Colonization of India
20 May 1498
The day when Vasco De Gama,Portuguese explorer reached India. His sea route to India established modern gateway of imperialism. Due to growing power of Islamic states in middle-east,who had effectively ended trade route to east , it was a utmost necessary for Europeans to find new route and scope of trade in China and India(especially Mughals). After the century of discovery of cape route it was French,Dutch,English,Denis who began to challenge Portuguese monopoly in Asian countries. East India Company was a joint stock company formed in 1600 in order to trade with Asian countries. It had no direct involvement with British government since its shares were owned by British merchants and aristocrats. August 24,1608 British landed on port of Surat(Gujarat) . Soon after they seek consent from famous Mughal ruler Jahangir, son of Akbar to establish a factory in Surat, over the years they continued their massive expansion of trade in madras ,Mumbai, Calcutta and other cities. It was the time when central Nepal was divided into multiple Malla kingdom after Yakshya Malla divided land to his sons. Shivashimha Malla was the king of Kathmandu while Ram shah had just ascended to the throne of Gurkha,which was one of 24 confederation of khas kingdom known as Chaubisya rajya. India was ruled by strong administration of Mughal empire from Akbar to Jahangir to Shah Jahan. However Soon after Aurangzeb seized the throne and imprisoned his father Shah Jahan. Although his empire became one the strongest economic power in the world ,his religious intolerance and conservatism had led most of the part of India under open revolt.
After his death in 1707 mughal empire began to decline and Indian sub continent was divided into Rajputs,Maratha,Sikhs,Nizam,afghans, nawab,bundels, Sikhs and many more.while in the same year 1707, kingdom of Scotland and England (which includes wales) formed The Great kingdom of Britain under treaty of union.After Aurangzeb, it was the Maratha empire that rose to the power challenging sultanate of Delhi.Their political and military ideology was Hindu swaraja. At the very early age of 20 ,Bajirao Ballal was appointed as ‘Peshwa’ of Maratha empire. He expanded Maratha empire from 3% to 30% of modern Indian landscape. In his 20 year as Peshwa he never lost a battle. The empire had stretched to Tamil Nadu in south Bengal in east Peshawar,present day Pakistan in north west. However during this period of trading, east India company realized to concentrate all the resources of India mainly due to its french and Dutch counterparts involvement in India. Since Indian sub continent was divided into multiple provincial kingdom, company began to intervene in Indian politics ultimately transferring itself from trading to ruling enterprise. In 1757 British defeated Bengal along with their french allies. In 1964 there was a decisive Victory against Awadh,Bihar and Bengal in Buxar that led to British rule over Bengal and Bihar.
Initially EIC (East India Company) used few hundred soldier as guards to protect them from pirates and similar threats. But sooner they recruited Indian men in their troops and formed most powerful military force in the subcontinent. At the end of 18th century they had a hundred thousand troops from regular troops of 3000. The motive of EIC was to use the resource of subcontinent rather than annexation, they wanted to control over every kingdom by the medium of either treaty or military. The next target was kingdom of Mysore,Tipu sultan was the ruler. Tipu had alliance with french which was a threat to British.They made temporary alliance with Nizam of Hyderabad and Marthas and attacked in the ratio of 4:1. Tipu sultan died along with his heavily defeated troops. At this point there were 3 expansion campaign in the subcontinent mainly Marathas,EIC and Gorkhas. Maratha empire began to decline after their loss in battle of Panipat against Ahmad shah Durrani, whom Afghan still regard as “Father of the Nation” unlike we Nepali who disregard our unifier. Their main reason for the defeat was lack of support from Rajputs and Jats whom Marthas began to treat poorly, impose higher tax and interfere into their internal politics. It took Marathas a decade to overcome their Panipat defeat where they lost nearly 60000 soldiers.Soon they began to involve into internal conflict giving British to play within them, they lacked political vision and ultimately scummed their empire after their final defeat against British in 1818. EIC further defeated Burma in 1824 and took Assam, Manipur from them and remaining Burma in 1885,they defeated Sikh in 1849 ultimately annexing Punjab and Kashmir to British India. However they temporarily took hold of Afghan and later continued to interfere in their internal politics till early 20th century.
The first question comes to my mind is why were British so successful then other empires.In my view few reasons are
- The British empire was based on trade rather than just ethnicity. Unlike mughals and other raja maharajahs of Indian sub continent whose military was limited to particular ethnicity, British build their own army of Indian men of all ethnicity and build their empire.
- It was rule of law.Britain was constitutional parliament monarch. They understood real essence of Democracy. They have monarch with stable government unlike french who were involved in internal conflict to Napoleonic war. Italy was group of city state until 1860’s and Germany got its shape only after 2nd half of 20th century. Along with their trade their motive was to spread Christianity,their form of governance, language and glory of their monarch.
- The success of Royal Navy, technological advancement sparkled by industrial revolution in 18th century and discipline of their military were additional advantage to their triumph.
Unification of Nepal
Prithvi Narayan shah became king of Gorkha at the age of 20. He had relatively simpler life as a prince compared to other 53 states of Nepal as Gorkha was the one the poor state among Chaubisya rajya. Even British had refused to trade with kingdoms of Nepal. After his father’s failed attempt to conquer Nuwakot, Gorkha became unstable in term of military force. It was his quick learning ability,friendly relationship with his subjects who taught him many diplomatic way to be successful. His strategy was similar to British ways of conquering,rather than traditional way.He had friendly alliance with Lamjung,Tanahun and Palpa in order to defeat Nuwakot. Bikram Sen,King of Makwanpur sought help from Nawab of Bengal,Mir Qasim in order to resist Gorkhali troops but instead they were heavenly defeated. Kirtipur was the most irresistible force , a war place where kalu Pandey lost his life. But in 1965, once Kirtipur came under Gorkha regime,It struck terror into Heart of Neighboring kingdom.
It took him years to break Malla kingdom of valley. Internal dissension among Mallas of valley was the key to success. He often used to Visit Ranjit Malla of Bhadgaon as a childhood friend but it was strategy to understand the strength of three kingdoms. Prithivi Narayan shah had placed Gajaraj Mishra, The Royal priest permanently in Benaras to keep eye on the movement of East India company.When trade route to Tibet was halted by Gorkha, Jayprakash Malla sought help from EIC. Captain George kinloch led a troop to Kathmandu which Gorkhali ambushed and turned into disaster for the British. The decisive chapter of the campaign was seizing over valley and ending Malla regime which was started by Ari Malla some six century ago.
Valley didn’t lost just because of military strength of gorkhali but of their own treachery of pradhans of Kantipur, Lalitpur and Satyabhalas (7 illegitimate sons of Ranjit Malla of Bhaktapur). Prithvi Narayan shah had sent his agent to create propaganda and dissension among the people of valley. Ranjit Malla sought help from Gorkhali to settle feud with Patan and kantipur. All we know is Gorkhali troops seized valley during Indra jatra when valley was sunk but had it been successful without any internal treachery.The last conversation between Malla king and Gorkhali king is somewhat looks like of Shakespeare’s play.While 3 Malla kings were sitting at one end of a table,PN shah enter the room and starts to laugh along with other.Jay Prakash Malla replies to not laugh at him since he had beaten his troops at kirtipur, Nuwakot before and kept him beside valley for years.However he even praises his victory over hilly kingdoms,Mir qasim and British even though he come from a valley small kingdom. and justifies he had won because his won pradhans who had betrayed him. PN Shah replies that all of traitors had their head cut off since they betrayed their kingdom and asks Jayprakash Malla if he wants anything from him. He just ask for an umbrella ,shoes and place where he waits to meet Yama.
Satyabhalas who betrayed their father, as they were bribed the throne of Bhadgaon, are also taken into custody. Even with multiple request of Prithvi Narayan shah to continue to rule as before, Ranjit Malla wishes to spent his rest of the life in Banaras. His son Bir Narsingh was killed by satyabhalas and he was getting old which left him no desire to continue. He bids farewell to Pashupatinath,Gujyeshwari, Taleju from Chandragiri and glances valley for the last time with full of tears.
Lot of accusation are made to Badamaharaj Dhiraj,that he made Nepal of one just one ethnic group but the fact is he was the only king to use ethnically diversified military among other Hindu/Buddhist kingdom of the region.He considered Magars as their shield and sword. Bir Bakheti Magar led first attack to Nuwakot and Banshu Gurung commander of the Battle against British in Sindhuligadhi. Magars and Gurungs were among six courtiers of Nepal till kot parva. Most of ethnicity based kingdom were already under Malla and sen king even before him.There was never going to be movement for democracy ,unity or constituent assembly under such circumstances where whole of south were under British colonialism. Nepal still is the country of 123 language and 125 ethnic groups. Few people would argue Nepal would be prosperous under British but what exactly is prosperity. The prosperity is again subjective.One example is “Uttarakhand” a land we lost after Sugauli. The hills of Uttarkhand has almost forgotten kumaoli and Gadhwali language which UNESCO has enlisted in unsafe category.The hills of Uttarkhand has become lonely due to migration.
After Badamaharaj Dhiraj,Nepal rarely had an active monarch. While Pratap Singh Shah only remain in throne for 36 months and died . Rajendra Laxmi continued to be queen regent for her son Rana Bahadur shah .Although she was extended military campaign her court was space for courtly intrigues and conspiracies.The courtier and bureaucrats created tension between her and her brother in law Bahadur shah for their personal benefits. Bahadur shah continued to act as active regent till Rana Bahadur shah came to his age.He was a notorious ruler in the history of Nepal,killed his own uncle blaming for conspiracy, married a widow Maithi brahmin ,kantavati Jha and made their son Girvan yuddha as king of Nepal by abducting his throne although Ranodatta was the eldest son.Thus term “Bikram ” started to be used in the name of king referring to deviation in the inherent right to throne. Rana bahadur wanted to seize the throne but as courtiers who had taken oath to serve the new king wouldn’t let to do so. Rana bahadur shah was ultimately killed by his step brother Sher bahadur Shah which was followed by the bhandarkhal massacre which killed 93 people .It brought Bhimsen Thapa to absolute power,following years although Giravn yudha and then Rajendra Bikarm was the king of Nepal , It as Bhimsen Thapa who was defector ruler of The Himalayan Hindu Kingdom of Nepal.
Harsh Dev Joshi,the administrator of king Dip Chand was also selfish “diplomat” and a king maker in the history of kumau. His deeds brought a series of inconsistency and conspiracy in both Ghadwal and kumau. Although he was a kumai, his eyes were on Gadhwal. His continuous effort had brought Gadhwal and kumaon to a feud. When he couldn’t achieve his goal, he paved ways for gorkhas to Gadhwal. He was taken into custody by Gorkhali as treachery was biggest crime under their regime.He escaped from Gorkhas and convinced about new trade routes in hills of kumaon. Him along with defeated kings within state of Nepal, and Sikkim sought help from East India company Nepal had established itself as pro Himalayan Hindu clan that had set Waring to every Hindu, Buddhist nation over hills to surrender. We neither thought of analyzing badamaharj Dhiraj’s dibya upadesh about to maintain healthy relation with china and be aware of south.we were brave yet prideful where central administration was playground for courtiers. We could have shown diplomacy with other force of Sikh, Rajputs and limit British expansion but ended up signing treaty in 1816.
Rajendra Bikram was an indecisive ruler. He was kept in isolation by Bhimsen Thapa in his childhood days. Bhimsen Thapa became another victim of conspiracy by the Queen.The indecisive ruler led a space to 2 queen to conspire for power.After the death of queen Samrajya, queen Rajya Laxmi became defector ruler of Nepal who wants to have her son Ranendra Bikram crowned as king over Surendra Bikram,son of Queen Samrajya. Such bloodshed and conspiracy led to kot massacre which had established Bir Narsingh Kunwar , Jung bahadur Rana as commander in chief, prime minister and Shree 3 maharajah , also initiating a century long dictatorship called Regime.Although JBR(Jung Bahadur Rana) established Rana regime, his own progeny suffered conspiracy from descendants of his younger brother Dhir Shamsher, also known as Shamsher faction. The envy between Jung family and Shamshers led to another coup in Nepalese history where Shamsher killed Ranodip Singh, their uncle who was reigning PM of Nepal followed by military activities that perished Jung faction. Shamshers reign for the next 7 decade was the dark ages for the country. A reformist PM”Dev Shamsher” was quickly deformed by his brothers and first scientist of Nepal Gehendra Shamsher who introduced electricity, modernized army,guns and even imported ford car to learn and assemble in Nepal was mysteriously found dead in his room.His popularity and influential figure was considered threat to Rana regime.
Dr. K I Singh and Bharat shumsher of khukuri dal was against 1950 India-Nepal treaty.Bharat shumsher even attacked BP koirala in his office when he was internal affair minister of Nepal.Dr K I Singh served as leader of Mukti Sena,military wing of Nepali congress .He was also regarded as Robin hood of Himalayas. Rakshya dal was an auxiliary security force of whose member were mostly militants of Mukti Sena. They idolize Dr KI Singh as their leader and freed him from jail soon after revolted along with CPN to take over Singhadurbar, jail,telephone exchange,armory .The forces took controlled of situation and CPN was banned in Nepal.Dr KI Singh fled to China and remained secluded for years.
Matrika Prasad koirala became PM of Nepal after Mohan shumsher .He established a tradition for Nepali PM to visit India as soon as oath is taken.The Nepalese politics at that was entirely influenced by British and Indians. The cabinet meeting was conducted in English at the presence of Indian ambassador .He proposed Jawaharlal Nehru to sent Indian troops to Nepal to restructure Nepali Army.He further lobbied to establish Hindi as official language of Nepal.Although congress won the first election of Nepal,king Mahendra used emergency power to throw multiparty system claiming congress had fostered corruption,promoted party interest over nation,failed to maintain law and encouraged anti national element.In the next decade of king Mahendra’s leadership,Nepal started to maintain neutral policy of diplomacy over its neighbor. Nepal paved US and china for the diplomacy over here in south Asia.Nepali dependency to India decreased to 60% from 90% and Nepali currency were finally in use instead of Indian currency.East west highway was built and migration among ethic groups were promoted to maintain harmony among ethnic groups and avoid any threat of separatist movement in the future.His reign was full of experiment of land reforms and back to village national campaign was the largest rural development effort. The next 2 decade after King Mahendra was just for the continuity. Panchayat lost its charm and started to be criticized which resulted referendum against multiparty but ended up well to peoples’ movement led by joint effort of congress and communist in 1989.
In the first decade of multiparty democracy reestablishment we have 14 different governments.The lack of political consistency,transparent corruption and lack of accountability towards marginalized people and nation instigate Maoist Insurgency.The royal massacre had left multiple conspiracy theories within Nepal. The parliament was dissolve by king Gyanendra as per request of Sher Bahadur Deuba,PM of Nepal.After multiple effort to conduct election, king himself took leadership to end the deadlock. Maoist established hope of 40 pointed demand yet ultimately ended up just with secularism and end of monarch.Federalism is outcome of Madhesh revolt for identity. we spend billions in election of constituent assembly not once but twice.
Maoist who was greatly influenced by Lenin, Stalin communist ideology also started to believe Nationalism should be fundamental and distinctive. Although we have come too far as a united nation ,we are yet to understand the essence ,ideology under which our forefather and ancestor had established this great nation. “Praja mota vaye ,Durbar baliyo” although sounds simpler yet we haven’t implemented the statement over 2 and half centuries. We “The people” haven’t been empowered which the biggest tragedy till date.
Patriotism is subjective yet it should be a continuous process not seasonal. We went through economic blockade, frequent earthquake but what have we learn from it is nothing. The Donors and Remittance are like step mothers who takes cares of her son, never scolds and pampers his unhealthy demand to express herself as compassionate. The son never gains confidence and independence and spoil his life to death.What hurt most than Sugauli and kalapani is question about our dependency and inclination towards other nation.Our progress towards being independent is still nothing in progress.What is a Nation? Its not just a political boundary,its culture and civilization that understand the people.Bharat remained Bharat, even after centuries of mughal and British Raj due to rigidness against infiltration towards its civilization same goes to Israel who reestablished itself after centuries.The downfall of Malla empire, Nawab of Bengal, Maratha, Rajputs were nothing but an act of treachery. While Indians portray their kings as hero against British Raj ,the fact is Indians were against Indians Every corrupt people are traitor. Spending millions of rupees in constitution yet it cannot establish order of “gush linya dinya dubai desh ko satru”. You don’t have to raise a flag or march into road to be patriotic, your realization of job and ethical execution of duties is nationalism. You’re a teacher then teach wisdom, you’re officer then provide justice then this will be called as act of patriotism.
The essence of this history is to realize from past mistake but not merely condemn historical figure. As Chanakya said “life is too short to learn from own’s mistake”.
We have equally been responsible for our situation, leaders are reflection of our society. Parties blame monarch ,people blame both,indigenous blame khas, Madheshi blame pahadis but as Jesus said throw stone if you’re not sinner, we are somewhat responsible for what we are.In last 3 decade we may have achieved a lot of political achievements but that means nothing to international community.Political achievement are for the people, the status of the nation should be cause of pride. Foreign officials consider their attitude based upon color of our passport but not on political system. Lot of people consider possibility of Greater Nepal, we still dream to shine in satlaj like khukuri of Amar Singh Thapa .We may shine but this is modern era ,trade ,prosperity,cultural influence,art are the modern days khukuri to extend Nepal to the world. International community is selfish,when descendant of Jung Bahadur went for asylum to British India they were nothing despite their past contribution. When Italy was dealing with corona virus, not a single EU member came forward in their rescue. Nation is a Guardian, citizens are family .Its their responsibility to take responsibility in every situation.. The country will not be inhaled like in those days but will be hypnotized to follow the ideology of Big nation. America sells every riot in name of Democracy, Chinese want communism to flow over world. We have been tagged as mini India or mini China.The history will ask what have Nepal given to world as independent nation? we can establish order and unique political ideologies germinated from our soil.We can set an example of our cultural grace we possess. We need a new cultural movement that defines both our nation , society and politics.Lets not limit movement of indigenous, Madheshi and marginalized group as a campaign against particular community but as a social movement of empowering themselves.Although Africans are into successful position they still had to face impartiality and racial abuse.One of the reason is status of Africa,which is full of poverty and had been guinea pigs for powerful nation. The attitude will change after they change the fate of Africa.. Our identity is Bagmati river unless we collect absolute will to purify it ,it reflects our image to the world.In democracy everyone is guilty,so stand up before its too late.
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