Kathmandu - April 2016
This is the story of Sukmaya Rokaya, 50 years old, a Dalit woman who succeeded in becoming priestess in a Hindu temple in Kathmandu, in a country where the cruel system of castes has discriminated for a long time people who have been classified “Outcasts” or “Untouchables like her (that is to say people belonging to the lowest social class).
Her answer to this social system comes slowly and secretly at the age of 25 when she starts to frequent the Chhakkubakku Bhagwati Temple, a small temple in the commercial center of New Baneshwor in Kathamand
The temple President of that time Shyam Prasad Aryal was an open-minded Brahamin who 25 years ago gave Sukmaya the possibility to start her little but very symbolic social revolution.
At the beginning the other Brahmins and the believers belonging to the higher castes did not accept this innovation gladly.
Later they started to accept this new opening too
The earthquake of last year gave a contribution to the abolishment of a great part of the social barriers that up to then influenced the relationship among people of different social castes. The common sense of solidarity and union to pick up from ruins wan.
At present, it seems that the only obstacle to the dejection of these social barriers is the Nepalese Government under whose politic choices still linger the dark shadow of this old system “officially” abolished in 1962. However, the counterattack of Sukmaya Rokaya has not stopped....
Her 5 daughters carry on the “trade” with great devotion. They have been proclaimed Hindu priestess too.
Nowadays in this temple you can breathe an atmosphere of authentic brotherhood and friendly hospitality.
Sukmaya, president Mohan and the other members of the temple are proud to state that their doors are open to anybody.