This week’s travel theme from Ailsa was Short. What immediately came to mind for me regarding this theme was how easily our short term desires and our need for immediate gratification can have such long-term affects on our planet and and how big of a difference a short term action can make.
In Nepal, bandhs are very common. The word actually means to close or to hold a strike in protest and is usually used by political parties. However, anyone in the society can declare a “bandh”. Sometimes bandhs can become violent and they always cause a huge disruption in society because stores are expected to stay closed, public and private transport is expected to stop and for many years it was a tool of protest and civil disobedience.
Nowadays many people have complained about the bandhs because during these events violent clashes often break out, burglary and economic loss is the most common result rather than positive change. Despite this, I’m a bit in favor of bandhs. If only for the short-term effects they had on my morning and evening commute, the view of the mountains that I had for nearly the first time in the two months I have been in Nepal and for the general lack of stress one feels when nature is apparent around them.
I walk to and from work most every day. Most days I need to wear a mask due to auto pollution and dust on the road. Not to mention my annoyance with walking due to the extremely disrespectful driving habits here. I was also able to see the mountains that surround this city both in the morning and in the evening. In November alone there were a total of 11 days of bandh. That’s nearly half the month where transportation was to be shut down. I was told that what we’ve been feeling for the month of November but especially for today, election day, was how it was over 15 years ago. It was just a glimpse but I could actually imagine what life might have been like not so long ago.
All of these pictures were taken with my iPhone. Once again I wasn’t carrying my normal camera.
View with a bandh…
View without a bandh…
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