Democracy fighters feel betrayed by government apathy

- POST REPORT, Biratnagar
Democracy fighters feel betrayed by government apathy

Feb 18, 2015-

While most democracy fighters who had played an active role during the People’s Revolution in 1951 to overthrow the oppressive Rana regime and usher in democracy in the country have died of natural causes, a handful of those still living are compelled to spend a life full of hardships and regret due to government’s apathy to their plight.

As they had spent better part of their lives struggling to overthrow the ruthless Rana regime, these democracy fighters were left with little or almost nothing in the name of property to lead a dignified life.  Expressing their serious dissatisfaction towards the present political situation of the country brought about by the tendency of politicians working for their own vested interests rather than overall development of the country and welfare of its people, the democracy fighters said they sacrificed their lives as they wish to see a peaceful and prosperous Nepal.

The Unknowns

Recognised as a farmer by many, Binod Aryal of Biratnagar had played an instrumental role in the revolt against the Rana regime. Aryal had spent 18 years of his life in exile in India, of which, more than nine were spent languishing in a prison cell after being falsely accused of being involved in an airplane hijacking incident in 1972. Likewise, 80-year-old Bhubikram Nembang of Dhulabari, Jhapa, who had taken up arms during the 1951 revolt, spent his whole life for his party Nepali Congress that led the revolt. Without any political affiliation at present, Nembang refrained from commenting on the present political situation.

“No one is willing to accept my advice or share my ideologies. So, I will not bother,” Nembang said. Similarly, Daan Khaling, 87, expressed his utter disgust at the indifference shown by the government towards the plight of people like him despite their unparalleled contribution as a democracy fighter.  Despite sacrificing his whole life to usher in democracy in the country, Khaling has been denied even a Nepali citizenship certificate.

Keeper of the Safehouse

One Bhadra Lal Urau of Tanmuna-4, Sunsari, had provided food and shelter to democracy fighters who were being hunted by the state security forces and also smuggled in essential materials for the revolt. But after a warrant was issued for his arrest, he had no option but to flee the country and live in exile in India for many years.  Stating that he frequented the prison where incumbent Prime Minister Sushil Koirala was being held at the time to supply food and other essentials, Urau believes that Koirala will recognise him even though others may not.

BP’s saviour

Following in the footsteps of his father, Mohammed Abdul Miya, who got into politics at an early age, saved BP Koirala’s life not once but on two occasions. Miya, a resident of Sonapur, had successfully whisked the first democratically elected prime minister of the country away from an angry mob of people loyal to the then Rana regime before they could launch an attack. Miya again saved BP’s life when he swerved the vehicle in which they were travelling to narrowly miss the boulder the regime’s people had rolled downhill targeting them. Demanding that the government make necessary arrangement to provide free education to their children, and ensure employment to facilitate their living, Miya said that it was the state’s responsibility to look after those who had put their lives at risk to topple the Rana regime, paving the path to usher democracy in the country.

Disheartened warrior

Operating a small shop along the road to Barahbasti, a scenic tea estate in Ilam, no one pays much attention to an elderly-looking Pasang Sherpa. It is only when one gets a glimpse of the certificates honouring him for his tremendous courage that are hung on the walls that one gets curious. Sherpa had swore his life to the revolt after meeting BP while working as a migrant worker in West Bengal, India. Originally from Salleri in Solukhumbu, he claimed that on one occasion he even managed to foil a desperate attempt to assassinate BP Koirala.

(With inputs from Madhav Ghimire, Binod Bhandari, Bedraj Poudel, Biplaw Bhattarai and Parbat Portel)

Published: 19-02-2015 07:33

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