Guthi Bill : A cultural inflict

A cultural show at Kathmandu Durbar Square

Our country Nepal is rich in political propagandas which are absurd and aimed just to gain the attention of the general public. The promises and agendas generated by the political leaders are limited to their speeches and talk shows but the reality is totally different. Different verses of democracies had passed and Nepal though entering in Federal Democratic Republic State, there is no change in the lives of simple and ordinary people who are living their regular life with pollution, traffic jams, inflation, insecurity, foreign employment, and many others. People are dissatisfied with the political system of Nepal as it aims at giving nothing but disturbing the lives of the people day by day.

In the recent scenario, the government implementing Guthi Bill is an example of a direct attack to the culture, traditions, norms, and values that are existed and surpassed from generation to generation from our ancestors. Guthi Bill is the systematic management of various public and private Guthis which are running all over Nepal implementing various laws and appointing authorities declaring it as a separate entity to look after the activities and programs actively, the authorities said. But why aren’t they concerned that those religious Guthis which are the impressions of our forefathers are being transferred with full joy, energy and public participation to their respective environment without the involvement of any government entities from many decades.

Indra Jatra as for example one of the most culturally celebrated festival of Nepal from 17th century during the reign of Malla Newa King Jaya Prakash Malla is still celebrated with great values via local participation and respective religious authorities declaring various pujas and worshipping the gods and goddess which are expert and experienced in their own field of culture and tradition. There was never the involvement of government authorities on the way how they celebrated the festival but the head of the state still visits and worships the living goddess Kumari on the day of Indra Jatra when the chariot festival begins. In those centuries, King PN Shah after conquering Kathmandu valley on the day of Indra Jatra offered tika from Goddess Kumari and gave the continuation of this sacred festival. This is the love and respect towards our cultural identity and their sense of supporting it and encouraging the Jatra lovers to continue it and surpass it to the future. 

Nepal is the land of cultural and historical monuments as temples of various gods and goddess resides in every corner of the street of the valley. Those cultural glories are being preserved and safeguarded by the religious authorities in the name of Guthi who have the rites and rituals to save it and celebrate it as taught by their forefathers. Those Pujas, offerings, worships are directly attached to the life of people as well as the particular community. It is directly interlinked with self identity and their introduction to who they are and why they live for. These unique features have too dragged the foreigners from other countries as we can see many international people tune into this magnificient Nepalese culture.

But the recent announcement of Guthi Bill by the government had raised the conflict and controversies as the points declared by it is totally empowering them to have the direct and indirect control raising more concerns in those cultural and historical aspects. The transfer of private Guthi into a public entity, the announcement of Authority (Pradhikaran) , the registration rules and showing the financial state of every Guthi of those cultural preserving communities, permission from those authorities to establish cultural resources and celebrate the religious activities and allotment of salary is nothing but the direct attack to tradition and beliefs of our cultural glory.

We all Nepalese knows about the burden and hassles one should bear to fulfill the simple work at government offices. Still many of the government offices are not managed systematically in order to fulfill the needs and requirements of general people. And how it makes sense when in such a scenario, the Guthi authorities instead of carrying out their regular festivals and religious activites in a timely manner go for fulfilling the official requirements with the issue of registration and different other processes. We should always be cleared that those Guthi insitutions are actively involved in carrying out their duties and responsibilities without any government intervention.

“ Traditions are the guideposts driven deep in our subconscious minds. The most powerful ones are those we can’t even describe, aren’t even aware of” a quote of Ellen Goodman who quoted brilliantly on how those cultural values are deep routed in our soul. It is the self driven reality of Nepalese people but it remains as the big question mark that why the regulating bodies of Nepal are taking it so lightly and directly intervening on it. As matter of fact, the government is there for making the life of the people easier fulfilling their basic needs and dedicated to take the burden of the ordinary citizen and accept the challenges they face and get ready for the consequences otherwise give resignation from their respective post. It is the role and duty of good governance. But in Nepal, such sort of expectations never turns into reality.

With the huge protest going on around the Valley against the published draft of Guthi Bill, there definitely seems the negligence of the concerned authorities about finalizing it and reaching it to the general people. If a simple layman could understand how disastrous it could be then why are our government bodies being so irresponsible about this serious matter. Who is going to be responsible for it remains a big question? Instead of fulfilling their promises of maintaining peace and prosperity in society, the city is full of agony against this misguiding and misleading behavior and who knows what might be the consequences of our government who is standing tall with 2/3rd of majority.

Our culture, our pride!

This government loosing people’s sight !!

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