From My Nepal Diary: Surviving Under Terror

The following is an excerpt from Kamala Sarup’s diary.

Life, Peace and Freedom in my definition, has been an extremely insufficient subject matter and equally difficult, too. And I’m not willing to agree with that in an easy way.’ I usually speak continuously in the same manner and I find no time even to answer at that state. What such an agreement has been made between us and we are confused in ourselves. But, if it is so, is it that our experience has been odd?’ I also speak in an easy way. There can not be originated an antithesis easily on the true matters. There should be clarity in peace in itself and this is the only dearest achievement in journey. After all life can’t be only to live anyhow.’

The cool breeze of the outside is not giving peace to heart. Heart has still been confused and still been poisonous. This heart couldn’t have believed that Shandai has been murdered. It is how a strange thing having a lonely experience amid the crowd of people who are in the evening walk after day’s work, and the scene in the distance seen through the small window in the foreign land. The beautiful scene seen through the Southward faced window, flowers, the big pasture, the wide and square road which is seen up to the distance – these are also the synonyms of mine to live. But today, it is being felt that these all have added more pain. It is close to five o’clock in the evening. Had it been winter, it would have been night already, but for still it has not ended spring, there has not been sunset yet in the outside.

‘Shan Brother of below house’ my heart had been depressed and stunned with this incomplete sentence of brother before the telephone ring and without I have time to speak. ‘What trouble has occurred to our Shan brother?’ to answer my question brother spoke without taking a breath ‘by a gang of people, hanging him on a tree with so cruelly cutting piece to piece’, brother did not complete his sentence and my heart though stopped still. ‘Who were they?’ He did not give any reply about my curiosity and he put down the phone receiver instantly. In the past while going to sow maize grain seed on Khakshibari (a terraced field to grow crops) after being finished the grain seed, mother had asked for the help of Shandai. Recruited in the police service, Shandai was an energetic and a handsome young man. He was famous at the village and everyone would respect him. Now, still I’m recalling that how he had managed to bring the maize grain seed for mother within thirty five minutes that normally takes two hours, from the district head quarters’ village.

The past events are giving pain like dream. ‘I got married the last month with Thahili the daughter of Pandit. Because of the training, I couldn’t invite you.’ In one Saturday morning on the month of Mangshir, Shan brother had come at our house bringing Thahili.

‘You know sister, I’m going to get very good ornaments at the coming Dashain. Though, my ears and nose were empty at this Dashain, in the next my husband has said he will give me nose ring of four anas. Heart has been delighted with happiness. He is also said to be promoted in the coming year.’ Mother and Shan brother were talking inside the room while we were preparing tea and bread in the kitchen. In the time of Mangshir (about November December), it was so good to have fried maize grain and milk tea. So, at the same time, Thahili had expressed her feelings of heart to me. Really, Thahili was so beautiful and bright as the moon shone in the mid-night. Her face was still reddened and brightened with happiness. She had been sheered up itself for husband is getting promoted, she is going to have ornaments to wear.

I can’t even imagine what might have happened to Thahili after Sahndai has left this earth. My heart is burning as the fire in hay. Heart is aching and I have lost energy completely to console the heart. Frequently, heart is not accepting the murder of Shan brother. ‘Your Shan brother is very naughty. He says, he wants all children join in police service.’ After the third year of their marriage while they had come to our home to show their third born son, Thahili had spoken thoughtlessly. ‘Though having only one time meal in a day, I would rather like to recruit my children in army. At least they live and die for the nation.’ I had hardly thought so that Thahili could speak in so sentimental way. ‘Can’t your heart tolerate if your chicken are cut by enemies of nation like raddish’, Thulaghare brother, who was sitting beside me, had asked thoughtlessly. Why should feel pain in heart! If Nepal gets better, I wouldn’t wail at the death of my children, too.’

Today, it has been three years since she spoke without taking a breath. From that very day I had discerned that, Thahili is really not a woman with an ordinary heart, she is a brave woman. His wife Thahili with no letter knowledge, had thought no less than any of a revolutionary woman’s thought.

Why Shan brother is killed? My hastened voice made even sorry to my father that I had felt over the phone. ‘Killers are above the law and they are doing politics randomly over the blood of many poor Shan Brother.’ Father expressed dissatisfaction. The rulers of the nation has not realized the value of the blood of Shan. No one is touched with the blood of Shan brother in the capital. ‘In the village Shan brother are killed and in the city, the rulers of the nation do politics.’ Again, father expressed the dissatisfaction. Father also did not wish to talk much and put down the phone. The last year in the month of March, Shan brother, His wife, his father and three yearly born three children of their in line had come to visit my mother.

‘I believe I can raise my children with the ration and remuration given after being promoted, can’t I, mother?’ Shan Brother had talked with mother with the same cheerful and active manner. ‘When we were born we came with empty hands and we will go with the same empty hands. Therefore, it is not good to die for wealth.’ His wife Thahili added to the satisfaction in that evening. ‘The short life is to laugh only; Shan Brother old father had added talk on the talk. Oh, how pleasant that evening was! In the shining moon of the evening children were playing on the yard, swaying green trees in the distance, the chirping sounds of birds, moreover the whole village was swinging with the wedding of Dhamaidai. The whole village had been full of music. His wife Dhahili began to cook in the kitchen whenever Dhahili would come at home she always would cook herself. Though, Dhahili and Shan Brother were none of any relation, they were more than blood relation. The corn flake food and the curry of mustard leaves were so nice that his wife Dhahili cooked. ‘I’m a lucky man, for I married with Dhahili. It might be the result of the past life’s deed to get a wife who supports in happiness and in trouble.’ Shan Brother had spoken looking from the corner of his eyes to his wife. ‘Since I married with you to live and die together, it is not possible not to give support in the time of need,’ His wife Dhahili had responded.

‘What was the fault of Shan Brother? There were three children to be taught, a wife and an old sick father to be looked after and what wrong the poor Shandai had done? Neither his salary was enough for living nor he could send his children to a good school. Can the killers claim that they are doing justice to the poor while killing those innocent, poor and the serviceman sincere towards the nation like Shan Brother? I put cross-question to myself but I don’t have the answer because there is no one who understands the value of the death of Shan Brother on the soil and nation where I was born.

The number one humorous and helpful Shan Brother at the village, the beloved Shan Brother who would treat equally to the poor or rich and big or small. No one could be satisfied without coming at Shan’s house to talk every day from children to the bed ridden old ones.

‘Nowadays, it has been dangerous to join service, too. One should go for job putting life on the palm. I’m compelled to do job, children are growing day by day. Also money is going on the medicine for father.’ Ever cheerful face of Shan Brother, on the Friday morning was looked down. He said with darkening face, ‘my co-trained Pabitraman is killed by hanging …’ without completing his sentence Shandai’s eyes came to be filled and broke into tears like a small child. That was the true tribute to his friend of tender hearted Shan Brother. Up to this my age, I never had seen Shandai weeping so heart-brokenly. Instantly, mother also had started weeping with Shan Brother.

‘Why the destiny attacks to only small and poor?’ Because of the wailing of mother and Shan Brother villagers had gathered for a small meeting. The village people and informed and knowledgeable men gathered at the yard of house had come to a conclusion – all villagers should fight with the killers with unity and drive them off from the village for ever. My heart has been frightened itself recalling Shan Brother. At the time of leaving despite the day long try, we could not meet.

But, Shan Brother had made clear in letter of twenty/twenty five days before – ‘spend your life with full enjoyment, Kamala ! You have our best wishes from the side of both husband-wife. I would like to give you best wishes for your happy life. I am in dilemma whether to leave the job or continue with it. To whom should I tell the pain? I have begun to feel better to die than live as a poor.’ This way he had written a short and incomplete letter. My heart has been pierced with each and every word of his letter.

‘It is harmful to become sad recalling the past incidents, therefore we should live cheerfully in this short life.’ My friend Jyoti, began to convince me who had come to meet me after a long time. Tears were flowing continuously from my eyes. Jyoti was trying to wipe away the tears and remove my pain. ‘If you can send some money to his wife Thahili for Shan brother’s children’s education that would be the real tribute to Shandai.’ Jyoti began to convince me in a sentimental way. Jyoti, my childhood friend, she consoles me in any times of trouble and still, we share problems being together for a long time. When I’m in agony and trouble, Jyoti instantly comes to my house.

It is already darkened to night. It is darkened in the heart, too. As if it is never going be day, an infinite number of night, it never lasts even in years, and the morning would be only a hope.

‘Kamala, boy is good, don’t you get married?’ once Shan brother had asked me in a mid-day on Monday while he had come with his old father. Shan’s father looked as of ninety years old though he was only of sixty; he had lost teeth, too, so his speech could not be understood well.

I was ashamed hearing to his talk. In the growing age, I was amazed with the talk about marriage. ‘Mother, the boy for Kam, is a good, hard working and a highly educated one. To get such a good behaved boy, one should be destined with good luck. I have brought photo of the boy too, with me. The caste and religion are also of the same. If it is Ok lets, get married Mahili. Each word that Shan Brother spoke would be heard clearly from my room. Though I was not able to see the photo of that to-be-married with me boy from my room, my heart was excited by Shan’s talk.

A cool air was blowing through the window of the room. Outside up to far distance, there were flowers blooming beautifully around the houses and the green trees beside the houses had added the beauty.

‘If the boy is good and learned to letters, it is ok to proceed. I have fear with people, what they will say if we keep the grown up daughter at home. I want my daughter get married as soon as possible.’ Mother approved to the Shan brother’s proposal. To me, I was curious and fearing. To be married with a never known, never met man, only at that time I was extremely unhappy with that Shan Brother’s proposal and mother’s acceptance.

Today, I’m feeling sophisticated in the passionate air of outside and I’m imagining. I’m analyzing the difference between living in a happy moment and in a sad moment, ‘Listen, one day, we all should go leaving the earth and we can’t stay here in this earth forever though we desire it.’ Shan Brother went sooner and counting today and tomorrow we also shall go one day’ My friend Ritu, chosen by Shan Brother began to console me trying to remove my sadness. This moment, happiness has disappeared on the face of my friend, While consoling me there is tears in her eyes and his voices are trembling. The photo of Shan Brother and his wife Thahili taken on the day of my departure is hung on the northern wall in the room.

Now, our eyes have stilled on the photo, His wife Thahili decorated in red sari and blouse with a big red tika on her forehead and Shan Brother smartened in Nepali Daura Suruwal. We are weeping incessantly keeping the photo on our chest.

Some of her publications are: Women’s Empowerment (Booklet). Prevention of trafficking in women through media,(Book) Efforts to Prevent Trafficking in for Media Activism (Media research). Two Stories collections. Her interests include international conflict resolution, cross-cultural communication, philosophy, feminism, political, socio-economic and literature. Her current plans are to move on to humanitarian work in conflict areas in the near future. She also is experienced in organizational and community development.

Kamala Sarup
Nepali journalist and Story Writer Kamala Sarup is an editor for She specialises in in-depth reporting and writing on Peace, Anti War, Women, Terrorism, Democracy, and Development.