Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Courts rule Nepal's living "goddess" can go to school

Amazing how many ancient superstitious beliefs still persist in these modern times (Christianity included). It's good to know, however, that once again reason overruled superstition.

Nepal court in landmark 'goddess' rights ruling

KATHMANDU (AFP) - A Nepali tradition of locking a young virgin girl in a palace and worshipping her as a "living goddess" has been dealt a blow with the country's Supreme Court ruling she has the right to go to school.

The court said there was no justification for the specially chosen pre-pubescent girl, known as the Kumari, to be subjected to a practice that dates back centuries.

The current Kumari is nine-year-old Preeti Shakya.

The ruling comes barely three months after Nepali lawmakers abolished the country's 240-year-old Hindu monarchy, who received annual blessings from the Kumari in a ceremony designed to underpin the legitimacy of the royals.

The court's verdict was prompted by a complaint from local lawyers that keeping a young girl cooped up in an ornate but decrepit palace in Kathmandu's medieval quarter was a violation of her rights.

"The Supreme Court came up with a verdict... asking the government to take action to protect the rights of the Kumari," Supreme Court spokesman Hemanta Rawal told AFP.

"The court ruled there were no historic or religious documents that state the child should be denied the rights of education, movement etc. She should not be denied these things just because she is the Kumari."

Furthermore, the "living goddess" concept is facing redundancy given that Nepal is now officially a secular republic run by ultra-leftist ex-rebel Maoists keen to do away with the country's "feudal" practices.

And the usual retort by the believers no matter what religion...they sky boss told them to do it:

The people in charge of looking after her said they took orders from the heavens -- and not the Supreme Court.

Sound familiar? Of course our superstitious folks would say that they aren't taking orders from the "true" imaginary being.

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