The Impact of The Nepalese ‘Dashain’ Festival in The World
Dashain (Vijaya Dashami) is a traditional cultural festivity. Before Prithvi Narayan Shah (1868), the festival of Dashain and Tihar had been revered as a common culture for all castes.
After Prithvi Narayan Shah created a modern Nepal, a new tradition was set by bringing Phulpati and Jamara to Kathmandu from the Gorakhkali Temple by a Magar priest. People from the Hindu and Buddhist religions take Tika from senior family members in order of precedence after worshipping at the main gate on the occasion of Vijaya Dashami.
Among all religions throughout the world, the Hindu religion is considered the most liberal. According to the renowned philosopher Voltaire, Hinduism is the best gift from the East to the West. Similarly, George Bernard Shaw, the Irish litterateur said ‘Hindu religion is the most important and the most liberal religion in the world.’
According to the Encyclopaedia of Religions and Ethics, signs of Hindu religion are even found in Islamic countries like Iran. Stone scriptures of 486 BC found in Iran contain the words Hindu and Hindus. Even an ancient Parsi scripture ‘Shatir’ has lifted a word of Vedavyasa, ‘I am a true Hindu-born in a Hindu country’.
In the festival, interested Hindus, Buddhists and some Muslims used to visit the royal palace to take Tika from the King. But will the national festival hold any importance under the pretext of the monarch being displaced? Some people are unhappy owing to the forceful displacement of the monarch following the unconstitutional process. It has become a dilemma in our national politics.
Nepal was created with a joint effort between the monarch and the people. We Nepalis are very much concerned about the forceful displacement of the monarch and the unconstitutional process. Currently, fiends are ruling Nepal. The monsters and traitors are playing with the identity of Nepal under the guise of wolves under Indian direction. Patriotic people are pondering how to save the nation and chase the monsters away.
The agendas of the republic, secularism and federalism will disintegrate the nation. Nepal has been orphaned without the monarch. Dashain celebrated in the absence of the monarch is like a nation without an identity. It is a matter of grief.
The identity of a nation fades away when its cultural belief is in a sequence.
To avoid this, Hindus, Buddhists and patriotic Nepali people scattered across the world must launch a change. We patriotic people of the nation pray to the goddess Nava Durga Bhawani to be prosperous to the Nepalese People all around the world. All political Parties have to work hard to come back on track to save the national traditions and culture.
A country’s existence and prestige can gradually be eroded by finishing off its faith and belief traditions and the culture of traditional faith and cultural beliefs. If anyone wants the assurance of integrity and lasting peace in this country, one must not be confused about the country’s centuries old customs and religion.
In the name of transforming the country into ‘New Nepal’ the Maoists and the so-called democrat-Congress and UML are trying to destroy our culture and traditions. A prominent journalist Mr. Pushpa Raj Pradhan wrote – ‘The Maoist ministers cut down the budgets of such festivals when they were in control.’
The Maoist ministers showed the same type of reluctance while marking other festivals which have continued in Nepali society for 1400 years. During the Indra Jatra festival (2008), the Newar community was agitated when they were faced with a budget cut for marking the festival. The Maoist leaders are reluctant to preserve our own identity.’ Until, the Maoist leaders are going to undermine the Nepalese culture – Dashain & Tihar. The Maoist leaders and former Prime Minister Prachanda have violated our traditional dress for official functions which demonstrate Nepalese identity.
Dashain (worshipping Goddess Bhagawati for Power) and Tihar (worshipping Goddess Lakshmi for wealth) is a knot of cultural interrelationship among the Nepali people. Nepalese residing outside the nation take the festival as the identity of Gorkhali Nepali people spread across the world regardless of their caste and they exchange greetings and celebrate the festival in perfect cultural harmony.
In Darjeeling, Sikkim, Duarsh, Asaam and Deharadun and Bhutan, Dashain and Tihar is taken as an occasion of Gorkha unity. Hindus in India, Burma, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, America, Britain, Germany and Australia and other nations around the globe where Nepali and Hindus are living, celebrate Dashain in their own ways.
Dashain is common festival for poor and rich. Tika, a mixture of cord, red vermilion and rice is placed on the temple of the body by seniors. The ritual starts from Bijaya Dashami and lasts until full moon day with much zeal and merriment. Tika is received from father-mother, father-in-law, mother-in-law, teachers and other revered senior members with blessings. Dashain is also important to Indian Hindus, who celebrate the occasion without receiving Tika.
Dashain has always been celebrated as a widespread festival and as a symbol of power. According to Hindu mythology, an ogre ‘Rakshes’ (monster) by the name of Mahisasur had caused pain and suffering amongst humans. Then goddess Durga Bhawani killed the monster to relieve the humans.
Dashain is the festival symbolizing victory of truth over evil. The worshipping of the Nawadurga Bhawani during the Nawaratra (ninth night of worship) from Ghatastapana is an ancient tradition. It is mentioned in the Devi-Puran – ‘Ram proposed launching war against Rawan in Lanka on the occasion of Bijayadashami in Ashwin Shukla Nawaratri.’ Similarly, it is mentioned in the Padma-Puran – ‘Rama had killed Rawan on the day of Chaitra Shukla Chaturdashi.’
Nepalis influenced by Christian religion have been creating numerous illusions with an aim to urge people to boycott the great festival. But some Christians celebrate Dadhain as a cultural value without Tika. There have been efforts to pollute the holy festival with the color of the political party.
The leaders of Democratic and communist parties in Nepal are not following the norms and values of their respective parties. But they do everything the South Block, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) advises them. This is a regretful matter for our country. Some people belonging to indigenous groups are competing with each other to show they are better by boycotting Dashain. But indigenous people living abroad are lashing out at the concept.
Prof.Gopinarayan Pradhan of Darjeeling said – ‘the attempt to reduce the extensive Nepali identity to class based identity is sad.’ Swami Prapnanacharya said – ‘Estadev Mahadev, Parwati and Drawasam and Yumasan. Worshipping Nawadurga in Nawaratra is an ancient tradition. To pollute the ancient culture of receiving Tika on the day of Dashami or Bijayadashami at the right time is not wise.
People observe the Tika receiving ceremony as an opportunity to resume past broken relations with their relatives and friends. This is a joyous festivity. Those who have chosen to boycott the festival have made a mistake. This is their defeat.
What can be achieved from losing the identity?
Dashain is an immense opportunity for relatives living abroad to come together. The poor people, victims of perennial shortages, gather some to wear good clothes eat good food and celebrate the festival with joy.
In reality it is not a Dashain religion, it is a traditional cultural belief. It should be kept alive. I hope that the monarchy will be reinstated and the King also comes this year to offer Tika to the people. Then, we feel our glory.
I extend to everyone Greetings on the occasion of Vijaya Dashami – 2010 (2067Bs).