Monks and Maoists

Letters From KathmanduIan Baker

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© AP/Ujir MagarIn late May, two Hindu tantric priests from Gwalior, India, checked into the Yak & Yeti, Kathmandu’s leading hotel. Their expenses were covered by the mother of Deviyani Rana, the woman set on marrying Nepal’s crown prince, Dipendra Shah. Astrologers had already decreed that the stars were not favorable for their union, and the king and queen themselves opposed it. Deviyani, however, was adamant. “If this doesn’t work out,” she once said to a cousin, “I’ll be the laughing stock of Nepal.” Hindu tantric practitioners often claim the ability to alter destiny, and Deviyani’s parents had ample resources to recruit the best. The chosen rite was that of Bagalamukhi, a fearsome weapon-wielding goddess of Hindu tantrism.

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