DEHRADUN, Oct 29: Thousands of Nepali families domiciled in India celebrated the Dashain festival in Dehradun in all ways similar to their brethrens back home, except one. The ritual of sacrifice on the day of Asthami and Nawami was carried out without bloodshed.
“Dashain is all about families getting together, receiving blessings from elders and enjoying delicacies. The festival has a special significance for Nepalis across the world,” said a 47-year-old Govind Thapa from Ranjhawala. “However, instead of sacrificing animals, we used gourd on the day of Asthami,” added the retired soldier of the Indian Army.
Thapa vividly remembers his childhood when goats were sacrificed during Dashain in Dakara. But he is rather happy that his children do not have to witness such a cruel sight anymore in Dehradun. “As we lived in a joint family, we used to sacrifice three or four goats as a single one would not have sufficed. But we have done away with the ritual of sacrificing animals long ago,” he explained.
According to Thapa, a majority of the Gorkhalis sacrificed goats while others sacrificed buffalos and pigs until around three decades ago. However, they now prefer gourd as they do not want to continue the cruel tradition in the name of ritual sacrifice.
RN Rana, 75, another retired soldier of the Indian army from Raipur in Dehradun said Nepalis there do not sacrifice animals during Dashain. He said though non-vegetarian delicacies are prepared in almost every household during the Dashain festivities, ritual sacrifice has become a thing of the past. He said banning of animal sacrifice at Santaladevi mai a few years ago literally brought the tradition to an end. Over a million Gorkhalis reside in Uttarakhand while more than 500,000 Nepalis live in Dehradun. “It is the official figure. So you can imagine how many goats would have been killed had we not away with animal sacrifice during the Dashain festivities,” said Thapa.