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Nepal (Nepali: नेपाल
Nepal had been a monarchy throughout most of its history. Prithvi Narayan Shah, a Shah dynasty king from the kingdom of Gorkha in western Nepal (now Gorkha District), unified the many small kingdoms in 1768. Since then, the country had been ruled by a dynasty of kings, until a 19-day long mass public revolt supported by all major political parties including the the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), led to the abdication of King Gyanendra and the establishment of a federal democratic republic in 2008
Nepal is a country of highly diverse geography, culture, and religions. The mountainous north contains eight of the world's ten highest mountains, including the highest, Mount Everest. The fertile and humid south is heavily urbanized. Although Hinduism is practiced by a majority of the population, the nation also has a strong Buddhist tradition, as the birthplace of Siddharta Gautama.
All the languages spoken in Nepal are national languages. Nepali is the official language of Nepal, with almost 60 percent of the population speaking it.This language, which is believed to be language with the closest derivation from Sanskrit, was originally called Khaskura, but became known as Nepali during the 20th century.Nepal's constitution, however, guarantees that, irrespective of what the official language is, all languages spoken in Nepal can be used for official purposes and documentation.
In the capital Kathmandu, Nepal Bhasa (the Newar language) and Nepali are the most widely used languages.
The main religion of Nepal is Hinduism. Shiva is regarded as the guardian deity of the country. Nepal is home to the largest Shiva temple in the world, the famous Pashupatinath Temple, where Hindus from all over the world come for pilgrimage.. differences between Hindus and Buddhists have been in general very subtle and academic in nature due to the intermingling of Hindu and Buddhist beliefs. Both share common temples and worship common deities; many of Nepal's Buddhists could also be regarded as Hindus and vice versa
Nepalese culture is diverse, reflecting different ethnic origins of the people. The Newar community is particularly rich in cultural diversity; they celebrate many festivals, well known for their music and dance.
Folklore is an integral part of Nepalese society. Traditional stories are rooted in the reality of day-to-day life, tales of love, affection and battles as well as demons and ghosts and thus reflect local lifestyles, cultures and beliefs. Many Nepalese folktales are enacted through the medium of dance and music.
The Nepali year begins in mid-April and is divided into 12 months. Saturday is the official weekly holiday. Main annual holidays include the National Day, celebrated on the birthday of the king (December 28), Prithvi Jayanti (January 11), Martyr's Day (February 18), and a mix of Hindu and Buddhist festivals such as dashain in autumn, and tihar in late autumn. During tihar, the Newar community also celebrates its New Year as per their local calendar Nepal Sambat.
Most houses in rural lowland of Nepal are made up of a tight bamboo framework and walls of a mud and cow-dung mix. These dwellings remain cool in summer and retain warmth in winter. Houses in the hills are usually made of unbaked bricks with thatch or tile roofing. At high elevations construction changes to stone masonry and slate may be used on roofs.
Nepal's flag is the only national flag in the world that is non-quadrilateral in shape, and one of only two non-rectangular flags in use (the other being the flag of the US state of Ohio). According to its official description, the red in the flag stands for victory in war or courage, and is also color of the rhododendron, the national flower of Nepal. Red also stands for aggression. The flag's blue border signifies peace. The curved moon on the flag is a symbol of the peaceful and calm nature of Nepalese, while the sun represents the aggressiveness of Nepalese warriors.
Education in Nepal
Modern education in Nepal began with the establishment of the first school in 1853. However, this school was only for the members of the ruling families and their courtiers. Schooling for the general people began only after 1951 when a popular movement ended the autocratic Rana family regime and initiated a democratic system. In the past fifty years, there has been a dramatic expansion of educational facilities in the country. As a result, adult literacy (15+) of the country was reported to be 48.2% (female: 34.6%, male: 62.2%) in the Population Census, 2001, up from about 5% in 1952/54. Beginning from about 300 schools and two colleges with about ten thousand students in 1951, there now are 26 thousand schools (including higher secondary), 415 colleges, five universities and two academies of higher studies. Altogether 5.5 million students are enrolled in those schools and colleges who are served by more than 150 thousand teachers.
Despite such examples of success, there are problems and challenges. Educational management, quality, relevance, access are some of the critical issues of education in Nepal. Societal disparities based on gender, ethnicity, location, economic class, etc. are yet to be eliminated. Resource crunch has always been a problem in education. These problems have made the goal of education for all a challenge for the country.
|Last Updated: 3/17/09|