A Reflection On Prithvi’s Birth Anniversary Celebration
A Reflection On Prithvi’s Birth Anniversary Celebration
Siddhi B Ranjitkar
An article titled “Rastriya Yakata Divas Sandharva” appeared in ‘gorkhapatra’ of December 27, 2016 as an opinion article advocating for celebrating the birth anniversary of Prithvi Narayan Shah: the great that had been really great for some people but he had been the symbol of repression for 240 years for the majority of the Nepalese that had lived under the unimaginable political condition that has plagued the Nepalese with disease, poverty and worthlessness. The opinion writer has lamented in the article that the non-resident Nepalese (NRNs) in America are celebrating the birth anniversary of Prithvi but the government of Nepal is not doing so. The State should not honor Prithvi celebrating his birth anniversary to redress the injustice he had inflicted on the entire people not to mention the repression the entire Nepalese nation had suffered for 240 years.
Publishing such an article the State-run ‘gorkhapatra” has done a great honor to the rights of every citizen to express his or her opinion, and has established the tradition of freedom of expression the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal has set. In addition, ‘gorkhapatra’ has been doing great job publishing news and views in other national languages giving rights to development of every language spoken in Nepal. This has been a possible thanks to the federal democratic and republican structure that people have set up. Nobody could think of such things in the previous regimes whether it was Shah-Rana regime or the panchayat regime.
The opinion writer of the article mentioned here is called Hari Adhikari. I don’t know what is his source of information on saying Prithvi Narayan had in fact not cut off the noses and ears of the Kirtipurians but such allegations were of the Christians Prithvi had driven off the country. Prithvi must have been smiling and thanking the writer for covering up his misdeeds even after more than two-and-a-half centuries.
Writing fake news and giving wrong information, and telling the fake things have been the practice of certain Nepalese intellectuals and politicians, too. For example, in the recent past when KP Oli: still the chairman of CPN-UML that has been advocating the unitary system overturning the federal system the people have set up following the unity in diversity, has said that for the first time Prithvi seeing the so beautiful Kathmandu Valley from the Chandragiri Hill decided to win the valley at any cost. Stating such a wrong thing Oli demonstrated that he has no idea of the Nepalese history because Prithvi had spent most of his adulthood at the Bhakaterpur palace of his godfather Ranajit Malla.
Mr. Oli and his Jhapa accomplices that had cut off the heads of Dharma Prasad Dhakal: the then member of the Rastriya Panchayat: the so-called parliament during the panchayat period, and his son, have been for finishing off the federal system for the unitary system, have been invoking the Prithvi’s name repeatedly and attempting to introduce the State celebration of the birth anniversary of Prithvi going against the will of the majority of Nepalese, and trying to humiliate the people with the idea of repressing them again as did Prithvi and his descendants introducing a unitary system again for over 240 years. Currently, Oli and his comrades have been terrorizing the parliament holding it a hostage for meeting their demands. Would Oli be successful? Certainly not because the current Nepalese are not the Nepalese of even of 1990s not to mention the time of Prithvi more than 240 years ago.
Anybody could celebrate the birth anniversary of Prithvi or Jung Bahadur or Tribhuvan or even Poush 1 as the Mahendra’s anniversary at his or her own capacity as the personal activity whether s/he is NRN or not. In fact, some descendents of Jung Bahadur perform annual memorial service called ‘shrada’ for the great thing he had done for them but not for the common folks. Maybe somebody does the same to Mahendra: the killer of democracy for the 30 years of the Nepalese people. In fact, some people go to his statue at the Jamal in Kathmandu on Poush 1, and put some flower garlands around the neck of the Mahendra’s majestic Statue that has been directing the traffic days and nights. Those are their personal activities; the State has nothing to do with their personal activities.
Following the law of the land, anybody could do whatever s/he likes not violating the rights of anybody. They also should not force the State and State agencies to do what they want. For example, last year former CPN-UNL chief Jhalanath Khanal forced the Nepal Academy to hold a procession from the academy office to the Statue of Prithvi at the traffic isle in front of the gate to the Singh durbar: the State secretariat to celebrate the anniversary of Prithvi, and to garland the Statue of Prithvi that has been working as a good traffic controller.
However, some of the politicians and so-called intellectuals have been trying to force the State to celebrate the anniversary of Prithvi in the name of appreciating the unification of Nepal for taking benefits out of it. For example, Chairman of CPN-UML Oli and his associates in an attempt to reversing the federalism have been for honoring the Prithvi the great for reinstating the unitary system and running the country as did Prithvi and his descendants repressing the people and if possible keeping them in dire poverty and hunger. That is really what Mr. Oli really wants if he is for a unitary system.
Some so-called intellectuals including the opinion writer in the ‘gorkhapatra’ of December 27, 2016 must have tried either to regain the lost advantage of the Shah-Rana rule or must have some sorts of support from those for reversing the sovereignty of the people to fight so aggressively for the return of Prithvi back to life. They have been using their knowledge and skills in writing for fakes to look like the facts to paint the nice pictures of the Shah-Rana rulers. They just ignore the injustice the Shah-Rana rulers had done to the common folks for such a long time repressing the common folks, and denying the fundamental human rights. So, it is not wonder they want to honor the Prithvi that had been synonymous with things such as injustice, cruelty, and rudeness.
Such morally shaky intellectuals had been successful to elevate Prithvi and his descendants having the ancestors with the Muslim name as the incarnations of Lord Vishnu. If anybody has a chance to visit the Nagarkot height on the hill to the east of the Kathmandu Valley s/he will find the list of the names of the ancestors of the Shah kings starting from the last names as Khan and later on becoming the Shah carved on a stone pillar. Those Shah rulers in fact were Khans if we were to believe the inscription on the pillar. Khan is the popular Muslim name. Thus, some intellectuals have elevated the Shah kings with the Muslim ancestors as the incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Nepalese Hindus have no objection to this cleverly and unfairly manipulation some so-called intellectuals did to make the Shah rulers as the incarnations of the Hindu god.
Prithvi saw the Kathmandu Valley from the Chandragiri Hill for the first time, and then committed to win over the valley is a fake some politicians such as Oli and his colleagues have been propagating to elevate Prithvi that has been down to the ground after Nepal became a federal democratic republic. For the information of the naive politicians like Oli and his associates, Prithvi spent most of his adulthood at the Bhaktapur palace of his godfather Ranajit Malla learning techniques of warfare, use of weaponry, diplomacy, and any other quality a future king needed to have from Ranajit Malla, his sons, and other Malla courtiers. Prithvi also learned the hostility among the Malla kings of the valley and how to exploit such enmity in his favor.
Prithvi was the offspring of the Gorkha king that had never seen a real throne made of silver and gold but had heard that the Malla kings had lavish thrones. Prithvi had seen a real throne at the Bhaktapur palace. The Shah kings were actually farmers. They tilled the land in the agricultural seasons. They had no buildings, which they could claim to be palaces or a palace until the artisans from Katmandu went to build a palace in Gorkha and Nuwakot.
Prithvi could win the Kathmandu Valley because by that time Malla kings had been highly luxurious and had been enjoying the lavish life style that made them the most incompetent in the warfare, and their army the most inefficient despite having the most competent human power and the best weaponry than what Prithvi had. Then Prithvi that did not possess any cultural background and did not have any etiquette could do whatever he wanted only to win anything from the highly developed and civilized Malla kings and their citizens.
Prithvi would have been long dead before he could win the Kathmandu Valley had one of the Kirtipurian soldiers not followed the code of conduct of the soldiers of that time not killing a king. The soldier did not kill Prithvi strictly following the protocol of a soldier not killing a king. However, Prithvi had nothing to do with any such protocol of the Malla rulers, and killed all the soldiers that fought bravely defending the Kiritpur, and cut off the noses and ears of those women and senior citizens that helped the soldier to keep on fighting.
However, the opinion writer Hari Adhikari writing a nice article titled “Rastriya Yakata Divas Sandharva” published in ‘gorkhapatra’ of December 27, 2016 wanted to cover up the truth trying to make “the Christians Prithvi drove out of the Kathmandu Valley had alleged that the Prithvi cut off noses and ears” a fake look like a real one. Hari Adhikari wanted to make a dark picture of Prithvi look like a nice one but everybody willing to know the truth has the history books written in various languages for their references. For the opinion writer Hari Adhikari’s information, any NRN or Nepalese in the country and abroad could celebrate the birth anniversary of Prithvi and of anybody including Jung Bahadur at the personal level. It is not a problem but the State could not do so not alienating the majority of the common folks.
December 27, 2016