नेपाल प्रहरीका पुर्ब महानिरीक्षक श्रद्धेय खड्गजीत बरालज्यूमा श्रद्धाञ्जली..

नयाँ खबर

नेपाल प्रहरीका पुर्ब महानिरीक्षक श्रद्धेय खड्गजीत बरालको दुखद निधनमा हामी सबै शोकाकुल त छदैछौ। नेपालको प्रहरीको विकास र बिस्तारमा उहाको अतुलनिय भूमिकालाई इतिहासले सदा सम्मान र स्मरण गरिरहनेछ। यस कुरालाई मध्यनजर गर्दै नेपाल पुर्ब प्रहरी परिवार मंच, बेलायतले उहाको ४५ सौ दिनको पुण्य तिथिमा अहिलेको बिशेष परिस्थतिमा जुम मार्फत श्रद्धान्जली सभा गर्न गइरहेको छ ।

मिति – १९ असार शनिबार (३ जुलाई २०२१) समय- नेपालको समय – १६ ०० बजे (अपरान्ह ४ बजे)

The Gurkhas, Eden Vansittart

Vansittart, Eden, The Gurkhas, Anmol Publications, New Delhi, India, Reprint 1993
Book review by Dr. Govind Prasad Thapa

The Western division is inhabited by Doti and other non-Gurkha tribes and until the close of the last century was divided in, 22 separate principalities which were collectively called the Baisi Raj and were all tributary to the Raja of ‘Yumila’-Jumla.

Baisi is derived from Bais (twenty two). The names of these principalities were-
Jumla, Jagwikot, Chain, Acham, Rugham, Musikot, Roalpa, Mallijanta, Balhang, Daelekh, Darimeka, Doti, Sallyan, Bamphi, Mellianta, Jehari, Kalagaon, Goriakot, Gutam, Gajur, Jajarkot, Bilaspur.(p. 3)

Baisi is derived from Bais (twenty two). The names of these principalities were-
Jumla, Jagwikot, Chain, Acham, Rugham, Musikot, Roalpa, Mallijanta, Balhang, Daelekh, Darimeka, Doti, Sallyan, Bamphi, Mellianta, Jehari, Kalagaon, Goriakot, Gutam, Gajur, Jajarkot, Bilaspur.(p. 3)  

Towards the close of the last century the Central Division included in its limits, besides the Kingdom of Gurkha proper, 24 other independent principalities, collectively called the Chaubisia Raj, or ‘country of the 24 kings’. These principalities were called- 

Lamzung, Tanhung, Golkot, Malibam, Sathung, Garhun, Rising, Ghiring, Deorali, Palpa, Pokhra, Bhirkot, Butwal, Gulmi, Nuwakeot, Kashi, Isma, Dharkot, Musikot, Argha, Pyung, Latahung, Kaikho, Piuthan. Previous to the conquest of the western hill by Gurkhas, Jumla was the chief of the 46 principalities into which the country between the Kali and the province of Gurkha proper was divided, and all of which were nominally tributary to the Raja of Jumla.(p. 4)  

This book introduces Nepal-its geography, people, economy, culture and history. It also tells about the recruitment of Gorkhas into British army. The author lists the races of aboriginal stock of Nepal—”The aboriginal stock of Nepal is most undoubtedly Mongolian. This fact is inscribed in very plain characters, in their faces, forms, and languages. Amongst the aborigines of Nepal must be counted the Magars, Gurungs, Newars, Sunwars, Khambus, Yakhas, Yakthumbas, Limbus, Murmis, and Lepchas. (p.6) 

……The most ancient records would seem to prove that Nepal was originally inhabited by Mongolians. Probably from one of the great waves of Mongolian conquest, which spread through the breadth of Asia from east to west, some side wave was washed over the bleak snows of the mighty Himalayas into the fertile plains and valleys of Nepal. Finding here a cool and bracing climate and fertile soil, this mass of Mongolians settled down and adopted the country as their own. But again, the southern boundary of Nepal rested on India, from whence continual streamlets of natives were finding their way into Nepal. (p. 8-9)  

….In the Saka year 811, and Nepal Sambat 9(AD 889) on the 7th Sravara Sudi, a Saturday, Nanya, Deva Raja came from the south Karnataki country and entered Nepal. He brought with him the Saka Sahkala era and introduced it. Amongst the troops that there with him were Newars, from a country called Nayeva, who were Brahmaputra Chattris and Achars. He defeated the Malla Rajas, and established his court at Bhaktapur or Bhatgaon, he ruled over it as well as over Lalitapattan (present Patan), and Kantipur or Katmandu, and established a dynasty, which lasted about 220 years and gave six kings. The sixth and last king of this dynasty, by name Hari Deva, had at this time (about 1100 AD) a Magar in his service, who through the machinations of the ministers, was dismissed. This man returned to his home and praised Nepal as having houses with golden roofs and golden pranalis or dharas. The Magar Raja, by name Mukunda Sena, a brave and powerful monarch, having heard of this, came to Nepal from the west with a large number of mounted troops, and subdued Hari Deva, the son of Rama Sinha Deva. Of the Nepalese troops some were slain and others fled. Great confusion reigned in the three cities. The victorious soldiers broke and disfigured the images of the gods and sent the Bhairava, in front of Machindranatha, to their own country, Palpa and Botwal. With this Raja the Khas and Magar castes came to Nepal. These men having no mercy, committed great sins, and the southern face of Pashupati showed its frightful teeth, and sent a goddess named Maha-mari (pestilence) who, within a forthnight, cleared the country of the troops of Mukunda Sena. The Raja alone escaped to the east in disguise. On his way back to his own country he arrived at Devighat and died there.(pp. 15-16)  

Social relations appear to be governed more by custom, than by the fixed rules, and superstition prevails so widely that the most ordinary occurrences of everyday life are referred to supernatural agency, frequently to the malevolent action of some demon. The writer writes that information on “Magars, Gurungs, and Thakurs are fairly complete and correct. The lists of Khas, Limbus, Rais, Sunuwars, and Murmis are undoubtedly incomplete, and perhaps in parts incorrect.” The writer has given chapter VI to details on Magars.  

The writer has argued that, “….the most ancient records would seem to prove that Nepal was originally inhabitated by Mongolians. Probably from one of the great waves of Mongolian conquest, which spread through the breadth of Asia from east to west, some side wave was washed over the bleaks snows of the mighty Himalayas into the fertile plains and valleys of Nepal…the northern wave, which originally peopled Nepal, probably consisted of a most uncivilized,, ignorant race with, perhaps, no religion at all. Those who came from south, on the other hand, were Hindus, whose religion, even then, was an old established one, and who were famous for their intelligence and civilization.

“Of very ancient Magar history we know nothing, and the first time that they came into prominence as a great power is about AD 1100, when we hear that Mukunda Sena, the Magar King of Palpa and Botwal, invaded and conquered the Nepal Valley, and committed terrible atrocities during the reign of Hari Deva, King of Nepal. The principal seat of Magars was most of the central and lower parts of the mountain between the Jingrak (Rapti) of Gorakhpur) and Marsiandi rivers. That they resided about Palpa from time immemorial is well-known. Doctor F Hamilton in his book published in 1819 says that the Magars, who resided to the west of the Gandak river, seem to have received the Rajputs princes with much cordiality. Until the arrival of the Rajputs and Brahmans, the hill tribes seem all to have eaten every kind of animal food, including the cow. Each tribe appears to have originally to have a priesthood and duties peculiar to itself, and to have worshipped chiefly ghosts.”

“The Magars have for many centuries more or less admitted the supremacy of the doctrines of the Brahmans, and consequently they have adopted many Rajput customs, ceremonies, and names. The Gurungs also, but to a very much lesser degree, have borrowed from the Rajputs, but this does not give either of two tribes any claim to any other descent than Mongolian.

“Owing to the geographical positions of the tract of country inhabited by the Magars, they were the first to receive immigrants from the plains of India, and thus conversions were more numerous amongst the Magars than any of the other hill tribes living further north or east. 

“….Hence we find Magars many high-born titles such as Surajvansi, Chandrvansi etc., etc., which undoubtedly never existed amongst the Magar themselves, but were introduced from India. Some of the Magars having been converted assumed the sacred thread, whilst others did not; hence we find Ghartis, Ranas, and Thapas, who appear as tribes belonging both to the Magars and to the Khas.” p.81

“Makwanpur originally formed part of the estate of the Ruler of Palpa. There is no doubt that Makunda Sen possessed very extensive dominions, but on his death he devided his kingdom amongst his four sons. To the youngest, Lohanga by name, Makwanpur was given, a mountain chief, by name Bajuhang Rai, joined Lohanga with all his Kirant troops, and they conquered all the petty independent principalities lying to the east of Makwanpur and took possession of Bissipur.”

Bajuhang was killed during these wars, and his son, relinquishing the title of Hang, in its stead took that of Chautaria, and all his successors assumed Hindu names.

Lohanga now possessed a very extensive territory reaching from Mahananda in the east to Adiya on the west, and from Tibet to Julagar, near Purneah.

One of Lohanga’s successors was called Subha Sen, and two sons, who on their father’s death divided the kingdom. In 1774 the Gurkha’s overran the country. Vansittart..p99-100

Vansittart quotes Doctor F. Hamilton on Gurkha family: “In 1802 Doctor F. Hamilton writes: ‘The first persons of the Gurkha family, of whom I have heard, were two brothers, named Khancha and Mincha, words altogether barbarous, denoting their descent from a Magar family, and not from the Pamars, as they pretend'”.p.24

Vansittart claims that “Khancha was the founder of the imperial branch of the family, viz., they remained Magars. Mincha was the Chief of Nayakot, and adopted the Hindu rules of purity, and his descendants intermarried with the best families although not without creating disgust.” He further asserts that “Kulmandan, the son of Jagdeva, obtained sovereignty over Kaski, and having pleased the Mahomedan Emperor, received from him the title of Sah.”p. 24

…..The famous Prime Minister Bhim Sen was the descendant of a Magar Thapa, as was also General Amar Sing.(p. 67)  

To the north and to the west of Sallyan, numbers of Matwala Khas are to be found. They are rarely if ever found to the east of the Gandak  river. There can be no doubt that this race found its origin somewhere about Sallyan or perhaps still further west. The Matwala Khas is generally the progeny of a Khas of Western Nepal with a Magar woman of Western Nepal. If the woman happens to belong to the Rana clan of the Magar tribe, the progeny is then called a Bhat Rana. The Matwala Khas does not wear the thread. He eats and drinks and in every way assimilates himself with the Magars and Gurungs. He invariably claims to be a Magar. Amongst the Matwala Khas are to be found those who call themselves Bohra, Roka, Chohan, Jhankri, etc. These are easy to identify, but it is more difficult to find out a Matwala who calls himself a Thapa. His strong Magar appearance, his not wearing the thread, and his eating and drinking freely with the real Magars, all tend to prove him to be what he almost invariably claims to be, viz., a real Magar. The writer has found men in the ranks who for years had served as and been considered Magars, but who really were Matwala Khas. Some very excellent results are obtained amongst the Matwala Khas, although the greater proportion are coarse-bred and undesirable.(p. 70)  

Of very ancient Magar history we know nothing, and the first time that they came into prominence as a great power is about AD 1100, when hear that Mukunda Sena, the Magar King of Palpa and Botwal, invaded and conquered the Nepal Valley, and committed terrible atrocities during the reign of Hari Deva, King of Nepal. 

The principal seat of the Magars was most of the central and lower parts of the mountains between the Jhingrak ( Rapti of Gorakhpur) and Marsiangdi rivers. That they resided about Palpa from time immemorial is well known. Doctor F. Hamilton in book published in 1819 says that the Magars, who resided to the west of the Gandak River, seem to have received the Rajput princes with much cordiality. 

Until the arrival of Rajputs and Brahmans, the hill tribes seem all to have eaten every kind of animal food, including the cow. Each tribe appears originally to have had a priesthood and duties peculiar to itself, and to have worshipped chiefly ghosts. 

The Magars have for many centuries more or less admitted the supremacy of the doctrines of the Brahmans, and consequently they have adopted many Rajput customs, ceremonies, and names. The Gurungs also, but to a very much lesser degree, have borrowed from Rajputs, but this does not give either of these two tribes any claim to any other descent than Mongolian. 

Owing to the geographical position of the tract of country inhabited by the Magars, they were the first to receive immigrants from the plains of India, and thus conversions were more numerous amongst the Magars than any of the other tribes living further north or east.

At other place the writer claims that, “The famous Prime Minister Bhim Sen was the descendant of a Magar Thapa, as was also General Amar Sing.”p. 67

Though this book was written as guidebook for the purpose of British Officers who were engaged in the recruitment of Nepali, this book also covers information on many other aspects, history, culture, people, and geography of Nepal. So, this book will be very useful for the pursuit of further research on the people’s history of Nepal.

Who was Aramudi?

Was Aramudi a Magar? Need for Scholarly Researches through Magars’ Lens
SB Pun, Magar Studies Center, Journal Shodhmala, Volume 8, No. 9
January 2015, (Magh, 2071)


Aramudi in Kalhan’s Rajatarangini:

The Kashmiri historian, Kalhan, lived in the middle of the 12th century AD when the once powerful Kashmir Kings were very much on the wane. He was, in fact, a contemporary of the last Kashmir king. Kalhan’s celebrated Rajatarangini, A Chronicle of the Kings of Kasmir, is a five hundred years’ historical record of the Kashmir Kings from the 7th/8th century AD. According to MA Stein , the British scholar who in the late 19th century translated Kalhan’s Rajatarangini, King Jayapida ruled Kashmir in the ‘years AD 751 – 782 but in all probability fell much closer to the end of the eighth century, few authentic details seem to have been recorded.’ King Jayapida expanded his empire conquering large parts of northern and central India. During his territorial expansion, King Jayapida was, however, defeated and even captured by Aramudi in a battle on the bank of the river ‘Kala Gandak’. Dr. Dilli Raman Regmi quotes Kalhan’s following Rajatarangini verses, as translated by RS Pandit, to provide a vivid and enlightening description of the Jayapida versus Aramudi battle fought over 1200 years ago:

The Raja named Aramudi, skilled in magic, protector of Nepal, endowed with the arts of peace and war planned to over-reach him(531).
When Jayapida entered his principality he did not make his submission but retired from before him to a great distance with his army(532).
Thus, it was that he, who was ambitious to conquer, inflicted, while in pursuit of Aramudi, defeats on the various ruling princes which would have necessitated special efforts to achieve (533).
He was occasionally visible just like to the hawk the pigeon in the thicket (534).

At this time on the further bank of the river on the right of the king was found posted Aramudi displaying his army with the emblem of his own parasol (537).
Seeing his powerful army which resounded with the rattle of massed kettle drums, Jayapida flared up like fire which was absorbed melted butter (538).
He, on seeing that the river water, which was knee deep, was no impediment, in his anger, plunged in to cross, unacquainted with the terrain as he was from never having been before (539).
When the king had reached the middle, the river was filled by the rising tide and unexpectedly became unfathomably deep with the waters (540).
The king’s army teeming with men, elephants and horses sinking in the river, which was rising in the manner, in a trice came to an end (541).
The king, whose ornaments and clothes were torn off in the rushing waves, penetrated the waves with his arms and carried off far by the flood waters (542).
With the pitiful shrieks of the one army, the triumphant shouts of the other and with the roar of the waves of the river, the direction became full of tumult (543).
The enemy made haste and with armed men on inflated skins, he drew out Jayapida from the midst of the river and took him prisoner and held a feast (544)
his confidence (546).
Thus the Kashmiri king was once more submerged in adversity and, puzzled as to what should be done, was consumed by concealed sorrow (547).

Together with fortune of Jayapida, I shall deliver to you the throne of the king of Kashmir, thus through the emissaries, Aramudi heard the message (553)
When upon the arrival of the emissaries of the opposite side, the agreement was complete (554).

Who was Aramudi?

This, then, is the fascinating account by a Kashmiri historian about how his own powerful King Jayapida suffered an ignominious defeat on the bank of Kala Gandak at the hands of an obscure Aramudi. Now who was this Aramudi? According to Dr. KP Jayaswal, Aramudi in Kashmiri means a monk and hence identified him as Varadeva of Bendall’s chronicle. This chronicle relates a story about Varadeva’s life of renunciation as a monk and Jayaswal conveniently concluded that the above fight was between Varadeva and Jayapida. On the other hand, Professor Sylvian Levi, along with MA Stein, believed Aramudi was a Tibetan King as Aramudi is a Tibetan word. This was vehemently refuted by Dr. DR Regmi who believed that Professor Levi suffered from that ‘innate prejudice to give credence to anything glorifying Tibet.’ Both Regmi and Stein state that the name Aramudi does not appear in the traditional lists of Nepal Rajahs. In fact, Regmi finds this very strange – a name so eloquently appearing in Rajatarangini and yet traced nowhere in Nepal’s history.

Regmi believed that ‘Aramudi in all possibility was a king of the Gandak region. He might act as well as a ruler of a native dynasty of Magars. The Magar vocabulary might provide a clue to the meaning of the word Aramudi in its historical setting. But scholars with a competent knowledge of linguistics and Indo-Mongloid dialects are needed for the task.’ There is, thus, the task for the Magars to delve into this Aramudi issue in an impartial and scholarly manner. Aramudi now needs to be researched through the Magars’ lens. We have seen above how Jayaswal and Levi through their lens interpret Aramudi as a Kashmiri and Tibetan respectively. Regmi, however, has thrown the gauntlet to the Magars that as the battle was fought on the bank of Kala Gandak, Magarat, the land of Magars, Aramudi could very well be a Magar!
Aramudi Need to be Researched through Magars’ Lens:

The call for Aramudi to be studied through the Magars’ lens is eloquently illustrated by the following translations of the same Rajatarangini verses by RS Pandit and MA Stein:

(531) The Raja named Aramudi, skilled in magic, protector of Nepal, endowed with the arts of peace and war planned to over-reach him. RS Pandit

531. King Aramudi, who ruled Nepal, and who was possessed of wisdom and prowess, wished to prevail over him by cunning. MA Stein

(541) The king’s army teeming with men, elephants and horses sinking in the river, which was rising in the manner, in a trice came to an end. RS Pandit

541. Then the king’s army, with its mass of men, elephants and horses, was washed away by the swollen river, and destroyed in a moment. MA Stein

(554) When upon the arrival of the emissaries of the opposite side, the agreement was complete. RS Pandit

554. When an agreement had been arrived at, on the arrival of the envoys sent in return [by Aramudi], the minister, accompanied by an army, proceeded to the land of Nepal. MA Stein
It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. One can see that the above three same verses of Rajatarangini are translated differently by Pandit and Stein. Whereas Pandit viewed Aramudi as the protector of Nepal, Stein saw him as the ruler of Nepal. One can draw a fine line between the protector and ruler of Nepal. Pandit’s translation of ‘men, elephant and horses sinking in the river which was rising’ is not as easy to understand as Stein’s ‘mass of men, elephants and horses was washed away by the swollen river’. Similarly, while Pandit translated ‘[Aramudi] was occasionally visible just like to the hawk the pigeon in the thicket’, Stein translated that same verse in a more difficult manner as ‘sometimes kept in hiding and sometimes showed himself, in pursuit from land to land, as the eagle [pursues] the dove in the thicket.’ Pandit’s hawk and pigeon get transformed into eagle and dove in Stein. These examples are illustrated merely to stress the need for Aramudi to be researched through the Magars’ lens. JC Dutt, who translated Rajatarangini into English, commented in March 1887 that Kalhan’s love for alliteration and artistic styles clouded many of his passages, making them difficult to translate. Dutt, however, was of the opinion that though the materials were meager and incomplete, Kalhan’s historical records are generally correct.

Aramudi’s Ignominious End:

563. When the clever [minister] had obtained the consent of the duped [Aramudi], he went to the imprisoned King Jayapida. MA Stein

579. As soon as he had reached his army, he at once invaded the kingdom of Nepal and destroyed it completely, together with its ruler. MA Stein

The clever minister, who came from Kashmir to rescue his King Jayapida and skillfully duped Aramudi, was Devasarman. The faithful Devasarman killed himself so that the imprisoned Jayapida could jump from his stone building imprisonment into Kala Gandak and across the river floating on the dead minister’s body. Once free, a thoroughly bitter and angry Jayapida then invaded Nepal and destroyed it completely together with Aramudi. This massive destruction of Nepal and the fleeting victory of Aramudi, so faithfully documented by Rajatarangini, failed to be registered in Nepal’s chronicle.

The End

Diary of a Nepali soldier in France

Writings and a khukri of an unknown World War I Gurkha soldier surface in Germany after 107 years surface in Germany after 107 years

Shree Bhakta Khanal, November 28, 2020, Nepali Times

Gurkhas in the trenches of France during World War I. More than 20,000 Nepali soldiers were killed fighting for the Allied Forces between 1914-1918. Photo: Imperial War Museum

Books have been written about the legendary bravery and sacrifice of Nepal’s Gurkha soldiers. Officers have extolled their obedience and cheerfulness despite hardships and danger. The world has an image of Nepali soldiers in the battlefield: fierce but always smiling. 

But historians have pored through letters and diaries written by Gurkha soldiers from the two World Wars to paint a slightly different picture — Nepalis in the trenches of Flanders Field or below the cliffs at Gallipoli, homesick, terrified, cold and miserable. Many of these letters home were held by military censors, and are archived.

Now, a diary written by a Gurkha sergeant in the British Army during the battle of La Bassée in northern France during World War I in 1914, and retrieved by a German officer, have revealed a whole new side to the Gurkha legend, one that confirms the traditional bravery, but also their human side. 

Two unnamed Gurkha prisoners of war in a German camp in Münster in 1916. Courtesy: Sir Kukri & Co
Gurkha prisoners of war in a German camp. Some of their voices recorded in song and stories are now in the Humboldt Museum archives. Courtesy: Sir Kukri & Co

Lieutenant Alexander Pfeifer was with the Kurhessische Jäger-Bataillon Nr. 11 and found the diary of a Nepali soldier in La Bassée on 20 December 1914 after a fierce battle against Allied forces of the British and French Armies. The battle had lasted from 12 October till the end of December. The name of the Nepali soldier, and whether he died in the battlefield or as a prisoner of war, are not known. 

Lt Alexander Pfeifer, the German officer among whose papers was the diary of the Gurkha soldier, and was recently retrieved by his great-grandson, Philip Cross.

Lt Pfeiffer’s great-grandson Philip Cross found the documents and the khukri while going through his family effects. He is in the process of translating his great grandfather’s diary into English, and also getting the diary of the dead Gurkha sergeant translated into English and German.

Lt Pfeiffer writes in his diary about the fearsome reputation of the Gurkhas among the German troops: ‘I found quite a few letters written in Indian script. They are fierce warriors. We are afraid of them. They use their knives to cut up the enemy,’ he writes in one entry.

It appears that Lt Pfeifer’s job was to go through the bodies of dead enemy soldiers to find out if he could find any intelligence of what the Allied forces were up to. That appears to be how he got hold of the diary, photographs and even the khukri.

The first page of the diary of the unknown Nepali solider is in verse with numbered lines. It lists the names of the writers’ young friends who were killed or taken prisoner, the hardships they endured. From the penmanship and vocabulary and the use of numbered verse, the soldier appears to have learnt his Nepali probably from a village priest who used to be the only literate person in the villages in Nepal in those days. 

यो कठै बरा…जोबन सबै शत्रुका हातबाट गयो ।।२०।। पल्टनको माया मोह नेपालमै रह्यो जिउँदै मरी कैलाशमा गयो। सुवेदार भीमसिं भँडारी भयो ।।२१।। हर्के थापा जसराजा धर्म खत्री कम्यान्डर प्रजीतन नैनसिं खत्री सरुप कुँवर प्रतिमन थापा

Pages from the diary of an unknown Nepali soldier with a verse, and a list of names, possibly of prisoners of war. Courtesy: Philip Cross

Translated, the lines read: 

‘Poor fellows, their youth was taken away by the enemy’s hands (20)

The love of the military was left behind in Nepal

We are the living dead who have gone to heaven

Subedar Bhimsi Bhandari (21) Harke Thapa Jasraja Dharma Khatri Commander Pasitan Nainsingh Khatri Swarup Kunwar Pratiman Thapa’ 

The same names in the Nepali soldier’s diary also appear in the diary of Lt Alexander Pfeifer,
The grave of Haribal Thapa, a Gurkha prisoner of war who died in captivity in Germany 24 January 1915, and is buried at a military cemetery outside Berlin. Courtesy: Sir Kukri & Co

Lt Pfeiffer’s note in his own diary entry reads as follows: 

Found with a Gurkha sergeant major. The content of the notice page no. 1 says: The soldiers of the section (Battalion) should be treated with love, friendliness and kindness. Every person, who carries out the rules of his religion, according to law and order, receives his payment (will be happy). The orders of the commanding officer should be carried out precisely and immediately. The content of the notice paper no.2 is as follows. Names of the Gurkhas: 

  1. Thuparau Gurun
  2. Chandrabir Thapa 
  3. Akalbir Gurun
  4. Manbahadur Gurun
  5. Amarsing Gurun
  6. Udjersingh Gharti
  7. Imansing Gurun
  8. Manbir Thapa
  9. Chhabilal Rana
  10. Akatbir Thapa
  11. Narbahadur Thapa
  12. Schatasin Gurun

On investigating some of these names, British Army records show that Chandrabir Thapa was a rifleman in the Second King Edward VII’s Own Gurkha Rifles (Sirmur Rifles). Manbir Thapa was a sergeant in the First Battalion of the First King George V’s Own Gurkha Rifles (Malaun Regiment), and his service number was 1896 and he was killed in action on 20 December 1914 in La Bassée. We even know Manbir’s father’s name was Parasram Thapa and lived in Dohadi village in western Nepal.

Chhabilal Rana’s service number was 2114 and he was a rifleman with the Second King Edward VII’s Own Gurkha Rifles Second Battalion (Sirmur Rifles) and he was also killed in action on 20 December.

Records at La Bassée show that there were other Gurkha soldiers killed in the battlefield or taken prisoner who are not on Lt Pfeiffer’s diary list. One of them is Haribal Thapa who, according to the Sir Kukri & Co blog was a rifleman in the First King George V’s Own Gurkha Rifles (First Gurkha Regiment).

His service number was 2952 and he died on 24 January 1915 while he was a prisoner of war in a German camp after being captured in La Bassée. His grave can still be found at a military cemetery outside Berlin. Haribal Thapa’s documents show that his father was Dal Kishore who lived in Perung in today’s Majhkot of Tanahu district.

Lieutenant Alexander Pfeifer’s diary, as translated by his great-grandson, has many references to the Gurkhas who were their enemies and served in the British Army. Among them are entries dated 20 December 1914, the day of the fierce battle during which the 12 Gurkhas listed above by the unknown Nepali soldier were probably taken prisoner:

The grave of Haribal Thapa, a Gurkha prisoner of war who died in captivity in Germany 24 January 1915, and is buried at a military cemetery outside Berlin. Courtesy: Sir Kukri & Co

  • I was woken up at 5:30am on 20 December 1914 by the sound of cannons and gunfire. Someone opened the door to the room where I was sleeping. He was the uberjäger from our machine-gun company. He was so frightened he could not even speak properly. Our machine-gun company had been over-run by the enemy. He said they (the Gurkhas) used their curved knife to cut the throats of our comrades, and killed everyone they could find. I woke up the others and related this news to them.
  • After the end of the battle, I witnessed a horrific sight. The dead and wounded covered the ground. There were some British and Indian (Gurkha) soldiers, who were in eternal sleep next to our artillery position. Some were headless, others did not have limbs. We took what we could from the dead. I got one of those curved knives, tobacco, food in tiffin boxes. 
  • We were fighting these Indians (Gurkhas) who had their heads shaven. They were short and stocky, and very agile. One of them who was a prisoner of war said that the Gurkhas were terrified of the cold. They were afraid of the snow and freezing weather. They will soon bite the dust.
  • The Gurkhas have a reputation for being brutal, aggressive and fearless, but in their hearts they are kind, peace-loving and spiritual people. 

Among Lt Alexander Pfeifer’s effects was this khukri possibly taken from the same Gurkha soldier who wrote the diary. Photo: Philip Cross

The Nepali soldier’s diary, written by hand 107 years ago, says a lot about the war and the warriors from Nepal. The soldier was writing about fellow Nepalis in his own, and possibly other units, listing carefully the names of the dead and those taken prisoner. The names in the poem are probably of those who were killed in battle, but we cannot be sure. The other list, because of its similarity to the list in Lt Pfeifer’s list in German, could be of those who were taken prisoner on 20 December.

But that opens up a puzzle. How come the list of dead soldiers in Nepali soldier’s diary is in the same order as the list of prisoners in German in Lt Pfeifer’s diary? Nepali writer Satis Shroff who lives in the southwest German town of Freiburg has read Lt Pfeifer’s notes, and deduces that the list contains names of Gurkha POWs and the commanding-officer is instructing his subordinates to treat the soldiers well and to allow them to practice their religious rites as they are used to. Shroff infers that the Gurkha who wrote the list of names is dead because there is no mention of a handing-over of the diary.

It is not clear if Lt Pfeifer is just translating the Nepali soldier’s diary, or if those are his own instructions. The German officer’s own diary was ultimately found more than a century later by his great-grandson. We do not know what the Gurkha’s name was, where in Nepal he was from, and what happened to him. 

To add to the puzzle, Manbir Thapa, whose name is among the 12 listed in the German and Nepali soldiers’ diaries, is also on the FindGrave.com list of those killed in action on 20 December 1914 in the battle of La Bassée and buried at Indian Cemetery in La Rochelle in France. Here is a partial reproduction of the list of those killed from the First King George V’s Gurkha Rifles (Malaun Regiment) on that day with their father’s name and hometown:

Rifleman Buddhiman Thapa 

Father’s name and address: Sukhbhar Thapa, Lamjung

Lance Corporal Kharak Bahadur Gurung

Father’s name and address: Jasbir Thapa, Lamjung

Rifleman Bahadur Gurung

Father’s name and address: Asu Bahadur Gurung, Lamjung

Rifleman Rana Bahadur Rana

Father’s name and address: Kulman Singh, Serung

Rifleman Pritman Thapa

Father’s name and address: Sarbajit Thapa, Graham

Rifleman Ransur Thapa

Father’s name and address: Purnabir Thapa, Bhirkot

Rifleman Haribaran Thapa

Father’s name and address: Pratiman Thapa, Bhirkot

Lance Corporal Lal Bahadur Gurung

Father’s name and address: Sriman Gurung, Gorkha

Besides the uncertainty of war, the Gurkhas who sailed across the oceans to a completely new country, climate and food must have suffered badly from culture shock. Many had boarded troop ships from Calcutta or Bombay and arrived in Europe at the beginning of winter in 1914. Their main hardship was caused by the extreme cold because they did not have enough warm clothes while in the wet trenches. Many wore military trousers on top of their suruwal.

They had never been trained in trench warfare, and did not know how to dig them. They were not used to fighting in such cold. The Germans found out from the Gurkha prisoners of war that the Nepalis feared the cold more than the enemy they were fighting, according to Alexander Pfeifer’s diary.

Most of the fighting men from Nepal could not read or write, and no one ever wrote their stories for them, so there is very little written documentation of what they went through. There must be so many hidden stories of unknown soldiers that we will never get to hear about. Yet, they are a part of our people’s history, and a forgotten chapter in the history of Nepal.

Those who returned alive from the front, used to dock in Bombay and take the train via Banaras, where they all bought copies of the Nepali Ramayana translated by Bhanubhakta Acharya. One of the major ways in which the holy book got to the far corners of Nepal was through these demobilised Gurkhas returning home.

The Battle of La Bassée lasted three months with the Germans first gaining the upper hand, and then being repulsed by British Army reinforcements from the Lahore Division and Gurkhas. The British suffered more than 20,000 casualties, of which 1,600 were from the Indian Corps, including Gurkhas. The Germans recorded 6,000 killed. 

Contemporary map of La Bassée in France, which was captured by the Germans during 1914.

Many of the Gurkhas captured in France and Belgium were transported to prisoner of war camps in Germany. There, some of the prisoners had their voices and songs preserved in early recording machines that had just come into use. 

Nepali professor Alaka Atreya Chudal of Vienna University has been translating from Nepali into German some of these testimonies recorded between 1914-1918 in a prisoner of war camp of Halbmondlager in Wünsdorf 40km away from Berlin. 

The 100 or so recordings contain Nepali folk tales, songs, poetry, and folk riddles that have immense linguistic and cultural value because they are preserved in audio from more than a century ago. The recordings are now in the archives of Humboldt-Universität in Berlin.  

Says Prof Atreya: “These folk material bring out the sorrow, prayers, suffering, longing for home and family of the Gurkha prisoners from long ago.”

Shree Bhakta Khanal is an investigative journalist and author of An Arduous Path.

Bhakti Thapa: Neglected History

Historian L.F. Stiller has written that during the regency of Bahadur Shah Nepal passed from the status of an insignificant state to that of formidable power in the South Asian Sub-continent

https://www.spotlightnepal.com/2021/03/11/bhakti-thapa-neglected-history/

History sees the present in the light of the past. Famous German historian Leopold von Ranke, founder of modern source based history has said ” History has been assigned the office of judging the past , instructing the present for the benefit of the future ages”.

Acknowledging the significance of great role played by various individuals in the past British Historian J.H. Plumb has said ” History seeks to deepen understanding about men and society not for its own sake but in the hope that a profound awareness will help to mould human attitudes and human action”.

Unfortunately, our society is not seen to be interested to care about our glorious past history and draw inspiration even from the life of a person like Bhakti Thapa, who had played a key role in unifying the almost entire present day western Nepal and still further to the west up to Sutlez river now in India. Ultimately he had sacrificed his life in Deothal Battle when he was already 74 years old defending our country against British colonialism, which was the greatest evil of that time.

From Insignificant State to a Formidable Power

Historian L.F. Stiller has written that during the regency of Bahadur Shah Nepal passed from the status of an insignificant state to that of a formidable power in the South Asian Sub-continent. Published LALMOHARS reveal that almost throughout Bahadur Shah’s regency Bhakti Thapa had played decisive role in conduct of unification campaign. Judging from the opinion of historian Hamilton about geopolitical situation of that time perhaps Nepal’s western boundary would not have expanded beyond the Kali-Gandaki river if Bhakti Thapa would not have been at the helm of the unification operation.

LALMOHARS, Unification and Bhakti Thapa

Bhakti Thapa’s crucial role in transforming Nepal’s status from an insignificant state to that of a formidable power in the South Asian Sub-continent became known in 1960s after Historian Narahari Nath published the official LALMOHAR documents addressed to Bhakti Thapa bearing the royal seal in the magazine HIMABATKHANDA. Foreign historians were quick to rewrite the Nepalese history of that period based on those published LALMOHARS. Unfortunately our society is not seen caring to know about the true past history of that time of our country and the vital role of Bhakti Thapa in unification of our country.

Paramount Role of Bhakti Thapa

Historian C.P. Khanduri has written “Leadership and character were the hallmarks of the Gorkhas that got them victorious. Bhakti Thapa had impressed the Gorkha commanders during the War of Consolidation and joined those who were to be the eventual rulers of Nepal. Kaji Amar Singh Thapa had treaded in the footsteps of Bhakti Thapa.”

Bhakti Thapa had assumed in 1789 the leadership role of the campaign to unify western Nepal at the end of the critical period of two years long confrontation when the forces of Jumla had proven itself impenetrable barrier on the path of further expansion of then Nepal to the west

From Jumla towards Garwal

Historian Stiller has written “Jumla was the key to the west. Jumla had collected an army to face the Gorkhalis, a force far superior to anything the Gorkhalis could put in the field at that time. It is not surprising that Jumla with such an army was able to resist Gorkhali army for more than two years”. .

According to historian Hamilton an outright attack against the Jumla force would have ended up sadly. Further extension of Nepal to the west would have been totally unthinkable without subduing the resistance of Jumla. Thus it was certain that Nepal’s western boundary would never have extended beyond the present day Gandaki zone or the Kali-Gandaki river if Bhakti Thapa would not have assumed the leadership role right from the Jumla operation.

Bhakti Thapa’s Ingenuity

Bhakti Thapa had demonstrated his exceptionally brilliant skill and ingenuity in defeating Jumla kingdom. He totally changed the strategy of his predecessors and led the attack on Jumla from the difficult northern side. The result was a swift victory and life of many people was saved.

It is stated in the LALMOHARS sent to Bhakti Thapa after the accomplishment of the Jumla operation that he had been assigned for the job believing in his high performance capability.

Operations at Bhakti Thapa’s Discretion

According to the LALMOHAR Bhakti Thapa was strongly cautioned that his resources are quite limited and thus he should not advance beyond Jumla. Bhakti Thapa is seen to have completely ignored the instruction of the Capital by advancing the unification operation further to the west. Poet Shakti Ballab in a poem in Sanskrit has written about Bhakti Thapa’s campaign to unite Doti soon after Jumla operation. After the Doti operation Kumaun and Garwal were also incorporated into Nepal. Within a short period of about two years the Yamuna river became Nepal’s western border.

Unlimited Responsibility

During almost the entire period of Bahadur Shah’s regency Bhakti Thapa had played a decisive role in conduct of unification campaign, which becomes apparent from the virtually unlimited authorities vested in him according to the LALMOHARS.

Even at a time when the Nepal’s western border was already Yamuna river and his headquarter was at Almora far away from the Capital, Bhakti Thapa continued to administer a vast region extending from Chepe-Marshyangdi to Yamuna river on matters related to mass mobilization, control of all military garrisons, deployment of local rajas, constructions of forts and fortification, building bridges and roads etc. He was authorized to receive foreign head of states or their representatives and hold negotiations with them and sign the agreements unless it is deemed necessary in his opinion to refer them to the Capital.

Administering Disbursement

It is most astonishing that Bhakti Thapa stationed at Almora was even vested in authority to disburse fund to support the Capital. In one of the LALMOHARS the king has` written not to cut the emolument of his brothers and nephews without his prior concurrence.

British-Nepal War and Independence

Nepal always remained an independent country whereas all counties of South Asia and most of the countries of Asia and Africa were subjected to the yoke of European countries because even 74 years old Bhakti Thapa and many other patriots of our country had sacrificed their life in battles fought against the foreign aggressors.

During the British-Nepal War according to Historian Vikramjit Hasrat the territory of then Nepal remained intact until Bhakti Thapa was alive only after that it started to contract.

Deothal Battle

Historian CB Khanduri quoting various contemporary British historians has written “The euphemism of the bravest of the braves had been used by Napoleon for Marshal Ney, whose bravery during the retreat from Moscow in 1812 was one of the highest. Brave les brave, said Napoleon of him. The British then used this citation for the Gorkhas during and `after the Anglo-Nepal War. Such was the bravery shown by Bhakti Thapa that the next legend of the Bravest of the Braves had been created on the day – 16 April 1815 at Deothal.”

History of Human Race and Bhakti Thapa

The legend of bravery and sacrifice of Bhakti Thapa has reached even far corner of the world. A website in the USA has even identified Bhakti Thapa as one of the world’s 600 topmost outstanding figures in the entire history of human civilization. Other names in that list are Marshal Zukov, Douglas MacArthur, Edmond Hillary, Charlemange, King Solomon, Sir Francis Drake, Queen Laxmi Bai of Jhansi etc.

References:

Khanduri C.B. Rediscovered History of Gorkhas: 1997, Delhi

Narahari Nath Sardar Vir Bhakti Thapa, Himabhaktakhanda Journal

Royal Nepalese Army: Nepalko Sainik Itihas, 1992

Shah Rishikesh: An Introduction to Nepal, 1975

Stiller Ludwig F. The Rise of the House of Gorkhas, 1995

वैशाख शुक्ल पूर्णिमा र घाटु नृत्य नाटिका

वैशाख शुक्ल पूर्णिमा र घाटु नृत्य नाटिका

नेपालपत्र, प्राध्यापक डा. जगमान गुरूङ, २५ बैशाख २०७७, बिहिबार

वास्तवमा घाटु वसन्त ऋतुमा गाइने एउटा राग हो । नेवारहरुको दाफा भजनमा पनि वसन्त ऋतु अर्थात् चैत-वैशाखमा घाटु गाउने चलन छ । बङ्गालका बोटेहरुले पनि वसन्त ऋतुमा घाटु गाउँदै डुङ्गा खियाएर रमाइलो गर्छन् भन्ने सुनेको छु । अहिले यहाँ चर्चा गर्न लागिएको घाटु चाहिँ गण्डकी प्रदेशका गुरुङ, मगर, दरैँ, कुमाल र थारु समुदायमा प्रचलित नृत्य नाटिका हो । घाटुको आफ्नै कथावस्तु छ । त्यसकारण घाटु केवल नृत्य मात्र नभएर लौकिक नाटिका हो ।

तनहूँको कुन ठाउँमा हो ? ठकुरीहरुले घाटु नाच्छन् भन्ने सुनेको छु । यसैगरी त्रिशूली नुवाकोटका गुरुङहरुले घाटु नचाउन छोडेको हुँदा त्यहाँ बाहुनहरुले घाटु नचाउन थालेकाछन् भन्ने सुनेको छु । यो कुन ठाउँमा हो ? पत्ता लगाउन पर्नेछ । गुरुङहरुले घाटु नाच्न छोड्नु, बाहुनहरुले घाटु नचाउन थाल्नु, माल पाएर पनि चाल नपाउनु भने कै यही हो । यसरी नै एकातिर संस्कृति मासिदै जान्छ र अर्कोतिर संस्कृति पुष्टिँदै जान्छ । अनि फलाना ढिकानाले हाम्रो संस्कृति मास्यो भनेर विरोध गर्छन्, आफ्नो कमी कमजोरीको ख्याल गर्दनन् ।

वास्तवमा घाटु वसन्त ऋतुमा गाइने एउटा राग हो । घाटु चाहिँ गण्डकी प्रदेशका गुरुङ, मगर, दरैँ, कुमाल र थारु समुदायमा प्रचलित नृत्य नाटिका हो । घाटु केवल नृत्य मात्र नभएर लौकिक नाटिका हो ।

px घाटु न्रुत्य नाटिकाको चरित्र बिचार गर्दा शास्त्रीय गीत र नृत्य कै लौकिक प्रस्तुति घाटु हो भन्ने बुझिन्छ । राग र तालमा कस्तो शक्ति हुन्छ र यसले कस्तो प्रभाव पार्दछ भन्ने कुराको प्रत्यक्ष अनुभव घाटुमा गर्न पाइन्छ । घाटुमा राग र तालबाट नै घाटुनीहरुमा देवता चडाइन्छ र राग र तालबाट नै विसर्जन गराइन्छ । यो नै घाटुको करामत हो ।

सती घाटु र बाह्रमासे घाटु गरि घाटु दुई प्रकारका छन् । सती घाटु यस नृत्य नाटिकाको अधिकारिक भाग हो । यसैमा घाटुको कथावस्तु फलाकिन्छ । सती घाटुका गायक र नर्तकीहरु सबै महिला हुन्छन् । सती घाटुमा मादल बजाइँदैन । केवल हातको थपडी मात्र बजाउन्छ ।

बाह्रमासे घाटु यस नृत्यको प्रासाङ्गिक भाग हो । सिकार खेल्ने, धानको रोपाइँ गर्ने, फूलको गीत आदि बाह्रमासे गीत हुन् । बाह्रमासे घाटुमा पनि सती अथवा नृत्यको मुख्य अधिकारिक भागको पनि मन्चन गरिन्छ । बाह्रमासे घाटुका गाउने र बजाउनेहरु सबै पुरुष हुन्छन् । घाटुनीहरु चाहिँ कन्या कुमारीहरु हुन्छन् ।

यलल, ढिले र चम्के गरी घाटु गीतका तीन थरी लय हुन्छन् । यलल भनेको राग हो । यलल भाकामा मादल र थपडी बजाइँदैन । देवताको आह्वान गर्ने, विसर्जन गर्ने र सतीका मुख्य मुख्य भागहरु यलल अथवा रागमा प्रस्तुत गरिन्छ । ढिले भनेको विलम्वित अथवा ढिलोगरी गाउने र नाच्ने गीत हो । चम्के चाहिँ द्रुततर अथवा चम्किलो पाराले गाउने र नाच्ने गीत हो । ढिले र चम्के दुवैमा मादल र थपडी बजाइन्छ ।

हिउँचूली, वरचूली, देउचूली र गङ्गाचूली गरि घाटुका चारवटा देवता छन् । हिउँचूली र गङ्गाचूली अन्नपूर्णहिमालमा छन् । कास्कीको घान्द्रुङबाट पूर्व-खिनमा हिउँचूली र गङ्गाचूली अवस्थित छ । वरचूली र देउचूली महाभारत पर्वतमा अवस्थित छ । नवलपुरको कावासोतिबाट उत्तरतिर वरचूली र देउचूली देखिन्छ । वरचूली पूर्वतिर र देउचूली पश्चिममा पर्दछ । देउचूली भन्दा वरचूली अग्लो छ । त्यसकारण वरचूलीलाई दिदी र देउचूलीलाई बहिनी मानिन्छ ।

देउचूली र वरचूलीमा चूलीबोजा र टेडिबोजा नामका मगर गाउँ छन् । यही चूलीबोजा बरालको आँशु पद्य संग्रहका सर्जक बहादुरसिंह बराल मगर र वहाँका छोरा पूर्व आइजिपी खड्गजित बराल मगरको थात थलो हो । देउचूलीलाई नवलपुरका थारुहरु आफ्नो शिरस्थान मान्दछन् । देउचूलीमा एउटा गुफा छ । त्यस गुफाका देवीलाई थारुहरु कुमारवर्ति माई मान्दछन् । नवलपुरबाट देउचूली जाने बाटोमा कीर्तिपुर नाम गरेको मगर गाउँ छ । नवलपुरका थारु र कीर्तिपुरका मगरहरु मिलेर चैते दशैँ पछिको देवीपूर्णिमाको दिनमा देउचूलीका कुमारवर्ति माईको पूजा गर्दछन् ।

घाटुको गीतमा सप्तगण्डकीलाई सातै जमुना भनेको छ । घाटुको विसर्जनको अवसरमा हिउँचूली, वरचूली, देउचूली र गङ्गाचूलीको देवता र गण्डकी प्रदेशका मुख्य सातवटा घाटहरु र विभिन्न एतिहसिक कोटहरुको गीतैको भाकाबाट पूजा गरिन्छ । सती घाटुको उठान श्रीपन्चमीमा गरिन्छ र वैशाख शुक्ल पूर्णिमा अथवा चण्डी पूर्णिमाको दिनमा विसर्जन गरिन्छ । यो अवधी भन्दा बाहिर सती घाटु गाउन र नाच्न पाइँदैन ।

बाह्रमासे घाटु बाह्रै महिना बाह्रै काल गाउन नाच्न पाइँन्छ । त्यसकारण यसलाई बाह्रमासे घाटु भनेको हो । यसो भएतापनि जेठपूर्णे पछि बाह्रमासे घाटु पनि नाच्न हुँदैन भन्ने वाचा छ, किनभने जेठपूर्णे पछि ता सबै खेतीपातीमा लाग्न पर्ने हुन्छ । घाटुको गीत पुरानो नेपाली भाषामा रचिएको छ । यसमा अवधी भाषको प्रभाव परेको पाइन्छ । गीतको उठान गर्ने गुरु बा, मादले , अरु सहयोगी र दर्शकहरु सबै बसेका हन्छन् । घाटुनीहरु उठ्दै बस्दै गरेर नाच्दछन् ।

कृष्णचरित्र र सोरठी जस्तो चट्किलो हुँदैन तर घाटु रसिलो हुन्छ।हिउँद लागेपछि फागुन-चैतमा आइरे कुकुरको घाँडो नबज्ने वन जङ्गल र घाटुको राग नगाउने गाउँको शोभा हुँदैन भन्ने कहावत छ । यसबाट घाटुको गरिमा र महत्त्व राम्ररी स्पष्ट हुन्छ ।

ठाउँ र समुदाय अनुसार घाटुको कथामा केही भिन्नता पाइन्छ । कतै पश्रामु राजा- यम्फावती रानी भन्छन् । कतै परशुराम रजा- अम्वावती रानी भन्छन् । तिनका बालकृष्ण नामको छोरा हुन्छ । छोरा जन्मे पछि चारै दिशा वैरी उठ्छ र पश्रामु राजा लडाइँमा जान्छन् । लडाइँमा पश्रामु राजाले ईन्द्रासन (वीरगति) प्राप्त गरेपछि राजाज्यूको पगरी साथमा लिएर यम्फावती रानी सती जान्छिन् र सती घाटुको समापन हुन्छ ।

घाटु सेलाउँदा गाउँ बाहिर चण्डीथान बनाएर त्यहाँ बाँसको लिङ्गो ठड्याएर विसर्जन गरिन्छ । वैशाख पूर्णेमा घाटु सेलाएपछि यथा समयमा खुवा खाएर रमाइलो गर्दछन् । यतिसम्ममा वर्खा लागि सकेको हुन्छ र त्यसपछि सबै खेतीपातीमा लाग्दछन् । घाटु नेपालको आफ्नै धर्ती, आफ्नै आकाश र आफ्नै परिवेश्मा नाचिने नृत्य नाटिका हो । घाटु नृत्य नाटिकाले नेपालको हिमाल, पहाड र मधेशलाई एक ठाउँमा जोडेको छ । आफ्नै हिमाल, आफ्नै डाँडाकाँडा, नदी नाला, घाट र कोटहरुलाई पूजेको छ । घाटुमा नेपाली जनजीवन प्रतिविम्वित भएको छ ।

यसरी घाटु नृत्य नाटिकामा नेपालको स्थानीयता छ, अपनत्व छ । स्थानीयता र अपनत्व भने कै राष्ट्रीयताको भावना हो ।त्यसकारण घाटु न्रुत्य नाटिकालाई नेपाली राष्ट्रियताको भावनाले ओतप्रोत भएको दैवीशक्तियुक्त लौकिक नृत्य नाटिका हो भन्दा अत्युक्ति हुँदैन । यस किसिमको घाटु नृत्य नाटिका हाम्रो अमूर्त सांस्कृतिक सम्पदाको एउटा अनुपम नमूना हो । अत: यस्तो अनुपम अमूर्त साँस्कृतिक सम्पदाको संरक्षण र संवर्द्धन हुन अत्यावश्यक छ ।
।।शुभम्।।

तस्वीर : टान नेपाल (TAAN Nepal)

*डा. जगमान गुरूङ नेपाल प्रज्ञा-प्रतिष्ठानको प्राज्ञ तथा उपकुलपति हुनुहुन्छ ।

लोप हुने अवस्थामा गुरुङ र घले समूदायमा प्रचलित घाटु नाच

लोप हुने अवस्थामा गुरुङ र घले समूदायमा प्रचलित घाटु नाच

५ बैशाख २०७६, बिहीबार

काठमाडौं । घले र गुरुङ समुदायको पहिचान हो घाटु नाच । मादलको ताल र गीतको टुक्कामा नाचिने यो नाच राजा परशुराम र रानी यम्फावतीको कथामा आधारित छ । घले र गुरुङ समुदायमा दुई प्रकारका घाटु नाच प्रचलित छ ।

बसन्त पञ्चमीबाट सुरु हुने घाटु नाच बैशाख पूर्णिमाको पञ्चमीमा सकिन्छ । यो नाच सती र बाह्रमासे गरी दुई प्रकारको हुन्छ । सतीघाटु श्रीपञ्चमीदेखि बैशाख पूर्णिमासम्म नाचिन्छ । बाह्रमासेका लागि खास समय निर्धारित छैन । दुवै नाचको आकर्षण चाहीँ कुसुण्डा घाटु हो । कुसुण्डा विनाको घाटु हुँदैन । गीत र मादलको तालमा नाच्दै गर्दा घाँटुसरी बेहोस् पनि हुन्छन् । जसलाई गीत र मादलकै तालले ब्यूँझाइन्छ ।

यो नाचमा राजा परशुराम र रानी यम्फावतीको कथासार व्यक्त गरिन्छ । नाँचमा कम्तिमा दुई र बढीमा तीन जना किशोरी सहभागी हुन्छन् । शीरमा लाहाको मुकुट, गुन्यु र चोली लगाएर नाच्ने दुई घाँटुसरी एउटालाई राजा र अर्कोलाई रानीको प्रतिकको रुपमा लिइन्छ । पछिल्लो समय आन्तरिक तथा बाह्य पर्यटकको रोजाईमा परेपनि घाटु नाच लोप हुने अवस्थामा पुगेको छ ।

घाटु सुरु हुनुपूर्व देवता बोलाइन्छ । देवता चढेपछि घाटुसरी बेहोसीमै नाच्छन् । यही अवस्थालाई कुुसुण्डा भनिन्छ । मादलको ताल र गुरुहरुले गाउने गीतको आधारमा घाटुसरी नाच्छन् । मादलको ताल बिग्रियो वा गीतमा कुनै टुक्का छुटेमा घाटुसरी बेहोस हुने जनविश्वास छ ।

घाँटु नाँच्नेहरु रजश्वला भएका, अपाङ्गता तथा अशक्त हुनु हुँदैन भन्ने मान्यता छ । विशेष गरेर घाँटु नाच गण्डकी प्रदेशको लमजुङ, गोरखा, तनहँ, कास्की, स्याङ्जाका गुरुङ गाउँमा बढी प्रचलित छ ।

History of Nepal

हाम्रो इतिहासको आरम्भ हिमवत्खण्ड

प्रदीप नेपाल

नेपालमा आदिवासी र जनजातिबारे धेरै विवाद भयो । यो बहसको थालनी गर्ने आफूलाई जनजातिको नेता भनाउनेहरू नै थिए । उनीहरू विद्वान थिए र अङ्ग्रेजी भाषामा दीक्षित पनि थिए । त्यसैले नेपालमा पनि संयुक्त राष्ट्रसङ्घ र ‘आर्टिकल’ १६९ भन्ने शब्दावलीको छ्यासछ्यास्ती प्रयोग भयो । एकाध वर्ष तिनले सबैलाई अलमल्याए । जनजाति र आदिबासी अविभाज्य समुदाय हुन् भन्नेसम्मको असत्यलाई अङ्ग्रेजीभाषी विद्वानहरूले नेपाली जनसमुदायका बीचमा खेतपाती गरे । उनीहरूले एउटै बनाएको असत्यलाई अङ्ग्रेजी पढेका अरुले, अङ्ग्रेजीमा ‘एण्ड’ भन्ने शब्दले ती दुई एउटै होइनन् भनेर छुट्याइदिएको छ भनेपछि बहस त सकियो । तर अङ्ग्रेजी पण्डितहरूले छरेको भ्रम अहिले पनि नेपाली मानसबाट बाहिर निस्केर गइसकेको छैन । भ्रममुक्त त आफैं हुने हो । तर सत्य के हो भने आदिवासी र जनजाति एउटै हुन् भनेर कतै भनिएको छैन । आदिवासी बसोबाससँग जोडिएको छ भने जनजाति विकाससँग जोडिएको छ ।

पछिल्ला दिनमा नेपाली विद्वानको विद्वता पढ्दा मलाई लाज लाग्न थालेको छ । यिनीहरू के साँच्चिकै नेपाली इतिहासकार हुन् ? मेरो विश्वास हो – यिनीहरूलाई आफ्नो देशको इतिहास थाहा छैन । यिनका ज्ञानका स्रोत भएका छन् सिल्वाँ लेभी लगायतका पश्चिमा इतिहासकारहरू । हाम्रो देशको इतिहास के पश्चिमाहरूले लेखिदिएको चौहद्दीभित्र मात्र छ ? तिनैबाट ज्ञान लिएका हाम्रा विद्वानहरूले त्यसैले राष्ट्रिय एकीकरणपछिका सबै नेपाली आदिवासी हुन् भनेर संविधानसभाले तोकेको होला । योभन्दा लज्जाजनक ज्ञान अरु के हुन्छ ? हाम्रै देशका विद्वान र राजनीतिक पण्डितका कारण हामी नेपालीको पाँच हजार वर्षको इतिहास पाँच सय वर्षमा झारियो ।

नेपाली किराँतको पात्रो नै पाँच हजार वर्षभन्दा पुरानो छ । नेपालका पहिला शासक किराँतहरू नै हुन् । त्यतिबेला शासित पनि किराँतीहरू नै थिए । ग्रेगोरियन क्यालेण्डर अनुसार दोस्रो शताब्दी दक्षिण पश्चिमबाट आएका लिच्छवीहरूले किराँतलाई पराजित गरेर नालाको डाँडो कटाइदिए । आरामले बसेका किराँतलाई पाटनको च्यासलमा पटापट काटेर मारिदिए । जो श्रमिक थिए, ती त लिच्छवी शासकलाई पनि चाहिन्थ्यो । त्यसैले ती किराँत श्रमिकहरूलाई लिच्छवी शासकले कजाएर खाने निर्णय गरे । अहिले पनि तिनीहरू ज्यापुका रूपमा काठमाडौंका भूमिपुत्र भएर बाँचिरहेका छन् । अर्थात् उनीहरू काठमाडौं उपत्यकाका आदिवासी हुन् । ज्यापु बाहेकका नेवारहरू आदिवासी होइनन् ।

सत्य धेरैलाई मन पर्दैन । किनभने सत्यले भ्रान्त धारणालाई स्वीकार गर्दैन । नेवार जाति वर्णाश्रम व्यवस्थामा हुर्किएको एक भाषिक समुदाय हो । अहिले पनि त्यसभित्र वर्णाश्रम व्यवस्था जीवित छ । भूमिगत कालमा हामी प्रायः दमाई टोलमा बस्थ्यौं । किनभने त्यहाँ सुरक्षा हुन्थ्यो । सवर्ण नेवारहरू त्यतातिर भेटिँदैनथे । कलेज पढ्दा मेरा धेरै नेवार साथीहरू थिए तर सबै सवर्ण । राजोपाध्याय र अमात्य, जोशी र श्रेष्ठ । तर साही र खड्गीसँग मेरो सम्पर्क थिएन । त्यसैले भूमिगतकालमा तिनै साही र खड्गीहरू मेरा आश्रयदाता भएका थिए । नेवारमा हिन्दू र बुद्ध धर्मालम्बी दुवै छन् । नेवार सधैं सत्तासँग जोडिएको जाति हो । बाहिरबाट आएका धेरै जातिसमूहहरू उपत्यका छिरेपछि नेवार भएका छन् । कायस्थ र झा पनि छन् नेवार समुदायमा । यी थर तराई क्षेत्रका हुन् । मैले रिमाल नेवार पनि भेटेको छु । यस्तो वर्णवादी समुदाय कसरी जनजाति हुनसक्छ ? अहिलेसम्म मैले बुझ्न सकेको छैन । भ्रममुक्त कुनै नेवार विद्वानले पछि यसको साङ्गोपाङ्गो इतिहास लेखिदिनु भए सबै नेपालीको ज्ञान बढ्ने थियो ।

नेपाली विद्वानहरूले छरेको अर्को भ्रम हो खसआर्य । अर्थात्, उनीहरूको विश्लेषणमा खस र आर्य एकै हुन् । योभन्दा ठूलो अज्ञान नेपालमा केही पनि छैन । नेपालका थोरै र भारतका धेरै विद्वानहरूले खस आर्यबीच आकास जमिनको फरक भएको ज्ञान पस्किएका छन् । ककेसियाबाट झण्डै छ हजार वर्ष पहिले एउटा समूह मानसरोवरको बाटो हुँदै जुम्ला झ¥यो । त्यसलाई नेपाली खस र त्यहाँको भूमिलाई खसान भनियो । यिनीहरूको कुनै धर्म थिएन । उनीहरू वर्षको एकपल्ट मस्टो पूजा गर्थे । मस्टो निराकार सत्य हो । आफ्नो फरक अस्तित्वलाई जनाउन उनीहरू वर्षको एकपल्ट गोठधूप गर्थे । यसलाई कुलपूजा पनि भनिन्छ । यो कुलपूजामा पनि कुनै देवी देवता हुँदैनन् । समूहमा भेला भएर, लोहोरोे जस्तो लाम्चो ढुंगाको पूजा गरेर उनीहरू कुलपूजा मनाउँछन् । किराँतसँगै यिनीहरूको नेपाल बसोबासको इतिहास पनि पाँच हजार वर्षभन्दा पुरानो छ । किराँत र खसहरूको नेपालमा उपस्थिति वैदिक कालभन्दा धेरै पुरानो छ । (पढ्नु होस्, खसजातिको इतिहास अनि खसजाति र कुलपूजा)

आर्यहरू इरानबाट पूर्वदक्षिण लागेका हुन् । सिन्धु घाँटीको उन्नत सभ्यतालाई पराजित गरेर दक्षिण लागेको समूह नै अहिलेका आर्य हुन् । इशाको पाँचौं शताब्दीमा आर्यहरू आफ्ना महागुरु शंकराचार्यसँग कैलाश दर्शन गर्दा पश्चिम नेपालको बाटो उत्तर लागे । शंकराचार्य आफ्नै पिठतिर फर्किए । तर बाठा आर्यहरूलाई नेपालको सुन्दर, शीतल, जडिबुटी र रसिला फलपूmलहरूले लोभ्यायो । युद्ध त उनीहरूको रगतमै थियो । आपूmभन्दा बलिष्ठ शक्तिलाई हराउने इन्द्रका सन्तानहरूले खस राज्य पटापट खाइदिए । खसहरू उनीहरूका लागि अनार्य थिए । शत्रु थिए ।

त्यसैले आर्यावर्त भन्ने शब्दले नेपाललाई वेष्टित गर्दैन । नेपालमा आर्य पनि छन् । अहिलेसम्म शक्तिशाली पनि छन् । राज्य गर्न राजाको सल्लाहकार या पुरोहित हुन सजिलो हुने भएकोले उनीहरूले आपूmलाई राजगुरुमा पदासिन गराउँदै राज्यको उपभोग गरे । यो परम्पराले सत्र शताब्दी खाइसकेको छ ।

आर्यहरूले नेपाल भित्रिँदासम्म एक डङ्गुर देवदेवीहरू जन्माइसकेका थिए । धर्मको आडमा शासन गर्न सजिलो हुन्छ भन्ने ज्ञान उनीहरूसँग थियो । भक्तिमार्गमा लाग्नेहरू स्वर्गमा बास पाउँछन् भन्ने शिक्षा यिनै आर्यजनले दिएका हुन् । हिन्दू धर्मका तेत्तीस कोटी देवता जन्माउने पनि यिनै आर्यपुरुष हुन् ।

चित्त नदुखोस् कसैको । सत्य तीतो हुन्छ । खसहरू ककेसियाबाट पूर्व लागेर जुम्ला छिरेका हुन् भने उपत्यकाबाट पूर्व खेदिएका किराँतहरू ह्वाङ्हो सभ्यताका उपज हुन् । बाँकी जनजातिका बारेमा लेख्नुपर्दा मलाई अलिक अप्ठेरो पनि लागेको छ । मगरहरू खस हुन् । नेपालमा सबैभन्दा लामो समय राज गर्ने समुदाय पनि मगर नै हो । तर, गुरुङ, तामाङजस्ता जातिहरू किराँतहरू आउनुभन्दा धेरै पछि, झण्डै झण्डै दक्षिणबाट नेपाल छिरेका आर्यहरूसँगै उत्तरबाट नेपाल छिरेका हुन् ।

मभन्दा बढी जान्नेबाट यसको खण्डन गरियोस् । संस्कृतमा एउटा भनाइ छ – वादे वादे जायते तìवबोध । अर्थात् छलफल गरेरै निष्कर्षमा पुगिन्छ । आग्रह र भक्तिले हामीलाई कहिल्यै निष्कर्षमा पु¥याउँदैनन् । खोजौं हाम्रा परम्पराहरू, वेद र मुन्धुमहरू, हामी सत्यमा नपुग्ने कुरै हुँदैन ।

मैले लेखेको नै निष्कर्ष होइन । यसलाई खण्डन गर्ने काम होस् विद्वानहरूबाट । नेपाल भारतवर्षको अंग होइन । जतिबेला भारत थिएन, त्यतिबेला पनि नेपाल थियो भन्ने सत्य महाभारतले पनि पुष्टि गर्दछ । महाभारतमा गान्धार थियो जो अहिले अफगानिस्तानमा पर्दछ । कुरुक्षेत्र भारतभित्रै थियो होला तर नेपाल भन्ने राज्य त्यतिबेला पनि एउटा स्वतन्त्र र आत्मनिर्भर राज्य थियो । किराँत त्यो राज्यको शासक थियो ।

अर्थात् आर्य र खसहरू एकापसमा गाभिने जाति समुदाय होइनन् । यिनी एकआपसमा जुध्ने शत्रु समुदाय हुन् । यिनलाई एकैठाउँ मिसाउनु भनेको घाम र हावा एउटै हुन् भन्नुजस्तै हो ।