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Prithivi Narayan Shah: There Are More Accusations Than Crimes

Prithvi Narayan Shah tied Nepal, which was divided into more than 50 small states at that time, into one thread. His successors, Rajendra Laxmi and Bahadur Shah led his campaign at the same pace. Historians have differing views as to whether his work was the unification of the whole of Nepal or the expansion of the Gurkha state.
Prithvinarayan's campaign for the Unification of the Gurkha kingdom was extended to the eastern border of Tista and the western border of Kangra by the time of Bahadur Shah after his death. Although it had spread to the east during Prithvinarayan's own lifetime, Nepal's border in the west did not extend far beyond Gorkha.
His campaign was continued by his successors, and in time his campaign took the form of unification. The whole of Nepal is geographically united. After Nepal's defeat in the Nepal-British War of 1814-16, the Treaty of Sugauli lost much of its territory and fixed Nepal's borders to Mechi in the east and Mahakali in the west.

Today, in the current context, there are those who consider him a symbol of an autocratic monarchy. Similarly, when discussing his contribution, there are those who say that he was worshiped as a person who is far from reality. It would be appropriate to look at Prithvinarayan's campaign to unite the country from the point of view of time.

About three hundred years ago today was an era of war in itself. There was an era of state expansion on the basis of army and power. The British had advanced towards this region to take power from so far away. With the entry of the British into India, the British were spreading day by day in the entire Indian subcontinent. 

Their eyes had even reached Nepal. The British army led by Kinlock had come to Nepal in September 1824 under the pretext of supporting another state against the Gurkha state in Nepal. If Prithvinarayan had not been able to defeat the British army in that battle of Sindhuligadi, today's Nepal would not have existed.

At that time, Gorkha was a hilly and poor state with an average of 12,000 householdsEven the king of such a poor and weak state may have come up with the idea of ​​having a similar geographically rich and powerful king. Such an idea may have existed even before him, but others have not been able to put it into practice. Even though he thought like that, he was able to implement it, so it can be said that he had the foresight, clear vision, martial arts, crookedness, and successful leadership. 

Just looking at his campaign, we find that a leader has all the qualities of ingenuity, intelligence, and so on. Today, he has made the greatest contribution to the survival of Nepal and Nepalis. He is not the only hero of his time. In that campaign, many brothers and sisters, the people were all strongly associated with his campaign. That work was done with the help of everyone, but his role as a leader becomes the most important because of the burden of leadership. 

Even his successors contributed to the preservation of Nepal's independence and sovereignty by adding one brick at a time during his reign. But Prithvinarayan Shah is the leader who introduced us to Nepal today by maintaining Nepal's independence and separate sovereignty.
Sometimes it is necessary to ponder from the point of view of what has happened or not in history. 

A very rare event took place in Nepal where the victorious state merged with the defeated state of Nepal. 

It is said that in history, sometimes time is more important than the person, but sometimes both and sometimes a person is more important than character. In Prithvinarayan's case, the person is more important.

Even to reach Tibet, the British in India would have invaded Nepal at some point. In the long run, a united Nepal could not withstand the attack of the British. If Nepal had fallen under British rule, Nepal would never have been independent. 

Nepal would not even exist after the withdrawal of the British from India as more than 600 states were merged. The next ruler has his contribution in his time. But his greatest contribution is in making Nepal a huge and powerful Nepal by uniting it in this way.

Ektheri discusses that today Prithvinarayan Shah has not been able to refine the Gurkha language and culture of Gorkha and his original culture and language of other communities. But if we look at some of the events of Prithvinarayan's tenure and his overall statement as a divine sermon, it does not seem so.
There are probably rare cases in the world where victorious states have merged into defeated states by erasing their winning identities. But here in Nepal, a very rare event took place where the victorious state merged with the defeated Nepal state. Now, the religion, culture, and language of the Gorkhas have been added to Nepal, but this incident is a clear indication. 

It has been confirmed by many that the Nepali language, which is in vogue in Nepal today, was in use in the Kathmandu Valley even before the conquest of Gorkhali in the Mallaka period. 

Therefore, it cannot be said that the Gurkha language was imposed by the Gorkhas. An example of how Prithvinarayan Shah adopted the Newar culture of the Kathmandu Valley is the incident where he bowed down to a virgin. In his time, the Gorkhali regime did not attack such religious and cultural institutions to the detriment of the local culture of Kathmandu. The ongoing culture continued as before. 

Prithvi Narayan has been widely discredited by the Christian West, citing his deportation of Capuchin clergy as an example. When we Nepalis carried the same prejudiced notion created by the same West for years in the name of progress in the last two decades, we became divided and we became as prejudiced towards him as in the West.

Before the beginning of the Gorkhali rule in the Kathmandu Valley, there were two Christian priests in Kathmandu during the reign of Malla king Jayaprakash Malla, Pastor Giuseppe and Pastor Michelangelo. After the conquest of the Kathmandu Valley by the Gorkhas, the clergy were found to be involved in political activities against the Gorkhali regime in addition to converting to another religion. Prithvi Narayan then expelled the two Christian priests in Kathmandu and some of their Nepali disciples from the country.

After Prithvinarayan expelled the Christian community, deportees and other Westerners began to write misleading articles against him. Until the 1950s, the West used to accuse Nepal of being religiously intolerant. Without understanding the facts, the message that Nepal is religiously intolerant was being widely propagated by the West.

Nepal became independent from the Rana regime in the 1950s and moved towards modernity. In 1958, it opened an embassy in the United States. Until then, the main question facing Nepali diplomats there, apart from fears of an attack by Red China, was the expulsion of the same Capuchin clergy and religious intolerance.

In response to that question, a Nepali diplomat based in Washington, when publishing a book on Nepal, gave a very crooked answer from a quote from the West. In 1960, Hrishikesh Shah, a historian, was Nepal's ambassador to Washington. The embassy had published a short book of about 30 pages titled 'The Kingdom of Nepal' with an introduction to Nepal. In the same book, the reason for the expulsion of the Capuchin clergy was not religious propaganda but secret political interference.
Therefore, their deportation was not religious but political. The embassy replied in a book that many Western historians have mentioned. Nepal was citing the example of communal riots in India as an example of religious tolerance in its country. Nepal is inhabited by Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus, but in the last several hundred years there has not been a drop of blood for religious reasons. In India, a few hundred kilometers away, communal riots continue to recur. Now think for yourself how much Nepal is religiously tolerant.

Some of the rulers after Prithvinarayan Shah may have had weaknesses. Some skeptical rulers attacked religion and culture. Similarly, the Nepali language was given more priority at the state level. Therefore, it is different from the point of view that the fault of all of them should be given to it as it has established the state, but it does not seem to be the case if there is no prejudice in the case of Prithvinarayan.

Prithvi Narayan Shah's experience in the last days of his life in Nuwakot was recorded in a similar exhortation. That is why some have started questioning the legitimacy of his divine teachings, which were later published under the name of 'Divine Sermon'. 

The fact that the divine teachings remain unauthentic even today may be the reason for the question. Excavating history and bringing out the truth will surely prove to be good for everyone. It does not seem appropriate to question the legitimacy of the study without coming up with additional topics. Let's look at how the divine sermon was published.

After the end of the First World War, Nepalis in India had moved forward unitedly for the promotion of the Nepali language since the opening of the organization. One of the main identities of independent castes under the leadership of Surya Bikram Gyawali and Parasmani Pradhan is an independent language. Saying that it is very important for Nepalis to create their own independent literature if they want to strengthen their ethnicity, they held a public meeting in Darjeeling on May 25, 1924, and formed an organization called Nepali Sahitya Sammelan. 

Through that organization, they were publishing books on the Nepali language, literature, and history there. Here in Nepal, it was a complicated situation to publish a book of ordinary literature in the Rana environment. Moreover, it was almost impossible to publish any material related to the royal family that they had captured like parakeets in a cage. The same complexity was with Jang Bahadur during the reign of Shamsher Khalak.

When Prithvi Narayan spoke in Nuwakot, Abhiman Singh Basnyat, the son of his beloved chief Shivaram Singh Basnyat, was not in Nuwakot and could not be heard directly. He later found out that the advice given by Prithvinarayan had been recorded by one of the leaders. He moved the same note and kept a copy with him. Another note was taken to his house by Bhakta Bahadur, a descendant clerk who worked in the field of accounting. 

Bakhtman Singh, a descendant of Abhiman Singh, gave the note to historian Baburam Acharya. Excerpts from the note received by Baburam Acharya were sent to Surya Bikram Gyawali, a historian based in Darjeeling. When Gyawali published a book on Prithvinarayan Shah from Darjeeling in 1935, some excerpts sent by Acharya were printed in it. Thus, Prithvinarayan's teachings were first published in the same book.

Here in Nepal, after the end of the Rana rule, only in the year 2009, a book was published from Kashi under Gorakshamal under the editorship of Narharinath by the Karmavir Mahamandal of Yogi Narharinath. In the book titled 'Divine Sermon', it was mentioned as 'Divine Sermon of Gorkha Emperor Badamaharaja Shri 5 Prithvinarayan'. 

The 'Divya-Upadesh', published in a single edition of Narharinath, is considered to be the first edition. At the end of the first edition, it was written, "Nepal Keltol Manmandir Gorkhali edited from a 150-year-old dilapidated copy of the great hero Shivram Singh Vanshadhar Bakhtman Singh Basnyat." About 27, 28 years after the death of Prithvi Narayan Shah, in the time of Ran Bahadur Shah, around 1802 BS, Chief Bhakta Bahadur may have moved the original from somewhere. Therefore, it is possible to call it Budha Maharaj because from the time of Ran Bahadur Shah, his grandfather Prithvinarayan has been called Budha Maharaj.

One year after the first edition was published, it was published in 2010 by the Prithvi Jayanti Celebration Committee under the joint editorship of Yogi Narharinath and Shiromani Baburam Acharya. This edition was printed from Shri Bagishwar Printing Press, Jhochhen, Kathmandu. Five thousand copies were printed. Which was also previously published in the Goraksha Granthmala from Kashi. It was mentioned that such an origin is given here as it has remained impure.

After Prithvinarayan expelled the Christian community, the deportees and other Westerners began to write misleading articles against him. 

In recent days, some have questioned the validity of Prithvi Narayan Shah's divine teachings. Since it did not exist at that time, it was not mentioned in Nepali society, but it is being said that it was later artificially promoted by the monarchy. Similarly, some are saying that it was during the Rana period and after the end of the Rana period, it suddenly came to establish the dominance of the Shah dynasty.

Considering the above questions, it can be said that it is much less rare than why it is not mentioned in any Karkha, Sawai, or folklore. So it may not have come to public notice. As it was not made public, it did not mean that it would come to the society through Karkha and Sawai. Where was it before democracy came? Why didn't he come anywhere in the preaching before that? Questions are being raised as to why no one mentions it.

It was not easy to propagate the Shah dynasty during the Rana period. Even after receiving Baburam Acharya in 1934, he could not make it public in Nepal because the political system of the country was like that. During the Rana period, no legacy of the Shah Dynasty and Jung Bahadur was brought forward. Even in the time of Mohan Shamsher, they used to give the plan put forward by some Jung Bahadur to Chandra Shamsher without giving it to Jung Bahadur. In 1949, diplomatic relations were established between Nepal and France. 

Jung Bahadur Rana is the first Nepali to visit France. Jung Bahadur Rana deserves to be the guest of the President of France, to meet him in his office, to observe the military parade from him, to receive the gift of the sword from the President. Even though Chandrashamsher had visited Britain and France, his visit was not as important as that of Jung Bahadur. 

Chandrashamsher received Takma from France a few days before his death. After the establishment of relations with France, Mohan Shamsher's document mentioned that the friendly relations with France, which started in the time of the late father Shri 3 Maharaj Chandrashamsher without any mention of Jung Bahadur, have now established political relations between the two countries. It is enough to understand how this incident only mentions the work of Shamsher Rana during the Rana period and others are overshadowed.

Only after the end of the Rana rule did the subject of the Shah dynasty come to the fore in changed circumstances. Thus, in the democratic and Panchayat-era Nepal, there was a lot of propaganda of 'Divine Sermon'. Many mentioned good issues such as security, diplomacy, self-reliance, and morality in it, but it did not seem to move forward with real consideration. 

The above-mentioned issues of diplomacy, security, self-reliance, etc., mentioned in the Divine Sermon are just as important today and some of them are even more relevant. Therefore, even today's generation needs to meditate on the divine teachings and pay due respect to the unification hero of their nation. 

Prithvi Narayan's statue erupted during the Second People's Movement and after the end of the monarchy, the so-called republicans have misinterpreted his contribution and the attitude towards him is changing in the minds of the common people. Despite showing the same indifference on the part of the state, today's conscious Nepalis have spontaneously started celebrating Unification Day on January 10, remembering his contribution from the heart. It is the duty of today's true Nepalis to remember Prithvinarayan Shah and to meditate on the divine teachings that contained his thoughts and ideas, and to accept them as needed.

Translated from Article of Ekagaj

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