Dated Lucknow, the 6th March 1903
From: Kadga (Kharga) Shamsher Jang, Rana Bahadur, of Nepal
To: The Hon’ble Sir J J D LaTouche, KCSI, Lieutenant-Governor of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh
Just as I was contemplating to remove myself to the Dehra side owing to the advent of the hot season and to the ravages of the plague here, Mr. L Porter, C S, Commissioner of Lucknow Division, wrote, requesting to see me in connexion with my residence at Lucknow, and to convey to me what I understood to be some instructions of the Government of India orally. But before dwelling upon what he had to communicate, allow me to state briefly what I am, what my present position is, and what is my motive in coming here.
2 I am the eldest surviving member of the Shamsher family of Nepal, of which His Highness Maharaja Chandra Shamsher Jang, Rana Bahadur, is now the most conspicuous representative. Tired of my rather tiresome political life, I now seek rest in British India. I long contemplated retiring from it, that is, after I saw myself deprived of my birth-right by my next younger brother, Maharajah Deb Shamsher Jang, and thought of settling near a holy place. But after Maharaja Deb had in his turn to abdicate and was succeeded by my third full younger brother, the present Maharaja, I again imagined I would keep my connexion with the administration of my country and help him to the best of my ability, as he was always a good and loving brother to me. But a political step taken by His Highness latterly, obviously through the misrepresentation of some designing enemies of mine, opened my eyes to the fact that I could no longer maintain any connexion with the administration of my country consistent with my dignity and position, without endangering them both. Accordingly, I at once made up my mind to retire and lead a sequestered life at some comfortable spot near a holy place, eking out, what I must now call a precarious livelihood, by some productive work, a boon which, so long as I remain aloof from Nepal, I supposed I might easily obtain in a British country where nobody’s freedom was said to be interfered with. But from the “instructions” conveyed to me by Mr. Porter I gather that I am to be denied this boon.
3 Let me now state what were the “instructions” conveyed to me – “In view of the Nepalese conspiracy at Benaras, it is not desirable that Kharga Shamsher should remain in Lucknow or any other place in the United Provinces, so that any attempt of his to cross the frontier may be frustrated”. As regards the recent Nepalese conspiracy at Benaras, I must say, in the first place, that I have nothing to do with it or any member of it; I may be “a brother Deb Shamsher”, but, for the above circumstances (paragraph 2), I would be the last person to join him or his party. Placed as I am, I cannot possibly mix in such conspiracies and plots. No man ever loved his family better than I do, and none has more sincere wish to further its interest; but if I love my family greatly, my devotion to my country is infinitely greater, and this family and this country I have left, and have come to live here as a private gentleman, resigning all my powers, so that my coming here cannot be said to have any such object as the luxury of hatching such insensate plots which must have one inevitable end, and that is utter failure, in a country with such splendid Police arrangement.
4 If my proximity to the Nepal frontier be a matter of objection, the Bengal Government may equally object to my staying in Darjeeling, the only place where we hill-people my reasonably look forward to making a home. Now the Punjab and and Assam only remain in (sic) the Bengal Presidency. But the first objection against the Punjab is that it has no holy place worth the name; the next is it possesses extremes of climate which may not suit us; the third objection is that owing to the dry and arid nature of the country one like me cannot think of sinking money in agriculture; and the last is that life at the hill stations here is more expensive. Against Asam, the first and the greatest objection is its deadly climate, and the last is that it has no great holy place. In the whole of India, the Deccan is now left; but one like me, who has got marriageable daughters, can scarcely think of settling in this part of the country, where there is no family with whom we can possibly contract a matrimonial alliance; and, moreover, I leave it to Your Honour to judge if it is at all an easy matter for one like me, at this time of my life, to renew life among a people whose ways and language are so different from ours; and this is exactly the reason why all Nepalese living abroad as a rule avoid this part of the country. These considerations and not the least that I must live farm from the Nepal frontier, led me think of making my last resting place at a spot near Hardwar, so that I would not only have the benefit of a hill station, but of one of the greatest holy places.
5 With reference to my residence in Your Honour’s Province, Your Honour is aware that all Hindus consider it the greatest religious merit to be able to die at a holy place; your province is the only one which is full of great holy places, and I , being an orthodox Hindu, naturally expect to die at any one of these holy places, and should, indeed, be horrified were I to know that I would not have this boon. I, therefore, most fervently pray that Your Honour will be graciously pleased to grant me my humble prayer by your allowing me to reside in this remotest corner of your province. If, however, Your Honour does not see it possible to allow me this privilege, my life, that is, what remains of it, would be most miserable. But may be that I am taking a very gloomy view of my position, and I may yet hope that my hitherto loving brother will not himself bear to see me in such troubles at this last stage of my existence, and may still allow me to pass my remaining days peaceably, praying constantly to God for his prosperity and welfare; and Your Honour yourself, I hope, will not deny it. In this connexion I have also represented my case to my brother, His Highness the Maharaja.
6 In conclusion, I pray Your Honour to take a merciful view of my case and allow me to live somewhere in the Dehra side, for this season at least, in view of the critical stage of my wife, she being in an advanced state of pregnancy, and there wait the final decision of my brother and the Government of India. I had never an intention to live at Lucknow, but I have been waiting here for the arrival of a portion of my family from Nepal, which my brother, the Maharaja, is going to send. Begging Your Honour’s pardon for troubling you with this big letter on personal matters.
(No. 384-418, Secret E, Foreign Department, September 1903, NAI)