Category Archives: Living in India

The Spillover Effect: from Bihar to Nepal [and the Maoists]

By Dinesh Wagle
Wagle Street Journal

We are waiting for the spillover effect to take hold. China is growing phenomenally. India is following China so very closely. We are tightly sandwiched between them. We are folding our hands and sitting back, hoping that one day the economic progress will spillover from both sides and submerge us. We are hoping to swim. While hoping so we continue to berate both of our neighbors. We call the Chinese the “ex-Maoists who have no idea about democracy and freedom.” We call the Indians “expansionists who have nothing except the Bihari-style democracy.”

spillover effect kathmandu post p6.28nov10
Kathmandu Post 28.11.10

The Bihari-style democracy! Turns out the Bihari-style democracy is much better than what we have been told we have—”great achievement of the great People’s War”. In the past four years since the ‘great People’s War with small help from People’s Movement-II’ gave us republicanism we have gotten nothing but instability and inflation. Life has become harder for the man on the street while leaders are engaged in an endless power struggle. Frustration has surpassed the height of Sagarmatha.

Until recently, Bihar used to represent the worst of India: crime, corruption, insecurity, lack of development and immoral politics. Everything negative. That image of Bihar has changed dramatically in the past five years. And in the meantime, all these negative Bihari traits have crossed over to Nepal. That’s the actual spillover effect taking place. Neither Bihar nor India is to be blamed for that. We are solely responsible for stagnation and the deteriorating situation in our society. What have we done in the past five years when Bihar went through the historic transformation? Okay, we too witnessed historic political changes. We ended a decade long bloody war. We transformed from an autocratic monarchy to a democratic republic. Certainly things to be proud of. But, the question is, is that enough? The answer is a resounding NO. Continue reading The Spillover Effect: from Bihar to Nepal [and the Maoists]


Men and Monkeys of New Delhi, India

Delhi monkeys
“We are at their mercy,’’ lamented Rajesh Sehgal, a resident of Mayur Vihar Phase II neighbourhood in east Delhi. “The number of monkeys in the locality has increased beyond control in the past couple of years.” Pic by AFP in 2006, Rajpath, New Delhi.

Humans and monkeys struggle for space in the Indian capital

going ape in delhi kathmandu post p6.15.08.10
TKP 15.08.10 (click to enlarge)

By Dinesh Wagle

It took me a week and three incidents to identify the culprit. I had kept a bucket of household waste just outside the main entrance of my third-floor apartment so that the collector could take it away. One recent afternoon, the collector knocked on my door to show me something. I was horrified. The waste materials were scattered all over the stairs as if it had been done by a monkey. Or could it be the work of the dog that always sleeps at the main entrance three stories below? I wasn’t sure. But last week, I saw him live in action, playing with my kitchen waste, scattering it all over—like a monkey. The culprit was indeed a monkey.

For the first time in 20 months, I got the taste of living in Delhi. A bad taste it was, but perhaps not so bad compared to what residents of many other neighborhoods in Delhi are experiencing. Monkeys are creating havoc in their daily lives. “We are at their mercy,’’ lamented Rajesh Sehgal, a resident of Mayur Vihar Phase II neighbourhood in east Delhi. Sehgal is also vice president of the area’s Residents Welfare Association. “The number of monkeys in the locality has increased beyond control in the past couple of years,” he told The Times of India last week.

In June, a monkey entered a high security Metro train in Northwest Delhi and delayed the service by 15 minutes. No one was harmed, but members of the Central Industrial Security Force had to intervene to get the monkey out of the train. A cell phone captured the simian’s antics that were fun to watch later on TV, but Metro officials were not amused. “The animal caused a flutter among passengers with everybody running helter-skelter,” NDTV quoted an anonymous Metro official as saying. Continue reading Men and Monkeys of New Delhi, India

Meghalaya Diary: the Gorkhas, Migrant Nepalis and India

The Nepali-speaking Indians are fighting for their identity in India under the banner of the Gorkha which puts them at odds with Nepali migrants in northeast India

Shyam Prasad Pokharel, a migrant Nepali coal mine labourer in Jaintia Hills, Meghalaya
Shyam Prasad Pokharel, a migrant Nepali coal mine labourer in Jaintia Hills, Meghalaya

By Dinesh Wagle
Wagle Street Journal

JUN 05- During the course of my week-long stay in Shillong (and other parts of Meghalaya and Assam) I interacted with many Gorkhas and Nepalis both in their homes and offices. Some of them came to see me at the guest house in Jhalupara where I was staying. Jhalupara neighbourhood resembles most Nepali towns where Narayan Gopal blares at the music kiosk and youths playing Counter Strike video game scream Nepali expletives. A person I was meeting at the guest house called me beforehand to ask an unexpected question: “Do you think you are being followed by the Meghalayan intelligence?” Continue reading Meghalaya Diary: the Gorkhas, Migrant Nepalis and India

Pune Students Recall Their Visits to German Bakery

Students of Pune’s Bharati Vidyapeeth (Masters in Social Work) say life is uncertain.

Plus: Mourning a Nepali waiter who died in the blast

It was during the New Year eve; I had visited that place and had interacted with the cashier of the German bakery. When I came to know about the blast in the same place, I was really shocked. Suddenly, I went to watch the news channels. The place shown in the T.V. was really terrifying and disheartening. May god give strength to the family and their relatives of those who lost their life and got injured. May their soul be rested in peace in heaven. by Pratiksha Shrestha

It is rightly said that future is uncertain, so we should make the best of our presence. I am saying so, because today staying in the city of Pune where bomb blast took place and witnessing all the chaos feels really terrifying. Today I recalled that day when I and my friends visited German bakery on the new year eve to celebrate and today the same place has been destroyed and many innocents have victimized, but, I would just pray to god almighty to save the people and give strength to those people who have lost their near and dear ones and may the soul rest in peace who are no more amongst us. by Fatima Sayed

I am deeply shock with what happen in German bakery. I along with my friends used to visit that place once in a while. I am doing my research project on Nepali people and I was to go there for my data collection, but unfortunately, this happened. Our life is so uncertain. Anything can happen to us at any instant. So, at this hour of distress, I would like to express my heartfelt condolence to the family who have lost their dear ones and speedy recovery to those who are injured. May the departed soul rest in peace. by Abani Dhewajoo

‘Full of life, Gokul wanted to return home to Nepal’

By Anuradha Mascarenhas in the Indian Express
It was only a day before the bomb blast that 57-year-old Shunyam van Steveninck, a Dutch painter, had met her friend Gokul Nepali (Padewa), a waiter at German Bakery. Gokul had given her his address in Bagmati zone of Nepal and wished her a good life. That was the last time they met. The 19-year-old was among those killed in the blast; the bomb went off as he touched the unclaimed bag lying below a table at the eatery.

Shunyam, who has been visiting Osho International Meditation Centre for the past 26 years and been a regular at the eatery, says, “I’ve made several friends here and no terror attack will ever make me bid adieu to my second home.”

She visited the morgue to pay her last respect to Gokul. “My husband Vigyano and I were trying to locate Gokul at three to four hospitals on Sunday only to discover that his body is now lying in the morgue. No one has claimed it so far and I hope the police get in touch with his family in Nepal,” says Shunyam.

Shunyam also visited Shrikrishna Thapa and Paras Rimal, Nepali waiters at the bakery, admitted in a city hospital with injuries. Thapa, who has completed 10 years at the bakery, remembers Gokul as a hardworking boy. “Yes he is married and wanted to go back to Nepal. But his family is very poor,” says Thapa.

Shunyam reiterates, “I just met him a day before the bomb blast at the bakery where he works and he was so full of life and waiting to go back to Nepal to meet his wife.”

“He shook our hands and wished my husband and me a good life. He even gave me the address of his native place in Nepal and told me to visit his wife,” she says. “I cannot believe Gokul is dead.”

She now plans to meet his other Nepali friends who stay near ABC farms at Koregaon Park so that they can inform his wife.

Related link:

1. When India suffers, Nepalis share the pain: Blast at German Bakery, Pune