What's in a name anyway? We hail our Gods by many names during worship. Lord Krishna, the dark one, is Mohan when he is flirting with his Gopinis; Nanda Lal, the prankster boy of Nanda; Gopal, a cowherd grazing his cattle; Govinda, the preserver of bountiful nature; Murlidhar, the magician with the flute; in fact he has been affectionately addressed by 108 names by his devotees through many millennia.
|Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar|
Who are their counterparts in Nepal? The name "Malla" meant wrestler or the strong one and post Licchavi Nepal saw dynastic rule of the Malla kings that lasted over 500 years until the King of Gorkha conquered the Kathmandu Valley in 1769 A.D. The "Shah" kings of Gorkha themselves lifted this royal title from Mughal India as no Hindu royalty in India is known as a "Shah", a Persian honorific.
|Maharana Pratap Singh|
The Kunwars of Nepal trace their lineage to the Karnali basin of western Nepal. The name "kunwar" itself is a title given to a Kshatriya high caste, twice-born prince. The tradition of Sacred Thread Ceremony performed on male members reaching puberty gives them a second life. Were these the progeny of princely states of Rajasthan seeking refuge from Mughal persecution in the Nepalese hills? Eminent anthropologists such as Dor Bahadur Bista seems to think not and link their tribe to the indigenous Magars. However he does not properly explain why Kunwars became high caste Hindus and the Magars did not.
|Bal Narsingh Kunwar and his wife|
Ganesh Kumari, mother of Jung Bahadur
|Jung Bahadur Rana and his brothers|
Our own erstwhile Maoist rebel leader Pushpa Kamal, a benign Lotus Flower, transformed himself into the malignant Prachanda, the awesome one.
"Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun", thundered Chairman Mao Zedong and a formidable nom de guerre consolidates it. That is the name of the game.