Ritual ends; Baba steals the show

KATHMANDU: The nine-day-long Shree Sahasra Rudrachandi Mahayagya organised on the premises of the Pashupatinath by Kalidas Baba concluded today.

Visitors who paid homage to Baba demanded that Nepal be declared a Hindu state to keep alive its own national identity. Their demand contradicts the concept of a secular state as per the Interim Constitution.

Thousands of devotees, including deposed king Gyanendra Shah and former prime ministers Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, Surya Bahadur Thapa, Sher Bahadur Deuba, and Lokendra Bahadur Chand met the Baba.

Former speaker Taranath Ranabhat, Deputy Prime Minister Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar, other ministers, high-ranking government officials and Maoist leaders also visited Baba. Khum Bahadur Khadka, a Nepali Congress leader, also met the Baba today.

Sharmila Sapkota, a student of Dillibazaar Kanya Multiple Campus in Kathmandu, who stayed all the nine days in the Mahayagya, said she found Baba more ‘divine’ and ‘spiritual’ than she had heard of him.

She also claimed that there would be ethnic conflict in the country if the demand for Hindu nation go astray. Nagendra Shahi, 63, hailing from Kapan in Kathmandu and Bishnu Gyawali, a teacher of Trinity College, Kathmandu, also shared the same contention.

“A large majority of people are Hindus in the country. Making the country a Hindu state is to preserve our own identity in the world,” Gyawali said. However, he was speechless when asked to point out a flaw in secularism.

According to Mahayagya organisation committee, which was headed by Haribol Bhattarai, more than 2.5 million devotees attended it.

Baba, who was born in Nepal’s Okhadhunga district and originally known as Kasidas Dahal, is believed to be a stanch supporter of Hindu state and close to former royals. He currently lives in India and runs ashrams there. Himal Dahal, a tenth grader at Padma Secondary School in Bhaktapur, said he came to see Baba on his parents’ advice.