While visiting home in 2002, Rajendra Tharu awoke in his parent's house surrounded by childhood classmates. They had not come to welcome him back. Since finishing school, Tharu had joined the police; the others, from the same farming village in Bardiya, had become supporters of the Maoist revolutionaries fighting against the government.
A decade-long civil war claimed thousands of lives. More than four years after it ended, though, official silence means some families can’t move on.
A few strategic vertical and horizontal strands of brick, fortified by steel-reinforced concrete, have been laid over the building's original adobe walls. It is among a small fraction of the South Asian nation's schools — or any private or public buildings, for that matter — designed to withstand a major earthquake.
Bhutan was deemed the happiest country in Asia by British researchers in 2006 and by its own government’s calculation, 97 percent of the population is happy. However, the experiences of Dangal and others living in Nepal’s seven refugee camps suggest that ignorance—or selective amnesia—may be a crucial factor in formulating such positive assessments.
“Weapons are not powerful—powerful are those who have strong ideas and humanity,” says Budha. But, ultimately, it is as much their weapons as their populist ideology that makes the Maoists potent.
A UN mission established to monitor Nepal’s post-civil war transition will end on 15 January amid concerns the country’s fragile peace process could unravel. The country has functioned with only a caretaker government for more than six months, and progress on drafting a new constitution has stalled.
When most of Bhutan’s ethnic-Nepali minority fled their country in the early 1990s, most assumed they would eventually return. But nearly two decades on, this refugee population, which once numbered more than 110,000, has all but abandoned hope of repatriation.
Happiness is so central to the Bhutanese government’s ruling philosophy that it measures its progress in terms of “gross national happiness”—a spiritual barometer of sorts—rather than by GDP. Such metrics, however, tend to skip over the Bhutanese nationals now stuck in eastern Nepal.
As the deadlock has taken its toll on the country, it has also worn away the patience of foreign donors, who continue to warn that their ability to deliver aid could soon be curtailed if the leadership vacuum continues.
The daily flow of Nepalis over the border to India is relentless, as they come by car, motorcycle, rickshaw and horse-drawn carriage, but mostly on foot, through the main gate at the border city of Nepalganj. Not all the migrants are legitimate, however, and there are lookouts to prevent traffickers’ false promises from being realized....
Away from their wives for long periods, some male migrant workers turn to brothels. Nearly half of all new HIV cases in Nepal are recorded among people living in highway districts, which are home to high numbers of migratory workers.