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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Kumari



It was one of those moments when I give up clicking through all the stations on the radio, when I have already heard the CD in the player enough times and my only resort is the NPR channel, which believe it or not has saved me from listening to a lot of senseless music and brought me stories I couldn't have come across if I spent a whole week at a bookstore. This particular story caught me with awe. This is the story of Kumaris. The NPR segment talked about the Nepalese living child Goddess who was visiting America to attend film festivals featuring a short film made on her lifestyle as a Kumari and many others like her. Kumaris are believed to be Goddess living in the body of a girl child who has all 32 signs determined by the Nepalese tradition. Kumaris as young as the age of 6 are taken to the "Kumari Ghar", with the will of their family where they will spend another 5 - 6 years being worshipped. I giggled as I heard the part where the Kumari visits an American elementary school and is faced with remarks such as "wow, i never met a goddess before", the kids watch her make up and stature in awe as she reciprocates the same, they are foreign to her, a Kumari's life is spent in isolation where she is worshiped by priests, her own parents (that I think is super cool) and many others who want her blessings to prosper. Her feet must not touch the ground, she must not be injured, one of the students asks the lady accompanying Kumari, "will she always remain a Goddess?" the answer is no, the Goddess shall leave this young girl at the age of 12, a gentle way of presenting the answer that hides within it the idea that once the girl reaches puberty she will no longer be inhabited with Goddess. This is when my budding excitement for this interesting ritual dies.

It's not odd to hear things like.. oh you shouldn't go to the temple when you are going through THAT time, back in the day one of my friends told me about her mother's explanation that when you go through THAT time you are dirty and you shouldn't visit God when you are dirty, it's disrespectful.

Back to Kumari, so what exactly happens when you have spent about 6 years being treated like a Goddess and suddenly one day your bodily change causes you to be sent back to your home, with your family who don't know you anymore, you are expected to carry on a normal life, your childhood has passed while you have hardly had a normal one, you have never been to school but you must now catch up, it gets better, once a Kumari you may never be married as you can be a danger to the life of the guy married to you.... great isn't it..and what do the family members have to say to all this..ofcourse they are privileged to have their daughter be a Kumari. They must follow the societal rule, which takes higher precedence than law in such communities.

Now what would be the case if it was a child boy God ? Would he forever be a God since he doesn't become impure? Would he be prohibited to marry? I bet there would be line of families waiting to have their daughters blessed by the God. Here's an interesting video about an ex-Kumari and her struggle to adjust back to normal life click here to watch it , some do not buy into this cultural ritual and call upon the human rights violation since it is never a choice left to the child to be part of this ritual read here

What thinkst thou?

6 comments:

durkhaima said...

about the selection procedure .. http://kumari.puellula.com/selection.html

Rodrigo said...

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Até mais.

durkhaima said...

@rodrigo

what language is that?

Pri said...

@durkhaima: dude thats a spammer.

also will you send me your email address... i need to send u a special invite to something.
also i am the walrus, shubra, deepa sorry i still dont know who's who will u guys send me your email addresses too?

bengloorgirlindenver@gmail.com

Amit said...

Dunno if you've been there. Reading is different. Looking into the eyes of a "Kumari Mata" to see the endless sadness is quite different. Even though I have been there (at Kathmandu) at an age of 10-11, I still remember it very distinctly.

They go through the motions like zombies! Its quite painful!

durkhaima said...

@amit
They go through the motions like zombies! Its quite painful!
Does this mean that they are emotionally imbalanced? I didn't quite get what that means... and does the public see this behavior?