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Distro - NEPAL. 2005. Maoist Rebellion.
Jonas Bendiksen
The kingdom of Nepal, once thought of as a peaceful and serene retreat in the Himalayas, has over the last decade plunged into chaos and tragedy. A Maoist insurgency has shook the country since 1996, leaving the country in economic and political shambles. The civil war has cost over 12,000 lives so far, and the communist rebels and the incumbent King Gyanendra’s have reached a stalemate: the Maoists control most of the countryside, while the king’s government are entrenched in the cities.

Today, anyone living in rural Nepal have to deal with the Maoists in one way or another. The term ‘Maoist’ in Nepal encompasses a wide range of people, from the highly motivated rebel army, political agitators, or simply civilians helplessly caught up in the revolutionary wave. The Maoists have often been accused of forcing rural families to donate at least one member to the struggle, and some degree of participation in Maoist activities and rallies is mandatory in many rural areas.

King Gyandendra, who ascended to power in 2001 when most of the royal family was killed in a shooting spree at a family dinner, started his reign by sending in the Royal Nepali Army to rout out the rebellion. The army has subsequently been accused of sustained human-rights abuse, indiscriminate arrests and killings, making their human rights record just as bad as the Maoists’. In fact, according to human rights groups Nepal recently passed Columbia as the country in the world with the most people ‘disappeared’ at the hands of state security forces.

Stuck between The Maoists and the King are the parliamentary political parties. Democracy came to Nepal as late as 1990, but the nascent parties have been ineffective, steeped in corruption and squabbling among themselves. Therefore, when King Gyanendra staged a coup-d’etat in February 2005, many Nepalis reacted with indifference. However, since then, popular protests against the King have gained momentum, and currently the Maoists are attempting to forge links with the democratic parties against the king. The aim of the Maoist guerillas is to topple Nepal’s 235-year-old Hindu monarchy and establish a People's Republic in line with the precepts of Chairman Mao. The leader of the Maoist rebellion, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, 49, (known as Prachanda, "the fierce one"), defines his ideals based on Mao's dictatorship style, seeking to establish a socialist government through a "people's war" on behalf of Nepal's impoverished majority. In a country where two thirds of the population are poor and illiterate, Prachanda has sustained ten-year rebellion quoting from Mao’s writings on agrarian revolution and promising a panacea to the kingdom's ills: an end to exploitation, rights for women, and good meals for all.

Today, anyone living in rural Nepal have to deal with the Maoists in one way or another. The term ‘Maoist’ in Nepal encompasses a wide range of people, from the highly motivated rebel army, political agitators, or simply civilians helplessly caught up in the revolutionary wave. The Maoists have often been accused of forcing rural families to donate at least one member to the struggle, and some degree of participation in Maoist activities and rallies is mandatory in many rural areas.

King Gyandendra, who ascended to power in 2001 when most of the royal family was killed in a shooting spree at a family dinner, started his reign by sending in the Royal Nepali Army to rout out the rebellion. The army has subsequently been accused of sustained human-rights abuse, indiscriminate arrests and killings, making their human rights record just as bad as the Maoists’. In fact, according to human rights groups Nepal recently passed Columbia as the country in the world with the most people ‘disappeared’ at the hands of state security forces.

Stuck between The Maoists and the King are the parliamentary political parties. Democracy came to Nepal as late as 1990, but the nascent parties have been ineffective, steeped in corruption and squabbling among themselves. Therefore, when King Gyanendra staged a coup-d’etat in February 2005, many Nepalis reacted with indifference. However, since then, popular protests against the King have gained momentum, and currently the Maoists are attempting to forge links with the democratic parties against the king.

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Achham District. 2004. Members of the Maoist People's...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Achham District. 2004. Large groups of Maoist cadres and...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Achham District. 2004. A platoon commander and some of...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Achham District. 2004. A platoon of Maoist soldiers during...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Achham District. 2004. A platoon of Maoist soldiers during...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Achham District. 2004. A girl runs on top of a fence past...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Near Nepalgunj. 2005. After a Maoist raid on the second...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Nepalgunj. 2005. Nepalgunj, Western Nepal's biggest government-held...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Daulatpur. 2005. Women grieve at the funeral of Nankai...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Daulatpur. 2005. Women grieve at the funeral of Nankai...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Gorkha. 2005. In the government-held village of Gorkha...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Katmandu. 2005. Til Bahadur GURUNG, a former village-level...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Katmandu. 2005. Tara BHATTARAI, a teacher from a rural...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Achham District. 2004. Comrade Ranju, a 19-year old Nepali...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Achham District. 2004. Female rebels break out in a smile...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Achham District. 2004. Female rebels break out in a smile...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Achham District. 2004. A man crawling across a rope at...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Achham District. 2004. Young recruits for the Maoist militia...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Achham District. 2004. A platoon of Maoist rebels do their...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. 2004. Village of Babiyachour. Trash fires fight the cold...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. 2004. Village of Babiyachour. A boy kicks a soccer ball...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. 2004. Village of Babiyachour. In a Maoist-controlled village,...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. 2004. Village of Babiyachour. In the Maoist-run village...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. 2004. Village of Babiyachour. In the Maoist-run village...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. 2004. Village of Babiyachour. In the Maoist-run village...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Achham District. 2004. Young Maoists singing revolutionary...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. 2004. Village of Babiyachour. A Maoist torch rally celebrating...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Achham District. 2004. Locals cheer during a Maoist leader's...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. 2004. Village of Babiyachour. A teashop in rural Nepal....

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Nepalgunj. 2005. Streetscene from Nepalgunj, the biggest...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Rolpa District Headquarters. 2005. Although most of the...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Rolpa District Headquarters. 2005. Although most of the...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Rolpa District Headquarters. 2005. Although most of the...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Kamal Bazaar. 2004. Kamal Bazaar was described by local...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Kamal Bazaar. 2004. On the move for days, women rounded...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. 2004. A young girl swept up by the revolutionary wave...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Kamal Bazaar. 2004. On the move for days, women rounded...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Katmandu. 2005. A view of Kathmandu from the Bhimsen Tower....

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Katmandu. 2005. On Nepal's Army Day, King Gyanendra, inspects...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Katmandu. 2005. Although Katmandu is the most developed...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Katmandu. 2005. A bar.

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Katmandu. 2005. Overlooking Katmandu's famous Ason Chowk...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Katmandu. 2004.

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Katmandu. 2005. Young Katmandu residents in Ason Chowk...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Katmandu. 2005. At dawn, morning exercises at Swayambunath...

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Katmandu. 2005. Katmandu at dawn.

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Katmandu. September 2005. Anti-monarchy demonstrations....

Jonas Bendiksen 2005

NEPAL. Katmandu. September 2005. An Anti-monarchy protest organized...
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