Like earlier years, this year's Tij was also celebrated with much pomp by the diaspora community. Despite their busy schedules, Nepali women all over the world gathered in each other's homes, put on their best saris, enjoyed dar together and danced the day away just like their sisters back home.
However, as people in Nepal become more aware of their identities, there is growing political consciousness among the immigrant population as well. Some Janajati women, who have been celebrating Tij for decades, are now questioning why they should take part in a Bahun-Chhetri festival. Some of my Janajati friends, who have been living in Sydney for a long time, are also raising their voice against the Nepali language which they feel is a Bahun tongue.
They do not consider Nepali their national language and insist on speaking English or their own languages. In a way, they are right. But I don't know if they realise how much the world, and particularly the African continent, has suffered because of the worldwide dominance of the English language and western cultures.
Currently, non Bahun-Chhetris in the UK, US, Australia, and India are undergoing a severe identity crisis. If they celebrate Tij, their Janajati leaders get angry, if they don't, they must distance themselves from other Nepalis who still follow the tradition. But what kind of world do we live in where Nepalis celebrate Christmas, but not traditional festivals like Tij and Dasain? Those who boycott these festivals in Nepal are trying to make a powerful political statement. But how does this logic extend to those who have settled abroad when even Bahun-Chhetris are discriminated against and treated as Janajatis in foreign countries.
Also the increasing hate speech against Bahuns and Chhetris in social media is hard to understand. I don't think scolding Bahun-Chhetris will lead to prosperity for Nepalis or Nepal. As a member of one of the most marginalised communities, I am also angry. Yes, we have been dominated and victimised for centuries and still are to a large extent. But we must direct our anger at Bahun leaders, not our Bahun neighbours. Cursing, hating or inciting violence against a few ordinary people who happen to belong to the 'upper' caste or naming states after ethnic groups are not long-term solutions to our problems.