When defending the rule of law, Balen Shah, the mayor of Kathmandu knows no limitations. His commitment to it, or should I say rigidity and formalistic adamancy, know no bounds.
The poker face and the black sunglasses, which I like to think are not just there to mask his concern for the metropolitan city, give the mayor a lot of his fierce personal flare, which nearly makes him unforgettable, and they depict a figure that is almost mythological.
The work Balen Shah has been doing recently in his bulldozing spree may be considered unconventional, but it is democratic, and as a result, the majority of city people respect the elected messiah.
But, how shall it go ahead is the question.
The larger-than-life mayor
The latest bulldozing spree in Kathmandu has successfully proved the fearless attitude of Balen Shah, which is something that rarely happens.
Moreover, Shah on the verge of losing his cool with one of Kathmandu’s defiant landlords, he can be seen acting pretty brazenly. He maintains his position despite being impatient and angry.
The act might have its fair share of narratives — a fearless Balen Shah, a heedless Balen Shah, or even a cocky Balen Shah — who with his ideas of common good dictates the fate of the city. The mayor channels utter equality in actions and is not reluctant to tie a noose whether it be on the capitalists or the courthouses.
This compels me to make a comparison. On one hand, if there is an independent candidate with no allegiance to the political parties, then a larger-than-life Balen Shah is breaking the sweat for the city and his contemporaries who will take a place in history as efficient omitters of duty.
Shah has been exploring the domains of power and position that his previous contemporaries failed to do. He is proof that the position of the mayor has more power than just occupying it idly.
Call it whatever you want, it all contributes to his larger-than-life persona and one that succumbs to no one or nothing. However, how it will play for the city in the longer term is indeed a matter of query.
A lone battle?
The rogue nature of the mayor who does not shy away from stooping to public brawls for the sake of the city almost reflects a theatrical picture of the underdog mayor.
One who does not believe in the etiquettes of a conventional politician nor does he entertain petty political shenanigans, his working ways induce a certain dramaturgy where a lonesome guy is adamant about changing the political system but the question is — Will Balen Shah be able to bend the system to his ways or will it be the other way around?
As a resident of the city, I would definitely wish for the former, but this indeed puts his resilience at a test. It is only a matter of time before we will know if he holds his ground or the fatal flaw of politics. It is yet to see what meddles and tampers with the righteousness of the mayor saheb.
Balen Shah stood as a fray of change where most people probably had their fair share of scepticism and anticipation about the new underdog. His fiercely swift actions have consolidated him as a mascot of the essential change that was expected and above all required.
Quite contrary to the scepticism that the critic posed of his mayorship, Balen Shah seems to be disinterested in the sophistication of negotiation but quite believes in finally mending all the wrongs of the city.
Moreover, he does it by confronting them and calling them out with his flair. An independent candidate Shah has his ideologies, his actions and his devotion all moulded into the betterment of the city.