Loose Talk Indeed! [Mr. Chairman, Better Mind Your Tongue!]

Why is Prachanda so reckless when it comes to his public utterances? The answer could be worrying.

By Ameet Dhakal

Public perception of leaders changes with time. But the public image of Maoist Chairman Prachanda is changing rather fast.

Before the April Movement, when the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) was still at war, the public image of Prachanda (left) was true to his name – the fierce one. In the post-war period that image underwent a metamorphosis: With his broad grin, often ear-to-ear, people found him friendly and amenable. During crucial negotiations he demonstrated much-needed courage and flexibility, building up an image of bold and practical leadership.

Lately, however, another defining characteristic of Prachanda’s is emerging – that of a loose talker. Don’t agree? Consider these eight public gaffes he committed over the past one year.

June 8, 2006: He actually bungled his first public appearance. Addressing media persons after he first met with the eight-party leaders at the prime minister’s official residence at Baluwatar, Prachanda said the army should be reduced to 20,000 in size since it had no purpose but to kill the sons of the people and engage in rape. A week or so after making the comment he apologized for it.

November 20, 2006: Addressing journalists in New Delhi, he said that the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI had offered help to his party through direct and indirect means but he had turned down the offer since it was not in the interest of the Nepali people and India.

March 2, 2007: When journalists asked him why the Maoists had surrendered only a little over 3,000 weapons while they had placed over 30,000 combatants in the cantonments, Prachanda said, “A sizeable chunk of our weapons were swept away by the river.” Next day a blogger wrote in: “Prachandaji where is the river?”, and then answered himself, “Dried out suddenly”. Continue reading Loose Talk Indeed! [Mr. Chairman, Better Mind Your Tongue!]

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In A Nepali Village of Daura Suruwal, Young Generation Wants Jeans

Nanda Bahadur Shahi, 53, of Sinja, Jumla inspects his Daura Suruwal as his 4-year-old grandson Joban, clad in ‘modern’ outfits looks on. All pics by Wagle

By Dinesh Wagle

SINJA (Jumla)– The residents of this beautiful village have worn daura suruwal for decades. But hello, this traditional Nepali outfit covers only the bodies of the older generation, and young people have no respect for it. Once the capital of a country called Jumla, where it is believed the Nepali language and daura suruwal originated, Sinja is witnessing a dying out of this costume.

“Jamana badaliyo. Kura chhuttai huna atyo, luga chhuttai huna atyo” [The time has changed. So has the language and clothing], 84-year-old Jair Bitalu, the oldest person in Hat Sija village says. “I don’t know what’s happening these days. They say mummy for aama and diddi for ba.” Youngsters listening to the conversation erupt in laughter and one of them quickly corrects Bitalu.

Jair Bitalu, 84, the oldest in Sinja, and his great grand son. Bitalu is the sole owner of Daura Suruwal in traditional Thetuwa cloth in the village, locals said. Continue reading In A Nepali Village of Daura Suruwal, Young Generation Wants Jeans