Kumari the Living Goddess of Nepal

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Kumari, the Living Goddess and right of a child Saurav Ghimire Kathmandu School of Law E-mail: Saumire@yahoo.com Phone: 9849867571 Customs and traditions are believed to be substantive elements to regulate an individual's behavior in society. But these elements are often criticized when they are known to be against the principles of human dignity. At present, the tradition of Kumari Pratha, an ancient cultural practice has become a subject of debate between the human rights activists and the strict cultural followers. One side argue that the goodness, prosperity and humanity lies in the hand of Kumari, the Goddess of Virgin whereas the others put the fact that even the Goddesses are being denied of basic human rights. At this juncture, it is very essential to have in-depth study on this custom which is highly praised for making Nepal known as home of living goddess and at the same time condemned as violating rights of innocent children in the name of tradition. A critical study on any tradition seems to be very negligible in Nepal. Very limited research works are found regarding the issue relating to Kumari, the living goddess. This paper aims to analyze whether or not the rights of a child, believed to be kumari are over shadowed by the tradition. * Introduction to Kumari System: Kumari system is the tradition of worshipping young prepubescent girl as an incarnation of divine powers. Basically, only a girl from Shakya community of Newari caste who hasn’t yet reached her menarche is made to go through certain trials and is eligible to become Kumari. Only a girl in excellent health, having the 32 physical perfections attributed to a goddess, with signs of fearlessness and serenity is chosen for the position of kumari. During a Hindu festival on the Kalratri she goes through a ritual where she must not show any fear, when the covered heads of 101
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