Tue, 13 Apr, 2021

Superstitious Traditions and Norms Require Either Elimination or Reforms

By Ruby Shrestha

Hey hey hey! Wait..Do not stroll near the temple area during your menstruation; you’ll get it impure! Stop! Do not come into the kitchen without washing your hands after eating. Do not touch the fridge with your jutho hands; there are flowers for God. Do not cut your nails at night; you will be obstructed with something bad. Don’t play with fire, you’ll urinate in the bed (Duh!! -.-). Do not go for a sleepover at your friends’ house; who knows, something unpredictably immoral might hit your way. Know your boundaries!  These are some words which I normally hear from my conservative elders. Every time such words or norms are showered upon me, I feel as if they are invoking an irksome debate which will eventually end up into a dispute. I am indeed allergic to such beliefs and I just cannot stand them. Aren’t those beliefs superstitious and conservative, simply put, unreasonable? These are just some mere examples of the superstitious beliefs that are ingrained in the conservative population of Nepal. They consider such beliefs right and meaningful, and I do not blame them for that. They have been brought up with such values and norms from their childhood and those beliefs have been embedded firmly within the circuits of their mind. It’s the upbringing and the environment they’ve been exposed to, not their fault! I also agree that the situation back then was considerable for some of such conservative traditions and norms to make sense. But now, the situation has completely changed; the lifestyle of people has become modernized and everything is taking a complete U-turn to a comparatively better, hygienic and sanitized side. Hence considering this , the traditional beliefs of our ancestors, which surprisingly still persist in our society today, seem meaningless and completely irrational. Such irrational customs show up around us on a daily basis, may it be through interactions or through social media or through our own acts. However, we barely notice them. Why? It is because a majority of those superstitious beliefs have started to seem normal to us. And again, why is this? It is because most of us  have been brought up by parents who directly or indirectly expand the life expectancy of such beliefs by practicing them whenever they get the chance.  Some of the examples which I discussed earlier are just meager issues of conservative mindset and superstitious practices in Nepal. Sad to say, there still exists more alarming and hideous conservative and traditional customs in our country. One of such customs which I came to know lately about is Gadhimai Festival. For those who are unaware of this festival, it’s a gruesome and sinful mass animal sacrifice festival which takes place during the two-day Gadhimai Jatra in the Bara District, located in the southern Nepali land, during November. It is said that this festival takes place once in every five years. I wonder why it’s even called a festival?! Festivals are meant to promote happiness and peace for all, right? However, from my point of view, this festival is a complete contrast to happiness. Does sacrificing thousands and half a million of animals within two days invite happiness by any way to any one? Senior citizens who are more connected to our ancestors say that this norm is practiced to please the Gadhimai God. However, will slaying the God’s own creation give God any peace? Isn’t that insane? However, many people directly or indirectly promote this tradition without raising their voice against it. Worshippers expend their energy walking long distance to watch this criminal show of killing innocent animals considering it as an important and holy religious ceremony. Wow! How devoted! To add, it is said that a group of people get drunk and slay as many animal as they can in these two days of Gadhimai Jatra. Damn! What are such people blind-folded with? Extremely powerful blindfold I must say, such powerful that it demolishes their ability of distinguishing whether they are doing something right or something extremely wrong! Is abiding by such half-witted customs and traditions more important than preserving one’s moral values? They should try to answer this question when they are at their right senses. Gadhimai Jatra was just an example. There are plenty of such superstitious and imprudent traditions, customs and norms still healthy and alive in our country. Everything in the country has started stepping towards modernization and civilization. Then, why are such senseless norms still persisting in our society? Why not remove these stains and garbage, and create a safe, healthy and hygienic motherland for all? Let us strive and thrive to learn things which are good, change our thinking for better and bring the change in our behavior for the best!