Greater Nepal: In Quest of Boundary
The unification process initiated by King Prithivi Narayan Shah in 1799 B.S., which was also carried on by his son Bahadur Shah after his demise saw the Nepali territory extended to Tista in the east and Sutluj in the west. Then, the East India Company began to eye Nepal, mainly for climatic and strategic reasons. It laid claims on Butwal and Suwraj, which was originally a Magadh state but was ruled by Nepal. Nepal did not submit to the company claims and eventually the British troops attacked Nepal from five different points: Morang, Parsa, Butwal, Deharadun and Sutluj in 1814 A.D.
Nepal defeated the British in three places (Morang, Parsa and Butwal) but lost in two in the far west. Because of the defeat in two major places in the far west, Nepal had no option other than to sign the humiliating Sugauli Treaty in 1816 A.D. As a result, Nepal had to give up more than one third of its territory to the East India Company. After the treaty, Nepal’s territory was limited to Mechi in the east and Mahakali in the west (i.e. to the present state). But what is significant is that when the British left India after 1947 A. D., it did not specify as to who should own those territories. So, those territories were relegated to India by default.
In the year 1950, Nepal and India signed a controversial treaty in which it has been categorically mentioned that all treaties signed hitherto between the two countries have been annulled by this treaty. Thus, by this provision, the Sugauli treaty stands invalid in terms of its legality.
Manoj Pandit, a staunch nationalist and also a director of a documentary entitled "Greater Nepal: In Quest of Boundary", in a 100 minutes long cinematic exploration argues that the territories seized by the East India Company lawfully belongs to Nepal and should be rightfully returned back.
The film also documents and raises the issue of deliberate border encroachment by India in several parts of Nepal , particularly in Kalapani, Susta, Pyaratal, Bhadrapur (Pashupatinagar) and Kakarbhitta.
The setting of the film is the Anglo-Nepal war that occurred in 1814-15 A. D. that resulted in the humiliating Treaty of Sugauli. As a result, Nepal had to lose more than one-third of its territory to the East India Company, who was ruling India during that time.
The main actors, who have enlivened this documentary, have not forgotten this bitter history, and has a deep urge to explore the great Nepal that once was and have provided the message to the entire Nepalese to rethink of their past glories. Moreover, inspired by the glorious stories of bravery and valor exhibited by our ancestors in the war against the British, the director sets out on a journey to the places where they had actually taken place, (though they are no longer within Nepal's command) and to those territories that had been inalienable part of this country.