As Nepali Hindu society changes through time, its culture, beliefs and social systems need to change. Otherwise there will be an imbalance which has negative effect in the society, its people and its growth.
The Nepali Hindu society has now entered a defining moment in history. After the nations’ historic April revolution, which essentially brought down the monarchy and declared the nation secular, the people now have the task of rebuilding nation. Until the revolution,Nepal was a Hindu state, with majority of population being Hindus. So the task of reforming the nation should start with the largest group of people.
Following are certain practices and beliefs which need to be reformed or removed if Nepal wants to progress as a modern society.
1) The ritual of animal sacrifice should be stopped immediately. This practice is inhuman and cruel. In name of religion we as a society cannot promote cruelty.
2) The practice of discriminating women when they are menstruating should stop. I know the Supreme Court has outlawed this but then it is not being honored. In my home (while inNepal ) I was not allowed to enter the kitchen, go to the temple or touch anyone while I was having my periods. Yes I accept the blame for promoting this draconian practice and I promise I will not go dumb when this happens again. Every Nepali family should understand that menstruation is a normal biological process and does not make one “impure”. This
3) The practice of dowry should end. For my wedding my parents didn’t spend much on dowry because we would be living in US and it was not possible to bring everything here. Still in almost all wedding in Nepal , dowry is a big issue. The groom’s side often asks for certain items or certain amount of money. In southern region bordering , brides are often tortured, killed because of dowry dispute. If a bride doesn’t bring enough dowry, she is often humiliated by the family members who then force her to ask more from her parents. This is extortion.
4) Then there is the plight of widows. As I mentioned in my previous article published here.
Widow’s are at the bottom of Hindu society, even below the untouchables. She cannot wear red, has to give up eating meat (if she is a non-vegetarian), she cannot wear makeup. Widows are seen as sign of bad luck, so they are not invited in certain ceremonies during a wedding. Family humiliation and society’s torture is another thing they have to bear. In contrast if a wife dies a man is a free bird. Some even marry immediately after the customary 45 day mourning period. This is height of discrimination and cruelty against women.
5) Caste system should be abolished. Infact (I know this is extreme), no one should be allowed to write their last name which would represent their caste.
6) Everyone should be allowed to enter a temple. The untouchables and people from other religions should not be barred.
7) Discrimination against single women, childless women and women who don’t have son should end. A widow should be allowed to remarry, if she desires. I know there is no legal provision against widow re-marriage but then the families still do not accept this and take this as a sign of promiscuity or betrayal.
Above all, we should amend all the religious texts which say men are above women or which promote discrimination, from Manu Smiriti to the Vedas.