| May 23, 2019

Royal ghosting

Monarchy apparently is one of the most interesting phenomenon, concept, and/or system—choose what you may. I never fancied one family having all the riches and luxuries. My father once worked as engineer in Royal Palace. His job, as he told us, was to ensure all mechanical stuff were functional, with special focus on air conditioners. As he used to say, he found his way into rooms where even high profile officials were barred. He certainly fancied the kings and queens and everything that happened inside the huge walls of the palace guarded by a whole battalion of army. The seed of greatness of our monarchs was perhaps subconsciously implanted in my young brain back then.

As fate would have it, I was admitted to a school specifically meant for the blue bloods. In ten years, as ironic as it may sound now, I happened to be a member of the club whose president was in line to become the future king of Nepal. Ironic because the club that he led was 'Shooting' club! Yes, we had those air rifles and he taught us how to take aim and shoot. I also had an opportunity to interact with the then princess's husband, perhaps the only eye-witness who knows what happened on that fateful night in 2001.

I still vividly remember the very first sight of the prince, walking with school bag through the corridors that lead from science block to math block and not believing my eyes. He wore the same dress, carried the same bag and seemed to have no one in awe of him except me! Honestly, my immediate interest shifted in knowing what and where he would eat.

Blame it on the time, but my friends thought kings and queens ate 'gold' rice. So much for my proximity to the blue bloods.

In the meantime, for some reason, I had this idea that Royals here were 'gone' once and for all. I was thus beginning to follow Harry and William. Then, in popped Kate Middleton. In between, there were stories of Bhumibol; both the red and yellow shirts paused to wish for the well-being of their beloved king. A little earlier, the Spanish Team, having won the 2010 world cup, was granted an audience by with Spanish Royals. The reverence they had for their royals was there to be seen on TV. Interestingly, they all seem to be loved and revered.

Editorial: Pick and choose

The constitutional process
We are disheartened by the opposition alliance’s outright refusal to come to the negotiating table without a guarantee of ‘consensus’ constitution. First of all, it is not up to the ruling parties to decide the shape of the new constitution, nor to determine the way to that ultimate goal. The only legitimate authority on this is the sovereign Constituent Assembly. Our political leadership made a big mistake by trying to bypass the CA the last time around. They should not make the same mistake again.

Sadhus a ubiquitous sight at Pashupati as Shivaratri draws closer

KATHMANDU, Feb 16 : As the Maha Shivaratri festival draws closer, sadhus (holy men) are a ubiquitous sight at the Pashupatinath temple premise, drawing attention of the devotees for more than one reason.

While some sadhus could be seen sauntering around the temple or just taking a nap, several others gathered around the fire smoking cannabis or having conversation with fellow sadhus.

“Arrival of sadhus breaks the monotony of regular rituals. This is why they draw a lot of attention,” said Bishnu Ram, who was at the temple to see sadhus on Friday.

Over 6,000 sadhus are expected to visit the temple for the Maha Shivaratri festival, which falls on Tuesday.

“So far, around 5,000 sadhus have already arrived. Flow of sadhus to the Pashupatinath temple will continue till Tuesday” said Taranath Subedi, vice-president of Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT).

Last year, around 5,000 sadhus had arrived in the temple for the festival, according to the PADT.

Sadhus sing Shiva hymns in Pashupati area on Sunday. Sadhus from various parts of Nepal and India have arrived at Pashupatinath for Mahashivaratri, which falls on Tuesday.(Keshab Thoker/Republica)

Of the saints and sadhus arriving for the festival, over 2,000 are currently residing at Chaar Sivalaya temple, Tilgagna and Ram temple area. The remaining are putting up at various other ashrams inside the temple complex, including Gokarnanath Ashram, Bairagi Akhada and Nirmal Akahada.

“We expect to see more sadhus this year. The hospitality provided by PADT is attracting more sadhus every year,” he said.

For sadhus of different sects who follow Lord Shiva, the festival holds a great significance. There is a belief that one attains salvation by offering prayers to Lord Shiva at the Pashupatinath temple during the Shivaratri festival.

Sadhus of ten sects such as Aghori, Bramhachari, Naga, Udasi, Nanak and Nath visit the temple during the festival.

“Majority of sadhus are from the Indian states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Orissa, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Assam and Siliguri,” said Subedi.

Sadhus from India have been visiting the Pashupatinath temple since the Lichhavi era. But they were allowed to visit the Pashupatinath temple only during the Maha Shivaratri festival until the fall of the Rana oligarchy in 1950.

Organizing a press conference on Tuesday, PADT also informed that it has completed all the necessary preparations for the festival. Around 4,000 police personnel will be deployed at the temple for security.

“We are expecting around 700,000 visitors this year,” said Govinda Tandon, president of PADT.

PADT has said that the temple gates will open from 4 am in the morning on the day of the festival. - See more at: http://myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=92257#sthash.it76dNR4.dpuf

22 Nepali girls held in Tanzania repatriated

KATHMANDU, Feb16: Twenty-two Nepali girls, who were arrested in Tanzania, have been repatriated after their cases were settled. The girls were repatriated with proper compensation, with the help of Nepal´s embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Federation of Non-Resident Nepalis (NRN) in Tanzania. The girls reached Nepal on 10 February and have returned to their respective homes.

Panel to study employee perks and incentives

KATHMANDU, Feb 16: The government has formed a three-member panel headed by Chief Secretary Leela Mani Paudyal to study the current status of perks and incentives provided to government employees in various government bodies. Thursday’s cabinet meeting took a decision in this regard, the chief secretary told Republica on Sunday. Finance Secretary Suman Prasad Sharma and Secretary at the Ministry of General Administration Naindra Prasad Upadhyaya are members of the panel.

Govt told to probe Rs 5 billion in Swiss banks

KATHMANDU, Feb 16 : Parliament´s Finance Committee on Sunday decided to direct the government to immediately begin investigations into the wealth parked by Nepalis in Swiss banks. Following discussions with the governor of Nepal Rastra Bank and officials of the Department of Money Laundering Investigation (DMLI) and the Ministry of Finance on Sunday, the committee concluded that cash amounting to Rs 5 billion is parked in HSBC bank in Switzerland and this should be be investigated.
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