Skip to main content


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.


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


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog


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…


Prime Minister Jung Bahadur Rana left England for France with a rich treasure trove of memories and an ambition his experiences in Britain had fueled for his own poor and backward nation. He was heartbroken too as he had to leave behind his paramour Laura Bell. Far from the complexities of ruling a highly destabilized country coming so soon after the tumultuous Kot and Bhandarkhal episodes, Jung had truly relaxed in England and had grown fond of the young Irish lass. He wanted to stay longer but the situation back home was unfavourable. Jung was seething with anger that his brother Bom Bahadur who he left behind as officiating prime minister had not been able to take a firm grip on the affairs of state. Even in faraway England he got reports that his enemies were again trying to rear their ugly heads, he would have to smite them with the power of his ingenuity once more. He knew he could not trust his ambitious third brother Badri Narsingh and the one after that Ranoddip was an indeci…


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…