Nepali Times
Back at Sundarijal >10

Into his third week at Sundarijal Jail, BP Koirala writes lovingly about his wife Sushila (left). He misses her and worries about her. He also analyses the prison world and the predictability of its rituals. He is introspective, asking why he writes this diary, and decides it is a discovery of the self. Every fortnight, Nepali Times brings you transcripts of BP's diary entries handwritten in English.

16th January

There is no day when I don't remember Sushila. I make sentimental journey to her in Varanasi when we would be taking tea in the morning or in the afternoon. In vacant hours, which are many in a day, she is recalled to my mind. I have left her unprotected. She is a weak girl, needs constant attention and care and love, otherwise she will wilt, like a rare orchid in an unpropitious weather. She has at the same time a very high sense of honour. This combination-state of defenselessness combined with a sense of honour-is a most tragic situation in which she finds herself in my absence. She will now rely upon her God more desperately and cling to her dancing with greater tenacity. I pray, that her God and dancing will save her till I am with her again. I will look after her properly after I am released. She used to tell me that I don't love her enough, that I only take care of her, I being a conscientious man. On the day when I was leaving for Kathmandu she said in a low voice that if I loved her I wouldn't have decided to go to Kathmandu-to jail. You are wrong dear Sushila. I may not love you enough, enough to satisfy you wholly, but I love you all right. I am not merely performing my duty. I derive happiness from caring for you, from being with you, from just holding your hand. I will not say that my decision to return to Nepal is my way of loving you, my politics is not a reinforcement of my love, a reaffirmation of it. I admit it is some kind of a rival to it. My dear, my political commitments have got to be met. It is a question of the whole lot of Nepalis and my personal honour. Please understand me.

I hope everybody will look after her. The new residence is in a convenient locality. She can go to her friends and relations. Nanu with her children will enliven her. Gradually she will start facing the situation normally. After all, time makes one get used to everything. Her health is what is worrying me. Let her survive till I get out.

17th January

Jail is a private world within the public world. The surrounding walls not only cuts off physically the small area which is then made a jail, from the wider world, they also create a tiny world out of the land they enclose-a world with its own rhythm, style and patterns. The most important physical aspect of the pattern of this world is its regularity, or almost punctuality of its events. All important events happened at the appointed hours. Prisoners' bodies get attuned to this rhythm-regularity . If you don't see crows in the tree at 12:15 PM or the rat (we have a shaggy rat here) at 6PM or the dhobini bird early in the morning at the corner of the slanting roof or in the evening gambolling on the ground, or don't hear the hooting of the pair of owls in the evening-you feel that the rhythm of the jail life is violently disturbed. And we start commenting, if our food is not brought at the three appointed hours punctually-if it is delayed by a few minutes. GM immediately gets into rhythm and you can set your watch by the successive activities he does at successive hours punctually to the second.

I can't do it-I am always out of step with its rhythm, hence is my jail life harder to bear. Apart from the physical world that the boundary walls create, they create a psychological world also-a world inside the mind of the prisoner. Here I am taken over by this world. The moment I step inside the boundary walls, became moody, introspective, melancholy, sentimental, emotional, remorseful, etc etc etc. That is why in jail I am regular in writing diaries. Since jail's isolation doesn't permit a prisoner to record in his diary the events happening to him in the physical world, his jail diaries are records of his mental states-mostly they are discovery of the self through introspective analyses of his actions. By reminiscing, by reliving the past events of his life and analysing his reactions to them, he reveals himself to himself. Mostly, jail introspection and reminiscents [sic] are reminders of his shortcomings, of where he faulted or fell short of his own vaulted estimation. You start paying in remorse for your thoughtless actions, for your lack of understanding of other people's ease, for your haughtiness and arrogance. Perhaps this catharsis will do good ultimately to the man in prison.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)