KHEM BAHADUR BUDHA
ROLPA: Rolpa was the launch pad for the Maoists to start their ‘people’s war’, which after 10 years of bloodshed and disappearances and displacements of thousands of people ended in 2006 after the Maoist party joined the mainstream politics. The ‘revolution’ launched by the Maoist party may have given the impetus to a movement that ultimately wrote the obituary of the centuries-old monarchy and helped usher in loktantra in the country, but for many Rolpalis loktantra is yet to arrive in Rolpa.
As the country gears up for celebrating Loktantra Diwas tomorrow, Purna Kumari Roka Magar says she is yet to realise that the country has gone through a sea change. Roka Magar’s husband was a Maoist fighter and was killed in a battle with the army about 11 years ago. “We had a two-month-old daughter when my husband was killed. My husband sacrificed his life for the party and for the country, but here I am ignored by all,” says Roka Magar.
During the decade-long insurgency, a total of 13 women from Thawang, said to be the birthplace of ‘people’s war’, lost their husbands.
It has been seven years since loktantra came to the country, but there is neither joy nor excitement in these widows’ lives. “The so-called revolutionary leaders have disgraced the martyrs,” the women say.
Wives of those who were killed during insurgency accuse the government and political parties of doing nothing except declaring their slain husbands martyrs. There are about 350 women who are listed as martyrs’ wives.
“The state has ditched us,” says Chija BK of Kotgaun. “Life has been as hard for us. We are struggling every moment for survival. I sometimes wonder whether it is loktantra or loot-tantra,” says BK, in an oblique reference that leaders who once promised them the moon are now ‘busy in plundering’.
“Our husbands sacrificed their lives for the sake of the country. But the so-called revolutionary leaders seem to have forgotten the commitments they had made. They are wallowing in money and we are living in abject poverty,” she says.
Thawang’s Mulsari Gharti lost her husband while she was pregnant. “After his death I had been living for my daughter. But when she also died at the age of four I have lost the meaning of life,” Gharti says. “We don’t know whether loktantra has come or not, but we certainly know that we paid a huge price, we lost our husbands.”
Martyrs’ families in Jelbang, which lost highest number of people (73) during the insurgency, too complain that loktantra was yet to make a difference in their lives.
“What is there to cheer about this loktantra which rewards the wrong-doers and forgets those who sacrificed their lives?” says Dil Kumari Gurung of Korchbang, as she talks about the promotion of the army officials of the Bhairabnath Battalion from where her husband was made to disappear.
Data at the Rolpa District Administration Office shows that there are 1,017 martyrs in the district.