BY Himal| IN Media Practice | 12/04/2002
bodies were taken around the city in a macabre celebration of "people power"

bodies were taken around the city in a macabre celebration of "people power". Even as this happened, in broad daylight, Kathmandu residents by the thousands chose to watch and not intervene. In 1992, this writer had asked, "What is it that allows people to be murdered in such a way? Why is it that such violence was tolerated by the same people who had only recently brought an end to a supposedly ruthless system? ....Do these killings constitute an aberration or are they evidence of deeply embedded violent tendencies in our
society?" From today`s vantage point, it is easy to see that those killings were not an aberration.

If Kathmandu`s residents were capable of such violence in 1990, we have become even more violent due to the particular history of the intervening decade. Anyone who cared to notice that the rioters in Kathmandu were overwhelmingly young and male would have to ask whether being young and male are significant for an understanding of violence in Nepal today. They are. High levels of unemployment amongst semi-educated youth, easy circulation of pessimism in college campuses, and the macho ways in which personal and societal problems are solved in the universe of Nepali and Hindi films, have given birth to a highly violent masculine imagination among this segment of the population.

The rioters in Kathmandu were living that imagination. Ghetto violence of the urban underclass in

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