» 06/26/2007, 00.00
A living deity reclaims her right to a normal life
An ex Hindu Kumari speaks of her reclusion spent in isolation, deprived of friendship, family and education. Now in the wake of having deposed, she has graduated from high school and promises to challenge the “inhuman superstition” which would have her remain single for the rest of her life.
Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – They are born mortal humans, members of the lower castes, but are then elevated to the realms of the living deities; forced to live in isolation from early childhood, without friends and deprived of an education, on their first menstruation or sign of illness they return human once more, have to drastically adapt themselves to the difficulties of everyday life. They are the Kumari, Hinduism’s living deities, who are now beginning to rebel against the “inhuman superstitions” who in Nepal, are forced to live a lonely single life, deprived of affection in the belief that anyone who marries them will die within a few months.
Rashmila Shakya, born in Kwahiti, was a Kumari from 1984 to 1991. She is now 24 years old and is about to graduate in Computer Technology. At the age of 4 she was taken from her family to become a divinity. “During childhood I was confined within a Kumari Ghar (the temple dedicated to the living deities) without any formal education and now I am young but why I can`t marry?”. The girl remembers: “There was no formal education system then. An old tutor used to come everyday to teach me for an hour. But that wasn't sufficient in any way”. Rashmila only began formal education at the age of 12, when she was substituted with a new Kumari. Now she is reclaiming her right to abnormal life and defines the practise of imposing a life spent alone an “inhuman superstition”. It is believed that any man who marries a former Kumari is condemned to die within six months, coughing blood.
The Kumari, or virgin deity, is a Hindu cult practised in Nepal, and represents the reincarnation of Dea Taleju Bhawani, also known in India as Durga. The Kumari are chosen among the Buddhist children of the Newar Shakya caste, resident in Kathmandu for at least three generations; the cast is the same one to which Buddha belonged. Even if chosen among Buddhists they are equally venerated by Hindus. During her annual feast, Kumari Jiatra, she is permitted to go out in public in a covered carriage.
As they are considered omniscient the Kumari are not educated. More recently a tutor is assigned to them, a modernisation made necessary by their difficult rehabilitation to normal life.
Buddha’s birthday celebrated in a polluted industrial landscape
Pilgrims who travelled to the Buddha’s birthplace of Lumbini to celebrate his 2551st birthday yesterday were saddened by the sight they found. For many the environmental degradation of this Buddhist holy site is part of a deliberate government policy to encourage industrial development as a way to prevent the spread of Buddhism.
No news yet about missing "little Buddha"
Abduction is feared but the police don't believe this. The 15-year-old sat under a tree in meditation for 10 months, without food or water.
10/05/2016 13:30:00 NEPAL
Buddha is Nepali: a world conference to clarify the origins of Buddhism
Gautama Buddha’s 2,560th birthday falls on 21 May. According to tradition, Prince Siddhartha was born in Lumbini, southern Nepal. Nepal’s Tourism minister calls for changes in textbooks that claim that the founder of Buddhism was born in other countries.
Nepal: Tihar festival unites Hindus and Buddhists amid violence
Festivities last for five days and are dedicated to the relationship between man and nature. However, a Buddhist scholar pointed out that the spiral of violence continues in the country despite the willingness to feast together.
31/01/2011 BHUTAN - NEPAL
The government of Bhutan refuses to recognize Christian mission
For Tek Nath Rizal, A Bhutanese dissident in exile, there is no formal document or declaration attesting to the news, already reported by many international news agencies. "The past teaches us that such statements are only government propaganda to fool the outside world that Bhutan accepts all religions."
VATICAN - ASIA
The world is in urgent need of the Church's mission
October is a month devoted to awakening the call to mission among Christians. In the world there is indifference or enmity towards God and the Church. Religions are considered the source of all wars. Christianity is the encounter with a Person who changes the life of the believer and places him at the service of the wounds of the world, torn by frustrations and fratricidal wars. The example of the Patriarch of Baghdad and of the President of South Korea.
12/10/2017 HONG KONG - CHINA
12/10/2017 VATICAN - ITALY
13/10/2017 VATICAN - LEBANON
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.