History of Social Work in Nepal

Social work is becoming more important because of thousands of persons are benefiting from its services. People are not only being helped with personal and family problems but also with neighborhood, national, and even international difficulties. Current evidence states that social work is here to stay and that in the decades ahead it will likely grow and expand its services, helping more people with personal, family, and community problems, especially related to adequate social functioning. Nepal is categorized as underdeveloped country and this is the country where many people are still deprived of basic needs. Lots of people are below poverty line so social work in the case of this country is must. Social Work in Nepal was 1st noted by Dayabir Sing Kansakar who established “Paropakar Sanstha” and after the establishment of this organization, Social Work in Nepal officially started. Nepal has changed a lot in various ways, socially, geographically and some of the changes made a positive effect on Nepali people and some had negative impact.  The  trend of social work in Nepal has gone through liberalization, privatization and globalization process. Among the great veterans, Late Tulsi Mehar Shrestha was one of the star who shined and set off in Nepal with leaving lots of good deeds, guidance and message to the people of Nepal.Tulsi Mehar was born in humble middle class Newar family in 30th December 1896 A.D. at Kuli Mha Tole of Lalitpur District of Nepal. He was the only child of his family. Inspired by reading the book of Maharshi Dayanand “The Light of Truth” Tulsi Mehar brought himself changes in his own life. His self realization about the truth and observation of self-disciplined was the key message he was delivering to the mass people.

Lichhavi Peroid:

The lichhavi Society believed in the fact that in order to gain Punya (piety)social worker or social service was essential. The  First historical ruler of Nepal ,MandevI, had the images of Trivikaram Bishnu in lazimpat & Tilganga erected with the sole objective of punya of his mother, also the many temples and vihars. Most of the lichhavi kings like Mandev, Amshuvarma, Dhruvadev, Shivadev & others improved the lot of social work of the people by providing drinking water,dharmashala,pati,pawa,etc.

Malla period:

Not all the Malla kings contributed for the social reforms, there were  only hand full of them who  contributed. Pratap Malla should be considered as the leading figures in the field of social work activities in the period. He  was particularly fond of building temples. He set up an image of Hanuman beside his palace. Since then, the palace is called “Hanuman Dhoka”. Besides this, he built a temple of Krishna with the image of Kala Bhairav in front of Hanuman Dhoka and a temple of Guheshwari. He offered a golden umbrella to Pashupatinath temple. He had great respect for Buddhism. He introduced Seto Machchhindranath Jatra.

i. Legacy  Krishna Temple (Chyasin Dega)

The octagonal Krishna Temple was built in 1648-49 by Pratap Malla, either as a response to rival Siddhinarshingh Malla’s Krishna Temple in Patan or as a religious consolation for his earlier failure to conquer that city, or in memory of his two wives, or a combination of all three. The three-tiered traditional Newari building is supported by stone columns around the circumference of the base. The image of Krishna inside the temple is accompanied by his two wives, Satyabhama and Rukmani, all of which, according to a Sanskrit inscription, bear deliberate resemblance to Pratap Malla and his own two queens. Inside are the images of Krishna and two goddesses, which, according to a Sanskrit inscription, are modelled on the king.

ii.  Kala (Black) Bhairab, 1972.

North of the Jagannath Temple is the figure of Kala Bhairab. Bhairab is Shiva in his most fearsome aspect, and this huge stone image of the terrifying Kala Bhairab has six arms, wears a garland of skulls and tramples on a corpse, which is symbolic of human ignorance. The figure is said to have been brought to its present location by Pratap Malla, having been found in a field to the north of the city. The image was originally cut from a single stone but the upper left-hand corner has since been repaired. It is said that telling a lie while standing before Kala Bhairab will bring instant death and it was once used as a form of trial by ordeal. On the outside of the white wall of Kathmandu Durbar, opposite the Vishnu Temple, is a long low stone inscription to the goddess Kalika written in fifteen different languages, including European languages. Pratap Malla, renowned for his linguistic abilities, set up this inscription in 14 January 1664. A legend tells that milk will flow from the spout in the middle if somebody is able to decipher all fifteen languages.

iii.  Rani Pokhari

Ranipokhari, commissioned by Pratap Malla in 1667, Ranipokhari lies in the heart of Kathmandu, with about fifteen minutes walk from Kathmandu Durbar Square. Rani Pokhari, meaning Queen’s pond, is the artificial square-shaped pond with the temple of Shiva in the middle. The Rani in question was Pratap Malla’s queen who in 1667 commissioned its construction in memory of their son, Chakravatendra Malla, who, following his father’s abdication in favor of is four sons each of whom would rule for one year, died on the second day of his reign, apparently having been trampled by an elephant. The water with which the pond was originally filled was taken from fifty-one sacred rivers throughout Nepal and India, thus ensuring its sanctity. The temple in the middle of the pond has a domed roof reminiscent of classical Indian Mughal architecture and is surmounted by a copper spire. The main image is of the Shiva lingam, but other deities also feature. Four small shrines at each corner contain images of Bhirab, Harishankar, Shakti, and Tarkeshwari. On the southern embankment is a statue of an elephant carrying three passengers on its back, thought to be three of the male members of the Pratap Malla’s family, while a fourth person is held in its trunk. Various myths and legends have come to be associated with Rani Pokhari over the years. It is said to be haunted by ghosts, including one especially seductive female spectre which managed to unnerve even the great Pratap Malla.The pond is fenced with iron bars, apparently to prevent suicide by drowning, and opened once a year during Bhaitika, the fifth and final day of Tihar.

iv. Gai Jatra

When King Pratap Malla lost his son, his wife, the queen, remained grief-stricken. The king was very sad to see the condition of his beloved queen. The king, in spite of several efforts, could not lessen the grief of his wife. He desperately wanted to see a little smile on her lips; so he announced that anyone who made the queen laugh would be rewarded adequately. During the festival of Gai jatra, the cow procession was brought before the grief-stricken queen. Then the participants began ridiculing and mocking the important people of the society. Finally, when the social injustices and other evils were highlighted and attacked mercilessly, the queen could not help but smile. The queen laughed and the king instituted a tradition of including jokes, satire, mockery and lampoon into the Gaijatra celebration. As per the traditions, every family who has lost a relative during that past year participates in a procession through the streets leading a cow. If a cow is unavailable, a young boy dressed as a cow is substituted.

v. Swayambhunath

In 1614 additions and renovations of Swayambhunath complex were made by Zhamarpa VI during the reign of Pratap Malla. Access from Kathmandu was improved with the construction of a long stairway and a bridge across the Vishnumati.At the bottom of the 400 stone steps are three painted images symbolizing the Three Precious Jewels of Buddhism, which were erected in 1637 by Pratap Malla and his son, Lakshmandra Singh Malla. Pratap Malla also placed a large vajra placed in front of the stupa Flanking the vajra, he also added two white shikhar (spires) temples, known as Anantapur (southeast) and Pratapur (northeast), which were built in 1646 to house the protector deities Bhairab and Bhairabi. Jayaprakash Malla(1736-1746) : He encircled Bhaktapur city with moats and defense walls pierced with defense gates and ordered the construction of The Palace of Fifty-five Windows (Bhaktapur’s Royal Palace). The palace would later be remodelled by Bhupatindra Malla in the seventeenth century.He constructed the Pashupati Temple, a replica of the temple by the Bagmati River in Kathmandu and the Siddha Pokhari, a large rectangular water tank located near the main city gate of Bhaktapur. He is also credited as the founder of Yaksheswar temple now standing in the palace complex.

Rana period

  1. Jung Bahadur Rana:

    He disapproved of Sati system and granted parental property rights to woman who decided to spend her life as a maiden. he introduced English education and letter press in Nepal. In 1910 B.S. he published the code called “Anin Sangrah”. The code is a reform brought in the old penal system based on physical torture.
  2. Ranodip Singh:

    He opened the English school established during Jung Bahadur’s time to all the children of Rana family. He allocated money for the poor students studying in Sanskrit school. In 1884 A.D., a Nepali calender was published in Nepal.
  3. Bir Samsher:

    His rule is marked by several social works of public welfare. He encouraged Sanskrit education and established High school, Bir Hispital, Bir Tower, Bir Library, and a suspension bridge at Kulekhani. The present building of Durbar High Schoool was built by him. He made provision to supply drinking water to the people of Kathmandu and Bhaktapur. He discouraged Sati and Slaveries. He started giving away awards “Prabal Gorkha Daksin Bahu” and “Priya Drshini” to the people who served the nation honestly.
  4. Dev Sumsher:

    Being a liberal minded ruler, he wanted to abolish sati and slavery. He began the publication of Gorkhapatra once a week. He highly regarded the suggestions of the people. In order to keep people informed about the world, he established altogether 30 schools in the country.

    Chandra Sumsher:

    He abolished slavery effectively from 1st of Baishakh 1982 B.S. Moreover, he eleminated Sati. Darbar School was opened to all people. He had set up nearly 50 schools. He established Tri-chandra college (1919 A. D.), Bhaktapur Hospital, Trichandra Memorial Army hospital, a Tuberculosis Hospital at Tokha, and Leprosy Hospital in Khokana.

    Bhim Sumsher:

    He provided additional drinking water to Kathmandu and Morang. In 1931 A.D., he changed capital punishment into life imprisonment except in sedition.
  7. Juddha Sumsher:

    He setteld the long-pending disputes between the Brahmins of different status. The tradition of observing rituals on the death of one’s family member was shortened by 13 days. Extravagance on other rituals and festivals was minimised by laws. S.L.C., I.A., B.A. examinations began to be held in Kathmandu. Along with the publication of “Sharda” and ‘Udyog’, Gorkhapatra was published twice a week.
  8. Padma Sumsher:

    He liberalised education and granted the people the right to establish high schools, and middle schools in private sector. He had established padmodaya High School, Kanya Mandir School and Padma Kanya School in Kathmandu. In order to promote adult literacy he set up Basic schools in 2004 B.S. “Gorakhapatra” was published thrice week. Teachers training program was also implemented. People were given freedom to keep radio.

    Mohan Sumsher:

    In 2005 B.S. he opened nearly 87 primary schools in the country. Tree plantation was encouraged. He dug many canals, engineering school was also set up. State officials were appointed on the bisis of merit. He increased the pay of state employees.

The interim period :

1951 is the most remarkable in the history of morden Nepal. On that day king Tribhuwan formally announced the end of rana regime. During the rana regime  (104) the Neplease king had no direct contact with the people.They were in prioson inside royal palace.the situation change after 1851.with the colapse of rana regime .king tribhuvan decided to visit the different parts of the country and hav direct contact with the neplease people. King tribhuvan was always about his country and people.whenever he met the political leaders,the king always reminded them of their duty to uplift the social economic status of the Nepali people.he donated land and money to open schools and social organization and charitable association.the Shanti Nikunja school the king personally donated 18 ropanis land. The king himself was the guardian of Paropakar association and made a regular donation of rs.6000/-every year to provide food and cloth to the orphans. In the field of social service ,the contribution of king Mahendra was greatest of all.in 1957 king Mahendra visited the hilly district of eastern Nepal covering Dhulikhel, Charikot, Dolakha, Ramechaap, Okaldhunga, Dhankutta, Dhangadi, Dadeldhura, Doti and other remote areas and donated thousands rupees for social welfare activities such as pure drinking water, schools, colleges, bridges, roads, dharmasalas, park, temple, etc. His majesty king birendra is also done numerous social work during his period.A number of social organization were founded during panchayat period is given below:
  • Nepal jankalyan saanstha
  • Nepal scout(1952)
  • Nepal tuberculosis eradication association 1953
  • Marwadi sewa samiti was established in 1953 for second poor
  • Lions and rotatary club 1953
  • Nepal apanga sangh(Nepal disable association 1968
  • Nepal kusta rog nibaran saang(leprosy eradication)-1970
  • Nepal netra jyoti sangh(Nepal blind association)-1977
  • Child welfare co-ordination committee 1977.
  • Nepal children organization under her majesty queen ratna rajya laxmi devi shah
  • Women services coordination commitittee 2034 BS
  • The reukai Nepal 2044 bs There are several governmental organization  and non governmental organization that are providing services to the disabled

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