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Showing posts from September, 2010

JUNG BAHADUR'S NEPAL - A HAVEN OF REFUGE

"In war, resolution; in defeat, defiance; in victory, magnanimity", Sir Winston Churchill.

The burden of defeat carried many of the mutinous Indian leaders and their near and dear ones all the way to the Nepal Terai. They came in desperation: caravans of the weary and hungry, wounded and dying. Most had left all their possessions behind in the hurry to escape the justice of the victors. They sought refuge from destiny.  Many came in hope, some of the leaders with trepidation: would their former enemy Prime Minister Jung Bahadur Rana hand them over to the British? They knew what that would mean. The fall of Delhi had led to the slaying of the children of the Last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zaffar and the old man's banishment to Burma. The once mighty Mughal dynasty of Babur, Akbar and Shah Jehan had met an ignominious end. What would happen to the ruling dynasties of the Maratha warriors and the Kingdom of Avadh?

Jung Bahadur had returned to Kathmandu triumphant. The vis…

INTO THE MAELSTROM - JUNG BAHADUR LEADS AN ARMY

Governor General Lord Canning's request to Jung Bahadur to assist the British militarily in Avadh sent a maelstrom through the court of Nepal. Prime Minister Bhimsen Thapa's war was still fresh in peoples' mind and the wound of Sugauly had not yet healed. The pacifists wanted to stay neutral saying it was not our fight. The powerful conservative faction still smarting from the earlier defeat wanted to fight the British instead by reinforcing Begum Hazrat Mahal. Maharajah Jung Bahadur was a brave-heart but he had first-hand witnessed the might of Britain; he knew that it was not the time to fight them. Too, he disliked the duplicity of the Indian rajas and the decadence of the Avadhi court where, until recently, Nawab Wajid Ali Shah was ruling the roost. He had also heard of savage killing of British civilians, women and children too, anathema to the chivalrous Jung. But decision to go to war is always a soul-searching affair. Jung held counsel with his brothers who one and…