An incident at Gauchar
Before I get ahead of myself, I completely forgot about one incident which had happened a few weeks ago. After King Tribhuvan escaped to India seeking political asylum with his family, the Rana government arranged for four year old Gyanendra to become the new monarch. However, simply organizing a coronation ceremony was not enough – the Rana government required other First World countries to recognize Gyanendra as the new king of Nepal.
One day, two British diplomats – British Deputy High Commissioner Frank Roberts and Britain’s Asian Affairs Specialist and Mobile Ambassador Ester Dennings arrived in Nepal. The purpose of their visit was to ascertain the needs and aspirations of the people of Nepal, and if the First World should recognize Gyanendra as Nepal’s king.
Nepal Mahila Sangh decided to show exactly that.
Therefore, on the day of their arrival a huge crowd had gathered at the airport – chanting slogans from “Tribhuvan is our King”, “Long Live King Tribhuvan”, “We want democracy”, to “British Mission – Go back”.
Clashes ensued – and several people including myself were injured. I remember breaking my head and fracturing my hand.
Meanwhile, Shanta Shrestha and Prabha Halwai put up a valiant protest. When security personnel resorted to shooting tear gas to disperse the crowds, Shanta jumped in front of an officer demanding to be shot.
Kathmandu residents make Singh their leader; give him the title of Bir Ganesh Man
Meanwhile, the news of Ganesh Man Singh’s release from jail had spread like wildfire – crowds of people were gathered in Kathmandu, and a procession ensued.
Everyone was in the street, and those who weren’t in the streets, were watching from their windows, their terraces, and their verandahs. They would shower rice, flowers, and vermillion as the jeep passed their homes.
The crowd, while moving from Tundikhel were chanting several slogans, most of them which would celebrate the revolution. The echoes of the chants probably reverberated throughout Kathmandu Valley.
However, once the procession neared New Road, a new slogan was added which caught my ears.
Bir Ganesh Man – Zindabad
Our Leader – Zindabad.
I had been living at my mother’s house at the time. After hanging around the procession area for a while, I headed back home. I still hadn’t met Singh yet.
I went back to my mother’s home because I wished he would come home to receive me. However, my parents would not hear any of it. They requested me to get ready as they wished to offer Sagun to their recently released son-in-law.
I had to oblige.
Singh finally arrived home, late at night. When my parents turn to offer him Sagun arrived, they asked me to sit beside him. I was shy – here’s this man who I have been married to for almost ten years, however I know nothing of him, except for his determination to usher democracy in Nepal. How was I to suddenly sit beside him?
Seeing my hesitancy, my cousins pushed me and I was seated beside him. Satisfied, my parents offered Sagun to both of us.
It was 11 pm by the time everyone left. Finally, we were reunited – after ten long years.
‘Offering sagun’ is a traditional Newari ceremony which involves a ritual of presenting auspicious food to a person to invoke good fortune, and to show respect. It consists of eggs, fish, fried meat, ginger and liquor.