Fri, 23 Feb, 2024

Heart-rending Life at Pashupati Briddhashram

By Sneha Parajuli

The Pashupatinath, a temple located in Gaushala of Kathmandu, is a famous place of pilgrimage for Hindus around the world. It is not just a temple but also the dwelling place for hundreds of monkeys and sages with dreadlocked hairs. Not only this, it is also a home to several unfortunate elderly people who are abandoned by their own children and thrown out of their own houses. Around 230 elderly people are sheltered by the only old age home run by the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare Council, since B.S. 1938, in the Pashupatinath area. The place is called “The Pashupati Briddhashram”. The elderly people seem happy for the fact that they should be somehow free from problems and tensions and have an easy life. But the real story is something different. Because of absence of love and care, they are feeble and sick. The Briddhashramis plagued by severe shortage of everything from basic water supply to caretakers. The most saddening part is how they are able to live inside a place which resembles hell to them because of lack of family like love. Some people living in the Briddhashram are somewhat happy about the fact that they are served good food. They also get to pray in the morning and in the evening. They consider themselves lucky to live on the lap of Lord Pashupatinath than their children’s home where they get nothing but animosity.With the change in time, attitude of the new generation is also changing. Because of this change elderly people are finding it very difficult to cope and live with their children and end up at shelter homes and sometimes even in the streets. This situation is very difficult to accept. Parents who worked so hard to bring up their children are treated like nothing. Elderly parents receive nothing but sorrow and pain. They are helpless and because of their old weak body, they have no other option than leaving their own homes. General people have the concept that the old age homes are "pitiful places" for abandoned parents. People feel sorry for others parents but when it comes to their own parents they treat them as burdens to the society. Pashupati Briddhashram is located inside the UNESCO World Heritage Site, which has cultural and religious significance. Elderly people can live a life better than their own home where they are mentally tortured by the hatred their children show them. Aging is a natural process because of which a person becomes weaker day by day. They lack company of their family members and get depressed day after day. This results to poor mental health and lack of the ability to cope within the society. They are forced to be dependent upon others. These senior citizens live a poor life after being abandoned from their homes and family. Waiting for their death they spend the last days of their life in the old age homes. Several elder people are facing many problems such as isolation, defencelessness and burden because of heavy work load and behavior of their children. Unfortunately, these people who devoted their whole life for the welfare of their family and nation are compelled to live a life of hatred and isolation in their old age. A bitter reality of Nepali society can be portrayed clearly in the existing old age homes. The parents who spend their whole life for the welfare of their children are treated unjustifiably in their old age. This is the dark side of Nepalese culture.