GORKHA, Jan 10
From the decade-long Maoist insurgency to the country’s transformation into a secular republic, the Magar community of Bungkot VDC in Gorkha has lived through it all like rest of the Nepalis. And what still unites them through this journey is the 18th century King of Gorkha, Prithvi Narayan Shah.
In Bungkot, with its historical association with Nepal’s first martyr Lakhan Thapa, the villagers have since a long time been celebrating Prithvi Jayanti, on the 27th of the Nepali month of Paush. The locals even founded a club after finding that this tradition might die out if it was not institutionalized.
“We owe the king much for he created a safe place for coming generations,” says Bhim Bahadur Ale, chairperson of the club named Lakhan Thapa Lamghali Jaisi Chumirana Prajatantrik Club. Formed around two decades ago, the club funds the costs of celebrating Prithvi Jayanti every year.
People in the village subscribe to various political ideologies, but the celebrations are never affected by this, Ale said. “We have separate political leanings but these differences do not bar us from celebrating the king’s birth anniversary.”
Members of a club formed in Bungkot VDC of Gorkha district to celebrate Prithvi Jayanti every year, in this recent photo taken at Gorkha bazaar, the district headquarters.(Nirjana Sharma/Republica)
The preparations for the grand event begin at least two weeks beforehand. Some locals return to the village from other places, stealing time for the celebrations. Vabati Magar, 17, is one of them. The 11th grader at Shree Shanti Higher Secondary School, Lalitpur says that performing the maruni dance with friends decked up in ethnic attire makes her feel proud.
On the occasion, the villagers conduct a procession through the village. It concludes at the temple of Devi Bhagawati, where a special offering is made, explains Ale.
Asked about their take on the much-debated issue of federalism, Kamala Magar, 49, said the community wants to see the development of the village. Bungkot VDC is at the end of a six-hour bumpy ride by public transport and she emphasized the construction of a good road more than anything else.
Tej Bahadur Magar, 30, who recently returned from Dubai after working there for seven years, thinks that the unemployment problem must be addressed if the country is to retain its youths. He finds this just as important as the promulgation of any constitution. Lack of employment in the country broke his dream of getting married on time and raising a family. “I spent my youth working away in the Gulf, and I fear no pretty girl will look at me now,” he said wryly.
Published on 2015-01-10 07:10:28