Nepali Times
Back at Sundarijal >12

The winter and his incarceration drag on during BP's third week in detention. He is in a somewhat better frame of mind now, thinking more about keeping body and soul together with good food and tobacco. BP feels that the king's take on foreign relations is unacceptably anti-Indian because, while Nepal is always and unquestionably important to India, for China it is simply a bargaining chip. Every fortnight Nepali Times brings you extracts from BP's unpublished diaries, handwritten in English.

22nd January 1977

We had, perhaps the coldest night of the season. The whole compound is covered with heavy frost. The sun appeared at about 10AM, GM puts a Kotara of water for birds in the open. In the morning a thin crust of ice is formed. Today a thick crust was formed. But there has been no snow at all yet on the hilltops.

Today being Saturday there was no newspaper supplied to us, and there is no expectation of anything happening. Surprisingly however, Chinese food, fruits, cheese came from GM's house. Perhaps his daughters had come to the gate with Mangalaji with these articles. They have bought two cigars for me. A tin of tobacco has also been bought for me but it has been sent to army HQ along with an alarm watch which GM had sent for security. I don't know what they will scrutinise. In their overcautiousness, lest we get clandestine message from outside, they would like to see if the tin of tobacco and the timepiece contain anything objectionable. When I have got cigars all right, then this non-delivery of tobacco is not meant that smoking wouldn't be allowed inside the detention camp. Mangalaji has also bought a thick sweater type ganji, but since it is too big for GM I have taken it for my use. GM thinks that the cotton sweater is meant for me, otherwise Mangalaji wouldn't have brought a sweater to suit my size. Anyway, it is a very warm thing and comfortable. In the evening we had a good Chinese dinner-Chowmein, fried prawn, sweet and sour pork. There was some curd also, but we have kept it for tomorrow's lunch.

Everyday the pile of laundry increases. I can't do the washing because the water is unbearably cold and soap doesn't wash off soon. We have a very small kettle meant for boiling water for tea. Hence hot water is not available in sufficient quantity. My clothes become dirty soon, because I rub mustard oil everyday all over my body.
I have started taking vitamins and minerals capsules sent by doctor. He wants my stool sent for examination before he will prescribe medicine for my dysentery. He has sent a disposal envelope for the purpose. Tomorrow I will send my stool.

23rd January

We are informed that in view of the inadequacy of food allowance of Rs 12/- it has been decided to raise it to Rs 14/-. Sent stool for pathological exam. My mood is a little better today. I did some exercise, asan pranayam and bathed. I take scrub bath everyday at 10:30 for about an hour when I rub mustard oil over my body-when there is sun. I don't know if long stay in the sun is good, for me. I smoked a cigar after breakfast. I am smoking for the first time after having given it up for four months. I have been advised by my Bombay doctor that I should avoid smoking in view of chronic bronchitis, which is producing, emphysema. The doctor had recommended deep breathing to tone up my lungs. I am resuming smoking, but still do it sparingly. I feel the need of smoking sometimes, like in the morning immediately after bed tea and in the afternoon after tea. In prison smoking helps. It helps when there is mental strain or tension. It may be bad for your body all right, but it does good to your soul. At my age I have to take care of my soul more than my body. In jail condition it is the mind that suffers more that the body-hence what keeps the mind soothing and tranquil, even if it may have a bad effect on your body, should be adopted. In order to give up smoking on my doctor's advice I have rotated taking Zarda, which I am now taking in bigger quantity since I am in prison. If I resume smoking, it may be in addition to my new addiction of chewing Zarda. I take a small piece of betel nut occasionally, and a few pills of Jartan. If drinks were provided, they would go splendidly well with detention. As it is I can't even smoke cigars as the price of good ones are prohibitive-Rs 3/- per cigar.

The atmosphere is so cold and the wind is so dry that I sometimes get bleeding from my left nostril. The room heater may also be responsible for the dryness of the air in the room. I, however, shut off the heater before I go to bed [at] about 9PM and put it on again morning at about 4:30.

25th January

(From 23rd of February)
The King has pet propositions-that pertain to foreign relations.

1. Nepal to be accepted as a Zone of Peace.
2. Nepal has inherent right as a land-locked state of access to the sea though India.

Both of these propositions are in themselves unquestionable, but the manner in which they are presented is unpropitious because the impression is that these proposals are moves weighted by foreign elements to create a relationship of perpetual tension between Nepal and India. Moreover they have an anti-India bias. In such a context, to expect that India would accept these propositions would be foolish. The only consequence of these moves would be a long standing embittered relationship between India and Nepal-So on our part we should accept the nationalistic motive of these propositions-accept them in theory and as an ideal to be achieved. But the task to achieve it should be handed over to us-or such elements as the body politic of Nepal that are strictly nationalised, but at the same time are not regarded as anti-India, with whom India can deal with confidence and trust. These elements should also be acceptable to China as being not wholly sold out to India. The crux of the matter is in which the King has to understand, that Nepal is of vital interest for India is not a negotiable commodity-whereas with China it is only a stick to beat India with. If there is a restoration of friendly relationship between India and China, Nepal will certainly be of no interest to China. Moreover, apart from predominant interest for security and other reasons that India has in Nepal, the historical linkage between the two countries has left a built-in Indian influence, greater that any other powers, which we can't wish away. In this situation we have to be very cautious when formulating out policy with India. Unfortunately caution has been thrown to the winds by the makers of foreign policy in recent years. This is a task for which we are eminently suited. This should be impressed upon the King. The qualification an aspirant party should be that- it must be

1. which commands the confidence of the people, and hence can govern with their consent.
2. nationalist in its overall approach and recognised as just inside and outside the country.
3. its home policy must be slightly to the left of the centre
4. must be acceptable to India
5. must not be anti China
6. Our party qualifies for the task, because it meets all the above requirements.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)