Skip to main content

BRAGGING RIGHTS

Growing up in a military household I was privy to all the military awards and decorations my father General Kiran Shumsher J. B. Rana had received during various occasions of his eventful life. As a child I remember looking up at him when he was donning his military uniforms - khaki, olive green, white - as the particular function might warrant. Then the medals came forth from a specially made box and he would proudly wear them across his chest, the miniatures on the epaulets. The Nepalese uniforms then were magnificent, a direct copy of the imperial British uniforms before changes were made making them more modest and less expensive to go with the austere times that followed.

I know that he was justly proud of the decorations he had received. In 1950 during the waning days of the Rana oligarchy he lead a Peace Mission to the Eastern parts of Nepal and in recognition of his services was appointed Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Nepalese Army. He was awarded the Most Refulgent Order of Nepal Supradipta Manyabara Nepal Tara (1st Class). The Order of Star of Nepal (Nepal Taradisha) was founded by King Tribhuvan on 19th November 1918 after World War I to reward military services during both war and peace.

Star of Nepal

In 1951 after the Rana era ended my father General Kiran was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Nepalese Army at the seemingly tender age of 35, but his age belied his stature and ability. He reorganized the Royal Nepalese Army along modern lines having seen first hand the functioning of the British Army in the Burma front. He was awarded with the order of Trishakti-Patta (1st Class). The Most Illustrious Order of the Three Divine Powers (Tri Shakti Patta) was founded by King Tribhuvan on 27th November 1937.

Tri Shakti Patta
Further in 1952 during the reign of His Majesty King Tribhuvan my father was appointed to the newly created post of Aide-de-camp (ADC) General to the king and decorated with the order of Suprasiddha Prabal Gorkha Dakshin Bahu (1st Class). The Most Puissant Order of the Gurkha Right Hand (Gorkha-Dakshina Bahu) was founded by King Prithivi Bir Bikram Shah in 1896 and it was revived and reformed by King Tribhuvan on 7th September 1932. During his tenure as C-in-C of the Army he also received the Order of Om Ram Patta (1st Class) that was founded by King Tribhuvan on 31st October 1946 and conferred on both Nepalese and foreign nationals of the Hindu faith.

Gorkha Dakshin Bahu

Om Ram Patta
Awards and decorations are given by the state to reward and honour the contributions made by the individuals in whatever area they excel in, military or civilian. It is both a privilege and duty of those individuals to receive these awards bestowed on them unless there is an overwhelming need to send a message. Actor Marlon Brando's refusal to receive his much deserved Oscar for The Godfather in protest of the U.S. Government's treatment of the indigenous Indians comes to mind. But the current refusal by a cast of thousands to accept the very first installation of the decorations of the New Nepal is nothing short of scandalous. What an inauspicious start to the "transparent" system that was created to honour us Nepalese by discarding all the feudal orders of the kings! Even a deputy prime minister has growled at the impudence of the state in awarding her father the second highest decoration of the state instead of the highest!

I know I will treasure all the orders my father received although they may now be museum pieces.
General Sir Kiran Shumsher J. B. Rana, KCVO, KBE

Comments

  1. The refusal by so many to accept the new medals and the controversy among others who were given the medals clearly indicate the hollowness of this "loltantra" (yes - lol). It was so therapeutic to laugh at this fiasco after the depression that set in when the CA extended itself.

    Great photo of Monica and you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a grand display of medals. Reminiscing about the good old days ( compared to the utter shallowness of today) is what your column does very well.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dear Mr Subodh Rana,

    I am very delighted to know that all this while I am dealing with the SON of the legendary General Kiran Shumsher J. B. Rana, himself!

    It seems that our ancestors' blood (in your case it is your father's) have made both of us "warriors" in our own way.

    However, unlike you who have many medals, decorations and modern history that easily prove the very existence of your legendary father, my claim that my great, great grandfather used to be the ancient palace army general during the Majapahit Empire in Java Island of ancient Indonesia more than 500 years ago can't be substantiated by hard evidence.

    What my family has in possession is just "a story" passed from one generation to another generation within my family circle. My grandfather migrated to Malaysia more than 100 years ago from the Java Island of Indonesia. Similar like you, the intention of that true story is to make it as a great inspiration to all my family members.

    If General Kiran Shumsher J. B. Rana is a Malaysian general or a Malaysian leader, his credentials and great achievement will surely make him entitled to be bestowed a "Tun" title by the Supreme King of Malaysia. "Tun" is the highest medal and title in Malaysia. If I am not mistaken there are currently less than 7 or 8 living "Tun" in Malaysia now. The most famous living Tun is Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

    By the way, I agree with Birat's comment above that it's great photo of Monica and you! In fact, in one glance I initially thought that is a photo of you and Angelina Jolie:-)

    Have a nice and pleasant weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Subodh,

    It is good and natural to be proud of one's ancestor. But the reality is this display of medal is the hollow exercise, if you allow me to comment on other posters above. Come to think of it from commoners' perspective: what is so great about the medals if your father became chief because he was born in a Rana family and started his career as a ,what, colonel?

    I enjoy reading your article, because it is a way for me to peek at the hollow culture of the past. Only by talking to people like you, or reading your work, can people realize how much wrong had there been during Rana and Raja regime, except for early era of Jung Bahadur and Dev Shamsher.

    Personally, Ranadwip, Padma and even Bir Shamsher were not too bad. Ranas were also reluctant to kill ordinary citizens, though they killed their own clans aplenty. The rana regime was dangerous for their own clansmen. You should feel good that since the time has changed, people like you have been able to live in peace without fearing 'dada kataidine dhamki' of sri 3 and his immediate family members:)

    ReplyDelete
  5. The above anonymous comment seems to be a wee bit spiteful.

    It may be useful for the writer of this blog to detail what the medals were for. How many were really "hollow" and how many recognized outstanding performances, military and otherwise.

    The largest beneficiaries of the "danda kataune" practice were actually the brahmins who could not be executed for religious reasons. Now look what our brahmin political leaders are doing to the country.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous....why? Prajatantra ma tapai le je bhannu bhaye pani huncha. Khali tapai lai bolne paeene adhikar paoonu bhayeko chha.(Sewage) Dhaal chaeena,(Water)Pani chaeena,(Electricity) Bijuli chaeena, Diesal chaeena (Mattitel)Kerosene chaina,(Wood) Daura chaeena but Malls cha.Aajako Nepalma.
    Our ancestors have left us and we respect and honor them. We are all in the mainstream of life not lamenting the change of the past era. Why do we all not address the main issues and move on in life instead of getting stuck. We would love to see our country prosper and become like Switzerland. In today's world everyone works and takes responsibility for his own actions, but if the Nepali man does not realize that then they will always feel shortchanged in life. Thank God there are many who have succeeded not only the Ranas,there are many failures there too and they to cannot appreciate the gift of life.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

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…

JUNG BAHADUR RANA AND THE DANCING DAMSELS - THE SOJOURN IN FRANCE

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…

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…