‘If we fail to perform our rituals properly, it will bring a bad fate’

‘If we fail to perform our rituals properly, it will bring a bad fate’

“We have been unable to reconstruct our guthi house [small temple]. It is the traditional place where we Newaris perform our rituals. Some of these rituals have to be performed in secret. We cannot do that in tents. There is no privacy. And it is not safe to store our religious and cultural items in tents. So we carry them around all the time. It is very sad and it pains me to perform our rituals nowadays. But whatever the condition, we have to keep our culture alive. This is what makes us unique in this world. Despite the hardships, we must perform our rituals. If we fail to do it properly, it will bring a bad fate.”

Photo: Sameen Poudel

‘Some engineers said my house was unstable, others said it only needs minor repairs’

“Right now I am confused. My house has been inspected by the municipality and the Central Districts Office. The community service also inspected it. The municipality engineers said my house was unstable. The CDO engineers said it can be made stable by demolishing the top two of the four storeys. The community service said it could be safe to live with minor repairs. So now, what do I do?

“And I’m not alone with this problem. There is one house in my locality with cracks all over. One engineer said they only need some taku [wooden beams] to keep living there. All around Patan there are houses supported with taku. But with the aftershocks still going on, the situation is hazardous. These houses could fall down even with a minor quake. People live in constant danger. But if they were to demolish their houses, where would they live?

“The government focuses on fully destroyed houses. But what about partially damaged ones? They are silent on this matter and people are left to live in danger. It seems we don’t have any alternative besides living in houses with taku. Even that is not cheap. The three takus for my house cost me Rs 38,000 [approximately £230].

“Also, CDO officials say that a person having two houses can only get relief for one of them, even if both are damaged. That doesn’t sound fair to me. I’m paying taxes for both house I own, but I get relief for only one of them?”

Photo: Nitika Shrestha