A few “interesting” things that I noticed while wandering around in London and York.
I got very angry when I saw this notice pasted on the walls of Guhyeshwari temple complex today afternoon. My blood is still boiling- six hours after I first saw this. I felt like giving a tight slap- saale ko galai ma- on the cheek of this guy who ordered for this to be pasted here. The kind of slap that leaves imprints of all five fingers clearly visible on the cheek and the person receiving this falls instantly on ground. And then a few kicks on.. you name the body parts. And throw him on the nearby Bagmati river.
Photography could be barred at certain places. Fine, though I don’t see any reason to do that at temples complexes. What harm will be caused to the God if someone photographs Him? Still, I have no problems if some temples restrict photography. BUT I have problem with the tone and language of this particular notice. It associates SIN with photography. A classic example of playing the “paap lagchha” card (babu, teso garnu hunna, paap lagchha), playing with the religious sentiment of people, exploiting the ‘superstitious instincts’ of many illiterate people of Nepali society. Instead of giving convincing reasons, scientific argument for barring photography in the temple the notice associates the act of photographing in the temple complex an act of SIN. Who the hell is this person or the committee to decide that photographing the temple or the deity is a sin?
Another insane thing one can see at Hindu temples is a notice that says: “Entry for Hindus only.” Why do we restrict people from other faith from entering temples? Will they eat our deities? Utter nonsense. A Shillong-based Nepali-speaking writer and an ex-Indian army officer once told me: “How do we tell people of other faiths about Hinduism when we bar them from entering our temples? Who wants to learn about Hinduism when they can’t even see the Hindu God and Goddesses?”
P.S.: I am not concerned about spreading Hinduism or interested in converting people of other faiths into Hinduism.I am against Hindu fundamentalism. And I also strongly protest any efforts of converting poor Hindus of Nepal into other religions. BUT I don’t agree with such foolish notice that associate photography in temple premises with sin.
A quick note. Have been traveling to east,central & south AND west India. First leg was in Puri and Konark of Odisha state. Today arrived in Hyderabad. Had boarded into the train, which we almost missed as the Sun temple in Konark demanded more time from us, in Bhubaneswar last year- last day of 2010. Some kids in the train woke us with their Happy New Year screams. The train, on schedule, was moving somewhere in Andhra Pradesh. Here are a few mobile pics from today.
First day in Hyderabad:
1. Bangles on sale in Lad Bazaar, very near to the landmark Charminar.
2: Kids enjoying themselves in, ahem, LUMBINI Park!
3/4: Giant standing Buddha statues in Hussain Sagar, not very far from Lumbini park.
I first visited Dharan in 2001. I was on my way to Kimathanka, the remote and smallest village of Nepal by population bordering China. I stopped for a few days in Biratnagar, booked my air ticket to Tumlingtaar, and went to explore nearby towns of eastern Nepal. Dharan, Itahari and Birtamod. Back then my primary beat in journalism was Information and Technology. (The coverage got me CAN’s “Best IT Journalist Award- Nepali” in 2003.) So I wanted to get sense of the latest IT scene in that part of Nepal. Internet Cafes were recent phenomenon; connection was primitive and expensive. A lot of computer training institutes were sprouting everywhere targeting youths. I made it a point to visit Cyber cafes in all towns and computer institutes. Later, after coming back from Kimathanka with a cover story for Nepal magazine, I did a story on IT scene in eastern Nepal. The story was euphoriant (Title: पूर्वमा आइटीको रन्को) ।
Apart from checking in to a Cyber Cafe that was divided into several cabins and interviewing a friendly man who ran a Computer institute and a website on Dharan what I fondly remember about that trip is a relatively quick hike to the Bijaypur hill. Budha Subba was waiting for us. The mild mannered and soft spoken young boy who gave me a tour of the famed temple is now a staff reporter (sports) with the newspaper I work for.
Like many of my generation I had first heard about Budha Subba from one of my text books in school. The old man and his slingshot. The absentee crows and the unique bamboos. Then, not sure if it was mentioned in the text books, came another information about the temple with a romantic angle: lovers thronging in to the Budha Subba temple complex to carve their names on the bamboos nearby. The lovers were “attracted by the legend”, according to a magazine, “that writing the name of your beloved or tying threads blessed at the temple to one of the bamboo plants will bring luck and success to your relationship.” Every now and then the youth magazines like this or some other publications would come up with a story about the declaration of love on the woody stems of the tropical grass that blesses Nepali hills all over. The teen in me had understandably been excited by those stories and other hearsays. When I reached there, on the spot in 2001, I saw innumerable names carved on the bamboos. Coupled names were separated only by the + sign. I admired and took photos of what I saw. Continue reading