Kathmandu: President Bidya Devi Bhandari has said that Nepal needs to come out of the perception that it is a country accursed by Sati by working towards eliminating discrimination on women and addressing people’s aspirations for development and prosperity. While speaking on an interaction program on the book Sati: Itihas ra Mimamsa written by Sujit Mainali at Shital Niwas on Friday, President Bhandari said that the curse said to be pronounced by the wife be Kaji Bhim Malla that those who work for and wish for the better of the country and people will forever be in trouble needs to be forever eliminated.
Historical records show that Kaji Bhim Malla, who served the country and the king with utmost honesty, was killed amid conspiracy when he returned to Nepal after securing victory for the country in its war with Tibet. It is said that Malla’s wife while immolating herself on the funeral pyre of her husband had put a curse to the effect that the honest and patriotic people in Nepal shall be at the receiving end at the hands of the conspirators.
“Even if based on the legend, there is a deeply rooted perception among the Nepali people that Nepal is a nation accursed by Sati. We all need to prove this perception wrong by working for the greater good of people,” said the president. President Bhandari further said the book by Sujit Mainali informs the readers about the cruelty inflicted on women in the past in the name of Sati system. “The book provides a window to understand the cruelty of the past and the problems Nepali women are facing even today,” she said.
Parliamentarian Binda Pandey, historian Dinesh Raj Panta, Dr Jagaman Gurung, the vice-chancellor of Nepal Academy, Dr Rajkuram Pokhrel, head of Tribhuvan University’s Department of History, Dr Yubaraj Luitel and the head of TU’s Department of Sociology, among others, expressed their views during the program. Pandey said that the book rejects the widely held belief that women used to self-immolate themselves out of their love and devotion for their dead husbands.
“If it was out of love, there should have been the incidents of self-immolation by husbands as well. Such incidents are not found anywhere,” said Pandey. Historian Dinesh Raj Panta said the book has made a minute analysis of historical and socio-cultural aspects of Sati. Dr Luitel was of the view that the book helps to understand the socio-economic conditions of women of the 19th century.