The Invisibles of Kathmandu
December 20, 2013, World Policy Journal
Story and video produced by Marguerite Ward
By Shikchit Khanal
As I step off the bus into Kathmandu, I’m bombarded with chaos — the sound of busy streets and people on the go. A young disabled boy without hands sits in front of a shopping mall painting a picture, earning just enough to eat and sleep. He paints his dreams. A blind man plays the drums to the beat of people in transit.
Along New Road, Kathmandu, locals and a number of tourists come to shop for assorted items and goods. An old beggar wanders the streets holding out his hand, imploring in silence for his next meal. A woman holds her crying baby as she pleads for food.
A monk passes by after walking out of an electronics shop, barely glancing up from his smartphone. Further down the main street, an abandoned young blind boy sits and begs for food in front of the Kathmandu mall. He often repeats the phrase, ”Ma bhoot ho” (”I am a ghost”). His words illuminate the devastating realities of an invisible people.
In a World Policy photo essay exclusive, Nepalese photographer Shikchit Khanal captures images of an otherwise unnoticed population in the heart of Kathmandu, the destitute and the disabled.
Shikchit Khanal is a photographer born in Kathmandu, Nepal. A lifetime resident of the city, he has watched it transform from a green oasis to a tumultuous urban landscape.