Tuesday, September 8, 2009

India and Nepal countries without checkposts in between; Please don't build one now

‘‘India shares historical bond with Nepal, in Kashi priests from Nepal perform
the pujas and in Pashupatinath it is the Indian priests. It is a tradition being
followed from centuries. So I think there should no problem between us,’’ Krishna
Krishna mentioned here is India's External Affairs minister S.M Krishna. Nepal's culture minister Minendra Kumar Rijal added that:
"It is an attempt to mar the age-old harmonious relations between India and
Nepal. We share the same culture, religion and tradition and Nepali priests
perform the puja at the Jagannath temple in Puri and other Indian temples."

India and Nepal's relation are centuries old. There are many things which make Nepal more close to India. Like the Nepali language is considered as close to Sanskrit and written in Devanagari script. The combined population of Nepal who speak Hindi dialects like Awadhi, Bhojpuri and Mithili is 22.3% of the entire population. Nepal is also highlighted on the Hindu puranas like 'Skanda Purana'; Skanda Purana has a separate volume known as 'Nepal Mahatmya'. It is also mentioned in Hindu scriptures like Narayana Puja' and 'Atharva Siras'.

In term of political history too Nepal and India are closely associated. By 250 BC Nepal Valley comes under 'Maurya Dynasty' and later under 'Guptha Dynasty'. By late 11th century Nepal come under the Chalukya Empire of South India. Even after post independence relations between India and Nepal were smooth.

In accordance with a long standing treaty Indian and Nepalese citizens may travel to each other countries without a passport or visa. It is also possible or the Nepalese citizen's to work in India without any legal restrictions. It is in this contest we have to think about the issues related to the 'Pashupatinath Temple' - which is considered as the world's biggest 'Shiva Temple'.

Priests from South India are performing pooja's here since the time of Malla king 'Yaksha Malla'. This tradition is supposed to have started by the request of 'Adi Sankaracharya' -On of the great sage in Hinduism. Another interpretation is that Indian priests are stationed at Pashupatinath Temple, because when the king passes away, the entire people of Nepal are supposed to stop the religious practices and enter a year of mourning. But as the Poojas performing in the temple can't be stopped this tradition was started.

Now protests are rising against Indian priests in Nepal. Some media headlines reveal this,

India slams attack on Indian priests in Pashupatinath
Shrine under siege: Indian priests beaten up, paraded naked at Nepal's Pashupatinath temple
Nepal govt wobbles as Maoists hijack Pashupatinath's sons' legacy
India fumes over assault on Indian priests in Nepal
Nepal 'regrets' attack on priests

Instead of protesting and accusing against each other, it better to find a solution soon. And avoid the temple as a place for political confrontations. Recently the relation between India and Nepal are going from bad to worse. Don't allow it to move towards the worst case. From historic time to this day we built a close relationship; from both sides not much attempt was made to break it over the past centuries. Even London recognised the importance of this relation and kept it strongly in the times of 'Raj'.

Every temple holds some type of traditions. Here back in my home state - Kerala, there are two temples close to my home- one Shiva Temple and one Devi temple. In both places pooja's are performed by Brahmins only. In the famous 'Guruvayoor Temple' and 'Shabarimala Temple' of Kerala the rights for performing pooja's are restricted to a number of Brahmin families. No one have any problem in that - In Kerala almost all famous temples are under Government control through 'Devaswam Boards'.

At the same time there are many temples where pooja's are performed by non-bramins only. In some cases the right for performing pooja's are restricted to women only. Still all that are maintained as it is. Because it’s the tradition, which is followed for many decades if not centuries. There are many temples in North India where poojas are performed by South Indian Brahmins. In the famous Badrinath temple which is located at far north of India, the head priest- Rawal- is traditionally a Namboothiri Brahmin from Kerala - located in the south edge of India. There are many examples like that and all these protocols are followed till this day.

I would like to visit Nepal sometime in the future and see all the beauty nature provided to this Heaven in Himalaya. Let’s keep this system intact, no passports no visas only friendship and brotherhood. Let Nepalese feel India as their brother, not just a neighbour. And Nepalese too have to keep the relationship alive, which may even form a model for European Union.


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