The very road where I have scooted through a heavy cloud of dust and that too not long ago is much different today. Black-topped and wider are not the only changes. What makes it different is the coming together of Kathmanduites for justice – the crowd, the banners, and the chants right opposite of Rastra Bank, in front of the Prime Minister’s building.
I should have written this post earlier, recording each day and experience. Nevertheless, it is better late than never. Further, who knew how long it could have got and I was totally knackered every evening I came home each day. Today I made a sensible decision to come home early and write about it.
Ok, the mass. In the beginning days the attendance was less, maybe until Monday there were about 20-40 people. There used to be twice the number of police than people. Seems like the Nepal Police were expecting something else, and to their relief it was a peaceful event. However each day the number of people was slowly increasing. After the “Together on Tuesday” effort, there was a huge turn out of people, about 500 of them. The first thing I noticed was, the number of visible police was half of that from the previous day! On Wednesday the mass decreased but was still bigger than Monday’s turn out.
There are some constant faces, and newer people every day. However, with each day, I have begun to notice that there are a number of new faces turning into regular ones. When I first went there, I had thought I would be the only one, but once there, there were so many people I knew, from work, college … It might have been the same. Maybe with more campaign more people started pouring in. For instance, some of my friends had not known about the details until I shared my experience to them in person about it. Prominent figures from fields as human rights, VAW, and other too either have been there from the beginning or at least dropped by one of the days.
The victims family members apart from one case (maybe from one case the family wants anonymity) are always there from 9 AM sharp. On Tuesday, Swaraswoti’s mother asked if I would hold the other end of the banner with their family’s demand.
Media. As far as my memory serves well, I did not see much TV/radio much on the first few days. But as the movement took momentum more started pouring in – sign that it is being supported by the media or the movement is being taken seriously by the public.
Beauty. The victims are put to centre and the supporters are cautious that victims get justice from the movement rather than the opportunists. Action/attention on the cases’ demands have been fast. Immediate action, those feasible have been taken, and it is my optimism that the victims of all three cases will get justice, since the movement has grown so much that they cannot. These three cases also serve as models of the wrongs that are taking place in the society, the bureaucracy and what needs to be done. This could very help change some laws and policies that have been rusty and for which activists had been raising their voice. It is not just the victims, or the activists, but people, especially the young energetic crowd that have been seen committed and seem to have put aside their differences. Further, it is being organized without organizers. Some media houses have been very supportive.
Criticisms. Could have been that there is less visibility of people other than elite – not that it is wrong that those with the intellectual and financial resources being seen is wrong, just that maybe if it could attract crowd other than that then it might be reflective of the society that Kathmandu has. Seems like attempts are being made to resolve this hurdle too. Maybe one dilemma the movement faces is whether to pitch in other cases too, for Sita, Swarswoti and Chhori’s cases are symbolic of the many cases that have not received justice or are struggling for it.