CoAS, Dalit dine: Gesture of equality

ILLAM: That no human being is untouchable and discrimination on the basis of caste and profession is just a manmade thing was perfectly epitomised here in the house of Thir Bahadur Pariyar in Ilam Bazaar of the district on Saturday.

The Pariyars were elated and felt respected when Chief of Army Staff (CoAS), Rookmangud Katawal, had his meal in their house Saturday morning. He had

arrived here yesterday evening. “My happiness knows no bounds,” said Pariyar, a Nepali Army soldier by profession. His ancestors had been tailors for centuries.

Pariyar had requested CoAS Katawal to visit his home during the latter’s visit in Bhairabidal Battalion of the Army in Rukum district a few months back. He had influenced the Army chief with his entertaining skills — cracking jokes and singing Nepali folk songs.

Although the food was prepared for the CoAS in the barracks itself, he remembered his promise and went to the Pariyar’s house.

“When I brought chairs asking from the neighbours, the CoAS said he needed no chair if they had none in their house and would gladly sit on the mat,” said Pariyar.

According to him, the CoAS, in the course of having food, recalled the meeting in Rukum 18 months ago. “The CoAS ate Nepali meal — rice with green vegetables, chicken and pickle,” Thir Bahadur said, adding, “I know he is fond of the pickles made of pudina and gundruk.” Thir Bahadur, who had joined the NA a decade ago, is working in the communication section of the army headquarters while his brother Ram Bahadur is also serving in NA’s Brigade-21 in Charali in Jhapa.

“I have not thought in my wildest dreams that such a high ranking officials will turn up at our house and eat,” said Pratima, Thir Bahadur’s spouse. “We are being discriminated against. Villagers taunt us, saying we belong to lower caste. I am glad

after such a high profile person visited our house.”