Bagmati People by Minnat Joshi

“The well known holy river Bagmati has long been a home for the ‘Sukumbasi’s where squatters, landless people build shacks out of anything they find. A home isn’t a home to them and life isn’t life. Identity is a word that the slums cannot identify and thus ‘miserable’ is the word that can best describe their utterly poor situation. Diseases wander around the community. The future of the children has been left undecided and the adults struggle to give best to their family – the family runs on a meager salary. The families live full lives, celebrate festivals and do their best to contribute to home and community. Their hardly achieved self-satisfied life was dismantled on May 9 2012 when forceful evacuations took place. To see an already ruined society rot away brings immense pain and can cause huge suffering. The prevalent poverty can’t be felt unless experienced but I have offered a glimpse of the different layers of the heart wrenching site through the following photographs.” – Minnat Joshi. 

Sabina Thapa Magar – . I am 34 years old and I work as a Laborer. My life is very miserable here. I have 2 daughters and 1 son. I don’t have much time to look after them as I will be busy on my works mostly. I am scared if anything happens to my children. I want to run away from this place with my children but I have hope that the government would pay me compensation for the destruction of my house. Only after that I will run away from this place.
Bakhad Bahadur Pahari – My age is 69 years old. I work selling fruits in vendors. I can’t do other work as my body is too weak. I had to struggle so much when my house was broken down into pieces. I lost all of my property. I had one son; he died of a disease. My wife is also very sick and cannot work. I have to take care of her. I hope our government realizes how we are struggling here. We are also Nepali citizens. We also have the right to live happily in our country.
 Kuldip Rana –  I am 7 years old. I study in grade 1. I love to read magazines and newspapers but not course books. Whenever I get free time I always take my ball out and run to play football with my friends. I love to stay at this place because all my friends live here and we can play football anywhere.I have a ground right in my front yard.
Lalita Chaudhari – I am 56 years old of age. I have been staying here for six years. I used to sell vegetables in the footpaths but I left it because I couldn’t earn enough money to sustain my livelihood. Since my house was destroyed here I have been trying hard to rebuild it. The government need to understand that we are homeless and poor. We don’t have anywhere else to go. All the hard work and effort I gave to make that house in three months, was destroyed by that dozer in three minutes. We couldn’t even protest.
Birbal – I have been staying here since the start. My age is currently 62. I’m a Laborer. I construct houses for other people. If I don’t go to work I have to go a whole day hungry. My body is also not fit for this work but I have to, for my son. We had a big house here before. I had constructed that house without eating anything, working each day. Now it’s all over; thus we’re living in small huts. I have many struggles in my life. I am spending my days with tension and trouble. I want the government to know my poor state.

Thulli Maya Tamang – I am 77 years old lady. I don’t work. I live my whole day with pain. I am suffering from many diseases. I don’t want anything from the government, I don’t need any place to stay but I just wish the government could give some money for my treatment. We don’t have proper food to eat, no clean water to drink, no safe and healthy place to stay.
Prakash Rumba – I am 40 years old guy. I have been staying here for a very long time, almost 6 years. I do Labor work. It’s a very hard job but I do it for my son. My wife has already passed away, she died of disease. So, I have to cook for my son, wash clothes, do household work and take care of him. Life is very hard here but I love this place. People here are very kind and sociable. I don’t want to stay away from this place. My house was also destroyed. My friends and I had made that house but now its all gone. I want the government to pay for what they have done, if not we will also not sit quite. 
Nimala Bhujel – I am 72 years old of age. I have been staying here since 6 years. I cannot work. I have 1 son and 1 daughter. My daughter got married 2 months back and my son is taking care of me. I am also suffering from many diseases. I have an eye problem. Life here is to hard, it is very difficult to survive. All things found here are unhygienic. My son and I wish to run away to another place but we don’t have enough money and we don’t know where to go and stay. Kathmandu is a big city and I’ve only visited 8thor 9th time. If I don’t get a chance to move out of here, I think I will die soon. 
Nita – I work as a Laborer. My age is 30. I have been staying here since 5 years. I don’t do other work than being a laborer. I live alone. People here take care of me. I don’t have any education. My parents died ages back. I don’t have enough money to fulfill my basic needs. I always have to depend on other people here for my daily living here. Clothes I wear are given by other people. I can only afford to buy cheap food like bread, vegetables etc. I want the government to see how we were living here rather than taking wrong actions. I lost my half of the property during the destruction.
Sumita Pokhrel – I am 37 years old lady. I have 1 daughter. Her name is Samjhana Pokhrel.I have been staying here for almost 4 years. I do labor work. My work is very difficult. I cannot work all the time, my body is too weak. I don’t have any education. I didn’t used to study. I don’t want to stay here in this dirty place but I am compelled to stay here in this place as I am not allowed to stay at any place except here. Other hates us cause we live in the slums.

“I started doing photography since 2 years back. I was really inspired by my sister. Her works really flawless. I love doing street photography as well as portraiture & photo journalism, but depends upon my mood. I own a photography page on Facebook : have a look and leave some comments so that I can improve more on my skills.
Thank you!!” – Minnat Joshi


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Read More:
Photographer – Dhilung Kirat
Photo of the Year – Narendra Shrestha
Through the Lens Ashim Pradhan

Lex Limbu
Lex Limbu is a non-resident Nepali blogger based in the UK. YouTube videos is where he started initially followed by blogging. Join him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

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