Mauli

499

ISBN 978-81-89602-18-5

In the five years following the Anglo-Gorkha war of 1814-16 the officials of the Raj painstakingly survey and map the boundaries between British India and Nepal. Unaware that it now divides the two territories, the Mechi calmly flows southwards from mountain to sea, wending its way in and out of the line of border posts set by men.

More than a century later as the world goes to war with itself for the second time, a young girl goes home after finishing school in Loreto Convent, Darjeeling, fording the Mechi on an elephant to a life in the feudal Tarai along the foothills of the Himalaya.

Immersing herself in the warm embrace of an extended family she hardly remembers, she rediscovers the bliss of pastoral Nepali life and language in dances and festivals, markets and fairs. But she also encounters, endures and overcomes adversity, loss and impuissance as a woman in the great upheavals of the fifties, the first birth pangs of modern Nepal. Meanwhile, across the border posts, unshackled from two centuries of English rule, a newborn India is only just finding its feet.

Mauli is an account of her journey, first as a girl and then as a woman, set against a transnational ferment and the ironies of a rapidly decolonising world.

Translated from the Nepali by Anmole Prasad
Foreword by Prem Poddar

In the five years following the Anglo-Gorkha war of 1814-16 the officials of the Raj painstakingly survey and map the boundaries between British India and Nepal. Unaware that it now divides the two territories, the Mechi calmly flows southwards from mountain to sea, wending its way in and out of the line of border posts set by men.

More than a century later as the world goes to war with itself for the second time, a young girl goes home after finishing school in Loreto Convent, Darjeeling, fording the Mechi on an elephant to a life in the feudal Tarai along the foothills of the Himalaya.

Immersing herself in the warm embrace of an extended family she hardly remembers, she rediscovers the bliss of pastoral Nepali life and language in dances and festivals, markets and fairs. But she also encounters, endures and overcomes adversity, loss and impuissance as a woman in the great upheavals of the fifties, the first birth pangs of modern Nepal. Meanwhile, across the border posts, unshackled from two centuries of English rule, a newborn India is only just finding its feet.

Mauli is an account of her journey, first as a girl and then as a woman, set against a transnational ferment and the ironies of a rapidly decolonising world.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Badrinarayan Pradhan was born in 1927 and worked as a teacher for most of his life. He is best known for his Nepali translation of Maxim Gorky’s Mother. He was an educationist, a writer, a political thinker and a committed Marxist who served as a Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) for the Communist Party of India (Marxist) between the years 1984 and 1986 until ill health forced him to retire. He lived in a remote settlement in the Dooars where he dedicated his life to transforming Bagrakote High School of which he was the Headmaster until his retirement. He was the author of numerous monographs, memoirs and stories including Bhumari, Sangat, Kehi Samjhanaharu, Chyakhung Diary 1958 and a Nepali translation of Fa Hien’s Record of Buddhist Countries. He died in 2010.