Nepal, India and other countries fight — and succeed — to have sacred objects returned

Nepal and India are just two of many countries fighting successfully to recover sacred objects stolen from temples and displayed in museums and galleries worldwide.

God Laxmi-Narayan is returned to a temple in Patan, Kathmandu Valley, 4 Dec. 2021, PHOTO: Amit Machamasi/Nepali Times

I have lived in Nepal for more than a decade but it’s only in the last couple of years that I noticed the movement to have cultural objects that were looted over the years returned from museums, galleries and other collections around the world.

It reminded me of the North American campaign by Indigenous peoples to have their ancestors’ remains repatriated from the world’s museums. The Haida people living on the Pacific coast of Canada have been particularly active, and successful.

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Childhood: another casualty of Covid-19

Girl facilitators in a meeting organised by UNFPA in Udaypur District. ©UNFPA.

Child marriage has risen in many countries since the world started locking down earlier this year. In fact, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) is predicting that if conditions don’t change, the pandemic will contribute to an additional 13 million marriages of children (mostly under 18) in the next decade.

The causes of child marriage are many and complex — economic, social and cultural. In Nepal, girls are often seen as a burden: raised by their parents only to be sent away to live with their husband’s family, and on top of that a girl is usually expected to carry with her a dowry for the groom’s family, which can amount to a huge amount of cash and goods, big enough to put her family in debt for many years.

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