Introducing Nepal as a civilisation
Kundan Kumar Jha
History of Nepal has often been limited to its independent identity and that to the land of brave warriors. The origination of modern Nepal after unification turned it into a kingdom which did not encourage the state to own glorious past of ancient culture, traditions, and religion and only ended up imposing the glory of the then ruling dynasty of Nepal. The modern social structure after unification not only failed to own the past culture and tradition but at the same time also lost an opportunity to promote Nepal to the universe as a civilisation that has transformed socio-economic and religious values of entire world and especially South Asian community.
Historians and researchers have failed to emphasise upon greater history of the land which has offered the entire world with distinct set of ideals. The establishment of democracy helped gain internal independence as ruling monarch gave away all the power back to people’s representatives. This called for greater integration which led to cultural and religious assimilation of diverse Nepali community. Today Nepal is a secular and republican state but still a lot has to be done in order to institutionalise diverse socio-economic structure of the society.
The greatest of civilisations like Greek, Roman and Huang He have often been portrayed as significant contributors to world system. History of Nepal is no different as its contribution to the entire universal system is of greatest value. The ancient Mithila culture which flourished in the then independent territory of Janakpur adds to the glory of Nepal. It is not only significant as dominant culture of particular region but its effects and realisation can still be felt in various regions of India.
Birth of Sita as daughter of King Janak only adds to the value of the land which further became even more diversified after marriage of lord Ram to Sita. The culture of Mithila plays a vital role in defining structure of many societies and will remain central to establishment of Nepal as civilisation.
The unique feature of any great civilisation is its contribution towards the changing social structure. When Gautam Buddha was born in Lumbini in 563 BC the world hardly knew that a big change in the social structure of many societies is just around the corner. Buddhism today accounts for fourth largest population group in the world with over 500 million followers.
The preaching of Buddha was guided by sense of friendship, belonging and spreading prosperity to the world. Every year thousands of people from around the world visit Lumbini to pay tribute to the land where Buddha was born. Buddhism propagated into various corners of the world but it especially left great influence in many South Asian states.
One of the most significant events in the history of Nepal-China cultural relations was the introduction of Buddhism into China in AD 67. The emperors of Tsin dynasty worked to promote Buddhist ideals by constructing monasteries. It is also believed that Nepali Buddhist scholar Budhhabhadra visited China in the fifth century.
The contribution and impact that Buddhism has today signifies Nepal’s contribution to the world that has brought together people from diverse background to believe in shared destiny. When Bhrikuti, daughter of king Anshuverma, was married to king of Tibet Tsrong Sang Gampo Nepali culture and belief pattern flowed into the then autonomous Tibet. It holds special significance as it not only brought together with it opportunities of trade and services into Nepal but also allowed exchange of culture that promoted Nepali way of living into another influential civilization.
When Araniko, the famous architect of Nepal, was invited to China he was successful to spread Nepali art and architecture to the world. Hindu devotee from around the world travel to visit Lord Pashupatinath in order pay tribute to lord Shiva.
History reflects how rich Nepal has been in various social, cultural and religious domains but yet it has failed to promote itself as a great civilisation that has contributed immensely to the world. New research and facts can only help the Nepali state to introduce itself as a prominent civilisation in the world.
The government must focus on promoting such glorious past of Nepal which will attract tourists and investment from around the world into the country. The identity of Nepal must be realised by the nation itself before it starts to promote and introduce itself as a civilisation in the universal system.
The writer is pursuing Masters in International Relations and Diplomacy from Tribhuvan University.
Published on 27 October 2017