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People's artists: They don't want to remember the days of war

People's artists who worked hard in the Maoist people's war through song-music and art complain that they have been neglected in recent years.
We started the people's war with hope, but it did not give that result. The praises of change were sung through songs. Development and change also took place in the country. However, we got lost somewhere. -Jamuna Vic
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Chunbang's wide open-air square. A historical gathering is taking place in the middle of that square. Top leaders including the supreme commander of the CPN-Maoist Janmukti Sena and party president Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Baburam Bhattarai, who are in the underground, are sitting on the loose. A special cultural program is being performed by hanging a red banner on a simple cloth curtain.

People's artists: They don't want to remember the days of war

In the lyrics of the song, "It is torn, it is dirty and dirty, the life of the poor will be happy..." while the tappa dance is being performed, suddenly there is a shout along with the sound of gunfire and then the song drama titled "Yuddhko Maidan Idan Farkanda..." begins. People sitting in the audience are staring at the scene of battle with the sound of helicopters flying and the sound of bombs and guns exploding in the lyrics of the song, 'Travellers who have advanced with a great dream, warriors who have walked well-equipped on Prachandapath...' Seeing all this scene, all the top leaders, including President Dahal, who were sitting in the front row of the audience, sighed. He wipes the tears with a handkerchief.

2062 This was a brief visual description of a program organized under the special cultural campaign of the then CPN Maoist Center under the title 'Returning from the battlefield...' at Chunbang in Rukum on October 23, 2062.

A 50-minute long glimpse of this program that recalls the time of Jan Yudh can still be seen on YouTube. Jamuna Vick, 33, from Sisne Rural Municipality-3, Panga Rukum East, sitting in a dera at Musikot Municipality-1 Math in Rukum West, tears up her eyes every time she sees this scene. While narrating wartime memories, Jamuna cried after watching this video once again, taking a deep breath and saying, "After watching this, I remembered that day." And, I couldn't hold back.'

Jamuna participated in this program as an artist. At the age of 14, Jamuna dropped out of her 6th standard and joined the people's war. There was a party program in the village. I was also enthralled when I saw the older ones wearing new clothes and dancing. And, I did not return home after deciding to become a Maoist,' she said, remembering those days, 'I had 2 other friends with me. I was attracted by the fact that even though we were treated as a lower caste, becoming a Maoist does not mean that we are treated as a Maoist, and from that day I became a full-time Maoist. Being interested in dancing and singing, she started participating in programs as a populist artist at the places assigned by the party. The victory of the people will happen, the golden dawn will come. The memory of those days when they used to dance to songs like 'Parnekho Sapna Sakar, Banekho Garibko Sarkar...' to 'Who says the revolution will not succeed here...' doesn't give Jamuna much joy today. Because, with the hope that she entered the people's war, it did not give that result. The praises of change were sung through songs. Development and change also took place in the country. But, we got lost somewhere," she complained, adding, "The people's war was the foundation of the current change. Although there was some reduction in the distinction between people, neo-feudalism emerged. And, many warriors like us who participated in the movement were neglected.'

Jamuna, who worked as a full-time artist in the Maoists until the 2064 Constituent Assembly elections, remembered that they were then sent to go from house to house. "Being a Maoist, I had to return home empty handed at the end," she said. Jamuna, who got married in the year 2070 eight years after returning home, says that even after this, she faced many hurdles. Even after marriage, the sun of happiness did not shine in life. Her husband, who was working in a stone quarry in India, died in an accident. After the death of her husband, she is facing the pain of raising two daughters aged 11 and 7.

Many artists like Jamuna, who created unity in the leaders of the then Maoist people's war, courage in the army and awakening in the people through music, express their regret for joining the Maoists. Another artist among them is 56-year-old Dal Bahadur Gharti of Triveni rural municipality-4. Gharti, who was known as 'Comrade Huri' at that time, now makes and sells the necessary materials for peacock dance in Musikot Municipality-4 Solabang.

Gharti, who joined the Maoists as a militant cadre from 2059, worked as a full-time artist of the party from 2052 to 2068. "We went to the villages of more than 40 districts of the country and preached about change and performed art," he said. I lived and died many times. But now, after 16 years, I found myself free.'

Remembering that the war party defined it as 'army of guns, army of pen and army of swords', Gharti says that at that time, it seemed like all this was said to mislead them. 'What was not done to make the movement successful, where did it not reach?', he said, 'but where has the party reached now and where are we? Now when I remember all this, I get bored.'

Gharti, who is particularly good at dance, says that he also learned to play the guitar, harmonium, madal and octopat. He still keeps various musical instruments in the room. Showing an old diary in which he had written sa re ga ma... and guitar formulas etc., he said, 'Being a Maoist, I learned to dance and play the instrument. However, this art did not come into use anywhere after that. Today's Maoists probably don't know us even if they know us.'

Another artist, Kalpana Budha, who has devoted herself as a Maoist artist. The 43-year-old from Sisne Rural Municipality-2 Pwang Rukum East says that she joined the Maoist movement full-time while studying in class 10. "I worked as an artist in the party from 2053 to 2065," she said, "now I have nothing but regret."

She says that no matter what happened at that time, she still regrets why she joined the movement. The husband was also in the People's Liberation Army, he was disqualified when the army was reorganized. I qualified, but I left singing and playing and returned home empty-handed,' she said. I don't want to remember those days anymore.

Kalpana's husband has been abroad since 2065. ``My husband is working there,'' she said, ``I am taking care of my two sons with pain.''Premkumari Sunar, another artist from Musikot-10 Rukum West, said that the artists were assigned only for work rather than for official responsibility and status, on the basis of those who joined the Maoist party organization and the army during the war. She also said that the artist is constantly neglected.

46-year-old Prem Kumari has worked continuously as an artist since 2052, studying in 7th grade. Elected as the deputy head of Musikot municipality in 2064, she is one of the very few artists who got such an opportunity. Our songs used to create energy within the party and show faith and understanding towards Maoists among the people. However, those same artists were not counted when the Maoists came to power," she said. "We have worked to strengthen the movement by weaving words into music in the Ankantar villages of East Mechi and West Mahakali."

Complaints are rife that the party has not given proper evaluation to many democratic artists who have worked regardless. According to Dal Bahadur Gharti, it used to be the party, but now it is the individual. "Those who did not know what the Maoist People's War is and how and for what it was, are now tasting the taste of power," he said angrily. Real Maoists are now being exploited by fake Maoists. Seeing all this is boring.'

प्रकाशित : फाल्गुन १०, २०८० १०:२३
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