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Showing posts from October, 2015

AN ENGLISHMAN AT THE COURT OF NEPAL

The old Englishman was very fond of Prime Minister Jung Bahadur Rana. He reminisced about how the brash youngster attached to the retinue of Crown Prince Surendra had performed impossible feats the feckless prince commanded of him. He had heard that Jung jumped from the Trishuli bridge on a horse into the raging river below. At another time the prince had demanded that Jung jump into a deep well. The most fabled feat was the daredevil jump from the Dharahara tower built by Prime Minister Bhimsen Thapa to commemorate Nepal's Pyrrhic victory over East India Company a decade earlier. Jung performed his jump harnessed to two huge umbrellas. Jung had escaped unscathed. Hodgson pondered whether these stories were factually true.

Unfortunately he, Hodgson, had played a hand in the downfall of Prime Minister Bhimsen Thapa and the eclipse of his family including his grand-nephew Jung Bahadur, now Nepal's strongman. Politics was dirty. Since the opening of the residency in 1816 A.D. a y…

SYMBOL OF NEPALESE NATIONHOOD

It was at St. Xavier's Godavari School that I first got acquainted with the Nepali state's aspirations to nationalism. Ironically it was our mainly American Jesuit priests who mandated that on Sundays we could speak only Nepali and wear Daura Suruwal (also called Labeda Suruwal in more refined circles) our national dress. I really do not know where this idea originated but we all accepted it, at first with awkwardness bordering on trepidation, but in time it became de riguer. Imagine suddenly speaking to friends in Nepali when we had spent already a few years together in school speaking to one another only in English! Instead of the white trousers with light blue shirt and tie emblazoned with the school logo now we had to wear the funny looking dress, perhaps for the very first time for some of us! The school knew that giving a good education in various disciplines wasn't nearly enough without a dose of nationalism to create responsible and enlightened future citizens. The…