12-18 February 2016 #795

Timeless country


Two decades after the Maoists launched their war by attacking a police station at Holeri of Rolpa district on the night of 13 Feburary 1996, not much has changed in these rugged terraced hills (pic, below).

The police station has been rebuilt, more young men are leaving for work, and the busiest part of Libang bazar is the IME office where families come to receive cash from migrant workers in the Gulf.

Twenty years after the start of the war and ten years after it ended, the people of Rolpa feel their lives have not improved. Many here in the cradle of the Maoist revolution still support the party’s goals, but are disappointed that it has split and abandoned its egalitarian goals.

Most people interviewed by Nepali Times said the armed struggle was ideologically right but behaviourally wrong. Maoist cadres here think theirs is an unfinished revolution even though the party’s main demands of abolition of the monarchy and writing a new constitution were met.

“The conflict made it possible to establish a federal democratic republic, and made Nepali people aware of their rights,” said Ganeshor KC, 50, a local health post worker. Throughout the conflict, KC fed and sheltered both the Maoists and the state security forces, like most people in his village.

“When I heard about the ceasefire in 2006, I was happy and thought with peace there would be development,” he said.

Seulki Lee in Rolpa