No Longer The Voiceless

Due to COVID-19 pandemic, people all over the world are lodged inside homes. We have nothing else to do to know the outside world except watch, read and listen television, online papers and radios. All the information is second-hand. You get depressing news more often than not. News is bad, of course, nobody can expect very good news and even if there is, it will be shadowed due to the current contagion. But, those sad news are again twisted, bent and sensationalized to form worse news. But we survived mentally.

If this protest is the first of the sequel, then certainly the government will have to be equally responsible for all of its actions and to the people.

And all of a sudden on June 9 noon, there were videos and news on social media about a protest. The photos and videos really made my day and it is, perhaps, the most joyful, moment for me after the lock-down started. Why because it really symbolizes a change, a different change that many people might not have discerned yet. Many people would watch any other protests by political parties with a blatant indifference but not this time.

Kathmandu Protest
Victims of water cannoning
Photo Courtesy: Sanjog Manandhar/TKP

We have seen protests, demonstrations and commotions all led by the vested interests of the political parties. Every time, people are used for a political gain by the leaders and every time little did they get except being chiseled. People always waited for a leadership that reflects them and decades passed entrusting leaders who were fake. Now is the change, so it seems. People can't wait any longer for a leader or a political party to come over in the streets and lead them. So, in the Nepalese history of protests, June 9 showcased quite interesting a phenomenon wherein self-quarantined youths marched out of their cozy home to express their anger against the government. It is in the time everybody knows they should stay home to be safe. 

How pleasant it is to hear that it was not permeated by opposition parties because oftentimes, they do it as it is easy fishing in the troubled waters. The awakening of youths is so spontaneous and how satisfying it is to know that youths have dissevered and came out of the hedonistic shroud to speak for themselves. Is not this political awareness and raising voice for themselves a noteworthy symbol of hope? Yes, youths have shown what others think of them is not right. They too are conscious about the misery of people, and corona-stricken poverty brought about by the lock-down. But this time, they only concentrated their apprehension over COVID-19 response of the government. They want the government to replace Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDT) with 100% Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests and they want the government to increase them. We all have to salute the energy and alacrity of the youths to stand for our rights against the scorching road and ferocious water jet. 

Most of all, the beautiful part of this agitation is that it has already created the vibration in all the youths across the country to speak up. Today, major cities of Nepal are rife with dissatisfied youngsters ranting against and asking questions to the government.   

This wonderful protest of youthful populace carries a whole lot of new meaning of the beginning of a new era. It emblematically exudes a strong message that leaders should stick to the people's agenda from now on and if they don't then people are capable to speak for themselves. Authority's attempt to disrupt the protest by using water cannons and batons was a complete failure on the face of positive vibes it emanated across the nation. Or thinking other way round, can using police aggression upon the peaceful protest be the sign of intolerance of government on neutral voices raising around the streets against its incompetent actions? If this protest is the first of the sequel, then certainly the government will have to be equally responsible for its actions and to the people. And other political parties also learn the lesson that the hoi polloi do have ways to raise voices too.

©Rabindra Adhikary 2020

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