10/07/2011, 00.00
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Hindus celebrate Tika with Catholics, Protestants and Buddhists

by Kalpit Parajuli
The festival is the most important of the celebrations for Dashain. The invitation is part of interreligious dialogue in the relations between Hindus and minorities. Muslims demand justice for the murder of their leader Damodar Sharma on 26 September.
Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - Hindus invited Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists and Muslims to celebrate the Tika, the tenth day of Dashain, with them yesterday throughout the country. The call is made each year and is part of interreligious dialogue in the relations between minorities and Hindus. Hindu leader Damodar Sharma states that this is a great opportunity to renew respect and solidarity between faiths. "

Yet Muslims have criticized the gesture. They are demanding transparency over the murder of Ahijian Ahamed, Secretary of the Islamic Federation of Nepal, who was assassinated by unknown assailants on September 26 in Kathmandu.

Nazrul Falahi Hassan president of Islamic Sangh Nepal says, "After the death of our leader, there is nothing to celebrate, but we will join in the celebrations the same even for a short time. We hope to deal with the discourse on minority rights and the safety of leaders. "

According to Hindu mythology, during the tenth day of Dashain the victory of Ram (leader who represents the forces of good) over Rawan (evil) is celebrated. In memory of the great battle young people receive Tika from the elders, a sign on the forehead made with a mixture of red dust mixed with rice and yogurt.

Despite belonging to the Hindu tradition, Tika is a national holiday that involves the entire population. Each year the president addresses best wishes of peace and prosperity to the whole nation.

Respect for these traditions is also due to the frequency of intermarriage. In many Nepalese families members of various religions live together. Samridi Rai, a young Catholic, has a Hindu father and Christian mother. "In our family - he says - we celebrate Christian and Hindu festivals with no problems. We all have great respect for both faiths". Marriages between Hindus, Christians and Buddhists are frequent and often Hindu, Christian and Buddhists altars and sacred objects are found in the same home. Marriages between Hindus and Muslims are much rarer.

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