Tuesday, 2 March, 2021

Recognise Baldev As First Martyr

Parmeshwar Devkota

Martyrs are those who were killed by the tyrants of a state while fighting for freedom, democracy and sovereignty of people and the country. In our country, as brave and conscious sons and daughters began raising their voices against the despotic Rana and Shah rulers, they were punished mercilessly. Though the sacrifice had begun far earlier, the systematic recording of martyrs began from 1997 BS. That year, martyrs Shukraraj Shastri, Dharma Bhakta Mathema, Dasharath Chand and Ganga Lal Shrestha had to sacrifice their lives. As Shukraraj spoke against the Ranarchy at Indrachowk, he was charged with treason and was hanged at Teku on Magh 11. They all had received martyrdom between Magh 10 and 16 in 1941 AD.
But the trend of observing the Martyrs’ Week started from the year 2008 BS. We are now observing this year’s Martyrs’ Week.
The number of martyrs has increased significantly after the then Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) launched an armed insurgency. Along with martyrs, the persons who had been killed while raising pertinent issues of the common people must be respected. Gopi Chyame, Supati Gurung, Thir Bam Malla, Dr. Kuldip Jha, among others, deserve due respect for sacrificing their life for the sake of people and the nation.
Laxman Singh Thapa of Kahule Bhangar in Gorkha had worked hard from 1927 to 1933 to throw tyrannical rule of Jung Bahadur Rana. He had mobilised the armed force against Jung Bahadur for the first time by changing his name as Lakhan Thapa Magar. He, along with several of his friends, was captured and tortured to death by the forces of Jung Bahadur. Thapa is respected as Nepal’s first martyr.
If you turn to page number 119-20 of the book ‘Baisi Rajyako Etihas’ by Gopinath Sharma, you will find a similar attempt made by Baldev Shah of Achham district much earlier. As Jung Bahadur came to power in Kathmandu in 1846 AD, the forces stationed in Achham started terrorising and torturing local people. So, Shah wrote a letter to Jung Bahadur to ease the atrocities perpetuated by his forces, but the latter did not respond to the former. Then, Shah started a campaign against Jung Bahadur and his forces.
Amid all this, Jung Bahadur paid his visit to Mahakali in 1850 AD for hunting. After his hunting trip, he had to return on a horse back. He came across various persons. Some locals, for the sake of mere eulogy, reported to him that Baldev Shah had long been campaigning against his rule. As Jung Bahadur knew that, he, under the supervision of Colonel Khadga Bahadur Kunwar Rana, formed a three-member squad to kill Shah and bring his head to Kathmandu. Bhawani Singh Swar, Kalu Singh Swar and Rudrabir Swar were in the killing squad.
A member of the squad, Rudrabir impersonated himself as a supporter of Shah and started door-to-door campaign with him.
One evening, Shah wished to have a bath at a stone spout at Kaphalkhet. When Shah bowed down to the spout for washing his head, Swar chopped his head. As directed, the squad brought his head to Jung Bahadur. The team members might have got a hefty reward, but revolutionary Shah has hardly been recognised yet. He should be recognised as the country’s first martyr. 

How do you feel after reading this news?