National anthem at Pashupatinath opposed

Kathmandu, September 8

Nepali Congress lawmaker Bhimsen Das Pradhan opposed decision by Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Bhattarai to make it mandatory to play national anthem before Aarati (prayers) at Pashupatinath temple.

Speaking in the House of Representatives today, he said it was not wise to play national anthem before Aarati at the temple as mourners and funeral attendees also gathered on the temple premises. “Playing national anthem before Aarati at Pashupatinath temple is against our religion, culture and tradition,” he said, adding, “When national anthem is played everybody is supposed to rise from their seats to pay respect to the anthem and the country, but since many people from other countries also visit the temple, how can we expect them to pay respect when they do not understand the meaning of the anthem? How can we expect mourners, who gather on the banks of the Bagmati River, to stand up for the national anthem?” he asked.

He said the government was trying to revive Panchayat era nationalism by forcing people to play national anthem at different places. Pradhan said it would be wise to play national anthem only during national programmes and programmes attended by dignitarians, including president, prime minister and speaker.

He said the government might one day issue order to play national anthem before Muslim prayer Namaj. Lawmaker Pradhan said if the government went on taking such haphazard decisions, people might turn against the hard-earned multi-party system.