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A Monumental Legacy

Jagat S. Mehta

Edited by A.S. Bhasin
Geetika Publishers, New Delhi, 2005, Set price Rs. 6000.00


This is a monumental work; it could not be fully compensated monetarily for the years of labour which were fired primarily by commitment to historicity. Since he retired 14 years ago, I have seen Bhasin, day in and day out, hard at work in the library of the India International Centre, reading, compiling, photographing, and obviously worrying that material of importance, including meaningful public comment might get omitted; there were only occasional breaks when he could be seen at his favourite table in the cafeteria. He had obviously banished all competing social interests. This is the real stuff of a true academic mind.   Bhasin’s previous compilations show the magnitude of the task to which he has been dedicated in a single-minded way over these years. Partition: Some Called it Partition, Some Freedom, Last 75 days of the Raj (1998) India-Bangladesh 1971-2002 (5 volumes) India-Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan Ethnic Conflict (5 volumes) India’s Foreign Policy 2004 and 2005 India in Sri Lanka: Between the Lion and the Tigers   The five volumes on Nepal-India and Nepal-China relations is probably his magnum opus. The list of documents continues seriatim from Vol. 1 and the last item in Vol. V is 1501 at page 3584. Incidentally, significantly it is an editorial in Rising Nepal dated 5 December 2003, which carries an appreciative comment on two separate agreements on China’s aid for development activities.   Bhasin has not taken the easy path of putting together these documents chronologically but classified them subject-wise for easy reference. Vol. I, Section 1 starts with an item entitled “Nepal is a sovereign independent state”. It is the text of a reply dated 22 July 1949 from General Bijay Shamsher, Director General, Foreign Affairs to a note from the Chairman of the Committee on the Admission of New Members in the UN organization. The Committee had sent the text of the resolution it adopted on 26.5.1949 and enclosed the Secretariat paper and the record of the relevant proceedings. The Nepalese reply offers comments and amendments on the Secretarial paper. The six enclosures give texts of previous treaties of Nepal, notably the treaty with the British Indian Government signed on 23rd December 1923. It also contains the text of the treaty of Sewgolie of 1815 with the East India Company and the 1792 treaty following the defeat of Nepal by China, the 1856 treaty after a victory over Tibet and the 1860 post-mutiny treaty, which was a sort of reward to the Rana oligarchy for assistance in the suppression ...

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