Nepali Village Story: Daughter Escaped Maoist Party, Soldiers Beat Dad

Kul Bahadur Gajmer

Kul Bahadur Gajmer, a blacksmith and so called untouchable, feels that the discrimination based on touch has gradually been eradicated in villages. It’s not because of the Maoist movement but because of the growing influence of young generation in the society. When Maoists wanted his 18-year-old daughter, she fled to Kathmandu. Government soldiers while patrolling the village beat him up. Pic by Wagle

By Dinesh Wagle after visiting Duragaun (Ramechhap)
Wagle Street Journal

When I reached at the workshop of Kul Bahadur Gajmer, a blacksmith (from the so called lower cast that is untouchable by so called upper cast people), in his house he was busy working with a sickle. He said that he has been experiencing drastic changes in peoples’ perception toward discrimination. “There is only one [upper cast] family in Duragaun village that doesn’t give us milk tea,” he said. I didn’t understand what he meant by that statement. Fortunately, there was someone to explain me the milk tea riddle. I got enlightened on the issue by one of my school time friends’ mother (upper cast) who was there in Kul Bahadur’s house to get her sickle sharpened. “We have the tradition that if we give milk to tallo jat (lower cast) people, our cattle will die.” I was shocked as I didn’t know about that earlier. Did my family do the same with lower cast people? I was curious to know.

When I returned Kathmandu, I knew that my family was the first in the village to break the tradition by giving milk and milk tea to ‘untouchables’ more than 15 years ago. “Grandmother was a bit hesitant about the move,” my mother told. “But your father convinced her saying that he would take responsibility if any cattle died. No cattle died.”

The discrimination based on touch system is gradually fading away from the village. It’s not because of the Maoist movement but because of the growing influence of young generation in the society. [The parliament has also recently declared discrimination based on touch system illegal.] Kul Bahadur thinks that young generation is understands the issue well and in contrast to the old generation, “young people are bold enough to shun the discrimination based on touch system.” “Young people don’t mind about his,” he said. “But old people in the same house do take it seriously.” Kul Bahadur, resident of Katti (Duragaun-7) clarified that the so called lower cast people didn’t intend to go inside the houses of so called upper cast people. “Hami lai unhaharu ko ghar mai chhirnu pareko pani hoina,” he said. “We don’t need to enter inside their houses. But we want them to respect our feelings.”

Apart from the issue of touch-based discrimination, Kul Bahadur, 56, had a sad story to share with me. “On that late afternoon [nearly three years ago] patrolling soldiers came here looking for me,” he said while sharpening a sickle in his workshop. “They alleged that I was collecting donations on behalf of the Maoist party. A local Maoist leader had forcefully given me a receipt book for donation. I wasn’t interested to work for the party and I explained that to the leader. No, he would listen to me. So he left the receipt book in my house. Army saw that. For them the receipt book was the proof of me being a Maoist activist and donation collector.”

Another thing that, Kul Bahadur guesses, must have compelled army to take action against him was a handmade gun that he was using in traditional ceremonies like Dashain festival and marriages. “That wasn’t for killing anyone,” he said. “You can’t kill anyone with that. That was being used in marriage ceremonies in the village to signal the subha muhurtha (auspicious timing).”

Kul Bahadur Gajmer

Soldiers confiscated the gun, kicked on his face and took him up to the school (15 minutes up from his home). “Some soldiers were good,” he remembers. “They didn’t beat me. But a Maoist woman who was arrested by the solders was a real bitch. She kept me beating and at times soldiers prevented her. Soldiers (the unified command) were stationed in the school that night and they kept me until 9 PM. I went to the school again the next morning to see the commander of the army.” He finally set Kul Bahadur free with this warning: ‘never work for Maoists’.

Kul Bahadur Gajmer, husband of two wives and a father of eight children, has an experience of being misbehaved by the Maoists too. “I was returning from the village above two years ago,” he said. “It was festival (Tihar or Dipawali) time and I was drunk. Maoists were playing volleyball in the school and the ball hit me as I was walking on the street. I told them ‘Kya ho saathi, ball khellna aaudaina? (Hey friends, don’t you know how to play the game?’ I didn’t know that they were Maoists. Then a boy called Deepak came to me and beat me saying that I shouldn’t have told them ‘saathi’ (friend). ‘Hamilai saathi bhanne?’ (Will you say us friend?’ he said and started beating.

Holding together a big family like Kul Bahadur’s and saving any members from Maoist recruit is a challenge for any parent. When his teenage daughter was sought by the Maoists, Kul Bahadur faced the similar challenge. But daughter was determined not to roll herself in the party. “Sahili chhori lai lana khojeka thiye,” he said. “[They wanted to take my fourth daughter with them.]” That was two years ago when the girl was 18. The girl fled to Kathmandu. “You can’t speak your mind,” Kul Bahadur said. “That is why she didn’t want to join the party.”

Next: Story of Jay Gajmer and his family.

[The whole family was beaten up by the patrolling soldiers. “They even looted Rs. 12 hundred, our hard earned money”- Dilmaya Gajmer, 60]

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24 thoughts on “Nepali Village Story: Daughter Escaped Maoist Party, Soldiers Beat Dad”

  1. I hope these Maoist burn in hell. Oh yea even if Baburam/Prachanda escape punishment in this world they are going to burn at some point.

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  2. Great job reporting on such issues. Keep up your good work and be fair on your report. When you talked about caste differences, be sure to mention the caste of those oppressors and the oppressed. For example, who were the upper caste in that village? What were their last-names? I wasn’t aware that Gajmer is a low caste.

    I am sure there are many among the readers who may not know such caste hirarchy based on last-name. I did not know Wagle is a Bahun- a high caste (jat) by Hindu standard. But by Buddhist or other ethnic (Borna) standard, both Wagle and Gajmer are treated same because they both are Hindus and are outside Borna classification. Such ethnographic distinction based on scietific classification must be clarified when talking about inter ethnic and itra-caste relations.

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  3. The sooner the Maoists join the mainstream the less of these incidences that will occur. I know it sounds lame but since the pathetic (R)NA gave the Maoists a walkover what other hope is there that the Maoists will change their ways? Nobody within Nepal seems to be able to. The Maoists are scum but so are those people who let them prosper i.e. the King and his royalist bunch and the corrupt members of the SPA.

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  4. there is discrimination against different race even in america which happens to be one of the developed countries. I think in nepal it will take a while to eliminate discrimination. i think education plays very important role in eliminating discrimination. my parents are kind of conservative but since i am literate and can tell what is wrong and right i am friends with so called low cast people.

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  5. Great to read the story of commoners. I think nepali newspapers publish too much stories about KTM based feckless , and some responsible too, politicians. Newspapers should understand that their story lies in the hinterlands, and that is the only way to change the Nepal, by focussing on the issues of ordinary Nepal.

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  6. The pattern of terror against common citizen of this country is slowly being reported, there is much of this tragedy yet to be reported, mostly inhumane, barbaric and torturous.

    With this as a backdrop, who in the right mind can afford benefit of the doubt to Maoist. I suspect their sincerity in joining mainstream and I agree with U.S. stances. If the history is key to understanding future then Maoist should not ever be given chance to come into a government. The act of appeasement is counter-productive and the ramifications is too great a price to pay.

    Yes, peace at any cost can be a cost that our grandchildren will not hesitate to spit in our face. So lets act rational and not give credit where it is not due.

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  7. Yes, I truly agree with Livewire. Peace at any cost is not acceptable. We have our future generations to answer. Everybody wants peace but not the Maoist way. Poor Mr. Gajmer was interrogated by the army in the first place because the Maoist leader had forcefully given him the receipt book for donation. The Maoist, even after the ceasefire has constantly kept up its felonious act. And their top brass does not seem to have a hold on them. Mr. Prachanda might have great leadership and communications skills, but I think he is slowly and unknowingly loosing his grip on his army. He speaks of equality, and people’s power. But fails to sow his thoughts among his own. He talks about unity but has divided Nepal is various factional ethnic groups (limbuan, khumbuan, madisea mukti morcha). The bottom line is he has failed in the very reason he started his moment for.

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  8. Nepali, you know who the f*ck is responsible for this? Those stupid Royalists who corrupted the (R)NA. There is very little choice because the Maoists have the arms and the politicised (R)NA just stood and watched while the Maoists grew stronger and stronger. Now the only counter balance are the countries like the US (blech!)and UK.

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  9. Kirat, Please explain your point further. Do you mean that US/ UK should come for our rescue?

    Regarding you, I happen to read your writes so often, and by now I know you hate the royalist and the politicized RNA. You’ve been blaming them so often, I now think if you have any personal vendetta with them.

    I personally think we should not generalize people or institution. Why don’t we start pointing out people? I think it’s not fair to say that the RNA just stood and watched. They are and were men we know who have fought battles and have died. Same with the Maoist. Cannot blame everyone single solder. I would rather blame Prachanda and baburam then the brave-fools who followed them. But remember they are not indifferent from us. They represent every single one of us. And we have to do our bit to unite this piece of land.

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  10. Kirat, Please explain your point further. Do you mean that US/ UK should come for our rescue?

    Regarding you, I happen to read your writes so often, and by now I know you hate the royalist and the politicized RNA. You’ve been blaming them so often, I now think if you have any personal vendetta with them.

    I personally think we should not generalize people or institution. Why don’t we start pointing out people? I think it’s not fair to say that the RNA just stood and watched. They are and were men we know who have fought battles and have died. Same with the Maoist. Cannot blame everyone single solder. I would rather blame Prachanda and baburam then the brave-fools who followed them. But remember they are not indifferent from us. They represent every single one of us. And we have to do our bit to unite this piece of land.

    Like

  11. Nepali, you don’t get it do you? I hate all people who are bad for my country and my people. So yeah I hate the Maoists for their violence and dictatorial ways, I hate the corrupt SPA politicians for the bringing this country to ruin but most of all I hate the Royalists because of all the three they were the most privileged, the most educated, the most connected, the wealthiest-in short they were best equipped to do good for this country. But all they did was fattened themselves at the cost of the poor people of Nepal.

    How they ruined the (R)NA is just another sad case. It because they ruined the (R)NA that the Maoists have become so powerful. Don’t you get it?

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  12. Kirat- come out of the closet- it seems you are paid to disparage RNA at any cost. You conveniently forget the atrocities, the murder of Husband infront of a wife, destructions of public property (comm. towers etc.,), child soldiers and robbing of their innocence and right to education and way of life, do you want me to continue. I can but I guess rest have understood. And I guess it is bridge too far between what you are and Royalist. Amen.

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  13. diehard-see how one track minded you are? I have always made it a point to state how I despise the Maoists even when I am disparaging Royalists like you. But being an idiot you can only read the point where I criticize the Royalists. You expose yourself too cheaply.

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  14. Kirat,

    You are so indecisive- you hate this, you hate that, you hate more but you are on both the sides. C’mon, stand up if you have a spine otherwise stop making gutless,nonsense, and railroaded comments.

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  15. diehard you moron. I guess for you I need to be either a Maoists or a Royalists or from other bracket.

    Like I stated before I hate all people that are bad for this country-whether you be a Royalist, Maoists or SPA leader. I understand that from the three categories of people there are some good apples-but far too little.

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  16. Kirat, I think you dont get it. Please read my question carefully and answer it. Let me repeat it once again for you.

    Do you mean that US/ UK should come for our rescue?

    Regarding people bad for the country, I hate them too. But I still don’t understand why you are in that black n’ white world.

    Yes, Royalist were the most privileged, the most educated, the most connected and surely the wealthiest and they did not do a thing for the nation. I agree 100% And they must have also polluted the RNA and then they could not keep the Maoist at bay. I agree again.

    But I think its not just the Royalist. It’s the people of our country. Everyone single one is to be blamed. Let me ask you a simple question. Being Kirat, a lot of you guys opt for the British Army. When you country was in need army (like you said, to stop the Maoist) you guys went and fought other peoples war, and now, you wholly and solely blame the RNA for not being able to stop the Maoist? What do you think makes you people go and fight other peoples war, when there is a war happening in your own country? It is Money? Fame? Or YOU JUST DON’T CARE?

    You call yourself Kirat and why not Nepali? When do we have to understand that by calling other moron and idiot is not going to help them to improve. When are we going to understand that we are pulling each others leg?

    Just want simple answers to very simple questions.

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  17. Nepali-Because the (R)NA has been so ineffective in countering the armed Maoists-the US,UK influence is important in countering them. That is a reality. No I am not calling for them to invade the country-only someone like you could think of such a possibility.

    I call myself Kirat and you feel insecure? Don’t make me laugh. A Kirat is a Nepali too.

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  18. “They didn’t beat me. But a Maoist woman who was arrested by the solders was a real bitch. She kept me beating and at times soldiers prevented her.

    Wagle, did he tell you what happened to the maoist woman or why she was beating him? And the soldiers let her beat him?I don’t understand this.

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  19. Thanks Kirat, Yes, this was what I wanted out of your mouth. Even Kirat is a Nepali and so is everyone you criticize. All I want you to understand is that you cannot generalize a group of people, just because you don’t like few of them. There is a black sheep in almost every family.

    And frankly, Its you who thinks, I think kirat is calling US and UK to invade our country. NOT ME! And I don’t want to criticize your idea or thoughts. Your words speak louder about your character.

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  20. Politicians of all shades whether royalists,bahuns, mandales,SPA, shah,pandit, brahmin, rana or any ethnicitiy any description have to share the blame and not just the Army……

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