Revolution in South Asia

An Internationalist Info Project

Nepal: A Poem by Mani Thapa – Gamaliharu

Posted by hetty7 on December 6, 2011

View from a village in Western Nepal

This is a poem  by Mani Thapa which appeared in the recent English version of The Red Star – a voice of the Revolutionary forces within the UCPN (M).

This is one of the many poems by revolutionary poets in Nepal on the subject of The People’s War.  This poem is from an anthology: Poems of the People’s War, published by Ichchhuk Cultural Academy.

Gamaliharu – Mani Thapa


Mixing the smell of life

With the smell of sweat

Bartering life’s vicissitudes

With timmur2 seeds

Breaking head inside the quarries

For roofing other’s houses

Swallowing salt-mixed porridge barely for the self

While cooking potatoes for the world:

The story of Gamalis

Used to sound strange, it used to sound time-worn

Haven’t these faces came from some forest?

Aren’t these famine-ravaged ugly faces?

Aren’t these outlines pressed hard by landslides?

It seemed they were, they did really seem exotic

Seem as though the pressure of of work caused the loss of their identity

Seem as though they’re searching Gaam after the loss of their identity

Seem as though they’ve turned refugees after their Gaam’s been looted

Seem ever helpless: seem ever estranged

Seem energy-less; seem as though they’ve lost their moon

The narrative of Gamaalis

Looked like a kitchen with uncooked porridge.

It was not written on any limestone:

Their names and the name of the village they came from

It was not discovered in any voter list

Their name and name of the village they came from

Seemed as though their country’s been looted; their form’s been looted

Shedding  blood ever inside the timmur2 bush

Shedding tears ever on bamboo shoots

Cow dung all in fingernails

Now preparing food by boiling the top of Sisnu3 in water

Now preparing food by boiling the tip of tongue for taste

Is it tasty or tasteless; is it hot or bitter?

Seemed as though they’ve lost the taste; seemed ever hot

The narrative  of Gamaalis

Used to seem very old; used to seem unknown

Seemed like the potato skin leftovers of porcupine

Like heat-withered potato- plants

Ever like the tear-drop fallen on account of weight of potato- sack

Seemed as though potato’s what defined their life

It seemed strange.

The story of Gamaalis

The uneducated Gamaalis, who knew not the first letter of the alphabet

Can know if now even in a poem

While searching image and reflection

They seem to be making pens of a bamboo

Those who ever searched their identity on potato leaves

Are writing these days slogans of movement on those leaves

It seems totally new

The narrative of gamaalis these days.

Gamaalis do not come down to pyuthan carrying timmur these days

Are rather busy making new chemical out of the same timmur

Gamaalis do not even grow potatoes these days

They grow martyrs

Gamaalis do not break their head in quarries

They carve martyr’s statue on those stones;

Wonderful Gamaalis! Real, wonderful Gamaalis!!

(Kalam, Complete issue 19)

{From an anthology: Poems of the People’s War, published by Ichchhuk Cultural Academy)

1. Gaam is the name of a village development committee in Rolpa, where the class struggle had got intensified  The inhabitants of Gamm are called Gamalis.   Gamaliharu (plural of Gamali}

2. Timur is a particular kind of tree which produces small fruits that is used to make spice.

3. Sisnu is a particular kind of plant, the nettle, which the poor people in the villages of Nepal eat as a substitute for food.

4. A place in Western Nepal, known as a place of the People’s War.

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