Indrajatra, one of the major Jatra (festivals) celebrated in the Kathmandu valley is a major occasion for any Newar residing in the valley. All of us belonging to different religions have festivals of our own and celebrate and rejoice them. Any festival celebrated in the country is seen with equal respect. Even the government has announced public holidays for many of the festivals celebrated by people from different clans.
The significance of Indrajatra need not be described to any one, be them be residing inside the valley or not. It is one of the major festivals celebrated in the valley for several days; with chariots of Ganesh, Kumari and Bhairav being taken around many city areas. There had always been a system in which a small amount of budget had been allotted for the occasion.
We like to address our country as one with many diverse and rich in our culture and traditions. Our country has so much rich culture, among which Newari culture and tradition is also an important one. Delegates from Nepal often introduce our country using the names of such traditional aspects such as Living Goddess- Kumari, Lakhe, different temples, etc. This is a good thing that our cultures are not only alive; it is also reviving our country’s existence in the world scenario.
Now going to the decision of our Finance Minister, it is contrary to the much significance which is given to our culture. We want to bring up our country in world scenario with the help of our culture… agreed. We want to keep our culture going and alive… agreed. So, how does the decision of cutting down of the budget for such festival help justify? Budget is just a small aspect of what keeps the festival going. The Newars have many festivals which are still going without any budget from government. And this festival can and will go on at any cost, with or without the support from the government. But this abrupt cut off shows the negligence of the policy makers towards the norms and values of the general public. This issue is an immediate concern for the Newars, but it is not just limited to Newars, if we give it a thought. Today it was Indrajatra. In the days to come, it can be Dashain or Lhosar or Idd.
It is a belief of the Newari culture that the festival should always go on the normal schedule with the dates to be fixed by our Guruju’s. Disturbance of any kind would mean a bad omen as per our belief. With all the confusion created beforehand and to add up on that, some smart leaders of our country, gave it a thought and decided that taking away the Lingo (Pillar) of Indrajatra, making it into pieces would suppress all the dispute. Let all such smart leaders be clear that this Lingo is meant to be taken safely to Bagmati and float it in it, and that way the festival is supposed to end. But many factors have not favored for the festival to be conducted and ended as per rituals.
We Nepalese have always been a unity amongst diversity (Anekata ma Ekata); so this is a moment to join hands. Every Nepalese who wants to keep our culture alive should put effort in his/her own personal level to stop anything which will devour our traditional norms. Let us all be proud of our culture and save it.
Administrator’s note: This article was submitted to us from one of our regular viewer Dr. Shrijana Manandhar.