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Offline Kharane

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About Nepal (Briefly)
« on: November 27, 2007, 12:27:03 AM »
One can probably say that Nepal is as old as the Himalayas, when a great lake filled the Kathmandu Valley. One legend holds that this lake was drained by a thunderbolt thrown against the walls of the Valley by the Hindu god Krishna. Another claims it was drained by the patriarch Manjushri as he wanted to get a closer look at a Swayambhu or Adhi-buddha, the beautiful lotus flower resting on the lake.

But the recorded history of Nepal does not start until around 800 BC, with the beginning of the Kirat Period. After that was the Lichhavi and Thakuri Period, followed by the Malla Period and finally the Shah Period.


Kirat Period (800 BC - 300 AD)
Very little is known about this period in the history of Nepal. The Kirats ruled for about 1000 years and were ruled by a total of 28 kings during that time. The first and best remembered king was Yalambar. Legend credits him with meeting Indra, the lord of heaven, who ventured into the Valley in human guise. He had the dubious honor of being slain in the epic battle of the Mahabharata, in which gods and mortals fought alongside each other.

Another remarkable event during this period is the coming of Gautam Buddha in the time of the seventh king. The Buddha supposedly spent time in Patan, where he elevated the blacksmith caste to goldsmiths and bestowed upon them the name of his own clan, Sakya.

The great emperor of India, Ashoka, was also a visitor to Kathmandu in this period. As a follower of Buddhism, Ashoka visited Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha, and erected stupas in Kathmandu. His daughter married a local prince and further spread the religion. As the Kirat dynasty came to an end in the valley, parts still remained in the eastern mountains where they are considered to be the forefathers of today?s Rai and Limbu castes


Lichhavi and Thakuri Period (300 - 1200 AD)

The Lichhavi Period is the first documented period in the history of Nepal. The Lichhavi, having lost their political fortune in India, came to Nepal and attacked and defeated the last Kirati king, Gasti. The Lichhavis were probably the Rajputs of India, from today?s Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. It is a classical period of Nepal history and is very well documented by epigraphic records. Stone water spouts and the icons of gods and goddesses are abundant.

The Lichhavis gave Nepal its first great historical figure, Manadeve I, in the 5th century. He was said to be a talented and brave king, responsible for conquests in the east and west. He struck copper coins and started the numismatic history of Nepal.

In 602 AD, the first Thakuri dynasty began with the ascent of Amsuverma. Though he was not a Lichhavi, he married a daughter of the Lichhavi king, Shivadeva. He impressed his father-in-law and became de facto ruler. He was an able, true servant of the people. He was a far-sighted king in the aspect of making family connections making him a great diplomat. Amsuverma married his sister to an Indian prince and his daughter, Bhrikuti, to Tibet?s powerful King Tsrong-tsong Gompo. Bhrikuti is believed to have taken as part of her dowry the begging bowl of Buddha and other artifacts of Buddhism. Together with Gompo?s second wife, a Chinese princess, they converted the king and Tibet to Buddhism.


Malla Period (1200 - 1769 AD)

Though the Malla were active in other areas, they didn?t come to the valley until 1200 AD when King Ari-deva assumed the title and founded a new, highly accomplished dynasty. The Malla Period is a glorious era in the history of Nepal. Mallas developed trade and commerce, industry, religion and culture. They reached a high level of perfection in the fields of art and architecture.

The early Malla monarchs held absolute power by divine right: they were considered to be incarnations of Vishnu, as are the present Shah rulers. Although the Mallas were Hindu Shaivites following strict Brahmin rituals, they were tolerant of Buddhism, which was widespread at the court and among the people - especially in its Tantric form, the cult of Vajrayana.

A feudal administrative structure was imposed, dominated by an aristocratic elite whose powers at times overshadowed those of the sovereign. Below them, Brahmins and Chhetris monopolized all offices of profit around the palace. Next on the social ladder were the traders and farmers, divided into 64 strictly enforced occupational castes.

The most popular kings of this period and their accomplishments are briefly described below:

Jayasthiti Malla (1354-1395)
Jayasthiti Malla was the most famous of all the Malla Kings. As a great reformer, he codified the whole structure of the Nepalese society in a strictly orthodox Hindu frame. Jayasthiti was a builder of temples and a patron of art and literature. He was also an economic reformer and introduced a system of measuring land and houses.

Pratap Malla
Pratap Malla was the King of Kantipur, today?s Kathmandu. He was an authority in religion, music, and the art of warfare. And though he was a Hindu, he tolerated other religions. He even reconstructed the Buddhist shrine of Swayambunath. He constructed Krishna Mandir, the Shrine of Taleju, Rani Pokhari, and Guheswari temple.

Jaya Prakash Malla
Jaya Prakash was the last King of Kantipur. Although brave and confident, he was unlucky. He tried to save the Valley from a Gorkha attack, calling for unity among the three states around Kathmandu. But he was not heeded to. Even calling on the army from the East India Company did not help. Fighting within his family was partly to blame.

Ranjit Malla
Ranjit Malla was the last King of Bhaktapur. As a lover of rare and precious things, he added many courtyards to his palace. And to improve economic conditions in his Kingdom, he imported silver exporting it as coins.


Shah Period

During the middle of the 18th Century, there were about 500 small states in India and about 50 states in Nepal. The situation was completely chaotic in the sense that most of them were fighting each other to expand their territory. And then along comes Prithvi Narayan Shah from the state of Gorkha (home of the now famous Gurkha soldier), about 100 km west of Kathmandu. He believed that unless Nepal was unified, it was in danger of going into the hands of British India. He started the process by unifying the small states. In 1768, after ten years of preparation, siege, and attack, Kathmandu fell to Gorkha on the day of the festival of Indra and the Virgin Goddess. Prithvi Narayan died in 1775 and was succeeded by his son Bahadur Shah. The new Shah rulers, transferring their seat of power to Kathmandu after its conquest, undertook to expand and consolidate their territory. But in 1790, their troops met Chinese resistance while marching to Tibet, then a vassal of China. The 70,000 Chinese troops pushed the Gorkhas back into Nepal and defeat. The treaty stipulated that Nepal send the Chinese emperor a tribute every five years. This was done all the way up to 1912.

Down South, Nepal was expanding its territory into India. By 1810, the kingdom extended from Kashmir to Sikkim and was double its present size. Confrontations led to a two-year war with the British between 1814-1816. Nepal was defeated and the Sugauli Treaty was signed in 1816, under which Nepal lost one-third of its territory. Another stipulation was that a British citizen reside in Kathmandu, bringing great resentment from the Nepalese. The borders were subsequently closed to foreigners, not to be reopened until 1951 The British resident and his successors were the only aliens within Nepal?s frontiers for well over a century.

The prime minister, Bhimsen Thapa, suffered humiliation from this defeat and was arrested and locked up and committed suicide in 1839. The period between 1836-1846 was marked with confusion and intrigues. Pandays, Basnyats, and Kunwars were all fighting each other for power. In 1846, Jung Bahadur Rana had himself designated prime minister and later "Maharajah" with powers superior to those of the king. He established an oligarchy which would last 104 years. The country was kept in isolation and the people were deprived of political and social rights. Enemies were assassinated or persecuted and the power structure and state moneys were directed solely to the self interest of the Ranas. The King was there but he was kept under complete control of the Ranas. In 1850, Jung Bahadur visited England and France bringing back ideas with him. One prime minister reformed the forced labor system, another started a college and started a newspaper but altogether much more harm than good was done.

After World War II, many changes were taking place. Colonies were gaining independence, particularly India from Great Britain. The Communists of China invaded Tibet, forcing many refugees to flee to Nepal and India.

A "liberal" Rana prime minister proposed a new constitution offering a measure of people?s participation through an administrative system known as panchayat. Village elders would solve problems locally with leaders elected to a national panchayat. But this new idea was soon undone by a successor.

With the support of the Indian Congress Party, opponents of the Rana rule - including some prominent Ranas - joined the Nepali Congress Party under the leadership of B.P. Koirala. The rightful sovereign of Nepal, King Tribhuvan, still powerless in his palace, was heralded as the embodiment of the democratic aspirations of the people.

In November 1950, the King fled to India under the pretense of going hunting. The "freedom fighters" of Nepal fought the Ranas, setting up bases in the Terai. As their was no decisive victor, India presided over a compromise. The King returned from India and soon thereafter, the Ranas went to live in India.

The period between 1951-1959 passed with uncertainty as the King did not comply with his promise of holding elections for the constituent assembly. Finally, only under pressure from the parties, King Mahendra (son of King Tribhuvan) declared elections for the parliament in 1959.

The Nepali Congress surprisingly won a majority of the seats in the new parliament. This led the King to fear he would be reduced to a ceremonial role and thus, on December 15, 1960 declared foreign politics were not for him and had the Nepali Congress put under arrest. He would have direct rule. Two years later, he started the panchayat system. The local five-man panchayat would send representatives to the district which would send others to the national panchayat. But this body had few real powers.

Under the "Panchayat Democracy"

no political parties were allowed
human rights were denied
corruption was rampant
state money was misused
economic development did not take place
"nationalist" slogans were given, but no improvement in the day-to-day life of the people was realized
There were times of agitations against the regime of the King but they were not successful. King Mahendra died in 1972 and was succeeded by his son, Birendra. In 1980, there was large scale discontent from the people with much violence. The King called for a referendum, with the choices between the Panchayat System and the multi-party Democracy. It was largely believed that vote-rigging occurred in favor of the Panchayat victory. The situation became even more suppressive afterwards.

In 1989, a trade impasse erupted with India. India blockaded 17 of the 19 entry points. This led to much discontent from which the opposition parties capitalized. The Nepali Congress, with support of the Communists, launched a mass movement against the Panchayat system. It was successful in mobilizing people from all walks of life. Two aspects were unprecedented in this movement. One was the alliance of the Nepali Congress with the Communists. The second was the international support for the movement.

After the change, the interior government headed by the Nepali Congress leader Krishna Prasad Bhattarai was formed. The tasks of the government included framing the constitution and holding a general election for Parliament.

Today, the Nepali Congress and United Marxists/Leninists are the two main parties that make up the government. The King, however, reserves the right to name one-fifth of the members of the legislature and continued as a strong monarchy
But after Masscare of King Birandra Political instability is going on. King Gyanendra who was Crowned has been toppled and now Political partis are preparing to go for COnstitutinal assembly on mid of March 2008



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Offline haku Black

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Re: About Nepal (Briefly)
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2007, 08:40:03 AM »
sarai sarai info

 


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