Beside the music here you`ll find also a very good interview previously published on Nunatak magazine-number 33/34. (in italian language only)
About Rai Ko Ris,they splitted up in 2014 yet their webpage is still on with info+ contact and discography and all the rest,it is in fact very interesting
please go here to check it.
I know that Sareena formed a new band in the last few months.
About Nunatak,this amazing magazine is dedicated to stories,cultures and social struggles from the mountains,all the past issues of this magazine are available as free download here.
Before leaving you to this very interesting interview I want to give my big thanx to Sareena for giving me permission to post those cds and all her help and nice energy.
Another big thanx goes to Guido of Nunatak`s crew for sending me this interview already in english.If I do not fail he was him to actually write those questions,so thanx for this as well.Enjoy the music and the messages by this amazing band from the land of the high mountains.
stories from Nepal
new anti national anthem
jam session n1
Interview taken from Nunatak issue 33/34
Nunatak- Judging from your last album’s title, one would say that to you the concept of mountain is tightly linked to freedom. To you, how important is the reference to a territorial context such as the mountains, in your living and thinking anarchy?
Rai Ko Ris-We started to reflect on the importance of the geography one lives in during the armed conflict here (1996 till 2007). We saw the farmers of the mountains and the hills defeat the Nepalese national police and army easily even if the army was well armed by India,US, UK, Israel and the EU. It helped us realize that the STATE and its authoritarian/punitive/repressive apparatus was pretty useless in difficult terrain such as the Himalaya. We also see around, in India, Pakistan and Bhutan that it is very difficult for a centralised capitalist government to impose its laws in a place that is difficult to access. People build fortresses and want to keep people “in” as slave or tax payer. Anyone who wants to get out and away wants to naturally be free, but will be called a criminal for running away. The state makes us believe that we need them to survive....everybody, even in the hills start to believe this. But then they see their own bodies doing all the work so that they can feed their stomachs, and they start to realize that the state will never work to feed them. It is the opposite – we must feed the state. The only way to avoid governance is to go far, far away.
Nunatak: For many years now, Nepal is known, (aside from trekking expeditions in the Himalayas…) as far as revolutionary movements here go, for the people’s struggle and Maoist guerrillas characterizing its political climate. With the rise of the communist to power, how did social conditions modify there? And what possibilities and room are there for the activities of anti-authoritarian groups or individuals?
Rai Ko Ris: It must be said here that the civil war in Nepal was much more than what has been described in the mainstream press as a “Maoists struggle”. The farmers all over the country fought the central government and ultimately controlled almost the entire territory of Nepal except the capital Kathmandu that remained an isolated fortress for high class/caste Nepalese and its foreign friends/donors. The majority of farmers involved in the armed resistance had no affiliations with the Maoist party at all. The Maoist party actually joined an already existing guerrilla movement in the west of Nepal and its main role became to coordinate military actions. The farmers were fighting for an end to the Hindu state and its exploitation of the poor, low castes, and women, this political agenda came from the people rather than the Maoist party. Social change seemed possible during the war because the main agenda was anti sexist, anti capitalist, anti religious...but extremely nationalist – using expantionist India as the main target. One cannot change patriarchy in a decade, but programmes and kangaroo courts sided with women, the poor, etc during the war.
After the farmers won the war in the countryside, the Maoist party settled for peace talks, fresh elections and the end of Hindu monarchy. This maoist party became then the party representing the revolutionary farmers during these elections. Then it didn’t take long for the people of the countryside to realise that this party, like the others, was actually a capitalist centralised one only playing power games in the capital but not interested in the political agenda of the revolution. Looking back, the people here feel that the Maoist party only co-opted the revolution and became, like other parties, powerless and compromising too much while facing the influence/control of the Indian government on the Nepali economy.
As for your question about the ‘room for activities for anti-athoritarian groups’, when the Maoist party won the election and led the government after 2007, we as anarchists, saw a rise in police state control and authoritarian rule in and around major cities. At the same time people lost faith in the maoist party which had now become just another party at the central level in the capital, unable to impose its will in the countryside. For us, living around Kathmandu, it was a bit scary and we felt that the communists were more dangerous to us anarchists than a typical “democratic capitalist” regime because it was another pyramid structure in the guise of revolution.
Nunatak-How do you evaluate the influence of tourism on the life of Nepalese population: do you consider it to be invasive or an element capable of enhance the territory without colonizing the social fabric of the country?
Rai Ko Ris-Once again this has to be seen in a geopolitical context. The majority of tourists coming to Nepal are hikers/climbers/trekkers, so people who walk and like mountains, hills and hilly communities, they are not like tourists coming by bus to the Eiffel tower or the Vatican, they are more humble and respect the local populations. When tourists go somewhere in the mountains, they spend some money in the villages (lodging and fooding) and try to interact with the people. With the money, locals build themselves bridges, health posts, or community schools or whatever they want/need and from interactions with the tourists tend to change their mentality toward girls, women or lower casts people. So I see tourism here bringing some positive points. The problem we have here are the NGOs. They are the real neo-colonists. They come to do development or charity but hardly go to the hills/mountains, they spend their money in the capital city and conduct seminars in 5 star hotels. Their agenda is political as they choose on which project they are gonna work and how to implement it and make us dependents, bowing to their political + economic will. NGOs pay their nepali staff better than in any nepali industry, pay ten times more to rent houses, buy food, buy cars + household appliances and have created a middle class in the capital. This new middle class is hyper capitalistic and with the material benefits, is completely out of touch with the population of the hills, so they side with the foreigners when it comes to the politics of the country. The money never goes to the mountains and is spent on foreigners/rich Nepali salaries and administrative costs, so all the “aid”money is then spent in the capital buying foreign products for high and middle class, and that is how the money goes back to the western countries. So no benefits for the countryside people but the creation of a hyper capitalist elite that becomes against the political agenda of the mountain communities and help the foreigners to make sure that new laws are strictly market/capitalist oriented.
Nunatak- Do you think that communication through music - punk music, specifically – is linked exclusively to a metropolitan context, or do you manage to make contact and organize events also in villages and non urbanized areas?
Rai Ko Ris-Most people having access to this music are obviously urbanized in some way. However, it doesn’t mean that people like us don’t move. We (Rai Ko Ris) live on the outskirts of Kathmandu in a rural village (that is changing of course day by day) and we chose to live here because we felt more comfortable here than in the city (which rapidly represents just another Asian city). When Olivier first came to Nepal in 1988, Kathmandu was like a small town where it was difficult to find items like sliced bread and butter or pasta. Now you can get everything because of the demands of the new middle class mentioned above. So, we live in this place now that is like being in real Nepal...a little village full of patriarchy and hierarchy but also community life. We have our practise room and have for the past 2 years been teaching and letting 12 young women come and learn how to play punk rock and write songs where they can express themselves. We sometimes hold self defense classes for anybody that is interested. We organise shows where these girls can sometimes play, because even in the so called educated urban area where there are so many bands and music, there are not any women playing instruments on stage and rocking out....which means something is wrong with their so-called ‘development’ - so if nobody is encouraging or teaching them, nothing is going to happen. That’s why we started to do it. Smash patriarchy at the root. Just d.i.y. We are not an Ngo, we are not a social centre, we are nothing. We are just two people crazy about music and d.i.y and we feel better in the countryside doing activities than in the city. And the village appreciate the concerts, the fact that two wild people are just doing stuff completely out of touch with their normal society and are curious and want to see more and the youth feel they got some people on their side, etc.
Now you go to the city and you do a show and people are criticizing the genre, the fashion, the way you do something because they are so bored and they never did anything themselves, so to criticize or copy cat or buy their life by co-opting another’s is much easier than to do something out of the picture, by yourself. You know, we have nothing but our own will to want to change things...and it’s our everyday life, not a ‘project’ or an objective. It’s just how we, Rai Ko Ris, want to live our life.
However, we realize that we are still no super man, and we still depend on the city for jobs, etc and to be able to do what we do here in the village. So to answer the question, there is always a link with the city, but real life my friends, is in the hills where you can see a rare bird and a mountain, and the forest and the river and the blue sky where a big eagle is flying above your head...and where your dog is killed by a leopard, not by a fucking car. (This actually happened to us).
We don’t have a resort! We just have currently one guest room for visiting anarchists. And it is only functioning sometimes because during season Olivier is off guiding in the mountains and Sareena is busy with the kids and her part time jobs. In short, we are still governed slaves and do not live a romantic life, however we try to have as little to do with enslavement as much as we can. One can only keep trying.
It is a struggle, life, everywhere. But the struggle in the mountains where you only have your hands and feet and your community takes the will of a human being to want to survive. And those who choose to live this way are definitely, somewhere, consciously wanting nothing to do with capitalism or the state that enslaves. That is what we learn from the ordinary, ‘uneducated in typical school’ Nepali woman or man from the hills and mountains. D.i.y or die.
Thank you Guido. Please ask more questions if necessary. Salutations, friend.