King Mahendra & Nationalism
Mahendra Bir Bikram Shahdev:
King Mahendra’s name comes after Prithvinarayan Shah among the personalities who should be highly appreciated in the history of Nepal. Historians and politicians argue that his reign was a boon for Nepali nationalism, development, and peace. King Mahendra, who passed away at the age of 51 while working tirelessly to make the face of the nation and the people smile, has done a lot during his reign.
Mahendra and his Contribution to Country:
Whether it is the Mahendra Highway connecting Jhapa to Kanchanpur or the 50th development project, it is still commemorating King Mahendra. King Mahendra, who always worked as a young man, never let a single moment of his life go to waste. Apart from resting for a few hours, he seems to have dedicated his entire life to the nation. In this process, he visited different parts of the country and introduced Nepal to the international arena by visiting important countries of the world.
In an effort to brighten the face of the country and its people, he visited remote places and closely studied the condition of the Nepali people. Mahendra (Yuvaraj) reached Suparitar Barracks Makwanpur via Tribhuvan Highway in 2011 BS when there was a big flood/landslide. Learned about the plight of the victims. Some were given immediate financial assistance. He reached Dhulikhel in a jeep in 2013 BS and traveled to the eastern hills for about three months.
Khusiman Maharjan, a resident of Balambu, had traveled with King Mahendra in his costume. Remembering the old days, he says – I used to get one rupee daily, I was carrying the king’s dress. I saved more than ninety rupees and bought some land in Ubela. When I walked with King Mahendra, I never thought that he was a king and I was a servant. He loved me like his own brother.
‘The first night of Mahendra’s journey to the eastern hills was spent in Panchkhal. Then he crossed the mountains and reached Jaljala. It was snowing then. The king also slipped on the snow in one place and reached the bottom. Leg injury. Then he sat on a rock and wrote a poem.
In the evening, he started playing with the locals by lighting a tune in Palchheu. There were secretaries, chief justices, chiefs of staff. Mahendra listened to the suggestions and complaints of the locals for a few hours. Sleep at night eating soup, dry bread, vegetables, and coffee. The evening meal was like this. Only occasionally did Mahendra Junior arm. Soybean, potato, copper, vegetables, gundruk, and khichdi were his favorite food. Among the many people who went to see the king in the morning in 2021 BS was a five-year-old boy from Eastern Region who is writing these lines today.
The locals complained that the main problem when they reached Ramechhap was drinking water. Discussions were held there from 7 pm to 2 pm. According to Ram Prasad Rimal of the visiting team, Dhapedi had a fever of 104 degrees in Charikot. “People were waiting in various places. So the fever did not stop the journey. After a 38-day journey to Dharan, we returned from Biratnagar, ”Rimal wrote.
Mahendra slept in a hut for two nights while visiting Kanti Rajpath (Lalitpur-Hetauda) built by the army in 2013 BS. He ate the food of the workers. He reached places including Rapti in 2014 BS and Far West Doti in the same year. Those who recited poems at that time also got boxes. He traveled for 40 days in summer. He returned to Kathmandu from Dhangadhi Airport.
He left for Western Nepal in the 2015 BS. From Balaju, they flew back to Kathmandu from Bhairahawa via Nuwakot, Gorkha, Pokhara, Syangja, Bandipur, Palpa, Butwal, and Toulihawa. King Mahendra, accustomed to sharing in the sorrows of the people and rejoicing with them, was not so much interested in the comforts of the court. Therefore, in the year 2016, he again went on a tour of Gulmi, Dang, Salyan, and other places. In 2017, he visited Chitwan with the Queen of Great Britain.
In the 2018 BS, he visited Biratnagar and Jhapa in eastern Nepal. In the process, the cadres of the banned party Congress tried to block his journey by burning wooden bridges in some places, but the people built a mud bridge overnight and pushed the king forward. In Janakpur, the Congress bombed Mahendra’s jeep. There was no major damage even if there was a hole in the vehicle. After Transport Minister Tulasi Giri informed the people about it through a microphone, the locals shouted at the king from house to house to search for the bombers, but King Mahendra reminded the people not to do so, saying that innocent people would die.
Without him, nationalism, national unity, and national spirit would not have been strengthened. Therefore, many locals and foreigners who understand him have called him the most active and worthy king after Prithvi Narayan Shah.
Mahendra reached Rara Lake (Mugu) in the year 2020. The poem ‘Rara Ki Apsara’ written by him became very famous. King Mugu had reached the remote hills from Surkhet via Dailekh. The porters could not deliver the food on time. At midnight, he ate steamed rice with salt and slept. As he joked while eating, the members of the tour team said, “This is what makes hunger sweeter than food.” The king stayed awake. Mahendra spent seven days in Rara.
In the year 2021 BS, Mahendra visited Birgunj, Jhapa, Kanchanpur, Pokhara, Biratnagar, Janakpur, and other areas. Among the many people who went to see the king in the morning in 2021 BS was a five-year-old boy from Eastern Region who is writing these lines today.
In 2023 BS, Mahendra visited Baitadi, Darchula, Dadeldhura, Bajhang, and other areas. Reaching Khaptad Lake, they enjoyed the unique colors of nature. There he met the famous scholar Yogi Khaptad Baba. Khaptad Baba is a medical doctor from Kashmir King Veera
Credit: Yubaraj Gautam (नागरिकन्युज)
(आदरणीय वरिष्ठ पत्रकार तथा विश्लेषक Yubaraj Gautam जी बाट)