A couple of days ago, I posted about women in Pakistan being burned on purpose and expressed my horror over the practice and the cultural complicity that seems to condone the practice. Deeply ingrained cultural practices can be very difficult to change, but not impossible. Yesterday, MSNBC served up a current example of a cultural change in Nepal that is taking place because enough people decided the situation had to change.
In Nepal, there is a practice of worshipping “living goddesses,” virginal young girls who are picked by Buddhist priests. These living goddesses, some of whom are 3 or 4 years old, are confined to temples, where people come to worship them. When they reach puberty, the goddesses are returned to their families. While in the temples, they don’t receive an education or, as seems to be apparent from the article, proper health care. The Supreme Court of Nepal has decided that these goddesses have a right to basic human rights such as health care and education and has ordered the government to provide them to the girls.
Even though the living goddesses appear to be pampered, too much pampering can be as detrimental as some forms of abuse (although not on the same scale as being burned by acid). Let’s here it for the Nepal Supreme Court and its ruling to prevent the smothering of living goddesses.