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P lato the Greek philosopher formulated the universal truism, "Necessity is the mother of invention". It complements the most basic human instinct - that of survival. People who recognize opportunity in adversity will oftentimes achieve the pinnacle of success. The story of the Narsingh brothers manifests itself as a good example of the Phoenix rising. The Kot Massacre had become history by the time Prime Minister Jung Bahadur Rana consolidated his power and was confident enough to leave Nepal in the hands of his brothers and make an epochal visit to England in 1850 A.D., the first visit any ruler of the Indian subcontinent had made until then. He had been honoured with an invitation from  Queen Victoria at the behest of the East India Company. He gave the prime minister's job to Bam Bahadur Rana and the acting Commander-in-Chief of the Army post to Badri Narsingh Rana before leaving for England. All had gone seemingly well in Nepal by the time Jung returned from his su
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I n an earlier blog titled "Rana Court Photographers" I introduced two of the prolific photographers of their age plying their trade in the Indian Subcontinent based in their renowned studios in India. During the years 1868-71 A.D. Samuel Bourne was most active in Nepal. He was a partner with Charles Shepherd in the largest studio of its day Bourne & Shepherd Studios based at Calcutta. Then during the 1930's there was Richard Gordon Matzene based in Simla who visited Nepal several times to take photographs. There are two more famous studios that have done extensive work in Nepal making portraits, photographing royal hunts, temples, monuments and ethnic tribes of the Himalaya. The very renowned studio of Johnston & Hoffmann was opened at 22 Chowringee Lane in Calcutta in 1882 A.D. by Theodore Julius Hoffmann and Peter Arthur Johnston. This was the second largest enterprise in India after Bourne & Shepherd Studios. Although Johnston died in 1891 Hoffman was acti


T he weight of responsibility sat heavily on his shoulders after his elder brother's epochal visit to England was finalized. As the next brother in line and Commander-in-Chief of the Army he, Bam Bahadur, would be the officiating prime minister during his brother's long sojourn. When the politics in Nepal got re-calibrated after the Kot Massacre, Jung Bahadur Rana had secured an edict from the new king Surendra Bikram Shah to rule Nepal in perpetuity with the post of prime minister going to the next brother in agnatic succession.  General Bam Bahadur Rana portrait in French Military uniform fashionable at the time Prime Minister Jung Bahadur was extremely grateful that his younger brothers had given him both moral and physical support on that fateful night at the Kot where all their lives were in peril. The family had rushed to the armoury at the midnight summons of Queen Rajya Luxmi Devi. News came that the battalion under General Abhiman Singh Rana Magar was on its way to the


R epresenting his father as a vakil , an envoy, at Calcutta was a choicest job for Colonel Rana Jung Bahadur Rana. The British Raj was at peace with Nepal after Maharajah Jung Bahadur's assistance during the Indian Mutiny. The grateful Raj had given back to Nepal some of the territories that it had lost during the Anglo-Nepal War of 1814-16 A.D. Jung had received further accolades from the Viceroy in person in Calcutta in 1873 A.D. when he was awarded the recently constituted order to decorate the chivalrous in the Indian Subcontinent - Knight Grand Commander of the Order of Star of India (GCSI). A number of Jung Bahadur's children had accompanied the father including his son Rana Jung, born in 1854 A.D. Rana Jung was indeed fortunate to be left behind there for higher education. He had the perfect mettle for emerging as a new medium to conduct diplomacy at their own terms; fluent in English, a bon vivant  for the ladies to marvel at and for the men to envy. A new type of man w


Prologue J ung Bahadur was rebuffed by the court of King Surendra Bikram Shah over his proposal to establish matrimonial ties with the royal family of Nepal. Jung wanted to give in marriage his daughters to the Wali 'Ahad (a Persian formulation of the time denoting Crown Prince) Trailokya Bikram Shah and his younger brother Narendra Bikram Shah. Similarly he wanted his two elder boys Jagat and Jeet to marry the royal princesses. The court, smarting over the Kot Massacre and the meteoric rise of Jung Bahadur to power, did not want these ties to yet boost his image and prestige even further. How could a lowly Chhetry cast of the Kunwars without any royal lineage behind them dare suggest this outrage? Jung Bahadur was not bemused by the court shenanigans and worked out a clever ploy to counter the courtiers' obstruction. He would have court historians trace back his ancestry to the Rajputs!                                                             Jung Bahadur knew from his fore