As Nepal has been passing through a long political transition following People’s Movement 2006, the memoir by late Dayarambhakta Mathema, an eyewitness of political changes of 1950, enriches contemporary understanding of a crucial period in Nepal's history.
The revolution of 1951 had brought the 104-year Rana regime to an end. A new political system was established under monarchy. In all the major political negotiations, in India and Nepal, Dayarambhakta Mathema was a main figure, working as one of the trusted advisors of late King Tribhuwan.
Mathema, who knew the ins and outs of the political change as an eyewitness, narrates the political and other scenarios of that period. Mathema was with late King Tribhuwan in his active life as well as in times when he was ill. Tribhuwan died in Switzerland.
Mathema joined the Royal Palace in his early age and saw late King Tribhuwan under the shadow of the Ranas as well as in the parliament following the revolution of 1951. As a close confidante of late King Tribhuwan, Mathema took part in several negotiations with political leaders in India in 1951.
He saw the rules of four successive Kings, Tribhwuan, Mahendra, Birendra and Gyanendra. He was known for his modesty, maintained his respect and regard to monarchs while he was describing the events of his time and association with the kings.
Mathema describes assorted events, including his involvement in the cinema business through the ownership of Jansewa Film Hall and firing in the film hall by some miscreants. In his description of palace politics, contemporary society and power struggle, one can see the transformation of social and political life of the Kathmandu valley. As an eye-witness of the great earthquake of 1935, late Mathema also shares his experience of the earthquake.
Unlike the present crisis, the political transition of 1950 came to an end following the elections for the House of Representatives and promulgation of the new constitution in 1961. However, it did not last long. Mathema had left the Palace in 1960.
Historically, the decade of 1950-1960 was a very significant turning point in Nepal’s political history. With the fall of the Rana Regime in 1950, the democratic history of Nepal began.
The events included the exile of King Tribhuwan to India and ascension to throne of young King Gyanendra as sponsored by Rana rulers, armed insurrection by Nepali Congress and the Delhi agreement. The period was very important.
Following the overthrow of the Ranas, Nepal witnessed a series of political events. Political transition lasted until the formation of a new elected government.
Although many books have been written describing the revolution of 1951 and overthrow of the Rana regime, they do not disclose much about the events and consequences of the revolution.
Based on the second hand and third hand information, several books selectively talk about the events of the 1951 revolution. With the publication of the memoir of late Dayarambhakta Mathema, who served as a private secretary of King late Tribhuwan till his death, an eyewitness perspective to the revolution of 1950 is now available for everyone to see. Mathema has narrated the most important historical events of that era in his memoir.
Mathema joined Royal Palace Service in 2001 BS; he served as a secret messenger of late Tribhuwan. Published seven years after his death, the memoir adds to the historical literature.
Popularly known as Subba Sab, late Mathema was a soft-spoken person of high integrity. Although he retired from the Royal Palace, he spent his entire life maintaining all official secrecy.
Former governor Himalaya Sumsher Rana released the memoir at an event recently.
Promoted to undersecretary in 2007, Mathema was the principal secretary and advisor of King late Tribhuwan. He was promoted as a joint secretary in 2015 BS and served as King Mahendra's advisor. He was promoted to secretary of Royal Palace in 2016 and retired in 2016.
Along with the political events, the book is full of lifestyle of people of Kathmandu and social and other transformations taking place in Nepal.
"This is a very valuable book as late author knew the ins and out of Nepali politics,” says his cousin Dr. Safalya Amatya in the preface.
Mathema’s career started from joining the service in the Royal Palace as a secretary to late King Tribhuwan. However, his career ended as an industrialist.
This book is a narration by an eyewitness of a period of palace intrigues and open society.
Anubhab Ra Anubhuti
Jeevan Yatrako Aitihasik Mod
Experience and Reflections
Historic Journey of Life
By Dayarambhakta Mathema
Price: Rs. 600.00
Published by Daya Foundation