‘Maanis Thulo Dil Le Hunchha Bhanthe, Jaatle Po Bhayechha’

I am numb. I don’t know what to say about the Navaraj BK incident.

Every time we think we are moving forward, something happens that gets us back to reality, a terrible reality where some people are somehow better than others based on what their family name is. Whenever we dare to think casteism is something that existed in the past only, something happens that shows us how horribly wrong we are.

Incident 1: 2020 was supposed to be THE year for this bhai I know. He had made it through the auditions and had grabbed a good role in an Anmol KC film Dhapaure, which was supposed to be directed by ace director Samten Bhutia. It was like dream come true for this bhai in his mid-20s. What could go wrong? Everything.

Something happened and the film will not be made now, most probably. There was some misunderstanding between the lead actor and the makers, apparently. That’s normal, happens all the time. But worse was yet to come for this bhai.

In April, his family in Pokhara came to know that his father died of pneumonia in Dubai. To make things worse, his family was not allowed to use the community house to perform the ritual of 13-day mourning. And why was that? Because, wait for it, his last name is Sunar.

Incident 2: Something much worse happened this week on Saturday in Rukum when Navaraj BK of Jajarkot along with 18 other people were chased away by the locals from Chaurjahari Municipality when he went to tie the knot with a girl from Soti village. Why? Because he was from the Dalit community while the girl is from the “upper caste”. A day later, Navaraj’s body was found on the banks of the Bheri river along with his friend Tikaram Sunar’s. Another body was then found on Monday while some still remain missing.

This incident looks like a script from some crappy Bollywood film but then again, it’s 2020 and even they have stopped working on stories like this. But it’s still a reality for us.

This news hit me hard and it kinda broke me. It’s a lot to process. It doesn’t matter that I didn’t know Navaraj and his friends. It’s almost unbelievable that this happened. There could have been other ways to solve the issue. It didn’t have to end with so many people’s death.

This morning, I caught myself humming a song by this band called kidsandheroes. The 2018 song is called ‘Jaatko Meter’ and it asks people, “Ke timro taukoma kunai jaatko meter chha?”

This one hits you right in the feels. Here.

May be someday, someday soon, we get better than this.


Neeraj Pun (NEO)

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