'Secular Nepal' Finds Itself in the Eye of Controversy

May 24, 2006

Author: Pratibedan Baidya

Source: Nepal News


Last Thursday, within hours of the reinstated House of Representatives (HoR) proclaiming curtailment of royal powers and bringing the army under the purview of the parliament, among others, victory rallies were carried out across the country. But the proclamation of the HoR to declare Nepal a secular country are likely to ruffle many feathers over the long period of time.

Some Hindu groups took to the streets in the southern town of Birgunj on Monday denouncing the parliament's decision to turn the world's only Hindu kingdom into a secular state. They also demanded that the country be declared a Hindu kingdom once again.

Despite being a predominantly Hindu kingdom, Nepal is known for religious harmony and tolerance across the world. Even when communal riots were spread in its neighbourhood in India—in the aftermath of the demolition of the Babri mosque by a group of Hindu fundamentalists in Ayodhya in the nineties—Nepal remained calm and peaceful.

Talking to Nepalnews, Chintamani Yogi, Principal of Hindu Vidyapeeth—Nepal (HVP-N) said that the need of the hour is to ensure safe landing of the Maoist insurgency. "We should not extend support to the King unnecessarily in the name of 'Hindu rastra' (Hindu nation) but he cautioned that the parliament's decision to declare Nepal as a secular state could give chances for the regressive to unite under the banner of Hinduism.