By Belina Thapa Lamjung, Sept. 15: Locals of Bhujung village of Kwholasothar Rural Municipality–4, Lamjung have drafted new laws for the year. They do this every year in the last week of the Nepali month of Bhadra by holding a village assembly. The laws formulated then have to be followed by every man, woman and child in Bhujung.
Kal Bahadur Gurung, chairman of the Ritual Management Committee of the village, stated that the laws were needed to maintain unity and prevent external interference. “The laws bring social, cultural and economic uniformity in the village and strengthen the local bond. That way, no outsider gets to intervene in the name of settling disputes,” he said.
The laws formulated in Bhadra are enforced till the next Bhadra when they are continued, amended or discarded, again by the village assembly, depending on the needs of the time. The responsibility of enforcing these laws lies on all the residents of Bhujung but mainly on the shoulders of the Ritual Management Committee. The committee commends those who follow the laws and fines those who violate them. In addition to drafting and declaring laws, the Bhadra assembly also fixes the price of goods sold in the village as well as wages of labourers.
This year, the assembly fixed the price of local chicken meat at Rs. 200 per ‘share’ and broiler chicken meat at Rs. 180 per ‘share.’ It also announced that a bottle of local alcohol could only be sold at Rs. 100 and that a Dharni (2.33 kilograms) of buffalo meat could only cost a maximum of Rs. 600 for male buffaloes and Rs. 550 for female ones. Similarly, no one can charge more than Rs. 1,100 for a Dharni of goat meat and Rs. 1,050 for a Dharni of lamb.
With respect to wages, the assembly has fixed the daily wage of skilled labourers at Rs. 650, of semi-skilled labourers at Rs. 600 and of unskilled labourers at Rs. 500. It has also made various provisions with regard to local festivals, customs and rituals.
According to ward chairman Khim Bahadur Gurung, the head of all the families residing in the village participate in the law-making assembly. There they voice their opinions regarding the past laws and recommend improvements or changes to be made. They also swear on the edge of a Khukuri and a piece of copper that their families have not sinned, not thought ill of others, not engaged in immoral and illegal activities and have not harmed others.