Tne need not go further than neighbouring West Bengal in India to witness the puja-economy in action. Creating carnival type events that showcase religion and culture will lead to tourism development in the long run. Of course it requires local municipal authorities, various community organisations and the private sector to work together. Sadly, Nepali creative flow, with regard to Dasai, don't seem to extend further than setting up a website for buying khasis online. Novel, yes, but hardly capable of leveraging our economy.
Dasai has a direct effect on the country's economy. A substantial chunk of consumption in rural Nepal takes place during the festival. It's boomtime for tailors who conduct nearly 60 percent of their year's business in one month.
If Dasai is the barometer of this economy, then surely consumption patterns as well as the GDP growth for the first half of the year will be affected. But we would still need to ponder on creative ways to cash in on the festivities. This Beed has often harped about the need of turning the holiday into the money-spinner that it has the potential to be in terms of creating events and bringing celebrations outside their own homes.
This year holidaymakers are facing many impediments: fewer people are travelling home because of security concerns. Then there's the problem of logistics-getting from point A to point B is almost never a straight line in Nepal. The shut down of a few private airlines has curtailed air travel. So apart from a few touts, not many people are benefiting.
Bipali workers in India, especially from western Nepal are less than keen to come home for the holidays. They are easy targets, returning home with hard-earned money. Besides, in most places, there are no banks to open an account. The chain reaction will set off reactions even among the big business houses in Kathmandu.
The new breed of Kathmandu consumers had picked up on a new trend, getting out around the Valley and Pokhara during Dasai. It was catching on till earlier this year. The hotel industry, hardest hit, has become despondent. This year most can't even muster up enough enthusiasm for domestic tourism.
From the looks of it, this is not going to be best Dasai we've ever had. Nepalis are killing Nepalis all over the kingdom. The current political impasse has sharpened our insecurities. And now, the Beed, as a bearer of bad tidings, has heard rumours of a bandh during the festival. When will begin to realize our potential?