The child will be revered as the reincarnation of the Hindu goddess Taleju. She will be confined to a Kathmandu palace-temple until puberty. Activists and social network users complain that tradition deprives the living gods of their childhood.
Kathmandu (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Trishna Shakya, three years old, was consecrated yesterday the new "living goddess" Kumari of Nepal. The little one will be revered as the reincarnation of the Hindu goddess Taleju until she reaches puberty. Throughout the period, she will remain confined to a historic temple-palace in Kathmandu, from which she may only venture out 13 times a year for the most important religious festivals.
While her coronation was welcomed by jubilee songs, child rights activists complain that the living goddesses are denied their childhood. Even on social networks the reaction to the news was the same. A user wrote on his Twitter profile: "It's not a good thing. Keep her childhood safe.
"The little one belongs to the Shakya clan and has passed a long selection of different peers. She will take the place of the former Kumari, Matine Shakya who is 12 years old, and who was consecrated in 2008 and will now retire".
Her father Bijaya Ratna Shakya told AFP: "I have mixed feelings. My daughter has become the Kumari and this is a great thing. But I'm also sad she will be separated from us. " The little girl also has a twin brother, Krishna, who burst into tears when his sister left her family home in the arms of her father.
The ceremony took place on the eighth day of Dashain, the most important festival in the Himalayan country. It combines elements of Hindu and Buddhist tradition. Kumari, which in Sanskrit means "princess", is chosen among the Newar, a community living in the Kathmandu valley. The selection criteria is very restrictive. Tradition demands that the child, in front of the sight of a sacrificial buffalo, not cry. Other physical attributes must be: an uncontaminated body, a lion's chest and legs like a deer.
The "living goddess" tradition has survived the fall of the Hindu monarchy. In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that goddesses are entitled to receive an education during the confinement in the temple-building where they can take the exams. Many ex-Kumari have complained about the difficulty of reintegrating into society after being dethroned.