Nepal – the country of the Buddha and the Mt. Everest

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without – Buddha

What is Greater Nepal

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 8, 2010


BY PHANINDRA NEPALThe medieval Nepal was quite big in size but due to various reasons it went on being fragmented. The reintegration campaign started during 1744 and under the leadership of king Prithvi Narayan Shah in 1774, the campaign had reached as far as Darjeeling in the East. Even after the death of Prithvi Narayan Shah on 10th January 1775, the reintegration campaign continued. While forgoing ahead towards east, the border of Nepal was extended up to Sikkim by 1779. The border in the western front also went on extending. In 1790, the campaign crossed the Mahakali River and reached Gadwal in 1804 and by 1805, the Nepali Army reached Kangada across the Sutlej River. The Nepali Army succeeded, even if it had to make three years of continued efforts, in taking the Kangada Fort under its sway. In the last battle for Kangada in 1809, the Nepali Army was defeated and forced to return across back to Sutlej. By 1809, the border of Nepal was thus fixed, Sikkim-Jalpaiguri (up to the border of Bhutan in the east and up to Dinajpur, now Bengal in the South) in the east and Sutlej in the west. When the reintegration campaign of Nepal was going on, the British East India Company was also simultaneously moving towards north, west and east colonizing Bengal, Bihar and Awadh to the South of Nepal. This process brought the border of Nepal and East Indian Company to meet together. With the conjoining of borders, dispute between Nepal and the East India Company also started. The British (East India Company) in particular, wanted trade with Tibet through Nepal, but Nepal, which was extended from Sikkim up to Simla, did not allow the British to have this facility. Violating the provisions of the 1801 treaty between Nepal and the East India Company, that if border dispute occurs between the two parties, shall be resolved through peaceful dialogues, the British suddenly declared war against Nepal on 1 November 1814. The war between Nepal and the British continued from 1 November 1814 till 28 April 1815. In the war fought at the main five fronts, Nepal defeated the British at three places in the middle and east and lost at two fronts to the British in the West. Following this war, David Ochtorlony from the side of the British and Amar Singh Thapa from the Nepali side reached a ceasefire through dialogue between the two and made an agreement on 15th May 1815. According to the agreement, Nepal had to cede the land lying between the Mahakali and Sutlej Rivers in the Western front to the British East India Company. But after six and half months on 2nd December 1815, the British side put forward yet another draft treaty, which proposes that Nepal should cede the areas from the Mechi River up to Sikkim and Dinajpur in the East, including all Tarai area to the British East India Company. Nepal, in compulsion signed this Treaty on 4th March 1816. After this treaty, Nepal lost Tarai land, but showed continuous dissatisfaction about this Treaty and assuming that another war with Nepal might ensue, the low land lying between the Koshi and Rapti River was returned to Nepal on 8th December 1816. Long after in 1857, the “Lucknow Mutiny” in the British India was successfully suppressed by the Nepali Army in support of the British, the British government in recognition of the support returned the land lying between the Rapti and Mahakali Rivers to Nepal in 1860, which was ceded to the East India Company according to the treaty of Sugauli (1816). As a result of the Lucknow Mutiny, the East India Company was dissolved and India came under the direct rule of the British Crown. The 1860 treaty, on the return of land between the Rapti and Mahakali, was entered into between Nepal and the Government of United Kingdom. Nepal was given its territories back in two installments, but it has yet to get back its big bulk of territories. The Greater Nepal Movement is an effort to realize the “yet to be returned” territories. With the freedom of Pakistan and India on 14h and 15th August 1947 from the British Empire, the ceded territories of Nepal under the Sugauli Treaty were also freed and this freed territories must now be integrated into Nepal, is the concept of what the “Greater Nepal” is. While India and Pakistan fought against the British Colonization, many Nepalese also took part in the movement. But, as Pakistan and India became free, Nepali territories were annexed in India and East Pakistan. It was a great mistake and an injustice to Nepal. It is a serious mistake on the part of the British Government not to have returned the Nepali territories, on the other, India, which fought more than 90 years against the colonization, not to have realized that the Nepali Territories were also freed together with its freedom is highly immoral. Since, the past 15 years, the Greater Nepal Movement has been continuously going on for the freedom from the unjust acts. Just before a decade, Greater Nepal could not even be talked about, but now this has become a subject of Nepali polity. The Article 8 of both the Treaties signed between Nepal and India on 31st July 1950, and between Nepal and United Kingdom of Great Britain on 30th October 1950 has declared all treaties, engagements and agreements made between Nepal and the British Government as null and void, and in line with the declaration promulgated by the United Nations resolution (1514-XV) in December 1960 with regard to declaring end of all forms of colonization, is a base for the freedom of Nepali territories after India was freed on 15th August 1947. What international law believes is that a treaty entered into between two parties will be cancelled in the absence of one of the parties, and according to this, the Sugauli Treaty cannot be in force after the British Government has left India. From the international instances like Hong Kong and Macau, which are integrated into China, East Timor has been freed from colonialism, has achieved the status of a free state; China to continuously claim sovereignty over Taiwan; annexation of Goa in India by military intervention and Japan not to have given up claim over the Kuril Islands being captured by the USSR, Nepal’s claim over the territories ceded under the Sugauli Treaty is not other than what international laws allow in particular the annexation of areas like Darjeeling- Sikkim-Siliguri and Jalpaiguri which are under Indian Governance; make the border of Nepal meet with that of Bangladesh and Bhutan freeing Nepal for ever from the domination of India, which will have a positive impact on the power equation of the South Asia region itself. If mutual relationship between the concept of Greater Nepal and the North-Eastern States, which are fighting for Free State, can be struck, this movement can take real shape and at the same time this will aspire freedom fighters including that of Kashmir, weakening India. A weakened India will be to the interest of the South Asian region, otherwise the freedom and stability of countries in this region will ever remain threatened.

Source: People’s Review http://www.peoplesreview.com.np/

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