Development and Destruction
My Nepal, what has become of you?
Your features have changed with time.
The innocent face of the Kumari
Has changed to the blood-thirsty countenance
Of Kal Bhairab,
From development to destruction,
From bikas to binas.
Youíre no longer the same
Thereís insurrection and turmoil
Your sons and daughters are at war,
With the Gurkhas again.
Maobadis with revolutionary flair,
With ideologies from Tibet and Peru.
Ideologies that have been discredited elsewhere,
Flourish in the Himalayas.
Demanding a revolutionary-tax
With brazen, bloody attacks.
Well-trained government troops at the orders
Of politicians safe in Kathmandu.
Leaders who flex their tongues and muscles,
And let the imported automatic salves speak their deaths.
Ill-armed guerrillas against well-armed Royal Gurkhas
In the foothills of the Himalayas.
Nepali children have no chance,
But to take sides
To take to arms not knowing the reason
Against whom and why.
The child-soldier gets orders from grown-ups
And the hapless souls open fire.
Hukum is order,
The child-soldier cannot reason why.
Shedding precious human blood,
For causes they both hold high.
Ach, this massacre in the shadow of the Himalayas.
A Thousand Deaths
It breaks my heart, as I hear over the radio:
Nepalís not safe for visitors.
Visitors who leave their money behind,
In the pockets of travel agencies, rug dealers,
Currency and drug dealers.
Who speaks for the ill-paid honest Sherpas,
Tamang and other ethnic porters?
Sweat beads trickling from their sun-burnt faces,
In the dizzy heights of the Dolpo, Annapurna ranges
And the Khumbu glaciers.
Eking out a living and facing the treacherous
Icy crevasses, snow-outs, precipices
And a thousand deaths.
No roads, no schools,
Beyond the beaten trekking paths
Live the poorer families of Nepal.
Sans drinking water,
Where AIDS and childrenís work prevail.
Hope in the Himalayas
What better chance for a constitutional monarch,
A re-incarnated Vishnu,
Who now holds
Spiritual and temporal powers
In the shadow of the Himalayas?
Hush, an unholy alliance made the rounds,
The political parties and the Maoists are united
The Maoists joined the parlaiment before Dasain,
Left it and screamed for a republican state.
They rattle their sabres still,
Under Vishnuís bed of serpents.
Narad brings us good news.
We donít have to shiver together in angst.
There is hope in the Himalayas.
Hope of a separation of powers,
Hope of free elections,
Hope of fair trials before impartial tribunals,
Hope of amnesty.
Weíll do what Nepalese normally do:
Wait and drink Ilam tea,
And watch the scenario unfurl,
In the shadow of the Himalayas.
©2008 by Satis Shroff
Satis Shroff is a lecturer,writer, and poet based in
Freiburg who also writes on ethno-medical,
culture-ethnological themes, and writes regularly for The American
Chronicle, and is a contributing writer on
www.boloji.com and also Blog.ch. He has studied Zoology and Botany in Nepal,
Medicine and Social Science in Germany, and Creative Writing in Freiburg and
Manchester. He describes himself as a mediator between western and
eastern cultures, and sees his future as a writer and poet. Satis Shroff was
awarded the German Academic Exchange Prize. He is a lecturer in Basle
(Switzerland). For more information see his blog.