A Family and a
In Nepal, there was a decade of war from 1996 to
2006 between the government of Nepal and the Communist Party of Nepal
(Maoist), or CPN (Maoist). During this war, the Nepalese people were
affected directly or indirectly by both sides. Many people lost their
lives, relatives, properties, harmonious relationships and migrated from
their own communities. People were killed, arrested, disappeared and
tortured by both sides during this period. Many innocent people were
arrested in the name of being Maoist supporters and tortured in the
country’s army barracks. There are many cases in which those that were
arrested lost their good health through the use of torture, and some
people now have psycho-social problems. In short, the war was very
Mostly women and children were directly affected by the war, however.
Many women lost their husbands, sons, daughters, fathers and/or brothers
and sisters. Some women were raped and tortured by the military forces.
Similarly, many children became orphans and were denied their most basic
rights, such as their right to protection and education.
The story of one family and how the war has changed their lives perhaps
best reveals the devastation of Nepal’s war on its people.
In Need of Hope
Thirnath Sharma and his family in
Thirnath Sharma, 36 years of age, was born in Baglung Municipality–11
in Baglung District in the western region of the country. There are five
members in his family—an 87-year-old father, two children and his wife.
He had completed his bachelor degree in law from the Prithwi Narayan
Multiple Campus in Pokhara and had received a license as a lawyer. He
had a small plot where he grew vegetables and a small shop near the
market. He had a very happy family. He was also an active person and
worked hard and managed his family very nicely. He was a good shopkeeper
in his community and a talkative young man. He was very curious to know
about the situation of the country even though he was not committed to
any political parties. Overall, he was just engaged in his work and
taking care of his family.
During the armed conflict, there was an emergency situation in Nepal.
The Maoists destroyed police stations and army barracks while the army
arrested, disappeared and killed people without any inquiry, all of
which was “normal.”
It is in this context that an army barracks in Dang District was
attracted by the CPN (Maoist) armed forces, who then went underground.
In response, the government’s armed forces started a search movement in
the name of a general inquiry in and around the country. As a result,
many innocent young people were arrested and tortured in the army
In February 2001, Thirnath Sharma was among those who were arrested by
the army. He disappeared for a month. It was difficult to ask about his
whereabouts because of fear of the military. His old father and his wife
with a small baby constantly cried. They went here and there to inquire
about their arrested family member. After a month, the army told his
family that he had been arrested, but they did not release him. He
remained in the barracks for three months without any reason. He was
then released by the army, and the government declared that he was
When he was released from custody, he became sick. He had a urinary
problem at first along with psycho-social problems. Later he slowly lost
his memory, and one leg became paralyzed. After two or three months, his
other leg also became paralyzed, and he could not walk, needing someone
to help support him when standing. He was hospitalized, and the doctor
said that the white membrane of his brain had been cracked by external
pressure. The doctor prescribed medicine to him that he will have to
take for the rest of his life, but the doctor said that further
improvement is not possible. He was hospitalized for a long time,
spending lots of money and selling his properties. The International
Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Advocacy Forum in Nepal provided
some money to help defray the cost of his medical expenses.
Now his small shop has closed, and he is in bed forever. He has lost his
health, memory and is suffering from economic poverty. At his young age,
he has nothing. He still needs support to even stand.
Because of the family’s poor economic condition, his two children are
vulnerable. There is a high probability that the children will have to
migrate and become child laborers even though his 12-year-old daughter
and 10-year-old son have received good grades in school and have a
strong willingness to continue their education. Moreover, they have to
take care of their old grandfather. The situation of the family is very,
very critical; they have been affected very badly by the conflict. They
are now staying in a rented room even they have no source of income.
They have become homeless, landless and hopeless.
They are now appealing to national and international humanitarian
organizations and individuals for support and especially for the
children’s education. A small amount of support will be very valuable
and meaningful to them, especially for a better future for the children.
They are being assisted by the Dhaulagiri Community Resource Development
Center (DCRDC) in Baglung Municipality–11, which can be contacted by
e-mail at <email@example.com> for
those who would like to assist them.
* Laxmi Pathak works for the child rights organization Plan Nepal in
Makwanpur. She is a 2008 alumni of the School of Peace (SOP) conducted
by Interfaith Cooperation Forum (ICF) in Bangalore, India.