During a recent visit to his party’s former headquarter in Rangsi, Rukum, Prachanda appeared nostalgic. The house on the foothills of Dadagaun, a Magar village, was where the Maoist leader mapped out strategies for his revolution.
“I commanded the whole war from here and it is this village that led the country towards democracy,” said Prachanda last week.
For years the Maoist moved their headquarters from place to place, including across the border to India. But when top leaders including CP Gajurel and Mohan Baidya got arrested, the party felt the need to provide their commander a safe house within the country. The responsibility fell onto Nanda Kishore Pun aka Comrade Pasang’s hands.
“I felt my village would be the safest place,” says Pasang who was a popular and skilled commander during the war. Pasang’s own home was only few houses away from the headquarter.
The house in Rangsi was attacked by the Nepal Army ten months later. By then, the Maoist had already moved the centre to Gorigaun in Rangkot, acting on a tipoff. Bullet holes still riddle the walls of the house.
Because this is the place where the war gained momentum, and also where the peace process began, Prachanda said Rolpa was where he feels the most at home. He said he had come here to rejuvenate himself. He wants to turn the house into a ‘war museum’.
On his trip, the Maoist leader travelled to historically significant places including Holeri, where the Maoists launched their armed struggle on 13 February 1996, and Losewang, where in 2006 CPN UML leaders Bam Dev Gautam and Yuvraj Gyawali held talks with the Maoists and agreed on to go ahead with the historic 12-point peace deal. He also travelled to Ghartigaun where the last big battle took place with the army.