Today marked my first day at the Jagaran Media Center (JMC). Pratik, a young manager at just 30 years old picked me up on his motorcycle, and rode me into the office. It’s a much bigger office compound than I’d expected comprising two separate buildings which stand two stories high.
After slipping off my Adidas at the door, I entered the building and followed Pratik straight into the reading room. Everyone at JMC to begins their day by sitting around a large stack of newspapers and catching up on current events. It was all smiles as I made my way around the circle shaking hands and doing my best to hear names that regretfully sound like a mash of syllables to my clumsy American ear.
The JMC has existed in this building since 2000. Formed by a small group of Dalit journalists who remain instrumental in its daily proceedings, JMC is a media center with the mission of creating awareness about caste discrimination in Nepal. Due to the creative and determined minds involved, it has been very successful and has grown its reach from traditional print journalism to radio, television, and even Internet technologies.
Today the office is busting as the JMC tirelessly prepares for a huge event. It is an assembly that will amass Dalits from every corner of Nepal in order to discuss and devise a cohesive agenda for consideration with ‘new Nepal’s’ constitution. Phones ring incessantly and energy fills the small second-floor office. Though I don’t understand a lick, I am becoming accustomed to the Nepali sentences bouncing over my cubicle. And though the afternoons get muggy enough that the large open windows fail to provide relief, I am getting a taste for the hot tea they bring our way.
I am really excited for this assembly and hope that it can give me a better understanding of what I hope to really understand by the end of the summer. It’s an extremely timely event, and the first of its kind. If it is a success and a united Dalit movement can be attained, it will surely help to place significant pressure on the government and political parties of Nepal. We hope that the outcome will provide equal inclusion for Dalits in the future government, and take a large step toward enforcing laws that are presently ignored.
Posted By Devin Greenleaf
Posted Jun 13th, 2007