I have newly found respect for the people of Nepal for two reasons -I am sure I will have more reasons in the course of my stay – but for now my number one reason is peace. while the second reason is …you guessed right – peace !
Recently, my colleague were coming from a radio interview and bumped into a demonstration by some supporters of a political party.I am not sure which party. This protesters were all in riding motorbikes. All the motorbikes had one or two passengers and a red flag. My first instinct, and probably why I favour feature writing to daily news reporting or going on the beat where the unexpected usually happens, was to get home as quickly as possible. However, after crossing the road and looking back, I noticed how calm and peaceful the traffic police were and how other pedestrians just stood and watched. This helped me relax and so off came my camera and I started clicking away. The traffic police were at hand to stop traffic so the protestors could ride on undisturbed. whats so special about that, ytou see back home, such protests would probably have turned into running battles with police with a few shop windows or people injured. Instead the protesters were left to go on peacefully.I salute the police and the protesters for not antagonizing each other.
In the past few days about three bandhs were called. The first was for Sunday 22ndt of and Monday 23rd of May. The Bandh on Sunday ( Sunday is considered a normal working day in Nepal – Six days of work Sunday to Friday and one day of rest – Saturday) was observed “effectively” observed peacefully in Kathmandu valley though there were reports of attacks on hospital staff and ambulances. According to a friend, this reports weren’t well received. The second bandh was meant to be on Monday but this was canceled due to the disturbances reported on Sunday. A third Bandh was called for today on Tuesday 24th of May and this too was observed i.e. there were no private cars or micros (buses) on the road.
This is where I am thoroughly impressed people of Nepal. With no vehicles or buses on the road, the Nepali people walk long distances to work. People are kind – those with motorbikes, also offer a rides to their neighbors. People are dedicated. Except for the silence in the streets, people continue with their business as usual. Though on normal days, there are usually as many cars as motorbikes on the road, during bandh season; one also gets to see lots of bicycles in the road.
I do not know whether it’s due to a strong work ethic, the fear of losing one’s job, total defiance to the bandhs that makes the people walk long distances to work during bandh -which as a foreigner leaving in Nepals scares me to the point that I just want to stay indoors – whatever, the reason, I salute the people of Nepal for their courage and brevity, their humanity and kindness to each other and their peacefulness during bandh. It is my sincere hope that one day there will be no more need for bandh for Nepalese to achieve their constitutional rights.