- Sunil Ulak
Jang Bahadur and Chandra Shumsher were two Rana Prime Ministers who went on a visit to England. Their visits added a new dimension as they projected Nepal as a developing nation in front of the Britishers. Both Prime Ministers gave priority to France during their travels. Jang Bahadur even had a meeting with Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, the nephew of Napoleon, who was at the helm during the French Revolution.
After 58 years, the nephew of Chandra Shumsher, during his visit to England, also met with the French President Armand Fallières. Both meetings took place in the port city of Marseille. The vessel “Shree Shree Shree Chandra” on April 25, 1965, docked at the port of Marseille, where the French President met them.
Although Chandra Shumsher’s visit was considered a private tour, the British government had specially invited him, and all expenses were borne by the British government. When representing an independent and sovereign nation like Nepal, his reception and other arrangements were on par with that of a Head of State. They also discussed important agendas, which were later implemented in Nepal.
A few days after the Gai Jatra festival, on Chaitra 25, 1964, Chandra Shumsher left Kathmandu and reached England on Vaishakh 27, 1965. His entourage consisted of 22 family members and high-ranking officials, along with 19 service staff. His brothers Juddha Shumsher and Rudra Shumsher were part of the delegation, along with his sons Mohan Shumsher, Babar Shumsher, Keshar Shumsher, and Singh Shumsher. There were also high-ranking officials and aides like Subba Govinda Prasad Dhungana, Dr. Ratnadas Vaidya, Pandit Kashinath Acharya Dikshit, Principal Vatukrishna Maitra, Bhanchhe Bahuns (Hariprasad Upadhyay, Gaurikant Upadhyay, Kamalakant Upadhyay, Shreekant Upadhyay), photographers Deergaman and Jogman, along with other servants like Jeetman, Jayman Singh, Dhankrishna, Ratnabahadur, Harisharan, Kalu, Harknarsingh, Janaklal, and Sardar Marichman Singh.
The visit of Jang Bahadur and Chandra Shumsher to England had a common theme – they did not consume water touched by foreigners but relied on water from the Gagri. They also brought their own cooks with them. When Chandra Shumsher and his delegation arrived in Marseille on the “Shree Shree Shree Chandra” vessel, they disembarked from the ship, and while unloading their belongings, they were observed by curious French onlookers.
The picture included here is from the port of Marseille. It captures Chandra Shumsher’s belongings being unloaded from the ship while the French onlookers watched in awe. Other Nepali servants can also be seen unloading the goods in the picture.
(Picture – From the 70th Year Anniversary Book of France-Nepal Diplomatic Relations.)