Re-emergence of Gurukul in Nepal: Deconstructing Vedic Tradition for Girls
Vedic Gurukul schools have been reemerging in recent years in Nepal. Gurukul/Veda Vidyashram Management Council have been established under Department of Education for making policies for the Gurukuls. More than one hundred and fifty such schools have been affiliated to the council. There are dozens of such schools which have not registered yet, as officials informed. Some of the registered Gurukuls found inclusive which are deconstructing the tradition of Veda learning. Some of the Gurukuls have been running only for girls as well.
Methodologically, the author have observed several Gurukuls in different parts of the country, interviews were conducted with the school management side as well Vedic experts on re-emergence of the Veda Vidyalaya and Veda practice by female in such Schools. Some are running as orthodox way, some are modifying the traditions slightly and some of newly emerged Gurukul have been deconstructing the tradition in several ways.
Hindu tradition generally rejects to chant Vedic mantras by women. No female priest has been found for regular rituals in Nepali society so far. Biologically menstruation and culturally Upanayana Sanskar are taken as major obstacles in achieving the skills of Vedic knowledge. Some literatures state Dwija (toice born cast) lady can learn Veda either after Upanayana (Bratabandha) or marridge.
However, there are few Gurukuls which have been teaching Veda and Vedic skills for girls. Some have teaching only to Brahman girls and other one has been teaching inclusively. Brahman, Chhetri, Janajati, Madheshi, Tharu and Dalit girls have been learning Veda in the girls’ Gurukul as similar as boys’ Gurukuls do. The paper finds that a multiple ethnic group of the girls is being produced as female priests in Kathmandu.
This paper discusses on re-emerging Veda Vidyalaya in generally and inclusive classes in girls’ Gurukul specifically.