Gaijatra in Kirtipur.
“Mahamahim Bhittey Rastrapati of Nepal” is what cracked me up !
I am a Newar. Born Newar. Raised in the heart of Patan. Living in the city of Newars.
The fact that “Newa Pride” has never appealed to me has nothing to do with how much I dislike Newari people in general. (Confession: I even seriously lack Nepali Pride. I wonder, what that is supposed to mean.)
The issue here is Nepal Sambat calendar and Newari New Year 1129. The government has now recognized Nepal Sambat calendar as the national calendar and has also declared Shankhadhar Shakhwa as the national icon, the one who supposedly started Nepal Sambat calendar around 800 AD. History has it; this Shakwa dude magically absolved the people of Kathmandu of a terrible debt and gave them freedom. And to mark his benevolent work, Shakwa himself is said to have started Nepal Sambat calendar.
Now, with the recognition of NS and its New Year day, we will officially have three separate “new year” days in single year. Bikram Sambat, Nepal Sambat and Lohsar. There’s also the English New Year.
Moreover, the government has also decided to form a task force on finding ways to incorporate the Nepal Sambat into “practical use” in daily activities.
President Doctor Sahib, himself lauded the government’s decision. This will keep intact, the national integrity and cultural harmony, he stated. Prime Minister Intense too said, the government will always step up its effort in preserving and conserving Nepal’s unique cultural identities. Former PM Koirala Babu speeded to Bhaktapur early morning and offered garland on the statue of Shakhwa dude. General Secretary of UML, Jhalanath Khanal did not miss out the moment either. He praised highly of the current coalition government, of which his party is proudly part of, for making a decision to recognize Nepal Sambat.
For once, I want to be optimistic and say, yeah – this sort of recognition of a cultural identity will surely maintain peace and harmony in the country.
There’s Bahun Pride, Chettri Pride, Maithili Pride, Madhesi Pride, Yadav Pride, Thakur Pride. There’s Buddhist Pride. There’s Muslim Pride and Convert-Christian Pride too. Lots of Pride.
I really want to be optimistic. But I don’t know how, all these pride will remain peaceful and harmonious.
And, what I don’t understand is, why form a government task force (with cultural experts, historians and astrologers) and try to incorporate or rather enforce the Nepal Sambat into the present use!
Do we seriously need yet another calendar?
And how come, all of a sudden, PM Intense sees the need to preserve “unique cultural identity”. His party members are the ones who started chopping off “sacred and holy” cows and eating them. (Though, I am not against that.)
Newar people of the Kathmandu valley celebrated the New Year 1129 – with enthusiasm, passion and pride. There were rallies, there were processions, there were singing and dancing, there were drunken frenzy, there were chants, and there was madness in the streets.
Newa Bhawana Jindabad! Long live, Newa Pride. Fuck it.
Things change. And, things do not change.
The kingdom of Nepal is now Democratic Republic of Nepal. Change, yeah. We might get another change, as the Maoists leaders in their central committee meeting were demanding for “People’s Republic of Nepal”.
It’s not the same CHANGE Barak Obama is dreaming about or John McCain preaching about. But it’s a change nonetheless.
We also had a change of Kumari. So long Rubina Shakya. Three-year-old Matina Shakya will now be presiding inside the Kumari-ghar, Basantapur Kathmandu. So much for the tradition and culture. Something do not change… need not change.. may not change.
The anti-religious Maoists want to keep on alert. They do not want to provoke the Newars of the valley, twice in a row. They must have realized it when their voting pool went against them during the Indra-jatra Fiasco. So keep alert. They do not want to jeopardize their future “sure-shot” voting pool by abolishing the Living Goddesses.
The Goddesses are here to stay. The only change we will see is the face, until the next menstruation, until the Goddess is tainted, sinned, doomed! Some ten years to go. People would no longer then worship her. Neither would they touch her feet with devotion. Goddess. Tainted. Sinned. Doomed.
It was heart wrecking seeing Rubina cry.
Kumari of Patan “displayed” during this year’s Nariwell Jatra of Rato Machindra Nath.
People were religiously touching her feet, bowing to her.. while she, the Living Goddess, remained lifeless.. sad.. and silent.
How can such glance, which is believed to bring good luck, confer anything but sadness?
She was made Goddess when she was 5. Now, almost 13 years old, she is awaiting her first menstruation – in other words, to be “sacked” from the divine designation as she becomes impure and sinned. Soon she will just be a former-goddess, soon she will have to start all over her normal life – soon she will be ostracized.
Her childhood, now all but a cruel memory intricate with seclusion and silence, sacrificed in the name of tradition. While other children played, cried, went to school and ran on the streets – she, the chosen one, sat inside her temple being trained not to speak, not to smile and not to cry.
All for the glory of “Shakya” family, all for the glory of Hinduism!
She never asked for this.