Kumari, exhausted and asleepThe King of Nepal – currently King Gyanendra – traditionally gets his divine right by means of the blessing of the Royal Kumari, given by her during the annual celebration of the Kumari Jatra in Kathmandu.

Those following recent events in Nepal will be aware that the King has been shoved aside of late by the forces of democracy. (At least, that’s what they say they are, but I wouldn’t recommend holding your breath waiting for free and fair elections.)

We hear today that Gyanendra is being stripped now of his “cultural rights” as well as his political power. The prime minister attended yesterday’s Bhoto Jatra in his place.

One can’t help but wonder whether, in the absence of a king ruling by divine right, there will be much call for a living goddess to give him his annual blessing. One can’t help but hope, ever such a little bit, that the end of the monarchy might also be at least the beginning of the end of this exploitative, virgin-worshipping pre-pubescent goddess cult, this little scrap of misogyny dressed up in red and gold.

Preeti Shakya – may you live a long and happy life, as the last Royal Kumari.

Are we holding our breath now?