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Book Reviews

Book Reviews

Edwin T. Atkinson, The Himalayan Districts of the North-Western Provinces of India, Vol II (Allahabad, North-Western Provinces and Oudh Government Press, 1884 - Book Review
Issue Name : Vol: 09, No 15, February 19, 2016 (Falgun 7, 2072)

The book of Edwin T. Atkinson starts with a remarkable preface. It is divided into ten impressive chapters. Chapters III to VII are devoted to some key aspects of the history of the Western Himalayas. Here he talks about Khasas, Bhotiyas and other immigrants living in the hills and mountains in the background of Vaidik geography, Pauranik ethnography, mythology and the history of different periods. It includes references on the Kumaon invasion of the Gorkhalis. The next three chapters explore religions in the Western Himalayas including Kumaon's specialty in this regard. Here he tries to explain Himalayan Buddhism and Hinduism being practised by the local people.... Read All

Major General Brahma Shamsher Nepalko Maha Bhukampa 1990 [Kathmandu, 1935] - New Spotlight Fortnightly, Vol: 08, No. 22, May 22- 2015 (Jeth 08, 2072)

The book of Major General Brahma Shamsher Nepalko Maha Bhukampa 1990 [Kathmandu, 1935] presents graphic accounts of the great earthquake of 1934. This earthquake was not only powerful, but also the most destructive of all the earthquakes in the living memory of Nepal...Read All

Frederick P. Gibbon, The Disputed VC: A Tale of the Indian Mutiny (London: Blackie & Son Limited, 1909) - Book Review
New Spotlight Fortnightly, Vol: 08 No. -19 April 10- 2015 (Chaitra 27, 2071)

There are several books written about the role of Gurkhas in the Indian Mutiny of 1857-58, also called by many as "Sepoy Mutiny". The Mutiny has also been described as the first war of independence. The war was not immediately successful. Begun in Meerut by Indian sepoys in the service of the British East India Company, the Mutiny spread to many places including Delhi, Agra, Kanpur, and Lucknow. Frederick P. Gibbon’s The Disputed VC: A Tale of the Indian Mutiny (London: Blackie & Son Limited, 1909) provides some interesting Nepalese references on the Mutiny... Read All

Prithvi Narayan Shah, Divya Upadesh (Possibly 1772-1775) - Book Review
New Spotlight Fortnightly, Vol 08, No 14, January. 16- 2015 (Magh 2, 2071)

The Divya Upadesh (Divine Counsel) of Prithvi Narayan Shah the Great (1723–1775), the founder King of the unified Nepal, is probably the single most significant document which explains the Gorkha conquest and his contribution to the newly founded country. The Divya Upadesh also explains Prithvi Narayan Shah’s accomplishment of the unification campaign and his counsel to the successors of his seats of power. These counsels dealt with the geo-political vulnerability of his newly unified country, and provided directions to the governing elite on how to pursue governance, nationalism, and foreign policy in order to sustain the country.... Read All

Charles A. Sherring & M.A. F.R.G.S, Western Tibet and the British Borderland: The Sacred Country of Hindu and Bouddhists (London: Edward Arnold, 1906) - Book Review
New Spotlight Fortnightly, Vol 08, No 14, January. 16- 2015 (Magh 2, 2071)

The author starts his work with the talks about Askot, which once fell under Doti kingdom, and the aboriginal Raji people living in this hinterland. He describes Bhotia people and their extremely attractive manners and customs. The religions of the Tibetans, who live further inside in Tibet, Hindus and Bhotias have also been compared. There is analysis of their customs and superstitions. Bhotia marriage customs have been discussed with Tibetan and Bhotia death ceremonies. The Tibetan trade route that passes from this territory has been also described. The details about the Tibetan administration in Western Tibet, or Nari province comes next in the book. Taklakot, or Purang find their mentions along with their officials and priests... Read All

V.A. Smith, The Early History of India: From the Sixth Century B.C. to the Mohammedan Conquest (London: The Glorier Society, 1907) - Book Review
New Spotlight, Vol 08, No. 11, November, 2014

The book is one of his pioneering works on the Sakas, Kushans and Vakatakas, the early people of this region, and summarizes the available material on the ancient and early medieval periods. A British indologist and art historian, Smith also wrote about the Buddhist ruler Ashoka and Mughal emperor Akbar, trying to further portray a complete picture of the two great rulers who ruled ancient India.  The book touches on Nepal when it deals with Chandragupta, who founded the Maurya empire, Emperor Asoka and King Harsha Vardhan – the three significant historical figures of the region... Read All

Frederick P. Gibbon, A prisoner of the Gurkhas (London: George Routledge & Sons Ltd, 1904)- Book Review
New Spotlight, Vol 08, No 9, October 9-18, 2014(Kartik 1, 2071)

The book starts with conversation between Margaret Upton, a young lady and Ensign John Collingwood Russell of England's 162nd Foot Regiment, just gazetted at that time. Jack Russell, his son aspiring to join “the profession of arms,” had reached sixteen and they were celebrating at Claydon Manor House on the latter’s birthday, before parting to take off for his profession. The book is about Jack Russell’s adventure in India, his initial suspicions about the Gurkhas, and more particularly his experience with them. Russell fought in the Anglo-Nepalese War against Gurkhas under the command of Colonel Balbhadar Sing, and eventually, after some ruses of war and bitter experience, became a friend of Nepalese. The bond that developed was incredible... Read All

Jogesh Chunder Dutt, Kings of Kashmira: Being a translation of the Sanskrita work Rajataranggini (London: Trubner & Co, 1879) - New Spotlight, Vol: 08, No. 4, July 25, 2014 (Sharawan 9, 2071)

The Rajataranggini, a twelfth century book, which explains the history of Kashmir, has many important references about the Khas people. Written in Sanskrit by a Kashmiri Brahman named Pandita Kahlana, the book describes the history of Kashmir and its monarchs in a way that nobody had ever worked before his time... Read All

W. W. Hunter, Life of Brian Houghton Hodgson (London: John Murray, 1896) - (New Spotlight Fortnightly,Vol: 08 No. 6 August. 29- 2014 (Bhadra 13, 2071))

Diplomacy is the art and practice of conducting negotiations between representatives of state in the interest of one's own country. Brian H. Hodgson [1801-1894], who served in Nepal as British resident for many years, was probably the most renowned among all the foreign diplomats, who served Nepal hitherto with utmost dignity. However, Hodgson was not just a high caliber diplomat. .... Read All

Lt. Colonel Laurence Austine Waddell, Among the Himalayas (London:  Archibald Constable & Company, 1899) - Book Review (New Spotlight Fortnightly, Vol 07, No 18, March 21, 2014 (Chaitra 07, 2070)

It was Lt. Colonel Laurence Austine Waddell (1854–1938), a British military surgeon, who ventured to publish this book after traveling around a decade and a half exploring these beautiful yet, dangerous regions. They included Sikhim and areas on the borders of Nepal and Tibet. The book talks about the soaring peaks of the greatest mountain range on earth and the “primitive tribes” who live around them. It also talks about their lifestyle, religion and culture including Tibetan Buddhist religious practices he observed there.... Read All

Lieutenant General George Fletcher MacMunn,  The Martial Races of India (London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co Ltd, 1933) - Book Review (New Spotlight Fortnightly, Vol 07, No 20, April 20, 2014)

Lieutenant General George Fletcher MacMunn (1869-1952) who started his military career in 1888 and retired in 1925, authored many books and papers on the armies of India and the issues of strategic interests of the British empire. The book The Martial Races of India (London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co Ltd, 1933) is one of them. The Martial Race Theory states that there are some races which are brave and well built for fighting, while there are others who are coward or generally unfit for battles. This theory takes it for granted that the qualities that make a useful soldier are inherited and that most Indians, with the exception of the specified groups, did not have the requisite traits that would make them warriors. This classification between 'martial' and 'non-martial' race came on the fore after the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Any race that they thought lived with inactive life styles were not supposed to be good warriors. Normally, the people who were considered educated, and therefore intelligent, and capable of showing their differences with the British Raj, were not recruited by the British Raj, even if they demonstrated martial qualities and exceptional valour... Read All

Sarat Chandra Das, Journey to Lhasa and Central Tibet (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1902) - Book Review (New Spotlight Fortnightly, Vol 07, No 19, April 04, 2014)

Sarat Chandra Das’s Journey to Lhasa and Central Tibet (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1902 ) is yet another important work that touches on Eastern Nepal. Das was a Bengali teacher born in Chittagong, now in Bangladesh, and stationed in Darjiling. He was used by the British to spy around Tibet, still a hidden land for the colonizers, and gather information on Russians and Chinese. The British thought that their [perceived] movement in Tibet and further expansion towards the south could potentially collide with and threaten their control of India..” ... Read All

Percy Brown, Picturesque Nepal [London: Adam & Charles Black, 1912] - Book Review (New Spotlight Fortnightly, Vol 07, No 17, March, 2014)

In his preface to Picturesque Nepal, Brown explains why he has chosen to write about "the little-known state of Nepal, where the wonderful natural scenery and the creative genius of man have combined to make a powerful appeal to all lovers of the picturesque and of the imaginative in art." He is disturbed by the fact that the Nepalese heritage is "falling rapidly into decay." The book is an effort to produce a brief photographic survey so that some of the main features of these arts and architectures are preserved for the posterity. The valley of Nepal being "a veritable art museum of a particularly interesting character," deserved this attempt. ... Read All

Henry Ballantine,On India's Frontier or, Nepal: The Gurkhas' Mysterious Land [New York: J. Selwin Tait and Sons, 1895] - Book Review (New Spotlight Fortnightly, Vol 07, No 16, February, 2014)

The book of Henry Ballantine does not have a table of contents as such. It starts straight with an introduction to the book, which then gives way for the chapterization. The author introduces Nepal as a mostly unknown ‘buffer’ territory where different tribes who are more or less hostile to each other live. According to him, the people in this zealously and jealously maintained Himalayan belt are furnished with arms and ammunition, often by the British Indian government. They are allowed to maintain their independence, continue to practice deeds of darkness, misrule and cherish any internecine course of action they like. They are “left to act as they please, so long as they do not meddle with British territory [on the southern side].”. ... Read All

Edward C. Sachau, Alberuni’s India (Two Volumes) [London Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., 1910] - Book Review -(New Spotlight Newsmagazine,Vol 07, No 14, January 10, 2014 (Poush 26, 2070)

Edward C. Sachau’s two volume book Alberuni’s India [London Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., 1910], which was first published in 1888, is an outstanding work on Abu Rayhan Alberuni (also known as Abu Rayhan al-Biruni) and his writing about India and Hinduism. The book has only a couple of references on Nepal. However, these references are important in Nepalese historical context.... Read All

Henry Thoby Prinsep, History of the Political and Military Transactions in India during the Administration of the Marques of Hastings 1813-1823 (Two Volumes) (London: Kingsbury, Parbury and Allen, 1825) - Book Review (New Spotlight Fortnightly, Vol 07, No 6, August, 2013)

The author teats the Nepalese part of the history in this book as a special case: “The state of Nipal has purposely been reserved for separate mention, both because its situation and the circumstances which brought it into contact with the British government have no direct connection with the state and powers of central India and because the conduct of their nation, which made war inevitable, even before Lord Hastings had set foot in the country require more specific explanation than suited the cursory view of the condition of other powers taken in the proceeding chapter.”... Read All

Clements R. Markham, Narratives of the Mission of George Bogle to Tibet, and of the Journey of Thomas Manning to Lhasa (London: Trubner & Co., 1876)- Book Review (New Spotlight Fortnightly, Vol 07, No 5, August, 2013)

In the preface to the book Narratives of the Mission of George Bogle to Tibet, and of the Journey of Thomas Manning to Lhasa (London: Trubner & Co., 1876), Markham clarifies: “In the long period that has intervened, since the first Governor-General [Warren Hastings] retired, no greater advances have been made towards the establishment of friendly commercial intercourse between [British] India and the countries on the northern side of the Himalaya than in the time of your Lordship [Northbrook]'s administration.” Markham decided to work on the book, because till that time, “no full account of this important mission [of George Bogle had] been given to the world.” This is what happened with the remarkable journey of Thomas Manning also. “These two gaps in the history of intercourse between [British] India and Tibet have now been filled up.” The book that Markham edited is based on these newly discovered information and knowledge.... Read All

Hodgson’s Essays on the Language, Literature and Religion of Nepal and Tibet (London: Trubner & Company, 57 & 58 Ludgat Hill, 1874)- Book Review (New Spotlight Fortnightly, Vol 07, No 4, July, 2013)

The author is loud and clear in his opinion when he writes of the “duties of the [British] government” to colonialize the Himalayas “for the successful culture of various products suited to the wants of Europeans, for their own consumption or for profitable sale; and in this extra-ordinary gradation of heights, the high and the low are juxtaposed in a manner alike favourable to the labours of the healthful and to the relief of the ailing.” This fitness for Europeans apart, he thinks the colonization of the Himalayas is wise commercially as well... Read All

Professor Ralph Lilley Turner’s A Comparative and Etymological Dictionary of the Nepali Language (London: Kegan Paul, Trench and Trubner Co Ltd. 1931) - Book Review (New Spotlight Fortnightly, Vol 07, No 3, July, 2013)

The identity that Turner's dictionary gave to Nepal and the Nepali language was a remarkable event in the history of nation-building in Nepal. The readers of the Nepali language, or what has often been described as the Khas-kura, Parbate, or the Gorkhali language, had received not only etymological notes, but its vocabulary, orthography, and the note in the form of conjunct letters were also explained. Attempts were made to explain its relation with other Indo-Aryan languages. The dictionary also indisputably stated that the nearest relative of Nepali is a group of dialects known as Kumaoni spoken in the British Indian District of Kumaon.... Read All

Lieutenant Colonel George Hart Desmond Gimlette's Nepal and the Nepalese (London: H. F. & G. Witherbyn, 1927) - Book Review (New Spotlight Fortnightly, Vol 07, No 2, June, 2013)

Lieutenant Colonel George Hart Desmond Gimlette’s Nepal and the Nepalese (London: H. F. & G. Witherbyn, 1927) was published at a time when the Prime Minister of Nepal was Chandra Shamsher JBR. The book came into its present shape after sixteen years of the visit of the British King George V and six years after the visit of Prince of Wales—the  future Edward VIII. It was just four years before the signing of the Anglo-Nepalese Treaty of Friendship, and a year before the abolition of slavery in Nepal. Gimlette was yet another surgeon working at British residency in Kathmandu - the other famous notable surgeons who served there being Daniel Wright and H. A. Oldfield. Even though the book was published in 1927, many of the facts and figures referred in it were mostly from his experience in Nepal four decade earlier. Gimlette lived in Nepal from November 1883 to June 9, 1887... Read All

William Brook Northey's The Land of the Gurkhas or The Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal [Cambridge: W. Heffer & Sons Ltd, 1937] - Book Review (New Spotlight Fortnightly, Vol 06, No 24, June, 2013)

Like many other books which were published on Nepal before, Northey's book starts with the introduction of the Nepalese land, the early history of Nepal, the rise of the Gurkhas and Prime Minister Jung Bahadur, who emerged following Anglo-Nepal War, and the turbulent years that followed. With this background, Northey generalizes the Gurkhas as they are, their customs and characteristics, and sports and diversions. Kathmandu, the capital of the Gurkhas, has been described well along with the temples and shrines, followed by the town of Patan, Bhatgaon and Nawakot. The central part of Nepal finds special mention in the book. Both the eastern and western borders of the country are discussed along with Darjeeling, which was lost to Britain after the Treaty of Sugauli, and its surroundings... Read All

Rajendralala Mitra, The Sanskrit Buddhist Literature of Nepal, [Calcutta: The Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1882] - Book Review (New Spotlight Fortnightly, Vol 06, No 23, May, 2013)

Gautam Buddha, also known as the Shakyamuni, was born in the Western foothill of Nepal 563 before the beginning of the Christian era. Even though there is some dispute as to the exact year on which Gautam Buddha was born, his birth place, Lumbini, is already an established fact. Buddha founded Buddhism – which is one of the great indigenous religions of the South Asian sub-continent. .. Read All

Thomas Watters', On Yuan Chwang's Travels in India, 629-645 A.D. (London: Royal Asiatic Society, 1904/1905) - Book Review (New Spotlight Fortnightly, Vol 06, No 22, May 10, 2013)

Thomas Watters' two volume book On Yuan Chwang's Travels in India, 629-645 A.D. (London: Royal Asiatic Society, 1904/1905) was put in order from an unpublished manuscript after his death in 1901. Yuan Chwang, also known as Hiuen Tsang, was a great Chinese monk. His nineteen-year pilgrimage through Chang'an of China to Central Asia and eventually South Asia is a rich source of information... Read All

Cornélius Wessels, Early Jesuit Travelers in Central Asia: 1603-1721 [The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1924] - Book Review (New Spotlight Fortnightly, Vol 06, No 21, April, 2013)

Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) was the first renowned European who reached Central Asia and India between 343-323 BC. The British exploration, which began about the end of the 18th century triggered by the East India Company, is quite new... Read All

Brian Houghton Hodgson, Miscellaneous Essays relating to Indian Subjects [London, Brian Trubner and Co., 1880] - Book Review (New Spotlight Fortnightly, Vol 06, No 20, April, 2013)

The two volume Miscellaneous Essays relating to Indian Subjects by Brian Houghton Hodgson [London, Brian Trubner and Co., 1880] is a rare collection of essays relating to Nepal, India and Tibet. These essays were published in Bengal Journal and also in other sources on different dates. Most of these essays were his original contribution little benefited by the materials published earlier.... Read All

Athanasius Kircher, China Monumentis [Amsterdam: Jaco Meurs, 1667] - Book Review (New Spotlight Fortnightly, Vol 06, No 19, April, 2013

The Year 1667 is not a politically remarkable year in the history of Nepal. But it is in this year that King Pratap Malla (reigned 641-74) is said to have built Rani Pokhari (Queen's Pool) in Kathmandu to console his queen over the death of their son who was trampled by an irate elephant. Similarly, it was the year when an important book on China with some references on Necbal [Nepal] was published... Read All

William Digby, A Friend in Need-1857: Friendship Forgotten -1887' [London: Indian Political Agency, 1890] - Book Review (New Spotlight Fortnightly, Vol 06, No 18, March 8, 2013 (Falgun 25, 2069)

The Rana rule has often been the focus of many writers who wrote the history of Nepal following the rise of Prime Minister (General) Jung Bahadur Rana. Perhaps the only book which comprehensively deals with Prime Minister Ranadip Singh, who succeeded Jung Bahadur upon his death in February 1877, is the book of William Digby – a British author, journalist and a humanitarian. As Digby was an independent critique, and differed so much with the rulers of Nepal and the British establishment in India that his point of view about the transition could be interesting for many readers... Read All

Thomas Smith, Narrative of a Five Year's Residence at Nepal [London: Colburn and Co, 1852] - Book Review (New Spotlight Fortnightly, Vol: 06 No. -17 Feb 22- 2013 (Falgun 11, 2069)

Thomas Smith's Narrative of a Five Year's Residence at Nepal [London: Colburn and Co, 1852) brings all the excitement of the story of Nepal in the first half of the nineteenth century. The book is divided into two volumes. The narrative is one of the best accounts of the intrusion of the British army into the pristine glory of Nepal. Written by a young officer, who was based in Kathmandu as assistant political resident from 1841 to 1845, the book is also based on his personal experience in Nepal... Read All

Surya Nath Upadhyay's International Watercourses Law and a Perspective on Nepal-India Cooperation (Kathmandu: Ekta Books, 2012) - Book Review (New Spotlight Fortnightly, February 8-21, 2013)

A watercourse describes any flowing body of water. This includes rivers, streams, anabranches, and so on. Nepal is a rich country in terms of its water resources. It has a functioning system of water law as well. Surya Nath Upadhyay's International Watercourses Law and a Perspective on Nepal-India Cooperation (Kathmandu: Ekta Books, 2012) focuses on regional perspective. It deals with the past efforts in the Nepal-India cooperation in terms of the rules and principles of international law governing the navigational and non-navigational uses of international watercourses... Read All

Eden Vansittart, Notes on Nepal (Calcutta: 1896) - Book Review (New Spotlight Fortnightly, January 25 - February 8, 2013)

Eden Vansittart covers a wide range of topics in the Notes on Nepal in fifteen sections that the book has been divided into, giving treatment to a host of diverse issues. The book has been introduced by H. H. Risley, an official of the British Indian civil service at that time. Starting from general descriptions of Nepal and its geography, Vansittart describes the major zones of the country, river basins, population, crops and minerals, and international trade. Both the history of Nepal Valley up to conquest by King Prithvi Narayan Sahi and the subsequent development have been described briefly in the book. The author introduces King Prithvi Narayan as "a person of insatiable ambition, sound judgement, great courage, and unceasing activity" and his Gurkha principality as inhabited entirely by Magars, Gurungs, Thakurs and Khas "with a sprinkling of the menial classes." ... Read All

Giuseppe de Rovato, An Account of the Kingdom of Nepal - Book Review (New Spotlight Fortnightly, January 11, 2013)

Father Giuseppe de Rovato's "An Account of the Kingdom of Nepal," published in 1786, is the rare eye-witness description of the Gorc'ha conquest of the Kathmandu Valley in 1767-69. It is believed to be the first article written by any European on King Prithvi Narayan Shah – the founder of modern Nepal. The article was translated in English by Sir John Shore in the second volume of the Asiatic Researches and published from Calcutta in 1790. ... Read All

Laurence Oliphant, A Journey to Katmandu (London: John Murray, 1852) - Book Review (New Spotlight Fortnightly, December, 2012)

Jung Bahdur Rana (1816 - 1877) has been one of the most talked about figures in the history of Nepal. The founder of the Rana dynasty, he has been remembered as a tyrant, a Maharaja, a Kazi (Prime Minister), a diplomat, a nationalist, and a brave man. Depending on one's focus, several authors have tried to explore Jung Bahadur in terms of his vibrant personality, power, and clout in the Nepal that he lived in. One among such authors was Laurence Oliphant. ... Read All

चक्रव्युहमा चन्द्र सूर्यः राष्ट्रिय सुरक्षा र स्वाधिनताका चुनौती(Kathmandu: Sangri-La Books, 2069/2012) - Book Review (New Spotlight Fortnightly, Vol 06, No 12, December 14, 2012)

कान्तिपूर दैनिकसँग सम्बन्धित पत्रकार सरोजराज अधिकारीको नयाँ पुस्तक चक्रव्यूहमा चन्द्रसूर्यः राष्ट्रिय सुरक्षा र स्वाधिनताका चुनौती हालै प्रकाशित भएको एउटा पठनीय पुस्तक हो । यो पुस्तकले नेपालको राष्ट्रिय सुरक्षामा आएका चुनौतीहरुलाई विभिन्न कोणबाट विश्लेषण गरेको छ । हरेक राजनीतिज्ञले यो पुस्तक पढ्नु जरुरी छ ।. ... Read All

Perceval Landon, Nepal Vol. I & II (New Delhi: Rupa & Co, 2007) (Originally published in 1928) - Book Review (New Spotlight Fortnightly, Vol 06, No 07, September 7, 2012)

Father Giuseppe de Rovato's "An Account of the Kingdom of Nepal" was the first article written by any European on King Prithvi Narayan Shah – the founder of modern Nepal. It was written in 1786. The article was translated and published in English by Sir John Shore. It was published in the second volume of the Asiatic Researches (Calcutta) in 1790. It dealt with the consolidation of power by King Prithvi Narayan within the Kathmandu Valley between 1767-17. ... Read All

A. Henry Savage Landor, Tibet and Nepal (London: A. & C. Black Soho Square, 1905) - Book Review (New Spotlight Fortnightly, Vol 06, No 06, August 24, 2012)

The book Tibet and Nepal by Arnold Henry Savage Landor (1865 – 26 December 1924) is the story of his adventures to these forbidden lands. As a painter, explorer, writer and anthropologist, born in Florence, Landor liked the Himalayas and its vicinity in Nepal and Tibet. It is his love of the Himalayas that provoked him to recount his adventures in this book... Read All

Cecil Bendal, A Journey of Literary and Archaeological Research in Nepal and Northern India During the Winter of 1884-85 (New Delhi: Asian Educational Services, 1991) (Originally published by Cambridge in 1886) - Book Review (New Spotlight Fortnightly, Vol 06, No 06, August 10, 2012)

The book A Journey of Literary and Archaeological Research in Nepal and Northern India is a window on some very important aspects of the region's rich cultural heritage. To a Nepalese reader, the study of inscriptions and colophons in this book is as much important as the study of several such historical objects by Daniel Wright, Bhagwanlal Indraji, Harapada Das Chattopadhyay, Sylvain Levi or K. P. Jayaswal in the past. It is a little yet remarkable piece of work.

Written by Cecil Bendall, a senior assistant at the University of Cambridge in the department of Oriental MSS from 1882 to 1893, the book is based on many Sanskrit manuscripts collected by the author for the University Library from north India, Nepal and Bombay with a grant from the Worts Fund in 1884–5. Before Bendall, in the 1870s, Daniel Wright, surgeon to the British Residency at Kathmandu Nepal, had collected a large number of Sanskrit manuscripts from Nepal. The new book of Bendall goes forward in this pursuit... Read All

Munshi Shew Shunker Singh & Pandit Shri Gunanand, Nepal: History of the Country and the People (New Delhi: Cosmo Publications, 1983) (Originally London: Cambridge University Press, 1877) (Edited by Daniel Wright) - Book Review (New Spotlight Fortnightly, Vol 06, No 04, July 27, 2012)

Originally published in 1877, the book Nepal: History of the Country and People, translated by Munshi Shew Shunker Singh and Pandit Shri Gunanand, is one of the earliest accounts of the country. The book is the translation of Vansavali or Genealogical History of Nepal.

The original manuscript of the book, according to editor Daniel Wright, was written in Parbate with an admixture of Sanskrit and Newari and was in the possession of Professor Cowell, a scholar of Sanskrit, at Cambridge. Wright also mentions about another draft, "or at all events a similar work, recognized by the Gorkhas and the Hindu races of the country, and its copies were in the British Museum and the University Library of Cambridge." ... Read All

Ludwig F. Stiller, S. J., Nepal: Growth of a Nation (Kathmandu: Human Resources Development Center, 1993) - Book Review
New Spotlight Fortnightly, Vol 06, No 03, July 06-26, 2012 (Asar 22, 2069)

Ludwig F. Stiller, S. J. is not a new name in Nepal. He was a famous American Nepalese historian who produced a couple of distinguished books on Nepal's history. The theme of the present work, Nepal: Growth of a Nation, published in 1993, is broad and challenging. It talks about the land and people of Nepal, the vision of the country and its leadership, the politics for profit, control and centralization, and the new awakening. The author covers these themes through the last two hundred years of Nepalese history.

In the opening paragraph of the book, the author states that "the Nepalese nation was born against improbable odds. In the most difficult terrain imaginable, the Nepalese achieved unity and then withstood the British threat to rule South Asia. Today, landlocked and hedged in by great powers, the Nepalese still proudly assert their independence in the family of nations. At home, their chief concern is development. Internationally, though Nepalese troops are everywhere respected, the Nepalese stand for nonalignment and peace. In fact, few have attained the peace the Nepalese enjoy." Here, the author is speaking his mind about the country as it was in 1993. ... Read All

Lok Raj Baral, Nepal - Nation-State in the Wilderness: Managing State, Democracy and Geopolitics (New Delhi: Sage Publications, 2012)

Bipin Adhikari
June, 2012

Nepal is at very crucial stage of its history as a "nation state." While every state by definition is a political and a geographical unit; the nation is a composite cultural and/or ethnic creature. This creature can be defined as group of people who are bound together into a single entity, through history, customs, value, language, culture, tradition, art and religion.

On the contrary, a state is just a patch of land with a sovereign government. As a politico-judicial entity, which is identified by its sovereign rights, a political state constrains the intrusion of outsiders in its internal affairs. When 'nation' and 'state' coincide, they form a "nation state" which not only assumes a collective political existence of the people living together with an official language(s), a system of law, a currency system, and a bureaucracy to order elements of society, but also presupposes the diversity of unified national identity. ... Read All

William J. Kirkpatrick, An Account of the Kingdom of Nepaul [New Delhi: Manjusri Publication House, 1969] [First published in 1811]

Bipin Adhikari
June, 2012

The Account of the Kingdom of Nepaul : being the substance of observations made during a mission to that country in the year 1793; illustrated with a map, and other engravings by Colonel William J. Kirkpatrick is the first book on Nepal's history and its people in English.

Given its time-space context, the book is an outstanding piece of work. No Englishman before Major Kirkpatrick had passed beyond the range of lofty mountains which separated the secluded valley of 'Nepaul' from the north-eastern parts of Bengal – the seat of the East India Company. In 1792, when Kirkpatrick had the opportunity to reach 'Khathmandu' – the oldest capital in the South Asia, there were very few vague and unsatisfactory reports about the country. These casual reports were made by missionaries and itinerant traders who passed by 'Khatmandu.' The country was still terra incognita or an unknown place. Kirkpatrick visited the place with a mission. He was not alone. He was accompanied by Samuel Scott as his deputy, a few army majors, two companies of 'Sepoys' and 'Moulavee' Abdul Kadir Khan, an employee of the Company government in Bengal, who had resided in 'Khathmandu' for sometime before. ... Read All

Francis Buchanan Hamilton, An Account of the Kingdom of Nepal and the Territories Annexed to this Dominion by the House of Gorkha (Edinburgh: Longman, 1819)

Bipin Adhikari
May 18, 2012

The book of Hamilton stands out as the best of the early accounts of Nepal. Beginning the first part, the author describes Nepal, a name celebrated in Hindu legend, as the country in the vicinity of Kathmandu, but as it stands now it means the whole territory of the unified Nepal. East from the Nepal Proper, he notes, the mountains are chiefly occupied by Kirants, who are frequently mentioned in Hindu legend as occupying the country between Nepal and ‘Madra’, the ancient denomination now called ‘Bhotan.’ Towards the west again, according to Hamilton, “the country between Nepal and 'Kasmir', over which the present rulers of the former have far extended their dominion, in the ancient Hindu writings is called Khas, and its inhabitants Khasiyas. I am told, that, wherever mentioned in ancient records, like the Kirats, their neighbours to the west, the Khasiyas are considered as abominable and impure infidels.”... Read All

Amartya Sen, The Idea of Justice (Penguin-Allen Lane, 2009)

Bipin Adhikari
Source: Spotlight Newsmagazine

Justice is a moral concept about what is right, fair, appropriate, and deserving. As a concept of righteousness, it builds on ethics, rationality, natural law, equity, fairness and similar principles. This is the reason why justice happens to be a complicated subject. Nevertheless, it is a subject that has been subjected to rigorous philosophical, legal and theological debates throughout the history... Read All

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