Unification of Nepal and pre-unification kingdoms

Feb 2019
14
UK
#1
Nepali unification, though used the same term unification , differed with either Italy or Germany .
It was more of Gorkha expansion than unification . The core objective was to create a multi-ethnic hill empire on the roof of the world , as opposed to the unifying german speaking or italian speaking states.

Its expansion were halted by Chinese in the north, Sikhs in the west and British in the south and the east.
If its pace of expansion were few years quicker , it would have reached Kashmir had not be blocked on that side by the united Sikh empire.

On the other direction , even if British did not step in or never set foot in the subcontinent possessed Raj in alternative timeline, anyone who ruled Nepal or Greater Nepal would be in difficult situation to hold Tarai regions.
There would be contestion and confrontation with any unifed state on the North Indian plain to decide the ownership of the Tarai .
Demographically speaking , be it Mughals , or Marathas or whosoever, any dynasty who ruled the Indo-Ganges plain would be in stronger position.

But if Gorkha kings of Nepal turned its attention to the east in the world British did not arrive in South India and had they overrun Bhutan ,then it would have shared the common border with westward coming Burmese whose invasion forces, in early 19th century, arrived at the Guwahati .
In which case, military confrontation between two expansionist empires was guranteed .

In the North, Gorkha forces might prevailed against Tibetan . But the chances were slim once Chinese involved as it did actually happend. Still it could have grabbed chunk of land in Tibetan southwest without provoking the Qing , but it would bring no actual benefit as those are sparsely populated land with no much to occupy.

Regarding kingdoms and polities before the unification, An Account of Kingdom of Nepal by Francis Hamilton gave great information about kingdoms of Baise rajya and Chaubisi rajya . There were few English books about Kingdom of Lo ( Mustang ) and one about Khaśa kingdom . I wonder is there any other chronicles or regional histories for many of those kingdoms in pre-unified Nepal written in English ?

 
Jan 2019
174
Valencia
#2
Many Nepalis will be uncomfortable hearing this but much of Southern Nepal was actually historically a part of Indian kingdoms that were taken by the British and subsequently gifted to Nepal. Nepalis like to portray their unification as some grand conquest when in reality they were begging the East India Company for a pittance.

Raj Darbhanga lost a heavy amount of its territory to the British who the gifted it to Nepal: Screenshot 2019-08-01 at 17.27.36.png
Source: J. Albert Rorabacher, Bihar and Mithila: The Historical Roots of Backwardness, Routledge, p. 262

Further to this, Nepal was engaged in minor skirmishes with the Bettiah Raj of North Bihar but lost and had to ask the British to intervene. Screenshot 2019-08-01 at 17.31.32.png
Source: Bernardo A. Michael, Statemaking and Territory in South Asia: Lessons from the Anglo-Gorkha War (1814-1816), Anthem Press, p. 44

The Kingdom of Nepal were also devastated by an invasion by the Faujdar of Purnea, Saif Khan, who went raiding into Morang district:
Screenshot 2019-08-01 at 17.36.00.png
Source: Anwarul Haque (1995). "Saif Khan as a Faujdar of Purnia". Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. 56: 240–242

So any claims by Nepali nationalists about their unification campaign should be taken with a grain of salt.
 
Likes: Bharata

Devdas

Ad Honorem
Apr 2015
4,595
India
#3
There is no such thing as unification of Nepal. It was just a multi ethnic empire conquered by Gorkhas. The Terai shares a common history with Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The Northern reaches of Nepal has people ethnically identical to Tibetans. The Pahadis has as much claim on Terai's history (Kapilvastu and Janakpur) as much a Turk has on Byzantine Empire and Constantinople.
 

Devdas

Ad Honorem
Apr 2015
4,595
India
#4
I am of Maithil ethnicity, I find it quite hilarious that Pahadis and Maithils united for Nepali unification on the line of Germany and Italy despite Terai people banned from entering Kathmandu and Nepalese nationalists wanting to close the border to stop Madhesis and Indians from inter marriages. Their hate for Madhesis is akin to Sinhalese dislike for Sri Lankan Tamils.
 
Jan 2019
174
Valencia
#5
I am of Maithil ethnicity, I find it quite hilarious that Pahadis and Maithils united for Nepali unification on the line of Germany and Italy despite Terai people banned from entering Kathmandu and Nepalese nationalists wanting to close the border to stop Madhesis and Indians from inter marriages. Their hate for Madhesis is akin to Sinhalese dislike for Sri Lankan Tamils.
Does a Maithil ethnicity even exist? Its not like they are distinguishable from Bhojpuri or Maghi speakers. They all share common cultural practices like Chhath puja, Kanwariya to Deoghar, same castes etc. Ive never seen a non-maithili Brahmin espouse any Maithil identity.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
26,598
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#6
I've been in Nepal, really a particular society. Sure I had the impression of a mixture and when I went to the Himalayan region I met Tibetans. I was there when there was still a King.

Btw, I met the Kumari Devi in Kathmandu. Now that there is no more a Monarchy, is that "Living Goddess" still venerated? And is she still a young girl from Sakia tribe or the selection has changed?
 

Devdas

Ad Honorem
Apr 2015
4,595
India
#7
Does a Maithil ethnicity even exist? Its not like they are distinguishable from Bhojpuri or Maghi speakers. They all share common cultural practices like Chhath puja, Kanwariya to Deoghar, same castes etc. Ive never seen a non-maithili Brahmin espouse any Maithil identity.
Yes, surely we are related the all Hindi belt people. But the Mithila is a historical region be it Indian part or Nepalese part, the region has a history as old the history of Hinduism and India in this region. The Maithili brahmins from Darbhanga and Madhubani care about Maithili identity, but for rest of us we are the part of Hindi belt region and see our dialects as the part of Hindi only.
The Nepalese are paranoid of Madhesis, the demand for recognition of Hindi as second official language by Madhesis is highly frowned upon. The Terai has no link with Pahadis, Buddha was born in Madhesh in the part of greater Awadh.
 
Likes: Dewal

Similar History Discussions