THAKUR CHANDAN SING11 (1887-1968) was a gifted writer, an accomplished journalist, an eloquent orator and a committed freedom fighter. He was a social activist who found a strong parallel and a vicious nexus between the colonial British regime in India and the ruthless Rana regime in Nepal. He had definite socialist instincts that were very often reflected in his long and profound discourses to his organisation he founded viz., the All India Gorkha League. He started and edited very well known Nepali newspapers and profusely contributed to the freedom movement in India. An eminent Indian Gorkha, Thakur the humanist was more vibrant than the political activist who valiantly fought the caste based social structure and rabid communalism that characterised the then India. ,MAHENDRA
P. LAMA (b. 1361), the author of this monograph, is an Associate Professor in the South Asian Studies Division of the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. A development economist by training, Dr Lama has written/edited a number of books and research articles in' various national and international journals. He has also held a number of prestigious positions and is currently associated with a number national and international institutions including Sahitya altadetni and National Book Trust.
When Sahitya Akademi assigned me the task of writing a monograph on Thakur Chandan Singh (1887-1968) in its prestigious 'Makers of Indian Literature' series I was a little sceptical about accepting this assignment both because most of the possible research materials for this monograph had already taken an archival shape and nothing significant had been written on this great Gorkha journalist and litterateur. My scepticism soon turned out to be a formidable challenge to accomplish this assignment as I started collecting and reading the writings of Thakur Chandan Singh himself. Thakur was a gifted writer, an accomplished journalist, an eloquent orator and a committed freedom fighter. He was a social activist who found a strong parallel between a chaotic and exploitative regimes that existed in India and Nepal.
This later developed into a vicious nexus in the colonial British regime in India and the ruthless Rana regime in Nepal. He had definite socialist instincts that very often cropped up during his long and profound discourses to his organisation, viz. the All India Gorkha League. His writings and edited newspapers bear testimony to these aspects of his social commitments, respect for human values and dignity and his astute patriotism. Being an economist by training it was a difficult task for me to dig up the historical documents and to lay hands on original writings of Thakur Chandan Singh. I knew my limitations in terms of time frame and accessibility to at least some of the newspapers edited and published by him.
A small book on Thakur so crisply and deftly written by Magan Pathik of Bhagshu in Himachal Pradesh (1987) gave me what I call today a base from which I took off. Madan Puraskar Library in Kathmandu and Dr. Paras Mani Pradhan Memorial Research Library in Darjeeling are the two institutions where I could get a number of original copies of different newspapers edited by Thakur Chandan Singh. Mr. Kamal Mani Dixit and Mr. Nagendra Mani Pradhan respectively of these two prestigious libraries generously extended whatever academic support I sought from them. I am indeed grateful to them.
Since whatever little had been written on Thakur Chandan Singh was all scattered and to a large extent unorganised, my foremost endeavour was not only to relate, collate and meticulously chronicle them but also to ensure factual correctness. For this, besides the cross references from different sources, I had to engage Mr. Surendra Pratap Sahi in Dehradun and Mr. Jitendra Pratap in New Delhi, sons of Thakur Chandan Singh for a comprehensive interview schedules. I am thankful to both of them for their intellectual assistance.
These constraints along with my professional engagements naturally prolonged my submission of this assignment. I extend my gratitude to the Nepali Advisory Board led by Mr. M.M. Gurung for giving me adequate extra time to complete this assignment. Mr. Saroj Nembang deserves my praise for all the secretarial assistance he rendered. Like my other works while writing this monograph also I drew incessant eternal and intellectual inspiration from our revered Aama late Basant Lata Lama who left us exactly twenty five years ago.
I fondly remember her again on completing this work. This monograph could at most be called a passing portrayal of a figure of Thakur Chandan Singh's stature who deserves volumes for an appropriate and objective appreciation of his contributions to the making of modern India. Thakur the humanist was more vibrant than the political activist. But his political activism was aimed at a very specific and large goal of freeing the vast masses of ignorant, illiterate and poverty ridden people from the vicious dragnets of ruthless regimes. Thakur as a journalist was more serious and poignant about the caste based social structure and the rabid communalism that was promoted by the colonial regime than as a social worker who could only fight at the peripheral level of social disharmony and inconsistencies. In order to understand the essence of Thakur, one has to read all his writings, delve into his contributions to the building of historical institutions and relive the social and political scenarios that prevailed during his lifetime. Because he was a witness to both the climax of the freedom movement as well as the charm of India under transition.
This monograph does not claim to understand Thakur intimately but is only an effort to introduce his multi-dimensional activities and his colourful personality. I am sure someone somewhere will take up this onerous responsibility of an intimate analysis of Chandan Singh Thakur's contributions.
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