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Fermenting discontent

Asia-Pacific

Fermenting discontent

Nepal, April 3 — The floodplains between Koshi and Kamala rivers have functioned as the cradle of rebellions for quite a long time. The Koirala saga is believed to have begun in Chandragunj in early twentieth century when a revenue contractor by the name of Krishna Prasad Koirala had the chutzpah of sending tattered clothes of a porter from the Mahabharata Ranges to the Rana ruler of the day in Kathmandu. A renaissance person of Nepali politics and literature BP Koirala romanticizes the event as the courage of his father in showing a socio-economic mirror to the lord of the land. Critics of Koiralas aver that the former clerk of the regime had either frittered or carted away the collection and defaulted on payment of contracted arrears. Almost sure of royal retribution, the parcel of sweat-stained clothing was Khardar Koirala’s desperate way of offensive defense.

Circumstantial evidences are produced by his admirers and critics alike to show that former Khardar (clerk) was either a rebel or a rogue. The most heroic achievement of Pitaji-that’s how he came to be revered by his illustrious scions-was that he persevered during adversities of exile, regained his social status after the fall of Chandra Shamsher, and finally prospered as an investor in Biratnagar towards the end of his life.

Historic corroboration is difficult to muster, but MP Koirala, yet another son of the controversial clerk-turned-contractor, always insisted that the first formal women’s organization of Nepal was formed not in Kathmandu but in Madrar-the village near the Chandragunj Customs-at the initiative of his stepmother Dibya Koirala in 1917-1918 with Yogmaya Devi as its Chairperson. Even the second women’s organization of the country began as an adjunct of the proscribed Nepali Congress Party across the border in Jainagar under the leadership of Rebanta Kumari Acharya when her husband Tanka Prasad Acharya was in jail.

Later, MP, BP, TP and even GP-all non-conformist survivors of the Koshi-Kamala floodplains-rose to become Prime Ministers of Nepal. Nepali Congress politico Pradip Giri too is a non-conformist, but these are different times and conformity is far more highly prized than dissent.

A little down south from the Siraha bazaar, there is a village where pioneering republican Ramraja Prasad Singh is said to have mused about possibility of an armed revolution in the middle of his ancestral landholdings. The lore of Sooryanath Ran, one of the embryonic organizers of Maoist armed struggle-he was later forcibly made to disappear forever by the Panchayat regime-still lives as does sacrifices of Rambriksha Yadav across the river in Dhanusha.

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