Purna Bahadur Buda of Thawang, Rolpa took up arms and joined the war when he was just 16. He took part in some of the bloodiest encounters during the conflict including those in Agrakachi's Sandhikharka and Rolpa's Khara where hundreds of his friends lost their lives. Though he survived numerous battles, he now regrets being alive because even six years after the end of war he hasn't received the compensation allocated for the wounded, and is compelled to walk around with bullet shells and shrapnel lodged in his body. "I became a Maoist and risked my life, but the party hasn't even bothered to take these bullets out of my body, what can I expect now?" he says.
Buda who is now the party's company assistant commander opted for voluntary retirement during the regrouping process due to his injury. However, the monetary package he received wasn't enough to cover medical expenses of removing bullets. So he bought a plot of land instead and runs a small grocery shop to earn a living at the squatters' village in Padampur, Chitwan. Like Buda, more than 220 former Maoist combatants who chose voluntary retirement have settled in the squatter areas around Padampur and work as daily wage labourers.
Buda hopes to celebrate this Dasain with his parents in Rolpa, but knows that the injury won't let him fully rejoice the festivities. "Our seniors are busy enjoying all the opportunities and privileges, while people like us are still waiting like we did in the beginning," he laments.