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Showing posts from June, 2012

THE SISTERS OF COORG, A TALE FROM THE RAJ

Marital alliance was just a means to an end in those days of the feudal nation states spreading across the vast Indian subcontinent; underage daughters were given in marriage by their parents to foster alliances, ingratiate themselves to the powerful or to thwart sinister designs on them by their more capricious neighbors. The Raja of Coorg had lost his princely state to the British. Coorg is a district in Karnataka state of southern India sometimes called the Scotland of India due to its enchanting rolling hills covered in verdant green nourished by the Cauveri River. The British were supposed to have been so enamoured by its likeness to Scotland that they established numerous resting stations there.

Wodiyars of Coorg were the Hindu kings of Kshetriya stock who had periodically battled the Muslim rulers of South India. They were allied to the British during the push by Tippu Sultan of Mysore. The uncle of the last Raja, Dodda Veer Rajendra (r.1780-1809), was even captured by Tippu Su…

A HOUSE DIVIDED

There is an interesting story on how Maharaja Jung Bahadur might have changed the future course of Nepalese history. Every sound, except his own snoring, intruded into his deep slumber and warned him of potential danger; a gift of the Gods that had helped make Jung the supremo of Nepal during a very turbulent period in Nepalese history. Jung Bahadur sensed danger where none was imminent and because of this trait he had survived that fateful night at the Kot.

Jung heard the sound even in his deep slumber, somebody was there in his bedroom, tiptoeing around his bed. The possibility of an assassin entering his heavily guarded palace and lurking in his bedroom was remote but then Jung was always prepared for the unexpected because he knew that he had a rich collection of enemies who wanted him dead. Jung always had a loaded gun by his bed, at arm's reach. It was a silver paneled musket with four barrels that was a personal gift of Queen Victoria with her name inscribed on it. Jung lun…