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Showing posts from February, 2010

SILENT TRIBUTE

As a kid it was always difficult for me to ascertain whether they were heroes or villains, some minor players in a Shakespearean tragedy or the main act itself. But one thing is for sure which is that I was always uncomfortable whenever this topic came up. Even before school I knew about those four as Nimbu Didi would tell me in hushed tones how they were executed. She lived near Shova Bhagabati so she was present thereabouts when Ganga Lal was shot. She would dramatically rip at her bosoms and say that Ganga Lal yelled while tearing his shirt apart baring his chest, "Shoot, shoot your own father, shoot" before the bullets made his body go limp. There is an apocryphal story circulating that one top Rana general himself snatched the rifle from the hands of a wavering soldier and shot Ganga Lal.

Coming from a line of Rana rulers of Nepal I, like many fellow Ranas of my generation in similar position, carry the burden of historic guilt for the martyrdom of those four. The Panch…

EMBASSY ROW

Santa Claus came to Lazimpat once every year when we had winter vacation from school. I used to wonder what Christmas was like at school, especially for our Jesuit fathers; somehow I missed it as we always had winter holidays when Santa hit town. But it was the Snow View Hotel in Lazimpat, an establishment even older than the reputable Hotel Royal of Boris fame, where we kids used to visit to celebrate Christmas. My father was the founding president of the Rotary Club of Kathmandu which heralded the Rotary movement into Nepal. In those days I did not understand the significance of the Rotary International started by Paul Harris in Illinois in 1905 and its messianic ways; it was simply that my father had important meetings to attend. The meetings were always held in the Snow View Hotel possibly due to lack of other suitable places in the insular world of Kathmandu of the early sixties thus ironically contravening the "rotary" or shifting nature of the meeting venues first pro…