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WITNESS
Bullets to Ballots: Two years on
A look at four Nepali freedom fighters whose lives changed when they became politicians.
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2009 10:14

Watch part two

Filmmaker: Subina Shrestha

Nepal is home to the highest place on earth, Mount Everest, yet its recent politics have been anything but lofty.

After years of hereditary rule, the country introduced a constitutional monarchy but there was widespread disaffection and soon a Maoist insurgency was in full swing.

In 2001, Crown Prince Dipendra massacred 10 members of the royal family, including the king and queen, before killing himself.

The new king then dismissed the prime minister and his cabinet and declared a state of emergency.

For Nepal's Communist Party the whole system was a corrupt feudal regime and in 1996 they launched their so-called 'people's war'.

They wanted to abolish all forms of discrimination. Women, in particular, saw this as a unique opportunity to win equality and many joined the movement.

More than a decade after the insurgency started and after an estimated 13,000 deaths, Nepal finally managed to establish a fragile peace.

The Maoists no longer patrolled the villages as armed combatants and many have become members of parliament.

In 2006 Witness travelled to Nepal to film From Bullets to Ballots, which told the story of the women of the Nepali revolution and their transformation from freedom fighters to politicians or army officers.

Together, they had been through many 'wars' and personal transformations to liberate their people from 'feudalistic oppression'.

Two years on, the Witness team has returned to Nepal to see how the lives of four of these women have changed, and how the Nepal they helped create, and must now help to govern, measures up to the one they imagined in their previous lives as fighters for freedom.

From Bullets to Ballots: Two years on can be seen from Tuesday, November 17, at the following times GMT: Tuesday: 0830 and 1900; Wednesday: 0330, 1400, 2330.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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