Nepali Times
Colonial hunts


There is this stereotype that has been around since I was a kid: that all Ranas are rich, have concubines, engage in prolific tiger-hunting, and generally indulge in extreme decadence. Only the part about the decadence is true. Indeed, Ranas are now about as diverse as any group in Nepal (perhaps with the exception of the Koirala clan).

Take our family. According to my grandfather, after Jang Bahadur took over, he spread the wealth around amongst family and friends. But my great, great grandmother, who never met a card game she didn't like, wiped out the family fortune in a couple of Dasain card parties.

By the time the baton was passed to my grandfather, he said we were so down and out that we didn't even fit into Chandra Shumsher's A, B, C classification system for Ranas. My grandmother tells me that Chandra Shumsher was forced to extend the classification on a one-time basis just for our family. I believe we fall somewhere between U and Z.

In practical terms, this means that we were so out of it that Chandra Shumsher's eighth concubine's fourth cousin twice removed living in Doti was ahead of my grandfather to become prime minister. Why do you think I work for a living?

Remember those tarai colonial hunts we read about in history books? The ones where Juddha Shumsher and King George along with the help of 800 drummers, bartenders and relatives bagged 38 tigers, 49 wild boar, 36 rhinos and 25 species of game birds in a single day-all from the comfortable perch of an elephant!

Well, making sure we didn't grow up as deprived Ranas, my grandfather devised his own low-cost version of the colonial hunt. Basically, we'd go out with home-made slingshots and hoof it from Naxal to Pashupati, doing serious damage to the sparrow, temple pigeon and monkey populations along the way. But unlike the environmentally insensitive colonial hunts of those other Ranas, we ate what we killed. Ok, enough about Ranas, even they deserve a break and also, I don't want to go back home and find that we've now been re-classified again as Z Class. That would ruin my grandmother's day.

With human rights groups and activists screaming for a stop to military aid, the RNA needs to come up with a self-sufficient military strategy for this insurgency. Being an aficionado of movies, may I suggest that they borrow from Akira Kurosawa's Japanese sword-fighting classic, The Seven Samurai. Instead of Samurais, send seven gregarious, backslapping, butt-scratching Gorkhalis to each Maoist village. Replace the Samurai's two finely made swords (known as katana and wakizashi for you Samurai illiterates) with two roughly made but highly effective khukuris. And, in return for nothing except rice, rayo ko sag, dried red chilis and millet whisky our adapted Samurai would vanquish the terrorists and return the village to normalcy. One small weakness with this strategy is that there are about 5,000 villages in Nepal and that's going to tie up almost half of the RNA. Who's going to take care of things like Ghode Jatra?

Nice touch by Nepali Times with that liberty gauge. Completely baffles the average RNA Major, I'm sure. May I be bold enough to suggest to the fine team at Nepali Times a 'crapola' gauge to accompany the liberty gauge. When we read published statements on the Internet like 'Nepal has one of worst press freedoms in the whole world', perhaps the crapola gauge can be hiked up a notch. Or, when yet another EU member proclaims 'democratisation through peace' as if any other party other than the Maoists have been asking for anything else, perhaps the crapola gauge can be dialled up a couple of more notches.

I have to agree with Mr Lal that we should wait and see on this whole UN monitoring thing. With cries all over the United States to move the UN out of Manhattan to the Congo, the Oil-for-Food Scandal, missed opportunities for redemption in Iraq, irrelevance, and oversight issues (on everything), it is difficult to figure out who is doing who a favour here. There is a Nepali saying that fits this scenario and is fellow-contributor Herojig's motto, it goes like 'lata ko desh ma gande tannaree'. Loosely translated it means:

Ratchet up the crapola gauge to 'F' please.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)