In the Middle Ages, Nepal was also plagued by buffer disease which claimed the lives of millions of people all over the world. There is a history of outbreak of bifurcation in different periods. It is believed that Shitala Maju, who is believed to have survived the cold ashes after the sacrifice, is believed to have survived the epidemic, including bifur. Chakravartendra Malla, the son of King Pratap Malla, is believed to have died of bifur.It is said that Pratap Malla built Ranipokhari in Bikram Sambat 1727 BS to forget the grief of the queen who was drowning in the grief of the death of her son. Many people died. Many had to live with scars all over their faces.
Ran Bahadur feared that the epidemic would kill even the minor Yuvaraj Girwanyuddha. Searching for unaccompanied children, he started chasing his family from the valley. Atkonarayan Temple in Kathmandu (2030 BS). This photo taken by Todd Rugsdale is taken from Sunil Ulak’s collection.According to him, Ran Bahadur Shah had searched for 12-13 year old children in the valley. It was not a big deal to look for such children at that time when there was a small population. ‘ If we look at the history of the migration of Newars from the Kathmandu Valley, we can see the incident of 1854 as an ‘important chapter’.
Here, the question may arise as to why Ran Bahadur Shah expelled only the children who did not have Bifur. Bifur was a deadly disease spread by a virus like Covid-19. Scientists estimate that about 200 viruses have been identified so far. Only one of these viruses has been defeated by medical science, that is – beefer. A person who has been cured of the virus once does not get the same virus again or again, and even if he does get infected, he becomes seriously ill.Siddharth Mukherjee, a US physician and medical researcher, recently wrote in The New Yorker: “Until 1100, Chinese health workers believed that people who did not die of bipolar disorder could not be affected by another disease. They kept a list of survivors in the buffer. The next time the epidemic broke out, the responsibility for treatment rested with those on the list. ‘The same concept is also prevalent in Kathmandu, as indicated by Ran Bahadur Shah’s order.
However, those who were not affected by the disease were at higher risk of becoming infected. That is why when Ran Bahadur deported the country, he chose children who were not in trouble. Perhaps when he was sent out, he hoped that there would be no more epidemics in Kathmandu and that his son would be saved.Some historians have said that Ran Bahadur tried to save the children from the epidemic by sending them out of Kathmandu. However, this epidemic was not only in Kathmandu. Wherever they went, there was little chance of survival. From this, Ran Bahadur’s main goal is to save his own son.
According to him, the families evacuated from Kathmandu had moved to the eastern region carrying their children through Bhaktapur, Banepa, Dolalghat, Tamakoshi and Bhotekoshi. Some of the families crossed the Marsyangdi and went west, he says, ‘carrying one child on their backs, holding the other in their arms, and guiding others, they made the long trek up the mountain.’ Joshi goes on to say, How many died? They would mourn by burying the dead on the road or in the river. ‘The Newar-language folk song is compiled in British author Siegfried Lenhard’s 1974 song ‘Sons of Nepal: An Anthology of Newar Folk Songs and Hims’. Ulak has a good collection of old photographs from different parts of the country including Kathmandu and Pokhara.
Hemraj Shakya’s book ‘Shree Swayambhu Mahachaitya’ also describes Shitala Maju, who is worshiped in medieval Kathmandu as the ‘Goddess of Healing’. The date of deportation of Newars from Kathmandu is slightly different. The incident took place around the month of Jeth-Asar 1858, Vikram Sambat. She wrote, “After the outbreak of Tafkai (Bifar) escalated, Rani Rajarajeshwari requested her husband Ran Bahadur Shah to take some measures for the protection of the child.”Hemraj writes, “After such a request, Ran Bahadur called his brothers and sisters in June-July 1858 and announced the expulsion of all the unaccompanied children in the state.”