Sat, 03 Jun, 2023

Strikes, Leading to Evil Omen

By Asmita Bista

Picture Courtesy: DWIT News

Strikes everywhere!! Holidays have not been as enjoyable as expected due to the shortage of fuel and strike. I wonder why these people are protesting when it is clear that it is degrading their own lives.

I had to travel to Itahari from Biratnagar, which was around 24 km long journey. We took city safari, something most popular in Terai. After reaching Duhubi, about 10 km from Biratnagar, the driver denied to take us further. We were left alone. We had no idea about what to do. After walking for 5 minutes, we found a cart, but it also carried us for only 10 minutes. After that we found a riksa, to the driver of which we requested to take us till where the next city safari was available. I said to him, “We all are Nepali; irrespective of what ethnicity we belong to, we need to help each other.” He then mentioned that he was a Bihari and he worked in Nepal; hence, he wanted a Nepali citizenship. Somehow, he agreed to take us thereafter. We were so much fed up of that situation. That was totally worst. After some time, we saw the rally of Madeshi people. The group included mostly women and children. I was irritated seeing those kids carrying bamboo stick in their hands and shouting “Jay Madesh”. That was totally embarrassing as their school was closed for more than a month and their family supported them to participate in such rally. I wondered how they will become a good person when they have seen such incidents in their early ages. That will probably affect their mentality.

After a while, I asked the riksa driver about how he feels about the strike. I was shocked as he shouted “Jay Madhesh”. I tried to explain him the bad effects of strike, about closed schools, no business and other problems that might be faced by Madheshi people themselves. He told that he wanted Nepalese citizenship. I informed him about the facilities provided to Madhesi people. Then what he told was shocking. He wanted two citizenships one Indian and another Nepalese. He was originally from Mumbai. Even his family members were living in Mumbai. He was in Nepal for job. I told him that he cannot hold Nepalese citizenship just by staying in Nepal for 5 months. I asked him why he needed two citizenships. He replied that Indian citizenship would help in getting facilities provided to Indians for food and other basic needs, and Nepalese citizenship would ease his stay in Nepal. I was totally embarrassed listening to him. After some time, we took another city safari. We kept on talking about what riksa driver told us. One woman in the same safari, who belonged to Madhesi community, was staring at us. I even asked her about how she feels about that context. She told that she did not feel good. I asked her, “Why didn’t you protest?” She told that she was a housewife and nobody would listen to her. I was again irritated by the so called male-dominated society. Why does a woman not have rights to raise her voice?

That was the worst experience of my life. Traveling to Itahari from Biratnagar never took about 2 hours before. I looked at those city safaris around there in Itahari. All those drivers belonged to Madhesi community. Even I belong to Madhesh, but the political situation has created differences between us.