NEPAL ARMY SERIES– III: Integration? No Problem

By Ameet Dhakal
News Editor,
the Kathmandu Post

KATHMANDU, Aug 24 – When army men start talking about the Maoists something happens to them inside: the voice suddenly becomes loud and body language changes. It’s an intoxicating mix of excitement and anger. All the army personnel interviewed for this article said the Maoists came to the negotiating table because they could not win the shooting war – Nasakera aayeka hun (they came because they couldn’t). But none of them claimed that the army won either. In between this “we-didn’t-win-they-didn’t-win” acceptance lies the anguish of the Nepali Army (NA). After all, armies the world over are institutions created to win wars. Not winning creates a trauma of its own.

Now that the fighting is in recess, army people are concerned that the Maoists should not be perceived as the winners. “They are behaving as if they won this war,” said one major. The intense political limelight that the rebels have enjoyed ever since the ceasefire has left the army grumbling. “They are everywhere on TV and in the newspapers, and even at the prime minister’s quarters as if they are the most powerful people in Nepal,” complained another major.

The army may have its reservations about the Maoists but it is very lenient about mainstreaming the rebels, even integrating them. “The Maoists should not be made to go back to the jungle,” said a third officer. Almost all of them repeat clichés like, “Whoever dies in this war will be a Nepali, so the war should not resume.”

But again the army seems pretty confident that the rebels will not go back to the jungle after all. “They won’t go even if you push them,” said a retired general. Only one among the officials interviewed said there was a fifty-fifty chance of the rebels picking up their guns again.

The army also seems more practical than many politicians when it comes to the question of managing the Maoist weapons and integrating the rebels. “If you tell the rebels to lay down their arms first, they are not going to do it,” said a major, adding, “No one does that”. A retired general said, “I have been to many war-ravaged countries but I don’t remember any country were the rebels surrendered their weapons in the beginning.” He suggested that disarmament should be linked to the political process and effected phase-wise.

The Nepali Army’s arms management experience comes from its experience of serving in United Nations peacekeeping operations in more than a dozen countries. More than 40,000 army personnel have participated in such operations. So it has in a way seen the devastation of war, the complexity of making peace and the challenge of arms management. “We knew from the beginning that this war wasn’t winnable; it’s only the politicians and the king who were talking about wiping them out,” said one general. A retired general even claimed that the army had proposed to recruit about 2,000 unemployed youths into the army from the Rolpa and Rukum region as a deterrent tactic when the insurgency had just begun in the Raapati Valley.

The general also argued that downsizing and integration of the Maoist rebels was not a problem. “We knew long back that this was coming.” All the army personnel agreed that the current size of the NA was too big for peace time. But at the same time they are irritated by “everyday” calls from the Maoists and political party leaders for downsizing the army. “The army will be downsized if our national security policy [which should be formulated] deems that necessary, but not just because the Maoists or the politicians want it,” fumed one army officer.

He also argued that Maoist rebels should be integrated into the army only as per such a policy. “They should be taken into the army based on certain criteria and qualifications. But there can’t be blanket integration”

Don’t you think integration of the politically indoctrinated Maoist rebels could create problems in the army? “Who cares about politics? Once in the army they [rebels] will be more concerned about their pensions,” said the officer. “But my boys say Pasang lai salute garnu paryo bhane ta ke jaagir khaai bo ra army maa [It doesn’t make sense to serve in the army if we have to salute Pasang (Maoist commander)]”, he said and laughed wildly.

(Series concluded) These series were first published in the Kathmandu Post

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19 thoughts on “NEPAL ARMY SERIES– III: Integration? No Problem”

  1. None of the maoists senior commanders should be allowed into the army. There is no two questions about that, the same as all the useless chakari baj Generals should also be retired. As for the foot soldiers the criteria should be – they have to be the correct age, the correct physical and mental criteria etc. and no politicking. They should sign a paper that says if they try to instigate politics inside the army they would be removed without pension. Of course, only a certain amount of qualified people could join, the remaining qualified should be on a reserve pool or altogether dibanded as talk of downsizing the army is also there.

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  2. Who ever is talking about the integration of politically motivated and reckless maoist into the professional army is talking without any base or with the blind eye.

    I had tried to join then RNA first after i completed I. SC was not successful in board interview, then tried after completing my engineering into cadet again was dropped out, then again for the engineering corp but was again dropped in the board interview, but i have the highest respect for this institution, ever-after reaching till the last phase i could not join, having good result in the all other physical performance and educational perfomance.

    WHY integrate the killers, politically motivated, stupid, and (goes on) …. to the professional army.

    Then we must also raise arms-revolt to join int army or what?

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  3. Nuremburg style Trials For Maoists
    Bhumika Ghimire

    I find myself trying to understand the violence in my home, learning from the experiences of Holocaust. Among the words of Wiesel I try to find the way to cope with the tragedy when you see your whole community, your life, your neighbors just go away. When I read about hundreds of students kidnapped by the rebels or about abandoned villages my mind goes though the pages of Night again and again.
    Looking for answers, looking for a reason.
    I have to make sense of people being killed just because they chose to differ from what is expected of them, I have to understand the
    beheading of a journalist and no one coming forward to protest. I have to understand the reason why so many people are suffering without
    food and water because of the tug of war going on between the two sides.
    Alas, I am not getting anywhere. From Holocaust I learned that we should fight for justice, we should work to establish accountability; we should have rule of law not the rule of gun. But the lessons learned from Holocaust cannot be implemented in . In we cannot ask to hold the Maoists accountable, we cannot ask to have a rule of law. The situation is such that anyone trying to spoil the victory party of the Maoists is labeled a “royalist”, a “traitor”, a “bourgeois” and is
    threatened with consequences. There is a government, just to fulfill a formality. People know who pulls the strings now, so even ministers speak as if there is a sword hanging over them.
    After every major world crises we promise that this will never happen again, we say that we have learned a lesson. That is a biggest lie
    ever told. We never learn from history, we just read it and forget it.
    How can you explain two world wars, numerous conflicts and millions of people suffering every day?
    The supreme irony of the situation is that the establishment is portraying the Maoists as victims. All their prisoners are being
    released, their leaders are hailed as visionaries, and to top this all human rights activists are championing the rights of Maoists. What about the “real victims”? Well, that is a question you are not allowed
    to ask. You cannot understand this “amnesty for war criminals” by reading Night or history of holocaust, because after World War II the
    Nazis were tried (with varying degrees of success, I agree), sentences were handed out. An effort was made to get something done. You have to agree that the rights and justice situation is worse than what happened after World War II.
    I finished reading the last chapter of Elie Wiesel’s book “Night”. It is not the first time I read about Holocaust, not the first time reading about someone’s traumatizing
    experience. But the way Wiesel has described his experiences (while reading, his face would always come up in my mind when I would try to
    picture the incidents and it made the reading even more painful) and the fact that I am dealing with violence as a citizen of a country
    trying to come out of civil war, made the reading even more profound and heart tugging experience.
    The Maoist insurgency has killed thousands of my countrymen; women and children. The poor people in the villages are being tortured by
    the army and the Maoists. For the government, torture is a regular procedure to keep the country safe; they have the legitimacy
    the world gives for anything “government”. As for the rebels, they behead people, they kill teachers, and they kill children because they
    are fighting for freedom. In today’s world of political correctness,we are forced to accept that otherwise we will join the ranks of
    tyrants.
    Jews during the Second World War, for long believed that the whole world is looking at
    Europe, and they would never allow Hitler’s plan of killing off all the Jews to actually happen. They believed that the 20th century world has come long way to allow Hitler’s plans to succeed.
    But sadly their beliefs were crushed. The whole world watched in silence as thousands perished in the concentration camps, families
    lost, traditions, culture, life, all gone just because of madness of a single person. After the Nuremburg trial the world, led by promise to the people that this would never happen again. But then as we were resting on our laurels of the past,ot happened again and the Kurds were killed.
    Now history is repeating itself in Nepal. The rebel leaders are going in the path Hitler took, the path not directed by reason but solely led by hate,thirst for the absolute power and the belief that whoever has guns has
    the authority to do anything. The only difference in this case is that, unlike the post war world where Nazis were considered criminals and tried for their war crimes, the people have accepted the Maoists as freedom fighters, choosing to ignore all the crimes they have committed against the nation and the people themselves. They have accepted that the there will no trials against the Maoists; they
    will be free even after committing murders, beheadings, amputations,kidnappings and extortions.

    The People’s Media Company.

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  4. For the Nepal Army:

    THE FINAL INSPECTION

    The soldier stood and faced God,

    Which must always come to pass.

    He hoped his shoes were shining,

    Just as brightly as his brass.

    “Step forward now, you soldier,

    How shall I deal with you?

    Have you always turned the other cheek?

    To me have you been true?”

    The soldier squared his shoulders and said,

    “No, Lord, I guess I ain’t.

    Because those of us who carry guns,

    Can’t always be a saint.

    I’ve had to work most holidays,

    And at times my talk was tough.

    And sometimes I’ve been violent,

    Because the world is awfully rough.

    But, I never took a penny,

    That wasn’t mine to keep…

    Though I worked a lot of overtime,

    When the bills got just too steep.

    And I never passed a cry for help,

    Though at times I shook with fear.

    And sometimes, God, forgive me,

    I’ve wept unmanly tears.

    I know I don’t deserve a place,

    Among the people here.

    They never wanted me around,

    Except to calm their fears.

    If you’ve a place for me here, Lord,

    It needn’t be so grand.

    I never expected or had too much,

    But if you don’t, I’ll understand.

    There was a silence all around the throne,

    Where the saints had often trod.

    As the soldier waited quietly,

    For the judgment of his God.

    “Step forward now, you soldier,

    You’ve borne your burdens well.

    Walk peacefully on Heaven’s streets,

    You’ve done your time in Hell.”

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  5. It’s the Soldier, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech.

    It’s the Soldier, not the politicians that ensures our right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

    It’s the Soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag.

    If you care to offer the smallest token of recognition and appreciation for
    the Military, please pass this on and pray for our men and women who have served and are currently serving our country and pray for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.

    Like

  6. I know, even though, we think integrating terrorists into army is not good,it will be integrated, moron leaders are willing to do whatever the terrorists want.
    Integrating these ideologically brainwashed terrorist into the army will go into the history as the biggest mistakes ever made.

    Like

  7. the day isnt far when nepal army gona be politicised like the nepal police 😦
    RNA was the only institution that remained integrated till now..but seems like mr. katuwal gona be the boris yeltsin of the royal nepal army..

    btw heard this from a friend..some maoist leaders were giving a speech in one of the colleges today re.. politiburo member re..and he said..theres gona be bloodshed if the nepali ppl dont go for a republic..and when someone asked what if ppl choose a ceremonial monarchy from the CA polls..then he said..it will not be accepted by the maoist and it HAS to be a republic..anyhow re..

    so .. whats the use of gng to the polls then ?
    anyone .. ??? no wonder the mao pigs are not laying down their weapon.. they gona start a civil war if the CA result doesnt suite them..
    so all this peace talk can be shoved up makunes arse…

    i hadnt belived in these peace talks anyway..knew it was a big farce.. i think the RNA should be deployed ASAP to clean the maoists epidemic..before it gets out of hand..what u say fellas ?

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  8. I am giving a big scoop to you guys: In kathmandu, there is a rumour that King Gyanendra is true son of Ratna. It was kept secret till now.That is why birebdra dai and his family were killed. try to find out. I will give you 64 000 dollars.

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  9. harkee dai, show me an army anywhere in the world which isn’t politicised. It was politicised before so what’s the big deal? If standards slip further during a democratic period then it will indirectly be our fault for electing thiefs like GP Koirala, Sher B. Deuba, MK Nepal, Khum Bdr Khadka, Govinda Joshi, Chiranjeevi Wagle etc again and again. We, the Nepali people, should take a moral stand and stop electing these crooks.

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  10. There isnt a single power center in Nepal that can steer the country. Maoists are a time bomb (one tyranny just led to another). Nepal Army is farce (I hope Amit Dhakal’s articles are actually true). Only the politicians are the saints .. and Girija is GOD .. @#$%@ .. just wht the fcuk is happening .. wheres the peace process? Wheres the civil society? Why is civil society taking a passive role and just watching .. we missed this chance earlier.

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  11. I thought the janandolan this time would galvanize and give birth to a new Nepal, but looks like everybody is out to get a piece for themselves.

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  12. well kirat….
    i dont know whose fault is it for electing the morons every time..
    but we dont have any options do we ? bcoz everytime the so called big parties of our country name these ppl as their candidates again and again…ki ta .. election nai bahiskar garnu paryo .. ki ta.. same guys get elected…
    btw the root of all this shit is uneducation..
    no one thought it was required to educated the poor ppl.. jane sune sabai ..desh bahira gai sake.. so its left for the sojha saja janta to face the chin music of maoists. who just read that red lil book of mao..
    so guess…ppl will be “re-educated” again in the maakaai ko baari..
    hoina ta comrade ? 😉

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  13. ha, ha, uneducated Nepalis are the best Nepalis. It is the educated ones that run the major political parties, the police, the army, all the ministries and bureaucracies and people who lead the Maoists including gold medalist Baburam Bhattarai and Russian educated Badal that are the scourge of this country. It is a matter of morals and ethics and sadly these people have none. They are just selfish parasites. Personally I think the educated in Nepal are the worst bunch of people in this land.

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  14. scoop,

    I salute the self-less service of the NA soldiers and ur warm feelings towards them !!!

    I don’t undersatnd why u omitted the last line??

    “Who protects the potestor’s right to burn the flag”

    Now NA has become a ‘kickpad’ kept on the crossroads and everyone passing by is trying to kick it. They say ‘mareko baagh ko jungaa jasle pani ukhelna sakachha’; but the fact is NA is not a dead tiger – its a sleeping tiger!

    In the past, neither King, (R)NA or politicians tried to understand a basic theory of warfare “enemy’s enemy is own friend”.
    Now the context has been changed but not our traditional way of thinking.

    If NA wouldnt be there – we would have lost our right to express our ‘hatred’ against the state’s Army in Prachanda’s so called Janabaadi Ganatantra Nepal!

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  15. It is real mess in Nepal. I stayed there in Nepal for two months Mid June to Mid August after three years of interval. Politicians are busy in dicussing with the sip of whisky and Army is busy in defending their organization and police are having 6 point agreement with looters and thieves for their share. As someone said earlier, all remaining educated people are thinking of going abroad to have a peaceful life. I tell you if this peace process fails, it is better to leave the country for good. Nobody knows who, when will come to attack you in the middle of the night. All the rich people can go somewhere, but what the poor people will do ?

    I found the politicians are the most confused ones regarding the future. If want to know better about Nepal, you need to ask the Indian and the American ambassadors.Because all the leaders of our country are working under their instructions. This is my impression.

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  16. Wow Limbu!!! Exactly what you said:
    If want to know better about Nepal, you need to ask the Indian and the American ambassadors.Because all the leaders of our country are working under their instructions. This is my impression.

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  17. The real agony of the fallen soldiers is being knowingly sent to their deaths by superiors who give a sh*t about their lives and the well being of their motherland. The real agony for both the fallen soldiers of the NA and the PLA is being used as pawns by their respective leaders in a game of self-serving power-politics.

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