(A Letter to the Editor - published in The Kathmandu Post, 27 Nov 2009)
Biswas Baral should understand that we live in a democracy with freedom of religion ("Final Thoughts on Gadhimai", Nov. 26, Page 7). If people have faith in Gadhimai and wish to sacrifice buffaloes to the Goddess, who is to say they are "religious fanatics"? The Post has also published a letter from a woman in Norway who considers this event a "disgrace to Nepal" ("Not in God's Name", Nov. 26, Page 7). They are practicing their faith and let no one, especially someone living in Scandinavia, complain.
Baral goes so far as to philosophise, "people who commit violence against animals early in their lives are likely to commit violent crimes against other people when they grow up" (no reference cited). Animal sacrifice to Goddess Durga is a basic practice in Hinduism. I have a Chettri friend in whose family every male member is taught to cut a goat with a khukuri (in a single clean stroke) by the time he is 14 or 15. It is a rite of passage into adulthood. My friend cut his first goat at 15 and his first buffalo at 16. He is middle-aged today and has committed no crime in his entire life.
Hinduism was taken away as the official religion of this country, ironically under the watch of three Brahmin politicians. But at least 65% of the population are Hindus (another 15% are Buddhists). Let them practice their religion without uncalled for judgments. I will not judge the American people, for instance, for the number of turkeys they are going to kill for Thanksgiving. Let no one judge Nepalis for practicing their religion.