Teej, one of the greatest festivals for Hindu women, is here. Students also celebrate this festival, and even if they don’t, they are affected by the festivities surrounding it as people from their friend circle or family members celebrate it. Sharing their views about this festival, they admit that the study environment college and homes is affected by the festival.
In celebratory mood
For most students the best aspect of this festival is that it strengthens the bond between female members in society as they meet and share their feelings with each other. They add that the singing, dancing and the celebration part of the festival is what they enjoy the most.
Nisha Khatiwada, a resident of Kapan and a Vth semester student of Bachelor of Public Health at the Karnali College of Health Sciences in Battisputali, says that it is fascinating to see women in red, dancing and singing folk songs on streets, going to temples in a holy and fasting mood.
Rebecca Maghariya, a IVth year student of Bachelor of Business Studies (BBS) at the Shanker Dev Campus in Putalisadak, says that as their college has no uniform, students come wearing red and green, or colourful kurta and also with mehendi on their hands two weeks prior to Teej. Maghariya is from Kailali and is currently residing in Thankot.
Maghariya’s classmate Pratiksha Gautam says Teej becomes a subject of all talks among classmates. Gautam hails from Rukum and is residing in Dillibazar. According to her, kind of clothes to wear and songs to sing during Teej become the main topics of talk in class starting a few weeks before the festival.
Effects on study
The students also admit they are distracted from their studies during the festival due to many reasons.
Neeru Poudel, a IVth Year BBS student at Shanker Dev Campus, says that the festival affected her when she was studying in BBS Ist Year as the board exam was on the same day. She was distracted from her studies as there was a celebratory environment at her home. According to her, this year too the BBS Ist Year board exams were scheduled on Teej but was postponed due to floods in Tarai. Poudel is from Syangja and residing in New Baneshwor. She says that music and other noise from Darr events at a nearby complex could be heard from her room. This disturbs her while doing her college assignments.
Umesh Bhakt Joshi, a IInd Year student of Bachelor of Law (LLB) at the Nepal Law Campus at Pradarshanimarg, says that around 50 per cent of female classmates in his class do not attend class from around two weeks prior to Teej. Joshi, from Bajhang and residing in Kirtipur, says almost all his female classmates are absent from Darr eating day till Rishi Panchami. He opines that as half the number of students remain absent, their lecturers show no interest in teaching and usually postpone classes for a week. There is also less possibility of female lecturers holding classes on those days, informs Joshi, adding that student unions in the college have organised Darr programme for students this year too as in previous years.
Shanta Bahadur Tamang of the Nepal Law Campus however, says that Teej celebration should not affect students regarding their studies as it depends upon students themselves on how to manage time. According to him, if some days are to be spent in celebrations, students should study those chapters early on or give extra time to the same after the festival ends.
Apart from these aspects of Teej, Khatiwada said she does not believe bathing and performing other rituals on Rishi Panchami will purify women and earn them penance from the so-called mistakes they may have committed being and making others impure during periods. Such superstitions push women to an inferior position in society, she adds.
A version of this article appears in print on August 23, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.