Danger, Will Robinson

While I don’t usually use words like ‘peaceful’ to refer to Birganj, I must say that last night’s tirade of bombings in my hometown did come as a surprise. Two of the bombs were at offices to the north of Birganj proper.

One, however, was located not far from Shripur.

I can’t remember when exactly, but last monsoon I woke up one night to the sound of something going, Kah-boom!

I sat up in the bed and thought, Oh, my. Bomb, and then fell back asleep.

The next day I asked around. Apparently there had been a collision on the road just near my house.

I wonder if falling back asleep was the proper reaction.

Bomb blasts rock Birgunj

Three serial blasts in Birgunj Sunday evening damaged property worth millions of rupees injuring an 8-year-old child, Radio Nepal said.

The blasts took place at Zonal Labor Office, Guthi Sansthan and regional office of Nepal Oil Corporation. They were located at Sripur, Gahaba and Pratima Chowk of the city.

An 8-year-old child playing outside the Oil Corporation Office was injured. He is undergoing treatment at a local hospital, police said. There were no reports of any deaths or further injuries from the blasts.

© 2003 NepalNews.com

In other strange but unrelated news:

Children hooked on to war games

Traditional childhood games are losing their popularity and charm among the children of Manma, the headquarters of remote Kalikot district in far-west Nepal and its neighbouring VDCs. Children in this region are more interested in guerrilla warfare that has deeply vexed their guardians.

Children of this insurgency-hit district no longer play with dolls, hide and seek and other games which most children are occupied with. Guerrilla war involving the Maoist rebels and security personnel has become their favourite time pass for the past few years.

Wood structures resembling guns, rifles, wireless phones and bombs have become inevitable playthings for children and they spend every minute of their free time enjoying the insurgency game, according to sources.

After school, Nabin Kumar Shahi, the seven- year-old son of Kamal Kumar Shahi, a merchant in the Khandachakra bazaar in Manma VDC, calls out to his friends to start the insurgency game.

Soon a group of his mates including Meena, Binod and Ramesh assemble at the nearby open space and start their childish warfare in the image of the Maoist insurgency.

War, bombs, ambush, Maoist guerrilla, police, army are some common terms that children frequently use during their war game.

On seeing other children carrying toy guns, my son always bothers me to get him one, lamented Radhika Shahi, a Maoist-victim taking refuge in the bazaar from Syuna VDC.

My five-year-old daughter, Bimala, utters words like Rozer Saab on her wooden wireless phone, said Bir Bahadur Bista, a local. I had no option but to get one for her after she insisted a lot.

Level of anxiety is growing among guardians along with the growing inclination of their children on insurgency. Many complained that their children often get hurt during their playtime. Sometimes my children return wounded after playing, said Mani Chandra Chaulagain, a hotel owner in Khandachakra bazaar.

Schoolteachers also complain that students are preoccupied with warfare and have lost interest in their studies.

Despite our instructions, students are found playing the war game during lunch break, said Tej Bahadur Shahi, the head-master of Janajivan Lower Secondary School in Manma VDC.

While teaching, the students appear drowsy. However, topics on war arouses their interests, said a school teacher, Insurgency has remained a topic of gossip among the students.

© 2003 The Kathmandu Post

Funny, isn’t it? Actually, no, it isn’t.

Stories of how the insurrection are affecting and changing peoples’ lives are quite moving.

People will freely talk on the streets about how the current problems with the CPN (Maoists).

Everyone hopes it will end soon, and Nepal will return to being a peaceful place. When, however, is another question.