Nirmala in Maoist combat fatigues (right) during the insurgency and now (above).
ROLPA, June 5: Eight-year-old Jiwan BK often breaks into tears while looking at the miserable condition of his mother. With a severely burnt leg, she is usually seen sitting on a pile of cow dung.
Leaving her family behind, Jiwan’s mother had once joined the Maoist armed insurrection with its promise of radical change and development.
However, things have not worked out that way. Worse still, she has been hounded by mental illness since the past eight years. She has been in a state of semiconscious for three years now. Villagers say her life now is no better than that of animals.
Due to her mental state, she has to sleep in the cowshed with the goats and chicken.
Now 32, Nirmala BK, also known as ‘Sadhana’ of Jabarbot in Tribeni-5, was a former Maoist combatant. Jiwan is too young to understand many things but his mother’s agony makes him wish to grow up quickly so that he can help her.
“My mother usually sleeps on the floor regardless of the weather,” he said adding, “I am still too young to do much.” Nirmala has been battling with life and death in lack of proper treatment. She can hardly even move her body.
“We found that she had epilepsy and since three years back it started taking a serious toll on her,” said Kwari BK, Nirmala’s 61-year-old mother-in-law, adding,” Four years ago, when she was alone at home, she put both her legs in the fire.” There was a time when they could not even go near her because of the stench from her leg.
The family could not take her to hospital then for lack of money.
They later took her to India but that did not help. They also tried traditional healers and herbal medicine but all in vain.
Nirmala and her husband Purban BK, also known as ‘Prabhakar’, got married when they were both in the Maoist rebel army. She fell ill immediately after delivering her child, whom she could not even breastfeed. Later, her husband took another wife as there was no one to assist his mother in household work and take care of Nirmala.
As an active Maoist combatant, she was trained by current Vice-President Nanda Bahadur Pun. Many other former Maoist commanders like Barshaman Pun and Raj Bahadur Budha have attained high positions while many who shed their blood and sweat during the armed insurrection are now in dire straits.
Nirmala’s family cannot even buy a bed for her to sleep in. Her husband is now in India with his second wife. They spent around Rs 700,000 on her treatment but that was all they had.
When political leaders and election candidates visit the village, mother-in-law Kwari asks them to help treat their daughter-in-law. But none of them seems to be touched by Nirmala’s suffering.