HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
DHANGADI: At a time when the whole country seems to be soaked in the festive fervour, the biggest festival of the nation, however, has failed to bring any happiness to a majority of labourers residing along the Agrakhola River bank, on the border of Thakre and Bhumesthan VDCs of Dhading.
The labourers, who have come to Agrakhola from various districts of the nation for work, are unable to celebrate Dashain owing to lack of money as most of them are suffering from acute poverty.
Though some of the labourers have managed some delicacies for celebrating the festival this year, many others like Dhana Bahadur Tamang, however, have no reasons to be happy about.
In the name of a house, he has a narrow makeshift home made of plastic sheet, where he has been staying for the past 19 years.
“I have lost my citizenship certificate and have been unable to go to my home district for getting a duplicate citizenship. I have also been deprived of my allowances,” he said.
“I had asked the Dhading CDO to help me get the duplicate citizenship certificate but they asked me to go to Hetauda and I don’t have money to travel,” added Dhana Bahadur, who earns his bread by crushing boulders on the Agrakhola river banks with his 69-year-old wife Mangalimaya.
“As rice is very expensive and we do not have any money to buy it, it’s over two months that we have been living on bitten rice,” said the Tamang couple, who earn about Rs 66 daily.
“We lost our three sons when they were four and two daughters also died early in childhood,” said Dhana Bahadur, adding, “if we could only manage two meals a day that would be enough this festive season.”
Gloomy festival for the poor
OKHALDHUNGA: Dashain may be an occasion to eat, drink and merrymaking for many but for Indira Baniya (65) of Jyamire VDC, the festival has little significance and much less to be happy about.
“My children want to have rice and meat in Dashain. So I have planned to serve them meat by selling millet available at home,” Indira said. She further said she would buy rice and spices for Bada Dashain by selling millet in the market in district headquarters.
“There is no other source of income in the village; and we cannot manage only by selling grains and vegetables,” she said. A sad Indira poured her heart terming the festival as a time of joy for the haves and a painful moment for the have nots.
Likewise, Tikamaya Bhujel of Bigutar said that though Dashain is believed to be the time to be with family and rejoice but since poor people cannot afford to spend money, therefore it brings no joy.
Bhakta Bahadur Darji (58) of Rumjatar-8 has a similar story to share. He is worried as to how he would cater to the demands of his kids. “I am worried as I do not have enough money to buy clothes and food for my children,” he said.