Nepali Times
Soldiering on

It was a hot July day in 2003. Lt Pawan Ghimire was returning from a foot patrol that he was leading in remote Kalikot district. It was the height of the insurgency, and entering what the Maoists considered their "base area" was a dangerous mission.

Suddenly an improvised explosive went off in front of him, and there was a heavy exchange of gunfire. Ghimire fell to the ground and felt his left eye socket dangling down to his cheeks.

"I knew there and then that I had lost my eye sight," Ghimire recalls, "the first thing that came to my mind was how I was now going to be a burden on my mother."

Ghimire was airlifted to Nepalganj, and it took another 20 hours for him to reach the military hospital in Chhauni. His optic nerves had infected, and Ghimire's world went dark. He was referred to hospitals in India, but they told him it was too late and he would never see again.

Ghimire was promoted to major, and went home to Lele of Lalitpur district to recuperate. His mother died out of sheer worry about him and her two other sons who were also in the army and police. Ghimire went into deep despair, and it was his father who encouraged him to move on.

"He told me my life had not ended," Ghimire says, "he told me I could be as active as I wanted."

In 2006, Ghimire met two blind cricketers from Pakistan, Sultan Shah and Abdul Azak, who trained him and donated Rs 200,000 to help develop sports for Nepal's visually impaired. The money was used to train blind cricketers in Pokhara, many of whom were women. Nepal was the first country to have its own national cricket team of blind women.

When we meet him at the secretariat of the Nepal Association of the Blind at Bhrikuti Mandap recently, Ghimire was busy working on his voice recognition software-equipped laptop. It is clear the former soldier has found his calling in life, not just with helping blind women cricket but also for the welfare of Nepal's estimated 250,000 blind people, nearly 50,000 of whom are children.

"I never thought I'd ever be working for the visually impaired," he explains, "but I have found that blindness is not a full stop, but a comma. It is not the end."
Kunda Dixit

Read also:
Not seeing is believing, LOCHANA SHARMA in POKHARA

1. who cares
nepal is grateful to the soldier like him who served nepal, nepalese.

your bravery protect us from the devil who were backed by regional devil. who gave them shelter, financed them, trained them, gave them political backing and still brave soldiers prevented them from capturing us.

on the one hand there are brave soldiers who have lost sight like him who work to get paid and there are on the other hand, we have revolutionaries who just keep on looking for reasons to loot us, who want everything for free, who want to get paid for doing nothing. 

these are two distinct realities of nepali society.

2. Different view
Well done Major Ghimire. You are the true son of Nepal ama.

3. Pralahad silwal

Good job  Major are a real hero


(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)