I have said in my first blog entry about GPK/Girija Babu/ Girija Prasad Koirala that I will be writing another blog post with some facts and little fiction to tell how people felt on the day GPK passed away.
The day GPK passed away; I was in Goa in Palolem Beach in some Beach hut lazily lying on not so comfortable bed. I think the hut was called ‘High Tide’ Beach Huts, also popularly called Coco Huts. The beach huts were artificial huts made for tourists and would remain there only in the tourist seasons. It was beginning the end of tourist season and were little cheaper. Though there were many around, I did not feel like going around and bargaining for the price as the first hut owner himself quoted price very reasonable and were within my reach. When I said that I will be there for 8-10 days, then, he gave little discount and I settled there.
Lazy day had just started, and I got up, cleaned myself err took bath and brushed etc. and I went to the Restaurant there called the same ‘high Tide’. From the past 9-10 days, I was there getting up early in the morning and going to that restaurant and used to start my day with Indian adrakwala Chai( Milk Tea) and oat milk fruit porridge. My days were going as usual and in the same manner. I sat near the television where I could connect power chord to my laptop. I did the same on that day as well. Though I was completely disconnected with the outside world, I had taken my laptop with me. Therefore, now and then, I used to browse my Gmail store and facebook with my Tata Indicom slow internet
That day was nothing as usual and nothing interesting to me. When I was browsing facebook, I suddenly see Asish Shrestha’s Facebook status message that he feels sad for Girija Babu’s death and expresses his heartfelt condolence. I was shocked. I knew that GPK was not well now and then, but had not even imagined that he is in such a grave situation that death was the only option before him. I immediately replied to Asish Shrestha’s facebook profile and expressed my shock, and heartfelt condolence. I felt bad for that old man and I could only wish that he should live little longer…………may be few more years. I immediately went to see Nepal’s news sites like ekantipur, nepalnews, mysansar.com etc. but either all sites were not opening or especially mysansar was not updated as the blogger Umesh was outside valley and his last news on the blog was ‘Girijababu’s deteriorating health on previous day’. Sites not opening only confirmed what Asish had updated in his facebook profile, and that was unfortunately true but I wanted to see more updates and conditions of GPK’s demise. Suddenly, an idea struck my mind. I put Girija Prasad Koirala’s name in Google search and got much news. I refreshed the page and tried to see only the news. There it was. Nepal’s democratic leader’s death had filled the web portal of many international news sites where visitors were not thronged as they were in Nepal’s indigenous media, and these sites opened very quicker. N I could read every minute details from one site and then, from another and from many, which I did for hours.
I read them for hours and called up Mr. Asish Shrestha in Pune, who told that he got the news from Hem Acharya in New Delhi. Then, he says to me that he felt sad and depressed and anguished after hearing the news. H thought about the Nepal’s future and emerging democracy/republican set up. He said he thought about ongoing peace process; and felt for the time being that all are going to come halt. I thought the same before calling Asish but by the time I called him up, he was calm and quiet and thought that despite GPK’s departure, we grow; we rise and be a civilized country in this world.
Meanwhile, when I was surfing the news on death of GPK, a waiter came to me. He was a Nepali waiter/worker from Birganj, and was Mr. Gurung. I told him GPK died. He asked me whether it is true or not. I said It is. He said he is so happy. He added this man must have died long back. He abused GPK for a while. Machi………muj…….marera ramrai bhayo (Momfu…….cunt……….it’s good that he died. He should have died long back. All problems in Nepal are because of him. He created environment for rising of Maoists and Madhesi Movement.)
I felt sad for GPK as I thought that after 2062-63 democratic movement, GPK deserved better comment and much better when he has just died. But I did not argue with him. I had no option but to listen to Mr. Gurung. Mr. Gurung continued that when Pahade (Hilly People) kill a Madhise, Girija put them in prison but when a Madhise killed a hilly man, GPK did not do anything. GPK allowed Madhise to sit on our head and all that Terai aandolan happened. He adds that if GPK could have burnt 1000 lives and houses and Madhise, either they would have gone to India like Muslims went to Pakistan after partition or they would have lived peacefully under the rule of Nepalese people like Muslims are staying in India.
Remember that Mr. Gurung comes from Birganj, not exactly Birganj in fact but from Dhalkebar is what he clears to me later. He after ranting against GPK and Terai/Madheshi People asked me whether the news is correct or not. I said, ‘Of Course, it is’, why should I otherwise spread such news in Goa?
He answered once again that he is very happy and intends to party tonight, and ran to spread the news. By that time, I was browsing Prajwal Baral’s Facebook Profile. He was updating his profile from Bhopal, NIT and wrote something like he is very happy for GPK’s demise and intends to party in his room in Hostel. I think there was something like invitation to all Hostelians to attend that party.
Meantime, when I was reading Prajwal’s Facebook Profile update and replying there, Mr. Gurung went little far near the cashier and was telling other fellow Nepali waiters that GPK died. I could hear that people were asking who said, and how did you know. I could hear that he was referring my name. Another Lama Brother, who was the partner of that Restaurant asked me from distance whether that is true. I said that is true brother, GPK passed away. He again expressed enormous happiness and said now, there will be party tonight. I could hear that he was calling up his friends and telling loudly in Nepali that GPK died, and it is true. But, I did not hear anything his talking about party on that night; neither could I hear any invitation for party.
By that time, I had left my laptop alone and had moved under a Coconut Tree watching bikini clad women taking sunbath and then jump to adjacent Ocean. Nothing could charm me. The words were playing in my mind about what Mr. Gurung said, and why people think that GPK should have died long back and why are they ready to party tonight. Should not have we mourned?
I was thinking about Mr. Gurung’s words. The issue of Madheshi and Terai movement is very complex. I cannot analyse here. But I started to think about other issues on which GPK might have influenced and that might have affected them.
I wondered why they are there. I am there for my holiday/my vacation. I know Goa from Gorakhpur is almost 2600 Kms far and there is not a direct train. Why these people are there to serve tea and porridge and beer bottle to me and to many people like me. I looked around I could see many Nepalese waiters Mr. Gurung, Mr. Lama, Mr. Bhuwan and other unknown Nepalese Brothers and Mr. sundar Shrestha of Bhaktapur, one of the main partners of that Restaurant High Tide and Mr. Prem Kumar Shrestha from Sindhowpalchok working there as waiters. In fact, I could see another 10 more Nepalese waiters whose name I could not gather in those stay. But my point is why? Why are they here?
Mr. Sundar Shrestha met me day before GPK died and in that evening mentioned that he owns this restaurant in partnership with 2-3 more Nepali and 1 localites in goa. He said he entered in India in 1989 and started as a waiter in German Bakery in Pune which was recently bombed. He operates another German Bakery in Palolem which is managed by his brother now. He said me over the drinks on that evening that the restaurants on that beach are operated only in season and season will be over by May and then, he will proceed to Leh and Laddakh in State of Jammu and Kashmir and in Himachal Pradesh to maintain his other restaurants in that region with all his crew (waiters) members. Therefore, these people get job throughout the year and earn little money.
On the day, GPK died; I thought what made these people to come here. I got up and moved to German Bakery in Palolem. I had been there many times by this day. There was a sale boy called Prem Kumar Shrestha from Sindhowpalchok who used to visit to that another Restaurant as well. A nice short fair and smiley boy with nice soft and charming voice used to be standing there softly talking/ telling why cheese cake made there is really good and tastes really nice. If he had got a good education and opportunity to study, he would be a great salesman in some multinational, I would feel. Over the days, I talked with him about his home, work and education. He was educated, had completed Class 12 and had come there. He had good command over English as well, that could be heard from when he talked with foreign customers there in English.
He also told the same story that he will be going to Leh and Laddakh after June. He was supposed to go home on May and stay a month there in Nepal and again start a journey back to India. He sounded intelligent.
While discussing generally, I asked him, “Laddakh/Leh must be nice”.
He replied, “Yes, Nice it is. But, we have to work.” And I could read the pain on his face. I just thought life may be very cold and difficult there. You can go one or two day as a tourist and enjoy your life there but you will not understand how difficult people struggle in hilly and mountains barren rocky cold land. When I was in these thought, Prem Bhai told me that Leh is at a very high altitude and sometimes, you suffer from respiratory problem as oxygen is low. He says that it is difficult to get good treatment also. That was painful blow to my chain of thoughts. Why young people instead of going college and School in Nepal come to India for these kinds of jobs? To be waiters? I paid the bill, and smiled with that boy and said I will be leaving soon. I wished his good health and happiness and we smiled and parted. On the way back to my hut, I started thinking; do these young people blame GPK for their migration? Exodus from homeland?
I think yes. Yes, to certain extent, GPK was responsible for people leaving Nepal and coming to India just to meet their basic needs. I know that India is a large democratic country, and here are also there are many poor people. People from all parts of India go to foreign countries like UAE, Saudi Arabia etc. to do small scale jobs in construction sector. In today’s globalised world, you cannot stop migration. Labor and capital both flow in and out of any particular country and that cannot be stopped. However, if there were good governance, orderly public administration, corruption less society and if funds were properly utilized for health, education and welfare, then, people would get quality education. If that had happened, Prem Kumar Shrestha and Bhuwan Tamang would not have stopped their study at class 12 and many more people could study instead of donning role of waiters in these dusty beach shacks and restaurants. GPK was undoubtedly a great hero for democracy but he managed corruption, ill-governance, nepotism, and extreme form of breakdown of public law and order. GPK was not alone responsible for these ill-governance issues but GPK was the torch bearer and many after, and with him participated to rape democracy. Therefore, in a way, GPK was responsible for many people fleeing out of Nepal and coming to India and these people think that they deserve at least a party within these hectic schedules to celebrate hopefully a death of despot, autocrat who could not offer any tangible benefits to these exodus masses. I think that should be the reason of party, is what I could decipher there in Palolem, South Goa, which was almost 80 kilometers from main city Mapusha.
This is the final and last issue on Girija Babu. Readers can concur with me or reject my conclusion as they wish. I love to hear from you. The location, the place and some actors have been renamed to dramatize it little. I will write more about Goa and Nepalese there on coming days!