Guthis Abroad: Catering to the Social Needs Amongst the Newar Diaspora
From macha janku or the rice feeding ceremony of infants to the funeral rites and other important events of their life, community is a very important part of Newar culture. More than just cultural activities, often rituals in Newar lifestyle too have a social aspect. Rather than being just cultural legacies, Guthis are effective means for provision of social welfare amongst the Newar community and essential part of their lifestyle. This aspect of Guthis can be reflected by their namesake organizations that have formed amongst the Newar diaspora community around the world from parts within India (where Newars had moved to much earlier) to places of recent movement like Europe and the US. Despite the features of these newly formed Guthis not being exactly same as the Guthis of the old, these newly formed organizations share similar purpose – the provision of social welfare and catering to cultural needs. Jatra that have been organized by Guthis in the past are still being organized in the same ways through Guthis; this not being only within the Kathmandu valley but anywhere else that Newars have settled in. This article argues that it is this unique characteristic among the Newars that made this diverse group a cohesive and functioning society the still perseveres despite adversities. A case study is presented through data collected via semi-structured interviews with members of several Guthis that have been established around the world.