Postcard from... Nepal
Thursday 21 November 2013
For once, the usually congested roads of Kathmandu were empty of cars and motorbikes – no traffic jams, no honking, no near-fatalities. Tuesday was the general election in Nepal, and not even a bicycle was allowed on the road, partly out of fear that people might travel around and vote more than once.
The only exceptions were those on official election business, so I hitched a lift on an election monitor’s motorbike. He took full advantage of the congestion-free streets and hurtled through the capital at eye-watering speeds.
But the streets were far from empty. At every polling station, hundreds milled around enjoying the festive atmosphere that attends Nepal’s still-nascent democracy.
We headed into the countryside, an awe-inspiring landscape of stepped gardens on steep mountain sides, the Himalayas in the background.
What seemed like the entire hamlet of Bhotechaur had gathered around the polling station. One college teacher quoted Abraham Lincoln at me: “We believe in government of the people, by the people and for the people.” He scoffed at the hardline Maoist faction that had tried to derail this election with a series of violent attacks over the past week.
And so did the rest of the country: voters turned up in record numbers with results due in the coming days.
Nepal has never had a government complete its term and has struggled to forge a new constitution for five years since the monarchy was abolished. But by snubbing the militants, Nepal took a major step towards peace and democracy.
- 1 This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
- 2 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 3 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
- 4 Ottawa shootings: Bruce MacKinnon's cartoon is the perfect tribute to soldier Nathan Cirillo shot dead at war memorial
- 5 Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Isis releases first video showing the stoning of woman accused of committing adultery as her father shouts 'don't call me Dad'
This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
FCKH8's provocative anti-sexism video showing young girls swearing reinstated by YouTube
Diwali: What is the festival of lights – and how is it celebrated around the world?
Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
£7200 - £36000 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: We are currently recr...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: TEACHING ASSISTANTS NEEDED FOR PLYMOU...
£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...
£7 per hour: Randstad Education Cheshire: We are a large and successful recrui...