10 Rare Nepali Historical Facts You Were Never Taught In School

There’s an air of infamy around the subject of history — laypeople simply see it as being dull and dry. Perhaps our educational system is to blame for this bad reputation. After all, it has a habit of condensing hundreds of years of human emotions, social progression and legal reforms into mere names, dates, and locations. And in doing so, we miss out on the tiny nuances that make history, especially Nepali history, so fascinating.

So, from tales of love and loss to tortured artists and odd nicknames, here are 10 unsung stories from the pages of Nepali history.

1. Cheating Was A Capital Offense

Back in the 1800s, if you were a Chhetri and you found your wife cheating with a man of a ‘lower caste’, you were legally allowed, even encouraged, to kill the man yourself. As a bonus, you also got to cut off your wife’s nose and expel her from your house. The 1800s were a crazy time.

2. Jaya Prakash Malla Received Assistance From British Troops

During the Gorkhali invasion of Kathmandu, King Jayprakash Malla requested infantry aid from the East India Company in a desperate attempt to save his city. Surprisingly enough, the company answered his calls. In 1776, Captain George Kinloch marched his troops in support of Kathmandu. But before they could reach their destination, the troops were attacked by Gorkhali troops led by Vamsharaj Pande, forcing the Brits to retreat.

3. Parijat Burned Off Her First Four Novels

Better known by her pseudonym Parijat, Bishnu Kumari Waiba is an invaluable gem of Nepali literature. The praise for Parijat’s work echoed from beyond the borders of Nepal too. The translated version of her novel Shiris Ko Phool was translated into English and integrated into the curriculum of the US-based University of Maryland. 

But as painful irony would have it, Parijat’s work managed to impress everyone except Parijat herself. And so, in the fashion of an artist tortured by imposter syndrome, she set ablaze her first 4 novels, turning her years of hard work into ashes.

parijat writer

4. Adolf Hitler Gifted King Tribhuvan A 1939 Mercedes Benz

The Nazi leader gifted the Nepali monarch with a vintage 1939 Mercedez Benz in hopes of swaying the Gorkha troops to his side. Needless to say, the car did little to weaken the allyship between Nepal and Britain.

5. In the 1800s, Nepal Had Its Own Version Of Trial By Combat

The Nepali justice system had a provision for trial by ordeal to resolve civil disputes. For instance, if Ram and Shyam were at odds with one another, the two parties proceeded to Rani Pokhari. In the presence of a court officer, their respective names and cases were written on two different pieces of paper. Each piece was held by two different havildars. After a brief puja session, Ram and Shyam would fully immerse themselves in the pond, holding their breath for as long as they could.

If Ram rose from the water before Shyam did, Ram’s paper was destroyed. The surviving piece of paper was then carried to the court, and Shyam’s name was read aloud, proclaiming him to be the winner of the case. Justice wasn’t just served, it was splashed.

6. King Surendra Was Nepal's Joffrey Baratheon

And if we are going to draw parallels with Game of Thrones, it’s worth noting that Nepali history had its own version of Joffrey Baratheon as well. As a young prince, Surendra Shah is reported to have publicly tortured and mutilated both animals and humans for nothing but sadistic gratification.

7. Amar Singh Thapa Had A Nepalified Nickname For East India Company

Globally, the infamous East India Company was known as John Company. But Amarsingh Thapa and his circle of friends Nepalified the name and referred to them as ‘Jan Kampani Bahadur.’

8. Nepal’s Pioneering Feminist Committed Mass Suicide With 67 Of Her Loyal Followers

Forget history. Read about her story.

Yogmaya Neupane

Rani Pokhari Is Holier Than You Think

Built in 1670, Rani Pokhari is a symbol of both love and loss. The death of their young son sent King Pratap Malla and Queen Ananta Priya spiraling into an agonizing period of grief. The King soon recovered, but the Queen never did.

So, to soothe the pains of his Queen, the King decided to build an artificial pond unlike anything seen before. And to bestow a divine status upon the pond, the King spent 4 years collecting water from the 51 holiest sources, from Gosainkunda and Bagmati to Ganga and Vishnumati.

Jung Bahadur Rana Spent £33,000,000 On A British Sex Worker

Here’s how the story goes.

See? History is as interesting as it gets. Meanwhile, let us know your favorite historical facts in the comments section below, and make sure to follow Yeti Yap for more of such content.

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