After Yogmati could not stand in the politics of Patan, the Kaji and the Lords of Patan started to become powerful. Among all those Lords, six of them were rather intelligent and sharp in politics and were collectively called the “Six Pradhans”. When Bishnu Malla, the son of Punyamati and the sister of Indra Malla, was the ruler of Patan, those six Pradhans were powerless. But when Bishnu Malla died, Rajya Prakash Malla, who was the brother of Jaya Prakash Malla became the King. The six Pradhans then accumulated much of the power at that time. As Bishnu Malla did not have any children, Rajya Prakash Malla was made the hier to the throne. So after the death of Bishnu Malla, in 1802, Rajya Prakash Malla was handed the throne of Patan by the six Pradhans.
The King of Gorkha, Prithivi Narayan Shan, defeated Nuwakot and started a blockade in the valley. Seeing this, Rajya Prakash Malla wanted to develop good relationship with the King of Gorkha. But his efforts for this were not very successful. In B.S. 1814, Jestha 19, a Saturday, Prithivi Narayan Shah attacked Kritipur for the first time. In the war, Rajya Prakash Malla, with the help his brother Jaya Prakash Malla, defeated the Gorkhas. At that instant, Rajya Praksah Malla himself commanded his Army. The six Pradhans did not want the King to conduct his work smoothly and efficiently, and a disagreement arised between them. In the events that followed, the six Pradhans took out both eyes of the King. Due to the infection and following pain in his eye, King Rajya Prakash Malla died in 1815. On the very day of the king’s death, one of the Pradhans, Bikhwan Dhankaji, crowned 18 year old Bishwojit Malla as the King of Patan. But even he could not rule as the King for more than 2 years.
Jaya Prakash Malla
According to a genealogical record, the daughter of Kaji Kalidas, Maijuthaku was married to the son of the Chaku Bahal Kaji. The same Maijuthaku was also taken as his wife by King Bishwajit as well. So in their anger, the husband of Maijuthaku and her brother dragged out King Bishwajit to Taleju and cut him down. It was the rule at the time that a person could cut down another if the latter took the former’s wife as his own. As Bishwajit Malla was married to the wife of a Kaji, and following that tradition, he was cut down by the Pradhan. There are also stories that the cunning Pradhans, who dominated and had power to change the King, may have had killed King Bishwojit under false pretenses.
Jaya Prakash Malla was very angry with those six Pradhans for killing his brother. So in a bid to please him, the Pradhans wanted him to be crowned as the King of Patan. After Bishwojit’s death, Jaya Prakash Malla was made the King of Patan in 1817. Due to his arrogance and merciless behaviour, the King and Pradhans were not in good terms. So after ruling for one and half year, when the king went to take a bath at Teku, the Pradhans made sure that the King would never return to Patan again banishing him away. The then King of Bhaktapur Radjit Malla was handed the crown of Patan by the Pradhans. King Radjit Malla was of different kind and wanted to foster the development activities of Patan. So he wanted the criminal activities of the Pradhans to be stopped. Jaya Prakash Malla who was extremely furious with the Pradhans for insulting him and wanted a revenge. Radjit Malla was also thrown away from his throne by the Pradhans and again Jaya Prakash Malla was made the King of Patan. It was the time when Pritivi Narayan Shah was at his peak defeating every places, so the Pradhans wanted him to be the King of Patan. This plan was overheard by Jaya Prakash Malla. So, he decieded to call the Pradhans at Kantipur and planned to kill or imprison some of them. Their wives were also to bear the insult by walking in the city wearing rags clothes. Kaji Bikhal Dhankazi felt he was castigated and committed suicide. Later, due to many requests from the people of Patan, Jaya Prakash Malla had to free the Pradhans from captivity. Even after serving their time in prison, there was no change in their behavior to be seen. So, for the safety of his life, Jaya Prakash Malla escaped from Patan.
After this, the Pradhans wanted Prithivi Narayan Shah to be the King of Patan. Seasoned in politics, Pritivi Narayan Shah was aware of the cunning behavior of the Pradhans. So he had his brother Dalmadran Shah crowned as the king in B.S. 1820, Falgun 9. A son from each of the Pradhans were kept in Gorkha for the protection of Dalmadran Shah. Whilst spending his time in Patan, Dalmandran was keeping Prthivi Narayan Shah abreast of the happenings in the valley. The Pradhans wanted Dalmadran Shan to go against his own brother Prithivi Narayan Shah but they could not succeed. In 1822, the Gorkhalese invaded Kantipur as well. Credit of this victory also goes to Dalmadran Shah. After the invasion, he was prisioned for this by the Pradhans. Later, having spent some time as a prisoner, he ran away to his brother. When Dalmadran Shah was kept in prison, Tej Narsingh Malla, a businessman, was handed the throne of Patan. Seeing Prithivi Narayan Shah conquer places one after another, the Pradhans were always on alert. One of the Pradhans, Dhanwant Kaji, had already built a friendship with Prithivi Narayan Shah before defeating Kritipur.
Prithvi Narayan Shah
In B.S. 1825, Asoj 13, after the Gorkhalis won Kantipur, Jaya Prakash Malla who was seeking asylum there returned to Patan. The Pradhans wanted to surrender to Prithivi Narayan Shah. Seeing this, King Tej Narsingh Malla and Jaya Prakash Malla both then ran to Bhaktapur. After ruling for 25 years, showing their arbitrary governance, accumulating power, taking the norms, rules and laws in their hands: the Pradhans had their existence ceased. Due to the way they ruled, they are always given credit for the collapse of the Malla dynasty. Patan never would have faced such a horrendous condition if the Pradhans had worked for the betterment of the city.
Prof. Dr. ShriRam Prasad Upadhyaya
Pics: wikipedia, ecs.com.np