KATHMANDU, Feb 12: A revolutionary adventurer, Ran Bahadur KC a.k.a Kopila was trained in guerilla warfare even before the Maoists formally launched insurgency in the spring of 1996, and subsequently became a member of the party´s core combative force comprising 12 personnel.
KC was also among the 37 combatants led by party leader Barshaman Pun, who overran the Holeri police station on February 13, 1996 in one of the three major attacks on security forces launched by the Maoists on the first day of the People´s War.
Promoted to the rank of Battalion Commander in the PLA hierarchy, KC was on the frontline of the successive battles with the well-trained state soldiers and was lucky enough to survive.
Sixteen years on, a visibly weak KC, now 41, finds his revolutionary zeal flagging and his political conviction dying.
“I lost scores of colleagues in the battles and I regarded myself lucky to survive. But I was wrong. Now I think they were lucky because they lost their lives for their conviction and did not have to see these days of deception and disillusionment,” said KC from Rolpa, who stays with his relatives at Kusunti, Lalitpur.
A diabetes patient, KC now stays with relatives in Kathmandu and struggles for two square meals a day.
Immediately after the attack on the army in Krishnabhir in 2003, he seriously fell ill, and was taken to Chitwan Hospital for treatment. There he was diagnosed with diabetes, and could no longer participate in the war. After spending some time in Rolpa, he sold his house for treatment in Kathmandu.
“I worked as a full-timer in Kathmandu, but the party soon stopped giving me money. I was compelled to do odd jobs for survival,” he says.
The former Maoist commander worked as a construction laborer, and then became a taxi driver. But he sold his taxi after failing to pay the loan.
After the party formed the government following the CA polls, he knocked on the doors of the leaders for a job. “They informed that they had arranged a job for me, but it surprised me that they wanted me to work a sweeper at a public school,” he said.
It came as a relief when party leader Matrika Yadav later arranged a job as a gardener for his wife Asha at the National Zoo Center.
It has made him feel more miserable to know that his former colleagues in the cantonments are now returning home with hefty paychecks. KC, who has to be administered insulin everyday for survival, on the other hand, is dependent on a meager salary of his wife. He would have been a division commander had he stayed with the PLA.
During the PLA verification process in 2007, he asked the party leaders and commanders to make arrangements for his registration at the cantonments. “But they told me that a cadre like me should stay out of the cantonment to launch people´s revolt. But there has been no such revolt,” he said.
Now KC says he is disillusioned with the ideals he once cherished so much.
“The party leaders have given all the benefits to their kith and kin, but we, who spilled blood and sweat for the revolution have been left to fend for ourselves,” he said.