By Dirgha Raj Prasai
Fifty eight years ago, the King Mahendra took the leadership on 1 Poush 2017 (15 December 1960) to keep intact the Nepal's sovereignty. Due to the unnecessary Indian intervention, the position of Nepal's sovereignty was in danger. The great King Prithbinarayan Shah unified the greater Nepal-1768 and King Mahendra contributed to unite the modern Nepal-1960. What the then king Mahendra did on 1 Poush 2017 (15 December 1960) for prosperity of prosperous, sovereign Nepal and Nepalese is immortal in the history of nationalism. Before 1960, foreigners were free to purchase land in Nepal. After 1961, king Mahendra banned foreigners from purchasing Nepalese land. Nepali language was continued as national language across the nation. Before 1960, 90% of Indian currency notes were in use which was removed and use of Nepali currency was made compulsory. Our pride was restored. King Mahendra without any condition asked the Indian force deployed for security of Nepal to leave.
People were compelled to walk through Indian roads to move from one Nepali district to other. In 1961, King Mahendra laid the foundation for East-West Highway at Gailakot to free the people of Indian torment. People were compelled to walk through Indian roads to move from one Nepali district to other. King Mahendra dedicated to build an East-West Highway, about 1000 KM long. The impact of the Highway has been great contributed to the all round socio-economic development issues. A scholar GS Agrawal writes-'The nation has honored the visionary king by naming it Mahendra Rajmarg. In 1961, King Mahendra laid the foundation for East-West Highway at Gailakot to free the people of Indian torment. Nepal was unified under the king Prithbinarayan Shah some two centuries ago. The real integration was completed in 1982 AD.
King Mahendra incorporated the phrase ‘Hindu Kingdom’ in the constitution upgrading the morale of India and Hindus all over the world. His work increased Nepal's prestige. He introduced Nepal in the United Nations by adopting the ideology of foreign policy. He maintained a balanced friendship with Chinese powerful leader Mao Ze Dong and Indian powerful Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. King Mahendra introduced more than 50 industries and organizations that directly benefit the people, fulfilled the essential as education, health, transportation, roads construction, irrigation, electricity. In 17 August, 1963 the late King introduced the Muluki Ain (people's code) and made attempt to break untouchables, caste discrimination and policy of gender-discrimination.
In 1965 he declared land reform act and abolished landlords, secured the right of farmers by ending Birta system. King Mahendra managed the way of active people's participation in the development sectors from the grass root levels He divided Nepal into 14 administrative zones with 75 districts in it. However, the king had not divided the country based on ethnicity or the origin of people residing in the respective zones or districts which is not possible even today. There were more than 4000 villages every village was divided into nine wards and 35 municipalities whose wards were divided 9-35, vary as per the size of the town. That is why he is immortal.
King Mahendra did a lot to give Nepal a separate identity in the international arena. The administrative mechanism of 14 zones and 75 districts are still very scientific and significant. Decentralization of power to every zone by appointing zonal commissioners; introduction of revolutionary land reform policy; start of the construction of the East-West highway without any budget; opening of branches of Nepal Rastra Bank in districts and restricting Indian currency in the market by supplying Nepali currency; opening of schools and colleges in different parts of the country and establishment of the Tribhuwan University are the landmark contributions made by King Mahendra. Furthermore, he encouraged Nepali artists, Nepali singers and Nepali littérateurs. Ratna Recording Sansthan was established to facilitate Nepali artists Otherwise Nepali artists had to travel to Calcutta for recording songs.
A Swiss geologist and scholar, Toni Hagen first came in 1950 as a member of the Swiss Mission for Development Aid. His first job was to conduct Nepal's first geological survey. About the reality of the Nepalese politics and the intention of King Mahendra he said- 'I call back December 1960 when King Mahendra staged the royal coup. I never agreed with King Mahendra this step. On the other hand, I would say looking back into the history that King Mahendra was a very great personality. It is mainly for his merit that Nepal survived as an independent country between two big neighbors. He was very clever and handled the dedicate issues.' 25 Nov.1992- Weekly newspaper- The Independent.'
An analyst Khagendra Thapa notes- 'King Mahendra's role was in leading the country towards reforms and development. He introduced revolutionary land reforms which granted land ownership to millions of poor farmers. King Mahendra had introduced a progressive legal system to abolish case discrimination and eliminate untouchability. He established a number of industries, most of which today's selfish leaders have either privatized or close down. Mahendra helped establish universities, colleges and schools across the country to lay the foundation for education development. Likewise, he had the East-West Highway constructed, which was instrumental in connecting different parts of the country.'
King Mahendra provided certain funds to make Nepali film Maitighar. King Mahendra was a courageous and visionary leader who contributed a lot in the development of Nepal in all sectors. He invited travel trade entrepreneurs from foreign countries to develop the tourism sector; he established the Royal Nepal Airlines to boost the tourism industry; he invited many Nepalese settled in India and other countries to serve in Nepal. He started industrialization of Nepal by requesting friendly countries to establish different industries in the country. In spite of pressures from India, he was able to maintain balanced relations with India and other friendly nations. When King Mahendra passed away in 2028 BS, I was a student of eighth grade. Nevertheless, I had acquired information about king Mahendra by studying history and also by interviewing different personalities who had the opportunity to work with king Mahendra. King Mahendra was a nationalist. His one poem “Ma marepani mero desh bachirahosh” (My country must live even if I die) is enough to understand him'-Pushpa Raj Pradhan.
If we try to understand the character of the king Mahendra, truth can be realized in intellectual, experiential and existential levels. The consciousness, thoughts, realization and feelings are the creations of the national existence. The definition of nationality is the way of life of identity. An analyst Dr. Arun Shrivastava expresses- 'The late King Mahendra Bir Bikram Shahdev, who ruled Nepal from 1956 to 1972, who had the perspicacity to understand the vital geo-political compulsions of being Nepal. He knew in 1958 that it’d be dangerous for his country if he allowed the big powers to interfere in Nepal’s internal affairs. Insiders say that when an American [US Government sponsored] foundation was ousted from Nepal, the then Secretary General of the UNO Kurt Waldheim personally threatened the Nepalese Government that ‘all international assistance would be withdrawn.’ Despite these threats, King Mahendra largely maintained neutrality, although leaned towards China for reasons that were made clear to the Indian Government.'
The remarkable fact is that Pous month has created the history of sovereign Nepal. Pous, a month as per the Bikram Era is known as the shortest month with short days and long nights. The period from 15 December to 12 January that lies in the same month holds its own significance. Modern history of Nepal was created in the period between the start and end of the month of Pous. Creator of the modern Nepal Prithvi Narayan Shah the Great, was born on 27 Poush or 10/11 January. The then king Mahendra assumed power abolishing the parliament to save Nepal from drowning on 1 Poush (13 December). Nepalese across the nation and non resident Nepalese illuminated butter lamps at houses against Indian expansionism while celebrating king Mahendra’s step on 1 Poush. Similarly, on 16 Poush, Nepali Congress leaders BP Koirala, Ganeshman, Shailaja Acharya, KB Gurung returned from India citing danger to nationality and work closely with the monarchy to free the nation of Indian pressure. The creator Prithvi Narayan Shah the Great, king Mahendra, king Birendra and BP Koirala and Ganeshman Singh among the people’s representative can never be forgotten.
King Prithvi Narayan Shah the Great was born in the month of Pous created a greater Nepal to protect it from British attack. The British Empire, spreading in Asia, after getting hold of its influence in India had eyed on mountainous region of Nepal. It was not an easy task to fight British imperialistic force in the mid 18th century. But the nation’s nationality is in a dangerous turn. The rulers after the 2006 insulted the major policy of Unity in Diversity to disrespect the creator of the nation and national unification. They have disrespected the Nepal’s sovereignty by scraping public holiday on 27 Pous celebrated as National Unity Day. It is condemnable. Nepali people aspire for political stability and peace through the medium of parliamentary democracy. But an attempt has been made to break these very norms and ridicule the golden history of Nepal’s national unification.
It has to be noted that Prithvi Narayan Shah has mentioned a dream in his divine message as a source of encouragement for greater Nepal’s unification, “a girl of 8/9 years of age came to me holding two 'Kadga'(sword) and I asked- ‘who’s daughter are you and she said she was the daughter of Priest Rana and handed me both the 'Khadga'(Sword). Brought something from 'Khokila' and asked me to eat it. Your wishes have been fulfilled.” The girl of Magar caste had incited the king to create the foundation for national unification. In the initial stage Magar, Gurung, Khas, Thakuri, Bhramin including Kami, Damai, Sarki among other castes had helped in the campaign for unification. Later, all the castes supported the campaign. Prithvi Narayan Shah unified the small Hindu states and protected Buddhism and other religions. Because the king had kept the originality of mountainous Nepal was kept alive by allowing the Moon-Sun depicting flag to flutter, we Nepalese are proudly known in the world. Nepalese who disrespects and forgets Prithvi Narayan Shah will never be known as patriot.
A Nepali scholar Sher Bahadur Gadtaula says-'There is always a moment in a nation's history, when the truth emerges to expose the nakedness of lies, sins and evil actions committed by villainous leaders and personalities. World History is a witness to that. Nepal's case is no different. The true heroes and builders of Nepal our founding fathers from Bhivutis like Prithivi Narayan Shah, Bahadur Shah, Amar Singh Thapa, Mathbar Singh Basnyat, Bir Bal Bhadra, Bhim Sen Thapa, and many other heores and martyrs whose names are written in golden letters will be remembered forever by every Nepali.
This rich legacy, heritage and history, these villains wish to erase by destroying national monuments, temples and historical sites from statues to palaces, relics, icons and even ancient books and literature. This should never be allowed. We need to defend what is dear to us and what we revere as national icons. History is never written in a few years, it is built over centuries, millenniums and over generations.'
Any wolf in sheep's clothing wishes to rewrite history to his own liking and creating a false reality where he shall rule. The corrupt leaders and parties wish to ride over roughshod over the Nepali people and trampling their hopes, dreams and aspirations in the process. This is what we have witnessed for almost two decades now. Democracy in a true sense is the greatest of liberators of society and humanity but instead in Nepal it has turned into a curse that has polluted the very essence and lifeblood of our glorious nation, a true Holy Land, a Hindu nation.
Likewise, patriotic King Birendra was born in 14 Poush (29 December). King Mahendra’s decision to continue Hindu Kingdom in the constitution and King Birendra’s proposal to declare Nepal a zone of peace are the norms of the Nepal’s prestige and security opinion. King Birendra supported the democratic norms and rules. He made the people’s direct participation in the nation’s development and went on nation-wide tour encouraging all sectors. He bore the expenditure and arranged for medical treatment in US for BP Koirala, King Mahendra and his opposition. King Birendra held referendum on state’s political system reflecting the democratic image of Nepal’s monarchies. He played a big role in development based on geography in mountains, hills and Tarai plains.
Congress leaders among BP Koirala and Ganeshman Singh living in exile in India returned on 16 Poush (31 December 1976) in condition of working hand-in-hand with the monarchy with the slogan of national reconciliation. BP Koirala acknowledging danger upon Nepal’s nationality after Sikkim was annexed by India returned to Nepal. Since then he has been alive in Nepal's democracy. Although BP's brother Girija has burned all his ideologies, imposing secularism, republic and federalism joining his hands with Maoist by the hints of RAW.
At the time when King Mahendra passed away in 11 February 1972 Nepali Congress leader and former minister Dinbandhu Aryal was with BP Koirala at Banaras. He has written that BP Koirala was very concerned when the news of the demise of the King came. He writes-'BP could not sleep the whole night, after receiving the news of the demise of His Majesty Mahendra. When BP said that King Mahendra was a great nationalist king he must have forgotten the injustice he was forced to face. BP understood the difference between the royal institution and the King as an individual. BP used to tell us of the answer Prithvinarayan gave his brothers, who had sought to divide the kingdom, that the nation was not a thing to be divided among brothers. He expressed his belief in December 1976 that the road to democracy should be had with reconciliation with the monarch on the belief that the Nepal’s kings can contribute to modernization, and in consideration of the contribution of His Majesty Tribhuvan in the revolution of 1950. In 1976 he had that belief and was effortful in bringing the King to tread the path of democracy and this was the essence of national unity and reconciliation'– (Punarjagaran). His statement shows the amity that existed between King Mahendra and BP Koirala.
All sides may agree with BP’s ideologies that came after 1976. There is no alternative to move ahead in unison between King Mahendra’s nationalism and BP’s democratic socialism. The country is standing on the verge of dismemberment in the last 13 years. When the relationship between the king and the people have been detached one can easily imagine, Nepal can't remain safe and unified if monarchy is actually abolished from the country. In a country with such geographical and ethnic diversities Nepal will fall into a severely dangerous situation because of the tug of war for power and money. This can be avoided if there is monarchy because monarchy is always impartial politically and of the political parties. All of us are against if there are anomalies within the royal institution, but those things could be sorted out through negotiation with the monarch.
It is our unfortunate that the politicians have learnt no lesion from their past mistakes. Since 2006, Nepal's condition is very bad. Nepal is captured by the leaders of Congress, UML and Maoist, who are guided from Indian Intelligence Agency-RAW and EU. Now- it is the actual time to analysis the steep of King Mahendra fifty eight years ago- 2017 BS 1st Paush, and have to active to save Nepal's sovereignty.
To make no mistakes is not in the power of man, but from their errors and mistakes that wise and good learn wisdom for the future. Constitutionalism is the way of the nation. But the profounder of party leaders-Congress, UML and Maoist don't like the follow the norms of the constitution and existing laws. There is establishing the anarchism by such destructive activities. The leaders of Nepal Congress, UML, Maoists and other don't like to improve their mistakes. The permanent institution- 'Monarchy' can put unites the cordial relation between Nepal, India and China. In between the two big neighbors-China & India, the monarchy had been playing a balanced role. Nepalese monarchial system has been supporting-'One China policy'- Tibet as an integral part of China.
Nepalese people do not want any kind of unconstitutional authoritarianism. They want only full democracy with political stability, peace and good governance. Nepal could remain an independent and sovereign country only because of monarchy. The monarchy was pivotal in integrating Nepal, establishing democratic and just society at par with the modern world. But why are the political parties so averse and negative towards monarchy? It is true that there are many countries which do not have monarchy still they could remain independent and prosperous. Nepalese king has ever acted or walked on the path which is against Nepal's national interest. Gorkha was one country since ancient time. This country is the result of the unification of 54 small Hindu states or fiefdoms under the leadership of the monarchy formatting the only one Hindu kingdom in the world under the leadership of the monarchy.
Therefore, this uncertain and precarious situation can only be averted if a balance can be maintained among nationality, monarchy, Hindu kingdom and parliamentary democracy. Nepal's independence, sovereignty and democracy can never be safeguarded by abolishing monarchy. So, the only way would be the acceptance and restoration of benevolent and people-oriented monarchy to end the existing crisis. Then, the king Gyanendra must be in throne, organizing through a broad conference and find a way out to solve the country's problem.