Radha Poudel wins Madan Puraskar

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Radha Poudel wins Madan Puraskar

Sep 14, 2014-After winning the prestigious Madan Puraskar for the year, Radha Paudel feels that the award has lent support to her call for justice, peace and truth through the book, Khalangama Hamala (Battle of Khalanga).

Khalangama Hamala, published by Nepalaya, is about Paudel’s experience in Jumla, primarily sharing about the attack on Jumla’s headquarters by then-rebel Maoists on November 14, 2002.

Paudel had then quit her “comfortable” job at Bharatpur hospital as a nurse and had been working in an international project for a year when the attack took place.

“As a nurse at the hospital, I had 25 percent extra allowance and also the freedom to see patients in private clinics. Money was not a problem, but I couldn’t stop thinking that I was in the hospital by accident, and not by choice,” says Paudel.

In Khalanga, Paudel witnessed the poverty that everyone talks about in the Karnali zone. Her father too used to mention about the hardship in Jumla, encouraging her to make a difference there.

The book is largely about the night of the attack but also on the injustice that poverty wrings, the inequality between the Capital and Karnali, and the vast difference between policymakers and people in Jumla, says Paudel.  

“Poverty and hardships underline the life in Jumla, but I wanted to say that they need not be taken as challenges but as opportunities,” says Paudel. After the attack on government offices in Khalanga, Paudel realised that the story of Jumla needed to be told. She had been rescued immediately after the onslaught, but returned to the district three weeks later and started writing about the night. In 2004, she came to Kathmandu ready to share the story.  It took her nine years, but the memoir was finally launched in May last year. Paudel is the third woman to be awarded the Rs 200,000 cash-prize, after Parijat and Jhamak Ghimire.

On Sunday, the Madan Puraskar Guthi also announced that journalist Shiva Regmi won the Jagadambashree Puraskar, awarded to a person to distinguish her achievements in life.

Published: 15-09-2014 09:15

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