Nagarik March 2021
“Nagarik March” was a symbolic rally collaboratively organized by the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) and Accountability Lab with an aim of making the government and leaders aware of the voice of the public, and promoting the values of integrity, accountability and transparency. With the backdrop of increasing governmental opacity, especially in the procurement of COVID and relief-related supplies, the March brought together responsible leaders and citizens together who advocate for open, fair, and transparent institutions. The March was held on the 18th of December 2021.
The chilly Saturday morning of December felt warmer with the enthusiasm and energy of the participants. The walk began at about 8:30 a.m., with the entire mass wearing maroon t-shirts with the catchy slogan “भ्रष्टाचार सँग भिड्न, आउ सँगै हिँड्न” (“To tackle corruption, let’s walk together”). The people carried powerful placards with different slogans, from calls to challenge and end corruption, to raising questions about governmental opacity and recent COVID procurement policies.
Though a silent, peaceful march, our messages echoed loud. The Nagarik March drew individuals of all ages and backgrounds, from students to civil servants, children to youth, all of whom joined together to address this issue. The March route began at Bhrikuti Mandap and finished at Basantapur. Though the march was brief, it was able to attract a lot of attention from the public as we walked along some of Kathmandu’s busiest roads. The journey took us from Bhrikutimandap to Basantapur via Bhadrakali and New Road via Sundhara.
We continued with our short program, which included flash mob, drama, and speeches from our guest speaker, once we arrived at our destination, Basantapur Durbar Square – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The event began with a scenario that depicted several aspects of corruption, such as under-table bribing (paying under the table), defrauding people in the name of religion, and class prejudice. All of these scenarios were performed out in front of the audience, followed by a Q&A session. The show grabbed the audience’s hearts and captivated them with its relatable portrayals and engaging Q&A; the young artists’ hard work paid off. Following that, there was a flash mob that was both entertaining and educational. The entire event was well received by both the participants and the audience that had assembled at the end.
The guest speaker, Mr. Jagannath Lamichhane, a renowned social activist, took the platform and spoke about how corruption is a vicious cycle that is difficult to stop and a habit that is difficult to break. He spoke of the true nature of corruption and how it poisons the system as it grows. Mr. Narayan Adhikari, Co-founder and Nepal Country Director Accountability Lab, gave a remark at the end of the program, emphasizing the need for young involvement in addressing the country’s civil challenges. He explained that this initiative is a small but powerful step toward empowering the public and letting them know that we are aware of the continued corruption in our government offices.