No Dashain in refugee camp!!

By N. Katel
(Beldangi Refugee camp)
With Dashain just around the corner,news are already on that the resettled Bhutanese in different parts of the world have been busy planning and working out for various kinds of programs to celebrate this Hindu festival with a great sense of vigor. Though they are far from their motherland, they still have a deep faith towards their culture and tradition. But, it seems that approaching of this great festival has left no effect in the camps here in Eastern Nepal. We are yet to feel the ‘Dashain environment’ in the refugee camps even though we are currently living in a country that was once a Hindu state. The daily routine affairs are all the same. People are leaving the camps for resettlement in some third countries, some are moving to the emptied huts, every morning same number of people can be seen queuing up to board the IOM vehicles, refugees gather in chowks and lawns in the camp and talk about their resettled relatives, family members, friends and neighbors while few others are working to realize their dreams of being repatriated….same magnitude of sorrow! same atmosphere- full of apprehension and fear of being kidnapped or killed by some ‘unknowns’, same is the problem!!

Being bored with a lonely living as all friends have left the camps for resettlement,these days I often go around our camp to see how our people are planning to celebrate this festival.But, desperately, I see all abandoned huts with weeds grown around. Only a few young guys can be seen in the roads inside  camp.  The small jungle close to the Beldangi camps used to be full of refugee students preparing for their mid year exams which normally happens during Dashain, but these days except a few firewood sellers, its hard to see any refugee there. Not even a single refugee has shown interest towards decorating their huts unlike in the previous years when their huts used to be beautified with color papers and mud in Dashain.

I sensed two reasons behind this: firstly, more than half of the refugees living in the camps have their half family members or the nearest relatives gone for resettlement, so they don’t find meaning to celebrate the festivals without them. Secondly, the drive of being resettled among the refugees have made them forget this festival. Last Wednesday, I visited a few relatives trying to know their interest towards celebrating Dashain but instead of opening the chapter of Dashain, they started talking about when they would be called for DHS and then medical examination that are a part of the resettlement process.The environment is such that, more than Dashain, refugees value their process of resettlement. In one hand its true that Dashain can be celebrated even after their resettlement in some foreign countries, and so their resettlement is more important in the present context. But, at the same time I think they should also show a bit of interest towards this festival which indeed is greatest among all the festivals of Hindus.

We still have two weeks in order to see the festival arrived at our threshold, so lets see if the environment turns “Dashainmaya”.


One Response

  1. ohh yah that is true, bcz we miss our relatives and our fan still in nepal,…. that is Y ……

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