चीन र भारत मिलेर नेपाललाई खोक्रो बनाउन लागे झैं लाग्छ

लकडाउनको ५४औं दिनमा मैले ४ वटा पुस्तकहरु पढिसकें । लकडाउन नभएको भए हामी सबै साथीहरु जगिङ्ग जाने, घुम्ने योजना बनाएका थियौं । कोरोना भाईरसबाट बच्न लकडाउनमा बस्नु ठिक हो तर यो समयमा मलाई केही गर्न मन नलागेको जस्तो भएको थियो तर बीचमा फेरी केही गर्नुपर्छ जस्तो लागेर आयो । अनि चित्रहरु बनाउन थालें । त्यसपछि अलि जाँगर चल्न थाल्यो मैले डायरीहरु लेख्न थालें ।

07c8642c-75d9-4917-bf08-78f82128f837मामाघरको हजुरबुबा बिरामी हुनु भएको कारण हामी लकडाउन सुरु हुनु भन्दा पहिला नै मामा घरमा जाने कुरा थियो । जाने भन्दाभन्दै लकडाउन भयो । यहि बीचमा हजुर बुबाको निधन भएको खबर आयो । लकडाउनको कारण हजुरबुबाको अन्तिम मुख र्हेर्न पनि पाएनौं । केही गरि हामी मामाघर गए पनि १४ दिन क्वारेन्टाईनमा बस्नु पर्ने भएकोले नजाने निर्णय ग¥यौं । ममीले हामी कसैलाई नछोई जुठो बार्नु भयो । त्यति बेला असाध्यै नरमाईलो लागेको थियो । यसो सोचें, क्वारेन्टाईन बस्नेहरु र उनीहरुको परिवारजनको हालत कस्तो हुँदो होला?

दिनभरी बस्दा धेरै काम गरे पनि हरेक दिन एकै खालको क्रियाकलाप हुन्थ्यो । जस्तै बिहान ढिला उठ्ने, पानी थाप्ने, खाना पकाउने १२ बजे तिर खाना खाने, लुडो खेल्ने, फिल्म हेर्ने अनि फेरी खाजा खाने, पढ्ने मोवाईल चलाउने आदी ।

अहिले मैले दिमागमा केही कुरा आयो कि लेखि हाल्ने गरेकी छु । मैले अहिलेसम्म एउटा कथा लेखें अनि मैले पढेका उपन्यासहरुबाट आफूले पनि नयाँ कथाको कल्पना गरेर उपन्यास लेख्ने कोशिस गरेकी छु ।

3886f1c6-dee0-40db-bf99-22e95da7efb4यस्तो अवस्थामा नेपालको सिमा मिचेको समाचारहरु पढें । सिमाना मिचिनु जस्तो घटना निकै नरमाईलो लागेको छ । लिपुलेक, कालापानी र सगरमाथा हाम्रो हो जस्ता कुराहरुले मेरो दिमाग घुमाउन थालेको छ । चीन र भारत दुवै मिलेर नेपाललाई खोक्रो बनाउन लागेको झैं लागी रहेको छ तर ३ जेठ २०७७ बिहानको समाचारले मलाई धेरै राम्रो लाग्यो । नेपालको राष्ट्रपतिले भने अनुसार अब नेपालको नयाँ नक्सा निर्माण हुने छ । नेपालको आफ्नै उपग्रह हेर्न पाउने कुराले निकै राम्रो लाग्यो । समाचार पढेपछि मेरो चिन्ता अलि कम भएको छ । के साँच्चै मेरो चिन्ता कम होला त?


धारणा श्रेष्ठ
कक्षा ९
कान्ति ईश्वरी रा.ल.मा.वि., प्याफल

३ जेठ २०७७


Today is the 54th day of the lockdown, and I have finished reading my 4th book.  If there was no lockdown, my friends and I had plans of going for a jog and hanging out. It is wise to stay inside during the pandemic. For a while, I didn’t feel like doing anything but again, I realized that I should something creative. I started drawing and writing a diary.

My maternal grandfather was not keeping well even before the lockdown so we had plans of visiting him. Before we knew, there was a lockdown, and one day we were informed that he was no more. We weren’t even able to bid a final goodbye to him because of the lockdown. Even if we had gone, we would have had to stay in quarantine for 14 days then after. So, we decided not to go. My mother decided to mourn and she did without touching anyone of us. That time, I felt really bad.

Even though there was a lot to do in a day, it was very monotonous. We had the same routine every day. Like for example: wake up late, fetch water, cook food, eat lunch around 12 in the afternoon, play ludo, watch movies, eat, study, etc.

These days I have developed a habit of writing. I write it down if anything crosses my mind. After reading all those novels, it has really helped me to imagine. I began to picture my own story and now I am trying to write a story of my own.

Talks regarding Lipulekh, Kalapani, and Sagarmatha have really begun to bother me. I think that China and India together are trying to overpower Nepal but the news on Jestha 3, 2077 made me happy. According to our President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, Nepal will now have a new map. After this news update, I feel very good and less worried. Will it really help?


Menu @COVID19 times

By Pranika Koyu


She, my grand aunt, is in her mid seventies.  I do not know her exact age.  I can always ask her but she will not answer.

She got stuck in Nepal government’s out of blue and ill prepared whimsical imposition of lockdown to prevent COVID-19 transmission.  Since early January, her children in Australia and USA had been asking her to return to Australia where her husband and families of three sons live.  She turned deaf ears.  I, the grand niece in Kathmandu, volunteered to be a go-between to try and convince her to hop on the plane and return.  She was adamant.  She has a long standing issue to resolve in Nepal and she is pretty clear that she will not return until this gets resolved.

3748610She holds a provisional Australian PR which requires her to be in Australia for a substantive time of the year.  This year, she has been in Nepal longer than planned and if she does not enter Australia by mid April, there are nominal chance of she getting a PR.  This is one of the reason why her family wanted her to return to Australia by March end.  However, on each reminder, she told us off with ‘I know all of that. I have it all scheduled.’  I am a non-interfering ‘it’s your choice’ and ‘don’t come to me later’ individual, therefore, I just watched on. Besides, if her family’s emphasis, and mercurial change in Australian government’s lockdown plan would not prompt her, my attempts to inform her would also not be listened to.  It is not that I did not try. I did and I failed.

Since her return from Australia to Nepal, she had been staying as a paying guest with one family who none of us knew anything of.  Therefore, seeing how her disinterest to return to Australia, I proposed that she stay with me for her remaining days in Nepal.  It was a family’s understanding that this way, at least we will know her whereabouts.  All sides were glad that she moved in two weeks prior to lock down.  However, little did we all know that our grand aunt-niece relationship would be tested and that also in hot waters in a slow and steady temperature of COVID-19 lockdown.

Prior to lockdown, she would leave home early and come back in the evening.  She would have eaten her breakfast and lunch outside.  In the evening, she would eat whatever I would have prepared for all of us. Every evening, she would come back with a bagful of food.  Initially, I politely told her that there is enough food already at home and it would be wise to eat them first.  She ignored.  The food supply continued.

2508186Things got worse when the lockdown happened, and major part of it was set in the kitchen.  My cooking cannot appeal everyone. My food easily tastes bland to many of us who like to use generous amount of spices, condiments and oil.  Therefore, my grand aunt began to cook and though I had no problems with it, slowly issues around rationing, portion, sourcing of food – be it fresh or dried, or packed – began to emerge.  I have always been viewed as the ‘frugal’ one by my family whenever I have stretched use of every substance that is in my possession, including food.  Soon, I started to eat leftovers from each meal, silently fume over the rationing, and get appalled at she going out every morning to buy ‘fresh’ vegetables and meat.  This was also amplified by the fact that another adult living with us – father of my child – has his own taste and was no better than my grand aunt.  In the first week of lockdown, I witnessed polite struggle of these two with one other, in the kitchen.  Interestingly, both of them had agreed (no words spoken here) that it should be these two who should cook.

By the second week of lock down, these two adults have come into terms with each other’s preference.  It is only me who has not come into these terms.  I, the one who has been eating leftovers of their large portions of each meal in the morning and evening.  Till date, I have cooked only thrice, and I alone ate all of that over a course of three to four days.  They did not even taste it.  I cook only for my 45-month-old child who of course loves my plain cooking.

They must be happy with their power to be able to shop, cook and eat what they want.

My efforts for judicious use of every food in the kitchen has gone down the drain, and my meticulously packed plastic packages are vanishing fast because they use it as a garbage bin.  My attempts to compost fruit peels, egg shells, vegetable peels, etc. have been completely ignored and messed up.  In all of this, I stand helpless while I seethe.  I tried raising this with them only to meet dead pan expressions, be ignored or unpleasant shouting match at times.  Then I decided not to raise this anymore because these are adults who are as opinionated as I am, and in a time where anything can trigger a range of emotions, I have chosen to ‘tolerate’.  I eat whatever they cook, and make silent note of their rationing comparing them with how it would have been different in my handling.

So, while I am in this dejected kitchen mood, how do you think they fare?  They must be happy with their power to be able to shop, cook and eat what they want. One would like to think.  Maybe they are. Or maybe they are not.  I have refused to eat by their side in fear that I might snap.  So, my silence amplifies to them as scorn, a rebuke.  My singular eating of meals is offensive to them.  They would rather have me voice it out which I have stopped doing.  So, are they enjoying their meal? I don’t know.



कसैको लागि म किन परिवर्तन हुने?

जब कोभिड १९ संक्रमणको रोकथामका लागि  अफिसले हामीलाई घर बसेर काम गर्ने भन्ने जानकारी दियो तब मलाई थाहा थियो कि मेरो घरको वातावरणले गर्दा म घरमा बसेर काम गर्न सक्दिन । अफिसले घर बसेर काम गर्ने भने पनि नजिकै त हो म त अफिस नै गएँर काम गर्छु भन्ने सोचेको थिए । साथिहरुले घरबाट काम गर्दा मैले २ दिन छुट्टी भनेर क्यालेण्डरमा लेखि सकेको थिए । पछिको एक दिन अफिसमै गएँर काम गरे तर सोमबार २३ मार्च २०२० देखि जब सरकारले नै लकडाउन  भनेर घोषणा गर्यो त्यसपछि अब म एक्लै अफिस गएँर काम गर्ने बाटो पनि बन्द भयो । सबै साथिहरुले घरबाट काम गर्ने भनेर ल्यापटप घर लग्दा मैले लगेको थिईन तर अब त जे भए पनि ल्याउनै पर्ने भयो लकडाउन  भएको साँझ  अफिस गएँर ल्यापटप लिन गएँ । भोलीपल्ट देखि आफ्नो जिम्मामा रहेका अफिसको काम र मेरो आफ्नै थेसिसको काम विस्तारै गर्ने कोशिश गरेँ।  ।

यसरी मैले सबैको ख्याल राख्दा र कसको आवश्यकता के हो र उनीहरुले म बाट के चाहान्छन? भन्दै गर्दा मैले मेरो आवश्यकता के हो? र म के चाहान्छु भनेर मेरो दिनगमा कहिल्यै सोच्ने फुर्सद नै भएन

लकडाउन सकिने भन्दा पनि थपिँदै जाने क्रम बढ्दै गयो । मेरो अफिसको जिम्मेवारी एक ठाउँमा थियो त्यो संगै म घरको लागि  एक आमा, एक बुहारी र एक श्रीमती थिएँ मैले कुनै एक पक्षको मात्र जिम्मेवारी पुरा गरेर हुँदैन थियो । आमा भएको कारण छोराको आवश्यकता र उसले आमाबाट पाउनु पर्ने कुनै पनि अधिकार म बञ्चित गर्न सक्दिनथे । बुहारी भएको कारण घर देखि बाहिर आफन्त नातेदारहरु सम्मको ख्याल गर्न मैले भुल्नै भएन । श्रीमतीको त भन्नै परेन । यसरी मैले सबैको ख्याल राख्दा र कसको आवश्यकता के हो र उनीहरुले म बाट के चाहान्छन? भन्दै गर्दा मैले मेरो आवश्यकता के हो? र म के चाहान्छु भनेर मेरो दिनगमा कहिल्यै सोच्ने फुर्सद नै भएन ( सोच आउँदै नआएको त होईन तर मैले जति कोशिश गर्दा पनि मैले प्राथमिकतामा राख्न सकिंन) । मैले खाली आफूलाई घरभित्र र घरका मान्छेको वरीपरि मात्र सिमित बनाईरहे ।

अलिकती समय भयो भने सामाजिक संजाल हेर्थे । मेरा साथिहरुले लकडावनमा मैले यसो गरे, यस्तो नयाँ काम गरे, यस्तो सिकें, यति वटा किताब पढें  भनेर पोष्ट गरेको देख्दा म आफूलाई शून्यमा पाउँथे। मैले केही गर्न सकिन जस्तो लाग्थ्यो । मैले केही गर्न सकिन भन्ने समय नै मसँग कहाँ हुन्थ्यो र? एकछिन सोच्यो अनि फेरी उही दैनिकीमा फर्कियो तर मेरो मनमा मैले आफ्नो जिवनमा धेरै सम्झौता गरेर अगाडि बढेको छु भन्ने  लागि  रहन्थ्यो ।

nichiiro-vT8yy_N_bXc-unsplashलकडाउन लम्बिदै जाँदा मेरा साथिहरु बिस्तारै  अब त घर बस्ने बानी पर्यो  भन्दैथे । मलाई चाही बिस्तारै  घरको बसाई अत्यास लाग्दो बन्दै गएँको भान भईरहेको थियो । मेरा साथिहरुले जस्तै गरि मैले पनि घरको बसाईलाई सहज पार्नै  सकिन । मेरा साथिहरुलाई पढ्ने, आर्ट गर्ने, योगा गर्ने, नयाँ परिकार पाकाउने, विभिन्न रिसर्च गर्ने, बानी परेको थियो । मलाई भने परिवारका सदस्यको टाईमटेवलको बानी परेको थियो । घरको कामको चापले अफिसको कामहरु समयमा पुरा गर्न नसक्दा मलाई एकदम धेरै पीडा हुन्थ्यो ।

लकडाउन अगाडीका अफिसका दिनहरुमा मेरी  सासु  शनिवार र आईतवार मेरो अर्थात वहाँको आरामको दिन हो, र हफ्ताका यी दुइ दिन घर सम्बन्धी जिम्मेवारी वहाँकि बुहारी अर्थात मैले गर्नुपर्छ भन्नुहुन्थ्यो र समय त्यसरी नै बिताउनुहुन्थ्यो। ति दुई दिन वहाँले जसरी काम गर्नु हुन्थ्यो, आराम गर्नु हुन्थ्यो म पनि त्यही चाहन्थें। हप्तामा दुईदिन उहाँलाई चाहिन्छ भनेर सोच्थे, त्यसैले ति दिनमा म छोरालाई आफूसँगै राख्थे तर लकडाउन  पछि मेरी  सासुको लागि  सबै दिन शनिवार र आईतवार भएको थियो । मेरो  श्रीमानकी हजुरआमा यो बिचमा केही दिनको लागि  हामीकहाँ बस्न आउनु भएको थियो । मलाई लाग्छ मैले उहाँ प्रति निर्वाह  गर्नु पर्ने मानमर्यादा सत्कार सबै दायित्वहरू  पुरा गरेकी  थिए जस्तो लाग्छ तर वहाँलाई मेरो ख्याल गर्ने तरिका मनपरेको जस्तो लागेन । उहाँ मसँग  सन्तुष्टि हुनु भन्दा पनि मैले अफिसको काम गरिरहदा घरमा बसेर के काम हुन्छ अफिसको? अरू  बुहारीको त घरबाट गर्ने काम हुँदैन त? ( मेरो काका ससुराको बुहारी जो बैंकमा काम गर्छिन् । ) तिम्रो चाही के काम हुन्छ? काका ससुराको बुहारी र मलाई दाँज्न थाल्नुभयो । उहाँको बुझाईमा म त काम चोर बुहारी जस्तो पो भयो । म कसरी बुझाउन सक्थे कि अर्की बुहारीको बैकमा पैसा गन्ने काम घरबाट हुन्न भनेर । पछि यति सम्म भन्नुभयो कि मेरो अफिसको अनलाईन मिटिङ्ग हुँदा के मिटिङ्ग हो त्यो गफ गरेर हाँसेर  बस्ने मिटिङ्ग भन्न पो थाल्नु भयो। वहाँको यस्तो टिप्पणीले घरका मान्छेलाई पनि कता कता बुहारीको केही काम हुन्न कि जस्तो भान पर्नु स्वभावीकै हो । मलाई एक त घरको कामको चाप अर्को उहाँले चियोचर्चो गरि भनेका शब्द मेरा लागि  वाण  जस्तै लाग्न थाले । मेरो कमलो मनले फेरी एक पटक आफूलाई मात्र सोचिन तर  वहाँले मभन्दा राम्रो  भनेकी बुहारी साँच्चै  म भन्दा राम्री छिन्  तर के उनी म भन्दा सन्तुष्टि छिन त? उनीले पनि मैले जस्तै अरुलाई खुशी बनाउँदा बनाउँदा आफूलाई सम्झिराखेकीछिन कि बिर्सिन होलिन? ओहो, उनीलाई सम्झेर मलाई डरलाग्यो।   उनका मनमा पनि सायद अशान्ति र मेरो जस्तै पीडाका पोका होलान्  तर कसलाई भन्ने? मैले उनीसँग  कुरा गर्नु पर्छ जस्तो लागि राखेको छ । उनीसँग  त कुरा गरौला तर उनी र म जस्ता कति बुहारीले आफ्नो  पीडाको पोका फुकाउन पाएका  छैनन् होला? सोच्दा नै अत्यास लाग्छ ।

35218घरमा यस्ता स–साना टिप्पणी हुँदै जाँदा मलाई कताकता उकुसमुकुस भए जस्तो लाग्यो । मैले श्रीमानलाई सेयर गरे उसले यस्ता कुरा सुन्नु हुन्न एक कानले सुन्ने अर्को कानले उडाउने अहिले हाम्रो सुन्ने पालो हो हाम्रो पालो आउँछ अनि भनौंला  भन्यो । मेरो  कामको  बारेमा पहिले पनि कुरा हुने गर्थ्यो र  पहिले पनि उसले यस्तै भन्थ्यो । त्यती बेला त म अफिस जान्थें, साथिहरुसँग भेट्थें,  साथिहरुसँग कुरा सेयर गर्थे, केही हल्का हुन्थ्यो। नयाँ काममा लाग्थें।  बेलुका घर जाँदा यी सबै कुरा भुलेको हुन्थ्यो र ति सब दिनहरूमा यस्ता कुरा सायद मलाई सहज भएको थियो । तर अहिले त्यस्तो छैन – घरको चार पर्खाल भित्र हामी बन्दि जो भएका छौं । बन्दमा मेरो मनका चोट र भावना सबै बन्द भएको छ जसले मलाई भित्रभित्रै पोलिरहेछ ।

यो बिचमा मेरो छोरा बिरामी भयो। छोरा बिरामी भएको कारण मैले राम्रोसँग उसको ख्याल नगरेकोले हो जस्ता कुरा मलाई  अपत्यक्ष रुपमा थाहा दिइयो।  छोराको बाबुले यस्तो आरोप खेप्नु  परेन तर आमाले बच्चा बिरामी भएको कारक बन्नु पर्यो  र यसो हुँदा आमाको मन कत्ति पोल्यो होला? यो सब एक आमाले मात्र बुझ्न सक्छिन्  । छोरा बिरामी भएको आरोप आफूले खप्नुपर्दा  मेरो मन भित्रको पोलाई भित्र मात्र बस्न सकेन र बाहिर नै निस्कियो ।

एक दिन अफिसको मिटिङ्ग थियो। मिटिङ्गको विषय हामीले घर बसेर के क्रिएटिभ काम गरिरहेका छौ? मैले सबै साथिहरुको क्रिएटिभ काम खुब चाख मानेर सुनें र मलाई एक प्रकारको आनन्द पनि आईरहेको थियो तर जतिबेला मेरो बोल्ने पालो आयो तब म बोल्नै सकिन मेरो मुखबाट बोली फुट्नुको साटो आँखाबाट आँशु बग्यो। यो के भयो? म आफै दङ्ग गरे । मेरो मुखबाट एक शब्द पनि निस्केन र मैले च्याटमा म अहिले बोल्दिन लेखें । पछि मैले धेरै सोचें कि मलाई के भएको छ, र आफैले पत्ता लगाउने कोशिस गरेँ। शायद मलाई अफिसको साथिहरुमा आफ्नोपन भेटें होला त्यसैले म होईन मेरो मन रोयो भन्ने निर्कषमा पुगें  ।

हामी बाहिर जति कुरा गरे पनि परिवर्तनको भाषण गरे पनि आखिरमा हाम्रो घर परिवारले हामीबाट खोज्ने भनेको एक ‘संस्कारी’ बुहारी नै रहेछ।

पछि, साथिहरुले छुट्टाछुट्टै फोन गर्दै सोध्न थाले। साथिहरुलाई चिन्ता लाग्नु स्वाभाविकै थियो तर मलाई भने एक प्रकारको लाज लाग्यो। साथिहरुसँग कुरा गरे पछि मलाई अलि मन शान्त भए जस्तो लाग्यो । हामीले स–सानो कुरा भनेर वास्ता नगर्दा यसले हाम्रो मनमा कति ठुलो रुप लिदो रहेछ भन्ने बलियो प्रमाण म आफैले आफैबाट बुझें  । पहिल्यै श्रीमानले यो सानो कुरा त हो वास्ता नगर पछि ठिक हुन्छ भनेर नभनि मेरो कामको बारेमा भनिदिएको भए, ससुराले वहाँकी  आमाको, काका ससुराको घरमा जाँदा मैले काम गर्न सक्दिन भनेर घरमा काम छ जाउ घरबाट फोन आयो भनेर झुठ  बोलेर घर पठाउनुको साटो मैले धेरै काम गर्न सक्दिन, र उसको अरु काम पनि  छ भनेर पठाएको भए सायद मैले आज यो दिन देख्न पर्दैनथ्यो वा यस्तो भोग्न पर्देनथ्यो कि? भनेजस्तो भएको छ।

अहिले मेरो मनमा एक प्रकारको नमिठो अनुभुती भईरहेको छ । हामी बाहिर जति कुरा गरे पनि परिवर्तनको भाषण गरे पनि आखिरमा हाम्रो घर परिवारले हामीबाट खोज्ने भनेको एक ‘संस्कारी’ बुहारी नै रहेछ। उहाँहरुको नजरमा संस्कारी बु्हारी कस्तो हो? त्यो हामी सबैलाई थाहा छ । वास्तवमा मैले यो समयमा आफ्नो हैसियत के हो? र मलाई कुन हैसियत कसले कसरी दिदो रहेछ भन्ने थाहा पाउने मौका भने राम्रैसँग पाएको छु । त्यसैले गर्दा हो, मलाई अहिले खासै कुनै आफन्तहरुसँग नजिक हुन मन लाग्दैन । जस्तै सामान्य कुरा मेरी काकी सासुहरु मेरो घरमा आफ्नो घरमा पाकेको खाना लिएर आउनु हुन्छ, मेरो सासुलाई पनि केही पकाएर दिने मन हुन्छ र मलाई पनि दिनु पर्छ जस्तो लागेको थियो तर मैले म र मेरो कामको बारेमा वहाँहरूको टिप्पणी जसरी सुनें त्यस पश्चात मलाई केही दिन नि मन छैन र उनीहरुले पनि नगरोस् जस्तो लाग्छ । म जे छु जस्तो छु म ठिक छु कोही कसैको लागि  म किन परिवर्तन हुने जस्तो लाग्छ । बिस्तारै आफ्नो समयको व्यवस्थापन गर्न, आफ्नोबारेमा सोच्न थाल्नुकासाथै दिनमा किताबको एक पाना मात्र भए पनि पढ्ने गरेको छु ।

कोभिड-१९ को एक महिनाको यो यर्थाथ अनुभुती हो। यसपछि अब के हुने हो, संसारलाई थाहा छैन । साच्चै मरिन्छ की के हो जस्तो गरि मन आत्तिएको बेला मैले गर्नु परेका यो अनुभुतीले कतै मलाई शारिरीक रुपमा त कमजोर बनाउने होईन भन्ने जस्तो पनि बेलाबेलामा लाग्छ । तर म एउटै कुरालाई धेरै मनमा नखेलाउने र हरेक कुरालाई सकारात्मक तरिकाले सोच्ने गर्छु त्यहि भएर असहजता पनि सहजतातिर बढी कुदीरहेको जस्ता लाग्छ । यो सब हुँदा पनि जब मेरो छोरा मेरा काखमा आउँछ म सब पीडा भुल्छु। उसलाई छातीमा टाँस्दा संसारको खुशी हामी आमा छोरासँग छ जस्तो लाग्छ । कहिलेकाहीं म एकदम डराउँछु सोचेर कि कतै छोरालाई मेरो ममतामा कमी हुने त होइन? अरुलाई मैले निर्वाह गरेको भुमिकामा कमिको महशुस गरेपनि मेरो छोराले मेरो ममताको कमी महशुस नभेटोस् भन्ने लाग्छ। सबै दुःख हरण गर्ने मेरो छोरा मात्र यो लकडाउनको मेरो एक मात्र साथि बनेको छ ।



7 lock-down portraiture by Jyoti Shrestha

Lockdown feels like a challenge to me, to click more pictures.

I love photographs and this time, I’ve been trying to click what’s around me.

I also gave workshop on ’10 things to photograph at home’ and currently working for a project based on menstrual hygience.  Rest of the time, I’m busy with my Master’s online classes and assignments. Here are my 7 photos that you can also relate to yourself during this locked-down days.














Jyoti Shrestha is working and living in Kathmandu, Nepal. Social Work Graduate and doing her Masters in Entrepreneurship, she likes storytelling through photographs whether its a personal project or a gig. Until now, Shrestha exhibited in Kaalo 101, Nepal Communitere, and Photo Circle.

Follow her works on Behance.net/ztstha or ztstha on Instagram

All Photos copyrighted to Jyoti Shrestha.



One day, will it disappear like a miracle?

My lockdown started from 23 May, a day before the official lockdown started. We were already going under self – isolation and had decided to work from home until the situation of COVID-19 calms down. I wasn’t really happy with the decision as I didn’t have much to do staying at home and I knew that I would be doing more of my household work instead of my office work. But we didn’t have any other choice. I didn’t take the lockdown that seriously, not in the sense that this virus is not dangerous but I wasn’t expecting millions of deaths in the world. It is really disappointing to see the so called leaders doing absolutely nothing other than talking bullshits and expanding this lockdown and having no plans on what to do next. It’s really hard to avoid news about corona virus and it’s information as it has flooded the internet.

“It is not a good quality for a woman to get up after the sun rises”

My lockdown days started like every other day. I would get up, do puja, cook, eat and do the dishes. I would have some free time but then I was too confused on what to do as I had only a couple of hours for myself and I would have to start making dinner again. We have 6 cows and my mum is busy working in the cowshed, my dad gets busy with gardening and farm work. I am the only one left at home. I started drawing, gardening and planting flowers, whenever I was free. Watching movies and listening to music has always been the thing I do while working and they’ve been very helpful for me to get engaged with the works.

Art by : James Jean
Art by : James Jean

Getting up early has always been one of the most difficult things for me and unfortunately my parents hate it. They keep scolding me for not being able to do puja before the sun rises. “It is not a good quality for a woman to get up after the sun rises”, they always say.

I really don’t understand why traditional Nepali parents don’t think doing puja and cooking as a job. They think it’s something that takes least effort or no effort at all. I spend my whole morning doing this everyday but have never been appreciated for it. It kinda sucks that you spend your time doing something and people don’t even acknowledge it.

My family started treating me bad and verbally abusing me for not being able to work hard. I ended up locking myself in my room for days, not talking with anybody at my home and not working at all. During this lockdown I have been happy, sad, mad, broken, disappointed, depressed, frustrated, excited, lost. In other words, I have felt emotions that I never felt before. I’ve realized how important it is to spend some time with your own self and understand things that other people don’t understand. I’ve been drawing, listening to music, talking with loved ones and walking into nature to revive myself. I fall and I rise and I’m happy that I’ve been able to live my life. I’ve also been feeling lucky that I live in a place where I can breathe fresh air and wake up with the sounds of birds chirping outside my balcony. I also feel lucky to have a family, a family that doesn’t understand me at all, but at least I have a family. I also feel grateful to have someone who loves and supports me and wouldn’t let me go despite my trauma induced stupidity and the chaos that comes with it.

This virus would disappear and of course all the negative viruses in humans if possible.

Having random chats with friends and extended families has also helped me. I also really like having meetings with my colleagues even though internet connection is terrible and  I don’t hear half of the conversations we make. It has been very helpful that we have been able to continue doing some work during this pandemic.

Once I watched one of Trump’s videos where he says,” One day it’ll disappear like a miracle.” I don’t really like him but I really hope this wish comes true, this virus would disappear and of course all the negative viruses in humans if possible. This thing might have brought chaos and turned the world upside down but it has also made us affectionate towards other beings. A lot of us have started empathizing and caring about other people. It is also a shame that we humans have to go through hard times to know how important it is for us to stay together with love and care.



लकडाउन जीवनले आफू, परिवार, समाज र राज्यलाई चिन्ने अवसर दिएको छ

संसारलाई अत्याउने गरि आएको कोरोना भाईरसले हामी सबैलाई घरको एउटा कोठा भित्र सिमित गरिदिएको छ । आकास्मिक रुपमा सरकारले घोषणा गरेको लकडाउनले गर्दा धेरै व्यक्तिहरुले आफ्नो व्यवस्थापन गर्न अझै पनि सकिरहेका छैनन् । खास गरि घर छोडेर जिविकापार्जनका लागि शहर छिरेका मजदुरहरुको अवस्था, घर फर्कन नसकेकाहरुको वेदना, भारतमा मजदुरी गर्न गएकाहरु यता र उताको लकडाउनको मारमा परेको र विदेशमा पढ्नको लागि गएका बिद्यार्थीहरुको कथा हामीले आफ्नो बन्द कोठामा बसेर पढिरहका छौं ।

विश्व स्वास्थ्य संगठनले स्वास्थ्य संकटकाल घोषणा गरेको यो परिप्रेक्षमा आफू र अरुलाई सुरक्षित राख्नको लागि हामीले आफूलाई घर भित्रको कोठामा सिमित गरिरहेका छौं । यो अवधीमा धेरैले आफूले आफूलाई चिन्ने र आफूलाई अनुशासनमा राख्ने समय हो भनेर भनेको सुन्न र पढिरहेको छु । मानिसका यस्ता अनुभवलाई मैले मेरो जीवनमा फर्केर हेरिरहेकोछु ।

मैले यो अवधीमा आफूले आफैलाई चिन्ने अवसर त पाएँ यो सँगै मेरो आफ्नो परिवार समाजलाई पनि चिन्ने अवसर पाएँ । खास मैले मेरो जीवन, घर परिवार र समाजलाई आजसम्म चिनेको रहेनछु ।

photo-by-gita3म : वास्तवमा आजसम्म मैले आफूलाई अनुशासनमा राख्न सकेको रहेनछु । म बाहिर जति धेरै दिनहरु बिताउन सक्छु । त्यति घरमा समय बिताउन म सक्षम छैन र मलाई आफ्नै घर बन्दि गृह जस्तो हुनेछ भन्ने मैले सोचेकै थिईन । लकडाउनको केहि दिन मलाई रमाईलो लाग्यो । घरमा समय दिन नसकेको र आफ्नो लागि समय नभए जस्तो बल्ल मैले मेरो लागि समय पाए भने जस्तो लागेको थियो । तर बिस्तारै आफै बसेको घर आफूलाई जन्म दिने आमाबुबा आफ्ना साथी भाईहरुसँग घुलमिल हुन नै मलाई आफैसँग संघर्ष गर्नु प¥यो । म यतिसम्म घरबाट टाढा भएको रहिछु कि मलाई केही दिन पछि मलाई मेरो घरको मान्छे नै बढी भए जस्तो लाग्यो । त्यसको परिणाम स्वरुप विस्तारै मलाई रिस उठने, आफूले भनेको कुरा मात्र हुनपर्छ जस्तो धारणा राख्ने, कोहीसँग बोल्न मन नलाग्ने, नखाने र आफूलाई एक्लोपनाको अनुभुति भयो । सबै सकियो जस्तो अनुभुति हुन थाल्यो । तर विस्तारै आफूलाई नै अनुशासनमा राख्ने कोशीस गरेँ वा गर्दैछु । यो बिचमा आफूलाई कसरी व्यवस्थित राख्ने? भनेर केही कोशीसहरु गरँे जस्तै ः कोहीसँग नबोल्ने, आफूलाई कोठामा बन्द गर्ने, किताब पढ्ने, आफूलाई लागेको लेख्ने, फिल्महरु हेर्ने साथीसँग कुरा गर्ने कोरोनाको न्यूज पढ्न बन्द गर्ने । आफूलाई सकेसम्म व्यस्त राख्ने जस्ता कार्यले मलाई कोरोनाको महामारीसँग लड्ने शक्ति दिएको जस्तो लाग्छ ।

photo-by-gita1घरपरिवार, छिमेकी र समाज : यो बिचमा मैले मेरो घर परिवार र समाजलाई अध्ययन गर्ने अवसर पाएको छु । मेरो अध्ययनले पाएको सामाज आफूलाई अनुशासनमा राख्न जति गाह्रो छ, त्यो भन्दा बढी समाज परिवारलाई राख्न गाह्रो छ । सबैको आ—आफ्नो धारणा हुन्छ विचार हुन्छ । जुन कहिल्यै हाम्रो ध्यान नपुगको वा हामीलाई त्यस्ता विषयमा कुरा गर्न समय नभएको विषय — के खाने? कुन फिल्म हेर्ने? जस्तो विषय पनि धेरै सँगै बसेपछि र अन्य काम नभएपछि यस्ता विषयमा छिमेकीमा झगडा भएको देखे । घरमा धेरै व्यक्तिहरुसँगै घर बस्दा घरेलु हिंसा बढेको पनि देखियो । झगडाको विषयः श्रीमानले बाहिरको व्यक्तिहरु ल्याएर तास खेल्ने वा खेल्न जाने, पानीको अभाव, खाना कसले बनाउने?, पैसाको अभाव हुँदै जाने जस्ता विषयले पनि झगडाको विषय बन्ने र यस्ता विषयले ठुलो रुप लिएको देखियो ।

घरको बसाई पत्यार लाग्दो त छ तर बिस्तारै आफूलाई भित्र बन्दि बनाउने बानी पनि परिसकेको छ । यो कैदी जीवनले आफू, परिवार, समाज र राज्यलाई चिन्ने अवसर पनि हो जस्तो लागि राखेको छ ।


What will our lives be like after the quarantine gets lifted?

We had heard about the virus in the news. China was largely affected but I personally, wasn’t much concerned or worried about it. I thought it was just a flu and besides the world has amazing scientists we can rely upon. Something will come up, some solution must be out there – was my basic thought process. It didn’t take much time before it began to spread outside of China. Things got even more real when India started to report the cases. Ultimately, we were also in lockdown!

The first few days were rather difficult for me. Everything twisted suddenly after the announcement of the lockdown. I was more concerned about my parents, mother especially, since she is a patient of asthma. To be forced to stay in is rather difficult but I have started to think from a different perspective or at least I try. I began studying and researching about similar cases. Spanish Influenza during 1918. Pandemics happen every once in 100/150 years and take at least a year or more to recover. This made me realize that worrying about it will not help. 

Now I am addicted to my room, either reading, working, studying, or drawing. I have realized that I should not listen to news and keep checking for updates.

I flip every now and then and get anxiety attacks and that’s more like a nightmare. I really don’t like to talk much and even before the lockdown, I was the same in this regard. Now I am addicted to my room, either reading, working, studying, or drawing. I have realized that I should not listen to news and keep checking for updates. That will just make it very difficult for me to deal with the situation. Many times these days, I don’t even think about corona. I just take it as a regular day with my family. My cravings to go out of the house have diminished drastically. I am actually alright being inside. I have set a daily routine. I am more disciplined than I was ever. And, the best part is I have detoxified. No cigarettes and no alcohol for over a month, I finally feel that I can quit smoking. 

I keep in touch with selected friends of mine. Most of them are abroad. We try to keep each other balanced during this whole period by sending texts and memes. Many of my friends who are living alone and living abroad have told me that they are beginning to lose patience.

Lately, my college has started virtual classes and there are tons of assignments given. That keeps me occupied a lot, I have no complaints so far. Sketching is something I started during this period and I cannot put it into words how it had helped me to remain sane.

No matter how much one tries to avoid, it is impossible to stay away from mainstream media and the news posted. News about how our government flipped back and forth on its decision to allow buses to take people back home and ultimately rejecting it, and  how people themselves deliberately decided to walk hundreds of kilometres towards their villages, some even carrying their children. It was almost out of question to read a piece of news without welling up. 

Another major concern I have as a student of Clinical Psychology is that I think people will develop agoraphobia, where some people refuse to leave their homes.

2020-04-24-02Lately, I have been thinking a lot about other concerns about the pandemic. What will our lives be like after the quarantine gets lifted? We will have to work through this “quarantine state of mind” we have adapted to and it will take weeks if not months. I was reading an article where David Spigel, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University said, “ We are training people to see the world as a dangerous place. This invisible enemy could be anywhere.” Interacting with anyone other than the immediate family members won’t be easy, say your interaction with your shopkeeper, bank teller, barber because we now have been trained to view them as potential  carriers. Another major concern I have as a student of Clinical Psychology is that I think people will develop agoraphobia, where some people refuse to leave their homes. Mask was always a major part of our lifestyle but now it will become a wardrobe staple.


थाहा छैन त्यो रात उहाँले श्रीमानको पिटाइ खानु भयो कि भएन?

चीनको वुहानबाट फैलिएको कोरोना भाइरस, विश्वका धेरै देशहरुमा फैलिरहेको थियो । मिडिया, अफिस, घर र साथीहरुसंगको गफगाफमा पनि कोरोनाको नै चर्चा थियो । सबैसंगको कुराकानीमा मैले समान प्रतिक्रिया भेटाए, नेपालमा कोरोना भाइरसको संक्रमण भयो भने रोकथाम गर्न निकै ग्राहो हुन्छ । कोरोनाको कारण दिमागमा हल्का डरले एउटा ठाउँ बनाइसकेको थियो । अफिस आउने जाने गर्दा अलिअलि सर्तकता अपनाउन थालिसकेकी थिए । 

चीनमा भाइरसको संक्रमण बढे लगतै नेपालमा मेडिकल मास्कको कालो बजारी शुरू भइसकेको थियो । एकदिन म मेडिकलमा मास्क किन्न क्षेत्रपाटीको हरेक मेडिकल पसलमा गए तर पाइन । पाँच मिनेटको हिडाइपछि एउटा पसलमा गए, त्यहाँ मास्क त पाएँ तर पैसा दोब्बर तिर्नु पर्ने थियो । मैले पसलको दिदीलाई सोधे, अहिले त नेपालमा संक्रमण पनि भएको छैन किन यस्तो महंगो ? उहाँले जवाफ दिनुभएन तर मलाई पहिलाको दाममा नै लग्नुस् भन्नुभयो । एक साझ अफिसबाट घर फर्किदै गर्दा यो कुरा याद आयो । अहिले संक्रमण नहुदा त मास्क यस्तो महंगो भइसक्यो अहिले नै किनेर राख्नुपर्छ भनेर मेडिकल पसल गए तर पाइन । घर नजिकैको पसलमा पाइएला कि भनेर गए, त्यहाँ पनि पाएन । घर जादै गर्दा बाटोमा दाईको छारीले सोधी, नग्मा दिदी तपाईको घरमा नुन छ? मैले किन भनेर सोध्नु अगावै उसले भनि हालि, आज म एक प्याकेट नुन किन्न कत्तिवटा पसल गए तर पाएन अनि परको पसल सम्म गएर किनेर ल्याए । मलाई लाग्छ अब नुनको अभाव हुन्छ होला । मैले उसलाई केही हुँदैन तिमी चिन्ता नगर घर जान सुझाव दिए । उ आफ्नो घर तिर लागी । मैले बहिनीलाई त केही हुन्न भनेर घर पठाए तर पसलहरुमा खाद्यानको अभाव हुन थालेको थियो ।

आफुसंग पैसा हुनेले घरमा खाद्यान स्टक राख्न थालिसकेका थिए । यो संगै मेरो मनमा एक प्रकारको प्रश्न उठिरेको थियो दिनभरि काम गरेर बेलुका खानेहरु अब के गर्छन् होला?

मास्कमा कालो बजारी सुरु भईसक्यो भने अरुमा नहुने कुरै भएन कुनै आपतविपत र महामारी आउँदा कालोबजारी मौलाउने हाम्रो दिर्घ रोग हो । अहिले उनि उहि हुनेवाला छ दिक्क लाग्यो । आखिर भयो पनि उही सरकारले कालो बजारी गर्नेलाई कार्वाही गछौं नियन्त्रणमा लिन्छौ भन्छ तर सरकार कहाँ छ? नागरिकले भेट्न सकेका छैनन् ।

अफिसबाट पनि अब सेल्फ आइसोलेसनमा जाने र घरबाट नै काम गर्ने निर्णय भयो । मेरो परिक्षाको मिति नजिकिदै थियो त्यसैले म परिक्षा बिदामा जाने तयारीमा थिए । सेल्फ आइसोलेसनमा बसेको केही दिनमा नेपाल सरकारले  लकडाउन गर्ने सुचना देशका खोच खोचमा पुग्यो । लकडाउन सुरु भयो, टोलटोलमा माइकिङ गर्न थाले तर घर वरपरका मानिसहरु प्रति कुनै त्रास नभएको उनीहरुको मुहारमा प्रष्ट देखिन्थ्यो । सायद घर वरपरको यस्तो वातावारणले गर्दा पनि होला आफुमा पनि कोरोनाको त्रास कम हुँदै गएको थियो । 

एक रात ग्रुप च्याटमा एउटा भिडियो मेसेज आयो । भिडियो कोन्ट्यागन मुभीको थियो , जुन कोभिड १९ जस्तै माहामारीमा आधारित थियो । मुभी हेरेपछि निदाउन सकिन । भोलि पल्ट साथीको मेसज पाए, हामी पढेको स्कुलको सरको परिवार सबैलाई क्वारेन्टाइनमा राख्न लगियो । किनकी उहाँको छोरी पनि कतारको फ्लाइटबाट नेपाल आएकी थिईन । यस्ता खबरहरु मिडियामा धेरै आउन थालेपछि त्रास बढ्दै गयो । त्यसपछि कोरोना को समाचारको अपडेट लिन छोडे । 

पहिला जस्तै थियो तर अहिले पुरुषको दैनिकीमा मात्र फरक देखिएको छ । लकडाउन पछि कामहरु सबै बन्द भएपछि प्राय पुरुषहरु फ्रि छन् ।

IMG_1673घर वरपर लकडाउन भएको जस्तो वातावरण नै थिएन । पहिला जस्तै थियो तर अहिले पुरुषको दैनिकीमा मात्र फरक देखिएको छ । लकडाउन पछि कामहरु सबै बन्द भएपछि प्राय पुरुषहरु फ्रि छन् । त्यसैले एक हुल बनाएर कोही जनचेतनाका लागि गाउँ टोल टोलमा गएर माइकिङ्ग गर्थे त कोही कि तास खेल्थे कि खसी खोज्न हिड्थे । ठेचोका प्राय महिलाहरु गलैचा बुन्ने र खेतीपातीको काम गर्छन् । अहिले लकडाउनका कारण अर्डर आउन बन्द भएपछि अहिले उहाँहरु घरायसी काम र खेतीपातीमा व्यस्त हुनुहुन्छ । वास्तवमा भन्नुपर्दा महिलाहरुलाई लकडाउनको बेलामा पनि दैनिक जीवनमा केही परिवर्तन आएको छैन । 

खानेपानीको लागी हामीलाई नजिकैको सार्वजनिक धारा सम्म पुग्नु पर्छ । म र मेरी बहिनी बेलुकी पख मात्र पानी लिन जान्छौँ । एकपटक बेलुकी पानी लिएर फर्किदा पछाडीबाट कसैले “ नानी खाना खानुभयो ?’ भनेर सोध्नुभयो । मैले जवाफ दिन नपाउदै उहाँ बर्रबराउन थाल्नुभयो, आज मैले पुलिसलाई बोलाईसके, जहिल्यै आएर पिटेको छ, खाएर आउछ अनि जहिल्यै पिट्छ भन्दै रुन थाल्नु भयो । उहाँले आफ्नो बच्चालाई बोकी रहनु भएको थियो । बच्चाको आँखा निद्राले झ्यापै छोपेको प्रस्ट देखिन्थ्यो । त्यसपछि बल्ल मैले प्रश्न गर्ने मौका पाए । 

कसले पिट्न आउछ ?

मेरो श्रीमानले । 

अहिले कहाँ जान लाग्नुभएको बच्चालाई लिएर ?   

श्रीमानलाई पसलमा खोज्न जान लागेको ।

रक्सी खाएर पिट्न आउने श्रीमानलाई अनि किन खोज्न जानुप¥यो? बच्चालाई खानाखुवाउने आफु पनि खाना खाएर सुत्ने हो, पिट्ने मान्छेलाई किन पसलमा गएर खोज्न जानु? त्यसपछि दिदी घर फर्किनु भयो । थाहा छैन त्यो रात उहाँले श्रीमानको पिटाइखानुभयो कि भएन? तर यति कुरा प्रष्ट थियो कि महिलाहरुलाई कोरोनाको त्रासले भन्दा पनि श्रीमानको त्रासले दिन रात सताउँदो रहेछ ।




No one knows where my husband is: Bimala Ghimire

On January 8th, 1999 my husband was abducted by the Nepal Army which suspected him of  being a Maoist. He was a lawyer by profession and also a teacher in a college in Gorkha where we lived. After that, I was the only person responsible for raising three of our children and my father-in-law. I worked as a teacher too. I was doing well at work but the school administration and the army started to keep an eye on me. When the State of Emergency was ordered, it became very unsafe for our family. One day, the police and army came to my school and arrested me along with two students on suspicions of being Maoist sympathizers. For the 15 days that we were locked up, we were heavily tortured. I was still breastfeeding my youngest son back then. He couldn’t drink his mother’s milk and for me the added torture was the knots and pain in my breast from not being able to feed my child. The army didn’t care about the fact that they were separating a breastfeeding child from its mother. They tortured us constantly. They would drop us into water tanks and beat us one by one.

received_862357877616147As a child, I always wanted to study and become educated so that I would have the same  opportunities as boys. Of course, this was problematic for a young girl from a rural place in Nepal. Our schools were very far and we had to travel long distances to study. Families wouldn’t let girls travel far because they thought it was unsafe. So rather than dealing with us, they married us off early in life to get rid of what they considered as ‘a problem’.

I was married early but after my marriage I continued my school and finished my SLC. But then I had children and slowed down a bit. I still managed to complete my high school by 1997 and continued raising my children. After high school, I started teaching.

After my torture and my husband’s disappearance I felt very unsafe so I took my children and moved to Kathmandu. I got a job as a librarian in a college which paid me Rs.3500 per month. Amid immense hardships, I managed to educate and raise my children. My oldest daughter completed her SLC from a government school and started working. My younger daughter got a scholarship at a private school in Kathmandu and studied there. And after some years my son got a scholarship at a school in Pokhara and left at a young age to live in the school hostel and study there.

94138313_214760513281989_3508796635096285184_nMy children have also gone through severe mental stress. In Kathmandu, I would work from 9am to 5pm every day. One day I came back to home to find my younger daughter and son crying. When I asked them why they told me that  our neighbor had told them that I had gotten arrested. They remembered the time when I was gone for 15 days and began to panic. They didn’t know anyone else in Kathmandu and were scared about who would take care of them and feed them without me there.

One winter holiday we traveled back to our village. We were almost home, and my kids wanted to eat oranges so I stepped out of the bus and went to buy it. After buying the oranges, I was about to get into the bus and the police came and arrested me. I was separated from my children. I didn’t know the where they were and how they were. The police kept me till 8PM the nest day and I ran towards my village as quickly as I could. I was so worried not knowing where my children were. But when I got to my village I found them at my brother’s home. Just thinking about these days is too painful for me.

When my husband first got taken away, I had so many responsibilities that I didn’t have much time to go look for him. The first two years, my brother-in-law went everywhere looking for my husband. After I got to Kathmandu, I continued the search. I would go to courts, attending hearings and try and find any information about the disappeared, including my husband. There were many organizations that worked on conflict issues those days. They would often have training and programs that I would always attend hoping it would help me look for my husband.

94253068_545784206128342_5348688228733943808_nOn 1st June 2007, Supreme Court declared its verdict on my husband’s case. The court had decided that the army officials that abducted my husband should be arrested. But since Nepal had no law on disappearance, the court’s decision could not be implemented. After that the TRC and CEIDP were formed. But nothing has happened yet. During those days, someone told me about the International Courts where I could possibly get justice. Even though many people told me not to approach International Courts because it could create a difficult situation for me and my children, I still went ahead and did it. I filed a case and until this day, our case is ongoing at the International Labor Court.

I don’t know whether my husband is alive or not but other people treat me like a widow which is unfair. We hide our identity to survive. My daughter changed her surname. Due to his sacrifice, dedication, and contribution- the revolutionary movement have succeeded but he’s disappeared. No one knows where he is. Is he alive or not? Who will be responsible for our lives?

Besides, all of these, I still wanted to continue my study. I completed my Undergraduate Degree in Sociology in 2008. In 2012, I enrolled myself in Master’s degree in Rural Development.


After working as a librarian for 6 years, I finally quit my work and started a new job at Gorkhapatra Sansthan; a National Daily. I am still working there as the Head of the Attendance Branch in the Administrative Department. I manage the attendance of more than five hundred permanent employees and 150 temporary employees.

In the past, I couldn’t feed my children properly. Now I can give them proper food. Eating healthy food was a luxury for us then, and now it’s normal. I still remember during Dashain I couldn’t afford to buy new clothes for my children even though their clothes and slippers were old, worn out and torn.

Photo by : Guligo Jia
Photo by : Guligo Jia

Right now my older daughter is a journalist in ‘The Rising Nepal’, an English language National Daily. My second daughter has gone to China for her Master’s and my son is studying to become an engineer. I am proud of my children who are all very dignified, hard-working and honest human beings.

When I think about the past, I get angry when I realize whose benefit the People’s War eventually served. I often think about my husband. But forgetting about him and moving on is easier than to always live in his memory. I am thankful that through all the hardships, I managed to create an independent life for myself and my children. If I hadn’t chosen to be strong and make a better life for me and my children, we would probably all be living in some broken-down condition. But I chose courage and rose above all difficulties.

I am Bimala Ghimire and this is my story.

Photo by : Guligo Jia
Photo by : Guligo Jia



Following the path of freedom: Indu Tharu

I was born in Hasuliya village of Kailali district in Far Western Nepal. I am a Tharu – indigenous to the land where I was born. I grew up with my mother, grandmother and two younger brothers. My father was one of the founding member of then Nepal Communist Party (Maoist) in Kailali district. I have a vague memory of him. I remember him staying far from our home and would visit us at times. The army and police would often come to our house looking for my father. Not been able to find him, the authorities would give us all a very hard time. He stopped coming home that often. After a while he went underground.

My father had a pharmacy. We don’t know when and how he got involved in the communist party, the then banned outfit. After both my father and uncle joined the party and left home, my grandfather took over the responsibilities of our home. My grandfather was a peasant. He had to struggle a lot to make sure I got educated.

The Nepal army would come and torture us all quite frequently. One day, the police took my grandfather and beat him inhumanely. He died with his severely wounded body as he wasn’t taken to the hospital on time. After his death, my family went through major financial crisis. My mother and grandmother did not know how to read or write. They only spoke our native Tharu language and did not speak Nepali. Due to the immense stress they couldn’t work much. But somehow, they managed to continue sending me to school.

On June 11th, 2001 we got informed by the party that my father died in an incident. We never saw his dead body. The Maoist party completed his funeral and lots of people told me that they saw my father’s dead body but I still don’t believe it. I feel that one day he will return home. I keep seeing him in my dreams too.

Indu looking at his father's photo in a hand-carved diary exhibited in Lavkant Chaudhary's recent solo art exhibition.
Indu looking at her father’s photo in a hand-carved diary exhibited at Lavkant Chaudhary’s recent solo art exhibition.

After a few months, my uncle was also brutally killed by the police force in one of the raids. He had also joined the underground party. Basically he had no choice than to join the party because of all the torture he would get from the authorities for being a brother of a Maoist. We did not see his dead body either. His wife was pregnant at the time.

Life became very difficult for us. The ten years long People’s War engulfed all the breadwinners of my family; my grandfather, my father and my uncle.

I used to be a very good student as a child but after losing my family members I stopped focusing on my studies. My entire family went through severe depression. Three women in my family lost their husbands in a short span of time, one after another. My friends stopped playing with me because my father was labelled a terrorist. Our society literally stopped interacting with our family. We were socially outlawed. All the remaining members of our family went through mental and physical trauma.


When my father was still alive he told me a few things. His dream was to change the system. He would tell me how the Tharu people have been historically oppressed in Nepal. He made me understand the concept of Kamaiya and Kamlari practices. He showed me how we were discriminated against through the food we eat. In my childhood, it was humiliating when someone called us rat-eaters.

My father and uncle dreamt of federalism, of creating a Tharuwaan state for the Tharu people. Now, after all those years, the same Maoists are part of the government but still the Tharu people are oppressed every single day.

My father published a monthly magazine “Muktik Dagar” (means: a freedom path) with revolutionary songs, poems, and articles in Tharu language. During the war times, people would get arrested for just having that magazine in their house. People would immediately dump or burn it in fear of police raids. After my father’s death it stopped being published. I still remember many soulful revolutionary poems and articles published on that magazine.


After years of struggle, I also started becoming very politically active in 2005. I was actively involved in the movement to get rid of the king in 2006 and then in the Tharuhat movement since 2007. I was the treasurer of the Tharuhat Tharuwaan Committee. Back then, the Tharus were put in the same category as Madhesi. We began our movement for our own identity. We demanded proportional representation and a Tharuhat autonomous state but none of our demands were addressed. I was young back then, just out of school.

In 2015 we started another Tharuhat movement. It was heavily repressed by the state. The police went around arresting every male who was involved in the movement and attacking every Tharu house. So, we made a strategy to protect our movement and women took over and led the movement. We wore our traditional clothes and protested in the streets of Dhangadi for weeks. We started celebrating our traditional festivals. In retrospect, by these actions at least we managed to save our clothes and culture. We also started lobbying for our native language to be taught in schools and to make it an official language in the government office procedures.12033791_1497165827247142_1518595684_n

We were organizing a mass conference where many activists from around the country was supposed to participate. The supporters of Akhanda Sudur Paschim – people who were opposed to our idea of autonomous Tharuwan – stopped villagers and participants to reach our venue in Dhangadi. They started pelting stones and blocking roads. Many participants from Tikapur who were coming to our conference also got stopped on the way by this group who started voicing against our movement. Many people were injured. After our mass conference, they then organized a motorcycle rally but the people of Tikapur didn’t let them pass. With the help of the police and local authorities, they started attacking us. They beat, torture and gave Tharu people a very hard time. They burnt our homes and offices, vandalized properties owned by Tharus. It was a one big systematic attack targeted against our community to silence our movement.


On 24 August, 2015, we had a program demanding an autonomous Tharuhat State in Dhangadi. Me along with other Tharu activists went to put a banner in front of the Chief District Office. Meanwhile the Tikapur massacre happened. We were protesting and heading our rally towards the CDO. After a moment we got a call from Tikapur that many people were killed while demonstrating. Then, we decided to turn back.

There are many reports of Tikapur massacre, including report by Amnesty International, but the government didn’t publish any reports. They refuse to acknowledge the loss of Tharu lives caused in the massacre. Tharu people also started getting severely oppressed by the state repeatedly. Police would go around arresting people again. People fled their homes and started hiding in the fields. We were not even allowed to go catch fish. Our daily lives are linked with fish, it being a basic diet in our culture. Not allowing us to do our daily chores was definitely a major human rights abuse.

For me, that was a realizing moment, that I could not go much further politically without being totally destroyed by the repression. So, like my father, I picked up my pen and started to write.

I started writing articles on Tharu identity, women’s rights and other socio-political issues. I then joined Democracy Research Center as a researcher. With some of the money that I got from my job, I did something which I’ve been always meaning to do it since I was young.

After twelve years, I re-published “Muktik Dagar” in my own editorial, in memory of my father. For me, despite of all the state repressions and all those failed attempts at independence, Tharus will continue walking the road to freedom.


Indu Tharu, She is the story