Nepali Times Asian Paints
Economic Sense
Whose festival is it anyway?



A Nepali calendar is cluttered with a number of holidays, and the 'red' marked days have risen since we acquired the status of a secular federal state. On top of that, different communities are celebrating the same festival on different days. More days off are being added to our already dwindling list of productive days.

For some reason, the accepted science of astrology does not decide early in the year which lunar day is the right day for the right festival but leaves it to the last minute. Threatening announcements are made by different communities and then we have another holiday. If this trend continues, soon we will have different calendars with the same festivals on different dates, till we completely run out of working days. This beed is still wondering why banda-less periods make us so restless that we try to find ways to impose state-sanctioned bandas.

Talking about Tihar, especially Laxmi Puja, it's always interesting to receive 'happy Tihar' messages from pro-socialist, anti-capitalist proponents of collective wealth. Detesting individual wealth but celebrating and worshipping the goddess of wealth (to further individual wealth and prosperity) is hypocrisy. If the idea of furthering individual wealth is so widely accepted within our culture, then why do those who rail against it (at a safe distance from Laxmi Puja, naturally) not accept the right to individual wealth, the right to property and the right to enterprise as fundamental rights that need to be guaranteed by the constitution? If all the socialist and left parties of the country can outdo each other in celebrating this festival, then why do they not get together in shunning their empty rhetoric and allowing the new constitution to have provisions for the acceptability of individual wealth, as long as it has been acquired by legitimate means? It's all very well to have principles, but it's the practice that counts. The state, for its part, would do well to shift its attention towards protecting legitimate individual wealth, rather than supporting the creation of illegitimate wealth.

No Prime Minister, RANJAN ADIGA
A return to reason, BJORN LOMBORG

1. Bibek
Is that all Mr. Beed has got to write? What is Mr. Beed writing about? Is he writing against socialist worshiping Laxmi, or writing for capitalism, or writing against extra holidays or writing about mismatching calenders? This article is quite ambigious. Definitely not a good one.

2. jange
The Beed should get his calculator out and compare the working days of Nepal and a few other countries-say, India, Germany, Iceland, Bolivia, Australia, Nigeria and Botswana- shouldn't take long what with Internet and all.

Can we have the results in the next issue?

3. Anuj
Well, Mr ARTHA BEED, the first impression I get, based on the title and the  picture portrayed, you are either confused or you fail to recognize other communities' right to celebrate their festival. Having said that one way to economize holidays in secular federal state is to cut down holidays for Dashain / Tihar  and accommodate those extra days gained for other communities to celebrate their festival as well. Or, it should not be mandatory for people of other faith or community to celebrate so they can work and contribute to the ailing economy. 

4. jange
If we were to compare public holidays in Nepal and Europe it would be something like this.

Nepal- 52 Saturdays + 45 days =  97 days
Europe- 104 days (Saturdays and Sundays) + 8 to 15 days = 112 to 119 days

So, we still have quite a way to go before one needs to complain about dwindling working days.

One solution would be to do away with the government declaring public holidays. Keep the weekly one day Saturday holiday and simply allow xx number of public holidays to be taken at the employee's discretion. This way everyone can celebrate whatever they want whenever they want.

And government offices will have excuse to be dysfunctional for weeks at a time.

A truly secular solution.

5. Apple
Secular is only in paper. How much government spend money on other non-hindu festival? Hindu festival are called nepali festival whereas other ethnic festival aren't called nepali festival.Example 'Gurung haru ko mahan chad......'

6. Anuj
This is just to express the practical problem that we face and not to offend others of different faith. Let us say,  I am a civil servant of Gurung or Magar or Rai origin and want to celebrate " Gurung haru ko mahan Parwa Lohsar" or Magar ko Bhumi puja" or Rai / Limbu ko Dhan Nach festival". Now, given the government of Nepal's sanctioned holidays for different festivals of different communities, these communities fail to celebrate their festival wholeheartedly with their family and relatives until they take extra non paid leaves and let their children miss school / campus !!!. So, both way these other communities are at the losing end, be it their cultural heritage or transfer of "know how" about their festivals, which are entwined with their language and culture, to their offspring.While during Dashain and Tihar, they are given privilege of all privileges that GoN can provide like Daishain and Tihar allowances as well as enough days to accommodate their travel days. 

7. Slarti
#5, not to offend but you may be reading the news selectively, hindu haro ko mahan chad.........tarai ko ....and all of that is staple fare, more will come as common sense weakens in the face of overwhelming political nonsense.

8. Dr B
Contrary to a number of commenters above, I think this IS a thought provoking article. It raises two issues in my own mind; one is the issue of differing dates for the same festival, the other is the issue of productivity.

First of all the varying dates seems to be a function of different calendars being used across the country. I don't even pretend to know them all or about them culturally and have no wish to cause offence, but this must pose difficulties for interactions within and external to the country. Living in the UK and trying to interpret documents with Nepali/Sambat dates on them does pose the occasional difficulty, as does knowing when to send my relatives a greeting for a specific day which not only varies from year to year but also whether you are a Newar or not!

Second there is the sheer volume of holidays which means nobody is "producing" on those dates. Whether you see this in cultural terms or not, these are lost days to manufacturing and education which cannot be recovered. On numerous occasions across the year I try to get some school support or teacher training underway only to discover that the "schools are closed again, wait a couple of weeks and they'll reopen". They open and close so often the teachers and children must forget why the hell they were going there anyway!

Overall this is about development, Nepal's development into a productive, self sustaining nation. It can't be done when the world seems to stop turning on it's axis for most of the nation for over 50% of the year!

9. Sargam
The Beed has put a good question but he couldn't possibly catch up the real scope and magnitude of effect as his insincerity in this regard has put him quite beyond the pale.

We have noticed that most people carry guilt with them for being materialistic in a country like Nepal where every thing is performed in accordance with the old routine of peasant life. 

For instance, to wake up  at 5 o'clock with the rooster's cock-a-doodle-doo in the morning and work the morning shift till 9 o'clock. Then start the office hours at 10 o'clock till 5 o'clock in the evening. At around 8 o'clock almost everybody is in bed for a long sleep and so on.

But, now Nepal has morphed into a country where it is compulsory  to respect a timetable. If Nepal wants to be an industrialized and modern country the working hours, the weekends, downtimes, and festivals must be aligned with the international routine. It is the need of the time!

Nepal will go up several notches in everybody's esteem if she adapts herself to become the subject of international punch lines to cope with the new demand of the populace which has learnt more in this last decade about how world functions than erstwhile thanks to the migration of folks for their job hunting in the middle-east  and elsewhere in Malaysia and Korea et al. 

Can't have a cad and dad, you have got to settle for one!?!

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)