As with the rest of the world I’ve been hearing a lot about Nepal lately. I’m fascinated by the economics, culture and religion of other cultures. My Christian, American, middle upper class upbringing has given me advantages that I am grateful for. I know my birth and upbringing makes me one of the most advantaged people in the world. That became even more clear upon finding the Kumari.
The Kumari are Nepalese girls who are made into goddesses. These children, babies, are not allowed in many cases to leave their homes, save a few annual exceptions. Their feet are too holy to touch the ground, therefore they are not allowed to walk. Once they reach puberty they are deemed mortal and are allowed to join their peers in school, work and play. Of course by the time this retired Kumari girl is 12 years old she is unable to run, among other physical activities, and is not socially adjusted.
I look back on my pre-pubescent years with incredible fondness. I was an ice skater, ballet dancer, and hide-and-go-seeker. Shouldn’t every child be a diving board jumper, tag-in-the-back-yard sprinter and toes-in-the-water splasher? I respect that each parent makes the decision of how to raise their children regarding religious practices and beliefs. There are two questions I ask:
What are basic human…rather…childhood rights? Is physical activity one of them?
This is not a raging worldwide human rights crisis. The number of girls affected by the honor of being chosen to be a goddess is very small. It just makes me sad to think of any child being denied the right to…childhood.
Read more about Kumari on the Huffington Post…or just google it.