Skip to main content

FUTURE PERFECT

Can a picture foretell its own story? Can characters leap out of the picture frame and enact a future scene just like in a fairytale movie? Does a clairvoyant's instinct pick up these tales even before they are enacted? Or does he transport himself back to the future to glimpse a destiny already fulfilled in a co-relationship between time and space we are yet to comprehend?


We heard stories of how the family deity of the Shah Kings, Gorakhnath, appeared in person to King Prithivi Narayan Shah to prepare him for the unification of the many hill principalities of Nepal. Had he consumed in faith the prashad regurgitated by the saint as a test and not spilled it on his feet in disbelief and disgust, Prithivi might have been an emperor. The saint instead blessed him for conquests of lands where his feet touched.

People also talk of this gift lasting for 12 generations. We heard this when we were kids, when the reigning king was Prithivi Narayan Shah's 10th descendant. After the infamous Royal Palace Massacre of 1st June 2001 perpetrated by Crown Prince Dipendra, Dipendra, still in a coma after having shot himself, was declared the king of Nepal just for 2 days until he succumbed to his wounds. The 12th generation had made it, albeit for 2 days only. The monarchy is now no more!

Resunga Maha Prabhu had predicted the rise of Juddha Shumsher J. B. Rana from obscurity to prominence; from a junior Rana in the roll call he had become the Maharajah and prime minister of Nepal after his seniors left the scene one way or another. The ascetic from the mid western hills of Nepal was a clairvoyant and our family was besotted to him after this particular prediction came true.

There are some stories I clearly remember in my own family. There was this photograph I remember hanging on the wall along the large stairway leading to the two reception halls in my father's residence Kiran Bhawan. It was a group photograph with the Rana bigwigs in their finery, bedecked with medals across their chests and with plumed crowns on their heads. It was a photograph of the American delegation led by Loy W. Henderson, U.S. Ambassador to India and Minister to Nepal, taken together with the Rana prime minister Maharajah Padma Shumsher J. B. Rana, the second to last Rana prime minister of Nepal. Along with the foreign dignitaries and the prime minister were the leading Rana notables, the Commander-in-chief and other important post holders. Then there was the 2nd and 3rd row of lesser nobles.

The story goes that during one of the receptions hosted by my father in 1949 or so Shri Prakash Chand Thakur, politician, diplomat and clairvoyant was intent on looking at this particular photograph. Seeing his interest my father tried to explain who were in the photographs and on what occasion it was taken. Abruptly the guest pointed in the photo to the person standing in the 3rd row and exclaimed, "Here is the next Commander-in-chief of the Nepalese army. " The person he was pointing to was my father who had the rank of only a Major General! In the Rana Nepal of 1949 this remark was seditious and I can imagine my father getting alarmed!

The last Rana prime minister Maharajah Mohun Shumsher was ruling Nepal and the democratic winds had started blowing strongly from India after the Indian Independence of 1947. It was a mere 2 years later that Mohun Shumsher stepped down. Indeed as fate would have it my father General Kiran Shumsher J. B. Rana became the Commander-in-chief of a democratic Nepal in 1951. The reputation of Ambassador Thakur for prediction became legendary.

But there is a down side to future prediction too. Maharajah Juddha retired from the prime ministership partly because, people say, Resunga Maha Prabhu predicted his death in 1949, just 2 years after his retirement. This played an important role in his decision-making, as being a religious man, he wanted to live the last years of his life away from active politics. He actually lived 3 more years. My father believed strongly that his own fate was somehow linked to the number 8. Almost obsessively he would repeat that he would die at 48 years of age, and then at 58. As fate would have it, he died on the very day he reached 68, even as the birthday puja was being organized. I could never figure out whose prediction my father believed in so strongly.

It was foretold.

Comments

  1. Another great story. Good to see Dhaka has not diminished your writing.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

RANI MAHAL, THE STORY OF ITS MAKER

PROLOGUE
The first time I ever saw this historical edifice thirty five years ago, she was in ruins and looked like an old hag during the winter of her life, simply waiting for her eventual demise. I was then on my way further west on a week-long trek from Tansen to Tamghas in Gulmi District.
Thirty five years later, I found myself at the same spot once again, this time out there on purpose. I had seen pictures of the building with a coat of new paint before and I wanted to see how much change had been made by the Nepal Government’s Department of Archeology. Yes, the outer fa├žade still looked brand new with fresh paints, which to me personally was a bit too gaudy. But when I walked through the inside of the building and saw nothing but empty rooms without even a single piece of furniture, my enthusiasm took a nose dive.

And when I entered one room where there was a fireplace with the floor in front of the hearth still looking as black as charcoal, I assumed that, over the years before ren…

THE SATI WIVES OF JUNG BAHADUR, MAHARAJAH OF NEPAL

If only the Tudor King Henry VIII of England were as lucky as Jung Bahadur Rana, he would have had male heirs aplenty and he would not have had to behead a few of his queens in the hope of his next one presenting him with an heir. All the Maharanis would live together at Hampton Court Palace in seeming harmony at least until the death of the Maharajah. If England had the tradition of Sati, who among Henry's wives would have had the macabre honour of being buried alive with him? Would her be Catherine of Aragon his first queen? Or Anne Boleyn? Or the fair Jane Seymour, his favorite queen who gave him his only male heir, had she not died in her postnatal illness?

Maharajah Jung Bahadur Rana had many wives because he did not have the Catholic Church to worry about. He had at least a dozen sons and innumerable daughters from at least 13 recorded wives. He married some for love, others for political alliances with various noble houses, including a sister of Fateh Jung Shah, one of th…

FEATHERS IN THE CROWN

As a kid I used to gape in wonderment at the magnificent crown my father possessed not knowing that the jewels were only for show. The dark green emerald drops were made of glass, the sparkling diamonds were probably zirconium and the pearls were not of the best sort. Every Rana general had his personal crown in those days and my father was no exception. I did not recognize the difference between this personal crown of father's and the other more valuable crown of the Nepalese Commander-in-Chief of the Army that my father was seen wearing in many a portrait displayed about the house. Little did I know that my father was the last person to put on his head the army chief's crown from the Rana era, real glittering diamonds, snow white pearls and thumb-sized emerald drops and all. The feather in the crown was the magnificent plumes of the Bird of Paradise that gave it such a majestic look.

Nepal had only three crowns that were genuinely the real stuff bedecked with expensive pear…