Journalist & Historicus

Categorie: maoist

Picturing war

First published by Nepali Times.

War is hard to capture. The heart of war is a schizophrenic place where extremes of love and hate, heaven and hell, touch and ignite each other.

Few photographers can capture this. But when they do the image is never forgotten and sometimes even change the course of history. A little Vietnamese girl, naked, fleeing a napalm attack, the soldier in the Spanish civil war caught at the moment of his death, Saddam’s teetering statue or prisoners being tortured at Abu Gharib, these images lie buried in our minds and hearts and have become part of humanity’s common consciousness.

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Final farewell in a distant land

First published by Knack. Published in English by Nepali Times and in Nepali by Himal Khabar.

How did a popular university graduate from Myagdi end up jumping off a bridge in Belgium? 

On a cold December afternoon Prem Prasad Subedi, aged 32, climbed onto the railing of the Muide Bridge in the town of Gent. While cars sped past on the frozen asphalt, he jumped into the dark waters of the harbour below. Someone screamed. A passing boat threw a life buoy, he did not take it.

It took divers from the Gent Fire Brigade two days to retrieve Prem Prasad’s body. Police found his landlord’s address in his pocket. The Nepali Embassy was informed, and it says the information was passed on to the Home Ministry in Kathmandu.

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First published in Mountain Bound.

Image by Steam Community

The sun touched the crowns of the pine trees when Chandra returned to his village. It was Spring, the skies were clear. In the distance the snow-capped Himalaya shone like queens. It was half past eight, time for the Brahmin priest to wind up the daily rituals in the temple, a simple whitewashed structure containing a few holy stones representing Shiva. Most of the women were busy collecting water and preparing food. A few children were already on their way to school, some dressed in a neat uniform, others in tattered blue clothes, saved by numerous rounds of stitching. The headmaster opened the school gates and was about to enter the teachers’ office when he paused. From below, from the steep valley embracing the mighty Kali Gandaki River, three gunshots roared.

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Chandra’s story

First published by Nepali Times. Full story published in Mountain Bound

It was a picture-perfect day. The snow mountains to the north were shining, and the Kali Gandaki flowed placidly at the bottom of the steep valley. Children, some in neat uniforms and others in tattered blue tunics were on their way to school. The women were busy collecting water, Saraswati had a doko on her back and was on her way to her field. Then, three gunshots.

Two weeks after Chandra’s death, villagers look away when his name is mentioned. His sister Laxmi and sister-in-law Nila bury their heads and cannot speak. Nila hasn’t been able to inform her husband, who works overseas, about his brother’s death. “He’s got many problems of his own, the news would only make him worry.” The security forces come by often, interrogating and sometimes beating family members of Maoists, and going through their things. “We can’t even show you Chandra’s pictures,” says Nila. “We burnt them the day he died.”

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