HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
I work in a restaurant which doesn’t shut even during bandhs. In fact, strikes really don’t make any difference to people like us. It is during these times that we experience a doubling in the number of our customers. It is the opposite actually. We have to work even harder during bandhs as it is our job.
The only inconvenience that I go through is in the morning and the evening as I have to walk to work and return on foot as my home is far from where I work. I feel bad as I have to walk, but it is good as I get to save money that would be spent on
— Mani Raj Karki, Waiter,
City Tandoori Fast Food,
I am 66 and live in a rented room with four of my family members. I am originally from Makawanpur and it’s been 30 years that I am in Kathmandu as a rickshaw puller.
Talking about the maximum amount I earn in a day, it would be Rs 1,500 and sometimes there are days without any earnings. It all depends upon one’s luck.
And generally during bandhs, I listen to the speeches of leaders of political parties concerned. The day of a bandh is very hard for a person like me whose earning of the day decides my meal of that day. I am scared of policemen during bandhs as I was once beaten by them at Thamel during bandh. Moreover, during bandh, I get to charge double to the customers but there is always the risk that I may get hurt.
I just want peace and harmony in the country and for me
the day when I get to work properly and earn my living without any fear is the happiest day of my life.
— Prem Bahadur Tiwari, Rickshawpuller, Basantpur
I have been working as a taxi driver for the last one year and I live in Kalanki. During bandhs I usually stay in my room and sleep, or if I feel lazy, I come out with my taxi.
And on the days of bandh, I prefer to drive customers for long distances like to Pokhara, where it is easier to convince those who call the strike. However, taxi drivers who are clever and brave are the ones who earn a lot during bandhs. A taxi driver needs to be courageous and clever and must know the inner roads to avoid any violent acts of protesters. But a taxi driver is risking his taxi while working during bandhs even though one may get well-paid.
But the most important thing is that there should not be any Nepal bandh.
— Sunil Thapa, Taxi driver, Kalanki
Bandhs during exams is not a new thing for me. While I was in Class XII, I took all the exams amidst bandhs. Now, the final exam of BSc CSIT (Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Information Technology), first semester is running. And again, I am suffering from the brunt of bandh. And now I have begun to question — are bandhs bound to happen during my exams?
I live at Naya Buspark, while my exam centre is at Mahendra Ratna Campus, Tahachal. It would take some 20 minutes on a bus to reach the centre, but I have to walk for two hours to reach. My exam starts at 2:00 pm, but I usually start from home at seven or eight in the morning and start walking as it is very difficult to walk in the
On the first day of the exam, I walked all alone and reached the centre three hours before the exam. While I was walking, in Gongabu Chowk I saw a group of people who had called the strike singing and dancing. I was tensed and worried because of their bandh, but they were enjoying and it really irritated me. When I reached the exam centre, all the friends, who came walking like me, had gathered there. As everything was closed, we sat in a ground nearby the centre and begun to share our experience of bandh.
As it was so tiring to walk on the day of the exam, for the second and third exams, I went to stay at a friend’s place in Kalimati a day before the exam. Though it is easy to study subjects like Mathematics together with friends, it is disturbing to study theoretical subjects. However, we all are forced to manage everything, as we must give our exams. As such not only my study schedule has been affected by bandh, there is a lot of mental and physical tension. And how would you expect a student who reaches exam hall retarded and worried to perform better in the examination?
— Ananda Thapa, Student, Naya Buspark
I am an English teacher in four schools — three private and one government school. During bandhs, most of the time, the government school remains shut, while the private ones run. The private schools mostly have students and teachers who come from the local area, and bandh does not affect them so much. But in case of the government school, most of the teachers come by vehicles and it is not possible for them to make it to the school during strikes. Also government schools are an easy target of those who call strikes.
As such, in the morning I teach in two private schools. But as the government school that I teach during afternoon remains closed, I am busy taking photos of the bandhs, mostly of Bhaktapur and also do reporting of the event for a locally published newspaper. At other times, I just keep watching TV, chat with friends on Facebook and read books.
While I am out in the field to report, I have seen many school children playing and wandering on the streets. And I feel that with the closure of educational institutions, these students’ interest towards studies begins to lag. Therefore, I feel one should not try to enter politics into the education sector; instead it should be taken as the zone of peace and should remain unaffected by such strikes.
— Ishwor Lal Shrestha, Teacher, Madhyapur Thimi
In a way bandhs are good, at least for me. We don’t have weekly offs where I am working and I wish there would be strikes, so that I get to spend
a little good time with my friends. However, it happens only during strikes where no vehicles are allowed on the road. At these times I mostly do my household chores.
During bandhs that allow vehicles to move around, we are picked up for our work. And I have to come to work. And we have to come to work for
money. The only difficulty I face is while going home as I have to walk home.
— Diptika Magar, Server, Anamnagar