Morgan St. Clair

Morgan’s first experience with international work came in 2003, when she travelled around the world with Semester at Sea studying intercultural relations. She received her Bachelors degree from Assumption College in Worcester, Mass, and worked as an intern in the probation department in the Worcester Trial Court. Morgan then worked on human resources at a Biotech company. At the time of her fellowship, Morgan was pursuing her Master’s in Social Justice in Intercultural Relations with a concentration in community development at the SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, Vermont.



Tractors on Strike

28 Aug

This afternoon I experienced my first up close encounter of a strike in Gaighat.  It’s astonishing looking back before arriving in Nepal what I pictured a strike to be. My mind automatically pictured a violent scene with fires and massive, angry crowds.  Indeed, those types of strikes have occurred and very well might continue into the future (I certainly hope not). I think my brain has been shaped too heavily by the media and easily made assumptions before taking a few steps in this country.  I am very happy to report that the strikes (bandhas in Nepali) have diminisTractor pile up hed so much that my experience last year would be very different. 

At its most simplified form, strikes are a group of people who disagree on something and desire change.  Citizens in Nepal are so comfortable with protesting that its a completely familiar and a feasible action to take.  Don’t agree; let’s stop what we are doing in our jobs until those in charge take notice.  There is even a website that reports all bandhas across the country.  I couldn’t imagine checking a website to see if buses are running in order to get to my home. 

As I took pictures from a distance I couldn’t help but think how many peoples lives are affected this very moment, by these tractor workers.  The strike only existed for a few hours, not the days or weeks that some last for and most often absolutely everything is closed down, putting life at a standstill.  The bandhas work in Nepal for the citizens voice to be heard. It’s a double- edged sword because society has to suffer.  I don’t see bandhas ending anytime soon as every strike that is successful only entices another one to start, creating a vicious cycle. A cycle that needs to find another means for change I believe.

 Standing up for what you believe in and demanding change is very admirable still to me. The little man winning over the big corporation is implanted in my thoughts as I begin to relate strikes to those I know of in the U.S.  Why can’t people take more action at home?  We do have strikes where unions defy wages and other job benefits, however they seem to be limited. Perhaps there aren’t many protests because of fear and our capitalistic system keeping us “locked” down to keep us diligently working.   

Today the strike involved tractor workers whom were protesting a tax that they must pay twice, going in and out of the market of Gaighat as reported by Fastline.com.  If collecting stones near the river for building, a tax is required when dropping off and then when leaving.  The workers are demanding one tax payment.  Buses, motorcycles and cars were stuck behind the tractors, stopped to a halt because of unhappy tractor workers.  Luckily, it only lasted for a short period. The stunt worked successfully, (after two previous strikes in weeks before though) local political parties have agreed to meet to discuss the tax.  Let’s hope the meeting will go well so a fourth strike will not occur.

Posted By Morgan St. Clair

Posted Aug 28th, 2009

1 Comment

  • Jerson

    November 12, 2010

     

    It is somewhat that is affecting too much on the people and maybe their purpose so that the government will listen. It sounds like its not a good idea but maybe it is one thing that they have found that will work in their situation. Sometimes, it is the people who knows their culture knows the best solution to their own problems and even if its not the best it is usually the most viable way to do by their own.

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