Swoshthani Katha

Sunita Giri 10:09 PM |

When I was child, lets say about  twelve year or younger than that and in Bal Mandir, a housemother used to recite the Swoshthani Brata Katha for a whole month. I really do not know if they do it still or they did after that also but I don't know much of its recitation, in my later years of my stay there. I have heard the story  so many times, yet I remember,  only its tone, but but not the story part. Strangely not even a couple of lines so that I can tell others if they ask me, what's there in the book. Given to the fact that, I used to stay on the front row, when housemother Sabitry Basnyat, used to recite it in a tone; that is famous nationwide.

Why is that, everyone in Nepal recite the story in one same monotonous tone ? Why they don't want to do it differently ? What's to good in that boring tone ? me not being the religious person, that tone bores me to death. Yeah you must be wondering just reading that line, I used to stay on the front row to listen the story.

I really have not heard the story since then, I mean its been more than two decades.  I am not the religious person to be interested in that kind of religious story. Only thing, I remember about the story is, that the book talks about an old man of 70 years old marrying a seven year old girl. What I do not remember is why part. why our books do not tell us that it was the wrong practice. Why a man of a grandfather can marry a girl whose age makes her like his grand daughter  ? or I should not say anymore about it, as I do not remember how the story flows further.  But I have a feelings it is not going to teach me any good that I can be proud of myself, or this story tells me anything that empowers women. Most of our religious books teach women to accept slavery in the name of culture, tradition, society and good for family, but nothing for herself.

During the whole time, when she used to tell the story, my eyes was fixed on the prasad that normally gets distributed after the every days recitation completion. This is a a kind of practice here in Nepal. Every puja ends with prasad. The prasad used to be different in different day so that added extra reason for me to stay on the front row and listen the story.

Normally, the story is recited  by men in every home or the one who can read but had not yet had her period. Because the recitation requires a month long fixed time, from the one who started it may be should end it also.  Women do avoid telling it, because its considered impure to take part in this kind of religious scriptures recitation during the time of monthly period. Those who were interested, used to take pill to avoid the period for couple of days at the end, so that they can tell the whole story. Or this is something, I really don't know the full part again. My interest was not in the story anyway. It was the prasad that kept me on the first row.

One must be wondering, why do I have to stay in front row; when she would have distributed prasad everyone, who ever were there to hear the story. Let me tell you the reason. Its for two main reason : first I was not the favourite of Sabitri Basnyat to be noticed and then called my name from the back row to get the prasad and second I was always short in height, so even if she would have noticed me; others would have diminished my chances to be seen and get the prasad. On top of that, my hand also was very short matching my short height to stretch it to her face so that she will notice and then she will give me prasad.

I think its time for me to find the answers, why that old man was not jailed for marrying the young girl of seven years old. This kind of story is the real shackle for freedom or lets say the empowerment of women in my country.

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