Living goddesses

Court inquiry into ancient Nepalese tradition

Things seem to be looking up for Nepal. On November 21, the government signed a peace accord with Maoist rebels, thus ending an 11-year conflict that claimed the lives of more than 13,000 people. Also in 2006, King Gyanendra, fearing that he might be forced to abdicate, relinquished the absolute power he had seized in 2005 and reinstated multiparty democracy in the Himalayan country.

Having visited Nepal’s palace of the Royal Kumari of Kathmandu—a “living goddess”—I was particularly interested in news that the country’s supreme court has ordered an inquiry to determine whether Nepal’s centuries-old living-goddess tradition violates the rights of young girls. The court instructed the culture ministry to “establish a committee and prepare a report in three months.”


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