Frail Economy Sours Festivities in Nepal

October 26th marked the beginning of five day “Tihar” or “Deepawali” festival in Nepal. Deepwali is when Hindus pray to the goddess of wealth and prosperity-Laxmi and ask for her blessings. The festival is also celebrated in the neighboring India.

Tihar, festival of lights in Nepal
Tihar, festival of lights in Nepal. Image by Flickr user Monkey Images used under a Creative Commons license

Pradeep Kumar Singh describers “Tihar” or “Deepawali” in Nepal as:

“Deepawali is not only the festival that falls after Dashain but also it is the main and awaited festival of Nepalese after Dashain. The celebrations last for five days. Crow, dogs, God, Cow and brothers (by their sisters) are mainly respected during the festival. Deepawali has certainly a religious significance and since it is a long festival, the religious significance is also too long. Talking about the religious significance is cliché. However, I learnt that it has a scientific significance too from my elders some few years ago. I too support the very scientific reason of celebrating Deepawali that “it promotes cleanliness”. Genuinely, Deepawali is about cleanliness more than a festival. Everything glitters and so begins the celebration of the only festival of lights, “Deepawali”.

This year, with global economy sliding and Nepal getting hit by soaring inflation rate, the country really needs some divine intervention.

United We Blog highlighted the country’s economic situation.:

“A press statement issued by Nepal Rastra Bank said that food and beverage prices shot up by 13.4 percent while non-food and service rates were up 12.7 percent.

Propelled by a remarkable rise in the prices of food and non-food commodities, the rate of inflation during the first month of the current fiscal year climbed to an alarming 13.1 percent from 6.3 percent recorded during the same period last year.”

A blogger at Writer’s Pit offers a different view of Nepalese economy.

“However this economic crisis hasn’t been too harsh with the Nepali economy. The foreign direct investment is solely responsible for keeping Nepali economy safe to some extent. The Nepali legislation is not very flexible with foreign investment which is why; the local economy hugely depends upon its own resources. The stock market is totally safe as the listed share trading institutes doesn’t include foreign share issuing companies.

To some extent Nepali economy has been affected. One of the main sources of income for Nepal is remittance which is slightly affected from the recession seen in the west. Many industrialists and business professionals have termed Nepali economy as “Insulated” in regards to the recession of the UK and the US.”

Tihar, festival of lights, a view of the New Road, Nepal. Image credit: Flickr user Rvivek used under Creative Commons

At the Nepali language blog MySansar, the scene is more festive. During Deepawali the Nepalese not only celebrate the goddess of wealth, it is also the time for them to honor nature and family. The second day of the festival is the day for dogs. Man’s best friend is honored for their loyalty.

In a post titled “How are the pet dogs of the leaders?” MySansar has pictures of dogs belonging to Nepal’s political stalwarts like former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, Surya Bahadur Thapa and former minister Pashupati Shumsher Rana. There is no mention of the ongoing economic troubles in Nepal but the blogger does make an effort to show the prevailing disparity in the Nepalese society. The young man who looks after Sher Bahadur Deuba’s dogs makes about NRs. 3,000 a month (US$1=NRs.80 approx.) whereas the Deuba family spends a total of NRs. 30,000 on the dogs.

Thumbnail image: Fuljhari by Flickr user Subhakar Manandhar

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