Dashain is often regarded as a time for reunion between family members, neighbors, and friends as they finally find some time to come together and celebrate.
Last year, a lot of people couldn’t celebrate the festival because of the lockdown. As the covid situation improves this time, most people are eagerly awaiting the grand festival. Psychologically too, people need refreshment.
But for Nepal Police personnel, reunions and celebrations are rare. We can’t take a leave or get a vacation during Dashain. We rather have extra stress and long hours (sometimes 18 hours a day) due to the social problems that come with Dashain. We need to be extra vigilant as crime rates are high in this period. Also, the number of road accidents goes up.
Police personnel are trained to deal with any kind of situation that may take a toll on their physical, emotional, or mental wellbeing. Those who want to join the force know they won’t get the entertainment that a normal person does as police personnel are the ones who need to deal with all sorts of situations. We are born to serve the country, and we prioritize public security over personal enjoyment. But I have never seen any personnel get pissed off for not getting a leave during Dashain.
This doesn’t mean we are not humans or we don’t have feelings and emotions. We do. But we know our priorities.
During off-duty hours, our personnel enjoy the festival in the office with fellow officers, as we are all part of a large family. We sing, dance, play, and eat delicious food together when we have time. Senior officers offer tika to juniors.
My hometown is in Rolpa. This is my 22nd year in service and in all these years, I have never been there during Dashain. Rather, I invite my family members over to my duty station and we celebrate together. Anyone can invite their family to the barracks and celebrate Dashain.
I think our family members are proud of our job and dedication to the country. They understand our situation. But again, seeing other families get together and celebrate sometimes hurts them. I know many of our family members complain, but eventually, they understand.
I believe that during Dashain and any other high-alert periods, the command head should never go on leave. Nepal Police is a trained and disciplined organization yet doing so could psychologically affect junior officers. So I don’t think any of the immediate bosses have ever gone on leave during this time.
But we do make a few exceptions. Nepal Police encourages new couples to take leave during Dashain.