Can communists holding state power be bothered about religious rituals? In Nepal they are. Recently, priests of Indian origin, who have been conducting daily prayers at the Pashupatinath temple for the past 300 years, were “sacked” from their jobs.
The move, initiated by the government, was thwarted in the face of popular opposition. Does the move to replace the priests signify interference in religious affairs, or is it a manifestation of something else?
The plain fact is that Prime Minister Prachanda is a man in a hurry to implement his agenda. But as he wields executive power, he has come to realize the serious limitations to what he can achieve. Hence his search for symbolic actions that can show to his people that the revolutionary wheels are whirring. In this respect, who better to engage than prominent Indian priests?
Nepal, as any other multi-ethnic society, faces complex social problems, ones that cannot be solved by revolutionary magic. Prachanda knows this. Hence his faith in priestly actions.