Ganesh Man Singh’s mother sheds tears of joy:
As Singh rode in silence from Baluwatar towards his home, he observed the beautifully lit homes. “The people were welcoming democracy”, he thought to himself.
After reaching Rani Pokhari, Singh’s car entered Ason via Kamalachi – there he noticed a crowd of people gathered to welcome him. The crowd moved along with Singh’s car, all the way to his home. The entire way, they chanted, “Bir Ganesh Man – Jindabad, Nepali Congress – Jindabad”.
Travelling in a snail’s pace, Singh finally reached his home – only to be see another crowd of people there. At the door, Singh’s grandmother and mother were waiting to welcome him home. They offered Singh ‘tika’ and garland. Singh bowed to touch his mother’s feet but his mother pulled him midway, and with warm love placed both her hands on Singh’s head and offered him her blessings.
“My mother, who had faced much sorrow and hardships owing to my political inclinations, could not control her tears after seeing me return home as a minister. She wept tears of joy, and struggled to find her words through her tears”, Singh shared with Mathbar Singh.
“A little later, my aunts who were shouldering her the entire time, took her inside”, he added.
“Inside, everything was in a frenzy. My brother Shankar Man and other friends were busy attending to the guests”, Singh shared further.
Several elderly women and family members were present with ‘sagun’ – the traditional Newari ceremony which involves a ritual of presenting auspicious food to a person to invoke good fortune, and to show respect.
Singh accepted saguns from everyone, and it was way past midnight by the time Singh got to settle down for the night.
Explaining the people’s silence:
“As I have said earlier, historically Kathmandu used to be known as and referred to as Nepal”, Singh begins his next conversation as he delves upon the good fortune and the misfortune of Kathmandu (Nepal).
“Throughout the history of Kathmandu, the city (and the nation) has been subjected to several political turbulences – the overthrowing of the Malla dynasty, the advent of Prithvi Narayan Shah; the fight between the Thapa family and the Pande family; the tussle for power between Queen Laxmi Devi and Prince Surendra; the Kot Massacre and Junga Bahadur’s rise to power, the murder of Ranodeep to Padma Shumsher’s escape. While all this happened, the people of Kathmandu accepted the changes without any resistance. Let alone resistance, they would not even question the changes”, Singh shared his views.
“In a way, the people of Kathmandu were always prepared for political change. They believed changes in power was not up to them, they simply had to accept it and move on with their lives. They did not believe they had any role in the matters of the state, and steered away from such conversations”.
“This was because the people were not aware of their role, they lacked education on social and political issues. Globally, the world was making significant strides in the field of science and technology. But Nepalis were unaware of the changes”, he continued.
“Nepal’s state was such because the government restricted education”, Singh concluded.
“During the Rana administration, educational advancement was one of the least prioritized sector. Instead of working towards developing the educational sector, the government would instead curtail such developments”, Singh continued his views on the restrictions imposed by the Ranas on education.
“An educated public would mean a conscious public, and a conscious public was detrimental towards the Rana establishment”, he added.
Rana government’s restriction upon education:
Nepal’s first school, the Durbar School was established by Junga Bahadur Kunwar after returning from a state visit to England and France. However, admissions were restrictive, and only children of the Ranas, or top-ranking state officers were allowed to study in the school. The Rana government did not bother themselves with opening other schools too.
After many years, when Chandra Shumsher was Prime Minister, he established Tri Chandra College.
It is said that Chandra Shumsher, on the night of the inauguration of the institution, had said that “he had dug the grave of his future generations with the establishment of the college”.
Although a college was established, enrolments were minimum. Reason being – there weren’t enough high schools. For example, Juddhodaya High School, Nepal’s second school was established after 80 years of establishing of Durbar High School.
“At the time, we did not have an exact census. Nepal’s population was estimated to be around four million. For one hundred years, there was only one school for four million Nepalis.”
“There were other informal schools, such as Sanskrit Learning Centres – however, admissions in those schools were restricted to Brahmins, and such schools did not contribute towards building a politically or socially conscious population”, Singh shares.
Meanwhile, looking for other options, many Nepali families started sending their children to India to pursue education. Gradually, Nepal started to witness an increase in the number of politically aware people, who in turn educated others back home. It was with the help of this awareness, Nepali Congress’ revolution become a success.
“History is witness to the fact that a revolution is only successful when the public has gained political consciousness. Sometimes, an armed revolution too is called a revolution – but if the revolution isn’t motivated by a desire for political change, it can be termed as a power tussle, and is short lived. Usually after such tussles, a political change is not realized, and the public do not benefit from such changes”, Singh concludes his reflection.