Former child soldiers learn to shoot - with a camera

Bahadur used Maoist rebels as escape from deplorable conditions that haunted his survival in Nepal’s Humla distract.

Express January 02, 2011

KATHMANDU: It was not a desire to change the world but Nar Bahadur’s grinding poverty that pushed him to join the underground Maoist guerrillas at the fragile age of 12.

Bahadur used the Maoist rebels as an escape from the deplorable conditions that haunted his survival in Nepal’s most inaccessible Humla distract.

So, he ran away from home and joined the underground party that had started a “People’s War” against the state, only to find that he had changed one prison for another.

He then ran away again and finally managed to reach Kathmandu, where, with the support of child rights organisations is finally studying in Class 12. Now he has a new dream: to shoot, but this time with the camera.

Bahadur has used his new found talent to make a short film on the life in his village and the circumstances that made him become an outlaw.

My Sunrise, Bahadur’s debut film premiered in Kathmandu on Thursday as part of the trilogy, Through our eyes. The documentary is a special screening which reflects the stigmatisation that thousands of young children like Nar Bahadur have to face on a daily basis and are left with no choice but to join an armed struggle. The trilogy also includes two other short films, both made by former Maoist child soldiers.

Tassia Kobylinska, a British documentary maker who’s Roving Eye Film, in collaboration with the Child Workers in Nepal NGO, trained three youngsters and produced the funds to make the documentary.

Tassia, who came to Nepal on a holiday in 1996, when the war started and kept on returning to make documentaries, says she had never seen such poverty said, “The malnourished children with their swollen bellies and the flies on their faces.”

In February, she is flying to Britain with the documentary for individual screenings after which it will seek entry in international film festivals. IANS

Published in The Express Tribune, January 3rd, 2011.


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