Saturday, 12 January 2008

National hero: forgotten after People's Movement II

History is written by the winners. Such accounts apparently lack authenticity and credible information as they glorify the victors and the rulers more than the ruled. However, writing history is recognizing the role of kings or army generals. No matter how we recognize the role played by King Prithvi Narayan Shah during his unification campaign, he did unify this country. No historian disputes this fact; doing so would be tantamount to undermining him. King Prithvi Narayan Shah deserves a special place in our political history. Although politicians and intellectuals in post-April revolution Nepal may bracket him with successive autocratic kings, King Prithvi Narayan Shah brought together several principalities into one country. He extended the boundaries of Nepal from the Marsyangdi River to the Kankai River. During his unification campaign, he had adopted every means to achieve his goal of a unified Nepal.
Many historians have interpreted his contributions in their own ways, but the existence of Nepal would have been impossible had he failed in his unification campaign. So the role played by King Prithvi Narayan Shah cannot be undermined, nor can we accuse him of being anti-people like King Mahendra or his son Gyanendra who staged a coup to seal the fate of democracy. King Prithvi Narayan Shah was successful in bringing together diverse religio-ethnic groups under one nation. He was in favor of adopting a closed-door policy with regard to the British. Not only did his social and economic views guide the country's socio-economic course for a long time, his use of imagery - Nepal is wedged between two giant countries - formed the principal guideline of modern Nepal's foreign policy.
In spite of different versions regarding the unification of Nepal, we cannot reject outright that King Prithvi Narayan Shah deserves a space in our hearts. The country should have marked his birth anniversary. He remains the main architect of Nepal. The military campaign he set in motion halted only when the British in India felt threatened and attacked Nepal to cut it down to its present size. Prithvi Narayan Shah was a soldier, a commander and, above all, a strategist. He possessed the knack of rousing his men at times of defeat and, by his daredevil deeds, frequently turned the tables to achieve victory. He always encouraged the people to lead a life of simplicity, but with dignity. His main aim was to make the people self-sufficient in food and clothing. At the last stage of his life, he made his courtiers fully acquainted with many teachings, which can be found in his Dibyopadesh. He was a true nationalist.
We salute his endeavor and patriotism on his birth day 27 Poush (today)!!!
Source:Kathmandu Post (12January, 2008)

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