Fresh debate push to Pashupati priests’ jobs

Kathmandu, January 22:

The Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT) today initiated internal exercise to appoint new priests in the Pashupatinath Temple and systematise the management of the temple.

Culture experts, historians and members of the trust discussed the issue during a three-day meet organised by the trust.

Speaking at the meet, Minister for Culture and State Restructuring Gopal Kiranti admitted mistake by taking a decision in a hurry to appoint the priests the last time. “Lets come to a sound conclusion on the issue. We have two choices: Either to go with the old tradition or begin with a new one.” Controversy was erupted after the government appointed two Nepali priests to perform the

religious rituals at the temple, by replacing the Indian chief priest, over a month ago.

The appointments were, however, revoke following widespread protests.

Kiranti questioned the Bhandaris who protested the appointments last time, “If it is our tradition to appoint Indian priests, why should we not appoint Indian Bhandaris, too, instead of local Bhandaris?”

Culture expert and teacher Narottam Baidya condemned the minister’s statement and criticised the nomination of the Prime Minister as the chief patron of the Pashupati Area Development Trust.

“Our Prime Minister has never been to the temple. As an atheist, he is disqualified to take decisions on religious and spiritual matters,” he said. Baidya said the trust was trying to make the temple as an international pilgrimage site to generate revenue to boost the country’s economy.

Ganesh Prasad Adhikari, treasurer of the PADT, claimed that they had not made any mistake while appointing the priests, and said that the media hyped the issue regarding the acceptance of resignations of the Indian priests.

“The appointment should be made with consent but it should not be based on the nationality of the person. Instead the appointment should be based on what is best for the temple, culture and religion,” Adhikari added.