Wednesday Aug 17, 2022
Wednesday Aug 17, 2022

Remembering Jaya Prithvi Bahadur Singh: Nepal's global personality

2021 Aug 23, 14:25, Itahari
Jaya Prithvi Bahadur Singh (Bajhangi Raja) Photo Source: Jaya Prithvi Bahadur Singh Facebook Page

Born on 7 Bhadra 1943 BS at Bajhang district of present day's Sudurpashchim Province of Nepal, Jaya Prithvi Bahadur Singh is a known name in Nepal.

Today marks his 114th birth anniversary. During his exile in the south Indian town of Banglore, he breathed his last some 81 years ago on 1 Ashoj 1997 BS. He was just 63 years old at that time.

In Nepal, Jaya Prithvi Bahadur Singh is praised for his educational, linguistic, social, cultural, and entrepreneurial reforms and developments. He was even a first batch of journalists at Gorakhapatra, the country's first newspaper. As a descendant of Bajhangi Raja, the king of Bajhang, Jaya Prithvi did not show autocratic characteristics, as would be the case of other monarchs during his time.

These days, a municipality and a highway are named after him. There are many others names associated with his name in various parts of Nepal respecting his great deed during the 20th century.

However, not much is discussed about his global personality as his identity is mainly focused on the boundary of Nepal. Here are five must-know things to peep into the global brand Jaya Prithvi had made of himself during his lifetime.

Invitee at US President-hosted world faith congress

Even these days, when it comes to philosophy from the Indian Sub-Continent, philosophers from India are always in a dominant position. It was Jaya Prithvi who was an outstanding philosopher and thinker during the 20th century making a global appeal. One of the examples of such magnetic appeal of Jaya Prithvi is his presence at the World Fellowship of Faith which was inaugurated on 27 August 1933. The event was organised by 31st US President Herbert Hoover.

Jaya Prithvi made headlines among various newspapers of the US. According to a research booklet titled 'A Humanist in life and death' by Dhan Bahadur Lama which details about 'biographical account' of Jaya Prithvi, New York Times, and Evening Journal, among other US newspapers, had covered his arrival. On 28 July of 1933, New York Times wrote, ''In the inaugural ceremony of the world fellowship of faith on 27 August, Jai Prithvi Bahadur Singh will be a personality to address the conference, who will be a personality of interest.''

Likewise, on 2 August of 1933, Evening Journal wrote, ''Prithvi Bahadur Singh is not a religious person, but he has own philosophy and he claims it as 'Humanism'.''

Likewise, on 24 September 1933, another headline was made in New York Times about Jaya Prithvi. It was about a luncheon given in his honour which headlined, 'Indian Prince Guest at Luncheon Here': Threefold Movement Honors Raja Jai Prithvi Singh and Dr. Shankar'. The news read, '' The need for economic, political, social and religious cooperation throughout the world was the keynote of address at a luncheon in Town Hall Club yesterday in honor of Raja Jai Prithvi Singh and Dr. Shankar, delegates from India to the World Fellowship of Faiths at Chicago.''

Only Nepali to have been featured at Tagore's famed book

In 1913, Rabindranath Tagore of India won Nobel Literature Prize becoming the first Asian to receive that prestigious award. In 1931, on the occasion of the 70th birthday of Tagore, a book titled 'The Golden Book of Tagore: A Homage to Rabindranath Tagore from India and the World in Celebration of His Seventh Birthday'. The historic book was edited by Ramananda Chatterjee and included messages from global personalities. From Nepal, it was only Jaya Prithvi to have been urged to put a message for Tagore.

On page 121, Jaya Prithvi has written a short and sweet message to Tagore, where he has written, ''Please accept Humanistic Club's and my hearty congratulations on your seventieth birthday. May you live long to see humanity appreciate and practice your cherished ideal of the world as one big happy family.''

First Nepali philosopher invited to give lectures all over the world

If we are to search Nepali philosophers invited for lectures in Europe even in the 21st century, we find none. Interestingly, it was Jaya Prithvi who was invited for lecture series throughout Europe in 1929. He was on a Europe tour from March 25 to September 4 of that year. He gave lectures at various European capitals and major cities including Geneva, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest, Warsaw, Paris, London, among others.

Jaya Prithvi, sadly, was barred from entering the Soviet Union capital Moscow fearing his idea could hamper the communist ideology of one of the superpowers. Jaya Prithvi, however, wrote a message of peace in the name of the Russian people. He handed over the letter to the Soviet Union embassy in Warsaw of Poland on 3 June 1929.

Besides Europe, Jaya Prithvi had toured other parts of the world including for spreading his message of peace and philosophy of humanism.

Anti-war campaigners in various parts of the planet

News of 30 Magh 1992 BS shows his tour to Africa. A newspaper called Gorkha Sewak of Meghalaya of India, wrote, ''According to the news arrived via post, Jai Prithvi Bahadur Singh of Nepal is now in Abyssinia. There is nobody except him in the country of blacks in Abyssinia. Before this, he was in Japan and as the war between Italy and Abyssinia broke out, he arrived there. He had great compassion for the blacks. He also invited two doctors and four nurses from Japan. He is determined to assist the war-affected Abyssinian at the best of his effort''.

The word Abyssinia is an older name of the Ethiopian Empire of Africa. According to a research booklet 'A Humanist in life and death' by Dhan Bahadur Lama, Jaya Prithvi was arrested there and held as a war detainee. Nevertheless, the British had mediated for his release. Jaya Prithvi was always against war, he supported war victims wholeheartedly whenever, and in whatever way he could in his capacity.

Title of second Gautam Buddha from Nepal

According to a book titled 'Shantika Upaya' written by Research Academia for Humanism and Jai Prithvi Bahadur Singh (RAFHAJ), when Jaya Prithvi passed away on 1 Ashoj 1997 BS, he was called 'Second Gautam Buddha' of Nepal. Some newspapers of India, including The Hindu, referred to him as 'Second Gautam Buddha' in their editorials for his activism through Humanistic Club, journalism through Humanist magazine and the likes, philosophy of peace through three volumes of Humanism and philanthropy through his tours in war zones, among others. 


Jaya Prithvi Bahadur Singh Bajhang District Sudurpaschim Province Exile journalist Gorkhapatra World Fellowship of Faith Humanist in life and Death New York Times Rabindranath Tagore Soviet Union Gautam Buddha
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