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Showing posts from August, 2013


"It is a curse to live to be this old", the dowager maharani reflected to herself. Her woebegone days were here to stay with her; would she have had the honour of committing satiafter the death of her beloved husband Maharajah Jung Bahadur Rana this nightmare would be over! She had not accompanied the maharajah in that fateful last hunt as she was mourning the loss of her son. Alas, her only son Baber Jung, a favourite of Jung, had passed away in the prime of his life. It was bad enough to not be able to see properly, to be wracked by arthritic pain in all her joints, to even have to bear the loss of her foster son Maharajah Bir Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana after 16 years in power, but to see the old alliances of her adversaries again emerging in Nepali politics was something the dowager maharani could not stomach. She was still alive she reminded herself and what she had started out as her life's ambition of installing Bir Shumsher on thegadhiof Kaski and Lamjung and prim…


Two books bear irrefutable testimony to Nepal's lifting its snowy curtain in the early fifties and both have seen many reprints as they are still sought after by a younger generation of readers seeking a peek at Shangri-La. It is probably not any coincidence that one of them is Michel Piessel's biography of Boris Lissanevitch the father of the Nepalese hospitality industry titled "Tiger for Breakfast". The other is a fictional account titled "The Mountain is Young" written by the celebrated author Han Suyin who visited Nepal to cover the coronation of King Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev in 1956 A.D.

This is not a book review. I am writing about the background story that I am familiar with that went into this book. Han Suyin is the pen name of an Eurasian writer born Elizabeth Chow in China from a Chinese father and Belgian mother. She was one of the first writers of her generation who helped bridge the cultural divide at a time when anything associated with f…