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date: 23 February 2019

Modern Nepal

Summary and Keywords

Within the study of the modern period of Nepali history, history is considered here both as a narrative with its internal logic, notably the periodization of history produced by Nepali historians, as well as a series of statements, events, regulations, etc., which are incorporated in this narrative. Periodization of history in Nepal establishes a direct and necessary link between modern Nepal and its national territory. Indeed, the beginning of the modern era is determined by the “unification” of the fifty independent kingdoms and tribal territories that gave birth to the anational territory of Nepal during the second half of the 18th century. Such a correspondence makes modernity and the unified territory of Nepal coincide in a single space time. Yet, a closer examination of the logic behind periodization sheds light on its Kathmandu-centric, and dynastic perspective. This resulted in the formation of a hybrid conception of the national territory and of its center of power. From being the standard of the territory’s time and space, the Kathmandu Valley became the chronotope of the historical narrative dealing with the first half of the 19th century. It continued to form the territory’s remarkable center following the seizing of power by the Rana prime ministers (1846–1951), but now by assuming a futurist dimension, which conversely, plunged the rest of the country back in time.

Keywords: Nepal, periodization, unification, territory, kingship, land, space time, ethno-history

The Making of Modern Nepal’s “Space Time”

The periodization of history in Nepal establishes a direct and necessary link between modern Nepal and its national territory. Indeed, the beginning of the modern era is determined by the “unification” of the fifty independent kingdoms and tribal territories that gave birth to the national territory of Nepal during the second half of the 18th century. Such a correspondence makes modernity and the unified territory of Nepal coincide in a single space time.

The modern period is the third and final stage of the three-fold periodization of the history of Nepal—ancient, medieval, and modern—as it was established in the 1960s. An exploration of the logic behind its conceptualization helps clarify the substratum on which the construction of a national (and nationalist) history of Nepal developed, and sheds light on the characterizations of the spatiotemporal entity corresponding to modern Nepal, notably on the reciprocal relationships between a Kathmandu-centric perspective and the production of a modern space time.

One may argue that periodization has lost its relevance in recent historical writings dealing with this region of Asia. Yet, the shaping of time and space through periodization has hardly been shaken by the most recent developments of history of Nepal, which witnesses the beginning of a transition from the telescopic to the microscopic, to borrow Carlo Ginzburg’s metaphor, as well as a wide regional trend, dealing with Himalayan history in general.1 Yet, by changing scale and perspective, recent professional contributions to the history of Nepal seem to have lost interest in a nationwide approach and have excluded from their field the long time and its periodization, without deconstructing though the previous efforts to shape them. Today, periodization seems to lay intact on the garbage heap of history, alongside with the long time (“longue durée”) and nationwide approach. These were left as a free field to amateurs and activists, who sketched new ways to address the past in contrasted stages, inspired by historical materialism.

The advent of modern Nepal in the second half of the 18th century corresponds to the expansion campaign led by King Prithvi Narayan Shah, from his small kingdom of Gorkha, located in the hills of central Nepal. Specifically, the transition between the medieval and modern periods is determined by Prithvi Narayan Shah’s conquest of the three kingdoms of the Kathmandu Valley, which began with the capture of Kathmandu in September 1768 and ended a year later in November 1769 with the defeat of Bhaktapur.2 This victory triggered the transfer of the throne of Gorkha to Kathmandu, sealing the transformation of Gorkha’s extended territory into the kingdom of Nepal.

Transfusion Between Gorkha and Nepal

Nepal’s historical modernity therefore does not only reflect the country’s larger territorial dimension but rather its process of “unification” (as it is usually called in Nepal), which took on the form of a transfusion between the kingdom of Gorkha and the Valley of Nepal, or Nepal Mandala. The result was a hybrid territory, whose place of power and nominal identity pertained to the defeated entity (i.e., Nepal, which previously referred to the Kathmandu Valley only), but whose ruling elite was replaced, and whose territory was integrated in the extended kingdom of Nepal, or Greater Nepal. This assimilation of Gorkha to the conquered entity met strategic needs and also responded to the particular prestige of the small Nepal Mandala due to its position on a major trans-Himalayan trade route, its ancient history, its urban civilization, and its prosperity. Transfusion between Gorkha and Nepal resulted in confusion regarding the respective definition, identity, and limits of the territories designated by the names Nepal and Gorkha, and to a dual identity of the nation, whose population and, moreover, its power kept the name of Gorkhali in contrast to the identity of its national territory, usually called Nepal, or Greater Nepal; it also led to a striking prominence granted to the Nepal Mandala (i.e., the Kathmandu Valley) in the conceptualization of the whole country’s history and of its national territory.

While the historian Mahesh Chandra Regmi3 identifies the country between 1769 and 1814 as the “Gorkhali Empire,” the British writers of this period referred to it as the kingdom of Nipal, Nepaul, or Nepal.4 For the kings of Nepal themselves, the answer is not clear, as shows a letter addressed to the Tibetans by King Pratap Singh shortly after the unification, in 1775. Requesting them to accept the coins minted in his new kingdom of Nepal as they, in the past, purchased their coins from the kingdoms of the valley of Nepal, the king is compelled to distinguish precisely both entities. He refers to his territory as “the kingdom of Gorkha-Nepal” twice, while when speaking of the Kathmandu Valley, he calls it “Nepal of the kingdom of Nepal.”5 A detailed study is still lacking to determine which appellation would be more faithful to the emic view of the national territory after the “unification,” but the answer will in any case be statistical, given that in a single letter, the king himself uses two different names to designate his kingdom.

Kathmandu’s Primacy

Whereas several historians denounce a dominant Gorkhali perspective on the past, the primacy of the Kathmandu Valley is quite apparent, both in the periodization of Nepal, and in numerous “nationalist” historical sketches. A history textbook for teenagers studying in class 8, which was originally published in 1981 by the Ministry of Education, and reissued fourteen times until 1996, will serve as an illustration.6 It must be said that this very textbook has undoubtedly contributed to shape the perception of national history of a significant portion of the population in Nepal. Indeed, the literacy rate amounted to only 5.3 percent in 1952–1954, and 13.9 in 1971, a year the female literacy rate was still as low as 3.9. Large-scale education started in the 1970s, resulting in an increase to 23.3 percent in 1981 (+ 9.4), but the 1980s and more so the 1990s saw a stronger increase to 39.6 in 1991 (+16.3) and 54.1 in 2001 (+14.5). The latest available literacy rate is 65.9 per cent in 2011 (+11.8).7 These numbers are also eloquent enough to keep in mind that, until very recently, the debates on history of Nepal have been limited to a small part of the population: the educated, wealthy, upper caste, and male urbanites.

Aside from a quick mention of Buddha’s birth in Lumbini, as a landmark in the fog of remote history, the continuous line of historic time, as it has been taught to the newly literate youths of the nation through Aryal and Bhattarai’s textbook, begins with the origins of the Kathmandu Valley. Its mythical creation and dynastic history, as well as the main events that have marked its division into three rival kingdoms until its annexation, are related in detail. As in many other historical sketches, in contrast to the precise description of the micro-territory eponymous of the future national territory, a complete silence covers the rest of its vast area.

It is a fact that historical documents are much more numerous and older in the Kathmandu Valley than elsewhere in the country. They have also been published early, during the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, and have therefore fallen into the public domain. However, myths of creation are not restricted to the Kathmandu Valley, and other “medieval” kingdoms have been documented since the 1950s. This is the case of the Sen kingdoms, which spread in the southern part of the country,8 and of the so-called “Khas” Malla Empire, which included, between the 12th and the 14th centuries, the western part of the future territory of Nepal, where its two capitals were located, and beyond, the Indian state of Uttarakhand and the Tibetan provinces of Guge and Purang. This empire, which started to be documented in 1956, both in Nepali and in English9, is still often absent from short histories of Nepal, such as Aryal and Bhattarai’s textbook, despite the fact that its two authors bear Hill Brahmin caste’s names, and despite the Empire’s numerous inscriptions, and remarkable artistic heritage. Interestingly, when history of the Khas Malla Empire has been addressed, its independence has been questioned, and it was seen either as an extension of a Tibetan power,10 or as an extension (and residue) of the Licchavi dynasty who reigned in the Kathmandu Valley several centuries earlier.11 This last assumption is based on the (lightly documented) idea that the territory controlled by the Kathmandu valley under the Licchavis included a very wide area in the Himalayan range. Dilli Raman Regmi assumes a similar position: “Quite Possibly, the Nepal rulers in the climax of power ruled over a kingdom as extensive as present-day Nepal …,” though he specifically excludes far western Nepal.12 Thus, the modern territory of Nepal could have preexisted its creation in the 18th century, during the “golden age” of the Nepal Mandala. Such an idea minimizes the “unification” of Nepal, which would not be an unprecedented founding event but a simple return to a previous state, and it seals historically the equivalence between Nepal (Mandala) and (Greater) Nepal.

This equivalence is no better illustrated than in the Kathmandu-centric vision of the national territory encapsulated in the periodization of the history of Nepal. Indeed, the latter assumes the Kathmandu Valley’s specific dynastic history as the time measurement of the whole country’s history: the reign of the Licchavi defines Nepal’s “Ancient period,” and the Malla dynasty its “Middle Ages.”

Breaking the Royal Dynasty in Two

Though the reckoning of the modern period is not defined to start in this way, it is possible to consider that it also reflects a Kathmandu-centered dynastic logic. Indeed, the modern period coincides perfectly with the end of the Malla dynasty, while it represents a less definite step in the history of the Shah kings. At this point in history, the conquest breaks off the circumscribed space time of the Kathmandu Valley, the linearity of dynastic time gets confused and the territories start undergoing rapid decomposition and re-composition. Historians must face the difficulty of embracing parallel stories that intertwine: that of the Shah dynasty, of the three Malla kingdoms, not to mention the small kingdoms of the Chaubisi confederation, or the twenty-four kingdoms of central Nepal, making and breaking alliances to save their power. Curiously enough, the “nationalist” perspective, such as found in the textbooks of the Panchayat era (1961–1990), is not always from the winner side. Thus, Aryal and Bhattarai’s textbook13 adopts the Nepal Mandala’s side and presents Prithvi Narayan Shah as the “enemy” (satru), when narrating his conquest of Kathmandu.

The determination of the modern period in fact breaks in two not only the dynasty of the Shah rulers at the origin of modern Nepal but even the very course of life of its founder king, Prithvi Narayan Shah (1723–1775, r. 1743–1775), who shifts suddenly from the Middle Ages to modernity in the middle of his reign.

Modernity splits the Shah lineage into two equal sections, before and after the conquest of Kathmandu, with Prithvi Narayan Shah being its 10th descendent, since the installation of his ancestor Dravya Shah (r. 1559–1570) on the throne by Gorkha in 1559. On the modern side, eleven generations of kings succeeded him (including Dipendra who was not crowned, and ruled while he was in a coma for 54 hours and 30 minutes).14 One might add that Nepal’s modern period is not in line with the Gorkhali perspective, which holds their victory over the Kathmandu Valley as the fulfillment of a long process that began with its founder King Shah Drabya who received it as a promise by his kingdom’s tutelary god, Gorakh Nath.15 The promise is confirmed repeatedly, until its realization during the reign of Prithvi Narayan Shah. Certainly this is a retrospective vision, lately recorded in the chronicle of Gorkha. But the fact remains that Gorkha began its expansion years before taking the Kathmandu Valley, by winning in 1744 an important victory at the fort of Nuwakot, and by capturing the vast and prosperous kingdom of Makwanpur in 1762. The conquest of the Kathmandu Valley was not a final stage of the conquest, even under Prithvi Narayan’s reign, which was pursued farther east up to the Tista River on the border with Sikkim. Nor did the founder of modern Nepal make of Kathmandu his only capital, perpetuating an ancient Himalayan tradition of maintaining two seasonal capitals. He rarely resided in Kathmandu, choosing to live in Nuwakot, a hill fortress where all the court moved to periodically. It was still the case during Rana Bahadur’s reign, in 1793 during the visit of Kirkpatrick16 who could himself do this excursion in the hill area, which was otherwise strictly prohibited to foreigners, in opposition to the Kathmandu Valley where some of them were tolerated.

Seen from more remote places than Gorkha, Nepal’s modern period begins while nothing happened so far, as it is the case for the kingdoms of the far west, which were annexed some twenty years after modern Nepal started, a paradox that highlights the insignificance of these remote territories in the eyes of the national history, and the strong Kathmandu-centered perspective of the latter.

The break introduced by the periodization of history in the royal line of Gorkha finds a striking expression in the common depiction of King Prithvi Narayan Shah as “founder of the Shah dynasty.” This apparent anomaly underscores once again how the kingdom’s territoriality interferes in the linearity of the royal dynasty. In some way, the latter is reborn with its new territory. This geo-localized conception of the Royal patriline reconciles the notion of modern Nepal with a dynastic temporal order. This conception itself is not modern, and appears already in the ancient emic form of history contained in the chronicles of Nepal. Called “genealogies,” this pre-modern form of history marks time by the succession of generations of rulers and their deeds but describe separately each branch as soon as they are connected to a new realm. As already stated, academic history was modeled on the chronicles of the Kathmandu Valley, and to a lesser extent, of Gorkha, and the two forms of history have coexisted for some decades in the 19th century. For instance, the Triratna-saundarya-gāthā, a chronicle written during Bhimsen Thapa’s rule (1806–1837), is contemporary or posterior to Kirkpatrick and Hamilton’s accounts.17 On their side, the various British residents of the 19th century recorded their daily observations of the court events, as if prolonging the chronicles. With the discovery and publication of inscriptions and historical documents that invalidated or confirmed the chronicles of the Kathmandu Valley, the latter no longer formed the bulk but rather the background of Nepal Mandala’s historiography. Other Himalayan regions “unified” in Greater Nepal had to wait for Yogi Naraharinath, who wandered through the mountains in search of historical material, and published them as raw material, to shed light on their past.18

A Territory Defined by, and Incorporated In, Its Center

The capital’s dynastic history as temporal standard of national history not only fits well with an ancient emic conception but is also in line with the role of spatial standard played by the palace in the Malla, and the Shah kingships. In the Kathmandu Valley, no building could exceed the height of the palace’s main temple, dedicated to Taleju, the tutelary deity of the Malla dynasty promoted as “national goddess” by the Shah, fixing the upper vertical limit of the kingdom. The horizontal plane of space, as for it, was inscribed in the heart of the palace, with its central courtyard, the Mul Chowk, and its steps, defining the three different areas designated by the term ropani, at least in the early 19th century, according to Hodgson.19 The ropani measurement unit of cultivated land varied (and still does) depending on the quality of the land and its uses (such as irrigation); it sets the price to be paid for its use to its ultimate owner: the ruler. It may be added that the measure units of volume, used for grains and liquids, also came from the royal capital and bore the royal seal.

In early 19th century, the kingdom was conceived as a contractible space, equivalent to its royal center, and within it, to the king. This is apparent in an episode of national soiling witnessed by Hamilton in 1802. In the newly created kingdom of Nepal depicted by its founder king as the “genuine (asal) Hindusthan,”20 by opposition to the region called Hindusthan, the Deccan—which was under Muslim and Christian rule for several centuries— purity took on a political form. These foreign religions were seen as the worst form of impurity, soiling the whole kingdom, even when involving a Damai woman (i.e., a woman from an “impure,” “untouchable” caste). Hamilton writes:

Any Musulman or Christian … who should cohabit with a Damai woman, would suffer death and the woman would be severely punished. When any woman has been discovered with a Musulman, the whole kingdom thrown into confusion … This can only be expiated by a ceremony called Praschit, in which the Raja or Rany washes in the river with great ceremony, and bestows large sums on the Bramins, who read the Muntres proper on the occasion. The expense of an expiation of this kind, which was performed during our stay in the country, was by my Bramin estimated at two thousand rupees: but the natives alleged, that it amounted to ten times this sum.21

In the same manner, the Kathmandu Valley still formed a ritually closed space representing the whole kingdom of Nepal, long after the unification, as it still does in the 21st century. This was explicit in the ritual of purification, with water from the personal water pot of the king, that the delegation sent every five years to China had to undergo before reentering the valley, so as not to soil the kingdom (as reported by Cavenagh). It is also expressed as late as 2001, in that the dead king’s double was expelled from the “kingdom.”22 The conception of the kingdom as a contractible space was is not only found in ritual practices but also expressed in the metaphor used by Prithvi Narayan to depict his kingdom: the stone, dhunga. According to Mahesh Chandra Regmi, the stone evokes the monolithic character of the royal territory,23 but the stone-kingdom was certainly also an image of power, if one considers that in a still-famous formula,24 Prithvi Narayan depicts Nepal as a yam between two stones, with the latter referring to formidable powers: India and China. Whether a stone or a yam, the king’s territory as it appears in these two metaphors, is not a spatial extent, but rather a concentrate, firmly fixed in the ground.25

Nepal’s Territorial Expansion

Following the capture of the Kathmandu Valley in 1769, history of Nepal is often divided into the “Shah period,” 1769 to 1846, and the “Rana time,” 1846 to 1951.

The phase of territorial expansion, from 1769 to 1814–16, which is treated apart by some Nepali historians, opens three debates concerning the nature and reason for such a rapid territorial expansion, the exact nature of the then political organization of Nepal, and finally the question of boundaries. The territorial conquest was carried much farther by Prithvi Narayan’s successors, until the Mahakali River in 1789, Kumaon, in 1790, and up to Kangra, beyond the Jamuna River in 1808. It was stopped by the military intervention of the East India Company in 1814–1815, which was not directly triggered by the Gorkhali military conquest in the west but by encroachments on cultivated land to the south. The importance of land became central during Nepal’s territorial expansion. Indeed, in contrast with past usages in ancient Himalayan kingdoms, where war was an obligatory, ritual activity that involved a man per household, the conquest triggered the formation of a large, professional army. In a country deprived of revenues, soldiers were paid in land, called jagir (or birta, as a reward for past services).26 The growth of the Gorkhali army parallel to the country’s expansion, was quite remarkable, with an estimated total of 1,200 soldiers in 1769 at the time of the conquest of the valley, to 12,000 to 16,500 in 1804.27 For Stiller, the massive distribution of lands to soldiers resulted in an increase of cultivated land. Control and management of land through different tenures and taxations (or exemptions) became a central tool of royal governance.28 Land ownership was a royal prerogative, and each tenant was thus dependent on the royal power, to varying degrees, depending on the type of tenure. Among them, the kipat tenure, which granted autonomy, was to be found only in eastern Nepal, as a sort of gift to the tribal Kiranti by King Prithvi Narayan when he annexed their territories. Only nomadic practices such as slash-and-burn agriculture were fully exempted from taxation, service, or religious gratitude.

Paying the soldiers in land resulted in a circular logic, by which the royal domain’s expansion allowed the Shah kings to recruit a larger number of soldiers and to continue the conquest further, and so on.29 Though the “unification” did not assume only a military form,30 with numerous victories achieved without combat, either because the local king fled from fear, or because, in some cases, the king concluded an alliance with the Gorkhalis, the role of the army was preponderant, and it seems legitimate to consider it a “conquest.”31 Furthermore, in each unified territory, a contingent of soldiers acted as governors and tax collectors. Earlier forms of taxation were not modified, nor local headmen, but they were administrated by the head of the company posted in the area.32 A small number of kingdoms were even incorporated as vassals, and their local kings kept their title and some autonomy, notably regarding justice. For these reasons, the kingdom assumed the form of an empire. Yet, it could be argued that vassal kingship within Nepal was weak, on the one hand, and was abolished only in 2008 along with the monarchy, on the other hand, which would entitle to consider that Nepal was an empire until then.

During the territorial expansion, and following the death of Prithvi Narayan Shah, the monarchy weakened. First, the royal and warlike functions split and the political power holders settled permanently in Kathmandu. Prithvi Narayan’s son showed little interest in warlike activities. At his premature death, a two-year-old king, Rana Bahadur Shah, was crowned in Kathmandu. From then on, rivalries and conspiracies settled at the court, while the military operations, more and more distant, assumed the form of a chess game played at a distance.

The Court as the Kingdom’s Chronotope

From the standard of time and space, the palace became the chronotope of Nepali history, as Mikhail Bakhtin defined it for the novel:33 the optic place in the narrative from where the plot is structured, and where the characters appear as made of flesh and blood. Sylvain Lévi’s account34 is probably the best example of such romanticized narrative of the court, with his numerous considerations of the character, qualities, and flaws of each person, which confer a sense of necessary historical action.

The plot of the narrative becomes more and more complicated with the increasing complexity at the heart of power: starting with 1777, different putative regents were involved in endless struggles. First Rajendra Lakshmi (c. 1777–1785), the child-king Rana Bahadur’s mother, struggled against her brother-in-law, Bahadur Shah (c. 1785–1794), who was Prithvi Narayan’s younger son, and who played a major role in the unification of the chaubisi kingdoms. Bahadur Shah created the title of prime minister (Mukhtiyar), which he cumulated with his position as regent.35 History repeated itself after Rana Bahadur took office in 1794 to abdicate four years later in 1799 in favor of his two-year-old son: Girvan (1799–1816). This opened a new period of conflict for the monopoly of power, between two of Rana Bahadur’s queens, and Rana Bahadur himself. The new position of prime minister caused additional conflict between two families, the Pande and the Thapa, until the assassination in April 1806 of King Rana Bahadur Shah. It gave Bhimsen Thapa, who was devoted to the king, the opportunity to have all his opponents executed the same night, and to become Prime Minister (1806–1837). Queen Tripura Sundari (Regency 1806–1832), who was fourteen years old at the death of her husband in 1806, became regent. The power passed under the control of the prime minister.36

During these years, Nepal was going to take the measure of the strength of its two giant neighbors. A commercial dispute opposed them first to their northern neighbor, and then years of negotiations brought no solution for the relation with Tibet. Regent Bahadur Shah finally decided an invasion, in 1788, which was a victory. But the latter was tarnished by the Tibetans’ failure to respect the treaty, which prompted the regent to launch a second expedition in 1791. The Nepalese army went much farther into Tibetan territory this time but was finally repulsed by a large army sent by the Chinese Empire, on Tibet’s request, and Nepal was ordered to pay a tribute to China.37 Two decades later, conflicts broke out in the south.

Boundaries In Question: The Anglo-Nepal War (1814–1816)

Up to this point, Kathmandu was the sole chronotope of history, while the military campaign was successfully taking place in the hilly region located between the High Himalayan range and the Siwalik Mountains. This hilly stretch of land parallel to the Tarai lowlands can be described as the “natural” territory of the Gorkhalis, who measured the progression of their conquest just by mentioning the name of the river (flowing necessarily from north to south in this area) in which they “rinsed their swords.”38 No mention is made of the mountainous northern area, which formed a natural frontier, nor of the southern area, covered at the time by forests and infested by malaria. Yet, this land was inhabited and cultivated in some places, at least in the winter season, and its role as a thick frontier was less ascertained.39 Indeed, while the Gorkhali army’s ambitions were limited to familiar mountain terrain at the western front, conflicts in a region located near the present town of Butwal, which the East India Company considered its territory but that was occupied by Nepalis,40 worsened. Indeed, the situation was unclear in the Tarai lowlands, which were connected by various and fluctuating rights and tenures to both the kingdoms in the hills of Nepal, and to its south, in “Muglan,” as north India was called.41

With their success against a previous British expedition at the time of Prithvi Narayan’s conquest of the Kathmandu Valley in mind, the government of Nepal, under Bhimsen Premiership, did not answer to the British complaint and sent a “threatening” letter—an attitude that provoked war in late 1814. The battle of Nalapani, near Dehradun, during which the Nepalese resisted a full month a British siege, and finally lost, was to become a major episode of the history of Nepal, shifting for the first time the nation’s chronotope outside the Kathmandu Valley. Along with this shifting, new historical figures emerged during the Anglo-Nepal war, such as Balabhadra, whose defense of the Nalapani fort represents, in the words of Pratyoush Onta, the Panchayat era (1960–1990)’s “history lesson par excellence,”42 or Amar Singh Thapa leading the Gorkhali troops. This reversal was probably helped by the British accounts of the Gorkhali soldiers’ courage and sense of honor. A letter sent by Amar Singh to the king in March 1815, intercepted and translated by the British, brings about such a reversal, between a weak and cowardly royal power, versus a pious, courageous and righteous soldier. The latter reproaches his majesty with his readiness to cede lands to the British and warns him against “written agreement,”43 while as he points out, land “taken by force, force may be employed to recover them.”44

By the Sugauli Treaty (January 1816), the territory located to the west of the Mahakali River and Sikkim were lost to the British, as well as the southern lands of the Tarai. But the eastern and central parts of the Tarai were restored in December 1816, while the British restored its western part in 1860, as a reward for Nepal assistance during the Sepoy mutiny in 1857.45 The war was an attempt to stop Nepal’s expansionist politics and to create the first political border of Nepal, which was not topographical or hydrographical, in the middle of the undefined territory of the Terai.

This contributed to redesign the national territory, as an inviolable fortress in its mountainous part, dependent on a dangerous and uncertain space, located to its south, where the presence of the state, in boundary posts or police, was not to be seen, either before the war or in the following years.46 This region and its inhabitants remained to this day ill integrated in the state of Nepal and are still perceived as “immigrants.”47

A Multi-temporal National Territory

Bureaucracy, Black Age and Futurism during Rana “Autocracy”

Another queen, Rajya Lakshmi Devi, became the dominant power in Nepal in 1843, but her lover’s assassination in 1846 triggered another massacre of the ruling elite in Kathmandu, which led to the taking of power by another prime minister: Jung Bahadur Rana, in a repetition of the history at the time of Bhimsen Thapa. But, with Jung Bahadur, the position of prime minister became hereditary and coupled to the title of King of Kaski and Lamjung, two provinces of central Nepal, in 1856.48 The succession was fixed from elder brother to younger brother, to ensure siblings’ loyalty to the ruler and to avoid the transmission to a child. This resulted in a total of eight Rana prime ministers from three generations ruling Nepal for 105 years. Queen Rajya Lakshmi Devi was sent to exile and the successive kings remained in their formal position, but reduced as “puppet” kings, if not as prisoners of their prime ministers. This century of Rana rule has been depicted in opposite terms: while for Marc Gaborieau49 it is a period of “peace and prosperity,” for Satish Kumar, “Nepal remained static under a decadent and feudalistic Rana regime … [and] was reduced to the position of a personal estate of the Ranas.”50

The Rana undertook important reforms, by establishing the country’s first comprehensive code of law, by setting up a civil administration, and a national network of police, justice and tax office in each of the thirty-five units they divided the territory into. The Rana also sought to simplify the land tenures and taxation systems, and Mahesh Chandra Regmi considered their rule as “a centralized agrarian bureaucracy.”51 Land management and tax collection were reformed in the view of increasing the state’s revenues, notably by enticing deforestation and cultivation in the Terai.52 Yet there was almost no progress of industry, and the Ranas monopolized the increased revenues from trade of timber and raw materials.53

The Rana family has been depicted as an oligarchy, which monopolized all the positions of power and even became internally organized into three distinct classes (A, B, C), under Chandra Shamsher’s premiership (1901–1929). In the view of Balchandra Sharma, Jung Bahadur Rana can therefore be compared to Prithvi Narayan Shah: in the same manner that the latter unified the various independent kingdoms to create Nepal, Jung Bahadur would have “centralized in his own person” the various factions in conflict within the palace.54

The huge disparity between the lifestyle of the Rana family and the rest of the population has been described in economic terms.55 Yet, with the development of technology in the neighboring British India, and the famous travel of Jang Bahadur in Europe, it is truly a different space time that developed in the Kathmandu Valley, where a class of individuals was living in another temporal dimension. The first electricity power house with a capacity of 500 kilowatts was constructed in 1911 to lit the Rana palaces, telephone lines were opened in Kathmandu in 1913, an electric aerial ropeway to bring goods in the Kathmandu Valley was established, luxury cars were brought in on men’s backs for the Rana to ride on the only road of the valley. This modernity appears, in the Nepali texts published in the Rana period, as the equivalent of the deeds of the kings of the past, and formed the seeds of the strong ideology of development, which characterized the Panchayat period (1961–1990). Though it was limited to the Kathmandu Valley, by the virtue of this contractible space, it existed in the kingdom, and all the kingdom was literally lightened by the “moon-light” or Chandra batti, from the name of Chandra Shamsher who introduced electricity in Nepal, especially for his own house.56

With the Ranas, the center of power was shaped as a futurist space and a world apart, not only in spatial terms but also in temporal ones. It adopted western technologies long before many other countries in Asia, while the rest of the country could hardly benefitted from them, and this new spatio-temporal divide lasted for decades, to the point that about a quarter of the Nepalese population still do not enjoyed electricity in 2015. The center of power had turned into a futurist place, from the villagers’ point of view, while the reciprocal perception that the territories outside the valley were living in the past, seen from the capital, was and still is, equally true.

During the 1930 and 1940s, the Nepali elite studying in India created clandestine political parties, which led an anti-Rana movement to reestablish the king as a constitutional monarch.57

1951, the End of Modern Nepal

The modern period usually ends with the fall of the Rana regime and the return to power of the Shah kings in 1951, opening the contemporary period. One of the reasons is that most of the books dealing with national history were written shortly after this time. Yet one can find traces of a new periodization in the most recent writings, which again follows a dynastic logic, according to which the modern era would last until the abolition of the monarchy in 2008.

The decades following the advent of democracy were marked by eight years of multiparty politics, abruptly ended by King Mahendra (r. 1955–1972) and his coup in 1959.58 The King then introduced a party-less regime, the “Panchayat system,” which lasted three decades, during which time the territory was reorganized in new administrative units, including seventy-five districts. At a local level, the “Village Panchayat” became the epitome of the Panchayat ideology. Yet, in spite of the government promotion of village life and rural development, Nepal’s national territory did not achieve a single space time. Today, the website visitnepal.com59 warns its visitors with these words: “The country offers such diversity that the visitor may experience any lifestyle from the stone age, in far west and high hills, to the jet age of Kathmandu.” And it is from these quarters, neglected by the state, that a fully new form of history started in the 1990s, following the First People’s movement in April 1990, which led the then king Birendra (r. 1972–2001), to reintroduce multiparty politics. Rejecting history of Nepal as a whole, as a “lie,” and as an instrument of domination,60 Indigenous intellectuals and activists promoted historical investigation of their colonization and spoliation by Hindu rulers and population. They also considered that taking action was another way of writing history, with mottoes such as “History, we write it with warm blood”; these seemed to have a strong influence on the Maoist People’s War (February 1996 to November 2006). Following the introduction of indigenous autonomous territories by the Maoist Party, the idea that the Republic of Nepal would be a federation was enshrined in the latest 2015 constitution, but with controversial province boundaries and still unsettled nominal identities.

Derailing the Western Categories of Periodization

The geo-dynastic (i.e., spatio-temporal) thread of history expressed in the periodization of Nepal is far from the criteria commonly accepted in Western historiography, from which the Nepali historians have imported their categories of periodization. The end of the Middle Ages, which is often defined by openness to the world (with the discovery of the New World) in Europe is instead marked in Nepal by a closure of the kingdom. From this point of view, the end of the Middle Ages in Nepal could be set at 1951, when the country opened to world, so to speak. Mahesh Chandra Regmi is likely the only Nepali historian to have examined this question and proposed to fix the beginning of the Modern period in Nepal to the mid-19th century, in view of the major sociopolitical change brought at the time by the Rana regime.61

On the other hand, distanced as they are from the periodization criteria in the West, while embracing their nominal identity, the definitions used in Nepal qualify Jack Goody’s position on the Eurocentric nature of history: “The theft of history is not only one of time and space, but of the monopolization of historical periods.”62 Indeed the categories of “medieval” and “modern,” as they are used in Nepal, are derailed from their Western meaning to fit with a local perspective. This vernacularization of Western categories represents a reciprocal theft of history.

Discussion of the Literature

The earliest historical works on Nepal were written by two British envoys who visited the country in 1793 and in 1802, respectively. William Kirkpatrick’s An Account of the Kingdom of Nepaul, first printed in 1811, provided an approximate picture of history as found in the chronicles of the Kathmandu Valley; a similar effort was Daniel Wright’s History of Nepal a few decades later.63 Francis Hamilton’s An Account of the Kingdom of Nepal and of the Territories Annexed to this Dominion by the House of Gorkha, offered, in addition, a detailed description of all the territories annexed to the Kingdom of Nepal in the 18th century by interviewing several key subjects.64 His book remained until the 1950s the only source of information on the history of Nepal in its entirety. Sylvain Lévi’s comprehensive history of Nepal contributed to the history of the Kathmandu Valley by taking into account newly found inscriptions as well as Chinese sources.65

Until then, Nepali scholars could at best serve as “assistant or translator for foreign scholars” as stated by the Historian Mahes Raj Pant.66 Indeed, the Rana Prime Ministers (1846–1951) had “almost a dislike for history writing and frowned such activities,” explained Dilli Raman Regmi67. The first Nepali historians were educated in India during the first half of the 20th century, but none of them were trained historians. Following the advent of democracy in 1951, they undertook an important work of collecting documents and inscriptions, corrected errors of previously published works, and published new syntheses in the years 1950 to 1960, which formed Nepal’s national history. At the time, freedom of speech was still embryonic, and apart from person-to-person discussions, sometimes conditioned by the caste or ethnic origin of the scholar, it was not until the 1990s that a critical view of the reconstructed past emerged following the People’s Movement of April 1990.

A major difficulty for the student of modern Nepali history is language. Indeed, contrary to anthropological studies on Nepal, which are mostly in English, Nepal’s history has mainly been written in Nepali. Yet, a first step consists in reading the classics in English (included in the “Further Reading” section) and in learning Nepali.

Another difficulty is that the debates within Nepali history might not be immediately grasped by students because of the complexity and the apparent factuality of its contents. They would be advised to read book reviews, in which divergent opinions are often more clearly expressed.

For an overview of the discipline, the survey of Nepal historiography by John Whelpton (“A Reading Guide to Nepalese History”), which also includes works of anthropologists, is recommended; it should be complemented by a more critical approach, such as Pratyoush Onta’s “Rich Possibilities: Notes on Social History in Nepal” ; also useful is Onta’s description of the academic landscape in the field of history in Nepal, “The Institutional Future of Academic History in Nepal.”68

Primary Sources

Nepal was a closed country until 1951, and most of the primary sources on Nepali history are located in Kathmandu, Nepal. The biggest collection of primary sources is kept at the National Archives. But the above link to the Nepal-German Manuscripts Preservation Project website gives access to important Nepalese manuscripts, which are microfilmed. By far the largest collection of primary sources related to Nepal in Europe is kept at the British Library in London. It includes, in particular, the Hodgson papers, which have been recently catalogued online at, as well as documents from other British residents in Nepal. Buddhist manuscripts brought back from Nepal by Hodgson are kept at the Musée Guimet, Paris, and some documents, including a genealogy, brought back by Sylvain Lévi are kept at the Collège de France, Paris, France.

For diplomatic history, sources are consultable at the National Archives of India and the collection of British India government records in the British Library.

Additional collections of archives may be found in Whelpton’s Archives in Nepal, in South Asia Research 3.2 (1983): 78–84, available at

The most important link for the History of Nepal is: Nepal-German Manuscripts Preservation Project, with 180,000 Nepalese manuscripts, microfilmed.

Students may also find precious references at:

Nepal Research. Digital Himalaya. Collection of three hundred Nepali textbooks.

Further Reading

Acharya, Baburam. The Bloodstained Throne: Struggles for Power in Nepal (1775–1914). London: Penguin, 2013.Find this resource:

Fraser, James Baillie. Journal of a Tour Through Part of the Snowy Range of the Himala Mountains, and to the Sources of the Rivers Jumna and Ganges. London: Rodwell and Martin, 1820.Find this resource:

Hamilton, Francis Buchanan. An Account of the Kingdom of Nepal and of the Territories Annexed to this Dominion by the House of Gorkha. New Delhi: Manjusri Publishing House, 1819.Find this resource:

Joshi, Bhuwan Lal and Leo Rose, Democratic Innovations in Nepal. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1966.Find this resource:

Kumar, Satish. Rana Polity in Nepal. Bombay: Asia Publishing House, 1967.Find this resource:

Lecomte-Tilouine, Marie. Hindu Kingship, Ethnic Revival, and Maoist Rebellion in Nepal. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2009.Find this resource:

Michael, Bernardo. “The Tarai: A Part of Moghlan or Gorkha? Perspectives from the Time of the Anglo-Gorkha War (1814–1816),” Himalaya, the Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies 29.1 (2010): 1–17.Find this resource:

Pradhan, Kumar, The Gorkha Conquests: The Process and Consequences of the Unification of Nepal, with Particular Reference to Eastern Nepal. Calcutta: Oxford University Press, 1991.Find this resource:

Regmi, Mahesh Chandra. A Study in Nepali Economic History, 1768–1846. New Delhi: Manjushri Publishing House, 1971.Find this resource:

Regmi, Mahesh Chandra. Landownership in Nepal. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976.Find this resource:

Regmi, Mahesh Chandra. Kings and Political Leaders of the Gorkhali Empire, 1768–1814. Hyderabad: Orient Longman, 1995.Find this resource:

Rose, Leo. Nepal: Strategy for Survival. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971.Find this resource:

Stiller, Ludwig. The Rise of the House of Gorkha. Kathmandu: Ratna pustak, 1973.Find this resource:

Whelpton, John. Kings, Soldiers and Priests. Nepalese Politics and the Rise of Jang Bahadur Rana, 1830–1857. New Delhi: Manohar Publications, 1991.Find this resource:

Whelpton, John. A History of Nepal. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2005.Find this resource:


(1.) Carlo Ginsburg, Mythes, emblèmes, traces: Morphologie et histoire (Paris: Verdier, 2010), 14. See, for micro-history, Yogesh Raj, History as Mindscapes. A Memory of the Peasants’ Movement in Nepal (Kathmandu: Martin Chautari, 2010).

(2.) “The modern period in Nepali history is generally regarded as having commenced with the establishment of the unified kingdom of Nepal through the conquests of Prithvi Narayan Shah.” Mahesh Chandra Regmi, “Some Questions on Nepali History,” Contributions to Nepalese Studies 3.2 (1976): 1. On modern Nepal, see Dilli Raman Regmi, Modern Nepal: Rise and Growth in the Eighteenth Century (Calcutta: Firma K. L. Mukhopadhyay, 1961); and Rishikesh Shaha, Modern Nepal: A Political History 1769–1955 (New Delhi: Manohar Publications, 1990).

(3.) Mahesh Chandra Regmi, Kings and Political Leaders of the Gorkhali Empire, 1768–1814 (Hyderabad: Orient Longman, 1995).

(4.) William Kirkpatrick, An Account of the Kingdom of Nepaul (London: W. Miller, 1811). Francis Buchanan Hamilton, An Account of the Kingdom of Nepal and of the Territories Annexed to this Dominion by the House of Gorkha (Edinburgh: Archibald Constable, 1819).

(5.) Dinesh Raj Pant, Gorkha ko itihas, tesro bhag (Kathmandu: Dinesh Raj Pant, 2045 V.S., 1988), 825–834.

(6.) Ishwar Aryal and Guna Deva Bhattarai, Itihas, kaksha 8. [History. Class 8]. (Kathmandu: Ministry of Education, 2053 V.S., 1996).

(8.) Vishnu Prasad Ghimire, Palpa rajyako itihas, bhag 1 (Chitwan: CDA, Nepal, 2045 V.S., 1988); and Vishnu Prasad Ghimire, Palpa rajyako itihas, bhag 2 (Chitwan: CDA, Nepal, 2056 V.S., 1999).

(9.) Yogi Naraharinath, Itihas prakas Volume 2, 1; Volume 2, 2; Volume 2, 3. (Mrigasthali: Itihas-Prakasak-Samgha, Nepal, 2013 V.S., 1956). Giuseppe Tucci, Preliminary Report on Two Scientific Expeditions in Nepal (Rome: Ismeo, 1956). For more recent studies, see Suryamani Adhikary, The Khasa Kingdom. A Trans-Himalayan Empire of the Middle Age (New Delhi: Nirala Publications, 1988); and Mahes Raj Pant, “Towards a History of the Khasa Empire,” in Bards and Mediums: History, Culture and Politics in the Central Himalayan Kingdoms, ed. Marie Lecomte-Tilouine (Almora, India: Almora Book Depot, 2009).

(10.) Luciano Petech, “Ya-t’se, Gu-ge, Pu-raṅ: A New Study,” Central Asiatic Journal 24 (1980): 85–111.

(11.) Dhanvajra Vajracarya, “Karnali pradesko aitihasik ruparekha,” in Karnali prades, ek bito adhyayan, ed. B. P. Shrestha (Chinasim, Jumla, Nepal: Samajik Adhyayan Samudaya, 2028 V.S., 1972).

(12.) Dilli Raman Regmi, Ancient Nepal (Calcutta: Firma K. L. Mukhopadhyay, 1960), 9.

(13.) op. cit, fn 6, p. 15.

(14.) By contrast with Prithvi Narayan Shah who shifted his capital to Kathmandu, Drabya Shah was a junior prince and created a new dynasty with his conquest of Gorkha. Both the Malla and the Shah shaped their origins in a similar fashion. The ancestors of both the Malla and the Shah would have fled the south and the Muslims and headed toward the mountains, carrying their tutelary deity with them. In both cases, the royal families faced similar episodes, which led to the degradation of one of its members. Yet, the legendary foreign origin of the Shah remained an important element of their identity, although this is not true of the Malla, who are considered local Newar kings. See Marie Lecomte-Tilouine: Hindu Kingship, Ethnic Revival and Maoist Rebellion in Nepal (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2009).

(15.) Yogi Naraharinath, ed., Gorkhā vamshāvalī (Kashi, India: Aryavirasangh, 2021 V.S., 1964).

(16.) William Kirkpatrick, An Account of the Kingdom of Nepaul (London: W. Miller, 1811).

(17.) Dhanvajra Vajracarya, ed., Pandit Sundarānandaviracit Triratna-saundarya-gāthā (Kathmandu: Nepal Samskritik Parishad, 2019 V.S., 1963). On the manuscript of Hamilton (1811), see Marie Lecomte-Tilouine, “On Francis Buchanan Hamilton's Account of the Kingdom of Nepal.” European Bulletin of Himalayan Research 14 (1998): 46–75.

(18.) Most of the ancient kingdoms unified in Nepal have been dealt in a separate historical publication, in Nepali, in the years 1980–1990.

(19.) Hodgson papers, Volume 14. Manuscript. British Library, London.

(20.) Yogi Naraharinath, ed., Divya Upades (Kathmandu: Shri Bagishvara Chapakhana, 2010 V.S., 1953), 20.

(21.) Francis Buchanan Hamilton, (1802–?), “Some observations…,” folio 102–3, British Library, London (Manuscript of An Account of the Kingdom of Nepal, 1819, in which the description of the ceremony, pp. 20–21, is shorter).

(22.) Marie Lecomte-Tilouine, Hindu Kingship, Ethnic Revival and Maoist Rebellion in Nepal (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2009), 211.

(23.) Mahesh Chandra Regmi, Imperial Gorkha (New Delhi: Adroit Publishers, 1999).

(24.) Yogi Naraharinath, ed., Divya Upades (Kathmandu: Shri Bagishvara Chapakhana, 2010 V.S. [1953]), 11.

(25.) The king also compared his kingdom to a flower garden in which each group of people formed a flower, in a formula that has had a particular resonance over time. It is found even in the republican anthem adopted in 2007: “[Made] of Hundreds of Flowers.”

(26.) Mahesh Chandra Regmi, A Study in Nepali Economic History, 1768–1846 (New Delhi: Manjusri Publishing House, 1971), 37.

(27.) Ludwig Stiller, The Rise of the House of Gorkha (Kathmandu: Manjusri Publishing House, 1973), 283.

(28.) Mahesh Chandra Regmi, A Study in Nepali Economic History, 1768–1846 (New Delhi: Manjusri Publishing House, 1971).

(29.) Ludwig Stiller, The Rise of the House of Gorkha (Kathmandu: Manjusri Publishing House, 1973), 279.

(30.) Mahesh Chandra Regmi, A Study in Nepali Economic History, 1768–1846 (New Delhi: Manjusri Publishing House, 1971), 12–14.

(31.) Kumar Pradhan, The Gorkha Conquests: The Process and Consequences of the Unification of Nepal, with Particular Reference to Eastern Nepal (Calcutta: Oxford University Press, 1991).

(32.) On Kumaon, see Mahesh Chandra Regmi, Imperial Gorkha (New Delhi: Adroit Publishers, 1999).

(33.) M. M. Bakhtin, The Dialogic Imagination (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1981).

(34.) Sylvain Lévi, 1905–1908. Le Népal: Étude historique d’un royaume hindou (Paris: Leroux, 1905–1908).

(35.) Bhuwan Lal Joshi and Leo Rose, Democratic Innovations in Nepal (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1966), 27.

(36.) On this period, see Baburam Acharya, The Bloodstained Throne: Struggles for Power in Nepal (1775–1914) (London: Penguin, 2013).

(37.) Leo Rose, Nepal: Strategy for Survival (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971), 23–74.

(38.) Yogi Naraharinath, ed., Gorkhā vamshāvalī (Kashi, India: Aryavirasangh, 2021 V.S., 1964)

(39.) On Hamilton’s unpublished description of agricultural practices in these areas, see Pascale Dollfus, Marie Lecomte-Tilouine, and Olivia Aubriot, “Agriculture in the Himalayas: A Historical Sketch,” in Joëlle Smadja, ed., Reading Himalayan Landscapes over Time (Pondichéry, India: IFP, 2008), 279–324.

(40.) James Baillie Fraser, Journal of a Tour Through Part of the Snowy Range of the Himala Mountains, and to the Sources of the Rivers Jumna and Ganges (London: Rodwell and Martin, 1820), 509.

(41.) Bernardo Michael, “The Tarai: A Part of Moghlan or Gorkha? Perspectives from the Time of the Anglo-Gorkha War (1814–1816),” Himalaya, the Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies 29.1 (2010): 1–17.

(42.) Pratyoush Onta, “Ambivalence Denied: The Making of Rastriya Itihas in Panchayat Era Textbooks,” Contributions to Nepalese Studies 23.1 (1996): 213.

(43.) Balabhadra had not imagined that some Nepalese would claim that the Sugauli Treaty was signed with the British, not with India, and consider it no longer valid. In the same manner, following the abolition of monarchy in Nepal, the Kirant groups living in eastern Nepal, whose territories were annexed to Nepal by a treaty signed with Prithvi Narayan Shah, argued that their territories were de facto independent.

(44.) James Baillie Fraser, Journal of a Tour Through Part of the Snowy Range of the Himala Mountains, and to the Sources of the Rivers Jumna and Ganges (London: Rodwell and Martin, 1820), 524.

(45.) On this episode, and the recruitment of Nepali soldiers in the British Army it triggered, see Mary DesChene, “Relics of Empire: A Cultural History of the Gurkhas, 1816–1887” (PhD diss., Stanford University, 1991).

(46.) The Report on the External Trade of Bengal with Nepal…1881–82 (Calcutta: Bengal Government, 1882), 169, notes the absence of posts and of police on the Nepal side of the frontier, where “a great deal of crime prevails.”

(47.) Up to 1958, Madhesis needed a passport to enter the Kathmandu Valley. See Hari Bansh Jha, “Nepal: Citizenship Laws and Stateless Citizens,” Paper no. 3667, South Asia Analysis Group, 2010.

(48.) On Nepalese politics between 1830–1857, see John Whelpton, Kings, Soldiers and Priests: Nepalese Politics and the Rise of Jang Bahadur Rana, 1830–1857 (New Delhi: Manohar Publications, 1991).

(49.) Marc Gaborieau, Le Népal et ses populations (Brussels: Editions Complexe, 1978), 60.

(50.) Satish Kumar, Rana Polity in Nepal (Bombay: Asia Publishing House, 1967), 1–2.

(51.) Mahesh Chandra Regmi, “Preliminary Notes on the Nature of Rana Law and Government,” Contributions to Nepalese Studies 2.2 (1975): 106.

(52.) John Whelpton, Kings, Soldiers and Priests. Nepalese Politics and the Rise of Jang Bahadur Rana, 1830–1857 (New Delhi: Manohar Publications, 1991), 223–226.

(53.) Satish Kumar, Rana Polity in Nepal (Bombay: Asia Publishing House, 1967), 134.

(54.) Balchandra Sharma, Nepalko aitihasik ruparekha (Varanasi, India: Krishnakumari, 2008 V.S., 1951), 343.

(55.) Satish Kumar, Rana Polity in Nepal (Bombay: Asia Publishing House, 1967), 134.

(56.) A panegyric of the development brought in by Chandra Samsher, mentioning the “Moon-light,” can be read in Sumshere Bikram Rana, Vajaristhan yuddha (Bombay: Tek Jang Thapa, 1918).

(57.) On this episode, see John Whelpton, “Political Violence in Nepal from Unification to Janandolan I,” in Marie Lecomte-Tilouine ed. Revolution in Nepal: An Anthropological and Historical Approach to the People’s War (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2013), 23–74.

(58.) On this period see: Leo Rose, Nepal: Strategy for Survival (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971), Part IV.

(60.) “What is called the history of Nepal is a partisan and illusory history, which we reject.” Lapha Magar, “Nepālko pratham sahīd kaptan Lakhan Thāpā Magar. Raha 4.3 (1997): 14–15.

(61.) Mahesh Chandra Regmi, “Some Questions on Nepali History,” Contributions to Nepalese Studies 3.2 (1976): 4.

(62.) Jack Goody, The Theft of History (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 22.

(63.) Kirkpatrick, An Account of the Kingdom of Nepaul; and Daniel Wright, History of Nepal (Delhi: Cosmo Publications, 1970), originally printed in 1877.

(64.) Francis Hamilton, An Account of the Kingdom of Nepal and of the Territories Annexed to this Dominion by the House of Gorkha (New Delhi: Manjushri Publishing House, 1971), first printed in 1819.

(65.) Sylvain Lévi, Le Népal: Étude historique d’un royaume hindou (Paris: E. Leroux, 1905–1908).

(66.) Mahes Raj Pant, “The Ups and Downs of an Intellectual Pursuit: Towards a history of the Historical Journal Purnima,” European Bulletin of Himalayan Research, 11 (1996): 27–36.

(67.) Dilli Raman Regmi, Ancient Nepal (Calcutta: K. L. Mukhopadhyay, 1960), 7.

(68.) John Whelpton, “A Reading Guide to Nepalese History,” Himalaya, the Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies 25.1–2 (2005): 9–17; Pratyoush Onta, “Rich Possibilities: Notes on Social History in Nepal,” Contributions to Nepalese Studies, 21.1 (1994): 1–43; and Onta, “The Institutional Future of Academic History in Nepal,” Studies in Nepali History and Society 8.1 (2003): 125–156.