Merina Pradhan

Kathmandu

Map is a means of information that helps to understand the geographical area and its boundaries. It overcomes the limitation of textual description of any geographical area, its borders and locations. ‘Maps of Nepal’, by Dr B R Aryal and Dr VM Inchley strives to spread awareness about the history, ethnography and linguistic facts of Nepal, .

It details about the ruling dynasties from the period of the ancient Gopal dynasty to the modern Shah dynasty. It also gives information on the various features of Nepal, the Nepali language marking the geographical areas according to their linguistic variation. Despite the fact that the authors are not professional historians, the contents of the book gives textual and visual information in the form of maps about the earlier and later phases of Nepali history.

It has been divided into three main sections. The first describes the ancient, middle and modern periods of Nepal in accordance to the maps of those periods. The authors have included only minimal information about ancient boundaries and places. The history of the Malla period has been described relatively in detail in comparison to other periods, emphasising on the early, middle and later Malla period.

Similarly, under the section on modern Nepal, the history of its unification, conquest of the east, expansion into the west, the Sugauli Treaty and the emergence of the Rana regime has been discussed. The second section deals with the ethnography of Nepal giving the list of the ethnic groups and their geographical locations. The last section deals with the history and dialects of Nepali language. The authors have classified the languages spoken in Nepal into three main groups — Indo-Aryan, Tibeto-Berman and others. However, they have not mentioned the percentages.

The book is successful in stimulating a reason to check its accuracy. The maps presented in the book would have done better with scales. Being amateur historians, the authors have primarily designed the book for laymen. However, the book is equally useful for advanced level research. The cost of the book (Rs150) seems justifiable with its high quality glossy paper and attractive colourful cover. Written in 31 pages, the book will benefit students of Nepal history and others interested in understanding the historical and geographical development of Nepal.