Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from December, 2012

FORBIDDEN FRUIT

I remember the trees groaning under the weight of those ripened fruits so prized by my father. There were rows and rows of those trees lining a plot of land near our residence inside our estate Kiran Bhawan. Father had imported those saplings from the Middle East and managed to grow them - to us at the time a strange fruit uncommon to our palate. We grew up amidst plum and peach trees dotting our orchard. Mangoes used to come to us from several sources but chiefly from a mango grove in Thulitar in Sindhu Palchowk district of Nepal inherited by us under the birta system. We also had persimmon growing in our garden, a fruit not indigenous to Nepal but first imported from Japan by Maharajah Dev Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana at the turn of the twentieth century. We Nepalese call it 'haluwabed' alluding no doubt to its sweetness. Dev was impressed by the Meiji Restoration and the ascendancy of Japan as a great power and had sent Nepalese students to study science and agriculture, I s…

WHEN THE GENERALISSIMO CAME CALLING

The largess brought by the envoy from Nepal was fit for a king. The treasure trove consisted of a bejewelled dagger renowned as the Khukri, the fearsome weapon of the Gurkhas so potent during close combat; the tiger skin with its mounted head bagged by the Maharajah himself; lastly thepi├Ęce de r├ęsistance - fifty thousand Indian Rupees in cash for the war chest! Chiang Kai-shek bowed low beaming with pleasure. His wartime diplomacy to win friends and allies against the Japanese devils had taken him from Rangoon to Calcutta and then on to New Delhi. He had met the local politicians and their British overlords and convinced them that the Generalissimo would be a trusted ally in their combined effort to stall the Japanese invasion of Burma and India. Only Mahatma Gandhi had reaffirmed his stance to remain neutral in his quest for ahimsa: he would oppose both the British and the Japanese by non-violent means.
As the leader of the Chinese resistance to the Japanese invasion of China, Gener…