After spending almost a week in Chitwan's Shaktikhor cantonment, talking with members of the PLA's 3rd†Division, one thing is clear: their indoctrination runs deep.
Talking about what they want from the overdue peace process and constitution, they seemed literally incapable of straying from the party line. One platoon commander appeared unaware that he was using 'we' instead of 'I', even though our conversation was focused on his wishes for the future. As an Armed Police Force inspector told me in Kathmandu, integration is not a matter of numbers or physical standards, but† changing the mentality of combatants. "They must entirely change their mentality to be effective," he said. What happens to the PLA mentality once the PLA is dismantled?
As I talked to them, the ex-combatants told me about their rigid schedule, which includes daily exercise, shifts at guard stands, and 'cleaning time'. The schedule has been designed simply to keep them busy, and the watch duties are next to useless, as no one is threatening to go anywhere, never mind come in. The inhabitants of Shaktikhor can be seen relaxing, watching TV, and sleeping with the help of a fan, fruitlessly trying to hide from Chitwan's unrelenting summer heat.
While they boasted of their strict schedule and harsh camp rules, all other structures felt like a faÁade to show outsiders that they are staying busy. Stuck in UN cantonments, unable to talk about their desires or come and go as they please, it seems that the 'freedom fighters' of yesterday are no longer free. They simply wait for their leaders to determine their future.
At the entrance to Shaktikhor cantonment rests this colossal concrete sign which reads, "Third Division Headquarters, People's Liberation Army Nepal."
Ex-combatants pass the time playing carom in a gazebo littered with communist paraphernalia. Maoist party indoctrination invades every corner of their lives, giving them no opportunity to begin their transition to civilian life.††
Three PLA members walk through the cleared jungle that has been their home for the past four years. The cantonment rests between fertile valley grounds and dense Chitwan jungle.
A PLA member stares at the camera during one of his watch duties. Along with his fellow ex-combatants, he has little to do but wait.†
A Maoist gun pointing at the Nepali flag is symbolic of what the PLA fought for. But little has changed for the ex-combatants since they entered the camps four years ago.†
Black, standard issue boots are seen everywhere in the cantonment.†
On duty at the main entrance to Chitwan's biggest PLA cantonment. From his post this ex-combatant watches people walk the dusty Chitwan roads.
A fully uniformed PLA member takes a long break from his watch duty for a photo shoot.
They were never freedom fighters. Just mafia henchman.
If I were to take a group of youngsters, brainwash them and then send them on a killing spree, what would that make me?
Revolutionary? Psychopath? criminal?
The NT is still being duped. Maybe it likes it.
11 JUNE 2010 | 1:14 PM NST
The sad thing is that the author cannot even comprehend people who think in terms of "we" instead of only selfishly thinking of "I".
This indoctrination into selfishness runs deep. But how can those still suffering from it believe that those who have gone beyond it are less free? Is a fish more free because it cannot see the fish tank it is contained in? Are people who fight for a cause they actually believe in less free than people who join the armed police or write for Nepali Times for money?
11 JUNE 2010 | 7:45 PM NST
what a pity! they get three to four meals a day, loding and food, clothes and monthly stipend, spend their time watching tv, playing carom board, and loitering, and just doing nothing. I wish a common Nepali outside the camp could do that.
11 JUNE 2010 | 9:14 PM NST
@Arthur - At a total expense of NR 4,788,000,000, for [email protected] p/m, I's and we's don't really matter that much. Inflation, stagnation, destruction of institutions, businesses shutting down, food supplies, roads, power plants, small infrastructure, real political change, etc. a lot of terms crammed into those figures. But, of course, in the age of enlightened baloney, why won't we discuss the virtues of I's over we's.
"This indoctrination into selfishness runs deep. But how can those still suffering from it believe that those who have gone beyond it are less free? Is a fish more free because it cannot see the fish tank it is contained in? Are people who fight for a cause they actually believe in less free than people who join the armed police or write for Nepali Times for money?"
"Is a fish more free because it cannot see the fish tank it is contained in?" - And, is the fish innocent if it sees the fish tank it is contained in and, chooses to ignore it? Simply because it feels comfortable not knowing the reality of the world. Could that fish also guard the tank with its life? Could that fish ensure that no other fish sees what lies outside the tank of the collective? Could a big fish, dependent on devouring small fry, ensure that they never leave the tank so it can get a constant supply (of free money??)?
The answer to all those questions, surprisingly, is ‚Äď yes!! We can see this right here, can't we?
Are people who fight for a cause they actually believe in less free than people who join the armed police or write for Nepali Times for money?"
More often than not, it would seem no. After all, people who fought for a cause that they were indoctrinated in when they were kids - with false promises, bribes, and threats - can hardly be called believers, can they?¬†
Just because they were unhappy because of their beliefs why did they have to make others suffer for it, and continue that for all eternity?¬†
If you are writing for Nepali Times for money, you exercise your free will.¬†
But when you murder for payment, in the name of an ideology of criminals, which part of "we" absolves you from the crime?¬†
11 JUNE 2010 | 12:43 AM NST
#2 Arthur, obviously the author has the capacity to comprehend people who think in terms of "we" instead of only "I".¬† The point is, after being fed the party line, the author explicitly asked what their own individual hopes and dreams were: and they were incapable of doing so, because of the depth of their¬†indoctrination (either that, or¬†from fear of reprisals from leaders for stepping out of line).
Judging by your previous posts, I know that you (Arthur) are intelligent enough to discern what the author is stating but are conveniently twisting it into a rhetorical question.¬† You made your point: the Maoists are good wholesome people who always put the greater good of party, Nepal, and humanity in general ahead of their own personal aspirations.¬† The fact that they lied, threatened,¬†destroyed, and killed to do so is of small consequence: after all, the ends justify the means, right?
11 JUNE 2010 | 2:18 AM NST
He's meant to be a journalist. Sadly, he lives in his own prejudiced world.
11 JUNE 2010 | 3:11 AM NST
They remain pawns in a game being played above their heads by their political masters - just bargaining chips. The war is over, a war the PLA leaders had to admit they can never win - and the reward for the rank'n'file footsoldiers is a form of cantonment prison. Meanwhile the Maoist leadership earn massive wages and live very well in KTM. This kind of submission to a pointlessly regimented lifestyle has nothing to do with the 'self-emancipation of the exploited' spouted by the Maoist ideologues to keep the rank'n'file in their place. They are being conned.
11 JUNE 2010 | 3:41 AM NST
All you need to do is get a group of people, go on a rampage of murder, loot and extortion, throw out a few slogans and declare yourselves to be revolutionaries and you too could be in this position.
With luck you might even get to be a minister or prime minister.
12 JUNE 2010 | 9:55 AM NST
and arthur cannot comprehend people who think in terms of 'me' instead of 'we'. who's sad, or should i say, blinkered?
12 JUNE 2010 | 12:12 PM NST
one cannot hide their impotency behind the facade of the illogical or simply being irrational.Had the rulers been little concerned,or used whatever brain they have got ,these people would never had to fight.They too would have got education and used all the privileges that we all , living in the town and cities have got.
If we had been in theiir position we would have taken the same alternative,to stand and fight,rather than living cursing one's fate...At least give some damn respect to the people who have fought for the rights of hundreds and millions of people living in same fate.....Thats much more rational and logical too,than living in the city, and complaining and criticising for what one think is not right for them....and set the standards accordingly...poor fellows
12 JUNE 2010 | 12:54 PM NST
if khaobadi party had their way, they'd to turn everyone in that country into cadres like these.
12 JUNE 2010 | 1:37 PM NST
During Second World War, children were sent to man posts¬† by the Nazi as able bodied soldiers were sent to the fronts; when they were in short supply as war progressed. These boys soldiers were known by the name Hitlar,s sand-bags.Maoists are also good slave-drivers.as well as smart entrepreuners. They¬† as good Marxist¬† they ¬†make profit¬†out ¬†of the surplus value of the labour of the proletarian soldiers by means of ¬†the levy ,6 crores rupees ¬†a month Shylock¬† would be re-shylocked.
12 JUNE 2010 | 5:29 PM NST
And Kamred Arthur is not free to deviate from the party line either.
13 JUNE 2010 | 5:34 AM NST
For every one of these murderers there are thousands who chose not to murder and loot. There is no excuse for their criminal behaviour. It is illogical to suggest that everyone who feels they are deprived is entitled to go around looting and murdering.
Was PKD deprived of opportunities? Was baburam with his PhD deprived.
They didn't fight for the rights of others. They killed for loot and power.
13 JUNE 2010 | 5:39 AM NST
15. Ezra Pound
But if you want to go on fighting go take some young chap, flaccid & a half-wit to give him a bit of courage and some brains"
- Ezra Pound, Canto LXXII
13 JUNE 2010 | 5:59 PM NST
16. Arthur reader #19, perhaps one day it will be impossible for future historians to comprehend the mindless selfishness that is the dominant world outlook today, because they have no experience of it. But people who have rejected the dominant mentality today are also thoroughly familiar with it and understand it very well.
hange #5, it is obvious that the author has the same sort of prejudices against the PLA as most of the comments and is unable to even make a token effort to disguise his revulsion and pretend to be writing an objective report.
But I think even if he was genuinely trying to understand he simply is not capable of grasping this strange "we" mentality so different from his own.
"One platoon commander appeared unaware that he was using 'we' instead of 'I', even though our conversation was focused on his wishes for the future."
For the author "our" conversation is focused on "my" preconceptions. "Your" conversation about what "we" want is intolerable.
"As an Armed Police Force inspector told me in Kathmandu, integration is not a matter of numbers or physical standards, but¬† changing the mentality of combatants. "They must entirely change their mentality to be effective," he said. What happens to the PLA mentality once the PLA is dismantled?"
The mindless drilling of the boot-bangers in the security forces is not enough to stamp out this strange mentality. Such soldiers are infectious. They will not blindly follow orders to suppress the people. Their mere presence would inspire other soldiers and police to follow their example.
That is why the dying forces of the old Nepal are so afraid of integrating the PLA with security forces many times its size.
If there was a way to bribe them, or to bribe their leaders, people like Slarti #4 and Billa #4 would not complain at the cost. After all it is worth maintaining a much better paid army 5 times as big and and armed police twice as big to preserve old Nepal.
But it is precisely because they won't be bought off like the UMLs that you hate and fear them.
13 JUNE 2010 | 8:44 PM NST
The article appears to fulfill its propoganda duty against Maoists, in light of PKD remarks that integration would be done by asking the combatants.¬† The article should be appropriately rewarded.
13 JUNE 2010 | 9:15 PM NST
18. Sunita Tiwari
We had a political system where the eldest male of a particular family used to rule us. He, along with his family, was above the state. No question could be raised against them in parliament or in any court. The state used to pay him 70 crore per annum in cash, and that is excluding other expenses such as food, fuel, electricity and telephone bills, etc. The purpose of 'Royal' Nepal Army was just to protect this family, in which they failed miserably.
That guy is a commoner today, complaining about load shedding and lack of water like everyone else. And this is due to the freedom fighters that you are writing about, Mr. Brown.¬†
Indoctrinated people like you can still go around Nagarjun and bow down and worship him and still remain his slave, I don't care. But along with many many Nepalese, I don't want that. No matter what hypocrites and elites-proponent like you say, write and believe, I salute those freedom fighters who made this possible.¬†
13 JUNE 2010 | 12:04 AM NST
19. Billa jange; And Kamred Arthur is not free to deviate from the party line either. He is one of the tiny breed of (usually very young) western pro-maoists who have a naive romanticised view of the 'heroic comrades'. For them it's like being a risk-free cheerleader of a smaller team in the World Cup. They call it 'anti-imperialism'.
14 JUNE 2010 | 6:26 AM NST
Comred Arthur should be from some eastern European country, where residual communists are still in place. These maoists terrorists are in no means a freedom fighter....They have only given destruction and sufferings to the Nepali society!! Now, they are running loose in the name of YCL thugs.....Unless they are wiped out from the country, prospect of Nepal as a peaceful country is only confined to the history books!!
14 JUNE 2010 | 9:43 AM NST
21. rame I live East Europe now and I can openly say that Kings/Kangerssi were worst than the communist were here. Maoist have given minorities power to speak out. This is more democracy than any democracies in the world. Kings/Kangressi Bullshit, "Eutai Bhasa Eutai Vesh".¬† I don't know what Maoist will do in future but at this point they are the BEST. I will vote them openly if ever.
14 JUNE 2010 | 3:56 PM NST
The maoist 'we' Kamred Arthur so slavishly adheres to is the quasi-religious personality cult of 'mao-se-dung thought' and 'Prachanda path' - ie, the submission of the individual to the uniformity of crude political slogans and the iconic image of the dictator.
15 JUNE 2010 | 5:40 AM NST
23. Kamal Kishor
The Maoists have been successful in replacing "I" with "We" and so get everybody line up with the leadership. The "We" represents the party and that is the leadership, not the common members. It was part of their success against "I" of NC and UML.
As a community activist, I would like "I" to be replaced with "We" so that everyone talks about community as "We". "I" represents capitalist concepts and philosophy and "we" social democratic.
The hypocracy is not about "We" and "I" but between violence and anarchy on one side of political philosophy and non-violence and reconciliation on the the other side.
To distort this fight between violence and non-violence with "We" and "I" is one ploy used by the Maoists and let us not fall into that trap.
15 JUNE 2010 | 9:06 AM NST
24. yam gurung
It is very unfortunate and sad to say that in the land were the ambassador of peace Budhha was born.Nepalese are killing each others for money and power.
If 'Maobadi and Khaobadi'¬†closely¬† observe the National Flag of Nepal.The national flag clearly indicate that Chandra bansi (Moon Dynasty) still rules the Surya bansi (Sun Dynasty).
How can the people of Nepal can trust or believe these puppet leaders that they will really do good¬† for the sovereign and sovereignty of our beautiful 'Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal'?
It is like saying 'Elephant brand sandal¬†and the¬†Rhino brand sandal¬†are same in Nepal TV advertise.There is no difference between them.
15 JUNE 2010 | 7:33 PM NST
Agreed with Arthur and Sunita.
15 JUNE 2010 | 2:37 AM NST
26. Billa rame#21- I live East Europe now and I can openly say that Kings/Kangerssi were worst than the communist were here. The Stalinist regimes there ended decades ago - so I doubt you experienced either Kings or 'Communists'. But we can be sure that the millions of victims of 'communist' gulag camps would disagree that there is very much positive about such regimes. And, unlike rame, they know what they're talking about.¬†
15 JUNE 2010 | 3:47 AM NST
The inspector rightly said that re-education of the heavily indoctrinated youths take time.;free flow of ideas and teachingdemocracy¬† as done globally, internationally,and comparatively is a must not only to thecamp -mates ,but also to the out- mates as well.Colossus amount of aid money contributed by the tax payers of¬† North Europe USA and Japan is wasted ineffectively ¬†in appeasing the local sardars and their¬† own¬†.cohorts.Instead they should distribute¬† in every nook and corners¬† of this land ¬†one very useful book in Nepali.called: 'Samyabad'by Gobardhan Rana,BP. Publication Kathmandu,which is available in every local language bookshops .This will be doner money well spent.It will be just a chicken feed when compared with the amount spenton constitution making and blah blah blah.
16 JUNE 2010 | 6:39 AM NST
28. Santosh Tamang
Maoism in Nepal is nothing more then somewhat successful result of copy cat done by Prachanda and Baburam, I consider them nothing revolutionary just a copy cat idiots.
A true reformer and revolutionary should be like Siddhartha Gautama who after meditating, investigating and analyzing the logic of the true reality of existence found Buddhsim some 2550 years ago, although his ancestral religion was Hinduism. Siddhartha finally found the absolute truth and became Buddha the enlightened being, to whom we reverently and respectfully call Gautam Buddha or Buddha Shakyamuni! the founder of Buddhism! Even the greatest world scientist like Albert Einstein praises and believes in Buddha's wisdom! he is called true reformer!
In my view on these Maoist combatants in cantonments, they are ignorant and innocent Nepalese, been caught in the cobweb of Maoist brain washing tactics with wrong principle and ideology.
So in the name of people's liberation, they finally lost their own liberty and freedom and became the prison of Maoist conscience!
Revolution or new reform ( Naya Kranti) truly means something realistically new in approach for the welfare of all society and humanity as a whole, but not anything that is copied from others thought and repeated again, I simply call them Copy Cat Dictators!
Hey, to those who say the Maoists are freedom fighters read the story of a girl (link below), probably among thousands the Maoists kidnapped and forced into the PLA when she was just 13. Who says the Maoists speak in "we" terms. Dahal goes: "I want to be the PM" while Bhattarai goes, "No No No I want to be the PM". The so-called Maoist leaders have forcefully kidnapped and used poor people's children in war frontlines, while their own children were¬†never¬†put in harm's way.¬†
Sunita, tell me how the 70 crores that used to go to the royal family is being used? What good has that money done to the country? That money was well worth the peace we had then. The only freedom I see now is for criminals and corrupt politicians/bureaucrats/police personnel.¬†