ISBN:978-9937-8004-6-4 Reviews By the WayTravels through Nepal's Conflict, Read 5 April-June 2009
Chautari Book Series 41
By the Way is a collection of essays on Nepali society amidst an armed conflict. All the authors have traveled through and written about different ecological and social zones of the country that were, at one time or another, engulfed by armed violence. The essays are written from various perspectives, each bringing a distinctive voice. Each author was particularly struck by one or two particular issues. Nonetheless, the essays share certain commonalities: each describes the reasons for the author’s journeys, the places visited and the Maoist activities in the area. All the articles contain striking observations and reportage pertaining to the period of intense conflict following the breakdown of the second ceasefire in August 2003.
The authors have included interesting bits of information often forgotten in other texts where the larger issues of the armed conflict assume center stage. Such ‘minor’ details indicate the anatomy and sociology of an armed struggle with no clear ‘battle zone’, one that has turned villages, towns, highways, schools, other institutions and locales throughout Nepal into its battlefield. These articles reveal that no rules were observed in this conflict and the social, psycho-social, economic and political upheavals of nearly ten years of insurgency have left an indelible mark on Nepali citizens.
In recording their own impressions and the opinions of others, the essayists also incorporate the speech and ideas of individuals who they overheard during their travels. While some may consider this not academic–like, the ideas collected in this manner actually encompass a wide variety of opinions expressed by ordinary, otherwise silent witnesses of the conflict. Though most of the writers are not ethnographers, they have together furnished deeply insightful and balanced accounts of their experiences and observations. This book contributes to academic knowledge as well as to the body of general information on Nepal in conflict in a style that is neither dry nor heavy. By the Way will appeal to all readers trying to make sense of the conflict in Nepal.
Table of contents
Publisher’s note - vii
Introduction - 1
Jagannath Adhikari and Bhaskar Gautam
Traveling through Maoist territory to work on a road - 19
Far western villages in conflict - 63
Sojourn beyond five-star hotels - 71
Bela Malik and Usha Titikshu
Dolpa: after the tempest - 89
Along the kingdom’s broken shining path - 105