Himalayan Republic of Nepal
By Buddhi Narayan Shrestha
Nepal has been officially converted into a federal democratic republic on May 28. The monarchy on this day was abolished. Now we don’t have kingship. The Shah dynasty ruled this country for 238 years 6 months and 11 days.
If we recall the history of the kings of Nepal, we have to mention the activities of Prithvi Narayan Shah. He was born to the royal house of Gorkha on January 11 in 1723, and had ascended to the throne on April 3, 1743 at Gorkha. He was keen on politics since his early age. He was interested in diplomacy and had interests in visiting other countries since his princeship. He had felt even at a young age that the British had growing influence in India, and conflicts brewing up amongst the three states of the Kathmandu valley and also amongst the fiefdoms of the western hills. That time disintegration had started within the 22 and 24 princely states of western Nepal. Considering that if these smaller states continued to fight with one another, the British could easily annex them. Instead, King Prithvi Narayan Shah decided to unify them.
When the three kingdoms of the Kathmandu valley were engaged in clashes and enmity, Prithvi Narayan Shah used this opportunity to impose economic blockade against the valley. He closed the trade route to Tibet, which passed through Nuwakot. Stung by economic blockade, the rich people of the valley had started helping the Gorkhalis covertly. When the situation of the valley became anarchic, the Gorkha army marched into the valley.
On September 25, 1768 when the people of Kathmandu were celebrating Indrajatra festival, Prithvi Narayan had an easy victory over Kantipur. Eleven days later (October 6, 1768), he won Lalitpur. On April 14, 1769 he brought Thimi under his suzerainty and later on November 17, 1769 he took over Bhaktapur. In this way, the whole Kathmandu Valley came under the control of Prithvi Narayan Shah. In such a way he was successful in tieing up all the lands of Kathmandu valley into the border line of his territory.
After his conquest of the valley, he unified other smaller states South of the valley to keep other smaller fiefdoms near Gurkha state, out of the influence and control of the British rule. After his kingdom spread out from north to south, he made Kantipur the capital of expanded country, and called it Nepal instead of Gorkha. In this way, Prithvi Narayan Shah formally declared and established Nepal as a country and thus, Nepal was born on November 17, 1769.
Since then, eleven kings have ruled Nepal and two kings had no opportunity to hold the crown. Their tenure is as follows in years, months and days:
Prithvi Narayan Shah 5-2-0, Pratap Singh Shah 2-10-1, Rana Bahadur Shah 21-3-14, Girwan Yuddha Bikram Shah 17-7-10, Rajendra Bikram Shah 30-5-5, Surendra Bikram Shah 34-0-0, Trailokya Bikram Shah 0, Prithvi Bir Bikram Shah 30-6-24, Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah 43-3-5, Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah 16-10-16, Birendra Bir Bikram Shah 29-4-2, Deependra Bir Bikram Shah 0 and Gynendra Bir Bikram Shah 7-1-24, including two months and two days for the first time as a baby king from November 7, 1950 to January 8, 1951.
Now Nepal has entered into a new phase of its historic development. The hereditary reign has become history. Nepal shall remain sovereign, independent, integrated, secular and inclusive in all respects. The Nepali people deserve freedom, peace, good governance, development, justice, equity and inclusiveness. For this, our political leaders will have to learn to evolve a consensual approach to the key issues of national interest, such as those relating to Nepal’s sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, security, proportional development, utilization of water resources and appropriate use of land. In this changing contest, new Nepal deserves really to add a new adjective which may denote the meaning of federal republic with its own special identity in the world.
If we take an example of some of the countries of the world, they have mentioned some wording for their separate identification. For example, Pakistan, Afganistan and Iran have mentioned as ‘Islamic Republic’ whereas China, Bangladesh and North Korea boast of ‘Peoples Republic’ and Trinidad and Tobago are proud of ‘Twin-island Republic.’ So our country should have identified as “Himalayan Republic of Nepal.” Because we have the Himalayan range and we have eight highest peaks of the world, above eight thousand meters altitude. Himalayan peaks, such as Everest, Kanchanjunga, Cho-You, Lhotse etc are our assets. These are our heritage and source of revenue generation. Nepal earns millions of dollars every year from these high mountain peaks. If we have the identity of the Himalaya adjoined with the word republic, we could be comfortably recognized by various countries of the world as Himalayan Republic of Nepal.
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