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From The Nepali Press
"I will live and die in Nepal", Kantipur



Kantipur: So, how is life after retirement?
Rookmangud Katawal: I would like to quote Gen McArthur: "Generals never retire, neither will they be tired." I haven't been doing much, but haven't been idle either.

Are you planning to launch a political party?
If our leaders go back to the jungle leaving party politics, I might think about it. What will I do opening a party? There are seven parties representing the tarai already, but look at the state of the region. Nepal has to be an independent and sovereign state, and the way we regard ethnicity and party loyalty as more important than national interest is wrong. I want to ask the leaders of all parties: who are you, a Madhesi, a Maoist , a Congresi or a Nepali¬ first? I say to them, fly the national flag not your party's flag. I am a Nepali. They can hang me or shoot me but I am not going anywhere. I will live and die on this land.

Are external factors to be blamed for our flagging nationalism?
I regularly talk to foreign envoys to Nepal. It is natural for others to be concerned when your house is on fire. This is the only foreign interest that there is in Nepal.

What do you think about the government's decision to make a Madhesi Battalion in the Nepal Army?
It seems they want to destroy the structure of the army. The Nepal Army is a national army, it should not be divided along ethnic or regional lines. This will only take the country down the road of disintegration. The rights of the Madhesi people should be protected no doubt, but the recruitment process should be based on free competition.

What is your take on the integration of Maoist combatants into the national army?
NA was never against integration. Our only concern was that it should follow the spirit of the Interim Constitution and the CPA. The PLA fighters are politically motivated and heavily indoctrinated. That should change. It may not be the proper word, but they should be 'brainwashed' for the sake of democracy and constitution.

Don't you think the Maoists have come into the mainstream yet?
Read their manifesto. They still want the same thing they fought for, except circumstances are not allowing it. The Maoist ideology will not deliver anything. The fact is that the only reason the Maoists came to peace process was due to the army's stance in favour of change and democracy.



1. manohar
General Katuwal, as a Nepali (and mother and motherland i value more than the kingdom of paradise), i want to commend you that you want to live and die for/in Nepal. I would like to ask you a simple question, do we really need a national army? If ever India and China or even Bangladesh (our nearest neighbours) decide to be aggressive, we are screwed, army or no army. We could not defeat the rag-tag Maoist militia and look what what happened. Rather than integrate the Maoists and the Terai militia, why not disband the whole Nepal army? We are too poor to keep a 100 000 strong army. We are not able to feed and house them properly in any case. There are immense possibilities if we utilize the resources in developing infrastructure, rather than spend it on the army. Costa Rica disbanded their army after civil war and have made immense strides in development. As a general, you are probably the wrong person to ask this question, but i would be interested what other Nepalese think.

2. Mr. Reader
qucikly going through the interview i am under the impression that maoist came to mainstream due to armys  stance for democracy & change (quote from last line of answer)......does this mean as of day the country is in verge of disintregation, chaos,  reading the lines from interview this means  army should take some blame for country's situation today. we common ppl see no way out.    

3. Nirmal
There are so many things that the Nepali top political leaders can learn from Mr. Katwal. First: How to be a moderate personality progressively. Second: How to attract the mass poorly educated and/or highly despotic, well well well he is snatching those votes faster from others' vote bank. Third: Not to play ethnic cards for one's popularity. Fourth: If you have to be a nationalist leader be as clear as him. Fifth: Don't ever think to consider the hardcore communist party militants  as national army personnel, they will never be. Sixth: Never compromise --like him on monarchy-- on what was your main defending principle that is considered within democracy.
    The list goes on Katwal sir! And I'm being impressive lately by you. He makes me firm on my belief: I don't want to change anything in this country except the leaders. I'm sure Mr. Katwal can contribute to this holy purpose of mine.

So, people like us would like to request him to get into politics so that a clear positive polarization could take place. It'd be healthy for nepali politics knowing how each Nepali political party has little bit colour of everything inside them. He has that charismatic charm to make an authentic centre right.


4. Shamser
First of all, if Mr. Katuwal is thinking of reviving the monarchy, or thinks that the monarchy can be revived in any way, then he is living in a fool's paradise. Why was he not thinking of being a Nepali first and common Nepalis when he was in the army that is supposedly for the royals only? It is preposterous for him to be talking about the common Nepalis and using words like "Nepali first". It is because of the continuing discriminatory policies and practices in the army since ages that common Nepalis were turned off. If anything, a radical reform is needed in the top heavy and caste based army of Nepal. The common Nepalis have been footing the bills for the army and why not they be responsible to the people? Right now, the targets have been the quarreling politicians and their corruption. Once the dust settles a bit on the political front, then the people turn will their attention to the goings on of the army, much is yet to be revealed. That is when the King's loyalist generals like Katuwal, Pyarjang Thapa, Sachit Shamser, Simha, Chhatraman, et al will need to answer to the people, even from the graves.
Why was Mr. Katuwal not asked about the recruitment of Madhesis in the army?



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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