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Showing posts from September, 2011

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: THE MAKING OF A LEGEND

It was during those hunts when Jung Bahadur would reminisce about his life and times and how it had all unfolded in those days of his struggle. It was in those very jungles he had caught wild elephants and tamed them and sold them and earned his keep after his family fortunes had taken the slide with the eclipse of his maternal grand uncle Prime Minister Bhimsen Thapa, much before Jung re-entered the Nepalese court again. Those were difficult times. In his frustration he had severely beaten his only son for not applying himself diligently to the study of Sanskrit and Persian, the only route to the top of the pyramid in Kathmandu, he knew. Unfortunately the blow had caught the lad at the back of his head from which he would never recover. The tragedy had also killed his first wife from grief. He never raised his hands against his children again, Jung brooded.

Jung Bahadur was in his element there in the jungles. He would match his wits with leopards and tigers and get the better of th…