Photo blog by Dinesh Wagle
Last of Two Parts. Here is the first part.
Sharmila. Works in a carpet factory in Atterkhel, Gokarna. She came to see the Maoist mass meeting with her friends. She was too shy to talk to me about her participation so her friend Kabita (below) came forward.
Kabita. Sharmila’s friend in the carpet factory. “Nooo,” she responded to my first question. “We are not Maoists. We are just general people. We came here to see the mass meeting. We have nothing to do with the Maoists.” Her factory was closed because of the public holiday in Kathmandu. She said that she participated in the April rallies of Seven Party Alliance. “I am not hopeful about the peace,” she said. “Everyone is talking about peace. I think they are serious.”
Girls try to make themselves comfortable in Tundikhel. Okay, mark that girl on blue kurta. I talked to her and her friend about their presence in the mass meeting.
An American conspiracy? The problem was on the woman’s nose. There was a small pimple which got worse three days ago.
This comrade duo was having private moment when my camera caught their attention. Then they started posing, one encouraging other to see at the lens.
Keeping the hot away with eating the cool in.
She was tired but minutes later I saw the lady, along with her comrade, distributing pamphlets about the party activities. People lined up to receive the pamphlets and soon girls were out of stock.
Didn’t I say she was tired? Volunteers in front of Tri-Chandra Campus. Yes, volunteers like these seeen in the photo above found hard times controlling the crowd when some of the Maoist cadres went on attacking the Army Dais near Khula Manch.They tried to destroy the Shree Panch (His Majesty) part of the Army Dais name and also captured the army area for a few minutes.
Members of the Armed Police Force (APF) were deployed (see the pic below) around Mahendra Salik (King’s Way) in front of the royal palace. This policeman was taking rest behind the Tindhara hostel. When he knew I was taking photo, he came to his form. Sorry for disturbing him.
A Maoist volunteer passes from in front of policemen in duty.
Hum…this is Mr. James who has been “living in Nepal for the last 30 years.” I found him in front of Tri Chandra Campus picking up the poster- publicizing the Maoist Mass Meeting- pasted at the campus wall. Another foreigner (a film maker, I knew later) was helping him. When he saw me (wearing UWB t-shirt) taking his picture, he said, “Oh..United We Blog! Are you the one who runs that site?”
“Yes,” I said. “Don’t I seem like one?”
He didn’t believe but said that the site was really good source of information. He told me to show my identity card. I showed him my newspaper card with my name Dinesh Wagle. In the beginning he was quite hesitant about revealing his identity but later when another foreigner woman came to me calling my name, he changed his mind, I guess. The woman, a traveling blogger, was meeting me first time though we were in contact via email for quite some time.
James asked me how I felt about the Maoist movement. “Well I am critical about this,” I said. He wanted to know about my criticism: to the whole movement or the tactics used in the movement. “Well, I am against the violent form of the movement,” I said. “Otherwise there are some significant positive changes brought about by the movement.”
I was curios to know why he was pulling out the poster from the wall. “For a souvenir,” he said.
“Don’t put my picture,” he said.
“No, I will put,” I replied expecting his reaction.
“Just to prove that I blog for UWB!”
Click, click, click. Again, for the family album. In front of Tri Chandra Campus.
This man from Bharatpur, Chitwan came to see the mass meeting. “Are you with the party, baje?” I asked. Within a second, he replied: “No, I am not with the party. I just came to see the mass meeting.” He was hesitant to reveal why he decided to came all the way to Kathmandu for a Maoist meeting. Was he forced by the party? He didn’t want to comment on that and I could see the real answer on his silence. His name is Padam Bahadur Kshetri. Age: 63. No, that was a tounge slip. Its 83. “Do you wish you were 63?” I asked. “Ha, ha ha,” he replied. “Wish I was born today!”
Participating in a Maoist Mass Meeting.
“Nooo,” the woman on the extreme right reaction to my question. “We are not Maoists. A man left this flag here and told me to hold for a few minutes.” She came to Kathmandu this afternoon from her village in Naubise, Dhading to participate in the mass meeting. “We will be going back to home in the evening.”
Ice Cream for all ages in the ages of Maoism?
They are also recording the speeches. The man from Rolpa (left) said that he was recording the speeches that he will play for his villagers back home. He came Kathmandu yesterday and said that will head for Rolpa this evening.
“What’s your name?” I asked.
“Do you need name?” he replied.
“Well, yes if you say.”
He think for about 10 seconds and said, “hummm, okay, Ram Bahadur!” [Which happens to be one of the most common name in Nepali society.]
As I said earlier, revolutionary speeches were not enough to fill the hungry stomach.