Subject: Social Studies
After the kot massacre in 1903 BS, Nepal was ruled by hereditary Rana prime ministers who came to power according to rules of succession and exercised absolute power. Kings were a puppet in their hands. With life blood support from the British East-India Company, they tried to sustain their rule with suppression of public freedom and strong control over education and outside influence. Mostly their reforms were either for gaining public support for their autocratic rule or for enlarging their luxury. Various circumstances had led to the rise of Rana Regime, as those described below:
The era after Prithvi Narayan Shah was characterized by power politic and conspiracy. Pratap Singh Shah ruled only for about 3 years and then came his 3-years old son Rana Bahadur. The army commanders who came back from the battlefield indulged similarly after the Anglo-Nepal War. Such political instability paved a way for the rise of the dictator, Jung Bahadur.
From the early time, Jung Bahadur's family was in touch with the palace. His grandfather Ranajit Kunwar was killed in the battle of Kangada and his father Balnarsingh Kunwar was a bodyguard of king Rana Badahur Shah. Balnarsingh Kunwar had killed Sher Bahadur Shah, the murderer of Rana Bahadur Shah. He was appointed the chief of Dhankuta, Dadeldhura and Jumla in different time periods. Jung Bahadur in company with his father got the post of lieutenant. Later he got the post of a captain from king Rajendra. He had also worked as a private secretary to the crowned prince, Surendra Bikram. Following the murder of Mathabar Singh committed by him, his popularity grew all the more in the palace.
Following the Sugauli Treaty of 1873 BS, Nepalese politics was highly influenced by the English ambassadors. Pandeyand Rana's were instigated against Thapa, particularly Bhimsen Thapa by the two queens of the king Rajendra as well as the English. Ranas who came to power with the English support knew that they could sustain their autocracy as long as they could please the English. To win the confidence of the English, Rana'sgave valuable military support to British to suppress Sepoy mutiny and to win the two world wars. It is not merely a coincidence that Rana autocracy was thrown following the independence of India.
In order to strengthen relation with the royal family, Jung Bahadur married Prime Minister Fattejung Shah's sister Hiranyagarva Kumari. To further tie up the relation, marriages of his sons Jagatjung and Jeetjung wee arranged with two princes of king Surendra. Later he gave away his two daughters in marriage to prince Trailokya. These relations helped Jung Bahadur to rise to stately social status and he could get more power in his hand.
The murder episode that took place on the night of Ashwin 2, 1903 BS has been regarded as Kot massacre. Some historians took this murder episode as a result of a conspiracy hatched by Jang Bahadurwhile others taking it in a different way thought that it was an inevitable event of mass killing with Jang Bahadur used for his own purpose. However, this episode of homicide was not only limited to the mass killing of high-level courtiers, assembling in the court of the palace in order to find out the culprit who had murdered Gagan Singh, a private person of Queen Rajya Lakshmi. After the Kot Massacre, Jung Bahadur was appointed to the post of the commander-in-chief.
The next day of the mass killing of the courtiers which was carried out at the Bhandarkhal garden at Ashwin 17 1903 BS is known as Bhandarkhal parwa and was thought to be the outcome of a conspiracy of Queen Rajya Lakshmi to kill Jung Bahadur. The Queen wanted to make her own son, Ranendra Bikram Shah, a King instead of Surendra Bikram Shah, the legitimate crown prince. But, Jung Bahadur was deadly against it. She, therefore, had an evil design of killing Jung Bahadur with the help of his opponents including Gagan Singh Khawas' family. Having been informed about all this, Jung Bahadur with the help of his brothers and his six platoons of soldiers managed to get all of his opponents killed in the bhandarkhal garden. Among those murdered in the event were Birdhoj Basnet, Mansingh Basnet and many other Basnets and 23 other people.
Rajendra Bikram Shah staying in Benaras was after a plan to come to power again against Jung Bahadur. The people whom he deputed for killing Jung Bahadur were arrested with evidence. Consequently, Jung Bahadur dethroned Rajendra Bikram and declared Surendra Bikram the King. Outraged with the development of the event, Rajendra Bikram Shah left Benares to declare war against Jung Bahadur. On 13th Shrawan, 1904 BS the old Gorkha battalion led by Sanaksingh Shah attacked the soldiers of Rajendra Bikram Shah at Alau near Birgunj and defeated them badly.
King Surendra was a puppet in the hand of Jung Bahadur. Through the approval of 24th Shrawan, 1913 BS, he made Jung Bahadur the King of Lamjung and Kaski (Shree Teen Maharaj). Now Jung Bahadur could exercise very important executive powers including appointment and dismissal of officials, infliction of punishments and formulation of laws.
Rana regime was established at the cost of many innocent lives and it was doomed to fail. Ordinary people from the very beginning had developed hatred and distaste for the system though they couldn't bring it out easily. Rana autocracy could eventually be overthrown by an armed revolution in 2007 BS.
The following are the major factors behind the downfall of the autocratic system.
Conspiracies for power among the kith and kin of the Rana became a major characteristic of the period. Opponents from Jung Bahadur's own family hatched plots to blow him but in vain. Badrinarsingh, one of his brothers, tried to kill him. After his death sons of Dhirshumser (His own half-brother) wiped his sons away and changed the roll of succession in their favor. Ranoddip, who succeed Jung Bahadur was assassinated while in office. Jung bahadur's son Jagat Jung had also made efforts to rise to power in 1938 BS.
As an effort for limiting the role of succession in favor of his family line, Chandra Shumsher categorized Ranas into A Class (Those born from ordinary marriage relations), B-Class (Those from without marriage relations), C Class (Those from illicit relations) and declared the C class out from the role. Those excluded would naturally try to destroy those in power to recover their positions. Subarna Shumhser, an excluded, later formed the Nepal Prajatantrik Congress which changed into the Nepali Congress with merged with MP Koirala's Nepali Rastra Congress. The Nepali Congress party succeeds in the overthrowing regime through an armed revolution.
Ranas had themselves sowed seeds of their failure. Lakhan Thapa got martyrdom as he tried to finish Jung Bahadur when the latter was on his hunting excursion. Ranas' suppressive activities encouraged continuous efforts of protest. Chandra Shumsher suppressed the anti-Rana activities of Gorkha League (Rising awareness in India), Arya Samaj (Encouraging religious reformations). Krishnalal Upadhyay who wrote Makaiko Kheti, an analogical satire on the Ranas, was imprisoned. Later anti-Rana movements got momentum in Tulsimeher's Charkha Movement (That followed Mahatma Gandhi's policy of protest through weaving), Prachanda Gorkha (First political party established to overthrow Rana regime), Mahabir School and Library establishment (Working towards raising public awareness), etc. Though these activities were suppressed immediately, they could weaken the root of the Rana regime in the long run.
Even after the execution of the Praja Parishad leaders in 1997 BS anti-Rana agitation did not stop. Later the Nepali Congress started an armed revolution which was contributed by king Tribhuwan. The reigning king abdicated the throne and took asylum in the Indian Embassy. Finally, the Ranas agreed upon the Delhi Compromise which somehow marked their end.
Rana's could easily sustain their rule as long as they pleased the British East India Company. When the British colonial rule in India came to its end, their strong foundation had collapsed. Following the Indian Independence, the Nepalese democrats, who had fought in the Indian War of Independence, came back and used their expertise in the agitation in Nepal. The Nepali Congress collected funds and weapons and operated the revolution from India. The Delhi compromise was concluded under an active mediation of the Indian government, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in particular.
Rana rule was in autocracy because democracy means the government made by the people for people. But during that period the country was ruled by Ranas only. The rights and needs of people were not distributed.
The British East India Company supported the Ranas because the British had army support from Ranas and British East India Company had lots of political benefits supporting the Rana.
Jung Bahadur maintained nuptial relation with the royal family to rise stately social status and get more power in his hand.
The persons responsible for the three parvas were Jung Bahadur, Queen Rajyalakshmi and Rajendra Bikram.
Jung Bhadur caused the murder of Gagan singh as his death would make him more powerful and gain control over the government.
Gagan Singh was the most loved one and favourite of Queen Rajyalakshmi and the death of Gagan Singh left the queen shattered in distressed.
Queen Rajyalakshmi wanted to make her son, Ranendra Bikram shah, a king instead of Surendra Bikram Shah, the legitimate crown prince. But Jung Bhadur was deadly against it so she hatched a plot to kill Jung Bahadur.
Due to the three parvas, Jung Bahadur was made the first Prime Minister of Nepal. He seized the opportunity to eliminate all his rivals and rose to power.
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