MARTYRS, MARTYRDOM AND MARTYR LAKHAN THAPA

[But we have not been able to hear of any treatment from the nation on the part of Lakhan Thapa Magar - even though the government, on February 23, 2000 has already declared him the martyr of Kingdom of Nepal and approved a grant of 0.7 million rupees to construct his bust size statue and construct a memorial park in Gorkha Kahule Bhangar where he was hanged. We believe the history of Martyr Lakhan Thapa has to be told to every new generation.]

By  B K Rana

January 29 was martyr’s day this year. In memory of the beloved martyrs formal programmes were organized across the country. The prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba himself led a procession that was marking this year’s Martyr’s Day in the streets of the capital and paid tribute placing a wreath under the statue of four martyrs: Ganga Lal, Shukra Raj Shastri, Dharm Bhakta and Dasharath Chand, whose marble statues you can see from a distance at the Martyr’s Gate in Kathmandu. One of the former prime ministers – Girija Prasad Koirala was reported to have garlanded his brother B. P. Koirala’s photo, however, the media did not mention whether he had also garlanded the martyrs photos there in the function. B. P. Koirala’s contribution to the growth and development of democratic Nepal is unsurpassable. He also deserves quite a good respect from the nation and  which is also being offered on his anniversaries each year.

Those four martyrs were put to death for they had, in 1940, campaigned against the autocratic tyrannical Rana Regime ten years before the birth of democracy in Nepal in 1950. And unfortunately as usual, we did not hear of anything at the national level this year also about the sacrifice of the first martyr of nation - Lakhan Thapa Magar who had already started a movement against the Ranas in 1876 and therefore was subsequently hanged by Junga Bahadur Rana, then de-facto ruler, along with Ajay Singh Chumi Magar and a number of other martyrs also. Each year, the last week of January brings back fond memories of our beloved martyrs and the nation also celebrates Martyr’s Day in a suavely fashioned poise. Those four martyrs were remembered and paid homage at the national level and few others were also remembered. But we have not been able to hear of any treatment from the nation on the part of Lakhan Thapa Magar - even though the government, on February 23, 2000 has already declared him the martyr of Kingdom of Nepal and approved a grant of 0.7 million rupees to construct his bust size statue and a memorial park in Gorkha Kahule Bhangar where he was hanged. We believe the history of Martyr Lakhan Thapa has to be told to every new generation. His biography should also be included in school curricula in order to groom our children to live and die for the cause of the country as the martyr did there 126 years ago, however, some biased historians have not done justice towards the martyr. We do not believe in those prejudiced historians’ anecdotes. And, this year also the country failed to treat the first martyr what he deserved there from the nation. This is what has been the convention here even after we have successfully restored democracy in 1991.

Jung Bahadur Kunwar who later declared himself a ‘Rana’ had been able to rise to power after killing hundreds of courtiers in the dreadful event of Kot Massacre in 1846. The gruesome killing of general Abhi Man Singh Rana Magar followed the Kot Massacre at the present Hanuman Dhoka area in Kathmandu, however, the courtiers were gathered there as the queen had ordered them to fall in so that she would know the killer of her paramour, general Gagan Singh, who was shot dead the day before by Jung himself as historians write. Jung Bahadur Rana ruled Nepal for almost 30 years. He began the Rana family rule of terror that lasted 104 years in the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal.

The Rana regime was black day in the history of Nepal. People had suffered much from the Ranas and wanted to get  rid of them. So Martyr Lakhan Thapa initiated peoples’ movement which can better be equated with ‘democratic movement’ in today’s terminology - for the first time in history from Gorkha by organizing peoples in his leadership. We believe his campaign for uprooting Rana tyranny was the first seed of democracy in Nepal that germinated from Gorkha, grew over time with martyrdom of hundreds of martyrs and flowered in 1950. However, the flowered ‘1950 democracy’ could not last long as differences surfaced from within the ruling Nepali Congress Party following which King Mahendra captured it in 1961.

After 30 years in 1991, democracy has been restored here with peoples’ popular movement. Now, it has been 12 years that we have democracy in the country. But, it seems to have been lacking luster. The fruit of democracy has not yet reached to the people. Apparently, democracy has been portrayed as ‘begging bowl’ of political leaders only. Peoples’ aspirations have been totally ignored. With these leaders’ incompetence and corrupt attitude, the country has fallen under extremely difficult circumstances in history. People have lost faith in the political leaders. In the meantime, the ruling Nepali congress party has not been able to work in the best interest of the peoples in the country. Its bosses - the party president, prime minister and some other senior leaders seem busy in their loggerheads or vying to topple each other in other words. They are portraying the country as it used to be in 1961, nevertheless, the possibility of kidnapping the democracy is far from reality. Additionally, the opposition leaders have also been dolls at the hands of quick-men. Their roles have been diminished to a zero mark. Maoist insurgency has not yet come under control - the ruling party-heads are committing it publicly. We have grossly devalued the blood of beloved martyrs and their martyrdoms. The fruit of democracy should reach to every one of us in the country. Every one should prosper and enjoy the value and spirit of democracy that the martyrs had dreamt.

 

 

@ People’s Review Weekly(April 07, 2002)

Kathmandu, Nepal.

_______________________________________

This text below is added today on February 14, 2018
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: B. K. Rana & Langhali Pariwar Cambridge <langhalipariwarcambridge@gmail.com>
Date: 2018-02-14 22:08 GMT-05:00
Subject: शहीद लखन थापाको वास्तविक इतिहास लेखिकन विद्यालयस्तरको पाठ्यक्रममा समावेश गर्न नेपाल सरकारलाई अनुरोध गर्नु पर्यो
To: Nabin ​Magar, Ganga Thapa, Gyanendra Pun, Kamala Thapa, Raksha Raika 

श्री नेपाल मगर संघ, केन्द्रीय समितिका मित्रजनहरु तथा,

अन्य विज्ञबन्धुहरु, 

आज फागुन २ गते । नेपालभर आज शहीद लखन थापा दिवस मनाईयो । एउटा दरिलो लिखित इतिहासको अभावमा शहीद लखन थापालाई अझैपनि विद्वान लेखकहरुले आफ्नै ढंगमा लेख्ने गरेकाछन्  र  विषयवस्तु विवादित बनिरहेकै  छ ।

यस सन्दर्भमा यहाँ केही लेख्नु वान्छनीय देखिन आयो । 

( हिजोको कान्तिपुरमा छापिएको पृर्व प्रधानमन्त्री बाबुराम भट्टराईको लेखको  लखन थापा मगरको विद्रोहबाट सुरु भएको नेपाली समाजको लोकतान्त्रीकरणको प्रक्रिया  भन्ने कुरामा केही थप्नु परेकोले यो फेरी ईमेल लेखिएको छ ।) 

Oxford University का प्रा. David Gellner द्वारा सम्पादित  RESISTANCE AND THE STATE, Nepalese Experiences - 2007 नामको किताबमा एकजान फ्रान्सेली विद्वान Marie Lecomte-Tilouine को  शहीद लखन थापाका बारेको  अनुसन्धान पत्र पनि प्रकाशित छ । उनको  सो अनुसन्धान पत्रमा शहीद लखन थापालाई   Rebel King (विद्रोही राजा) लेखिएको छ । तर यस्तो  कुरा होईन भनिकन डा. हर्ष बहादुर बुढा र मैले पनि पहिल्यै नै केही लेखेकै हो ।  ती फ्रान्सेली विद्वानले पदम जंग राणाको किताबको सबैजसो हरफहरु सारेर त्यसै  आधारमा सो कुरा लेखेको स्पष्टै छ ।यसबारेमा Jan 31, 2011 देखि  Feb 1, 2011 मा हामीले पनि ईमेल बहस गरेका थियौं (कृपया तल पढ्नुहोस) । 

त्यो  अनुसन्धान पत्रमा लखन थापालाई सम्बत् १८३३ सालको पुस महीनामा फाँसी  दिइएको भन्ने पनि लेखिएको छ । र, यो कुरा कुन आधारमा लेखियो त्यो स्पष्ट बुझिदैन ।

लखन थापालाई फाँसी दिइएपछि उनको श्रीमतीले  "तेरो पनि आजको सातै दिनमा मृत्यू होस्  जंगे"  भनेर श्राप दिएको भन्ने एउटा किंवदन्ती छ । जंग बहादुर राणा शिकार खेल्न गएका बेला पत्थरघाटमा  मर्दछन । षडयन्त्रमा मारिन्छन वा बाघको झम्टाईमा परेर मारिन्छन !? ! त्यो कुरो स्पष्ट खुल्दैन कहि कतै । (हेर्नुहोस डायमण्ड शमशेरको उपन्यास - सेतो बाघ । ) 

जंग बहादुर राणाको मृत्यू फेब्रुअरी २५, १८७७ मा (जे जसरी नै भएकोभए पनि)  भयो। यसै आधारमा, (प्रामाणिक इतिहासको अभावमा) लखन थापाको पुण्यतिथि, जंग बहादुर राणा मर्नु  भन्दा ७ दिन अघि अर्थात्   फागुन २ गते भनेर नेपाल मगर संघ, केन्द्रीय समितिले किटान गरिवरिकन उनको शहादतको सम्झना गरिनु , मिलेकै देखिन्छ, ठीकै लाग्छ ।  

तर, विभिन्न लेखकहरुले लखन थापाका बारेमा धेरै कुराहरु फरक फरक ढंगले लेखेका छन् । जस्तो कि : उनको बाल्यकाल, पठनपाठन, जागिरका आदि इत्यादी कुराहरु । 

यसमा अब  नेपाल मगर संघ, केन्द्रीय समितिका मित्रजनहरुले छलफल चलाउनु पर्यो र  शहीद लखन थापाको वास्तविक इतिहास लेखिकन विद्यालयस्तरको पाठ्यक्रममा समावेश गर्न नेपाल सरकारलाई  अनुरोध गर्नु पर्यो  । हुनत  संघको  केन्द्रीय समितिको  आजको प्रेश विज्ञप्ति पनि यो कुरा पनि आएकै  छ ।

धन्यवाद !

_______________________________
B. K. Rana & Langhali Pariwar Cambridge,
​(Adviser, Nepal Magar Association, Central Committee,
​​
Kathmandu)​

Cambridge, Massachusetts
​, 02138

United States of America.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Tilak Shrestha 
Date: Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 7:38 PM
Subject: RE: शहीद लखन थापामगर 'क्रान्तिकारी राजा' थिए वा थिएनन् ?
To:
​ B. K. Rana & Langhali Pariwar Cambridge 

I am not sure if Lakhan Thapa would qualify as a martyr. To be a martyr one has to fight for people, against tyranny and for democracy. If Lakhan Thapa was fighting just to carve out a kingdom for himself or just to replace Jung Bahadur, then how is he different from any other despot wanna be? Just because he happened to be a Magar does not mean he should be a Magar hero. Today, our view of a person need be as per democracy, nationalism, ethnic equality, multi-culture and multi-lingual nation. Evidently he was the part of the same Gorkhali army of Shah/Rana. If we discount his claim of divine empowerment, he may as well be misleading Magar people for a rebellion. There must be more research on his life and the causes of rebellion, to appropriately evaluate his contributions. 

Thanks, 

Tilak Shrestha, Ph.D
Alabama, USA

 ---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Dirgha Raj Prasai 
Date: Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 8:41 PM
Subject: Re: A serious comment on Marie Lecomte-Tilouine's paper on Martyr Lakhan Thapa?
To: B. K. Rana & Langhali Pariwar Cambridge 

Lakhan Thapa Magar was not a King. He had gone to attack the Muslim King Bajir Shaha in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India at  his young age, some 18-20 years, with Junga Bahadur Rana.
We can honour him as a brave nationalist but not as a King. It is my sincere request - please do not try to turn the course of the history around.

Thank you.

Dirgha Raj Prasai,
Cultural Analyst
Kathmandu, Nepal.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From:Jyoti Thapa
Date: Tue, Feb 1, 2011 at 7:01 AM
Subject: Re: A serious comment on Marie Lecomte-Tilouine's paper on Martyr Lakhan Thapa?
To: B. K. Rana & Langhali Pariwar Cambridge 
             
There seems to be a comment on why Lakhan Thapa cannot be hailed as a martyr. Well, going by Jung Bahadur Rana's family claim of descending from Chittore, India, then Lakhan Thapa (indigenously of the region); rebelling against the tyrant for the greater cause of the country and people and subsquently getting hanged to death for which, does certainly qualify him to be a martyr.

Also if Dravya Shah can become king by winning a race why can’t anyone else become king by organizing people and gaining power thereby ? In any case there were scores of kingdoms and kings in those days in India and Nepal also for example: the twenty-two and twenty-four principalities (बाईसी चौबिसी राज्यहरु). Can’t a rebel become a king, martyr and both ?

One more question: why would have Nepal government needed to keep King Tribhuvan’s statue sitting just over the heads of those much admired four martyrs of the country ? If being shot dead while peeping out from the window, during the recent people’s movement, can qualify hosts of people to martyrdom; then why not Lakhan Thapa’s revolt against the despot and death there after by hanging ?

Thank you,

Jyoti Thapa Mani,
Deharadun, Uttarakhand,
India.