Myten om Kumari i Kathmandudalen
Sammanfattning: The thesis discusses a myth of Kumari in relation to historical events and political tendencies in the Kathmandu valley. While historically myths have been used for various purposes, most of which are harmless, sometimes the motives do not justify the actions. In a nutshell, in the thesis the author is trying to show how a myth can be manipulated by political actors in order to legitimise or secure their stands. In this thesis, the myth is approached through the prism of three concepts: shaktism, virgin worship and divine right of the king. While the paper gives a full historical background, the main focus is on the Malla period which occurred between 1200’s and 1769. The analysis will show how the myth was effected by the three concepts and explain the main reasons behind different versions of the myth. Worshiping of the virgin, borrowed from earlier traditions from India and Nepal, became a dangerous tool in the hands of the kings, as Kumari earned a special position in order to harm competing rulers. The practice of shaktism and the myth in itself show that the myth was used, among other things, as a power legitimizing tool by the Malla kings. In this light, the theory of divine right is used to amplify that the kings during Malla period exploited the goddess for the motives of power and control in the Kathmandu Valley. Among researchers in the field, the topic of virgin as a power legitimizing tool has often been omitted. The paper provides a fresh look on a topic that is hundreds of years old. Instead of focusing on the traditions of the Kumari, as has been done numerous times, the writer rather emphasises the myth of Kumari itself. Such an approach allows to see how easy a myths narrative can be manipulated for political purposes. The main aim of the thesis is to shine a light on the nature of the relationship between the Malla kings and Kumari. The conclusions of the research can be valuable as a general introduction to the topic of Kumari, as well as for a more profound analysis of a myth within political and religious realms during Malla period.
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