

By Zade 15

[UWB Note: Recently, a popular Kathmandu transportation service Nepal Yatayat halted its operations for a few days after receiving threats from the underground Maoist Party. Thousands of people in the city were seriously affected. That incident triggered the blogger, a regular commuter of Nepal Yatayat, to write this article.]

I have a history with Nepal Yatayat!

Sounds a little out of the ordinary but couldn’t think of anything closer to the truth than this. It all began some four years ago, freshly out of school (10 yrs of bordered life) after S.L.C which was around the same time Nepal Yatayat began its services. NY was my first acquaintance with public transportation services in the valley. So I have gone through all the stages of development of this popular NY Services: the supersonic NY (which resulted in a nasty experience of me falling into a puddle of dirty water as I got off the bus, the fateful day I got my Citizenship), the snail paced bus everyone complained about and as of some days ago the most efficient transportation in Kathmandu. And my experience as a regular commuter of the bus for the last two years and a frequent one before that portrays NY as a world of its own.

Once I was travelling with a stranger, who offered me hints about studying Science in +2 who even paid my fare stating he knew the financial woes of a student. In yet another event, a man with glasses giving that serious and cultured look, a fine wrist watch (status symbol in my book of fashion) gave me the shock of my life grabbing my waist!! Thank God! Was clad in the uniform blazer, though unfortunately was too appalled at 17 to do anything other than constantly shove his hands off me. My first harassment experience. Recently I gave a “Tapain Ko problem chahin ke ho”dialogue (though in between laughs) to a guy mocking me in NY last seat passing comments on my watch! Mission Vengeance Accomplished. Grew up with the experiences in NY, you could say that again.

Politics is what a layman understands, what s/he experiences day in and day out. It is not big talk, but little actions that influences our lives. It is the price of tomato, the closure of school, the death of a pregnant woman due to the banda and every little thing a person can comprehend on the grounds of being a citizen of this country. And sometimes I feel as though politics is everything else but what our government, the parties, Maoists and the monarch ever care to think about.

Out of +2, was time for university, I chose a college located in a place best expressed by the term “Ajakalto” to which no direct transportation was available other than NY. That meant being totally dependent on NY (but it never crossed my mind until the services were ceased until yesterday). I took it for granted. So did many of my friends residing in Koteshwor, Minbhawan, Shantinagar, Anamnagar, Putalisadak. Get on the bus and though initially it might have been the conductor yelling “Seat cha” (meaning everyone else is seated on it other than you) we were sure to get one before reaching college. I t was plain luxury, a public bus stopping right in front of the college gates. Even being on the bus at 6:40 when college gates closed at 7 calmed our nerves with the fact of being dropped right on the spot. But now 125 of the NY buses have gone into hiding, along with 75 of the Kantipur Yatayat ones. The street almost looks empty without the light brown machines on wheels. 200, does the number look funny to you? It transported a hundred thousand passengers everyday i.e. FIVE ZEROES after a one. Ring a bell? Comrades.

What do those 1, 00000 do now? Is anyone even concerned about them? We have to change two buses, as if our lives weren’t already hectic enough. My friend Emma has to make it from Thimi to Baluwatar by 6:45 every morning. Earlier leaving home at 5:45 was fine. A bus till Koteshwor and then NY Jindabad. Now she needs to get on the Shahidgate bus, 2 buses, the case is the same but the uncertainty of reaching college in time has her hurrying to college earlier. And even the No. 27 microbus from RNAC only goes till Bhatbhateni. Baluwatar is close by but she has already developed the habit of getting off right in front of the college gate, Remember? She isn’t the only one. Rosina (Balkumari), Kabita (Gwarko), Kamlesh (even Baneshwore), Manisha (Anamnagar) all have their share of woes.

I think [Maoist comrades] even expect a pat on the back for your style of cutting the head itself because the mouth spoke something foul. Will that ever stop all the other heads from talking? You can’t take of peace by gagging us all. Mind you, even the hushed silence talks of a passive revolution slowly gaining momentum. It is just not the way things are done. We need change in your ways and not merely hyped interviews with headlines “We want no bloodshed, we are all for what people want”.

It’s early in the morning in front of RNAC, very few people in the otherwise human crammed pavement. One can see the orange sun slowly rising through the open fields of Tudikhel but my friend doesn’t want to observe it. She tells me, “This is awful. If it was only one problem whether it be load shedding, Maoist insurgency, hike in prices or the blockades some consideration could be made. But its everything and no Nepal Yatayat to add to it. What kind of place do we live in?” I’m half listening, half engrossed in enjoying the serene vehicle free environment around me. She brings me back to senses and I feel ashamed for being half-attentive. I hate this extra positive mindedness in me. I’m thinking “Its alright. Now because of travelling in a different vehicle I’m getting to know what another part of Kathmandu looks like in the early morning. Less pollution, less horns to irritate my senses.” But keeping cranks like me aside, it is absolutely no fun to walk in the midday scorching heat from Baluwatar to Anamnagar. The NY bus stop was right in front of my office but I see no use in travelling all the way to Ratnapark to come back to Anamnagar. It is waste of money. You could argue it is waste of time. Obviously! It is bounded rationality way of decision making in practice, the need to save money is vital here. When you have boasted your folks at home to fulfil all your personal needs with whatever little you earn including the ever so expensive dentist fees walking is the only choice. Your reputation is in question!

Students, we always suffer the most. On one hand it is the pressing need to be financially independent making you ill at ease with the mere thought of begging alms for every petty expense you make while with the constant price hikes, there is never enough money. Problems are on the rise in every sector and being a youth in Nepal is a problem in itself. In the villages you are the perfect choice for the so called People’s army (where the person is never given the choice). In cities, the exposure results in making you over ambitious, you dream too big everyone remarks. When the reality is even an MA doesn’t fetch you a job. I recently read an article where a MBA graduate was planning to try his hands in poetry (his mom still the breadwinner). That makes it obvious why every one in two youth here aspires to go abroad. Whether it is a tile making factory in Dubai or dishwashing in Japan it just doesn’t matter.

And every time I tune into the news: the increase in hours of load shedding, price hikes in petroleum products, 80% rise in prices of vegetables, the flooding of roads with fresh milk makes me wonder if is it the last straw? Nothing seems to be the last straw for us. We eventually get used to everything. Thanks to our Comrade well-wishers who have increased our tolerance limits.

And every time I tune into the news: the increase in hours of load shedding, price hikes in petroleum products, 80% rise in prices of vegetables, the flooding of roads with fresh milk makes me wonder if is it the last straw? Nothing seems to be the last straw for us. We eventually get used to everything. Thanks to our Comrade well-wishers who have increased our tolerance limits. I try to reason it out from their perspective. How can the government increase petroleum prices? How dare NY and KY run vehicles in a Nepal Banda called by us? An ambulance on the road during a blockade, how dare people fall sick during a blockade! It must be shot. Monarchy in Nepal sucks but still I draw my inspiration from the great PN Shah. His blockade tactics to conquer the capital should work.

Ah…Comrades it is the 21st century. You need the people’s support to rule. The “cut the noses of the soldiers who didn’t take off shoes” style gets you nowhere. It only shows that you don’t even exercise control over your own aggressive senses. You seem to be over concerned about us Nepalese. You so well understand us; we love Nepal Bandas so why the hell run buses during one. I think you even expect a pat on the back for your style of cutting the head itself because the mouth spoke something foul. Will that ever stop all the other heads from talking? You can’t take of peace by gagging us all. Mind you, even the hushed silence talks of a passive revolution slowly gaining momentum. It is just not the way things are done. We need change in your ways and not merely hyped interviews with headlines “We want no bloodshed, we are all for what people want”.

The issue raised by your own so called “unnecessary by products of revolution” hasn’t missed the mark either. You talk big; keep your children aloof from all the hazards in a nation you intend to bring to ruins. But what about the millions of children of an average Nepali citizen like us? We can’t escape to some Harvard or Cambridge by mere choice. And many of us have opted to be here anyways, opted to find that bright future our friends are seeking abroad. We are here as we want to be a part of this historical moment , we want to make sure that people like you live up to your words of changing the system for good this time, starting by you changing your ways first.

[Comrades,] we can’t escape to some Harvard or Cambridge by mere choice. And many of us have opted to be here anyways, opted to find that bright future our friends are seeking abroad. We are here as we want to be a part of this historical moment, we want to make sure that people like you live up to your words of changing the system for good this time, starting by you changing your ways first.

Politics is what a layman understands, what s/he experiences day in and day out. It is not big talk, but little actions that influences our lives. It is the price of tomato, the closure of school, the death of a pregnant woman due to the banda and every little thing a person can comprehend on the grounds of being a citizen of this country. And sometimes I feel as though politics is everything else but what our government, the parties, Maoists and the monarch ever care to think about.

Zade 15 maintains her own personal blog: ZaDeD. In between dreams… UWB finds this post particularly amazing.

[Update: Zade 15 has moved her blog to ZadeXpress

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15 thoughts on “Nepal Yatayat, Maoist Comrades and Today’s Youths”

  1. “Politics is what a layman understands, what s/he experiences day in and day out. It is not big talk, but little actions that influences our lives. It is the price of tomato, the closure of school, the death of a pregnant woman due to the banda and every little thing a person can comprehend on the grounds of being a citizen of this country. And sometimes I feel as though politics is everything else but what our government, the parties, Maoists and the monarch ever care to think about.”

    >>>Well said.

    This is what I have been shouting for last few months on this blog. Its all about Nepal and Nepalis.

    Who is actually caring about us?

    NO ONE.

    Stop running behind those spineless politicains, dont try to overhype those maoist morons quotes and we definitely DONT WANT TO HEAR OR SEE Mr. KG’s sloks in front of Temples.

    The author have put the situation of our country as real as life.
    Write more about PEOPLE like you and me who are being suffered. Open up discussions on what can be done WITHOUT HELP of those TRINITY. Soltuions, debate and discussion within this blog could result something fruitful for all of us. Not hyping and chipering QUOTES made by stupid leaders or maoists, its waste of time and energy.

    This article, I would rate as ONE OF THE BEST till date in this BLOG.

    HATS OFF !!

    http://www.nepalisongs.info

    Like

  2. Thank you for one of the finest articles I have encountered in recent times. I could perfectly identify with myself the theme of the piece that today’s Nepali youth, and I still claim myself a member of that brigade, are living in terribly difficult situation. They are caught in between the conflict and their ever-growing aspirations for better future. On the one hand, they have ‘welcomed’ the forceful arrival of gun carrying Maoist comrades in the villages and, on the other hand, satellite channels and Internet in the city have provided them with a fantastic reason to dream for the fantastic world.

    I am one of those hundreds of thousands of youths who, living in Kathmandu, not only dream of the prosperous life of the first world but also welcome the family members displaced from ancestral village by conflict. People suffered

    Oh..ya, the Nepal Yatayat thing. Here too I can see the difficulties that I faced while commuting from my home to office in the last few days in your article. I had to take alternate bus service that was too packed to board into. But I didn’t want to lose my job my not using that service. I think you should have also mentioned the recent price hike that Nepal Yatayat presented to their passengers. The comfort of traveling in Nepal Yatayat bus in one thing but an incredible increment of up to 100 percent in fare is simply unacceptable. I wish they could review the fare.

    And there are quite a few serious problems with Nepal Yatayat as well. One of them has been aptly highlighted by you: harassment. The other is carrying too much passengers in a bus. Recently, Kantipur published a Reader’s Letter that complained the “Pachhadi Jau” rhetoric by Nepal Yatayat conductors. I think there should be a mechanism that effectively regulates the service of city buses.

    Let me come back to the thrust of the article. Yes, considering the developments that we experienced in recent years, “nothing seems to be the last straw for us. We eventually get used to everything.” Maoists perhaps helped increase “our tolerance limits.”

    Situation is gloomy but I think this is the perfect time youths like you come forward and talk about politics openly and make your voices heard. Now is the time to take a stand. We can’t support both of the extremes and we can’t just shy away saying “oh…these political leaders? They suck. They are corrupt. I don’t associate with them.” There is no way out other than actively participating in the political parties’ peaceful movement for the restoration of democracy. I can’t describe how much progress Nepal saw in the days of democracy even though leaders were corrupt. In democracy, even corrupts encourage development activities. Those corrupts are far better and less harmful than the armed comrades in jungle and ultra-rightists in and around the Narayan Hitti Royal Palace.

    Let’s go and participate in the pro-democracy rallies that are planned for coming days.

    Bring whatever you have got…

    Hatma Kalam Hune Haru Kalam Liyera Utha
    Hatma Kehi Nahune Haru Mutthi Liyera Utha

    (PS: I will be taking a Canon A 70 Digital Camera, a Reporting Notebook and a pen with me!)

    Like

  3. Well said. Couldn’t have put it better. Yeah I really wonder what the last straw for all of us will really be. It’s a bit like how the rest of Germany was tolerant of the Nazi’s until it became too late. The unholy trinity of the King, Maoists and Political parties do not care for this country and our people – that much is evident.

    We should launch a movement free from royalists, maoists and the present politicians to get this country back on track. How bad must it get before we kick these evil idiots out of country?

    Like

  4. This article gives me hope. If this young lady is representative of our young generation, surely our future will be in good hands. Always a silver lining.

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  5. A very hard hitting article. Preserve it! I agree to you Wagle ji, this is one of the finest article I have read in this blog.

    Like

  6. Well written article! Youths need to be optimistic whatsoever. Every crisis also presents opportunities and it is up to us on what extent and on what way to capatilize those opportunities.

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  7. Good one!

    NY was in fact one of the best in Nepal I guess,at least the seats were comfortable. I have used it more often than not and I found it good even though I was late to school and work at times just because I could not get into a crowded bus with males and females squeezed together like tomatoes.
    I still remember the day when a girl got squeezed inbetween two huge guys and she could do nothing but let herself blush red with all those weird feelings that come to a mind of a 18-year old when you come in touch with opposite sex. I think this was a huge issue and many girls hate the idea of riding on a NY bus.

    And now about the main argument of the article!
    I totally agree the stupid leadership needs to understand the sentiments of millions of Nepalese and give a way out for them to earn their living. We seriously need more freedom so that we can excercise our rational thinking.

    hari sharma
    http://unitelibertarians.blogspot.com

    Like

  8. Thank you Dinji, for finding the article worth postin in ur blog and all the arrays of comments of followed. And indeed this transition phase of our land isn’t going to last forever and it isn’t only me but a whole lot of youth who are ready to make sure the change to occur this time lasts for generations to come….and yeah I agree with Dinji, we all need to be out there out to support the cause of freedom..Lets just be there.
    Thanks everyone.

    Like

  9. A fine mind we have in Zade 15. If she is an example of the sort of person our family environment and education system produces these days, then our country must be doing something right for a change.

    Like

  10. Maoist continue recruiting Child soldiers!
    A vast thickly forested area in the heart of India has become the country’s bloodiest war zone, with hundreds of security personnel pitted against Maoist guerrillas and impoverished tribespersons caught in between.

    Chhattisgarh politicians and officials say that some 45,000 tribal people, assisted by paramilitary troops and police, have taken on the Maoists in the 10,238 sq km territory in Dantewada district in this central Indian state.

    Shedding all inhibitions, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government is arming and financing men and women who have thrown their lot with the state in the campaign against the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist.

    The militias are putting up a tough fight against the more motivated guerrillas – but taking heavy casualties too.

    The 86 deaths in Dantewada this year, including that of 20 policemen, is much higher than the fatalities reported in violence-hit Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast region put together, officials say.

    In the process, Dantewada, which borders Maharashtra, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh, is witnessing an armed campaign not seen in the history of the country’s four decades old Maoist movement.

    The state government, which enjoys the backing of the main opposition Congress party as well as New Delhi in its fight against the Maoists, says it is determined to crush the guerrillas who have set up a parallel administration in much of the sprawling district.

    Officials admit that the Maoists enjoy sway over 12,000 sq km in the Bastar region’s Abujhmarh forest. The rebels have planted landmines all around, and not a single policeman dares to enter the zone.

    The government-sponsored militias seek to woo local tribes in the name of “Salwa Judum” (Peace Mission) that was launched in June last year by opposition leader Mahendra Karma of the Congress who now tops the guerrillas’ hit list of “class enemies”.

    “We have no option. The Salwa Judum movement has begun. The tribal people have to come to us or stay with the Maoists. There is no middle path,” Karma told IANS.

    Dantewada’s 1.1 million people are mostly tribal. The area has one of the world’s largest iron ore reserves with stocks that can feed India’s fast growing steel industry for the next few centuries.

    Dotted with hills and covered by forests, it is also one of India’s most impoverished regions. The tribals inhabiting the 1,349 villages mainly depend on hunting, forest products and agriculture for their humble living.

    “I know the rebels have been butchering tribes who have been supporting the government in the armed struggle, but democracy will eventually triumph over the Maoists,” Chief Minister Raman Singh declared in Raipur, the state capital.

    He added that nearly 45,000 people had been displaced since June 2005 and were living in government relief camps guarded by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the police.

    Amid allegations of human right violations, the government provides sophisticated weapons such as AK-47 rifles to members of the militia who until now knew nothing apart from the traditional bow and arrows.

    Maoists who surrendered to the authorities are also being helped to take on their former comrades after being grouped as special police officers (SPOs).

    “The SPOs have a single task: to fan out in the Maoist den and dismantle their terror network. The government offers Rs 1,500 a month to the SPOs who have never earned a single rupee in their life,” Home Minister Ramvichar Netam said.

    A desperate government set up a Counter Terrorism and Jungle Warfare College in August 2005 in the Bastar region to train policemen to fight “a guerrilla like a guerrilla”.

    Said former Indian army official BK Ponwar, director of the college: “Salwa Judum is the best way to flush out Maoists. They will definitely take revenge by massacring tribals supporting the government. But it is the only option to prevent them from going over to the Maoists.”

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  11. OH! Zade 15…

    Is it ur blog or a wand of deja-vu?
    At one blow, it took me down the memory lane..right to my freaky +2 days. The whole 2 yrs of patronizing the lil n cozy buses of NY. Those fun,flirt,fuss n frenzy. Those acquaintances-turned-strangers. Those romantic Bollywood songs……

    I can really understand what it means to get messed up by the irregularities of the vehicles…n its extra-tougher if u r a student. It relieves me a bit that the strike exhorted pressure to the NY management to ensure pay lifts, insurance, identity cards and other amenities to its workers, at least theoretically…Still I don’t think this end justifies the means., .matlab, You cannot rob Robbie to pay Paul.
    The discussion of youth frustration is my hobby horse too. The way you and Dinwag have juxtaposed the double fold effects of global and local crisis on youngsters reminds me of ‘ Pressure Cooker’ , a novel by Sidique Salique. Like his hero, we the contemporary youths, are getting cooked inside the pressure cooker. The global breeze of techno-financial progress, freedom n democracy tend to cool us from outside while the continuous flame of violence, regression n ill-governance cook us, scorch us n parch us inside…I can feel this heat, this burn… and guess where this constant pressure of incompatible inside n outside temperature lead us to….If this tension continues an inch longer, this pressure cooker is to explode, it is to blast with a big bang. this was how the Maoist insurgency was embarked….yet, it is not always the Communists to revolt, any commonplace layman can bulge up from this quicksand if the degree of endurance crosses its limit….
    And this tiny, yet highly audible voice of urs signifies that the whistle is blowing and the cooker is to blast another second…..

    I m too glad Zade 15 that your mind scrutinizes , your conscience dares and your pen conjures up..Im impressed by the way your understanding is holistic , your analysis is precise and your expression is reticent, yet hard hitting. Come on…go girl go….the world is for who dares, who speaks n who acts….the red carpet is rolled on for you…the world is for you and we are for you….

    Like

  12. Good job. Dream big,having a low dream is a crime.
    continue blogging. would love to track your success.
    Do whatever, you will succeed. Best of luck,

    Like

  13. Here’s a related Post report:

    Nepal Yatayat faces fresh threat

    POST REPORT

    KATHMANDU, March 21 – Nepal Yatayat Minibus Service Committee (NYMSC) that had resumed service since 17th March again suspended its service since Sunday, after receiving fresh threats from the labor wing of the CPN (Maoist).
    According to NYMSC, the talks with the rebels’ labor union are on for the resumption of the bus service.

    Hari Narayan Shahi, chairperson NYMSC said, “The informal talks with the rebels are in the process to clear the deadlocks; however, there is no official confirmation made by the rebels to allow to resume service,” Shahi added.

    NYMSC along with Kantipur Yatayat Entrepreneurs Association earlier had to stop their services on March 12 and March 8 respectively, for about a week after a news about the threat was published in tabloid papers.

    Like

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