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WHODUNIT? THE MYSTERY BEHIND THE ASSASSINATION OF MATHABAR SINGH THAPA

Mathabar Singh Thapa was the first person in Nepalese history to be designated prime minister. He was a resplendently dressed dandy, cocky too and walked with a swagger after he was recalled by the court of Nepal following a six year long exile in the Punjab. He was the nephew of the paramount leader Bhimsen Thapa, sister of the Queen Regent of Nepal Lalit Tripura Sundari, both deceased. He was going to exact revenge on the sons of Damodar Pandey for conspiring to annihilate Bhimsen. He probably introduced the Bird of Paradise feathers in the Nepalese crowns in his vanity. He was going to restore the beleaguered Nepalese Army, following the humbling at Sugauly, to former glory! The Governor General in faraway Calcutta was keeping watch and he even complained to King Rajendra Bikram Shah that his prime minister was breaking the spirit of the Treaty of Sugauly by raising the army to Bhimsen Thapa's levels.

Following the death of the senior Queen Samrajya Luxmi Devi, the junior Queen…
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REDISCOVERING BHIMPHEDI

Travelers destined for the much storied Kathmandu Valley, a veritable El Dorado lodged in the fertile valley of the Mahabharat range, reached the mid-point oasis of Bhimphedi amidst great relief. Crossing the dense jungles of the Terai with leopards, tigers and other wildlife ready to prey on humans the weary travelers could now rest for a couple of days at Bhimphedi before embarking upon the final heart-thumping climb along rickety old tracks via Chandragiri passes to Thankot and thence down onto the valley floor. From time immemorial Kathmandu was thus protected from marauders from the South. Only in Maharajah Chandra Shumsher's time during the 1920's a motorable road was built from Hetauda to Bhimphedi and a ropeway line was drawn for transportation of goods from Kathmandu to Dhursing near Bhimphedi.
Bhimphedi witnessed kings and maharajahs passing through amidst great fanfare. Traders and artisans, scholars and saints rested here before the final push north. King Rana Bahad…

FIRST IMAGES FROM SHANGRI-LA

Colonel George Ramsay faced a dilemma. He had been reminded a second time by Calcutta that the Viceroy Lord Canning had instructed a compilation of photographs of native peoples and distinctive landscapes and monuments to be documented across the vast Indian empire for his private collection. He wanted them from Nepal too. Photography was a new medium and it had not come to Nepal yet. Colonel Ramsay could not commission local artists to work with this new medium as there were none. Another restriction he faced was that even if a professional photographer was to come from India, he would not be allowed to visit outside Kathmandu Valley. As the British Resident in Kathmandu, Colonel Ramsay himself could not visit outside as per the restraining terms of the Treaty of Sugauly.

He decided to write to Calcutta certain to face the ire of the government for not succeeding to fulfill as trivial a wish of Lord and Lady Canning as having photographs from Nepal for their collection. What kind of …

DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

The Declaration of Independence world is familiar with is that of a nascent United States of America freeing itself from the colonial masters and taking the destiny of its new nation in its own firm hands. We in Nepal always take it for granted that we were never colonized by the British which left us poorer perhaps due to isolation but prouder as a sovereign nation. It was not always so and had the twists and turns of late 19th Century diplomacy not gone our way; we might have been a part of Independent India today. So, when and how did we actually declare ourselves independent from the Raj, the British rule in the Indian Subcontinent?

The prelude to this important moment in our nation's history started with the Rana prime minister Jung Bahadur Rana cleverly positioning himself as a friend and ally of the British. History had already taught him how his foolish grand-uncle Bhimsen Thapa the prime minister of an ever expanding Gurkhali nation had locked horns with the East India Co…

VOICE OF CONSCIENCE

Our moral science teacher at our alma mater St. Xavier's Godavari School, the Reverend Fr. Thomas Gaffney S.J., taught us that we humans have a conscience that makes us different from other animals. Our "Voice of Conscience" would always tell us what is right and what is wrong and guide us in the right path in life.

Whenever we friends from St. Xavier's School meet after all these years we reflect upon the trials and tribulations we have faced as adults and how the guiding principles of the Reverend fathers imparted to us at school have made a difference in our lives. We look askance at those whom we perceive as lacking conscience. We marvel at those heroes who have excelled in contributing to the good of our society and humanity. Dr. Govinda K.C. the moral giant fighting nefarious government scheming on the Nepal Medical Education Bill with serial 'fast unto death' sacrifice comes to mind. The much celebrated Dr. Sanduk Ruit the eye surgeon who has given vis…