Ganesh Man Singh, upon hearing about Mohan Shumsher’s Proclamation towards reform, was skeptical about the intentions of the Shree Teen Maharaja.
The first thing that struck his mind was, “How could Mohan Shumsher, who harboured anti-reformist views, change his mind so fast?”
Here, it is important to note that Mohan Shumsher was the same Prime Minister who had revoked Padma Shumsher’s 1947 Proclamation for reform after coming into power. Yet, somehow Mohan Shumsher had built on the same proclamation.
Singh had his doubts.
Singh, who was jailed inside Singha Durbar, would also keep an eye out for people coming in and going out. He would also frequently talk to guard with the hopes of extracting information. Following Kaisher Shumsher and Bijaya Shumsher’s return from Delhi, he had been paying extra attention towards visitors and the activities inside Singha Durbar.
According to Singh’s sources, days before making the historic proclamation, Mohan Shumsher had been critical of the ongoing armed insurgency in the nation. “I am saddened to hear that a few bad people are leading Nepal and its people in the wrong direction. There is good governance and development in Nepal, and therefore no need for a revolution. The revolutionaries are causing unnecessary unrest, and I assure you that these traitors, and anyone who assists them will be soon put down”, Mohan Shumsher had told his Council of Noblemen.
His words were met with rapturous support inside the halls of Singha Durbar – after all many of the noblemen were awaiting their turn to become the next Prime Minister (Shree Teen Maharaja) of Nepal.
Yet somehow, within days, Mohan Shumsher had changed his mind.
“Noone was willing to believe that the Ranas, who had ruled over Nepal for one hundred and four years, would relinquish power so easily”, Singh told Mathbar Singh when revisiting the episode.
King Tribhuvan approves Mohan Shumsher’s Proclamation:
Mohan Shumsher also chose a new way to make his proclamation public. Earlier, such proclamations would be printed and pasted in public places for the masses to read, however, this time, Mohan Shumsher’s Proclamation of Paush 24 was published in the Gorkha Patra as a special supplement.
According to Singh, the purpose of printing in Gorkhapatra was to ensure the information spread in a swift manner.
The next day, BBC and All Radio too picked up the news and broadcasted it to its audience.
King Tribhuvan, who was in India at the time, approved Mohan Shumsher’s Proclamation.
“We welcome the proclamation made by our government in Kathmandu on Paush 24, 2007 B.S. This is the first, and the most significant step towards establishing democracy in Nepal. We will make a royal proclamation about the changes very soon, and in the meantime urge all towards ensuring peace and stability in Nepal…”, the proclamation read.
Following Tribhuvan’s approval, the Indian and the British government too welcomed Mohan Shumsher’s Proclamation.
Nehru, who was participating in the Commonwealth Prime Minister’s Conference in London congratulated the people of Nepal, and said he believed that the ‘proclamation was the first step towards democratic reform in Nepal’.
After Tribhuvan’s approval, and the recognition of the proclamation by the Indian and the British governments, Singh was assured Mohan Shumsher’s Proclamation wasn’t a political gimmick.
Mohan Shumsher would have to follow through with his promise, else face international embarrassment.
However, Singh had a new worry now – the proclamation seemed like an agreement between King Tribhuvan and the Rana government.
What about Nepali Congress and its ongoing armed revolution?
“Did Mohan Shumsher sideline Nepali Congress through this move?” Singh wondered.
“Why wasn’t Nepali Congress saying anything?” he wondered further.
Matrika Prasad Koirala’s response:
“I was disturbed, disappointed, anxious, and spent my days and nights in extreme restlessness. I was desperate to hear Nepali Congress’s response to Mohan Shumsher’s proclamation”, Singh shared with Mathbar Singh.
“The agreement for Nepal’s reform had been arrived upon by the Ranas, King Tribhuvan, and the Indian government. Meanwhile, Congress, who had been staging armed revolution in several parts of the country, had been completely excluded from the reform process. Had Nepali Congress been betrayed?” Singh wondered.
One day, a Rana officer informed Singh that The Hindu, an Indian national daily, had published a statement by Matrika Prasad Koirala, President of Nepali Congress in response to the proclamation.
Singh called out for the paper and read it the next day. In the statement, Matrika Prasad Koirala had said that the Ranas, King Tribhuvan, and the Indian government were ‘disillusioned’:
“The present struggle which the people of Nepal are waging, under the flag and leadership of Nepali Congress, is aimed at the liquidation of the feudal regime and establishment of full democracy in Nepal. The so called proclamation does not contemplate such a transfer of real authority into the hands of the people of Nepal”, Matrika Prasad Koirala had expressed.
Singh read, and re-read the statement. He was glad to see that his, and his party’s belief were along the same lines.
“I slept very soundly that night”, Singh said.