Skip to main content

A BLAST FROM THE PAST - THE PROCLAMATION




General Kiran reading the historic proclamation




Comments

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…

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…

ROMANCING THE MOVIES

The first time that I remember going to a cinema was when an angrezi film was running at Kathmandu's first movie theater named "Janasewa", translated as "in service of the people", alluding to the political changes brought about in 1951 by the ouster of the Rana regime. The year was 1960. Nepal's first election had been carried out and the Congress Party had won it handily. The naysayers had pronounced the new dispensation as "damn-o-cracy" but nevertheless there was a breath of fresh air with press and media freedom tingling the senses. My personal experience in the theater though was agonizing at best as the large, threatening images flickering on the screen accompanied by the deafening sound sent me into paroxysm of wailing and I had to sit out half the movie in the foyer with my minder placating me with sweets. I was five years old.

Janasewa opened in the early fifties to show Hindi movies for the very first time to the general public. One …