Secret Nainital

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Secret Nainital -The Jewel of Jewels in the Crown

HHere is a piece of the secret history of Nainital that is known only to a few Nainital insiders and is probably not published elsewhere (except some of it in my novel – Nude besides the Lake). During the British Colonial period, as the British Empire grew and expanded across the world, other European powers, especially Germany looked on with Jealousy at the increasing clout and prosperity of Great Britain and Ireland. Germany could never hope to duplicate the performance but there was something else it could do. It could win a war with Great Britain in Europe and thereby also become the ruler of the vast British Empire spread across the world. They felt they had a special right to it, especially since the British Royal family was of German origin beginning with Queen Victoria. Thus began secret plans and preparations in Germany for such a takeover but as with many secret plans, this became known to the British through their intelligence. Plans to counter this began.

Secret Nainital

Secret Nainital

A plan was developed that in case the need arose, the British Emperor of India living in England, would escape to India and re-establish a new headquarter of the British Empire in India for the period of occupation if any. The Queen of Great Britain and Ireland was declared the empress of India to begin with. All of India itself was not a safe place but there were parts in the Himalayas, the highest mountains in the world, that could produce a safe alternative capital, impregnable to any attack from Germany or even an Asian power such as Japan.

Two locations were considered in the Himalayas – Simla and Nainital. However, although later Simla was chosen as the summer capital of India, it was not safe enough from attack.  Nainital was selected as the possible secret capital of the British Empire incase of an emergency. It was a safe destination surrounded by high mountains and easily guarded by even a small army. Special army cantonments were developed nearby around Nainital, at Bareilly, Ranikhet and other places including Nainital itself that could be called upon to mobilize quickly.

In those days Nainital had its own excellent food supplies too. There was fresh fruit and vegetables from surrounding areas including from the other side of the hill of Raj Bhavan at Khurpa Tal. Plums and peaches of the size were found no where else in the world. There were farm meat supplies as well as wild game from forests around Kaladhungi and present day Corbett National park, endless supplies of food grains from Terai and its own inexhaustible source of fresh water from a lake believed to be fed by the most pristine lake in the world – Mansarovar. There was excellent fish too from the numerous lakes of this lake district of the Himalayas. It was food and water fit for a Queen or King of the world indeed, much before the present day pollution and deterioration had set in. Queen Victoria had even engaged her own private tutor originally from the Agra region to learn Hindi. so that she could be more comfortable in the locality. She honored both Indian and western customs of widowhood as shown in the photo by wearing a black dress but covering it with white lace (a color for widows in India) and the custom of goddess of the mountains – Parvati –  by wearing white at her wedding. That custom was emulated by others ( without knowing the reason) so that the wedding dress is white amongst the Christians now. There is more of the secrets of Queen Victoria, some mythology, included in my novel mentioned earlier.

Four exit roads were developed from Nainital to surrounding regions for movement of men and materials. Three of these to Kaladhungi, Bhowali and Kathgodam are functional even today but the fourth the one through Kilburywas never fully developed while the British were in India, but even that provided a viable entry and escape route. The residence for the royal family was to be the Raj Bhavan, one of the safest locations within safe Nainital. A recent photo is shown with this post with me standing in front. Within the complex itself, a secret tunnel was developed under the disguise of a rain water outlet that connected the complex to an underground mountain river passage for a further escape even from Naintal.

With such a sound and secure plan, the British ensured that they would continue to be the rulers of a world wide empire. However, later even after two world wars, Germany or another country could never take over England and London and the seat of British power remained in London. Nevertheless the British were much weakened by these wars and combined with the rising nationalism in India led by Mahatma Gandhi, compelled the British to give up on the Jewel in the crown – India – in 1947, while retaining it only symbolically through the Indian diamond – the Kohinoor that adorns the British Crown even today..

This story reached this author through word of mouth, therefore it is difficult to verify its accuracy aside from its widely known facts..

One more general secret known only to few in the world today is that while Nainital was under British rule,  some of the key policies for managing the empire and the world were deliberated on and initiated in Nainital in locations such as the Boat Club, The Raj Bhavan, Masonic lodge,  and even Tiffin top during the active months of summer and fall. In this sense Nainital was the spiritual capital of the world for almost a hundred years.  Now that India is no longer under British rule, it is some   policies that are discussed and initiated in privacy here that  influence India and even the world in a very significant manner by intellectuals and ordinary citizens who choose to stay out of  limelight of  mainstream in order to retain their serenity and thus also effectiveness. Nainital in this respect has been the secret think tank of the world for a long time.

Source : By Dr. Ashok Malhotra

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