She ran her hand along the long, curving banister, and announced loudly: "The raja-rani must have touched this sometimes, too." The grand staircase, flanked at the bottom by a pair of stuffed tigers teetering on their hind legs, led back down to the main entry at the end of the tour of the Narayanhiti Palace Museum. The young woman's sentiment was one that many Nepalis have indulged in since the last king of Nepal moved out. How did the Shah kings actually live? And by visiting the palace, can one partake of their rapidly fading history?
I'd steered clear of this vicarious experience until quite recently. There always seemed something worthier, or at least more enjoyable, to do. And the Shahs, after all, never had a reputation for fantastic wealth, or even good taste. The towering pink folly that faced onto Darbar Marg and the constant line of people clutching sticky ice-creams were deterrent enough. Until one Saturday afternoon I had an hour to kill, and nowhere to go. Jau raja ko ghar, someone said. Never invited, we paid to get in.
The palace is unremarkable, in case you were wondering. Especially compared to its counterparts across the globe. What could one expect inside a boldly designed but ultimately tasteless structure from the 1960s, commissioned by a Shah king given free reign to indulge after the neo-classical grandeur of the Rana palaces?
We walked through room after room named after districts in Nepal, filled with diplomatic tat from all across the world, furnished in a middling luxury that has inadvertently become retro-chic. These were linked by corridors leading past plain-jane bureaucratic instalments of lockers and plywood doors, and culminated in the repulsive, laughably conceived throne hall. Nothing could be more uninspiring; it's hard to believe, in fact, that the monarchy was ever held in such awe, until of course you consider how poor most of the rest of the country was and still is.Apologists might say Rukum and Rolpa weren't really neglected by the Shahs: the rooms whose names they bear compete with each other in the quality of their chandeliers.
Yet for the Nepali visitor at least – and I saw none but Nepalis, mostly working and lower middle class folk – the brief tour of less than an hour is compelling. Because the monarchy is such recent history, there is something voyeuristic about peering into rooms and visualising Birendra or Gyanendra (take your pick) taking a nap or perusing the latest district development reports (stacked up impressively in the study). Did the child Dipendra ever run through Myagdi and Parbat to peer at his father, who he might have been warned (by his mother) not to disturb on any account? Did he come across the late monarch amusing himself by flicking the globes on either side of his desk, and think, "That's what I want to do one day"?
At any rate, we can see what Dipendra made of his home in the end. The foundations of the now demolished outbuilding where he mowed down his family, precipitating the eventual abolition of the institution he only presided over in a coma, provide a sobering coda to the tour. Here there are bullet marks drilled into the walls, and here is the fountain next to which Dipendra's body was found. Behind, there is a ramshackle, overgrown garden, from where you can imagine flocks of birds shrilled into the sky at the first burst of automatic gunfire.
How must Gyanendra have felt when he left the palace? It could hardly have seemed like leaving a home, because this was never to be his rightful seat. It must, however, have seemed like a dreadful ignominy to have to leave the place that commemorated his dynasty. Bereft of royals, Narayanhiti Palace is simply a junkshop of mediocre art. But it is still possible, if you find yourself in a quiet corner, to imagine how it must have been before the fall. When kings were gods, life must have seemed simpler, and Nepal's problems less insurmountable. NB: Visit narayanhitipalacemuseum.gov.np/ if the hackers will let you.
1. Naresh Neupane
How did the Shah kings actually live? And by visiting the palace, can one partake of their rapidly fading history?
Ravi has dim faculty to judge the history.
Conditioned, Customized and Cosmetic :
The encounter and the propagation of Â history is always Â personalized. When a narrator is involved, there are facts, judgements, expressions and thoughts never depersonalized, never seperated from our vey selves.
Some people say history is a documented factÃ¯Â¿Â½not fiction. Some even say history is something that happened certain time ago Ã¯Â¿Â½ like six of seven years ago. There is a cumulatively a large corsage of people interwoven in feeling that history belongs lives and moments in prominence Ã¯Â¿Â½ say monarchs, crown, prime ministers,..or Charlamagne, Vinchi, Picasso etc. But what exactly is history? If the factualization and documentation is involved, and everything looked at retrospect, isn't future a part of history? Or is future itself a history? Is present just a vantage point, or is it the most phasic enumerator and participator of history? What is Ravi Thapa's history, huh? And how his history relevant to espose the history which he writes? Is it not, maybe for himself and contingently to anyone involved, that he shares his history which includes people like his forefathers, relatives, friendsetc. , places like he was born, upbrought, educated, played, visited, etc., events like the day he was born, named, married etc. etc.? What about the history of Ravi's journey to Narayanhiti Palace? What is the history of Naresh's reaction to Ravi's columnÃ¯Â¿Â½which per se constitute an inseparable, be it tiny, chunk of history( may be it's the collective Kunda Dixit and nepali Times's history)?
My point is: first starts the history to judge any history, and then only, the history itself.
The Question of Fact:
I had repeatedly had duel with my father in question of normative role of fact in history? What exactly is fact? An atom is uncutable, was fact for Greek atomists? But now, retrospectively, it was fabrication (fabrication in that it was dessiminated with clarity, authenticity and emphasis). Two and four constitutes to sum up six? Your mind thinks that it's absolutly impossible to devise ways to prove it wrong. But, for any linguistic expressions (be it morphemic or phonic or syntactic symbol), and any mathematical operations, there is a human instrument in hand, a definational point, a n origin before co-ordinates are assigned. A symbol '2', spelled as two, if it was pronounced four since my Papa's and Granpa's days, would have been conventionally thought as four, linguistically. But the symbol '2' in itself is not equivalent to that that that abstract two. This inherent difficulty in expressing reality in language has a certain limit. Hence, certain aspects of history hust dissolve like papyrus in the waterÃ¯Â¿Â½unseen, unexpressed and unanalysed Ã¯Â¿Â½ certainly something insuperable and insormountable to retain and express. Thus, those who think they have the totality of history and those who lopside to tinker that history is theirs, shaped and sustained by them, are schizophrenic and wrong.
It brings me to the pointÃ¯Â¿Â½What is fact? Fact isn't objective explanation, forÂ innumerable frames of reference are cherrypicked in accordance to one's interest, will and motives. It isn't the search for truth, for truth is so adventurously multifaceted. Fact isn't what happened, since what happened last night and how it effected me changes accordingly its effects in th future? Fact pads on imagination since nothing is possible without presumables and a point of inspection and departure. Fact is not the word FACT either. The word fact itself is conditioned, conventional and agreed upon? So is the fact itself so accurate and relaible when, in fact, it is vaguely identifiable. If discrete, there is distinction is understandibility which means there is no fact and no fiction. Everything is anthropomorphic, and everytime our thoughts and expreeiveness inculcate certain complex mental symbol (Gestalt may be right term, yet complexities in human symbols active in thoughts are impossible to decode), our methodology is anthopogenic.
History is innumerable:
History encompasses the creation to what's passing by, now, right at this moment and this age. Here are countless lives, each hued with flux of characteristic manifestation, each paired up to constitute the bigger and samller events and happenings (actually the sense of value is adjudged by one's own ratiocination!). So is it necessary for us, if not purposive, that we bring our scholarship of history just because of scholarship? I think history should always be formative, and purposive; it must be vernacularly deciphered, for the encrytion are just to be meant to betterment of our lives.
This brings the roots of principium individuationis.
The Pluralities and Oneness:
Self-contradictorily, there are histories, not history. Not a history has oneÃ¯Â¿Â½a complete whole, a single grand missing pouzzle like Ultimate, or Elysian palace or Salvation. The very temporality of such quicksand Â words are reflected in their inherent incapability to express in themselves. Â
Thanks, Nabesh, for clarifying my dim faculty. It's all crystal clear now.
11 JUNE 2011 | 11:06 AM NST
3. Naresh Neupane
At any rate, we can see what Dipendra made of his home in the end. The foundations of the now demolished outbuilding where he mowed down his family, precipitating the eventual abolition of the institution he only presided over in a coma, provide a sobering coda to the tour.Â
There is no any forensic evidence, court ruling, major investigation or authentic proclaimation (for example, clear documentation, audio/visual recordings etc.) in what happened that day. If a lacuna gapes open for pronunciamentosDeependra didn't do it, such equal lacuna breaks at some loose seams that Deependra did it. Newton was a physicist, but his version here may be that every claim has equal and opposite counter-claim, unless verified or justified by some concrete evidence indeed holds true for the speculation like yours. Hence, it's not Deependra did it as someone inside omerta say as he/she see it.
I personally feel how naÃ¯Â¿Â½ve analysts, editors and writes are who polemically punch at the soft spot of public imagination Ã¯Â¿Â½ that deependra did it as they believe it.
Ravi! I'm damn sure that what you mean to reciprocate with such auguries. I'm exactly shadowy inside your mind. Come very clean. You couldn't write it just because Tara Nath reported as Bhatta ta taÃ¯Â¿Â½.. or Paudel baje resorted as Deependra the sole protagonist of that day's black top blur. To substantiate your claims, if you claim some Bohara or some Shah's media claims (in condition not to be asked), you are just refuting that grey line instinctually fixed inside you. Then, I was just some eight or nine years but as I paced through Khagendra Sangraula's Bhatig Deepenra Malai Maf Gara (Cousin deependra, I'm Sorry), I knew how that man Deependra blew the tizzies of folks like you and me. Your penumbra of emphasis means you ought to mend your mistake. You may be right, but you can't claim it unless you clearly substantiate it Â with proofs. There's almost no platform left for speculative analysis to represent the truth.
My belief is that that days massacre is suspended inside the benighted fabric of elusion, illusion, sentimentalism and speculation.
11 JUNE 2011 | 6:13 PM NST
Naresh, if you turned off the automatic Thesaurus function in your word processor perhaps you would be more intelligible. You are drowning us in your avalanche of words, dude.Â Â
12 JUNE 2011 | 7:29 PM NST
5. Naresh Neupane
Me, honestly, thinks the three components are main tools to expression: 1. logos, or diction 2. the manipulation , meaning anything like rhetoric, style, vernacularity, tools like metonymy, sarcasm,Â lampoon, ridiculeÂ etc. etc.and 3. the marrow, meaning the Â meaning, intentions, theme etc.
Do you think I'm good at metonymy...the half to encompass the fuller of the fullest? May be I'm little amateurish, but I'm a less a bibliophile, and more Â a logophile. I also believeÂ grammaticalÂ rules are conventions, not heaven sent signals of god meant for human expressions. So, language may be a cage (Wittgenstein), but for me, such boundaries may be breached following the deep thinking of what language is. So we must move beyond language, but such would only happen with genuine mastery of language itself.Â
Your mud-slinging is amateurish, since I care more of connotations. I have thesaurus, but I don't use it so profoundly. I may have lacked to do so, but my conscious purpose is to find the sublimity of the words in thesaurus. For example, as I remember this of somewhere around last six months, love is not equivalent to adoration, idolization. Nor is dottedness or craziness itself equivalent to passion. So thesaurus is the vague bunch of place.Â
Yet you feed me an axiological torture.
13 JUNE 2011 | 11:15 AM NST
13 JUNE 2011 | 1:06 PM NST
Naresh is a troll on nepalitimes :)
14 JUNE 2011 | 3:53 PM NST
8. Lali Gurash
Naresh, It is very difficult to understand you. You sound very bombastic. Probably I may not know there meaning and have to refer the thesaurus. But will you take this as an appreciation? How could this be a matter of enjoyment for you if your comments/ wordsÂ are not understood. Probably you should write something for the westener's who may read you and find it very compelling to award you. Atleast somebody from Nepal can bring an international award in Literature.
15 JUNE 2011 | 4:37 PM NST
9. Rituraj Sapkota
"Thanks, Nabesh, for clarifying my dim faculty. It's all crystal clear now. "
This palce is missing a like button ;)
15 JUNE 2011 | 5:53 PM NST
The troll bounces off theÂ banister!! Ding dong! as precarious as it may be.....
One of the serious difficulty being a writer is thisÂ dis-cohesionÂ of comprehension among oneself and Â audiences. Suppose, I myself maneuvered my pieces as concise as possible, with simpler(?) words. But it really strikes me. For, I don't know at first what simplicity in word, expression and theme means. There's just a borderline between knowing and unknowing but not simple and unsimple.Â
I believe that some really simplerÂ pieces are slack. (It may be they are slack and thus simple.) Slack in ways that they tend to be objective, but you can't reach inside someone beyond a certain limit. But, you can interpret your dreams, areas of interests, true motivations, ideals etc. You cannot make everyone understand yourself- as you think, reason, logify, discover etc. The only thing you could do is to find their area of interest, and spur them with some stirrings. To make everyone understand may be a case of popularity index, but to give impart really serious ideas is to be a man of knowledge.
So what do you corroborate? Cast aside, brew some self-torture.
16 JUNE 2011 | 10:39 AM NST
Apparently the best way to frustrate a troll is to ignore them, as they are just seeking attention and a reaction, and not any logical response to their illogical theories (as they are not seeking to make sense anyway). So ignore people!
16 JUNE 2011 | 6:41 PM NST
Naresh Ji, you speaking/writing like award (literature) winning language but for commnor like me and millions othersÂ require simple and plain English!