After spending three weeks in the United States, blogger Dinesh Wagle is back in action on the politically sensitive streets of Kathmandu.
If you go by the opinions on the street, you will conclude that everyone wants to see a Democratic Republic of Nepal. Yes, Bikash Sherpa included. All pics by Wagle
Who is this boy? What is he doing? Where? When? Now the answers of all those questions: His name is Bikash Sherpa, 19. The IA first year student at Public Youth Campus, Kathmandu, works as a Noodles sales agent to earn his living. I found him today among the jubilant crowd of pro-democracy Nepalese celebrating the restoration of parliament in Kathmandu’s open air theater (popularly known as Khula Manch). I could understand he was in hurry; he had to go to work. But he couldn’t leave the venue where artists including Nanda Krishna Joshi and Rubin Gandarva were singing the songs and poems of democracy demonizing king Gyanendra.
Yes, he is Bikash Sherpa, (below) the happy boy from Taplejung, celebrating the restoration of parliament today in Khulamanch (Tundikhel), Kathmandu.
“Man ko kafal man kai chari lai
Nirankushata dui din ko bhaye ni,
Loktantra juni bhari lai…”
When the melodious Gandarva, a teenager, sang those lines along with his trademark Sarangi, I saw a smiling and satisfied Bikash clapping. But Shepra nearly fell off the old bicycle when Gandarva uttered these lines:
“Hera hera raja ko furti lai
Firta gara choreko murti lai…”
The jubilant crowd approved those lines with thunderous clapping. Without his knowledge, I was closely watching the reactions of the Sherpa boy. He was very happy as if the singer, by singing anti-king songs, was speaking his mind.
“Bharkhar udayo Nepali tara
Durbar ma lukya chhan jyanmara”
Oh…boy, the Sherpa from Taplejung was again raising his hands and clapping for as long as 45 seconds. When Gandarva finished his performance, I decided to approach Sherpa and wanted to ask him a few questions.
“Yeti khushi bha chhu, bhanni sakdina” was his prompt reply when I asked him how he was feeling. (“I am so happy that I can’t describe.”) When he was talking to me, Sherpa was smiling and his face was glowing.
“No problem if I do not get good place to sit.” Probably that is what she was thinking today while listening to the speeches of SPA leaders in Khula Manch.
Not just Bikash Sherpa but almost all people participating in today’s Victory Mass Meeting expressed their full support to those statements that were totally anti-king and advocated for Nepal without monarchy.
Lets listen to Deuda singer Nanda Krishna Joshi who sang harshly to the king and advocated for the republicanism from the dais. His lines were followed by the Jhyamma Jhyamma chore of the crowd.
“Hamro pyaro ganatantra aangani ma aayo
Bijaya ko tika laudai aaja geet gayo”
“Nangra haru jhari sake, daant jhari sake
Gyanendra ka sapanaharu aba sabai mare”
“Janata haru jagi sake hos gara raja
Aba pheri nihu gare bajaidiula baja”
And here a two separate lines:
1. Gyane[ndra] dherai moto bhayo janata lai bho bhari…
2. Hami sab ko ekata le lyauchhau gantantra
The mass in today’s victory day ceremony
Today’s gathering saw no police intervention and uniformed police were far from the venue. They were seated in front of the Tri-Chandra Campus though there was no barricade of any kind to prevent the flow of people toward the royal palace area. A few loud speakers were placed on the over head bridge of Bajbazaar and my guess was that the sound coming out of those machines could easily be heard in the royal palace. Whenever a speaker spoke something terribly against the king, he would receive applause from the crowd. “This is the first time that people have openly talked about republicanism and abolition of monarchy in a formal program organized by the Seven Party Alliance (SPA),” said a former editor who was with me when Jhyamma Jhyamma singer was stealing the show.
Some people in the city center faced difficulties making phone calls from mobiles this afternoon. But lines were not disconnected. In this photo, three people including CPN UML leader Amrit Kumar Bohara (left) inspect their cell phones and try to make a call.
The Janaandolan-2 has created such a situation in this country that everyone is talking about politics and dramatic developments that the society saw in the last three weeks. As I was returning to my home this evening, I found myself listening to a heated debate inside a passenger bus fully loaded with people from Gothataar and Sinamangal area.
Policemen rest under the shades of flowery trees in front of Tri Chandra Campus
“Look,” a man wearing a cap said. “Maoists played important role in brining out people in Janaandolan. We should realize this, okay? We should. People came for peace, not just for political parties.” A few others taking part in the conversation agreed. They also talked about how political parties let them down in the last decade and finally agreed that there is no meaning of remembering those old days. “Now we have come in new situation,” another man offered his views. “Political leaders have learned from their past mistakes. Look at Girija Prasad Koirala. He is now going through acid test. How can he ignore popular wish.” After criticizing Koirala for a few minutes, all people taking part in the conversation agreed on this conclusion: “Well, Girija is the leader. He was firm about the need of the restoration of the parliament from the day one. Look at his stand.”
The royal message right under people’s feet. I saw several people venting their anger against king Gyanendra by jumping over these hoarding boards that carried messages of present and past kings. Pro-democracy protestors destroyed some boards that were made and put by the Information Department to spread propaganda on behalf of current and past kings. This photo was taking in Bagbazaar. Look at that girl in jeans. She jumped over the board thrice as I was clicking the image! Another woman came back to the board walking about four feet and kicked on the board.